contract for deed

Deed vs. Title: What’s the Difference?

1000 500 Taylor Witt

At first glance, deeds and titles seem like the same thing. Both have something to do with the concept of ownership, but if you are unfamiliar with real estate, the difference will likely be lost on you. 

However, if you’re shopping for a home or looking to sell a house you’ve inherited, you’ll want to straighten out the differences between these two concepts.

Let’s dig in.

How to Conceptualize the Difference Between Deed And Title

The most notable difference between a deed and a title is that one is tangible and the other isn’t. A deed is a physical document that legally represents the ownership of personal property, whether it’s a car or a home. The title is intangible—it is the concept of ownership itself.

Does that sound confusing? Here’s an example that can help clarify the difference—

Can You Hold a Movie?

Think of your favorite movie. What type of media grants you access to that movie? You can stream it, purchase it as a blue-ray disk, or as a digital download. Or, you can purchase a ticket and see it in the theater. 

But how do you own that movie? Its ownership is in some way imagined. That’s because a movie is intangible. It’s comprised of a series of ideas transmitted through flashes of light and dialogue. 

However, certain media grant you access to it—allow you to experience it. These media are tangible, whether a disk, a stretch of code, or a ticket.

Deeds are like the media that grant you access to property—they are the tangible representations of ownership. Titles are like the movies themselves. They are intangible and cannot be held. Instead, they are experienced through ideas of ownership, much like how films are expressed through ideas.

Now that we’ve had a little lesson in ownership philosophy, we can provide functional definitions of deeds and titles. 

What is the Role of a Deed?

A deed is a legal document representing the transfer of property from the seller to the buyer. It is only official after both parties have signed it. Deeds not only contain the signatures of the buyer and seller but also contain a description of the transferred property.

There are three types of deeds that each have slightly different uses:

General Warranty Deed

The general warranty deed protects the buyer by ensuring that the seller is the complete owner of the property, possesses the full title, and has the right to sell. It also discloses that the seller has no knowledge of damage or issues with the property. 

Special Warranty Deed

Special warranty deeds are similar to general ones, except for one key difference. The seller only guarantees the intactness of the property for the duration that they owned it. Because of these differences, most commercial deed transfers use special warranty deeds. 

Quitclaim Deed

Quitclaim deeds are used when the transfer of ownership doesn’t involve an exchange of money. Usually, these are used by business owners who want to transfer property from their possession to their business or LLC. Another use for quitclaim deeds is when a parent transfers property ownership to a relative for free.

What is the Role of a Title?

A title is the ownership itself. It is the legal right to own, use, or sell the property. The deed is a physical representation of the transfer of title. You obtain both the title and the deed when you buy a house.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

According to Roni Davis, writer for First National Realty Partners, a nationwide commercial real estate investing company, “Titles aren’t limited to houses and extend to other property types, like boats, cars, airplanes, and RVs, among others.”

What is the Abstract of Title?

The abstract of title is another important document that lists all previous owners of a property and any debts or liens encumbering the ownership of that property. Though the title is intangible, the abstract is like a recorded history of everything that has happened to the title before you owned it. 

When you transfer ownership to someone else, you become a part of the title’s history. 

What Rights Are Guaranteed By a Title?

As mentioned above, a title grants the owner certain legal rights. Below are the specific rights granted by title ownership.

  • Right of Possession
  • Right of Control
  • Right of Exclusion
  • Right of Enjoyment
  • Right of Disposition

If a title has more than one owner, these rights are split equally among them.

Now You Know the Difference Between Deeds and Titles

The takeaway is that a deed is the physical representation of ownership and a title is the intangible concept of ownership, including legal rights. Knowing the difference between the two is crucial for buying or selling property. 

Roni Davis is a commercial realtor, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area.  She writes for First National Realty Partners, a nationwide commercial real estate investing company.

Breaking it Down: The Home Buying Process from Loan to Close

1000 500 Taylor Witt

Buying a house is one of the most exciting steps you can take. Unfortunately, the home buying process can be confusing for those who have never purchased a home before. The good news is after you’ve purchased your first home, buying your second home is easy. Not sure what goes into buying a house? You’ve come to the right place. This article will break down the home buying process from loan to close. 

Before the Loan

Before you can buy a home, you’ll need to determine whether or not you can afford it. To determine how much you can afford, you can use an online calculator that will tell you how much home you can afford based on your income and credit score. But, of course, other factors affect whether or not you’ll be able to afford a home, such as debts. 

You should be able to easily determine your debt-to-income (DTI). Take a look at your current debt versus your income and consider how much money you can afford on a monthly mortgage. Make sure to include everything in your estimate, including groceries and student loans. Remember, buying a home is more expensive than renting one, and there are costs that renters don’t pay, such as home repairs. 

