WOULD YOU RATHER……BUILD OR BUY?

shutterstock_90651643

You’ve made decisions in your personal life and career; you’ve worked hard and now consider yourself established. The time has arrived where you are ready to own a home, and make that dream a reality.

But now you’re faced with the option of creating your own home from the floor up or purchasing a pre-existing home in your preferred town/city. Either buying or building a house will get you into a place to call home, but they are two very different paths with pro’s and con’s that need to be addressed. Here is a guide to weigh your options.

Buying a home can be as simple as contacting your local Realtor, going on showings, finding the right home for your life and having your offer be accepted. However, when it comes to purchasing a home there are numerous details and steps to consider during the buying process.

Building your own home gives you the flexibility to have things just the way you would like, to your own individual specifications. Building new means starting with a blank canvas, but even with the added conveniences, there are some drawbacks.

 

PRO’S

Buying

Building

* Convenience* Cost – Best value, usually able to negotiate better price on the home.* Appliances and fixtures are typically included, desired upgrades can be negotiated into the purchase.* If your offer is accepted, you can likely close and move into your new home in 30-45 days.

* Less stress – Much less considering during the buying process, less decisions to be made and/or negotiated. Don’t forget to consider home inspections.

* Already in an established area – easier to consider the character of the home and the area it is located in.

* Landscaping is usually complete and matured.

* Tremendous sentimental value and personal pride in making it ‘your home’.* Everything is able to be customizable from the carpet in the living room to the countertops in the kitchen and everything in between; structurally and design-wise.* Everything is brand new and up-to-date.*Construction materials and building code will be up to the latest standards.

* Energy efficient – better building standards, new quality materials and efficient appliances and systems.

* Deferred maintenance – you will not have to replace a leaky roof or water heater for many years. Unforeseen issues will most likely be covered by a warranty.

* New communities offer incentives such as recreational facilities, community maintenance and locations close to stores.

 

CON’s

Buying

Building

* Older floors plans do not have the same fluid traffic flow and opening feeling that most new homes possess.* You will most likely have to make compromises on your list of wants and needs.* Existing homes are often in need of some maintenance or renovations.* Less energy efficient – might need updates on wiring and other major systems depending on the age of the home. * Usually take s 6-7 months to build, and you may even have to wait 1-2 more months depending on unforeseen issues; bad weather, builder’s schedule, material defects.* New construction typically has higher costs and most initial estimates are not accurate. A lot can change during the building process.* Might have to live with the noise and construction vehicle traffic if you are located in a new community, which could go on for months.* The personal time commitment can be draining emotionally and financially.

*Must also purchase the land for your house to be built on.

 

 

The decision to build or buy is not an easy one and each has its own set of advantages and problems that need to be carefully weighed against one other. There is no wrong or right choice; only your personal preference.  The best thing you can do is 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!

 

 

WOULD YOU RATHER……BUILD OR BUY?

Affordable Home Heating

homeheatingApproximately 1/3 of our nation’s energy consumption comes from the residential sector and about 70% of this usage is from homes that are more than 30 years old.

Whether you are heating one of these older homes or a home built more recently; saving money AND energy is important to all of us.  Here are some strategies you can employ to save on winter heating costs, help the environment, and stay warm!

