Monday, September 17, 2012

Home Safety and Security

A quick once-over of the items on this list may improve the safety and security of your home and could protect your family and friends. It is important to periodically pay attention to these things because things change over time. Security Does each exterior door have a deadbolt? Does the lock on each window work? Have you added pins or clips to your windows for additional security? Do you have dowels or broom sticks in the track of windows and sliding glass doors? Do you have security company labels or signs displayed prominently? Do you have an alarm system? Is the system monitored? Do you have a dog that barks when strangers approach the home? Are emergency numbers posted near the telephones? Fire Do you have smoke detectors near all sleeping areas? Do you check the batteries monthly and change them annually? Do you have two carbon monoxide detectors? Do you have an escape ladder for upper floors? Do you have fire extinguishers near exits and in the kitchen? Do you have an emergency escape plan and is the family familiar with it? Are any outlets or switches warm to the touch? Are kitchen ventilation systems working properly? Is the dryer ventilated to the outside and is the exhaust free of lint? Is the furnace cleaned and serviced yearly? Is the space around the hot water heater clear of combustible materials? Falls Are all electrical and phone cords out of the flow of traffic? Are rugs and runners slip resistant? Is your step-stool sturdy and in good condition? Are stairs clear of objects that could cause a fall? Are all entrance ways, exits, halls and walks well lighted? Do bath tubs and showers have non-skid strips or suction mats in them? Other Do you keep drugs and medicines out of reach and sight of small children? Are interior doors designed so small children cannot lock themselves in rooms? Are pool and play areas fenced to keep small children in and uninvited guests out? Are firearms kept out of reach and sight of children? Is a well-stocked first aid kit available for emergencies? Is there one member of your family trained in first aid, CPR and the Heimlich maneuver?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rates Are Down But It Costs More? (09/10/2012)

The latest Housing Affordability Index from the National Association of REALTORS® shows an interesting trend taking place this year that needs buyers' attention. Most people know that the mortgage rates are still at incredibly low rates but don't feel there is much sense of urgency. This report shows that mortgage rates have fallen from 4.37% in January to 3.81% for June. However, the report shows that the payment as a percentage of income has gone from 12.1% to 13.9% which simply means that buyers have to spend more of their income on a home. The reason is that the median price of homes nationally has gone from $154,600 in January to $190,100 in June which is a 23% increase. The two major components of housing affordability are the price of the homes and the mortgage rates a buyer must pay. Even if one of those components is going down, the other could have a significant affect as is shown in this year's trend in housing affordability. In the past few weeks, the effects of which are not show in this report, mortgage rates have been moving up. Home buyers and investors who have been taking a wait and see approach need to make a decision if now is the time to act.significant affect as is shown in this year's trend in housing affordability. In the past few weeks, the effects of which are not show in this report, mortgage rates have been moving up.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Handling the Eyesore

Warning Sign Eyesore Ahead

It can be unsightly and upsetting when a home in a neighborhood isn't being maintained like the others. It might be an overgrown yard, a fence in need of repair, paint peeling on the home or even a car parked in front of the home that hasn't moved in weeks.

I believe most people want to be good neighbors and may be willing to correct the issue once it is brought to their attention. In some cases, they may not agree with the same urgency and it might be necessary to seek other remedies.

The most expedient solution may be to contact the responsible person and describe your perception of the problem. An owner-occupant may be sympathetic to the neighbors and more than willing to correct the issue.

However, if you suspect that it is a rental property, check with the county tax records to identify the owner. They may be unaware of the situation and would actually welcome the "heads-up" to protect their investment.

The next step might be to notify the homeowner's association if there is one. The covenants or bylaws will specify how properties must be maintained and the association can enforce them.

The final step would be to notify the city for a possible code violation. Most cities have a separate code and neighborhood services division and some cities have 311 for non-emergency assistance.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Determining Value

Knowing the current value of your home is important when you're considering a move, refinancing or getting a home equity loan. Prices are determined by recent sales and the supply and demand of current inventory.

The process of selecting comparable properties involves matching similar features like bedrooms, baths, square footage and updates. In addition to price, there are other factors that affect the value and ultimately, the sale of a home.

Location plays a significant role because by the unique combination of improvements and land. Beneficial considerations would be convenience to schools, shopping, transportation and proximity to freeways. Undesirable concerns could include being in the vicinity of busy streets, high-tension lines, commercial property and other things.

To receive a computerized estimate on the value of your home that includes prices of comparable homes that have sold recently and homes currently for sale, click here.

Value is not totally objective and does require a certain amount of subjective considerations. If you have questions after you receive your report by email, contact us and we'll be happy to talk to you about your concerns.