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Smart Houses: Less Fictitious Than You Might Think

Ever hear of a smart house? If you have not, a smart house is basically a house that is controlled by either manual or autonomous systems, allowing for sophisticated and detailed control of the buildings functions. In other words it’s just a house that can do a lot of the things you see in science fiction movies, but what if I told you that some of that stuff is not actually fictitious? In fact a lot of what you see is actually pretty easy to purchase, and obviously really cool. However along with totally awesome, usually comes with an outrageous price tag, this detailed is observed, but it’s not as common as you might think. Below are some items that can really add some 21st century to your home.

First I’d like to talk about autonomous systems.  Autonomous systems are simply systems that can act on their own accord. In a smart home, most of what you would have would autonomous such monitoring your plants, and watering them as needed. Perhaps it would be to track your cat’s movements and feed them accordingly. Maybe it’s vacuuming your home for you, or a fridge that cleans itself. You can find these items for sale all over the internet, and in home improvement stores, but what has got to be my favorite is self-opening blinds or shades. Sure it’s simple, but my dream is to go to sleep in total darkness, but to be woken up by the sun and presented with an incredible view. You might say, “well just leave the blinds open”, but what if I don’t want to be woken up at 6am, what if I want to control what time I wake up? Even something as simple as this is not only available, but it’s not ridiculously expensive either. Effortless control of the little things in life are really what makes a smart house, a smart house.

Then, there are manual systems. These are systems that are controlled by you. Such as light switches or appliances. I could go on and on about manual systems, but I’ll just mention a few. With technology now, you can do everything from a light switch, to your faucets, even closing a window right from your phone, and inexpensively. Most home improvement stores carry plenty of items that you can control with your phone. Like an oven, paired with a smart thermometer that turns off the oven and sends you an alert on your phone when the food is done. Awesome right? How about a fridge that not only logs your food items and sends you alerts when you’re running low on them, but a fridge that knows what’s in it and can tell you what recipes you can make with what’s in your fridge? Incredible, but incredibly expensive.

Whether you’re looking to update to a smarter home, or find one to buy, National Realty Group will do it’s best to help you find the home that’s almost as clever as you.

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Buying a House When You’re Single

Buying a house while you’re single seems to be a trend. More and more single people are making the transition from renting to home ownership, thereby taking advantage of lower rates and available funds. Oddly enough however, most of these singles are not men. A few decades ago this was a fairy tale, but last year single women made up 18% of the homes owned, while single men only made up 10%. But whether you’re a man or women doesn’t matter, what matters is if you’re ready. If you are on the fence it’s not impossible, as I stated earlier, plenty of people manage it. So why can’t you?

Whatever your case may be, here are some things to consider:

First off, as always, make sure you can afford the house. This means monthly AND other costs, such as the down payment and closing costs. Closing costs usually sucker punch a lot of people. Often time people are so preoccupied with the down payment they do not even realize that closing costs exist. A closing cost can add thousands of dollars to what you’re already paying, so be prepared for that as well. If this seems like too much to bear, do some research! Some states offer money to those who are making first time house purchases, making it easy for them to pay those extra fees.  As for monthly payments, there are plenty of places where you can find mortgage calculators. However, what you should also consider are the taxes, insurances, and home owner’s association fees. Plenty of people overlook these things, and thus believe that they are saving much more money than they actually are. It’s recommended that all these fees typically should not exceed 33% of your net income, so talk to your agent, or your lender. Either one of them will most likely do their utmost to help you figure out what you are going to spend, and whether or not you should.

You should also buy a home for the right reasons. Buying a home when you’re single can give you some serious pride in yourself and in the place you live. You should not however buy a home to make some quick cash. It is unwise to expect a quick rise in the market, and most of the time if you do make any cash, it’s not quick. A home is an investment, and should be treated as such.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to shop around for mortgages. What I mean by this is that your buddy Joe may be a loan officer, but it does not mean he’s going to give you the best price. When you finally do make a lender decision, get pre-approved before you start shopping around. Don’t fall in love with something that ends up being grossly out of your price range. It ends up being a disappointment and a waste of time. Being pre-approved also means you will be better prepared for when it is time to buy the house. Don’t lose out to someone that came more prepared than you!

So whether it’s a mortgage or a house you’re looking for, our agents at National Realty Group and our team at National One Mortgage will help you get on the right track with securing a loan, and taking hold of the house you’ve always been dreaming about.