  • Power of Knowledge – An energy audit of your home is a great place to start.  Some utility companies will perform them for free!  This will show you exactly where most of the warm air is escaping and cold air is entering.  They can also provide detailed plans on ways to warm up your home.  A DIY method is to hold a stick of incense near windows, doors, and any other place there might be a gap; then watch for the smoke to blow inwards.  Leaks can be fixed by using caulk, insulation, or by replacing worn weather-stripping.
  • Programmable Thermostat – If your home in not equipped with one, this is a great investment.  Different heating schedules for different days of the week can be easily created.  You can make sure your home is warm when occupied and saves you money when it’s empty.  Reduced heating costs can also be accomplished by keeping the temperature at a consistent level, avoiding spikes up or down.
  • Insulation – Lack of proper insulation may be more of an issue in older homes, but there are ways to remedy it with relative ease. Trained installers can inject a nonflammable foam resin into existing walls.  The foam is filled with tiny air bubbles that increase its heating and cooling properties.  Older homes were built to “breathe”; make sure the professional you hire knows how to determine the correct amount of insulation for your particular home.
  • Room Isolation – Don’t waste heat on empty spaces; shut the door of any room that is not being used.  Smaller rooms and bedrooms can often be heated by an electric space heater (at a much lower cost) instead of using your home’s central heating system.  Don’t heat the entire house at night when all you really need is a warm bedroom.  (Use extra care and follow all manufacturers’ instructions for space heaters)
  • Fireplace/Indoor stove – When properly used and maintained, they can be efficient sources of heat for multiple rooms and/or your entire home.  Some indoor stoves can generate more heat than common home furnaces.
  • Dress warmly – Wool socks, warm sweaters, slippers, and blankets can all help keep you warm, while allowing you to reduce your home’s indoor temperature.  This can also apply to your windows.  “Dressing” them with heavier drapes during this time of year can help retain heat in your home when they are closed at night.

 

There are many easy, economical ways to improve your home’s heat efficiency, try a few of these to see what a difference they can make!  Keep your home warm and comfy for less!

Askhomesale.com offers a whole range of real estate topics from tips for homeowners, home buyers, and home sellers alike.

Affordable Home Heating

Quick Tips for Selling Quickly

Sell-your-house-fast-nutleyPatience is a virtue for just about any circumstance including selling your home. Yet sometimes you must sell quickly when a job opportunity arises or you face an abrupt lifestyle change. Assuming your home is in good condition and free of liens, here are several tips to help expedite a sale.

1. Price your house correctly: Working with your agent, choose a price that’s somewhat lower than what you’re seeing in the market, but not too low that it will send up red flags. Let your agent establish a price he or she feels will make your house the buzz of the neighborhood. The amount may not be what you had envisioned—remember, the market has changed substantially over the last five years—yet when priced slightly below comparable sales you should attract serious buyers.
Many Prudential Homesale agents use the Prudential Value Range Marketing SM as an additional pricing resource. Instead of setting a specific price, a value range is selected enabling sellers to entertain offers in a defined range.

2. Be flexible, compromise: know your basement price and don’t be offended by offers within those parameters. Consider negotiating housewares and fixtures that may appeal to prospective buyers, such as those expensive new drapes you just installed, the dining-room chandelier or that slick, washer-drier combo. Conduct a complete inventory of household features to determine what you can and can’t live without.

3. Remove the clutter from your home: This must be done regardless of time frame. Throw away anything you won’t be taking with you and pack in storage items that you won’t miss during the sale process. Consider renting a storage pod that can be picked up and eventually moved to your new home.

4. Offer incentives: One popular incentive for a fast closing is to share or pay for your buyer’s closing costs. You may also offer higher commissions for a fast sale, which may lead to even more showings.

5. Rent to buy: If there’s interest in your home but no one is willing to step up to meet your timeline, offer prospective buyers the chance to rent your property with the right to buy it in six months or a year. Both parties win, as buyers can experience the home and neighborhood firsthand while you transition with cash flow to cover expenses.
Indeed, home-selling requires time and patience yet there are several things you can do to help expedite the process, if necessary. With flexibility and creativity, you can increase your chances of a quick sale.

Quick Tips for Selling Quickly

Personalize Your Home

A few simple improvements can help define your personal style
and will make your space feel more like home!

Kitchen

»        Swap your knobs – Add a little pizzazz.  Pick a pattern and finish that will accentuate your kitchen’s style and décor.