Next, you’ll need to save for a down payment. Most loans require at least a 3.5% down payment, but it’s typically best to put down 20% of the home’s price so you can pay less on your monthly mortgage bill. If you’re a veteran who qualifies for a VA loan, you might not have to put any money down at all. 

Getting a Loan

When you’re ready to apply for a loan, make sure you get pre-approved first. Getting preapproved will allow you to start house hunting, knowing approximately how much of a loan you can get. A pre-approval letter states how much you’re approved for based on credit score, income, and other factors. Give a copy of your pre-approval letter to your realtor so they can help you find homes within your means. 

To get pre-approved, you’ll apply with a lender of your choice. The preapproval process is typically easy and involves answering questions on an application and speaking to a mortgage professional. A mortgage company will often verify income, credit, and assets with documentation you’ll need to apply, so make sure to have these on hand:

  • W-2s
  • Pay stubs
  • Income statements
  • Account statements

There are many different types of loans available for homeowners, so it’s up to you to determine which one is right for you. However, your mortgage loan officer will give you recommendations based on your financial situation. These are the types of loans you may qualify for:

Conventional Loan

Conventional loans are the most popular option for buyers. While the typical conventional loan requires you to put down 20%, many mortgage companies allow you to put down as little as 3%. 

FHA Loan

FHA loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and are ideal for new homebuyers because the credit score and down payment requirements aren’t as strict. You can put down as little as 3.5%. 

VA Loan

VA loans are only available for qualifying veterans, active-duty members, and their spouses. Many veterans opt for this type of home loan because it doesn’t require a down payment. 

USDA Loan

USDA Loans are another government-backed loan that can help individuals purchase their first home. USDA loans require 0% down. However, the home you purchase must be in a rural area, and homebuyers must meet income requirements. 

Finding a Realtor

Homebuyers should always work with a qualified realtor because they don’t have to pay the commission fee. Home sellers pay the realtor fees, making finding your dream home easier. Of course, you can find and purchase a home without help, but a realtor can help you find homes that meet your budget and criteria, take you to showings, and help you negotiate. 

Knowing the Market

As home prices continue to rise, having an awareness of the current housing market is a fundamental skill if you are trying to purchase a home. Currently, it is a seller’s market, and homes are going fast and often for above the asking price. Many factors contribute to the rising cost of homes and the competitive market. For example, Address Scoop’s report on the millennial generation found that more millennials are of home-buying age, making the demand for housing high and the supply low. Inflation and low-interest rates are also contributing factors.

House Hunting

With your mortgage pre-approval in hand, you can begin looking for houses within your budget. Make a list of your top preferences in a home, but keep in mind if you’re on a tight budget, you may not be able to get everything you want. When hunting for a house, consider:

  • Price
  • Size
  • Condition
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Access to grocery stores, schools, and other places
  • Property and real estate taxes

If you’re working with a realtor, they will consider your preferences when house hunting for you and only show you houses that meet certain criteria. 

Making an Offer

Once you find a house you like, it’s time to submit an offer letter to the sellers. An offer letter tells the sellers about who you are and what you’re willing to pay for the home. You can also include a personalized letter for why you want to purchase the home. Your offer letter will also include a deadline to tell the seller when you’d like a response. 

Once the seller receives your offer, they can either:

  • Accept the offer
  • Reject the offer
  • Negotiate 

Getting a Home Inspection

Some lenders require you to get a home inspection before you receive your loan. However, even if your lender doesn’t require it, it’s still something you should do so you can know about any repairs you’ll have to make as the home’s new owner. 

An inspector will go through the house and look for issues, testing electrical systems, roofing, and appliances. After the inspection, you’ll receive a list of problems they found. If there are any serious issues found, you might be able to negotiate with the seller to fix the issues before you close. 

Getting an Appraisal

An appraisal tells you the home’s current value and is a requirement of all lenders. Getting financing can become more difficult if the home is appraised for lower than your offer. Your offer must be thoughtful, but you can also contest the results of an appraisal if you believe it’s too low. 

Closing on the Home

Once you’ve followed through with all of your lender’s requirements, you’ll receive a Closing Disclosure. This document informs you about how much you’ll pay at closing and summarizes your loan terms. Make sure to read through your Disclosure and ensure the numbers aren’t too different from your loan estimate. 

You’ll then go to a closing meeting with your lender and bring your ID, your Closing Disclosure, and funds for paying your closing costs. 

Once everything has been verified, you’ll sign a settlement statement and pay your down payment and closing costs. Next, you’ll sign the mortgage to secure your mortgage note. Finally, once closing is over, you officially own the home. 

