12/24/2013

Home Improvement 2014!

Looking for a post holiday project?  

Who couldn't use a little more closet space?







Adding Closet Space – What to Consider Before You Start
When you have more items to store than closet space, something's got to give. Building and installing a closet is a fairly low-cost solution that the average adult is capable of doing. In a weekend's time, with a little planning and knowledge, you can transform an unused area into the most useful spot in the room.

Planning a Closet
If you're going to build a closet, you might as well build it right. It's too late, after it's built, to wish you had done something different. Taking time to plan any home improvement project will prevent regrets later.
If you want to skip the DIY process and hire a professional to build your closet, these planning tips will still help you determine exactly what will work for your space and budget.
How will you use the closet? A closet full of linens can be narrow and shallow and still work well, while a walk-in closet for clothes needs to be much deeper. Consider what you want to store and how much space it requires.
How would you like to equip it? Decide whether you want clothes rods, shelves, organizers, drawers, or any special features such as cedar plank walls or wiring for an overhead light.


Where will you build it? Perhaps you have the perfect nook, such as an awkward spot between two walls. Maybe you have a large room that can spare the area you want to use. Either way, armed with a tape measure, map out the closet dimensions exactly where you wish to build the closet. Adjust as needed, adding or taking away closet space to fit the area. Also consider clearance for nearby doors, windows, or traffic movement. If it's awkward to open the closet door, the space won't be as useful and you won't be satisfied.
What is your budget? Take a realistic look at what you can afford to spend, and price the tools and supplies you need as well as any labor cost required. If you want wiring in the closet, you'll probably need to hire a professional. Get estimates for what you need and add about 10 percent extra for a little "wiggle room." It's always better to come in under your budget than above.
Don't forget the cost of a closet door! Decide where you want your door, how big you want it to be, and purchase it before you start. This will make wall construction simpler as you can measure the pre-hung door and build the doorway to fit.


Will you use organizer systems? It's especially important to consider organizers before you build so you don't end up with a closet that won't hold the organizer you purchased. If you're a more advanced DIYer, consider designing and building your own organizer systems. Even beginners can build a simple organizer system that will be functional and much less expensive than most off-the-shelf closet organizers.
Before you begin your closet project, it might be useful to browse the Internet for closet ideas. Never be afraid to try something new. With basic DIY skills, you can generally install any shelf, paneling, or other detail once you have the bare bones of the closet framing complete.

12/14/2013

DIY Toolkit: Essential Tools For Minor House Repairs

Taking on a home improvement project?  Start with the essentials...

A Basic DIY Tool Collection

Hammer: From hanging a picture to replacing wall molding and millions of DIY projects in between, a hammer is probably the most-used tool there is. Don't choose just any hammer. Select a claw hammer – a hammer with a claw on one end for pulling nails and prying material – with a flat peen (the surface which drives nails) rather than rounded.







Tape Measure: Many home repair and improvement tasks require a tape measure. Get a retractable tape measure, which is made of a rigid metal and snaps back into the case when you push a button. For most jobs, a 25-foot tape measure is sufficient.
Carpenter's Level: With a good level you have a straightedge for cut lines and a tool to tell you if an item is flush (straight up and down) or level (perfectly flat). Don't let the store's selection overwhelm you – a basic 4-foot bubble level, which uses air bubbles inside a liquid-filled cavity, is basic but dependable.
Carpenter's Square: Get both a speed square, which is hand-held, and a larger framing square when possible. Squares are great straightedges, tape measures and right-angle testers.


