It’s winter, and in some places it’s rather cold, and fireplaces are a necessity. Here in Southern California it’s still warm and sunny, but I still like to have a fire going once and awhile. However, if I have an inefficient fireplace, I might as well be burning dollar bills. Most of the warmth generated from the fireplace is being sucked up the chimney and headed right outside. If you have an open masonry fireplace, it’s only about 15% effective, and you’re wasting your money. Plus, if you keep the damper left open when there is no fire, it actually negatively affects your house’s temperature.
So how can you actually make a fireplace worth it? Well it all starts with the type of fireplace, for instance wood burning fireplaces have poor efficiency whereas a gas or electric fireplace is more efficient. Plus, if you decide to sell your home, wood burning fire places don’t looks as good as a gas or electric fireplaces. You get a better return with electric or gas.
If you already have a fireplace there are plenty of things you can do to increase efficiency. First make sure your chimney is clean, after that it’s mostly about your actual fireplace features, features like doors. Without doors, your fireplace will suck heat from your house and send it up the chimney, there are endless designs of ceramic doors that let heat from the fire ebb into the house without the heat inside escaping. Doors can also add a little safety, especially when there are kids around.
You could also look into dampers. There are two main categories of dampers. First there are throat dampers, which are typically made of cast iron, and sit near the bottom of the chimney regulating air flow. However, they can warp or rust over time, compromising the seal and becoming less effective. The other type would be the more typical top mount, which sits atop the chimney and is preferred by some experts.
You can also look into steel grates, but they have a tendency to warp and wear out. If you’re going that route be sure to get a heavy duty cast iron version. Another possibility is to purchase one with a blower on the bottom that sends heat back into the room. This allows for an enormous increase of efficiency as it helps heat the house. You can also buy grates that are made of metal tubes that draw in the room’s cold air, heat it with the fire and push it back into the home, which increases efficiency.
However, no matter how efficient your fireplace is, it won’t work well if your home is inefficient. If your window and their seals are cheap or old you’ll lose heat there. If your attic isn’t insulated, or you keep doors open, you’re wasting heat. If you ignore the rest of your house, it does not matter how efficient your fireplace is, you won’t really even notice a difference.
As always, if you want help with your fireplace or if you’re considering a home don’t hesitate to call National Realty Group at (800) 406-9606, visit us at NationalRealtyGroup.com or stop by our office. We’ll find you and agent that help you get the best burn out of your fireplace, keeping you from burning your cash.
Plenty of people take out hard money loans as opposed to your traditional bank loans. Hard Money Loans are easy to obtain, and can be processed in a day, whereas a traditional bank loan can take over a month. Hard money lenders can still provide funding if the borrower has issues such as low credit scores, no income history or recent foreclosures, loan modifications or short sales. These issues would keep a traditional lender from giving out a single cent, but as Hard Money Loans are easier to receive, they do have some requirements. Keep in mind the rate will be higher, but is an option many don’t consider.
First off, you need a down payment. Many hard money loans are denied because the borrower lacks funds he or she needs to purchase the property, or they don’t have enough equity in the property they currently own. If you expect 100% financing you’ll be laughed at. Most hard money lenders expect the borrower to have somewhere around 30% equity invested before the loan is even considered.
Secondly, make sure you have enough money to make the monthly payment. This is usually common sense but plenty of people think they can get around this. Your lender will analyze your potential to make payments. This means you need to prove good income, and at least some money in the bank. If you’re short on cash, you may need to partner up with someone who can prove reliable income. Otherwise your loan won’t be approved.
Lastly, make sure you have an exit strategy. Hard money loans are typically for short term uses, anywhere from one to three years. This means the remainder balance will be due at the end of the term. A good exit strategy will typically be needed to pay off the remainder of the loan, and many lenders will want to know what this plan is up front. An exit strategy could include: selling the property, selling a different property, refinancing the property with a conventional loan, and even refinancing with another Hard Money Loan.
It’s not terribly uncommon for a person to use a hard money loan when their credit is a mess. Hard Money loans can help you get on your feet while your credit recovers so you can actually be qualified for a conventional loan. As long as you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be that much closer to a hard money loan approval.
