Category Archives: Home Sellers

The 7 Most-Needed Repair Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

renovation

Relax. Here’s how to make short work of every common repair annoyance.

These are the 7 most-needed repair tips every homeowner should know.

1. Fix a Leaky Toilet

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Running toilets not only rob sleep, they waste water and jack up your bill. Here’s how to change a flapper — the usual suspect — and solve other likely problems.

Related: How to Fix a Sweaty Toilet

2. Repair Drywall Holes

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The hardest part of drywall repair is making the patch flush with the existing wall. A “pumpkin patch” is an easy repair that cuts down on sanding.

Related: Another Clever Way to Fix Drywall — with Makeup Sponges!

3. Adjust Cabinet Doors

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Changes in humidity can make cabinet doors rub, refuse to close, or just look cockeyed. Adjusting them is easy and generally requires only a screwdriver.

4. Open a Stuck Window

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Windows stick when paint, dust, or moisture builds. Use a utility knife (or a pizza cutter) to remove old paint. Be careful not to gouge the wood sash. If high humidity is making windows hard to move, run a humidifier that sucks moisture out of air.

Related: Save Money with Window Repair Tips

5. Stop a Leaking Faucet

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A dripping faucet can waste 5 gallons of water per day. If you can’t replace the faulty part immediately, tie a string around the faucet and let it fall into the drain: Dripping water will silently flow down the string.

6. Silence Door Squeaks

Take the squeak out of doors by lubricating top and bottom hinges with a little WD-40 or white lithium grease. If you don’t have any on hand, olive oil is a quick but temporary fix.

7. Turn Off the Main Water Line

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Don’t wait until water gushes into your house to search for the main water line. When things are calm and dry, locate and practice turning it on and off.

Access: A Key Component in Getting Your House SOLD!

Via: KCM

So, you’ve decided to sell your house. You’ve hired a real estate professional to help you with the entire process, and they have asked you what level of access you want to provide to potential buyers.

There are four elements to a quality listing. At the top of the list is Access, followed by Condition, Financing, and Price. There are many levels of access that you can provide to your agent so that he or she can show your home.

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Here are five levels of access that you can give to buyers, along with a brief description:

  1. Lockbox on the Door – this allows buyers the ability to see the home as soon as they are aware of the listing, or at their convenience.
  2. Providing a Key to the Home – although the buyer’s agent may need to stop by an office to pick up the key, there is little delay in being able to show the home.
  3. Open Access with a Phone Call – the seller allows showing with just a phone call’s notice.
  4. By Appointment Only (example: 48 Hour Notice) – Many buyers who are relocating for a new career or promotion start working in that area prior to purchasing their home. They often like to take advantage of free time during business hours (such as their lunch break) to view potential homes. Because of this, they may not be able to plan their availability far in advance or may be unable to wait 48 hours to see the house.
  5. Limited Access (example: the home is only available on Mondays or Tuesdays at 2pm or for only a couple of hours a day) – This is the most difficult way to be able to show your house to potential buyers.

In a competitive marketplace, access can make or break your ability to get the price you are looking for, or even sell your house at all.

Home Renovations That Can Hurt (and Help) Property Value

If you’re into renovation projects, then updating and revamping your home can be a lot of fun. But before you get too excited about knocking down walls and setting up a custom movie room, you might want to consider resale value. Flashy renovations don’t always yield the best returns, so you’ll need to take care when picking projects.

To make things easier for you, here are four remodels to avoid and four to invest in.

Model Home 5 bed 3 bath 9227 Lonesome Oak Dr. Temple TX landscaped lawn

Remodels to Avoid

Luxury Rooms
An indoor basketball court, wine cellar, sauna, or even a movie theater won’t often recoup the high building costs. Luxury add-on rooms are hard to pitch to buyers unless you’re living in an upscale housing market—the average homebuyer won’t be willing to pay for them. Further, rooms that depend heavily on wired electronics, like home theaters, are hard to keep current because TVs and speakers are constantly advancing.

Swimming Pool
The average cost to build a pool is $39,084, a hefty price tag that is seldom recovered once the home is sold. It’s widely accepted throughout the industry that a homeowner will lose money by adding a swimming pool. Homebuyers don’t want to deal with the maintenance cost of a pool (which can cost as much as $2,000 a year), the added insurance premiums, and—if they have young kids—the safety issues.

