Archive for January, 2013

January 31, 2013

Buying vs. Building

 

buyingvsbuildingNumerous decisions are involved in the purchase of a home.  The most important decision, which will impact the rest of the process, is whether to build your own home or buy an existing home.  Each strategy has its own advantages as well as disadvantages.  Owning a home is a great experience, but can be a stressful event; be prepared for what lies ahead of you.

Buying

vs.

Building

Pros

  • If your reasonable offer is accepted, you could live there within 30-45 days.

 

  • Tremendous sentimental value and personal pride in making it “your home”.
  • Usually not part of a Homeowner’s Association, giving you more personal freedom and more choices.

 

  • Personalize everything from the floor plan, to carpets, to fixtures, to appliances, paint colors, etc.
  • Already in an established area – It’s easier to consider the character of the home and the area it is located in.
  • Energy Efficient – Better, current building standards, better materials, and the most efficient appliances and systems; very important with the continually rising energy costs!

 

  • Better value – Usually able to negotiate a better price on the home.  Appliances and fixtures typically included, desired upgrades can be negotiated into the purchase.
  • Deferred maintenance – You know moving in that you will not need to replace the roof or any larger systems for many years.  Unforeseen issues should be covered by a warranty.

 

  • Less stress – Much less to consider during the buying process, less decisions to be made and/or negotiated.  Don’t forget to consider home inspections!
  • Many new communities offer other incentives such as recreational facilities, community maintenance, and locations closer to new stores, etc.

 

  • Usually have complete and mature landscaping. 
  • Latest technology built-in, from wiring to high speed internet, to the latest architectural trends, etc.

Buying

vs.

Building

Cons

  • Older floor plans do not have the same good traffic flow and open feeling that most new homes possess.
  • Usually takes 6-7 months to build, but you may want to count on another 1-2 months for unforeseen issues that may arise; bad weather, material defects, builder’s schedule.

 

  • Most likely will not have everything you want.  You will have to be willing to make some compromises on your list of wants/needs.
  • New construction typically has higher costs and most initial estimates are not accurate.  A lot can change during the building process.
  • Immediate maintenance or renovations may be necessary to personalize the home or even make it livable.
  • Might have to live with the noise and construction vehicle traffic if you are located in a new community; it could go on for months.
  • Less energy efficient!  Might also need updates on wiring and other major systems depending on the age of the home.

There is no wrong or right choice; only your personal preference.  The best things you can do are to plan ahead; review the pros and cons of each choice thoroughly; determine your budget and stick to it; consider job security and long-term plans for being in the area; and last, but not least, don’t forget about maintaining your own sanity!

 

Let us help you follow the path that best suits you!

January 28, 2013

Thinking about your next home project?

winterDoing any type of work on your home can be a thrilling adventure. Conventional thinking has been to tackle home improvement and remodeling projects during the spring and summer months. Well, it is time to change the way you think! One of the best-kept remodeling secrets is to do your remodeling work during the winter months.

  • The Price is Right-Contractors may provide incentives during the winter if their work is slow. You can also beat the typical price increases that occur in the spring for items like lumber, windows, cabinets, etc.
  • Beat the rush-Don’t try to schedule your projects when everyone else is! Right now many contractors have less to do and can schedule and perform your renovations a lot quicker. This is the best time for those interior projects like painting, replacing flooring, updating lights, or replacing cabinets.
  • What about the mess? Don’t be concerned about dust and fumes. With the products and technology available today, contractors are able to contain the mess to their work area. Items such as plastic zip doors, fans with negative pressure, and filters to seal off heat ducts are available to insure that your family won’t be inhaling anything they shouldn’t be!
  • Less Interruption-Many folks plan vacations to escape the long, cold months of winter. That is a great time to have work done at your home. You won’t have to deal with the inconvenience and havoc that remodeling can sometimes cause in your daily life. So go on, relax, enjoy a break. When you return you’ll find only a beautifully, completed home renovation project; no mess and no hassle for you.
  • Outside Project? Yes, if the weather cooperates, you might even be able to cross one of these projects off your to-do list. Outdoor painting may not be such a good idea, but building a deck, porch, or other addition might just be a possibility.

It’s time to “think outside the box”. Get your contractor working during the off-season. You may be able to save yourself money and get your projects done a lot sooner than you thought! Your contractor may even thank you for keeping them working during these slow winter months.

It’s a win-win situation for all!

January 25, 2013

Snow Shoveling Safety

shoveling-snowDepending on where you live, a few snowflakes may have already fallen. Many people look forward to the first snow fall that elegantly drapes the trees and shrubs. After that initial glee wears off the reality of the situation will finally hit; now you have to shovel! We hope these snow shoveling tips will keep you from injuring yourself this winter and may actually make this chore more enjoyable.