So if you’re curious about a Hard Money Loan, don’t hesitate to call National Realty Group at (800) 406-9606, visit us at NationalRealtyGroup.com or stop by our office. We’ll set you up with an agent who will answer all the questions you have and help you on your way to a loan.
It’s January, that means it is gym season. With everyone dedicating their lives to the gym for the New Year, gyms are overwhelmingly crowded. I personally hate crowds, so instead of going to the gym, why not have one at home? I mean gyms are cool right? You can brag to your friends about your in home gym, you won’t have to deal with memberships, and there won’t be a guy screaming to the top of his lungs as he dead lifts. Plus since it’s winter, why go outside in the cold to drive to the gym? You could slip on ice and die!
So the dying thing is rather unlikely, but still, how about just building a gym in your home? As a society we are not very healthy and many people are overweight. To combat this there has been a plethora of movements to help prevent obesity. One such movement has been the increase in home gym ownership, but it’s expensive. If you were to buy all the necessary new equipment, like weights and some sort of cardio machine, you would be spending upwards of three thousand dollars. So if it interests you you might want some justification, and may ask yourself; “Would a gym increase the value of my home?” The short answer is no, it would not.
Why? Well having a gym will not increase the value of your home the same way a nice couch, or new TV doesn’t. Instead it increases the desirability of your home to a certain set of buyers. It makes buyers look at the possibility of a gym, and to some the immutability of the room’s purpose as a gym. In essence your home gym, to buyers, is only a differentiator. Helping them decide between the house with the gym, and the house without one. In essence the only investment in a gym in your home would be your health, which is one of the best investments you could ever make.
So if you’re curious about your home’s value or considering a home with room for a gym, don’t hesitate to call National Realty Group at (800) 406-9606, visit us at NationalRealtyGroup.com or stop by our office. We’ll set you up with an agent who will find you the home that best fits your lifestyle.
New Year? 2016 has a lot of potential, but like me you probably won’t visit the gym more than twice. So, instead of buying a month of gym membership you won’t use how about change up your home to really feel like you’ve impacted your lifestyle.
The easiest way to do this would be to change your furniture. There are plenty of new designs and styles 2016 has waiting for you. Most of these are going to be minimalist, with some sort of rustic chic. Every home has a different taste and a different look, so do a little research and you’ll find out pretty quickly what style suits your home. Maybe you’ve been itching for a new couch or new kitchen table. Well now you have an excuse.
You could also paint your walls a different color. Changing the colors of your home has a huge impact on you whether you realize it or not. Check out a post I posted a few weeks ago if you’re interested: New Colors for Your Old Room.
Renting? You could move out of that tiny rented apartment and maybe move up to a spacious home. Look at your budget, if you can get away with spending less than a third of your take home money on a new house for rent, go for it! It’d be a great way to start off the year. Your friends will love it, and so will you.
OR You could also just buy a new house! There are plenty of new rules and regulations in 2016 that allow borrowers to get a mortgage loan much easier. So why not? If you’re thinking about it its best to keep more than a few things in mind. First off you’re going to need a real estate agent. Why? Well having your own real estate agent allows you to keep from doing paper work, lots of paperwork. An agent also knows the ins and outs of the business, allowing you to find better house quicker and even arrange tours. Having your own agent as a buyer and a seller will also save you from being swindled by other people taking advantage of unwary ignorance. Secondly, be pre-approved by a lender, like National One Mortgage (shameless plug). 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. This will allow you to shop in your price range which is important! New Year does not mean new unpayable debts. Only buy what you can pay for. Also learn to be flexible. If you’re the wound up type of person it’s not going to help your search. 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 2016 finishes.
What next year holds is only somewhat of a mystery the rest is up to you! “New year, new you” requires you. If you’re interested in a new house whether rent or for purchase don’t hesitate to call National Realty Group at (800) 406-9606, visit us at NationalRealtyGroup.com or stop by our office. All the agents and staff at National Realty Group would like to wish you a Happy New Year, and wish you the best during 2016.
With Christmas around the corner there are stockings to stuff, presents still to buy and probably in-laws to impress. If you’re hosting Christmas at your place, you’re probably ready to explode. Fortunately there are plenty of easy ways to make your house impressionable for guests, without losing your mind.