Should You Rent or Buy a Property in 2021?

1000 500 Taylor Witt

The cultural pressure to buy a property should not be underestimated. Getting a mortgage is often deeply ingrained in your psyche, and it is also viewed as the only way for you to truly become a homeowner. This is not the case at all because there are some advantages to renting over buying. If you want to find out more about them, then the only thing that you need to do is look below.

Bird's Eye View of Three Houses

Advantages to Renting

Tenancies can easily be as short as six months. You can move after this time if you find that your accommodation just isn’t working for you. Of course, if you can give the notice to vacate, then this will give you more flexibility and it will also help you to completely uproot your life if that is what you want. Moving out of a rental property can be much faster when compared to selling a property as well. On top of this, you will have fewer fees to pay and this can be useful if you are in a relationship, but it breaks down. Renting can be a very good way for you to test out the waters if you are involved in a romantic relationship.

You don’t have the worry about the expense of maintenance, and you are not responsible for things that may break down, items such as the heating boiler, the plumbing and electrics. This will give you much more financial security and it will also help you to enjoy the finer things in life. If you rent a furnished property then this will include the white goods and the furniture, as it will all be included. Remember you can take out a condo insurance quote in advance as well, so you know how much it will cost you to get all of your goods covered.

Advantages to Purchasing a House

If you are planning for your future in the long-term, and you have the money then homeownership is certainly a smart move. Playing around with a calculator shows that it makes financial sense as well. Even though you will need to pay fees to get your mortgage, you have to know that this still puts you in a strong financial position. You probably won’t have to pay things such as stamp duty and you won’t have to worry about losing out in the long-term because every payment you make will put you a step closer to being able to own your own property.

Saving for a House Deposit

It takes on average, 10 years for someone to raise a house deposit. Studies have also shown that someone who lives in a big city, such as London, may well need to save up over 15 years.  It’s very difficult for people to get on the property ladder for the first time and even if you were able to save up a small deposit, a lot of lenders will want you to have more.

There are more and more 5% mortgages creeping up on the market overall but if you do want to be in a strong financial position then you may want to try and put down more if you possibly can. The main reason for this is because it will give you a much lower interest rate on your loan and this will work in your favor overall.

When you have saved up for your loan, you then need to think about the hidden costs that are associated with your mortgage. This can include the mortgage fees as well as your solicitor fees too. When you have moved in, you will need to spend a good amount of money furnishing your property and you will need to maintain it. If you have roof tiles that are falling off or if you have a broken boiler then this will all add up when it comes to your expenses overall. You also need to think about interest rates, because if this does go up, then you’ll be paying way more in the long run.

Getting A Mortgage with No Deposit

If you are renting right now, then it may be possible for you to get a mortgage without a deposit. You won’t need to worry about waiting to save up or anything else of the sort. If you do take out a 100% mortgage however then this can put you in a very bad situation. You may find that you end up falling into negative equity because you are not able to get the right amount of money for your house when you sell, and you may also find that you are limited when it comes to your profit overall.

Use Hanging Art to Add Value to Your Home

1000 500 Taylor Witt

Adding artwork to a home can accent aspects of your current interior design such as furniture, rugs, wall colors, etc. If you’ve ever painted a room, selected furniture, and then stood back to look it over and just felt like there was something missing, a really well-fitting piece of art may have been just what you needed to complete the room.

assorted-color framed paintings on the wall

Maybe your furniture and wall colors are sort of drab and a colorful piece of art would really pop in the room and give the room some character. Or maybe your room is overwhelmed with color and what you need is a simple, neutral piece that provides a sense of calm within the chaos. Finding the right type of artwork that complements your space can help you complete your interior design.

That said, hanging art on your walls is an art in itself. You need to take into account a lot of considerations and small details to seek perfection in this task. Chiefly, the position of your artwork depends on two major things, the size of your smaller canvas (the artwork) and the size of your bigger canvas (the walls). Placing the artifacts rightly requires precise measurements and good picture hanging systems.

The following are the basic considerations you need to check in different cases while positioning your art properly.

Normal Wall Height

Solo Art

Hanging a single artwork per wall does not require a lot of contemplation. Just hang the art parallel to the eye level by using the proper picture hanging systems. The basic reason for this is that the viewer while appreciating your art would not want to crane his neck. Thus, the height of around 56-60 inches would suit the best.

Grouping

While grouping a number of artworks on the same wall, hang the largest frame at the eye level as done for solo. Now place all of the remaining artifacts around this considering it as the center.

