AZ Living

What to Know About Homeownership & Living in Scottsdale

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Whether you want to buy a vacation rental property or you’re looking for a more permanent residence, Scottsdale, Arizona represents an exciting opportunity. A burgeoning economy and multiple job opportunities, a sunny, warm climate and numerous activities mean that Scottsdale can be an exciting opportunity for those with families or young people trying to take advantage of a recreational playground. 

The Weather

silhouette of trees during golden hour

The Scottsdale area is known for its warm and sunny, year-round climate. Winter months are mild and there are brisk temperatures at night that drop to the high 40s. During the day, temperatures rest around the high 60s and average rainfall is minimal, as to be expected from a desert climate. 

Spring and fall are the best seasons to take advantage of the outdoor activities, which are plentiful. They are also excellent opportunities to enjoy the outdoor dining experience. Average highs are in the 70s with lows in the 50s. The beginning of the summer is known as the dry season in Scottsdale, and there is little to no precipitation during these months. Temperatures can reach the high 90s during the day and low 70s at nightfall. However, the lack of humidity still makes some recreational activities possible given you take adequate hydration measures. 

The second half of summer is what’s described as a wet season and it features the highest amount of precipitation during the year. This can raise the humidity level and temperatures can reach over 100 degrees. The 80-degree evenings can be humid and it’s the most difficult time to complete recreational activities.

Scottsdale Demographics 

Scottsdale is touted as the “West’s Most Western Town” and even though it only became official as a city in 1951, it has seen substantial growth year after year. The city has a thriving nightlife and one of the 100 largest populations in the US. With a population of just under 250,000, the city features various social opportunities and it has drawn comparisons to Miami Beach. It boasts a diverse population and it represents a wide range of cultures. 

The demographics are geared more towards a young population between 25 and 49 and a large portion of the population is employed in the tourism industry due to the city’s many recreational opportunities. 

Scottsdale History

Despite its incorporation less than a century ago, Scottsdale has a history that dates back to 300 BC. Originally inhabited by the Hohokam, they created a series of canals used for irrigation. Many of these canals are still used today. Scottsdale first saw extensive growth in the 1880s when US Army Chaplain Winfield Scott saw its agricultural potential. He bought 600 acres and he and his brother George Washington Scott became the first residents of what became known as Orangedale. In 1894, they renamed the city Scottsdale in honor of the founder. 

Shortly after, the town established a public school system, post office, and general store. In the 1900s, it continued to expand as the Granite Reef and Roosevelt dams started operating. In post World War 2, Scottsdale experienced its first economic boom by producing cotton for the war effort. The boom came to a halt after the war ended. 

During the Great Depression, many artists and architects made their way to the Scottsdale area and established residence. The town began to grow again. From the 1970s to the 1990s planned communities sprang up and the area expanded so much that residents were afraid of the effect on the natural environment. They commissioned 36,000 acres of the area to protect it from human damages.

Scottsdale Lifestyle

brown and green grass

Scottsdale has many benefits to people of all different backgrounds. Whether you want to raise a family or you’re a young adult looking for a place that offers many recreational and nightlife opportunities, Scottsdale can deliver. Suburban areas, low crime, and some of the best schools in the state are perfect for families while a booming economy, bustling social life, great restaurants and shopping centers. 

Located between the mountains and beach areas, a drive of just a few hours can take you to some of the best ski resorts. If you enjoy days at the beach, you can travel four or five hours west to hit some of the most beautiful beaches in California. Despite high temperatures, low humidity creates a comfortable environment and numerous golf courses add to the recreational activities for both retirees and those who enjoy the links. 

Best Neighborhoods In Scottsdale

One of the best aspects of moving to Scottsdale and buying a home comes from the city’s many neighborhoods. No matter what lifestyle you lead, it’s difficult to go wrong with any neighborhood you choose. Some of the more popular areas of Scottsdale include: 

  • Gainey Ranch- Gainey Ranch is perfect for families and the ranch covers more than 560 acres and 19 different neighborhoods. 
  • Downtown Scottsdale- Downtown Scottsdale has seen significant growth and improvement recently. For those who prefer the western side of the city, the Old Town might be your best bet. This part of the city is perfect for those who enjoy active lifestyles. 
  • North Scottsdale- North Scottsdale has experienced exponential growth in the past several years and it houses many employees of the Scottsdale Airpark. It has a number of residential subdivisions and commercial centers and it is considered one of the best places to work in Scottsdale. 

Bottom Line 

Scottsdale is an up and coming part of Arizona that features housing opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. Whether you’re looking for a vacation rental property or something more full time, Scottsdale has an area for you. With its healthy economic indicators, bustling nightlife, and outdoor activities, Scottsdale might be your best option. 

