Sumathi Narayanan Realty's Blog
Appliances have a certain lifespan of use, and then, unfortunately, they tend to break down one way or another. Depending on the age of the appliance and the amount of the repair cost, you should make an informed decision as to what will be a good for your finances and your home.
So, when the fridge stops producing cold or the dryer stops drying things, you may go into panic mode and try to either buy a new appliance or call a repair person. Before you make a snap judgment, you should take a step back. It’s important to ask the question:
Is it worth getting this repaired?
If you are able to get an estimate of how much the repairs will cost, this will give you a good place to start. This is the fastest way for you to get the answers that you need. If the life of the appliance is going to only be a few years, you may be better off investing your money in a new appliance. The cost of a repair can run somewhere around 20-30 percent of the cost of replacing the appliance completely.
Understand The Life Expectancy Of Each Appliance
Some appliances are meant to last for a decade, others will last for a shorter period of time. As a general rule of thumb, if your appliance is over 7 years old and breaks down, you should probably replace it rather than repair it. It will be a better investment in the long run. Some typical lifespans for appliances are:
- Dishwasher 9 years
- Freezer 13 years
- Range 15 years
- Dryer 13 years
- Washing Machine 10 years
Before you replace your broken appliance, there are a few things you should understand. First, sometimes, it really isn’t broken. A plug could be loose or a circuit could have tripped. You would hate to spend the money on a new appliance rather than deal with a simple problem. Troubleshoot the problem yourself by taking a peek at the owner’s manual first.
Once you have repair estimates, you should find out how much it will be to replace your appliance completely with a similar model. Make sure that you factor in things like the removal of the old appliance, the taxes, and the installation. By running the numbers, you’ll know if you can afford a new appliance or not compared to the repair costs.
If you have been dreaming of a refrigerator with an ice maker, it may be a good decision for you to spring for a new model. If you love the features you have, you’ll want to either price similar units or do the repairs. Really, your budget and needs very much dictate your decision for new appliances. Consider the options and make the repair or replacement call based on your needs.
When you put your home up for sale, it can be an emotional time. You need to say goodbye to a place where you have lived for at least a small portion of your life. You created memories in that home, and now, it’s the job of a new family to make new memories.
Once the home is well on its way to being sold, there will be an appraisal of the property. It’s scary as a seller to think that the appraisal has the ability to actually halt the entire sale of the home. It can be a confusing process, to say the least, to have your home appraised. You have determined your listing price and received an offer on the home already. It seems like backtracking to value the home after this part of the sale process is complete.
The Appraisal Removes The Tension
The appraisal is one of the factors that bridges the worlds of the buyer and the seller. As a seller, the things that you think add value to your home may not be all you have hoped them to be. As a buyer, you want to be sure that you’re paying a fair price for the home. Below, you’ll find some common myths about home appraisals and the truth about them.
The Appraisal Is Not The Same As An Inspection
The home inspection is used as a tool to protect the buyer. Although the appraisal is used as a protection for the buyer, the two are separate entities. The inspector looks at everything in the home that can be a problem including leaks, cracks, and faulty electrical systems. The home appraiser is simply meant to find the objective market and the estimated value of the home in that market.
The Appraisal Isn’t How Much The Buyer Will Pay
While the appraisal gives a good estimate of the value of a home, it doesn’t take every single factor into account. It’s one version of how much the home should be priced at. What the appraisal does affect is the contract on the home.
If the appraisal doesn’t match the contract price, let’s say that the home is appraised lower than what you’re paying for it, the lender will not make up the difference. It can become a discussion between the buyer and the seller to see who will pay for the additional uncovered cost of the home. The buyer can pay the difference themselves. The seller may decide to cover the difference themselves. Either way, this is where the home buying process can get kind of messy.
Bigger Homes Don’t Necessarily Appraise For More Money
Just because a home is bigger, doesn’t mean that it’s worth more than the smaller home next door. A larger home could have issues with age such as an older roof, or less complex fixtures. If a smaller home is more updated, it very well could appraise for more. Don’t count on the square footage to dictate the appraisal price of a home.
If you intend to buy a house in the foreseeable future, it pays to prepare. That way, you can enter the real estate market as an "extraordinary" homebuyer, i.e. someone who knows exactly what it takes to find a great house at an outstanding price.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help any homebuyer go from ordinary to extraordinary.
1. Learn the Ins and Outs of the Housing Sector
The real estate market is complex, particularly for someone who is pursuing a house for the first time. Fortunately, plenty of housing market data is available that can help you gain the insights that you need to make an informed home purchase.
Take a look at homes that are currently available in your city or town. By doing so, you can better understand the prices of houses that match your expectations. Then, you can tailor your home search accordingly.
Furthermore, don't forget to assess the prices of recently sold residences in your area. This housing market data will help you determine whether you're about to enter a real estate market that favors buyers or sellers.
2. Get Your Finances in Order
Meet with banks and credit unions to learn about your mortgage options – you'll be glad you did. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can begin your home search with a budget in hand, thereby reducing the temptation to spend too much on a house.
Lenders are happy to provide you with information about a broad range of mortgage options. Also, if you ever have mortgage questions, lenders employ friendly, professionally trained mortgage specialists who are ready to respond to your queries.
