Articles Tagged "Buy a Home"

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Area Information | 31 Posts
Buy a Home | 2 Posts
Home Improvement | 12 Posts
Sell a Home | 2 Posts
November
22

What Appliance Upgrades Add Value?

Appliance Upgrades

If you're selling your home now or plan to in the future, outdated appliances can make prospective buyers turn away from your home to look at another house with newer ones. Buyers can replace your appliances when purchasing a home, but they usually don't want to go to the trouble or expense to do so. And even if you're planning to stay in your home awhile, outdated appliances can make your home less attractive and functional than it could be.
  
Here's what you need to know about appliance upgrades that can boost the value of your home:

  • Think of What Fits Your Home
    Consult one of our real estate agents to find out what type of appliances are popular in your home's price range. While you want to make your home more valuable, you don't want to price yourself out of the neighborhood.
      
  • Look for Energy Star Appliances
    Appliances with the Energy Star sticker or tag meet strict energy-efficiency requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They'll help you save money on your energy bill, and when you're selling your home, they'll appeal to prospective buyers. Leave the Energy Star sticker on your appliances, so buyers know they'll save as well.

What to Replace  

  • Refrigerator
    Kitchens can make or break a sale, so if you have money to spend, this is an excellent place to start. An upgraded refrigerator that has French doors, as well as built-in filtered water and ice dispensers, will appeal to the majority of buyers. The same is true of a stainless steel finish, which remains extremely popular. If you're thinking of going for a high-tech option like a TV-embedded fridge, it may not be a wise move unless you have a luxury home.

  • Laundry sets  
    An appliance upgrade is definitely in order if your washer and dryer don't match. Not only does this make the set less attractive, but it also makes a buyer immediately realize that one appliance is older than the other. This makes them likely to wonder just how old it is and how long it will keep running efficiently. Aside from a nice, matching appearance, buyers want high-efficiency front-load and top-load units. And if you have a large home that might appeal to families, a large capacity washer and dryer is a good investment.

  • Stove  
    A stove that's built-in will be more popular than a standalone one. And buyers also appreciate flat tops and stoves with self-cleaning functions since they're easy to keep clean. And if you have some gas utilities, gas stoves generally appeal to serious cooks.

  • Appliance sets   
    Retailers often discount sets of appliances, so they can help you save money while ensuring that you have matching sets. For example, a kitchen appliance set may include items such as a stove, refrigerator, built-in microwave, and dishwasher. While there's usually no need to select the most expensive options with every imaginable bell and whistle, the cheapest set is usually not the best choice either. Instead, choose a mid-range set that will appeal to a larger number of buyers.

Contact us if you'd like to visit St. Louis homes for sale or, if you're selling your home, to receive expert advice on what kinds of upgrades can help boost its value. 

May
17

Top Issues a Home Inspection Might Detect

Home Inspection Tips

When purchasing a home, ordering a home inspection is an essential item to add to your to-do list. Our real estate agents know that a home inspection is vital for revealing major and minor issues with a home. While a home inspection will cost you, detecting issues now can help you save money in the long run and give you peace of mind about the property you are buying. Here are some home issues detected by a home inspection. 

  1. Problems with the Grading
    If the grading of the home's lot isn't scaled correctly, this can cause water to flow towards your home. Your foundation and crawlspace may have excessive levels of moisture; this can cause the frame of your home to rot or lead to the formation of mold. The placement of the windows and doors can also shift, eventually causing the home to appear uneven. 
  1. Issues with the Roof
    A home's roof is a common source of issues during a home inspection. Since the roof covers such a large surface area, it's easy for a shingle or two to be damaged during a storm. This can allow water to seep in and damage the home's underlayment or ceiling. Or, the roof itself may be nearing the end of its lifespan. Your home inspector will also examine the components around the roof, like the gutters. It's common for gutters to be clogged and require cleaning. Or, a downspout might not be long enough to properly re-direct water away from your home. 
  1. Trouble with the Windows
    Many home inspections reveal problems in and around the windows. If the windows are older, the problem may be that they aren't very energy efficient. Or, the windows can have cracks around them that need to be sealed. Problems with the windows can raise the home's heating and cooling costs and impact the air quality. St. Louis homes for sale with new, energy-efficient windows will have lower energy bills than those with older components. 
  1. Complications with the Plumbing
    During the inspection, your inspector will run the faucets and examine the pipes for signs of a leak. They'll also see that the drains are draining correctly. A home's plumbing system is fairly comprehensive, making plumbing issues extremely prevalent. 
  1. Defects in the Home's Exterior
    A home's exterior is another common source of issues detected in a home inspection. Wood homes must be closely examined for signs of rot and mildew. Vinyl siding homes may have sections that are damaged and require replacement. Stucco must be correctly installed, or it will present an opportunity for moisture to enter the home. 
  1. Unauthorized Additions
    Many cities require a permit for home additions and certain renovations. These projects must also be completed according to the local building code, or the home will potentially have illegal modifications. Fixing illegal improvements is expensive and time-consuming. An inspector will look for signs of shoddy work and discrepancies among the home's construction. 

Are you ready to start shopping for your next home? Contact us today to get started!

February
1

What You Need to Know About VA Loans in 2021

VA Loan Tips

Are you an active or retired military member with your eye on one of the wonderful St. Louis homes for sale? Uncle Sam wants to help make your dream of homeownership come true. Our real estate agents share significant changes to the VA loan program taking effect in 2021 and how they benefit you.

What Is a VA Loan?

Before reviewing the changes, it's helpful to clarify what constitutes a VA loan and how it differs from other mortgages. First of all, only active service members, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses can apply for a VA loan.

Some people mistakenly believe funding for the loans actually comes from the Department of Veterans Affairs or VA. Private institutions, such as banks and mortgage companies, are still the ones issuing the loans. The difference is that the VA guarantees a portion of the loan, making it easier for the borrower to obtain more favorable terms.

Benefits of VA Loans

If you're looking at some great Washington homes for sale with the intent of using a VA loan, you still have to go through the traditional steps: Get prequalified and preapproved, make an offer, have the home appraised, and complete the closing.

Here are the ways a VA loan truly works to your advantage:

  • You can obtain a VA loan without a down payment. Many people cite the difficulty of saving for a down payment as the biggest obstacle toward purchasing a home.

  • Mortgage insurance is a requirement for home loans secured with less than 20 percent down. Even without a down payment, mortgage insurance is not attached to VA loans thanks to the VA's guarantee.

  • VA loans are not a one-time-only deal. You can use your VA entitlement for home purchases throughout your lifetime. Keep in mind, though, that VA loans are meant to buy a primary residence in "move-in ready" condition.

  • Previous foreclosures or bankruptcies don't preclude eligibility for VA loans.

  • There's no prepayment penalty for VA loans, so you can save money by making additional payments and retiring the loan early.

What's New in 2021

So what are the specific changes to the VA loan program going forward in 2021?

  • Until this year, National Guard members, including reservists, had to have at least 90 days of active duty to qualify for a VA loan. Under a new law, members are eligible with 90 days of service. The one caveat is that at least 30 of those days must be consecutive.

  • There is no cap to the amount of money a home buyer may borrow under a VA loan. Previously, however, limits were set to how much the VA would guarantee without a down payment. Those limits have now been eliminated for those with full VA loan entitlement. While this affects many VA loan applicants, there are two instances where VA loan limits still apply. One is in the case of those who have previously defaulted on a VA loan. The other is with homeowners who have one or more VA loans currently active.

Ready to start your search for a new home? Contact us at Coldwell Banker Premier Group to get started.

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