Gaudy Accents
Though gold-plated crown molding or mosaic-tile backsplashes may feature prominently in your ideal vision for your home, they often turn out to be the average homebuyer’s worst nightmare. Passing fads or niche trends rarely stick around long, so if you miss the brief window when your remodeling choices are in, you’ll end up paying for it later.

Changes Contrary to Area Standards
If you aren’t watching the trends common to your area, you could end up losing a lot of money. A home that totals $600,000 after all the renovations won’t sell in a neighborhood where homes are netting half that price. Likewise, knocking down the walls of extra bedrooms for an open layout won’t be appealing in a family-oriented neighborhood.

Remodels that Pay

Steel Doors
You don’t want to go cheap on a standard front door. At roughly $1,000, steel doors are comparatively affordable, durable, low maintenance and burglar resistant. As an added bonus, the National Association of Realtors® reports that steel door upgrades show the highest return on investment of any home remodel, at over 100 percent of the cost.

Solar Panels
As the price of solar panels continues to drop, the energy payback on installing them is becoming greater and greater. The average rooftop solar system is now paid off in seven and a half years. After that, panels are a big money-saving asset. A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory notes that homebuyers “consistently have been willing to pay more for a property” with solar panels—a premium of around $4 per installed watt, on average.

Related: Will Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Solar Panels?

New Siding
The exterior of your house is the first thing potential homebuyers see when they come to your home, and you want to make the best first impression. This is part of the reason redoing your siding is so profitable. New siding recoups around 80 percent of the initial cost, according to the National Association of Realtors®, thanks largely to the increased curb appeal and improved energy efficiency it provides.

Broadband Access
Access to broadband speeds is considered an essential utility for today’s connected homebuyer. Research shows that faster internet speeds increase your home value by as much as 3 percent. Homeowners can prepare their homes for higher broadband connectivity by working with area providers to install requisite equipment and wiring. Building out wall ports and cable-hiding baseboards is a good move to attract buyers, too.

Even if you’re not considering selling your home just yet, keep potential selling benefits in mind. Intrepid homeowners know that the best remodels will increase both quality of life and listing price, so take care to invest in projects that will net the biggest returns.

5 Ways to Freshen Up Your Bathroom

The bathroom is one of the most popular rooms of the house to renovate. But, you don’t have to overhaul it to make it sparkle like new. Below are five tips to enhance the appearance of your bathroom without undertaking an expensive and intensive remodel.

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  1. Paint. Go classic with white, create a spa like space with soothing blues or energize your space with orange or yellow tones. Look online or thru decor magazines for inspiration.
  2. Lighting. See yourself in the most flattering light with New Light Fixtures. New lighting is an easy way to update or modernize a space without gutting it.
  3. Fixtures. As with lighting New faucets add style to your space with minimal effort. Although silver-toned faucets are the choice among Homeowners Brushed Nickel and Polished Chrome are also popular choices
  4. Window Treatments. Tie the look of a room together with blinds, shades,curtains or a combination of these options. Choose BOLD colors to add POP to a room or stay neutral. Whatever you choose make sure it compliments the style of the room.
  5. Accessories. Add style and function with new accessories. If you’d like more storage add a wall cabinet or storage tower.Install a new mirror or towel rack to enhance the look of a room. Buy a new rug to go with the new color scheme and add texture and color with vases,wall decor or similar items. 

Are you looking to buy or sell a home in the Killeen/Fort Hood area? Give me a call!! 254-462-7172

Modtrice Ford- Your friend in Real Estate!

Half of Renters Are Struggling to Afford Rent

The rental affordability crisis is showing signs of worsening: Nearly half of all renters are struggling to pay their monthly payments, according to a new report by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Financial experts usually recommend keeping housing costs around 30 percent of a person’s monthly income. However, the number of renters considered “cost-burdened” – those who spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent – is rising and topped 21.3 million people last year, according to the report. Even more concerning, more than 26 percent are considered “severely cost burdened” and spend more than half of their income to pay for rent.

Read more: Why Renters Can’t Make the Move

Rental costs are skyrocketing across the country, much faster than wages. Inflation-adjusted rents climbed 7 percent from 2001 to 2014. In that same time period, household incomes fell 9 percent, according to the report. Demand for rentals is high, which has pushed vacancy rates down, and given landlords more reason to raise prices.