Tall Walls

For tall walls, positioning your artwork at eye level is not necessary. In such cases, the placement of frames at the vision level would leave a lot of space on the top and look odd. Thus, you can try a series of art or even some artwork tapestries. This way, you will not only end up filling up those spaces smoothly but will also make the ceiling look less far away. Even here, you should try to keep the larger and catchier frames in the central portion near to the eye level.

Other Cases

Walls close to the dining areas are usually visited as seated. Therefore, the eye level of such regions is lower as compared to other walls. This way, your attention hotspot lowers down to 3-4 feet and thus requires you to place the artifacts in the portions of the wall.

While hanging artworks above your furniture or other home decor items, you must keep a gap of around 5 inches. This is the ideal margin for positioning artifacts. In addition, while doing so, you must also keep in mind that the width of the art should be at least ⅔ of the width of the furniture. For instance, the width of an artwork (or group) placed above a 6′ wide sofa should be at least 4′.

Final Words

Good art pieces require proper viewing to be truly appreciated. Thus displaying them at the right height becomes very important. By considering the above factors while hanging your art pieces on the walls, you can create an impressive effect on the viewer’s mind.

contract for deed financing

Should You Consider Contract for Deed Financing in 2021?

1000 500 Taylor Witt

Interest rates are at record lows. Housing prices are at record highs. Multiple offers are the norm in some cities. You really want to buy a home, but the last time you tried to get a mortgage, you were denied. Worse, with COVID-19, a weakening stock market, an uncertain future, and post-election trauma, lenders are clinging to tight underwriting standards.

If you have a low credit score combined with some serious recent credit dings, conventional financing could be very difficult to obtain. Let’s look at some alternatives that can get you into your own home in 2021, including contract for deed.

Find Someone to Cosign

person in orange long sleeve shirt writing on white paper

If you can’t qualify for a mortgage, find someone that can. This might be a relative, a friend or even your employer. A person with excellent credit that will agree to be on the hook for your mortgage can be the answer to your credit difficulties. Rocket Mortgage puts it best as they say, “When someone cosigns on a mortgage loan, it means they agree to take responsibility for the loan if you default. Cosigning on a loan isn’t just a character reference.

It’s a legally binding contract that makes another person partially responsible for your debt.” Just make sure that your prospective cosigner understands their legal obligation.

Think About a Duplex

white and red house

Sure, you want a single-family home, but checking out a multifamily situation might be an eye opener. With a duplex you can rent the other side of your home and possibly collect up to half—or even more—of your monthly mortgage obligation. If you can show that you only need to come up with $1000 of your own money to make your $2000 monthly mortgage payment, you may be able to qualify without a cosigner.

The Simple Dollar expounds on this as they mention, “One reason buying a duplex is such an appealing idea is that there’s a lower barrier to entry than if you were buying a free-standing rental property. We already mentioned how you typically need at least 20% to put down on a single-family investment property, but the rules are a lot different if you’re buying a property to live in yourself.”

Don’t Leave Deals on the Table

white printer paper on red textile

Research all of the financing avenues that may be available to you. If you are a veteran, for example, you can get a no-money-down mortgage even in you have a very low credit score. VA loans are great if you are a first-time home buyer.

In addition, bet you didn’t know this, courtesy of the USDA:

“The USDA Loan is a mortgage option available to some rural and suburban homebuyers. USDA Home Loans are issued by qualified lenders and guaranteed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA Home Loans are particularly favorable to those living in rural or low-income areas. USDA Loans offer $0 money down, lenient eligibility requirements and competitive interest rates – due to the loan being guaranteed by the USDA.”

Rent-to-Own

red and blue love neon light signage

In states that allow it, you might want to look at a rent-to-own deal. In these situations, someone that owns a home free and clear will rent it to you and apply part of your monthly rent to a future down payment. At some time, you will be able to purchase the home from the owner, and many times the owner will act as the bank and finance the property. While this arrangement does work for some, there is room for difficulty with this arrangement. Sometimes unscrupulous owners will enter into a deal they know will be difficult for the tenant to keep, i.e., an inflated monthly payment, and if a late payment occurs, that can be quickly followed by an eviction. In these cases, all down payment money is usually lost, and the owner then looks for another victim.

Contract for Deed

person writing on paper

If your credit is just not up to par, if you can’t find a co-signer, if duplexes aren’t your thing, and if rent-to-own sounds too risky, consider contract for deed. In some states like Minnesota, contract for deed deals have been utilized for years. The Morris Law Group explains the process well:

“Instead of purchasing a home with a mortgage, the buyer agrees to directly pay the seller in monthly installments. The buyer is able to occupy the home after the closing of the sale, but the seller still retains legal title to the property until all payments have been made under the contract; actual ownership passes to the buyer only after the final payment is made. Contracts for deed have long been a financing option for property transactions between family members or friends. Some nonprofit housing organizations also use them to help low-income families find a path to homeownership.”