First off, declutter your house by throwing things under the bed. I doubt your guests will be visiting the bedrooms, and even if they do it won’t be terribly noticeable. This will clean up your home quickly so you can get to the important stuff. If under your bed is already full, think about utilizing your car’s trunk for the day.
Next, be sure your kitchen is clean and smells nice. You can have an awesome looking kitchen, but no one will notice if your garbage can or your sink’s garbage disposal stinks. Fix? Clean the trash can after you have emptied it, and run the garbage disposal with a quartered (half if you’re desperate and brave) lemon in it. It will freshen up the garbage disposal as well as give the room a nice citrusy scent.
Next make sure your bathrooms are spick and span, no one likes using a dirty bathroom at a party. If you have glass shower doors, clean those too. Clean shower doors look real nice, and if no one notices them clean, it’s still better than someone noticing that they’re dirty.
Clean your microwave. If your guests need to reheat their food, a dirty microwave is a big turn off. A cool trick for this is to put a bowl of water in the microwave for three minutes. The steam will soften up the stuck on food making it really easy to wipe out.
Clean your walls and base boards. This will add a little extra gleam to the house, emphasizing how clean of a family you are, even if you aren’t. A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will blow through dirt and grime from the wall without hurting the paint or the drywall. Next take a dryer strip to the base boards, it will freshen them up whilst collecting dust and other such making them nice and clean again.
Clean your carpets. If you don’t have time to deep clean the carpet put baking soda, wait 20 minutes and vacuum the powder up. That will at least ensure it doesn’t smell.
Buy extra soap, paper towels and toilet paper. Your guests will use the bathroom to wash their hands and for other reasons, especially after a big meal… if you get the picture.
Desqueak your doors with a little WD-40 on the hinges. Nothing is more annoying than squeaky doors, especially in a busy home.
Crayons and printed out coloring pages can turn a boring, superfluous table in the corner into a kids table.
Lastly, put on a smile. It’s Christmas, and even though your annoying brother/sister/cousin/weird uncle/mother-in-law is coming, nothing will keep your and your family’s spirits better, than a big smile on your face.
As always, if you’re considering a home don’t hesitate to call National Realty Group at (800) 406-9606, visit us at NationalRealtyGroup.com or stop by our office. All the agents and staff at National Realty Group would like to wish you a Merry Christmas, and wish you the best during the coming holidays.
There’s a lot to love about the California Desert. There are breathtaking sunsets, a unique eco system, and when we’re not in a severe drought, exciting storms. The sun is almost always shining, keeping those cold winter blues at a distance. Whether you’re looking to move permanently or perhaps trying get away from a frigid northern state a few months out of the year there’s a couple of things you should know before moving out here.
First, make sure your home is built with the right materials. A good desert home will most likely be built a little differently than houses in the rest of the country. They cannot be built out of wood, because even the best wood will warp in the intense summer sun. Keep an eye out for a house that’s built from stone, adobe, or ICF concrete. These materials will help keep your indoors cool and can withstand the harshness of the sun. Also, see if your prospective home has treated or tinted windows. This will help your home stay cool despite the windows and cut down on cooling costs.
Next, you’re going to need to make sure your prospective home has excellent temperature control. Regardless of how good your tinting is, or cool your materials, it’s going to get hot inside. Now you’ll need a powerful AC unit but you do not need it running 24/7. Instead, a well-designed desert home will have high ceilings and ceiling fans keeping the air circulating and helping avoid it from being too hot. Deserts, though hot during the day can get very cold when the sun goes down, so well positioned windows can help get a nice night breeze blowing through your home.
Lastly, you’re going to have to embrace your new yard. It’s probably the most drastic change a new desert home owner has to deal with. Though a beautiful and lush green lawn is certainly possible, it’s quite the endeavor to maintain. So, most people have a more desert style landscape. Many plants like desert sage, hop bush, and of course cacti, are easy to look at and do not require a lot of water to maintain. You can also place gravel to help retain water, and adds a nice, different cosmetic. You can also place cobble stone rocks as a path through your yard, adding to that desert feel. All these things will add a lot to your yard, making it a prime spot for evening parties, and a great festive place to watch majestic sunsets and barbeque.