Thinking About Going Solar? A Few Things to Consider:

As you drive around neighborhoods you’ll see more and more people with Solar Panels on their roofs. It might even make you think that maybe it’s time for you to get with the Solar Program, but should you? Solar has the potential to be cost effective, and some think that going solar is also trendy. So it might seem like a good idea, but is it really? With every pro there’s a con, and sometimes things can be overlooked when a decision is made. So here are some things to consider before making the decision to switch to solar.

First, and most importantly, you must consider cost. If you’re going solar because you want to save money, you really need to look at the cost and return. Solar panels, and installation fees are not cheap. In fact the average total cost for a complete solar panel installation is 25… thousand dollars. That means it will take roughly fifteen years before you actually start saving money. However, some companies do in fact subsidize up to 75% of the cost, but that’s rare, and even then you still have to wait 4 years before you see any return. So do some math, and do some research. See what you qualify for, and if it’s even worth it.

Any points after this will assume that either A. You see a monetary value and are getting solar, or B. You want to try and save the Polar Bears and minutely reduce your carbon footprint. Either way, you’re planning on getting solar and there are still a couple of other things to consider. Next on the list would be location and configuration. What I mean by this is that the topography, the way your house faces, the location in the country, and the size of your roof all have an effect on your ability for complete solar use. If your house has not spent enough time in the sunlight, you won’t be getting enough solar power for your home. This means you will still be paying the electricity company, or your lights will go out. So do some research, and make sure home gets enough light.

Lastly, you have to consider aesthetics. You may laugh at the thought, since you don’t care if solar makes your house looks bad, but your HOA or your city might. You may come to find that your solar panels are in a violation of HOA or city codes, and you could end up with a fine. So as usual, do some research, make sure getting solar will not also give you a fine.

If you’re looking to switch to solar, and perhaps want to move to a house with Solar, give National Realty Group a visit or a call. We will be sure to do the best we can to get you into that green home you so desire.

Better Tips when Buying a Home

When buying a home you always have to look for a few things for yourself, but did you know that there are also things people are looking for in you? You might say, “I’m the buyer, why are they sizing me up?” There are plethora of reasons why, but to keep it simply, it’s just like any social situation, people are going to look at you just as much as you will at them. So where am I going with this? Well it’s simple, people do not have time to goof around, and they don’t have time to try to figure you out, or get to know you. So instead of playing it mysterious, or lowballing sellers, try some of these buyer tips instead.
 
First off, you have to make a good impression with your seller as well as your real estate agent. Why your real estate agent? Making a good impression with your real estate agent will not only help quicken the process, but will more likely make your agent more inclined to go out of their way to help you out. So what should you do? Be specific, your agent will have a hard time finding a home you want if you’re vague. This will frustrate you and your agent, so be sure to mention your must-haves as well as what you know you want to stay away from. You should also act relaxed and be easy to work with, even if you’re not. Remember, no one likes a jerk.
 
Secondly, be pre-approved by a lender. Not only will you know how much money you can spend, but it will also help you significantly speed up the overall process. This information will also impress your seller, as he or she will know you can actually pay for the home, making it easier to decide between your offer and someone else’s.
 
Thirdly, be flexible. Rarely are you going to find the perfect home. Sometimes you’ll get more for your money if you buy an older home that needs a little work. Look past the ugly wallpaper and dirty carpet, remember that can be changed, and visualize your trendy new finishes. Plus some old homes really rock. They look retro, and often have some interesting history that may be the talk at your housewarming party.
 
Fourth, shop in your price range. When looking at price for a home it’s no different than buying anything else; if you can’t afford it, do not buy it. It’s also more clever to look at a house in your price range because if there’s a bidding war, you won’t be bid out if you can pay full price. Trying to buy a home out of your price range with a low offer will often frustrate you, your seller, and your agent.
 
Lastly, be ready. Be ready to see a new home at a moment’s notice. Be ready to make an offer after you see a house that may be “the one”. Be ready to work with other people who may be fast paced. The real estate market can be very cutthroat, and one of the most crucial pieces of advice I can give you is to simply be ready.

If you have any questions about buying or selling your home, be sure to call or visit National Realty Group. We’ll do everything we can do set you up with an agent who will be sure you can be ready.