Ideas When Acquiring Ones First House

Folks have tons of triggers for wishing to move about. Potentially they have received a new employment and require to go even closer to it. It could be they are fed up with apartment lifestyle as well as the boisterous nearby neighbors upstairs. It could be they’ve had a child and need room to expand. Whichever personal reasons an individual has, it’s an exciting along with thrilling occasion, but also a little stressful as well. On the list of largest acquisitions most of the people will ever make, it’s an selection that needs to be thoroughly planned out and regarded. Below is a set of suggestions to make it proceed simpler. Explore the best site on the internet to get a wide range of properties for sale in the area. This tends to help you save energy and time riding around town investigating properties which end up being very costly or maybe don’t have the right amenities. Show up at a first time home owners class to prepare yourself for all the problems you could potentially struggle with. In the same way you studied for your test of driving ability, so really should you ready yourself to purchase real estate. Moreover, take a look at loan solutions as well as other loan companies on your mortgage. Do not take on the first one who actually affirms, “you will be accepted”. House buyers should discover this website to help discover professionals in the area to help them with the particular transaction.

6 Clever New Uses for an Old Pool

Filed under: Home Improvement, How To


By Jill Russell

Swimming pools have many virtues, especially during scorching summers. But they can easily become eyesores — not to mention money pits — especially if they leak or have other functional issues.

Instead of going through the costly (and sometimes unsuccessful) process of trying to bring an old swimming pool up to date, why not turn it into an entirely new, seriously cool feature that sets your home apart?

From a detached, lower-level studio space to a fully realized aquaponic farm, here are six smart ideas (some DIY projects and some that require a little professional help) to convert your old swimming pool into something useful, beautiful, or both.

The Sunken Patio

Though part of a rooftop lounge in Midtown Manhattan, this former pool retrofitted as a patio by Future Green Studio holds a lesson for homeowners — work with the site rather than against it. The final dining area maintains the pool steps, depth indicators, handrails, and even a retooled version of the pool lights, telling the story of the space’s origins beautifully.

The Practical Deck

A simple but elegant solution for an unwanted pool? Drain it and build a deck over the top. Work with a landscape pro to design a deck that blends perfectly with the original pool’s shape and structure. Not only will it add valuable entertaining square footage to the backyard, but it will also boost your home’s value over time.

The Detached Studio

This gorgeous studio by Walk Interior Architecture & Design becomes even more awe-inspiring when you realize it’s housed in an old, neglected in-ground pool. The finished space feels at once industrial, modern, and airy, and the solar panel-topped A-frame roof is both functional (preventing water from seeping in) and beautiful.

The Peaceful Pond

If you’re imagining spending lazy afternoons surrounded by nature instead of cleaning the pool, think about transforming your pool into a pond. It’s the perfect way to invite more wildlife into your yard, and it just makes sense. In the spirit of repurposing, you may even be able to get away with converting the original sand filter into a koi pond filter.

The Water-Wise Garden

A Southern California couple converted their little-used pool into a rainwater harvesting system, as noted by the Los Angeles Times. Now in the pool’s place the couple has a stream, small waterfall, and some 100 plants, all fed with rain collected from the roof and stored in underground, recycled-plastic tanks in a system designed by the firm EnviroscapeLA. The resulting garden is luscious and inviting while making the most of the region’s scant rainfall.

The Food-Producing Farm

And then there’s the family who built a food-producing greenhouse, known as the Garden Pool, in the pit of their former swimming pool. The finished ecosystem includes solar panels and a greenhouse, and produces such varied foods as tilapia (through an aquaponics system), fresh fruits, vegetables and poultry.

While you might not be ready to go full-scale eco-farm, the project proves that an old pool site might be just the spot to pull off the herb-and-veggie garden of your dreams.


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Mortgage Rates Plunge to 3.75%, Lowest Level Since May

Filed under: Buying, Financing, Refinancing

ZillowThe weekly mortgage rate chart illustrates the average 30-year fixed interest rate in six-hour intervals.

By Lauren Braun

Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed loans fell this week, with the rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgages at 3.75 percent, down 8 basis points from the same time last week.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropped Friday, then hovered around the current rate for the rest of the week.

“Mortgage rates plummeted last Friday to their lowest level since May after U.S. data showed very weak wage growth in [the second quarter],” said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. “Looking ahead, since wage growth will be an important consideration in future interest rate hikes, markets will look to this Friday’s jobs report for hints about wage trends.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate was 2.92 percent. For 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.72 percent.

Check Zillow Mortgages for rate trends and up-to-the-minute rates for your state, or use the mortgage calculator to calculate monthly payments at the current rates.


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How to Protect Yourself on Short-Term Rental Sites

Filed under: Lifestyle, Renting

Shutterstock / Cheryl CaseyThe gorgeous pictures of a property online might not be exactly what it looks like, or might not be the same place at all.

By Vera Gibbons

While short-term home rental sites such as Airbnb and HomeAway have made finding and listing vacation properties and alternative lodging fast, easy and convenient both for hosts and guests, there are risks involved for both parties.

Here are a few ways to mitigate those risks, whether you’re renting a vacation villa or making some extra cash by welcoming paying guests into your home.

DO: Use reputable sites.