So if you’re considering a home in the desert, or anywhere else, don’t hesitate to call National Realty Group at (800) 406-9606, visit us at NationalRealtyGroup.com or stop by our office. We’ll set you up with agent who will find you the hottest, I mean best, home the desert has to offer
So you’re enjoying a peaceful afternoon, when suddenly your phone starts to ring. It’s your Realtor, she is bringing a client for a showing, oh and they’ll be there in twenty minutes. No problem, other than your house is a complete wreck. So you scramble, clutter up the house a little more by accident, and jettison out, leaving it unnoticeably cleaner.
Last minute showings happen all the time, and if you want to successfully sell your house, you have to be prepared for them. So here are a few tips to succeeding, despite a last minute showing.
First, you should keep a stylish or good looking trunk that works with your furniture in every room. This way, you and your family can toss all your clutter in them and easily deal with it later. It’s a mess in there, but it’s better than a messy room.
Next you should make sure all of the surfaces are wiped down with a non smelly cleaner, and replace all the dirty dish, bath, hand, and face towels with fresh ones. You can do this by keeping clean towels on standby somewhere in the house. When you’re done cleaning, run and grab those new ones.
After that, dash to your medicine cabinet, and straighten it out. It’s rude to look in someone’s medicine cabinet, but we do it anyway. So clean it up a tad, and be sure to remove and personal or weird items from the drawers of the bathroom and medicine cabinet. It might even be smart to keep the weird personal stuff in a bag to quickly grab and/or hide when you go to leave. It’s weird, but people will look through them.
So you’re all cleaned up, now what? Run around the house and turn on all the lights. This will give the house a warm welcoming glow, especially if its rooms without good light from windows. Lots of light not only show buyers all the good features, but it also unmasks imperfections. Use the proper discretion with your lights.
Lastly make sure you have an escape plan for you and your kids (if you have them). This will allow you to get out of the house as quickly as possible without disrupting the buyers. Build rapport with a neighbor, (bake them cookies or something) and see if you can stay with them during showings. If you have kids, and the day is nice, maybe take the buggers to a park. It’ll keep them entertained, and you can relax in the cool breeze as you wait for the showing to be over.
Do these things and you should leave a good looking clean house with ten minutes to spare! If you want, it might be a good idea to practice in the event you only have a few minutes. This way you’ll be sure to finish on time.
If you have any questions about selling your home, or perhaps scheduling a last minute showing of your own, don’t hesitate to call National Realty Group (951) 684-2600 or visit NationalRealtyGroup.com. Oh and don’t forget to like us at Facebook.com/Nationalrealtygroup
It’s easy to get a little out of hand in the kitchen, and no I’m not just talking about cooking. The kitchen is one of the most used, examined, and occasionally coveted room of the house. It is also the most expensive to upgrade, especially with kids. With kids you want your kitchen to be safe, as well as amazing; an expensive combo. So, here are some tips to decking your kitchen, without emptying out your wallet.
First off would be the cabinets. Brand new custom cabinets are expensive. They look great, but they could break the budget by themselves. Instead, look into premanufactured, modular kitchen cabinets. They may not be as fancy as custom cabinets, but they look good, cost loads less, and are relatively easy to install.
Second would have to be your counter tops. Everyone loves marble and granite counter tops, but when you’re on a budget, that’s just not feasible. Instead, look at ceramic tile. It comes in any color you can imagine and costs about a tenth of what granite does. Another option is solid wood. Wood can be cut, sanded, and treated to accommodate any surface. There are plenty of wood types, it’s not terribly expensive, and adds a kind of warmth to the kitchen you won’t get with anything else. The last cheapish option is quartz. It’s more expensive than the wood or the tile, but the stuff is indestructible. It’s great for families as kids will probably play in the kitchen.
Then there’s the stuff that’s going to go on the counters the appliances. Kitchen appliances, can look really fancy, but also cost the most in the kitchen. It might surprise you, but experts say there’s not too much difference between the high-end appliances, and the less expensive ones. Yeah you won’t get all the same bells and whistles, but will you ever really use them? If you can live without a Samsung refrigerator with a touch screen, and your Chef Crockpot with extra programmable buttons, go for the cheaper option.