The C4D Crew takes this process a step further as they will work with you when you find a home you want to buy. C4D will buy the home you are interested in, and then they will sell it to you on a contract for deed basis. You don’t have to find a free and clear home, nor do you have to convince a reticent homeowner to enter into a contract for deed deal. These guys do it all.

Of course, your credit will need to be checked, but C4D understands that bad things happen to good people and they can look past issues like tax problems, divorce, job loss, and even a recent bankruptcy.

Yes, if you can find traditional financing that’s great!  But if you can’t, and you want a legitimate way to own your own home, you really need to consider contract for deed financing.

new homeowners guide

New Homeowner’s Guide: 7 Tips to Lower Maintenance Costs

1000 500 Taylor Witt

Buying a house is one of the costliest endeavors in everyone’s life. If you plan on taking this major step, you have to be extra careful and considerate about it, especially when it comes to the financial aspects. If you have a strict budget and need to spend all your savings on your dream home, you’re probably well aware that the next few years will not be about careless expenses. 

white and red wooden house miniature on brown table

Of course, even if you’ll have a slimmer wallet after the purchase, it doesn’t mean that you have to say goodbye to spending your hard-earned monthly cash on the things you love. As a homeowner, there are specific ways you can save as much money as possible while also making your house a better investment and also minimizing every financial risk that might arise. 

What’s the secret that every homeowner needs to know? Well, it all boils down to how well you can manage your home’s maintenance. Every house or apartment requires some repair or constant upkeep. Considering your home’s age and condition, the annual maintenance cost is about 1% of your house or apartment’s value. So, if you’ve spent like $350,000 on it, it’s a good idea to put aside at least $3,500 just for upkeep. 

How to do that and how to lower the expenses when it comes to the maintenance part of it? Luckily for you, we’ve got all the answers you need, and we’re ready to share them with you, so stay tuned!

Be smart about buying and moving in

If you’re still at the consideration phase and haven’t picked out your home yet, meaning you are preparing your budget for the purchase, don’t forget that you can keep the maintenance expenses down with a few simple tricks.

It’s always a great idea to look for a relatively newly built home. A house that is only a few years old probably suffered less wear and tear. Before signing the papers and shaking hands, inspect the home thoroughly, looking for signs that might indicate potential problems and higher repair costs. 

You can save a few hundred dollars on moving, too.

How? The idea is to find a moving company that’s trustworthy, professional, and licensed and offers services that are reliable and not that expensive. Empire Movers can take the burden of moving off your shoulders while making sure your wallet remains pretty thick.

Be a handyman

If you have fundamental knowledge and skills for basic maintenance jobs, you can save a small fortune on an annual basis. Even if you’re not as experienced as a pro, you can still get the job done. Plus, there are dozens of articles, videos, and how-to guides on various upkeep tasks, so you can always learn more.

Plus, when you do the work yourself, you don’t have to wait for a contractor. Usually, the waiting time is a few days, but it can take even a week for a pro to visit your home and check for a solution during busy periods. However, there are specific maintenance tasks you probably shouldn’t do if you’re not a professional. Jobs that necessitate some skills or technical knowledge, such as electrical work, is best left for a real pro. 

When you can’t do everything yourself

As we’ve mentioned above, there are certain tasks you must leave to a professional. Even if you’ve become a DIY master in a short time, there will also be some maintenance jobs that require the eyes and hands of a skilled pro. To get the job done the right way, you need to hire a contractor or request a company’s services.

Before you decide on a contractor or a professional firm, do you research and get to know them. Recommendations and referrals are beneficial in these situations, as they are the best way to find trustworthy and experienced service providers. If they offer discounts or cut you a nice deal, that’s the icing on the cake. 

Prevention is key

With everything in life, preventing a small issue from becoming a major problem is a course you must take. It’s a great idea to conduct routine upkeep. Be sure to replace the furnace’s air filter at least once every three months. By doing this simple task, you can vastly increase the lifespan of your costly HVAC system. Plus, fixing cracks in your windows or doors or cleaning out the gutter every once in a while will reduce maintenance costs in the long run. 

Prepare for seasonal changes

As a homeowner, you have to adjust for every season. For example, winter has a totally different effect on your home than summer. This is especially true if you live in an area with stark differences between these two seasons, meaning winters are freezing, summers are way too hot. 

When your home faces different environmental effects every single year, such as heavy snow, too much freezing, or strong sunlight, you have to count on various types of damages. The alternating cycles of contraction and expansion will put your house to the test. To avoid big problems, conduct a thorough seasonal inspection and fix the things that need your attention. 

