Key takeaways

  • Separate what you need from what you want
  • Do your homework on what the market wants
  • Budget, budget, budget!

Boost Your Home’s Value with a Little Investment

Nice big tax return this year? Lucky you! If you have a nice, strong savings account, you might want to think about putting some of that tax return into your home.

And no. We’re not talking about installing an in-ground swimming pool or adding a new air hockey table in the basement. Investing in your home is about putting money toward what you need, not what you want. Not everybody likes air hockey, but everybody loves a roof that doesn’t leak!

The first step is getting online and checking out some real estate websites to see what’s hot. Nowadays, smart homes are the hot topic. But unless you’re pulling in buckets of money, stick with these tried and true renovations to add value to your home. Continue reading

Shipping-Container-Life

Shipping containers; you seem them, a lot. From on the road to rail and water, these large steel containers appear as giant Lego blocks, packed with goods that keep us and the world moving. It brings us to the question, have you thought about what’s inside of them? Or better yet, did you ever imagine living inside of one? Okay, chances are the idea has never crossed your mind, but calling a container home is very real.

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FHA 203k: Before and After

FHA 203k: Before and After

After looking at numerous homes and not finding “the one,” first-time homebuyers Nick and Veronica Getsy were all but resolved to settle on something that was nice…but not perfect. It’s easy to get discouraged when you feel that the market has essentially priced you out of buying your first home.

Our office showed them that they can take a house they like, and turn it into a home they love. With the FHA 203k loan, the Getsy’s were able to find a home that had potential and make renovations that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to accomplish. Renovations included putting in a new air-conditioner, new energy-efficient windows, all new appliances, a new deck, new fence for the backyard, new carpet, and fresh paint throughout the whole house.

Watch this video to hear their story.

Early this morning, as I shoveled the overnight delivery from Winter Storm Rex, I find myself reflecting on all the reasons I detest winter – and they are many.

Getting out of a nice warm bed earlier to dig my car out from the snow, then chiseling off all the ice that accumulated overnight just so I can join the long parade of horrible drivers ranks pretty high on that list. But if I had to pick my personal Winter Enemy No. 1, it’s gotta be those high utility bills.

If ever there was a good enough reason to invest in some eco-friendly alternatives to generating energy for my house, the wintertime gas bill is it. And while “Going Green” with such sustainable energy upgrades like fuel cells, solar panels or wind turbines isn’t a novel concept, few have made the investment because, let’s face it, the cost is usually more than the average American homeowner can handle.

Fortunately, AmeriFirst Home Mortgage has rolled out the PowerSaver Grant. It’s an FHA-approved grant that allows AmeriFirst to cover some closing costs when a buyer makes specific eco-friendly home improvements with the FHA 203k loan. But what does that mean?

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As the housing market steadily bounces back, many homebuyers may be considering 203(K) loans to help purchase fixer upper homes. A 203(K) loan not only makes such a purchase possible, but also can make a project like an addition or a remodeled kitchen economically feasible for someone who doesn’t have a few extra thousand dollars lying around.

In this blog, I want to give you a good idea of what this loan is and what it can mean to a homebuyer or current homeowner.

The 203(K) is a specific type of mortgage through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) that is geared toward homebuyers and homeowners who are looking to improve their home with repairs or upgrades. The funds can be easily and quickly accessed to pay for property repairs or improvements, including those identified by a home inspector or an FHA approved appraiser. There are two types of 203(K) loans to meet different needs.

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Last time, we talked a little bit about cleaning and repairing your gutters, which is very beneficial during the rains of summer, but also as the seasons change into fall and winter.

And yes, we get it. Nobody wants to think about fall and winter right now, but the reality is that we’re already getting into August. The only thing worse than doing fall home improvements now is doing them when the chilly weather sets in…or when the lack of preventative maintenance leads to costly repairs in the dead of winter.

We’ve put together a checklist for you to start knocking these things out now, so when your neighbors are all outside grumbling in the cold weather, you’ll be inside sipping hot chocolate and planning next year’s summer vacation. Continue reading

One of the best ways to put a cramp in your summertime fun is to hold off on fixing small issues and letting them grow into big problems. And with the summer months bringing heavy downpours and thunderstorms along with plenty of sunshine, those long-neglected gutters could mean a lack of defense against wet basements and crawlspaces.

Gutters and downspouts work in tandem to let rainwater drain from your roof and away from your home’s foundation. Without them, water can collect along the foundation, slowly building pressure until it eventually seeps inside the house. Any cracks in the foundation will become the source of those small puddles in your basement you walk through in your socks.

If you haven’t taken a look at your gutters in a while, you probably should, as the changing seasons bring debris like leaves, dirt and roof runoff. It takes little effort to climb a ladder, scoop that stuff out of there and give your gutters a quick rinse with your garden hose.

But over time your gutters will develop holes. Rust eats through steel gutters, and copper and aluminum gutters can be punctured by falling branches or sharp tools. You can repair these easily without investing too much money:

  • Purchase a tube of roofing cement and a metal repair patch at your local hardware store. Make sure the patch is several inches larger than the hole and is of the same material.
  • Clean all debris from the gutter with a putty knife or plastic gutter scoop. Put on your leather work gloves and scrub the area clean with a wire brush, cutting away any rusted parts with aviation snips.
  • Rest the patch over the hole and bend it to fit the gutter’s contours. Make sure the patch rests flat on the gutter’s surface with little to no space underneath it.
  • Apply the roofing cement liberally around the hole with a caulking gun and use a putty knife to spread the cement a few inches beyond the hole on all sides. Spread some on the underside of the patch as well.
  • Press the patch into place and hold it there, letting the cement harden a bit before taking your hand away.

Keeping your gutters clean and operating properly ensures your basement and crawlspaces will be dry and mold-free, and will maintain the value of your home in the long run. Not to mention will give you great peace of mind, letting you focus your attention on where it needs to be right now…tending to those burgers on the grill.