Buying a Home in Minnesota From Out of State – The Ultimate Guide

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Buying a home, anywhere, is a very big commitment. There is a lot of planning that goes into it and, of course, a lot of money. And it only gets more complicated when buying a home from out of state, making an already grueling process longer. However, if you know what you are doing, the process can go much more smoothly and easily. To this end, we have decided to put together the ultimate guide on buying a home in Minnesota from out of State, and we hope you find it helpful.

Figure out a budget and down payment

Free Black Handled Key on Key Hole Stock Photo

First things first, you need to consider your buying capabilities. Set a realistic budget for yourself, and plan ahead for the down payment. Typically, mortgage lender in Minnesota ask for 20% of the price as down payment. However, if you go with a government backed loan (VA and VHA loans), your down payment can be as low as 3.5%, or even 0%. However, this option does have its downsides. For one, since you will be borrowing more money, you will pay higher monthly installments. Also, you might want to familiarize yourself with the difference between Deed vs. Title. Additionally, you will want to get pre-approved for a mortgage well ahead of time. This is because most home sellers in Minnesota will want you to be pre-approved before showing you their home. And always remember to compare rates and pre-approval amounts from multiple lenders before deciding.

Figuring out an exact budget should be the first step when buying a home from out of state.

Choose your location and hire a real estate agent

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Because you are buying from out of state, and let’s use Texas as an example, you won’t be able to easily tour potential properties. Because of this, it’s absolutely vital to hire a real estate agent to help you throughout the process. Not only will they be able to help you through all of the legalities and the search, they will be able to take you on guided video tours through potential properties so you can inspect them before deciding. However, before finding your realtor, you should decide on a location, and hire a local realtor who knows the area well. Additionally, remember to think about hiring movers too. For example, if you’re moving from Austin, you will want reliable experts to get you into your new home. In order to leave Austin stress-free, you have to hire professionals. And finding reliable ones takes a lot of time.

Decide what you want in a house

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In order to help narrow down your search, you have to consider all of the amenities which you must have, and other which would be nice to have. For example, if you have children, you will probably want to have a home close to a school. So, make a list of must-haves, and give it to your realtor. This will help them narrow down the search to properties with amenities that you absolutely need. Location also plays a part in this, but you should realistically decide that before this step. Also, if you’re buying this home for the sake of investment, you might want to familiarize yourself with some tips for effective property management. Once you know exactly you want out of a home, the search for a home should go much faster. Your real estate agent should be able to pin down a few properties which suit your needs.

Knowing exactly what you want out of a home will help narrow down the search considerably.

Visit and make an offer

Free Black Calculator Near Ballpoint Pen on White Printed Paper Stock Photo

Once your real estate agent finds a suitable property, you might want to make a trip to the house and take a look in person. Video tours are a great option, but nothing can replace seeing a property in person. Once you visit and are certain you want the home, work with your real estate agent to make an offer. They will be able to help you make an offer which is both reasonable and competitive. Additionally, experts from State to State Move note that you should never move into a home without first seeing it in person. An in-person inspection can reveal issues which are easily missed over a video tour. Also, when making your offer, remember that this price doesn’t have to be final. But, it still needs to be competitive enough for the seller not to simply brush it off.

Inspections, appraisals and closing

Finally, when the seller accepts your offer, you still have a chance to renegotiate the price. By going through a home appraisal and inspection, you could renegotiate the price depending on the inspection. The home inspection should cover: the roof, foundation, plumbing and electrical systems. More specifically to Minnesota, the property should also be tested for radon (because it can be dangerous at elevated levels), and some sellers will need you to perform a pest inspection before closing. When it comes to appraisals, you should familiarize yourself with what highest use means in real estate before going through with it. Regardless, your lender will order an appraisal in order to make sure the home is worth the price tag. When it comes to closing, remember to account for closing costs and don’t forget all of the required documentation. Namely: the deed, mortgage promissory note, final loan application and disclosure statements.

A home inspection and appraisal can help renegotiate the price depending on the results.

Buying a home in Minnesota from out of state – the ultimate guide – closing thoughts

Buying a home from out state is a long and complicated process. But if you know familiarize yourself with the details it can go quite quickly and smoothly. Working with an expert real estate agent and doing your own preparation and research ahead of time is incredibly helpful. Still, only you can know what you the perfect property is, so a visit before deciding on a home should be considered mandatory. We hope you found this ultimate guide to buying a home in Minnesota from out of state helpful, and we wish you a wonderful rest of your day.

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

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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 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?

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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

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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.


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.

new homeowners guide

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

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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?

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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

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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.

