Looking for energy efficient home?

Looking for energy efficient home?Here are your best options:

· New Windows – This is one that is a tossup for most people as to whether or not to do it, largely due to the cost. Buying and installing new windows certainly isn’t cheap, but it can be huge for your energy savings each month. Double pane, energy efficient windows can save you a tremendous amount of money each month. While the upfront investment is costly, it pays off in the long run.

· New Weather Stripping – Weather stripping is the seal of foam around doors and windows, and it keeps drafts out and the air in your home inside. But as time goes on, it can quickly begin to deteriorate. Checking the seals on your doors and windows is a fast and easy way to see if you’re losing energy efficiency without realizing it. And replacing weather stripping is one of the cheapest ways to improve your home’s energy usage.

· More Insulation – Insulation is the option that most people think of when trying to determine how to improve their home’s energy efficiency. Attic insulation is the most important, and insulation in the attic should be at a minimum R-30. Wall and foundation insulation will matter as well, and in general it’s a good idea to spend time considering an upgrade in insulation.

· New Appliances – Appliances drain a tremendous amount of energy each day, and as a result it’s worth thinking about upgrading to today’s modern energy-friendly models. Washers, dryers, ovens, and refrigerators are all available in Energy Star variations, making it easy to cut down your power bill and energy use in a big way.

· Heat Unit Upgrades – If you’re running an older furnace or HVAC unit, it may be time to make an investment in a new system. Like new windows, this can be expensive, but in the end the cost savings on your monthly bill will make a big difference and make that investment worth doing. If you don’t buy a new unit, at least consider having some routine maintenance done on your existing one.

Not only will these five steps make your home more energy friendly and help lower power bills, but they can also have a big impact on your property values. The more of them you have in your home, the more valuable your home is likely to be. That means that if the time ever comes when you want to sell, you’ll be able to get more for it than you would have. Consider these steps and what they’re worth to you, and you’ll be on the path to a more economical and energy efficient home.

Getting the best price for your new home

Getting the best price for your new home

It’s easy to understand why someone would want to buy a home in Columbus Ohio. Frequently ranked in various best-of lists and home to a thriving economy and top-notch educational system, the city has something for everyone. But before you can head off to enjoy the city and the downtown scene, you’ll need to settle in. And for most, that means buying the right home for themselves and their families.

Buying a home in Columbus is a big investment, and one that needs to be taken seriously. Along with just making sure that you find the right home, you also need to take the time to find the best price. Getting the best price for your new home is something that every buyer should do, and it’s also something that isn’t entirely impossible. And here are a few simple tips can help you accomplish just that:

· Understand Negotiation – First, keep in mind when you’re browsing listings that there’s a good chance the price can be negotiated – at least to a point. You shouldn’t make an offer so low that it’s insulting, but don’t be afraid to try to make a lower offer. If it’s refused, at least you know you tried.

· Shop Informed – Most people do plenty of research before they make a major purchase, and few things are more major than your home. Spend some time researching the area to figure out what a fair price on homes really is. Look at not only properties for sale, but those that have recently sold if possible and get a clear idea as to the right price. Once you know what homes are selling for, you’ll have a clear picture of what you should pay for your own.

· Shop Around – It’s easy to find that dream home in Columbus, thanks to the quality properties on the market. But don’t just settle on the first or second house you look at. Spend a little extra time looking at other properties just to make sure there’s not a better offer out there for you to take advantage of.

· Get A Realtor – Your real estate agent can help you identify good prices, point you to deals you may have missed or never even known about, and even help negotiate the price of a property. They’ll have a big impact in getting you the best price possible.

· Get Inspections – Most lenders require inspections anyway, but it’s good to get one even if it’s not required. A home inspector will make sure you’re not buying a home that has serious structural issues, and help ensure that you don’t pay too much for a ‘fixer upper’ that may cost more than you realize in repairs.

· Don’t Ignore Easy Fixes – Some homeowners just don’t have the capital to make minor repairs to a home, and it can leave a property looking worse for wear. But pay attention to homes with minor cosmetic issues. Sometimes they’ll be priced at lower prices, and often all they need is a little paint and some TLC. They may be the best investment on the market.

Buying Short Sales And Foreclosures

Buying Short Sales And Foreclosures

The slump in the housing market has forced many homeowners to foreclose or short sell their houses. There are thousands of such houses in each city. If you are looking to buy a new house, you should consider the foreclosed and short sale homes as well. You will generally find them for a lower price. However, you need to be aware of several factors before placing an offer for a foreclosed home. Here is some popular expert advice:

Most foreclosed homes are in a bad shape. The price of the house is only one of the aspects. Make sure you have the money for all the repairs and fixes.

Unlike a regular house on sale, the previous owner of a foreclosed home is usually the bank. And the short sales homes are owned by individuals that are looking to move out of the house for various reasons. They will rarely offer you upgrades and additional incentives. You basically get what you see.