Lastly, is the flooring. It may surprise you, but less expensive flooring can actually be more cost effective in regards to resisting the wear and tear of kitchen use. Ceramic tile and Plastic laminate is cheaper, resists wear, tear, and dents, and is also much easier to clean than say wood flooring. Another great option is vinyl. Vinyl flooring is very inexpensive, easy to install and will last a long time. The best part is, it can be designed to imitate the look of more expensive floorings, without you actually having to pay for them.
As always, if you have any questions about your kitchen or pretty much anything stop by or call National Realty Group. We are the One-Stop Solution offering Real Estate Sales and Mortgages. You can also visit our website at NationalRealtyGroup.com.
First impressions are everything. You need a good first impression during a job interview otherwise you may not get the job. You need a good first impression when you meet new people, otherwise they may have an untrue prejudice towards you. First impressions are a big deal, especially when selling a home.
Most buyers will decide within 60 seconds if they’re interested in a home. 60 seconds! That’s less time than it takes to cook a microwaveable burrito. Within the time it takes for you to make that delicious snack, your buyers looking at the house have already decided if they want to consider it later. So what should you do to make a good first impression?
First off, it’s obvious, but have a clean home. A clean home is a must when you’re showing a house. You wouldn’t leave your house dirty if you had company over, so why treat a buyer any differently. So take out the trash, clear the counters, vacuum, etc. Buyers won’t remember your beautiful layout if all they can think about are the dishes in your sink. A good tip to keep in mind would be to make sure that your home is clean enough for your boss to walk through the front door.
Next, make sure your yard is in order. Mow the lawn, trim the trees, rake the leaves and pick up the dog feces. Also keep in mind to keep your pathways clear. This means sidewalks and other things in your yard and around your house. So clean up the weeds on the concrete, trim back the shrubbery and fill those pesky cracks. Good looking pathways in a good looking yard will delight buyers when they walk through them.
If you have vehicles, store them. Vehicles are culprits of clutter. This doesn’t just mean your everyday cars, this means your other stuff as well. Dirt bikes, quads, dune buggies, boats, Jet ski’s, etc should be properly placed, cleaned and out of the way. If you have these kinds of vehicles, show buyers how good it looks to have them, and how well they go with the house.
Also, keep in mind that porches, patios, decks, and balconies are focal points in some homes. Make sure they are clean, like everything else should be, and free clutter. The Furniture out there should be clean and well put together. Remove any furniture that doesn’t belong, and if you use your deck or balcony for storage, change that. A deck or a balcony can be a decision making point for a buyer.
Lastly, don’t forget the house itself. Clean gutters, spotless windows, and a power washed house will speak volumes to a potential buyer. It makes a fantastic first impression, considering some buyers make up their minds before they are even inside.
If you follow these tips, you’ll make a great first impression but you’ll do better if you call National Realty Group (951-684-2600) or visit our website, www.NationalRealtyGroup.com. We’ll fix you up with someone who can answer all the questions you have and help you make that first impression and even sell your home.
When a seller is ready to put their home up for sale, they are usually plagued with misconceptions about the market. This causes many sellers to price their homes too high. Plenty of sellers think that they should price higher because (1) buyers will offer less (2) because they want to test the market and see if buyers will be interested even at a high price and (3) because they hope there’s a buyer who falls madly in love with the home and will pay more than it is worth. These ideas are unreasonable and almost never happen. Thinking that way is detrimental to a home sale.
When you put your home on the market, you need to price it in a range that is going to sell. The first several weeks are crucial. You need to keep momentum up making sure buyers are seeing the property and making offers. If the price is too high you’re less likely to get a buyer to visit your home, If it sits on the market too long a buyer willing to pay the outrageous price might avoid it because if “No one has bought it, there must be something wrong with it. You don’t want that.
When you do go to price the home, base it off an appraisal or a Comparative Market Analysis. To be perfectly blunt, you cannot get a realistic idea of how much to sell your house for. Talk to an agent. He or she will be able to do research and, knowing the ins and outs of the industry, will be able to help you reasonably price your home. Your agent will look at location, additions, and overall equity to help you understand where to price your home. Don’t do it alone! An agent will streamline the process, and will probably even get you a better deal than you could on your own.
For more information check out http://www.NationalRealtyGroup.com