Contract for Deed

[2019 UPDATES] Contract For Deed: The Ultimate Guide

1000 500 Sam Radbil

Contract for Deed Home Financing in 2019

Contract for deed home financing is a great option for those individuals struggling to get a traditional loan from the bank. Now, let’s get into the details.

Conventional financing, in 2019, as we all know, is the preferred home loan vehicle. This refers to a standard mortgage loan from a licensed lending institution, and typically can be a15 or 30 year loan with a down-payment that ranges from 3 percent to 20 percent. The higher your credit score, the better deal you will get.

Even before you find your dream home, you should obtain mortgage pre-approval from your lending institution. While pre-approval does not guarantee that everything will go smoothly, it does provide you with significant negotiating power when dealing with sellers.

Applying For Conventional Financing

Your parents probably had to spend an afternoon at a banker’s office when they applied for their first home loan. Now, you can do this by phone or online, although you will eventually have to sign closing documents in person. Some important things to do and factors to be aware of are:

  • Know your credit score.
  • You can easily see this number at Credit Karma, and the service is free.
  • Determine what factors make you less attractive.
  • High student loan balances, maxed out credit cards, judgments, liens, unpaid taxes and underreported income can hurt you.
  • Analyze your actual credit report and correct errors. The FTC reports that one of every five credit reports contains inaccuracies.
  • Optimize your credit status by paying down card balances to below 30 percent; do not make any large credit purchases while attempting to secure home financing.

Understanding What You Can Afford

Banks have certain debt to income ratios that they do strictly enforce. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) explains:

“Your debt-to-income ratio is all your monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income.  This number is one way lenders measure your ability to manage the payments you make every month to repay the money you have borrowed.”

To calculate your debt-to-income ratio, you add up all your monthly debt payments and divide them by your gross monthly income. Your gross monthly income is generally the amount of money you have earned before your taxes and other deductions are taken out.  For example, if you pay $1500 a month for your mortgage and another $100 a month for an auto loan and $400 a month for the rest of your debts, your monthly debt payments are $2000. ($1500 + $100 + $400 = $2,000.) If your gross monthly income is $6000, then your debt-to-income ratio is 33 percent. ($2000 is 33% of $6000.)

Evidence from studies of mortgage loans suggest that borrowers with a higher debt-to-income ratio are more likely to run into trouble making monthly payments. The 43 percent debt-to-income ratio is important because, in most cases, that is the highest ratio a borrower can have and still get a qualified mortgage.

Housing Affordability

Finding Your Home

You can spend all day trolling Trulia and Redfin, but many times you can be missing out on homes for sale that only Realtors can easily access. Remember, sellers pay real estate commissions—you don’t—so avail yourself of this free service and find a good Realtor.

Finding Your Home With Contract For Deed

Working With A Contract for Deed Realtor

The Realtor/client relationship is a two-way street. If you are a type A personality and want all of your texts answered within two minutes, make sure your Realtor is as hyper as you are. Conversely, don’t expect your Realtor to work miracles with incomplete or false information. For example, don’t inflate your income and/or minimize your debts at your first meeting. In the credit world, there are no secrets, so be upfront with you Realtor.

Turned Down For Traditional Financing?

Mortgage Rejection

Those that give up after being rejected for a home loan end up renting apartments while those savvy enough to understand that there are alternatives to conventional financing will look at the rejection as a bump in the road and move forward. Rent to own is one way to become a homeowner, but a preferred method is MN contract for deed. In a rent to own situation, you pay rent to a property owner that may put aside a portion of your monthly rent as a down payment for a future purchase.

If everything works out, either the seller provides financing or you obtain it at some later date. In a contract for deed sale, you sign a contract that states that you will be given the deed to the property you are occupying after you make all of your required payments. Contract for deed is seller financing, and while interest rates can be a bit higher than conventional financing, credit requirements are typically significantly more lenient.

Finding Contract For Deed Opportunities

There are a limited number of MLS contract for deed listings.  If you’re lucky, you might find the right opportunity in a nice location. At C4D, however, we give you an advantage that others that wish to utilize contract for deed just don’t have. Just bring the home you wish to purchase to us. If we can do the deal, we will purchase the home and sell it to you on a contract for deed basis. We have paved the home ownership road for many that were rejected for conventional financing. Application is easy—just go to our website. C4D has the financial power behind them to make these deals happen.

Contract For Deed Documentation

While C4D offers less stringent credit requirements, we still will need pay stubs and bank statements. We look, however, at your situation today, and we care a lot more about what you can do now than what bad things have happened to you in the past. At C4D even high student loan balances and recent bankruptcies are not necessarily the hindrances they would be at a large bank.

Contract For Deed: How It Works

Although the nightmare of waiting 60 days or more to close on even great credit deals is generally behind us, banks take longer than we do at C4D. We usually can close deals in as fast as two to three weeks.

