Matt and Sonya's Blog
If you’re trying to decide whether or not you should put a pool in at your home, there’s a lot to think about. You don’t want to regret spending a sizable amount of money. You may picture a life of luxury with a pool, but there’s a lot involved with the installation of it. It can be quite an ongoing investment to put in a pool. Maintenance, repairs, and more are involved. Depending upon the climate you live in, you may need to put a cover on the pool during the offseason as well.
When Putting In A Pool Is A No-Brainer
If you live in a warm climate like California, Florida, Hawaii, Or Arizona, it makes total sense to invest in a pool. these places get the maximum benefit from pool installation since the pool can be used the whole year through.
If you have a large yard and are able to accommodate both a pool and some yard space, it’s also not a bad idea to put in a pool. The important thing is that you understand that you’re not always going to get a return on your investment when you sell your home. Not all homebuyers like pools and often the presence of a pool can even deter some buyers from even looking at the home.
Questions To Ask Regarding Return On Investment:
- Does a pool fit in with the neighborhood?
- Is the pool in good condition?
- How old is the pool?
The idea with homes that have pools is to attract the right buyers. Many times, families with young children stay away from properties with pools since they see it as a safety hazard. Other home shoppers may fall in love with the property because of the pool. The important thing about putting in a pool is knowing that you as a homeowner will enjoy the feature.
The average cost to put in a pool in the US is around $30,000. That’s just a basic pool. You’ll probably need to add a few more details like fencing, pool furniture, and more landscaping. That can cause the total investment to rise significantly. The type of pool that you choose also has an effect on the cost of the project. Don’t forget about the added energy expenses of running a filter and putting a heater in the pool.
When you have a pool, you’ll need to change the type of insurance that you have. The pool can increase your insurance costs significantly. There also could be certain requirements set forth by the insurance company, such as the pool needing to be fenced in.
While adding a pool to your home may make your life more enjoyable, it may not add to the value and return you get on your home. Don’t over invest in an amenity that won’t give you the returns your looking for unless you’re prepared and know that you as a homeowner will truly enjoy the pool.
If this is your first time buying a home, you might be worried that you aren’t asking enough questions. Or maybe you’re concerned you’re not asking the right questions--the things that matter the most when making a financial decision as important and life-changing as buying a home.
While everyone’s situation is unique when buying a home, there are some questions that all buyers could benefit from asking. These questions will help you learn more about the home, how competitive the house is, and how much work you’ll need to put into it.
Since time is usually of the essence for people buying a home, it makes sense to ask questions early on so that you don’t waste too much time exploring an option that isn’t ideal for your situation.
In this article, we’re going to give you 5 important questions to ask when you talk to a seller and their agent so that you can be prepared to make the best decision for you or your family.
1. How flexible is the asking price?
While few sellers or agents will outright tell you if they’d accept a lower offer, it’s still a good idea to ask this question, as it will open up a conversation about the seller’s feelings toward the home and whether they’re pricing high with the hopes of receiving slightly lower offers.
2. How many offers has the home received?
It may seem counterintuitive, but most agents and sellers will be quite happy to tell you if they’ve received other offers. They know that once you know the current offer you’ll have to either come up with a higher offer or move on. It’s a win-win for you and the seller, as it equips both of you with information you need to make the best choice.
3. Why are the sellers moving away?
This question can be personal, so if you receive an answer that suggests it’s a family matter, don’t press for too many details. However, some sellers and agents will let you know exactly why the house is for sale. From this simple question, you can learn the seller’s timeline for making the sale, details about the schools or neighborhoods, and any other reason that might drive someone to move out of the neighborhood.
4. Are there any problems with the house that you know of?
Although you’ll have an inspection contingency in your contract if you do decide to make an offer on the home, it’s better to know if there are any issues with the home before going through the bidding process.
Most sellers understand this and will be upfront about any problems with the home, including repairs that need to be made now or will need to be made soon after you move in.
5. What is the average cost of utilities?
Buying a home comes with a lot of added costs and fees. However, many people forget about the changes in the cost of utilities that comes with buying a home--especially if you’re moving from an apartment where some utilities may have been included.
The seller will be able to give you a good estimate on the cost of electricity, garbage removal, internet, heat, and more.
The biggest area of your life that you need to understand before you buy a house is your own finances. Before you know what kind of house you can buy, you’ll need to understand your own buying power. While things like square footage, how many bedrooms you need, and finding the right neighborhood are important, you can’t go very far without some type of financing. While understanding how much you can spend on a property is one of the more serious parts of buying a home, it’s something that you’ll want to do. Knowing what you can spend on a home is a step to helping you land a home you love. If you understand your own numbers, you’ll know the chances that you have of an offer being accepted on a place you love.
The Elements Of Your Buying Power
Your Credit Score
This little three digit number has a lot of meaning behind it. This is the most basic piece of information that lenders use to determine your loan worthiness. The factors that influence your credit score include:
- Payment history
- How much you owe
- Length of your credit history
- Mix of credit accounts
- How much new credit you have opened
A low credit score is somewhere under 620. Having a score this low doesn't necessarily mean that you’ll be denied for a loan, but the type and amount of the loan you’re offered can be impacted. You’ll also face higher interest rates because of a low credit score. This means your mortgage could be considerably more expensive than if you had a higher credit score.