If you are looking to buy a foreclosed home for investment purposes, you should also check out the renters market in the area. You will need to find a tenant quickly; otherwise you will be required to pay the mortgage from your pocket. Even a small amount can lead to financial stress in the long run.

If you are buying the house in another state or city, make sure you visit the place and check the neighborhood and city yourself. This will help you avoid surprises at a later stage.

Make sure the house is located near good schools. This can be important for your family. It can also be an important criterion for prospective buyers and renters of your property.

Check how long the house has been empty. Houses that have not been occupied for a long time can be infested with bugs and pests. The sewage and plumbing lines also get damaged over time. You may be looking at thousands of dollars in repairs under such circumstances.

Talk to a professional home inspector. Have him come over to look at the house. Have everything checked including the pipes and the power supplies. The house may not be in perfect, turn-key condition. However, the damage and the repairs should be reasonable and manageable for you.

If you are not an investor, and are looking to buy a foreclosed home for your personal use, hire a real estate agent who specializes in them. He or she will help you negotiate with the bank and offer you the best price.

Also, it could take a very long  time to get the bank to approve your purchase, in some cases up to a year. If you’re OK with that then by all means do it. If not, you might be better of just looking for a good house in the regular housing market.

Speed Up Your Home Hunt

Speed Up Your Home HuntThere are plenty of homes in Columbus Ohio Real Estate market today, and finding the right one for you and your family is often trickier than you might suspect.

It’s easy to spend days, weeks, and even months trying to track down the right home, and when you factor in things like negotiation of price and setting up a closing date it becomes even more frustrating, especially when you’re trying to speed things up and get into a home fast. But there are a few things that you can keep in mind which should make it much easier and much faster to not only find your dream house, but also to buy it and move in quickly.

· Get An Agent – Simply put, this is the number one thing you can do to speed up the entire process from start to finish. A real estate agent can quickly ask you what you’re looking for in a home in terms of location, size, price, and more, and then narrow down your options fast. Instead of spending weeks browsing the markets just hoping to stumble on a great house, they’ll show you the best ones for you from day one.

· Use The Net – Research is fast thanks to the Internet, and plenty of online listings include information about location, school district, crime, and more. Spend a few minutes taking a look at the online information about a particular home and you’ll speed things up immensely. It also makes it easier to narrow down your searches when looking online.

· Get Preapproved – Getting preapproved or prequalified for a loan doesn’t just help you avoid future frustration when you find the house you want and need to get the loan, it also helps speed up things in the early stages of house hunting. The reason is simple – when you’re prequalified, you know roughly what your budget will be. This means you can focus on looking at homes that fall into that budget range instead of wasting time looking at homes you may not even be able to afford.

· Know The Fair Price – Don’t try to absolutely lowball when you negotiate. Try to get a good idea of the right price before you make an offer. This way your expectations will be realistic and you won’t have to spend too much time negotiating when you could be signing the contracts.

If you’ll keep these four simple steps in mind you should have little trouble getting the right home quickly. It shouldn’t be something that causes you undue stress and leaves you frantically scouring for the right home, especially when so many great properties are available. Columbus Ohio is a great place to live, and you can get into your perfect home faster than you may realize.

How To Contest Your Property Taxes

How To Contest Your Property Taxes

Property tax is a form of tax that helps your local government fund essential programs such as schools and new roads. Many communities directly depend on this income to maintain their basic lifestyle.

Every city council determines the tax rate within their area of jurisdiction. The amount can vary significantly. However, every resident within in area is expected to pay at the same rate. The state government will determine the maximum property tax rate that the local governments can charge from their residents.

The actual amount of property tax you pay will depend on the value of your house. A government appraiser will determine the value of your home. Your tax will be certain percentage of your home value. Most local governments reassess your home value each year to determine your taxes for that particular financial period.

The recent housing market slump has led to a significant drop in the amount of property taxes collected by the government. This is forcing agencies to cut down school program funding and infrastructure projects. Some local governments are increasing the property tax rates to make up for the losses.

This can lead to additional financial burden for the home owners. If you think you are paying disproportionate amounts of property taxes, you are not alone. You do not have to be disillusioned. So, how to contest your property taxes?

Begin by understanding the cause of the problem. High property taxes can occur when the assessed value of your house is greater than the market value. You may also end up paying higher taxes if the entitled exemptions were not applied to your account.

Once you determine the cause, you can approach the local city council office to contest the property taxes. You will not require a lawyer. Most agencies have clear pre-determined procedures. They send an assessment letter to all home owners each year. They will also attach a contest form to that letter. Simply fill out the form and submit it.

You may be invited for an informal hearing with your assessor. If you can present a strong case, you can lower the values. You may also be invited for a formal hearing if you have a complicated case.