Know the problematic aspects of your home

It’s no secret that every house or apartment has its weak points, those areas that can become challenging offer the years, meaning you have to spend more money on fixing them. For instance, if you’ve moved into an older home, a shaky foundation might cause you a headache from time to time. Or the roof needs constant maintenance. Getting to know your home’s pain points as soon as you move in will help you become proactive and prepared, so you can handle the issue properly when the time and occasion arises. 

Cash reserve for maintenance

Yes, having an emergency fund is easier said than done when you’ve just dumped your entire savings on a new home. However, if you can, make sure you set some money aside just for upkeep. Considering the size, age, and value of your home, you should save at least a few hundred dollars. Of course, the more you manage to save, the easier time you will have with maintenance. 

How To Fix An Annoying Leaking Kitchen Tap?

1000 500 Taylor Witt

No one likes the sound of a dripping tap night after night as you try to go to sleep, not only does it wastewater, but it can drive you crazy the slow drip, drip, drip. Fixing your leaking tap may not be as difficult as you might think with a little bit of know-how. 

stainless steel faucet in tilt shift lens

Whether you are a seasoned professional DIY or you are new to maintenance and basic house updates, here are some handy tips for fixing a leaking tap in your kitchen. 

How to fix a leaking kitchen tap? 

Firstly, you will need to get an understanding of what you are working with, and whether you have a cartridge valve on your kitchen tap, or a ceramic disc, compression valve, or a ball-style faucet. No matter which one your tap is, you will be able to find a replacement at your local hardware store or your plumbing supplier. 

Once you have determined the type of tap you have, you will need a bunch of tools that are most likely around the home including a wrench, screwdriver, hammer, washers and seal replacements, pliers, valve replacement, and some silicone or grease. 

Step 1: Shut off the water at the wall

This is an important step if you don’t want to be covered in water when you start your kitchen tap DIY. You will find the tap usually under the kitchen sink, and you should turn this off first before taking off the tap handle otherwise you will get soaked. 

Step 2: Once the water is off, detach the kitchen tap handle 

Once you have ensured there is no water flowing, then you can start removing the screws on your kitchen tap handle. Sometimes the screws are underneath the logo in the center of the tap or they could be behind the tap itself, either way, you should be able to find these fairly easily and you will need to use your tools to detach the handle safely. 

Step 3: Remove the valve 

This part can be tricky and you might need to use a little force or a set of pliers – if the valve is stuck this could be due to mineral build-up and you might need to use some silicone or a little bit of elbow grease to get the valve open and off. At this stage, you can also remove any of the rubber components to be replaced. 

Step 4: Replace all the components 

Now you have everything in pieces, it is time to replace the rubber elements and also the valve and then work in reverse to put everything back together. You might need to add some silicone as well to ensure everything is lubricated and working well. 

Once you have completed all these steps, you should turn on the water again and test the kitchen tap is working well and everything is leak-free. If you do find that there is still an issue, you should call in an expert to get them to inspect the work. 

Always call on a licensed and experienced plumber to ensure everything is being carried out to the highest standard and your warranty is not affected for your taps and any plumbing in your house or property. 

3 Ways to (Instantly) Boost the Value of Your Home

1000 500 Taylor Witt

When you own your home, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep your property well-maintained. By doing so, you’ll protect your investment and hopefully prevent its value from declining. However, there are things you can do to increase the value of your property too. If you want to maximize the value of your home, take a look at these top tips now:

Real Estate, Home, House, Single Family Home

Extend the Property

When you extend a property, you gain extra square footage, which should automatically increase the value of your home. From a straightforward attic conversion to an extensive, two-story addition, there are numerous options available. Furthermore, extending a property can be cheaper than you think. By using the existing structure to draw up plans, experienced contractors can minimize the amount of work involved to help you keep costs down. 

Enhance Curb Appeal

How your property looks has a major impact on its resale. While real estate investors may not be too concerned with curb appeal, potential homeowners or tenants will be swayed by appearances. To ensure you’re making the most of your property, landscape gardens, pave driveways and paint the exterior of your home at regular intervals. 

It’s important to remember, however, that you are usually held responsible for any repairs which are needed following work that’s been carried out on your property. If heavy equipment or vehicles cause pavement damage while accessing your property, you may need to pay to have this repaired. Fortunately, this isn’t an unusual problem and one that can typically be fixed quickly, easily and cost-effectively. 

Redesign Your Kitchen and/or Bathroom

When it comes to selling a home, it’s the kitchen and bathroom that really make an impact on potential buyers. If you’re going to redecorate or redesign any part of your property prior to putting it up for sale, these are the two areas you’ll want to consider first. 