Reputable sites not only supply the largest number of rental offerings, but will additionally provide you with some peace of mind because they offer basic security features. Beyond conducting background and address checks, these sites also certify hosts with a proven track record, host community discussions, post uncensored reviews and ban questionable parties.

As a guest, all you have to go on are photos (which may not be verified) and reviews. If a place does not have more than three positive reviews, think twice about staying there.

DO: Have a conversation.

In most cases, conversations between hosts and guests happen through the vacation rental website’s messaging system, but if having a phone conversation is an option, go for it. It’s a great way to size each other up, and is extremely important if you’re doing a home swap, as these exchanges require an enormous amount of trust from both parties.

During the call, note whether the host sounds legitimate and the house they describe matches what’s online. If you’re talking to a potential guest, consider whether they ask questions a visitor would typically have.

Also pay attention to the types of answers you’re getting. For example, if you’re a guest and you want to know whether the host has the legal right to rent the apartment to you, listen carefully to their answer. If they seem to be hedging at all, or even seem to be offended by the line of questioning, consider looking elsewhere.

If everything feels “right,” however, go ahead with the transaction, keeping in mind that while it’s still possible to be scammed over the phone, it’s usually easier to fool someone when the communication takes place online.

DON’T: Pay with cash or money order.

Out of all the payment options, credit cards offer the most protection against fraud or wrongful charges. Online money transfer services such as PayPal may also be an option, and can be a good way to go. A personal check may also be fine.

But never pay with cash or money order, since those are the easiest means for the unscrupulous to disappear with your money. Is the host insisting on this type of payment? Rushing you to make a wire transfer? Don’t go there.

If cash is required for a cleaning fee or damage deposit, guests should play it safe by postponing this last round of payments until they reach their destination. And get a receipt for the sum rendered.

DO: Prepare for disputes.

Many problems can and do arise. Guests may not show up. Properties may be misrepresented, unsanitary, already occupied, or full of safety hazards like exposed wiring or loose stairs.

Protection policies may not exist, and if they don’t, or if they’re minimal, you might very well be on your own if something doesn’t work out. There is no government or trade agency regulating the advertising of rentals, so proceed with caution.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow or AOL Real Estate.


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3 Ways to Write a Tempting Offer When Buying a Home

Filed under: Buying, Financing


By Erika Napoletano

You’ve found it: the house of your dreams. In fact, you went home last night and played a little game of Where Does the Sofa Go? But before you can say “home sweet home,” there’s an offer to be made — and it has to be accepted before you can move that sofa into the living room.

While these three tips don’t guarantee your offer will be chosen, they will help you be competitive so you’re one step closer to landing your dream home.

1. Carefully consider your approach.

If you think your dream home’s listing price is just a place to begin negotiations, think again. First, have a conversation with your real estate agent. Look for similar homes and recent sales in the area.

You can do a little sleuthing on your own by searching Trulia for sold homes — just be sure to choose a time frame in the past three months for the most accurate results. Comparables will give you a better idea of the seller’s asking price in relation to similar properties and help you shape your offer based on property-specific amenities and location.

Next, you should decide how you’ll pay for your purchase: cash or financing. Cash offers can sometimes command a lower selling price since there aren’t mortgage details to sort through and the closing should go faster. If you’re using financing but can offer a quick close (less than 30 days), take that into consideration in your offer price — your real estate agent may be able to leverage a quick close to sweeten the deal.

If you’re thinking of submitting a lowball offer, have a candid conversation with your real estate agent. Agents know the market well and might even know a thing or two about the listing agent through previous sales. There are certain times when a lowball offer might start a favorable negotiation process, but there are many others when it can derail the reality of landing your dream home. If you decide to submit an offer substantially below the listing price, be prepared for a negotiation process — or a flat-out “no.”

When you’re ready to make your offer, back it up with everything the seller needs to know. You want them to believe that your offer is the one offer they should look at twice. Be sure to include completed offer paperwork, signatures where they belong, and make sure you’re asking for seller concessions that make sense for the market.

2. Weigh the pros and cons of your requests for repairs.

Maybe you’re looking to have some of your closing costs covered. Perhaps you just want the old, worn-out carpeting replaced. Asking for seller concessions is a normal part of the offer process, but you need to know what you can reasonably expect.

If you’re in a competitive bidding situation, odds are that the seller is going to choose the offer requiring the least amount of work on their part. Work with your real estate professional to make a list of “musts” and “would like” items for the sellers to tackle. You can put these concessions side by side with your offer price and see what makes for the most compelling deal.

Bottom line? If you’re entering into a negotiation and something’s got to give, your requested concessions are probably the first place to consider revising to stay competitive.

3. Don’t be swayed by emotions

One step it’s important not to forget in the offer process is setting a maximum price. If you’re financing, you will have a purchase ceiling from your mortgage lender, but when the perfect home comes along, it’s easy for heartstrings to overrule good financial sense.

How much can you comfortably carry as a mortgage payment each month? (Use a mortgage calculator to get a rough idea.) How much is that home really worth? How long do you plan on staying in the home, and does that justify a higher-than-asking price?

And remember, the tips we’re including here are for traditional sales, not short sales or purchases of bank-owned properties. Those types of transactions have nuances all their own.


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