Be careful with your home upgrades

home upgrades

The home improvement industry in the United States is growing at an alarming rate. Many Americans spend thousands of dollars each year upgrading and remodeling their house. While the dwindling housing market has forced some homeowners to rethink their home upgrade plans, others continue to invest believing that the upgrades will improve the value and salability of their house. But are all the home improvement projects worth the money you spend on them? If you are a homeowner looking to spend some money on home upgrades, think before you begin the project and please, be careful with your home upgrades. Here is a list of home upgrades that are a waste of money:

  • Finishing an attic – Most people are unlikely to use their attic for anything. A well-finished attic may not add to the value of your home.
  • Wallpapers – Your new buyer may want to decorate the house in his or her favorite colors and patterns. They will have to go through the trouble of ripping the old wallpaper before decorating the house. Many people will not prefer this.
  • Bathroom remodeling – Bathroom remodeling can help your home. It is not a complete waste of money but you should focus on utility rather than the style.
  • Unconventional kitchen appliances – While you may love to have some unique appliances around your home, remember that not everyone cares for them and may not shell out extra money to pay for them.
  • White floors and carpets – White color looks fresh and beautiful. However, many people do not wish to buy a home with white floors as they are difficult to clean and maintain. It can turn into a home upgrade that is a complete waste of your money.
  • Extensive landscaping – High-end landscaping projects look exotic. They can definitely add to the curb appeal of your home. However, they may be difficult to maintain. Many home buyers, therefore, prefer a simple setup.
  • Patio accessories – Patio décor such as fountains, ponds and gazebos look great but will not add value to your home.
  • Swimming pools – Many experts believe that the addition of swimming pools in backyard will not increase the value of your home or improve its chances of getting sold.
  • Basement upgrades – Be cautious about basement upgrades as well. While some buyers may prefer a finished basement, most people will not pay extra for those luxury upgrades and unusual features. Plan your basement upgrade project carefully.

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 Westerville 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 Westerville 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.

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.