Although there are buyers who will consider purchasing a property that’s in need of repair, selling your home without completing any outstanding work can substantially reduce its value. By repairing water leaks or replacing damaged shower trays, for example, you can restore your home and ensure you get a fair price for your property. 

When to Reinvest in Your Home

If you’re thinking about selling your home in the near future, then you may want to make strategic changes now in order to enhance its value. However, even if you’re not planning to sell any time soon, it’s still worth keeping the value of your home in mind. When you decide what changes to make to your property, always consider the impact potential modifications will have on its value. 

There’s a good chance that your home is your most valuable asset, so you’ll want to do everything you can to ensure it retains its value in the future. By keeping it well-maintained, ensuring it’s aesthetically pleasing and making repairs when they’re needed, you’ll be well on the way to boosting the value of your home. 

7 Common Mistakes First-Time Home-Buyers Make

1000 500 Sam Radbil

Purchasing your first home can be one of the most memorable moments in your life.

But along with this excitement can come many questions and uncertainties about making sure that the correct decisions are in place. From location to finances (and everything in between), several considerations need to be taken to ensure that buying your first house will be a fond memory to look back on.

white and red wooden house miniature on brown table

We know you’re doing a ton of analysis and home searches, perhaps you’re diving into the Redfin vs. Realtor searches and things like that. But, first, take a look at a few common mistakes that first-time home-buyers make and how you can avoid them.

Neglecting a life insurance policy

Whereas around 85% of homeowners have homeowners insurance in the United States, another type of insurance that homeowners with a mortgage need to consider is life insurance.

While life insurance may be a task that you feel inclined to push off (as it’s harder to think about you or a partner passing during the excitement of shopping around for a new home), securing a policy can help save the financial well-being of your loved ones.

There are several different types of policies, so research which kind of plan is the most affordable option for ensuring that mortgage payments go through if there was a sudden loss of income.

Because mortgages typically extend through many years, a life insurance policy prevents passing along this debt to your partner or family. There are online life insurance resources that can help navigate how long you should plan on securing a plan for your circumstances and new homeownership, which factors will influence your rates, and which type of coverage is available.

Overlooking the importance of location

You may have found your dream home, including all the features you were looking for in your new place, along with the right price tag. But something that is just as important to remember when saying ‘yes’ to the house is also where your new home is located. Several factors make up what is considered a ‘good location,’ so spend time analyzing what can be dealbreakers or what you are willing to settle one.

For those with jobs farther from their home, make sure to factor in your daily commute and how much time you are willing to spend transporting to and from work.

blue earth globe on table

Furthermore, consider those living around you. If you are seeking a quieter neighborhood, or prefer something more lively, make sure that your choice takes into account how the people around you and your surroundings will impact the satisfaction in your first home experience. Be sure not to sacrifice on location, even if it means waiting to find a better fit.    

Forgetting a back-up entry plan

As mundane of a task as it may seem, many first-time home-buyers neglect to have a spare set of keys cut in case of emergency or alternative entry options after settling into their new place.

Preparing for unforeseen circumstances, in the beginning, will ensure that you will be ready for these situations before they arise. In addition to getting spare keys made, it is also a good idea to have a secure place to hide them outside of your home to avoid burglary. 

If you prefer more modern or alternative technology, consider investing in a keyless door lock. Write the password information down somewhere safe and have extra batteries on hand if needed. Focusing on the security of your new home will allow you peace of mind knowing it is taken care of even when you aren’t around.

Packing unnecessary clutter

In the moving process, new homeowners should reflect on their belongings and what is actually essential to bring with them to the new house. Along with the other stresses that come along with moving into a new home, bringing unnecessary clutter can add to all the other pressures you may be dealing with. 

In fact, studies have shown that the average American home consists of 300,000 items. Before committing to your moving company or making arrangements, go through your belongings and get rid of unnecessary items.

assorted-color apparels

Not only can this reduce moving expenses and save you time in your unpacking process, but having less clutter can create a smoother transition and more polished home. Additionally, having a garage sale or selling unwanted items online can help diminish a few of your moving expenses.

Focusing on multiple projects

The chances are that you will want to make to your new home either after or before your move-in date—like renovations, repairs, remodels, or re-decorating. While you may feel inclined to jump into several projects at once, remember that tackling one project at a time can actually benefit how fast and efficiently you complete all your plans.

If you are looking to hire a professional for a job, search around for trusted and local people who can get the job done. Planning this out in advance will also help you gauge the amount of time needed to finish your projects— and can even be helpful to compare to which home improvement ideas you can do on your own

Reflect on home maintenance

When selecting a new place to call home, don’t forget about the maintenance on the outside of your house. If you are looking to secure a large back yard or the property has several plants or trees that will need maintenance, consider if this is something you are willing to upkeep actively.

