Posted by Liberty Real Estate on 2/13/2019

Your home can undergo a variety of improvements, both inside and out. Enriching the beauty and value of a home is just one reason for improvements; they should also be to repair any damages. Adding more space or making the home safer are also good reasons for home upgrades. 

There are several different reasons to do improvements, and you will find that many are time-consuming. They are, however, usually worth the energy and time that you put into them; and, you are bound to appreciate the outcome. An improvement alters and changes the home for the better. If you plan to put your home up for sale or wish to make it more livable for your family, there is a lot to be garnered from making home improvements. 

The initial home improvements you should consider are repairs. Attend to any ceiling leak problems, the plumbing job you have been putting off, or that attic insulation that has become necessary. Doing repairs first holds whether you are planning to live in the home yourself, put it up for rent, or put the house on the market.

Home improvement projects that involve restructuring need to be well thought out so that they do not look out of place and mar the street appeal of the house. They are usually done to enhance lighting, provide more space, or improve the home's exterior aspect. Remodeling your home can also mean an improvement in its atmosphere. For instance, if a kitchen wall is removed to create an open concept, it immediately makes the home friendlier and more sociable.

Improvements in your home could involve:

- Repairs of already existing structures

- Remodeling certain rooms of the home to give them a face-lift

- Adding to your home to improve quality of life such as a second bath

- Home improvement projects to add energy efficiency.

Remodeling your kitchen or bath is a smart move if you are planning to put your home up for sale. These upgrades increase the value of the house immediately, and if appropriately researched, can be done with a high return on your investment.

Helping a home's energy efficiency is also an excellent idea for adding resale value, because not only does it reduce the electricity and gas bills, it is a great thing to do for the environment. Improvements in the insulation of the home can be a long-term blessing. Investing in a home so that it harvests solar energy could be another way of improving the house for posterity. 

Do not undertake extensive projects on a whim. It is essential to consider why a specific project is required, and what you gain from the expense. So, home improvements involving repair increase the comfort in the home and its longevity and are therefore essential. But all other sorts of home improvements need careful judgment before embarking on them. 

If you need help determining the return on investment for a particular improvement, talk to your local real estate professional for advice.





Posted by Liberty Real Estate on 1/30/2019

You've probably seen tons of information on finding the best home for the needs of the adults, children and even elderly members of your family, but what about your four-legged family members? Not all dogs are created equal, and if you're going to be a good dog owner, it is important to think of your pets' needs as well. Don't have a dog yet, but want one? Plan in advance by purchasing a home that will already have everything you need.

Outdoor Features

If you have or want to have outdoor pets, it is essential to ensure you have enough space. Some cities have specific space requirements depending on the size or breed of your dog, but even if they don't, you want to be sure your dog isn't uncomfortable. A dog who is used to large running spaces can go nuts with only access to a small townhouse patio or yard. No matter what size of yard you choose, remember that you will be in charge of cleaning it up. Pet defecation is more evident in a smaller yard; especially if you have a large dog. Plan to train your dog to use only a particular area of the yard as his "bathroom" and prepare the are with scoopers or bags so you can regularly clean it up. 

Your dog will also need a space to call his own that's far enough away from the bathroom area. Try setting up a covered area or a dog house to give him somewhere to go. If you live in a high-precipitation area, make sure your dog as a dry refuge when it's pouring out. Similarly, in snowy climates, make sure your dog house is well insulated and equipped with a warm bed to keep them comfortable all winter long.

Indoor Features

For indoor only or indoor/outdoor dogs, your interior layout and features come into play. Smaller dogs with furry feet often get going super quickly indoors and can slide around on tile or wood flooring. Plan for that by including rugs in walking spaces and keeping low walls clear of dangerous objects into which your dog might slide. Interior dogs can be especially hard on a carpet. For best results, ensure you have a heavy-duty rug that can take some damage and is easy to clean, such as the same carpet you would choose for small children. Watch the length of your dog's nails, since overly-long sharp nails can gouge your flooring and paint jobs.

Tell your real estate professional about any pets during the buying process so they can assist you in finding that special property for your four-legged friends.




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Posted by Liberty Real Estate on 1/23/2019

If you have a list of home contractors that you use and are satisfied with, consider your yourself lucky!

Many homeowners find themselves in the unenviable position of having to blindly search online for reputable contractors, sort their way through dozens of miscellaneous reviews, and then hopefully find a handful of promising candidates to interview.

Even after all that, there's no guarantee you'll be 100% satisfied with your choice!

Although picking a contractor may sometimes feel like a gamble, there are strategies for lowering your risk factor.

A personal recommendation from someone you know and trust is usually the most reliable method of finding the right person for the job. If a relative or friend has had a positive experience with a roofer, bathroom remodeler, or plumber, then there's a good chance, you'll be satisfied with them, too. It's still a good idea to get two or three contractor estimates, but a good starting point is to have at least one recommendation from someone who has your best interest at heart.

Do Online Reviews Help?

Online review sites can also provide helpful information and feedback, but they're not always the "unvarnished truth". In spite of efforts by review sites to discourage biased reviews, some are probably going to slip through. For example: Have you ever read a review that sounded like it was an advertisement for the contractor? Sometimes when the praise sounds just a little too glowing and over the top, you can't help but wonder if those reviews are genuine and unbiased. Although the majority of online reviews are probably legit, the best way to view them is with a healthy dose of skepticism.