»        Hang pendant light – Install one over your kitchen sink to create an elegant focal point and to make sure you can see as you scrub pots and pans!

photo1»        Create an island – Paint a beloved bureau, desk, or sideboard to match your cabinets and top with butcher block for extra work space.  Extend 12” past one long side to create an instant breakfast bar.

»        Open plate rack – Install one for a touch of cottage charm.  It also makes storing everyday dishes a breeze and leaves your countertops clutter-free!

Bath

photo2»        Dress up walls – Wainscot or simple strips of lumber can form a board-and-batten treatment that protects drywall and provides an anchor for installing hooks and towel rods.

»        Wall Sconces – Install on each side of the mirror at eye level (66” from floor) for flattering lighting that won’t cast shadows on your face.

»        Storage cubby – Carve a space between the wall studs in a space-challenged bathroom.  Line it with beadboard and wrap the opening with trim or simply install a prefab wall niche, available in many shapes, sizes and designs!

 

Living Space

photo3»        Wall Rack – Perfect for a closet-less entry.  Install a rack with hooks and baskets for storage of coats, keys, and more.  Customize it with paint for any look you would like.

»        Stair Runner – Install for a splash of color and cushiony comfort.  Woven cotton runners are affordable and easy to work with.  Vacuum regularly to keep shipshape.

»        Use Wallpaper – In small doses….it can be used to boost any room’s personality.  Use to cover a door, add to stair risers, or line the back of a bookcase for a hint of color and pattern.  Have fun exploring the wide array of colors and textures available.  Be creative!

 

Exterior

»           Boost curb appeal – With container plants.  This is an easy way to experiment with different plant varieties.  You can even move them around until you find the perfect spot for their growth!

»           Dress up your porch – Treat it like any other room in your house.  Add homey touches like a painted floor, ceiling fan and comfy furnishings.  Encourage guest to kick back and relax!

photo4»           Front Entry focal point – A handsome door painted in a vibrant hue will set your house apart from the neighbors and will cheerfully greet your guests.  Complete the look with elegant hardware, furnishings, and plants.

»           Doorbell – Install one that compliments your home’s style and other hardware.

If you liked these tips check out some other articles we have posted for homeowners  

How to Paint Like a Pro  |  Dress-up Your Homes Decor  |  Decorate Your Homes Kitchen  |  Dress Up Your Backyard

This article was provided by Prudential Homesale;

According to REAL Trends, Prudential Homesale is the 13th most successful Realtor nationwide, among the top 50, in the combined delivery of home servicesreal estate sales, mortgage closings, title closings, insurance sales, and home warranty sales.  Prudential Homesale is ranked the 3rd most successful Prudential Real Estate franchise in the country in closed transactions.

Prudential Homesale’s 28 offices serve 11 contiguous south central Pennsylvania counties plus Maryland’s Baltimore and Carroll counties.  Prudential Homesale offers consumers a menu of services including realty, mortgage, settlement, insurance, warranty, relocation, builder/developer services, career services, and a complete customer care center. Information about the company can be found at www.PrudentialHomesale.com. Prudential Homesale is the #1 homeseller in south central Pennsylvania.

Personalize Your Home

April To-Do List

April 2013 IOV - Ecard

——-

“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”
– William Shakespeare

Spring is in full-swing….let it inspire you to make the most of this month! It’s a terrific time to get out into the fresh air and to let the fresh air in as well! Here are a few ideas to get you started…