  • Snow shoveling is no different than any other physical activity, check with your doctor first to make sure it is safe for you and then warm up properly. Yes, you read correctly. Stretch and warm-up the same as you would before exercising. Be sure to stretch your hamstrings, back, and shoulders. Pace yourself, start slowly and build up your pace, do not attack it just to get it done!
  • Dress for success. Dress in layers that can be removed if you start to overheat, and also make sure they are easy to move around in. Wear a hat, your head is where you lose the most heat. Proper boots will keep your feet warm and dry and also provide traction on slippery surfaces. Finally, make sure your gloves are heavy enough to keep fingers warm, prevent blisters, and give you a good firm grip on your shovel.
  • Proper Equipment. You are almost ready to begin; now you need the best shovel for the job. Shovels come in many shapes, sizes, and materials. Plastic shovels will weigh less; after all, isn’t the snow heavy enough? A smaller shovel blade will move less snow each swipe, but will also keep you from lifting more weight than you should. An ergonomic shovel (with a curved handle) will help you keep the correct form, keeping your spine straighter, which means less chance of injury. Another tip is to spray the blade of your shovel with a silicone lubricant to keep snow from sticking. PAM cooking spray actually works very well!
  • Have a plan. You are now ready to head outside. Remove snow from around your front door and on your sidewalk as you go along. Removing it before you trample it is much easier than trying to scrape it up later. Now it’s time to tackle the driveway. Consider it to be a rectangle. Clean around the edges first. Then move/push everything the shortest distance; pushing snow from the middle toward the closest outside edge. Choose a spot to dump your snow that will be close, but also out of the way. You do NOT want to have to move it twice! Clean the snow off all vehicles in your driveway before you clean around them. Be thorough, but not too fussy! After clearing the bulk of the snow, spread some de-icer, and let the sun do the rest of the work for you.
  • Maintain proper posture. Use your legs muscles as much as possible; pushing more than lifting it you can. If you must lift, keep your back straight and bend at your knees. Keep the shovel close to your body and one hand close to the shovel blade for better leverage. Throw snow in front of you, not over your shoulder. Do not twist your body; always keep it in front of you as you throw.
  • Some final tips:
    • Keep hydrated and rest often.
    • Remove snow as it accumulates rather than dealing with it all at once.
    • Avoid caffeinated beverages and energy drinks which will elevate your heart rate before you even begin.
    • Recruit. It’s much easier and quicker when you get help for this task!
    • Stretch when you are done and use an ice pack and ibuprofen to relieve inflamed muscles.

Reward yourself with some well-deserved rest after this “back-breaking” chore.
YOU’VE EARNED IT!

January 21, 2013

Property Information at Your Finger Tips

While looking at properties, call or text our Home Info 24/7 phone number and get property details before you even leave the curb.

ADAMS & YORK: (717) 801-1845
BERKS: (610) 228-4346
CHAMBERSBURG: (717) 496-0826
CUMBERLAND, DAUPHIN & PERRY: (717) 798-3858
LANCASTER & LEBANON: (717) 715-1835
MARYLAND: (433) 268-0780
SCHUYLKILL: (570) 385-1488

You’re on the go – grocery shopping, taking care of the kids, your morning commute, or just cruising through a neighborhood where you might like to live. Every time you see a home you like, the yard sign has a different phone number to find out more. Try calling that number during the evening or on the weekend, and you may find that the office is closed or the agent is unavailable. At Prudential Homesale, we think it should be easy for you to find out more about any home for sale when it’s convenient for you.

Prudential Homesale’s Home Info 24/7 is your curbside connection. Listen to current information about ANY HOME for sale with ANY COMPANY by using ONE phone number.  Hear estimated monthly mortgage payments, and have the option to connect to your Prudential Homesale real estate agent.

This voice technology is simple enough for even the most basic telephone. But, it also has robust features such as text confirmation and photos for iPhones, Droids and other smart phones. Find out everything you want to know about a property… while you are sitting right in front of it… even without getting out of your car.

Get the info you want…before you drive away. For more information contact your Prudential Homesale agent or activate your phone online at http://www.AllHomesAllPhones.com today!

January 16, 2013

Ongoing Winter Home Maintenance

The holidays will come and go but we still have a few more months of winter to endure. Here are some tips for keeping your home in tip-top shape during the weather.

January 2013 IOV - Ecard

These simple steps could help you navigate the next few months without home repair headaches!

January 10, 2013

Tips on Fixing Up a Garage

garage-door-installationThe garage is often an overlooked area in many homes, becoming nothing more than a storage space for tools, vehicles, and miscellaneous household items. With the right plan, some basic materials and tools, and time, anyone can turn their garage into a useful and comfortable room.

Importance of a Good Door
Garage doors typically lift to open the entire front portion of the space. Choosing one that provides a measure of security is important to protecting your home. Features to consider when choosing a door:

  • Can it be operated by remote? Most automatic doors today come with both handy remotes and a switch placed on the wall.
  • Does it have automatic lights for safety and convenience?
  • What material would best suit your home and needs? Steel, wood, and plastic are the most common options today.