When it comes to the occasional scathing review by a disgruntled customer, one has to put it in context and look at "the big picture." There are some customers who are literally impossible to satisfy and will always find something to complain about. However, if a contractor has more than one or two negative reviews online, and they're not offset by a couple dozen positive ones, then that could be a potential red flag. Since you don't know the reviewers personally, and the reviews are often posted anonymously, the credibility factor is much lower than if you got a recommendation from one of your parents, a close friend, a next-door neighbor, a sibling, business associate, or your real estate agent.

The point at which you should be able to separate the "wheat from the chaff" is during your face-to-face meetings. If a contractor gives every you indication of being professional, honest, knowledgeable, experienced, ethical, and customer-service oriented, then they're probably a good prospect for the job. Other factors include the price they quote, their Better Business Bureau rating, and their willingness to provide references, proof of insurance coverage (such as general liability and Workers' Comp, if applicable) and direct answers to all your questions





Posted by Liberty Real Estate on 1/16/2019

Searching for the ideal home is an exciting adventure, but it can also be fraught with setbacks, delays, and disappointments. With a little preparation, however, you can avoid many of the potential pitfalls that could happen along the way.

One of the secrets of successful house hunters is to adopt a positive attitude, but temper it with a dose of realism.

Flexibility is also important, but it pays to be steadfast about your absolute requirements, also known as your "must have" list.

To help ensure a successful house hunting experience, here are a few of the key attitudes and qualities that are worth taking inventory of and cultivating.

Persistence: Although it does happen, it's unlikely that the house of your dreams is going to show up at the beginning of your search. As seasoned house hunters know, it's not unusual to have to look at dozens of houses for sale before finding just the right one. But even when you've reached that turning point, there still may be obstacles, hurdles, and challenges to deal with. The perfect example is a bidding war. What if you're all ready to make an offer on the ideal house, but it turns out that one or more other buyers have their sights set on that same house? That can not only be stressful, but it can stretch your housing budget to its outer limits (and beyond)! On one hand, you have to be willing to walk away from a property that would leave you "house poor", but on the other hand, you may want to consider pursuing a real estate deal that's on the high end of your budget, but financially doable. Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent who's a skilled negotiator can help give you an edge when you're confronted with a so-called "bidding war."

Optimism: If you view house hunting as a process which will eventually produce your desired outcome, then you'll be a lot more motivated to go the distance, rather than lower your standards or give up entirely. A positive attitude will help you overcome setbacks, identify workable solutions, and recognize opportunities when they present themselves.

Organization: Whether you prefer the idiom "The devil is in the details" or "God is in the details," the lesson is still the same: Small details can have a big impact. Staying goal-oriented and organized can help propel you forward and avoid frustrations. Knowing your credit score, establishing a realistic housing budget, and scheduling meetings with mortgage lenders will help you stay on course, be prepared, and steer clear of unnecessary delays. It also helps to take notes, create lists, and follow a daily or weekly action plan.

Buying a house is an important priority which can affect the quality of your life in many ways. By staying organized, focused, and positive about your search, your chances of success will be enhanced many times over.




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Posted by Liberty Real Estate on 1/9/2019

A home is one of the biggest purchases that an individual can make in his or her lifetime. It also may prove to be expensive, particularly for those who fail to plan ahead for the property buying journey.

There is no need to break your budget to acquire your dream residence. In fact, there are many quick, easy ways to guarantee you can keep you finances in check and avoid the risk of spending too much to purchase your ideal house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can buy a quality house at a budget-friendly price.

1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

You want to buy a home, but you still have no idea how much you can spend on a residence. Thankfully, if you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can enter the real estate market with a budget in hand. As a result, you will know exactly how much you can spend on a house and can plan accordingly.

Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to meet with you. These mortgage specialists can review your income, credit score and other relevant financial data. Then, they can provide you with mortgage options based on your finances.

2. Narrow Your Home Search

Although most people want to buy a mansion, it is important to establish realistic homebuying expectations. Because if you narrow your home search to properties that fall within your price range, you can speed up the property buying journey. Perhaps most important, you can shop around to find a terrific home that corresponds to your budget.

Don't forget to consider homes in a variety of cities and towns too. In some instances, it may prove to be more cost-effective to purchase a house in a small town than a residence in a big city.

3. Evaluate Your Short- and Long-Term Plans

Think about your short- and long-term plans, and you may be better equipped than ever before to map out your home finances for the foreseeable future.

For instance, if you plan to raise a family in the years to come, you may want to consider the costs associated with childcare and other child expenses. This will allow you to budget properly as you search for your dream home.

On the other hand, if you recently accepted a work promotion, your income soon may rise. In this situation, you may be able to increase your homebuying budget due to the fact that extra income will be coming your way.

Lastly, as you get ready to search for a house, you may want to hire a real estate agent. In addition to helping you find a home that matches your budget, a real estate agent will offer expert guidance throughout the property buying journey. He or she will help you prepare for a home inspection, closing and other important steps during the homebuying process. By doing so, a real estate agent will help you seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey and achieve the optimal results.




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