In addition, it usually is a good idea to evaluate your credit score prior to applying for a mortgage.
You can obtain a free annual copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). If you review your credit report closely, you can identify and resolve any potential credit problems and increase the likelihood that you can obtain a favorable mortgage.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to becoming an extraordinary homebuyer, it is important to note that it can be difficult for even the most diligent homebuyer to succeed on his or her own. However, if you employ an expert real estate agent, you can streamline the process of acquiring your dream residence.
A real estate agent is committed to your homebuying success, and as such, will do everything possible to help you find the perfect residence.
Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. This housing market professional will even help you alleviate homebuying stress and ensure that you can quickly go from homebuyer to homeowner.
Ready to embark on the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can become an extraordinary homebuyer in no time at all.
Property taxes are no small thing. They can drain a budget, especially if you buy a house in a city or state that has some of the steepest property taxes in the country. Taxes in these areas may not go down because government officials in these areas know that residents have grown accustomed to paying the high taxes, despite how fervently residents complain about the tax rates.
What you end up paying in housing property taxes might surprise you
Even if you're ready to pay higher taxes because you just want to buy a house in a certain area, you might be in for surprises. One of the biggest surprises is that you might not pay the same taxes that the people you buy a house from paid a few months early. There are several reasons for this, including:
- Homeowner's age - Some counties and municipalities lower property taxes for homeowners after the homeowners reach a certain age. For example, some counties and municipalities lower property taxes after homeowners turn 62 years of age. Check with the tax agency in the area that you are thinking about buying a house in to find out about rebates and other property tax deductions.
- Rebates - The former property owner may have qualified for tax rebates that you don't yet qualify for.
- Weather damage - As regrettable as it is, a recent weather storm could cause so much damage to an area that government officials raise property taxes to help cover the cost of repairing the damage.
- Other property damages - If only one or more houses experience due to events like strong winds or flooding, these homeowners might be able to get their houses assessed and prove that, because the value of their property has dropped, so too should their property taxes. After the homeowner rebuilds their property, their taxes might go up again.
Educate yourself about local residential property taxes
As with other real estate items, property taxes aren't stable. They change, which is why you might not pay the same taxes that a previous home owner paid. Property taxes rise and lower for a variety of reasons. Financial problems are one reason why property taxes go up. Government personnel mishandling budgets can also drive up property taxes.
Don't sit back and wait for the problem to solve itself should this happen. Instead,attend local city council and other local government meetings that are open to the public. Let your voice be heard. Build momentum by inviting other people to the meetings.
Should property taxes rise for other reasons, stay educated about when the increases will take effect. Also, pay attention to how often property taxes rise in an area. If you have family, friends or colleagues living in the area, ask them how often property taxes go up. This will help you to set financial expectations. It will also help you to know if you should move to the area or look elsewhere for a house.
Even the best real estate agents can't share important facts about your house the way that you can. You know what it's like to actually live in your house. Only you know if the refrigerator runs after the door has been open for at least a minute. You know if the house makes settling noises late at night. Soft spots in the floor, and how well the house heats during winter and cools during summer are more facts that you're privy to.
Sharing your house's inside history, builds buyer trust. But, be careful. As you share facts and history about your house, you might fall in love with your house all over again and start second guessing whether you should let your house go.
Home buyers want to do more than walk thru your house
When house shoppers start asking you about closing costs, if you have pets and when you'd like to move into your new home, it's time to start sharing important information with them. Doing so could speed up a house sale. Information to share includes:
The personality of the neighbors. Similar to how authors describe the personalities of characters in their bestselling novels, introduce potential buyers to the neighbors. Skim the surface, letting prospects know if neighbors are quiet, social or tougher to get to know. This is where having great neighbors pays off hugely.
Just as you'd let house shoppers know if you have pets, let potential buyers know if most of the neighbors have pets. If pets are well trained, not aggressive and stay in their yards, share this. It could put people who are uncomfortable around large pets at ease, especially if these potential buyers heard dogs barking as they drove up the street to your open house.
Don't keep house shoppers in the dark
Don't stop there. Tell house shoppers where malls and hit stores are, including how far these hot spots are from your house. If you live near hot spots, this alone could attract buyers who love being at the center of exciting events.
Although prospects will see key features about your house as they walk through it, they won't catch everything. Tell people who are interested in buying your house about the extra storage space that buyers can't see right away and often miss.
Have a finished basement or a finished attic? Let buyers know. It could make the difference between losing a house sale or closing a deal. Buyers may be looking for extra space that can be used as a guest room, extra bedroom or home office.
Show off gorgeous outdoor views. Share stories about renovations you performed on your house since you purchased it. Share stories about experiences you created at the house that caused you to love the house. For example, you could tell buyers that your first child was born in the house or that you started you operated your first business out of the house.
Let house shoppers know where nearby airports and other forms of public transportation like trains, subways and buses are. Buyers may not be a two-car family. Knowing that you live near reliable public transportation could seal the deal.
Talk with your real estate agent about inside history that you're considering sharing with potential home buyers. Do this before you speak with people who are interested in buying your house. Your realtor may have ideas on how you can present the history, offering house shoppers honesty and engagement.