Insulating the Walls
There are typically no heating or air conditioning ducts running into the garage space, so it can be very cold in the winter and very warm in the summer. This does not make for an ideal place to spend any length of time. In order to make it more comfortable, insulation will need to be put in.

  •  Many heavy duty steel doors come with foam insulated backs. This is great for temperature control, and it can also reduce the amount of noise coming through from the outside. Insulation also prevents serious dents and damage to the door.
  • If you live in an area with three or four seasons of weather changes, you can save money on your home heating and cooling bills by insulating the walls.
  • Foam board insulation is affordable and easy to install. Spray foam can be blown into the crevices and along the area where the ceiling meets the wall.

Flooring
Most garage floors are cement. They can be painted for aesthetic purposes. You could also choose a floor protector pad.

  • Floor mats are perfect for protection. They can be placed in the area where vehicles will be parked, or used to cover the entire area.
  • An epoxy coating will offer protection from stains and keep the floor from deteriorating over time.
  • If vehicles will not be stored in the space, carpeting may be an option.

Storage Options
Even if you plan to use the garage as an area to spend time in, you will likely still want to have ample storage space. You can consider many options and come up with a design that allows you to make the most use of the space.

  • Stand-alone Shelving is typically made from heavy duty plastic or metal. Once built, they can be placed in the desired area and moved when needed.
  • Wall shelving is a good option for keeping items off of the floor and maximizing use of the space.
  • Cabinets are a great choice for keeping a clean, uncluttered appearance.

Thank you to Cassie for writing and providing us with this great information!

January 3, 2013

Real Estate Resolutions…

new-yearHave you made your New Year’s Resolution? Most folks want to improve themselves and find ways to make their day-to-day personal or work life better. Real estate resolutions are right up there with weight-loss, a dream vacation, to stop smoking, etc. But there is much more to a real estate resolution than deciding to buy or sell a home. If a real estate resolution is on your list, be sure you have considered these “micro-resolutions” as well.

BUYERS:

  • Find a Real Estate Agent Now – Engaging a Realtor early in the process will allow you to get to know each other and determine your goals. REALTORS® will advise you and make valuable recommendations, such as reputable lenders, problem areas during a showing, questions to ask the home inspector, etc.
  • Save Down Payment Money – Today, there are numerous loan options available to homebuyers, with different down payment criteria. Consider meeting with a lender to discuss these options in advance and determine how much you should start putting aside.
  • Pay-Off / Clean-up your Debt – This is a top goal for most folks today, even if not considering a real estate purchase. Again, you should consider meeting with a professional for guidance on this task. They can help you identify your credit issues and come up with a plan to correct them before you are ready to buy. Keep in mind, it could take as much as six months to clean up your credit.
  • Boost your Credit Score – Along those same lines as above, you should pull your own credit report (annualcreditreport.com) to see where you stand versus where you should be. Review for any discrepancies or errors and take care of them as soon as possible.
  • Start Early – Going to open houses is an easy way to see what is on the real estate market. But, you should begin doing your homework even before this step. Familiarize yourself with the current housing market, understand home values, and determine the home prices by neighborhood. Going to open houses is a good second step and a great way to meet your future real estate agent

SELLERS:

  • Find a Real Estate Agent Now – A Realtor doesn’t just show and sell homes, they can be a valuable adviser on issues that arise before settlement. Your agent can help you get your home ready to sell, decide on the best asking price, market your home effectively, and negotiate on your behalf; their knowledge will save you time and money. Ask family, friends, or neighbors, for a good recommendation.
  • Think of your Home as a Product – Buyers will compare your home and your list price to other competing properties. A home that is priced correctly and shows well, will sell the fastest. Your Realtor can help you determine the best listing price for your home, while you work on getting it in the best shape to show! A home that shows well is clean, clutter-free and as up-to-date as possible. Your Realtor can also help you determine which home “projects” will be the most practical and bring you the best return on your investment.
  • Plan your Strategy and Timing – Uprooting from a home is not easy. One of the big stresses can be planning to sell your home at the same time you try to buy another. There are lots of things to consider in this situation; must you sell before you buy? Will you be able to sell at a price that will give you enough return? It’s a lot to think about and plan for; it helps to have a strategy in place well before you take action. A knowledgeable real estate agent in Maryland or Pennsylvania can help you establish your plan.
  • Save Down Payment Money – See above, the same holds true for sellers who will also be purchasing a home
  • Pay-Off / Clean-up your Debt – See above, the same holds true for sellers who will also be purchasing a home

- – – – -

Give each of your resolutions some thought and proper planning now
to help insure that you stick with them during the upcoming year and see them through to the end.

We wish you much happiness and success in 2013.

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