  • Inspect window screens for tears/bent frames, clean with a mild soap and soft bristle brush; allow to dry thoroughly before installing.
  • Cleaning the carpets is another way to bring a fresh feel to your home. Rent a carpet steamer or call in a professional.
  • Get out into the garden. Clean up leftover leaves and debris, turn the soil allowing it to breathe, and get prepared for planting.
  • Check garden hoses for leaks; repair or replace damaged hoses. Do not leave hoses connected to an outdoor spigot until the danger of frost is completely over!
  • Pre-plant your herbs. Start them in smaller, indoor pots and transplant to larger outdoor pots or beds when the time is right.
  • Inspect outdoor structures for deterioration – especially signs of rot. Check fences, railings, window sills. Plan to repair or replace any damage you discover once the weather turns fair.
  • Prepare for the outdoor cooking season! Inspect your grill; replace any worn or damaged parts. Remove and clean cooking grates with soapy water and a brass bristle brush. Remove grease from lava rocks or briquettes by turning them over, igniting the burners, and allowing the heat to “clean” them for 10 minutes. Check propane levels to ensure your grill is ready when you are!
  • For a real seasonal shift…change over cushions, sheets, and throws to lighter or brighter colors. Pick colors that will compliment what is already there.
  • Inspect the washing machine. Turn off the water, remove the supply hoses and examine them and the washers. Replace worn or damaged parts.
  • Last but not least….Get your bikes out of the shed, dust them off, and have them tuned-up by a pro!

Tackle these items early in the month so you can get out, get active, and make the most of the warm weather before it is gone again!

April To-Do List

Dress up your Décor

dress-up-you-decorNeutrals are safe, easy to decorate around, and lend themselves to any design theme.  Preferring a simple, neutral décor does not mean you are boring or dull!  You can show off your personality and sense of style by “dressing up” up a neutral room!

A neutral is any color that stays in the background and doesn’t take over a room.  Popular choices are beige, grey, ecru, cream, and brown.  So when you can’t decide on a color for a room or furniture; keep it neutral and flexible.  It will provide the perfect backdrop for easy, seasonal, and personal-style changes.

  • Start with the walls – A neutral wall color keeps the room warm and white, contrasting trim will make the walls “pop”.  A perfect combination!
  • Carpet – Install a neutral color, trying for a shade or two darker than your walls.  You can buy a less expensive carpet, because using area rugs in various colors or prints is a popular trend for adding color to a room.  (plush padding can be installed for better carpet wear and to make it feel more expensive)
  • Hardwood – If this is your preference in flooring, any wood tone will be fine.
  • Furniture – Stick with neutral colors, but explore the great variety of textures and patterns that are available to break up the monotony.  Rattan or wicker, and leather are considered neutrals and can add a bit of rich elegance to a room.  If you are trying to save money, slipcovers and second-hand finds can also work great.
  • Recycle – Paint end tables, coffee tables, nightstands, in the same color with an enamel finish.  Matching your tables to the walls will give the room a larger, less-cluttered look.

Once you have your neutral palette complete, it’s time to have some fun!!

Accent color – This is used to bring some emphasis to your color scheme.  Accents are expected to be a bit “bold”.  You have the flexibility to add as much or as little as you want!  Start with a key piece of wall art or an area rug to “anchor” your space.  Look for colorful accessories to compliment the base color and these “anchor” pieces.  Here are some suggestions…

• Lamps         • Candles
• Artwork      • Throw Pillows
• Vases           • Throw Blanket

Texture – Not sure about adding color, then add texture.  It will add dimension and depth to your décor.  Wicker containers will add a roughness, while mirrors and glass will add sleek, smoothness.  Soft plush bedding or pillows will add comfort and warmth.  An area rug will bring coarseness and help define the space.

Greenery – Add life and movement to any room with plants.  Potted plants, colorful flowers, hanging ferns, garland, and swags are a great way to add a splash of color.  Place in the corner of a room, atop cabinetry, on tables or a decorative plant stand.

Follow these simple suggestions to show off your personality and style.  
Change it up seasonally or whenever you have the urge.  
You don’t have to break the bank to re-decorate or rejuvenate a room in your home…go ahead, have some fun!

Dress up your Décor

March Home Tasks

The official start of spring is just around the corner. Now is the perfect time to prepare your home; time to get ready for that fresh, new beginning that spring will always bring.

March Home Tips

Get these simple chores done now, so when spring does finally arrive, you are ready to sit back, relax and enjoy it!

March Home Tasks