“These trends have led to record numbers of renters paying excessive amounts of income for housing, with little prospect for meaningful improvement,” according to the report.

The median rent for a new apartment climbed to $1,372 last year, a 26 percent increase from 2012.

It’s not just low-income households that are struggling to keep up too. The number of burdened households with an income of $45,000-$74,999 surged to 21 percent in 2014 from 12 percent in 2001.

The gap between rental costs and household income is widening to unsustainable levels across the country, according to a study released earlier this year by the National Association of REALTORS®. And as more renters face steeper costs, it may put them even further away from home ownership. NAR evaluated income growth, housing costs, and changes in share of renter and owner-occupied households over the past five years in metropolitan statistical areas across the U.S. Over the last five years, a typical rent rose 15 percent, while the income of renters grew by only 11 percent, according to their research.

Source: “Half of All Renters Can’t Afford the Rent,” CNNMoney (Dec. 9, 2015)

Killeen council to examine amending future land-use map

Via KDHnews.com:

The Killeen City Council will have a public hearing and examine amending the Comprehensive Plan’s future land-use map to change a zoning designation at today’s regular meeting.

The land in question is a parcel of about 52 acres located along the north right of way of Stagecoach Road, about 420 feet west of Rein Drive.

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Consideration of an amendment to the FLUM is necessary “because of the applicant’s request to rezone 52.54 acres” from agricultural single-family residential district to single-family residential district, according to a city memorandum.

During a Killeen Planning and Zoning Commission meeting in June, the commissioners recommended, 5-3, that the council disapprove an amendment to the future land-use map requested by W.B.W. Land Investments, a local developer, according to Herald reports.

Council members today also will consider approving the purchase of 42 encrypted digital handheld radios for the police department.

The radios would replace radios that are being phased out of inventories because of a lack of spare parts and support, according to a city memorandum.

“This acquisition will assist the police department in replacing many of its aging radios with new P25-compliant encrypted digital handheld radios in the furtherance of that goal,” the memorandum stated.

The purchase price of the radios is $149,043, and city staff recommended the radios be acquired from Dailey Wells Communications as a sole source procurement for $140,018 and 42 accessory sets (spare batteries, battery chargers and shoulder mics) from Tac 1 Systems for $9,025, based on lowest quoted price.

Other business

Council members will consider the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport Subway Real Estate LLC lease agreement, extending the term for a period of five years from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2020, and authorizing the city manager to execute the agreement.

Also, the council will consider reviewing, discussing and voting on the Killeen Arts Commission’s proposed recommendations for grant allocations of fiscal year 2016 hotel occupancy tax funds.

In June, during a meeting of the Arts Commission, the commission recommended the allocation of funding for eight applicants totaling $166,000.

Among other items, the council will look at three other zoning requests, with one of the requests asking for an amendment to the FLUM to allow a rezoning.

The council meets at 5 p.m. at City Hall, 101 N. College St.

A workshop follows the regular meeting, when the council will receive a briefing and discuss the draft water, wastewater and roadway impact fee study results and the remaining steps in the process for impact fee implementation.

The council also will discuss the fiscal year 2016 proposed budget, including the general fund and aviation.

CFPB Proposes Two-Month Extension of Know Before You Owe Mortgage Rule

Proposal Open for Public Comment Until July 7th

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today issued a proposed amendment to the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule, which proposes to move the rule’s effective date to October 3, 2015. The rule, also called the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule, requires easier-to-use mortgage disclosure forms that clearly lay out the terms of a mortgage for a homebuyer. The Bureau is issuing the proposal to correct an administrative error that would have delayed the effective date of the rule by at least two weeks, until August 15 at the earliest.

The CFPB is proposing a new effective date of Saturday, October 3. The Bureau believes that moving the effective date may benefit both industry and consumers with a smoother transition to the new rules. The Bureau further believes that scheduling the effective date on a Saturday may facilitate implementation by giving industry time over the weekend to launch new systems configurations and to test systems. A Saturday launch is also consistent with existing industry plans tied to the original effective date of Saturday, August 1.

The proposal will be open for public comment until July 7.

A copy of the proposal is available here:http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201506_cfpb_2013-integrated-mortgage-disclosures-rule-under-the-real-estate-settlement-procedures-act-regulation-x-and-the-truth-in-lending-act-regulation-z-and-amendments-delay-of-effective-date.pdf