MN Contract For Deed Costs

We’re upfront about all of this. We do require an origination fee and we do add a small initial property markup. And, the interest rate you pay will be higher than the prevailing conventional mortgage interest rate.

Contract for Deed: What Problems?

We have many satisfied former renters that are now homeowners. We are transparent and forthright. If we can help you, we do everything possible to get your deal done. We are MN contract for deed experts, and happy customers are our paramount concern.

If you deal with an individual that is offering a contract for deed, you have to do serious vetting to ensure that there will be no problems with your deal in the future. With C4D, this is not necessary.

Contract for Deed: True Disclosure

When we purchase your home, we get a loan from our bank. With the blessing and full knowledge of our bank, we then sell the property to you with a MN contract for deed. You make your monthly payments to us and we, in turn, make our payment to the bank. But check this out:

We’ve never missed a payment and don’t ever plan on it.  In addition, we’ve worked with our bank partner to have an assignment of contract included in your documents that basically says if we stop paying our lender, you can pay them directly and your contract remains intact.

You won’t find this protection with most individual contract for deed sales. In fact, many times the seller’s bank isn’t even made aware of the transaction, and this can throw the original mortgage into default because of the due on sale clause that is embedded in almost every mortgage note. Our agreements with our bank do not have due on sale clauses.

Everything is upfront and at closing the contract is recorded at the appropriate County.

Helping You Refinance

Our goal is to get you into a home and ultimately help you refinance with a traditional lender.  We have relationships and systems in place to help make this happen. Typically, we can help people refinance within three years of purchase.

For the Realtor: Turned Down? There Is Still Hope!

So you spent weeks trying to get your buyer and seller agree upon a price. Both were difficult at times, and when you finally got all sides to listen to reason, an old unpaid judgment appeared and derailed the financing. After you’re done binge watching House of Cards to ease your pain, give us a call. We have been able to resurrect many deals that have been turned down by others.

Realtor Contract for Deed

We are a reputable, experienced and recognized company that does MN contract for deed. You bring us the buyer and the property, we buy the property and sell it to your client on a contract for deed. Even if you have an iffy buyer with shaky credit and you have not yet found the perfect property, bring them to us; we will get many of them pre-approved and send them back to you.

Is My Commission Protected?

Realtor Commission

You betcha! 80% of our referrals come from realtors, and they wouldn’t keep coming back if we didn’t guarantee that their commissions would be protected.

The Deed

Contract for deed means exactly that.

  • We buy the property.
  • We hold the deed.
  • We sell the property to the buyer.
  • They occupy the home.
  • They make their monthly payments.
  • At the end of the contract period, we turn over the deed and they are homeowners!
  • They can also refinance early with a traditional lender, and this is something that we will facilitate.
  • In addition, the buyer actually has equitable title, and can sell the property at any time if they wish to move on.

What About Financing?

Yes, we use a bank.

  • Our bank gives us a mortgage.
  • Our bank knows what we are doing.
  • The buyer pays us and we pay the bank.
  • We are never late.
  • We never miss payments.
  • Our mortgage with our bank does NOT include a due on sale clause.
  • In fact, we have an assignment of contract put in place that basically says if we stop paying our lender, the buyer can pay them directly and the contract remains intact!

The Final Paperwork

We will hold your client’s hand from application to closing. We will assist with all documentation and paperwork.

When The Offer Is Accepted

At this point, Taylor and the C4D Crew take over.  We work directly with the lender and title company to schedule closing and work out all the paperwork.  The C4D Crew will also work directly with the C4D buyer on all the paperwork and logistics for the day of closing This will be one of the easier transactions you do this year!


Contract For Deed MN Down Payment

A down-payment is of course necessary, but the down payment be gifted to the buyer in a C4D transaction. Just make sure your clients speak with their accountant for possible tax implications.

C4D Crew Reputation

We can provide you with client references. Just by looking at our website you can see that we provide tons of valuable and free information about MN contract for deed. Of course, we are in business to make money—so are you—but we are also dedicated to helping those with compromised credit become homeowners.

How Long Does It Take?

From the time you and your client find a home they’d like to buy, and an offer is accepted, we can close as quickly as two to three weeks.

Credit Score Minimum?

We don’t have one. We look at every deal individually. Prior BKs, student loans, judgments divorces and tax liens are all issues we can work around.

Credit Score

Can You Approve Any Deal?

In short, no. We are not going to lie and tell you that we can do anything, but you would be amazed at what we can accomplish.

Call Us About Contract For Deed

MN Contract For Deed

Again, just because the loan officer rejected your client’s loan, your deal is not necessarily dead. Contact us and we’ll quickly get started on a contract for deed program that can make your client’s home ownership dream a reality.