Examining your new home’s maintenance will also include tasks such as cleaning gutters, pest control, and roof preservation. Establishing a plan and determining how much time you are willing to spend on these responsibilities will help you set aside the necessary budget and time you will need to maintain the beauty of your new home. 

Disregarding organization with finances

While you may have a vision of what you want your dream house to look like, remember when buying your first home that purchasing within your means will help your financial stability in the long run. Shifting from renters to homeownership can be an adjustment, and often time new homeowners tend to underestimate the way this lifestyle change can have an impact on the revisions you must make in dealing with your finances.

Luckily, there are professionals, like the C4D crew, that can help you navigate these tougher decisions and organization of your finances.

To gain the most of your first home-buying experience, avoid these common mistakes, and actively set yourself up for the most enjoyment in making the big move. Find confidence that you will make the right decisions, and above all, congratulations on becoming a new homeowner.

buying a house during coronavirus

Purchasing a Home Sight Unseen: Pros and Cons

1000 500 Sam Radbil

While most people are staying put during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may actually have to think of buying a house during coronavirus. Maybe you actually got a new job in another part of the country, or possibly you just want to get out of a hotspot area like New York City. Or, a once-in-a-lifetime deal has been presented to you, but you would have to move on it quickly.

 While you have always been conservative in all facets of previous home purchasing, you may really feel that you have to buy a property that you will not have the ability to personally and carefully inspect. What are the pros and cons of making such a move and buying a home during coronavirus?

The Potential Problems

The main issue with buying a house you have only viewed on various real estate is that those beautiful sky blue and orange-lit pics have been photoshopped to represent the home in the best possible manner.

kitchen with island and table

Careful use of photo editing techniques can hide a lot of flaws, and if you just depend on website home pictures, you might be seriously disappointed when you finally arrive at your new house. To avoid these problems that can occur when buying a house during coronavirus, check out the following things you can do to avoid costly disappointment.

Check Out a Lot of Online Listings

When attempting to go through the process of buying a house during coronavirus, get familiar with the online shopping process. First, type in the address of the property and see how many different listings you can find.

Sometimes you can find a generic older listing that will give you a different property view. Also, try to find the addresses of the properties on either side of the one you are interested in as locating these may show you additional views.

Video Tour

Demand a video tour. Or some type of virtual tour, at the least. If the sellers are not set up to do this professionally, they can do a FaceTime version where you could ask questions as the tour happens. The sellers could also take smartphone videos and email them to you.

Check Out the Neighborhood

A free-standing single-family home might look great, but if it is located next to a used tire shop, for example, you may not want to purchase that home.

top view photo of houses

Aerial Google views will be a great help here as you can scope out the area that surrounds the home you are thinking of purchasing.

Get the Best inspector You Can Find

Sure, a picky home inspector can kill a deal, but some deals need to be killed. If there are glaring difficulties, maybe like a roof issue, that could cause your lender to back out, or worse, could cost you thousands of dollars after the sale has been completed, you want these issues out in the open before you even think of closing the deal. A good home inspection can cost at least $500, and even though you as the buyer must pay for this, it’s worth it.

Find a Friend

If there is any way you can locate a friend or acquaintance in the general area of your proposed home purchase, it’s possible that they can take a look for you. The more people you can find to check out your property, the better off you’ll be.

Use a Lawyer 

We realize that there are excellent state-approved forms that are a great help to those that want to use DIY paperwork. Also, the lender’s attorneys will carefully look at closing documents since it’s in their interest to protect you.

person holding pencil near laptop computer

That said, there are protections that can be afforded you in any offer to purchase, but you have to know how to correctly word these documents. For example, a financing contingency can expire, and you can unknowingly obligate yourself to purchase a property even if you think you could get out of the deal if your loan falls through. Therefore, especially when buying a home during coronavirus, use the services of a good real estate attorney.

Real Estate Agent

Be sure to find a top-quality Realtor or real estate agent that will represent you as the buyer.

selective photo of gray key with heart key chain

A hard-working real estate professional can view the home, write up an offer to purchase that will be ready for your attorney’s review and will be someone that will protect your interest—not the seller.

Take the Surprises in Stride

Finally, remember that no matter how much diligence you do, you still will probably find an issue that has eluded you. Maybe there will be a tiny mold spot above the shower or previously unseen crack in an inconspicuous window. These issues can be minor, so don’t sweat the small stuff when you finally are able to move in.

red blocks on brown wooden table

Buying a house during coronavirus definitely presents unique challenges, but if you systematically and diligently evaluate a property, and if you are sure to pay attention to the tips we have mentioned, you can successfully buy a house sight unseen.