The 20 percent down as a rule of thumb actually offers many benefits to your buying power. This means that you’ll need 20% down of the purchase price of the home in cash. If you put this amount of money (or even more) down on a home, it eliminates the need for you to have to buy PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance). You’ll even be able to negotiate a lower interest rate. A large down payment may be especially helpful in competitive markets where there is a lot of buyer competition.
How Your Financial Picture Appears
Your assets and your debt-to-income ratio are also important factors in your financial picture that you present to the lender. Basically, all of these numbers let both the lender and the seller see how committed you are to buying a home. It is one of the biggest financial undertakings of your entire life. If you can’t show financial responsibility, then it may be a bit difficult for lenders to see that you’ll actually pay your loan back in a timely manner.
The better all of your financial numbers are, the more buying power that you’ll have. If your numbers are good, you’ll be able to afford more house. While it may not be the most exciting thing to look over all of your financial numbers, it’s a vital step in the process of your journey to home ownership.
The lawn is trimmed, the house is spotless and you're ready for a real estate agent to show off your home to a prospective buyer -- but what about your pets? Pets and showings don't always mix; the potential buyers may be afraid of or allergic to your animals -- or your pets could slip right past them and end up roaming the neighborhood. For the safety and comfort of all, confine or remove your pets during a showing in one of the following ways.
What to do with Pets When you Show your Home
Contain them: This works best with smaller animals, like cats, petite, quiet dogs and even exotic animals like house rabbits. When they are present, but not roaming around, your pet will be safe and won't be much of a distraction. Ideally, a pet carrier or crate can be used for this purpose -- and allows your home to be shown at a moment's notice.
Take a walk or drive: If you know when a showing is happening and will be home, then put on a leash and head to the sidewalk or car. Even a very friendly large breed dog can be alarming to some prospective buyers and any dog is a distraction. Showings don't take long, so if you can conveniently do so, taking a walk or drive gets you both out of the house and out of the way -- and ensures your home is the true focus of the visit.
Rely on a neighbor: If you have a neighbor, friend or family member nearby that can pet sit for an afternoon, this is a good time to visit. Your pet will benefit from the attention and fresh environment and you won't have to worry about them getting out or alarming a buyer.
Consider boarding: If your agent is holding an open house, consider boarding your pet on the big day. You won't have to worry about finding a place for them to stay and you'll be able to show the home with confidence. If you do have many people walking through the house, even a friendly pet can be overwhelmed, so this is often the best solution for all.
Securing your pets while your home is shown will give you peace of mind about their safety and will also allow the viewers to envision themselves living there without distraction. It also gives you a chance to check all latches, doors and gates before returning your pet to their normal space -- prospective buyers could leave a door, gate or window open, allowing for an easy escape route for a curious pet. Take these simple steps before a showing and you will benefit in several key ways -- and your pets will, too.
Are you overpaying for water?
You could be, if your home is not running as efficiently as it could, or if you have undiagnosed leaks or damage. Cutting your water consumption can help you save money every month, and in many cases, you won't have to change your habits at all. Try one or more of the following ideas for an immediate reduction in your water bill every month:
Seek out Leaks
A running toilet, a slow drip from a faucet or even a leaky fridge can cost you money every month, but provides no benefit at all. in some cases, that leak will get even more expensive over time, as standing water can damage your floors and allow mold and mildew to develop. Take a walk through your home and check these areas for leaks -- any problem you find and repair will reduce the water your home wastes each month and will prevent mold growth or damage, too:
- Listen for leaks: Turn off anything that makes noise and visit the kitchen, bathroom and any room with a faucet. What do you hear? Ideally, you won't hear anything -- if you hear drips or running water, your home is wasting water. A single running toilet can boost your water bill by hundreds of dollars each year, so pay special attention to bathrooms.
- Look for water damage: Appliances that have water or stains underneath could be leaking. The most common culprit is a fridge that has an icemaker and water dispenser. If you see or feel water, double check the lines to ensure there are no leaks. Check under sinks for moisture and note any problems.
- Head outside: Your outside faucets should be tightly closed and the ground below them should be totally dry. if there are drips or moisture, you are paying for a steady stream of water you are not using. You should also walk by your sprinkler heads and make sure the ground is not soggy; this could mean you have a costly leak in your sprinkler system,
Go Low Flow
Using less water when you flush, shower or wash dishes can help you save money every day. Simply switching your shower heads takes just moments, and can cut your water consumption without making a difference in your shower. Converting your toilets to low flow models or even adding some weight to the tanks can help reduce the amount of water used by each flush, according to Nerd Wallet.
Change your Habits
Your laundry and dish washing schedules will have a huge impact on your water bill. Reducing the amount of laundry you do (by decluttering and only keeping essentials you love) can help lower your energy costs and your water consumption. Hand washing small loads of dishes or rinsing and waiting for the dishwasher to be full before running allows you to use this power and water consuming appliance fewer times each week.
Monitoring your home for leaks and running water, converting some areas to more conservative models and changing your own habits can have a significant impact on your water bill. Do all three and you'll save hundreds of dollars each year -- and run a more eco-friendly home, too.