Shopping for Your Home

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Easy Ways to Customize Your Home’s Exterior

How can you stand out in your neighborhood?

Add a personal touch to your property!

Spring is here, so put this high on your list of priorities. In the past, the options for customizing the exterior features of a house may have been few and far between. But today, everything from siding to roofing is available in a wide range of styles, colors and designs. If you’re looking to customize your castle with ease, concentrate your efforts on a few of the following areas:

• Trim. Exterior trim can give your home a
graceful, appearance: Victorian, contemporary or
traditional American, depending on the taste of the
market at the given time.

• Siding. If you want to give your home a fast and
major makeover, consider replacing its siding.
Available in a vast array of colors and textures, siding
can make your home stand out and increase its value.
Vinyl and fiber cement are two materials that are easy
to maintain and will last over time.

• Decking. Outdoor living is a hot trend this
year and adding a deck is one of the most dramatic
ways to customize your home. Since many decks
are made with easy-to-clean materials such as
weather-resistant composite decking, they’re easy
to maintain as well.

• Railing. To match a new deck or patio,
consider adding a railing where the core is made of
a durable composite material, capped with
colonial-white or desert-tan PVC for a lasting,
freshly painted look. Composite and steel balusters
allow you to further customize the look of the
railing and decking.

• Roofing.A set of new shingles can add a touch
of personality to your home or improve its curb
appeal if you’re planning on selling it. Since the roof
covers the most area of a home’s exterior, it makes a
big difference in first impressions.

Compliments of First American Home Buyers Protection Corp.

See you around the neighborhood!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Easy Way To Save Money

Stick to Your Budget with "Reverse Credit"

One way to save up for large purchases is to buy yourself gift cards in small increments in advance, says a reader at personal finance blog Get Rich Slowly. So if you're saving up for an iPhone, for instance, buy yourself a $20 gift card to the Apple store every few weeks. Editor J.D. Roth writes:

You can use "reverse credit" to save for more than just large items. You might use it to budget for your morning coffee, for example. If you want to limit your spending at Starbucks, put a fixed amount ($20 maybe) on a card at the beginning of the month. When that card is drained, you know you've spent your coffee budget. At the start of next month, put another $20 on the card.

As J.D. points out, this method is similar to "envelope budgeting", the classic method your grandparents used to put money aside for specific purposes.
Use "Reverse Credit" to Stick to Your Budget [Get Rich Slowly]

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What Does The Economic Stimulus Package Mean To You?

Hi neighbors,
I have been receiving many inquiries about the Economic Stimulus Package.... Many of my clients are wondering, "What's it going to do for me?" Well I came across this article written by Peter G. Miller that sums it up without all the "mumbo jumbo" our guys and gals on the hill tend to spew. Enjoy and get informed!!!

What Does The Economic Stimulus Package Mean To You?

Since passed by overwhelming Capitol Hill majorities in January, there has been much talk regarding the economic stimulus package. Yes, it will cost $168 billion, but what does it actually do for individuals?

The stimulus package is designed to help the country moderate the worst effects of a slowing economy and perhaps even avoid a recession. The idea is to encourage spending and with more spending to increase economic activity. While the theory looks good on paper, it will likely take months or years to know if it actually works.

From a personal perspective the January stimulus package has five major components that will immediately impact individuals with an interest in real estate.

1. Checks from Uncle Sam: According to the White House, taxpayers can receive rebates of up to $600 for individuals and $1,200 for couples. A minimum of $300 per person and $600 per couple will be available to those with at least $3,000 of earned income. This relief will be available to everyone with adjusted gross income less than $75,000 for singles and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly. The rebates will be phased out for taxpayers above those income thresholds.

2. Additional rebates will be mailed out for those with children. Everyone eligible for a rebate would also receive an additional $300 per child. For example, this would mean up to $1,800 of tax relief for an eligible couple with two children.

3. Reduced Income Taxes for Low-Income Wage Earners: The legislation says that 2008 taxes will be eliminated on the first $6,000 of taxable income for individual taxpayers and the first $12,000 of taxable income for couples. The tax rate used to be 10 percent on such income.

4. FHA mortgage loan limits will more than double in some cases. The usual limit in high-cost areas in the lower 48 states will rise from $362,790 to $729,750. Such financing allows buyer to purchase homes with 3 percent down.

5. Conventional loan limits will increase. The maximum size of a "conforming" loan will go from $417,000 to $729,750.

While the benefits for individuals look good, there are some caveats to consider.

First, those rebate checks are a one-time deal. While the government hopes that individuals will use the money for spending, many recipients will use the cash to pay down debts. Paying off bills can be a good use of your cash because it can mean lower monthly costs and better credit scores, thus lowering interest costs when you borrow to finance a home or car.

Second, if you want to buy or refinance with the new class of "conventional jumbo" mortgages, be aware that the FHA and conventional loan limits have only been raised for 2008. It's possible that the old limits will be reinstated in January 2009, so if you want a larger mortgage start planning now.

Third, while the conventional loan limit applies nationwide, the maximum amount you can borrow under the FHA program varies by location. In other words, the biggest loans will not be available everywhere. For specifics regarding your area, please speak with a mortgage counselor.
Or speak with me, The Realtor of Long Beach .... Check back soon for some more info as well as open house invites.

See you around the neighborhood!