Have all the arguments and evidence ready. Make a list of similar properties in the area with lower property taxes. You can also check all the available deductions and make sure everything has been applied correctly. A strong presentation and a few hours of your time can lead to a significant difference.

For Sale By Owner

For Sale By Owner

Columbus Ohio is a wonderful real estate market and you happen to have a house you want to sell. All the cable shows and advice gurus tell you it is possible to sell the property yourself without the use of a real estate agent. Hey, why not? No reason to pay a commission for doing a job you can do yourself, right? Well, you can try “For Sale By Owner” as you put your house on the market. You do run the risk of crashing in the process.

This Quickly Becomes a Nightmare

Think of it as walking into a dark room. You may stumble around quite a bit before you find the light switch. The same happens if you attempt to sell your property by yourself. Columbus real estate typically sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is no surprise that the paperwork involved is a sizable hill. You are going to be doing all the listing and marketing alone. FHA financing is the way most people purchase their first home. The property has to pass an FHA inspection and many require some improvements be done prior to approval. You will be responsible for scheduling any improvements prior to showing, and if you don’t know any contractors things get difficult.

What is Your Marketing Strategy?

It has to be more than putting up a sign on the lawn. Most buyers surf the Internet to find the home of their dreams. Lack of an Internet presence is going to hurt you. Real estate agents have website displaying the available property. If you are not on one of those sites, you are competing against them. Odds are the other side will win.
This is in addition to scheduling showing of your home and doing advertising elsewhere. You will find the marketing consumes a lot of your time, because you do not have immediate access to those outlets which a real estate agent calls on immediately.

Nasty Surprises at the Closing

A buyer may interested but this person wants to haggle. Expect some negotiations on the closing price. This person may want certain considerations for doing home improvements or a reduced sales price. You can expect some back and forth which can get a bit heated every now and then. The negotiations can wear you down to the point where you make concessions you do not have to do. The give and take on the closing costs are matters you might not be familiar with. There are papers which have to be signed, and you are going to need an attorney. This person has to have some experience with real estate or legal issues may arise later on.

You may not know of any lien on your property or prior claim to it. It is why real estate agents help with a title search. If you forget this part of the closing, you may be dealing with a property lien you do not even know exists. It can stop a transaction dead in its tracks and drive a buyer away.

You can Make More Money Using an Agent

This may sound a bit strange but it is true. Agents first of all will develop a value on your home and the figure could be more than you initially thought it might be. The real estate agent knows what to bargain over, and how far the trading can go. Little things like the gas utility budget do not escape this expert’s notice. When it is all said and done, you may discover you have a net profit which is more than you could hope to receive by yourself.

Going solo means dealing with the buyer’s agent, home inspection people, appraisers, the bank, and maybe a few more parties. Do you have the time or the patience? If you have neither you might end up selling low just to end the madness. A real estate agent has been through the process more than once. He or she can guide you through all the process of selling your home at a good price. Being your own real estate agent is like being your own legal counsel in a court case. You might win but the fight is going to bloody you. Worse than that, you could lose more money than the agent commission. It is more cost effective to use a real estate agent than trying to sell the property yourself.

How Does Title Insurance Work?

How Does Title Insurance Work?

If you are interested in buying a house in the market, you will have to ascertain that the seller actually owns the house. Lack of proper title transfer documents can lead to legal complications and court cases after you buy the house and move into it.

Most home buyers hire an attorney to investigate the past history of the house title. The attorney will check the chain of the title. He or she will report any discrepancies or claims associated with the title. Most attorneys will also look for any back taxes that the sellers owe to the state. The attorney will issue a certificate after the investigation. You should, however, remember that this certificate or report is not fool-proof.

Many real estate professionals and experts, therefore, recommend title insurance. You can buy it from your lender or an independent insurance company. How does title insurance work?

The insurance offers protection against any defects or complications in the title document. The extent of coverage will depend on your policy. Many title insurance policies also cover building permit violations and encroachments. You should also remember that the policy will protect you for your purchase price but it may not offer any coverage on the equity of the house.

Title insurance premiums are paid only once during the initial purchase and title transfer. The buyers can choose to buy the policy themselves. You can also negotiate with the seller about the policy. Sellers and buyers may also decide to split the title insurance premiums. If you plan to sell the property in two years, you can sign up for a binder policy that offers protection for a shorter period of time. You can lower your title insurance costs with such a policy.

You should consider several factors before buying the insurance policy. Make sure the insurance company is reliable. Talk to your friends and family members. You can also read online reviews from other users. Check the coverage. Most companies offer a basic policy and an extended protection policy. Read the fine print, and choose the one that is right for you. Title insurance coverage may also vary from state to state.

Understand the local laws and practices before signing up for it. If you are unsure of the policy, you may also consult a title attorney for advice. Title insurance is an important policy. It can help save a lot of time and hassles at a later stage. Take your time to shop for it.