Utility Knife: Whether you call it a box cutter, razor knife, or any of several common terms, a utility knife is a DIY tool essential. Your utility knife makes quick work of slicing through drywall, carpet, linoleum, rigid foam insulation and many other materials. Keep a supply of razor blades in the knife's hollow body.
Flashlight: From peering underneath your foundation to working in the dark to restore power to your breaker box, your flashlight will shed some light on various tasks.
Screwdrivers: If you plan to limit your DIY ventures to basic carpentry and fixture installation, a handful of screwdrivers will get you started. Choose both Phillips-head screwdrivers (which have a cross-shaped tip) and flat-head screwdrivers (with a knife-shaped tip). More advanced repairs may require different heads. To save money, consider a multi-bit screwdriver with interchangeable tips.
Pliers: If you need to pull staples, cut wire, or loosen tight connections, pliers will help. Look for three basic types: needle-nose pliers (which have a pointed end), side-cutting pliers (which look much like scissors) and adjustable flat-nose pliers (aka flat-head pliers).
Wrenches: When pliers won't get the job done, look for your wrench. Grip or remove pipes, nuts, bolts and other stubborn household items. Start with a set of adjustable crescent wrenches for all-around usefulness.
Staple Gun: A staple gun comes in handy for installing faced fiberglass batt insulation, hanging plastic sheeting and other projects around the home. Manual staple guns require a little more muscle but eliminate the need for electricity.


Drill: Once you have a drill, you'll wonder how you ever got along without one. From simple tasks such as hanging curtains to more complex jobs like replacing wood flooring, a drill – cordless or not – makes it easier. A cordless drill is more convenient but has a limited battery life.
Saws: Two basic saws will see you through most general DIY home projects. First, select a handsaw for places where you don't have power or for situations where a power saw just isn't practical. Next, decide on either a table saw or a circular saw. A table saw is sturdy and makes cutting boards and other material easy. However, a circular saw is portable and hand-held, making it more convenient. When you're ready for a new saw, consider a jigsaw or reciprocating saw.
Stud Finder: A stud finder will help you quickly find the framing members in your walls, ceiling and floor.
Orbital Sander: Small enough to easily control with one hand, an orbital sander is perfect for basic work. Keep a supply of sandpaper, of various grits, on hand.
Ladder: Depending on the jobs you anticipate tackling, you might prefer a stepladder instead of an extension ladder. Extension ladders are useful outdoors and reach higher, but stepladders work inside or outside.
All of the tools in the world won't help you if you don't have accompanying supplies. Keep wood glue, superglue and caulk in your supplies. Add an assortment of nails, screws, bolts and nuts to your tool collection as well. Don't forget tape: masking tape, electrical tape and duct tape in particular. A heavy-duty extension cord is essential. Your collection will continue to grow over the course of your DIY adventures.


Thinking about selling your home...start with the experts!  Please call, or visit us at www.insiderealty.com.  We are happy to share our extensive marketing plan.  We are passionate about real estate.  Let us show you how easy and rewarding your home sale can be.




12/13/2013

Buy Again!! FHA Back to Work - Extenuating Circumstances Program


Experienced foreclosure and think it's too soon to buy?  Think again!





The recent economic downturn had far reaching effects on us all. 

But if you have experienced credit challenges such as bankruptcy, foreclosure, short sale, or loan modification, and think that it may be many more years before you can be approved for a home loan, think again!

The great news is that many people will qualify for an FHA mortgage only one year after an economic challenge. 



FHA recognizes the hardships faced by these borrowers, and realizes that their credit histories may not fully reflect their true ability or propensity to repay a mortgage.
To that end, FHA is allowing for the consideration of borrowers who have experienced an Economic Event and can document that:
  •  certain credit impairments were the result of a Loss of Employment or a      significant loss of Household Income beyond the borrower’s control;
  •  the borrower has demonstrated full recovery from the event; and,
  •  the borrower has completed housing counseling.
 
From the Back to Work - Extenuating Circumstances Program Mortgagee Letter 2013-26
 
 



 This is great news for all of us!  If you have been thinking about Buying Again, please call our office.  We are happy to answer any additional questions that you might have and to get you back home!  Please call us seven days a week at 248-758-0022.

12/07/2013

Making Your Holiday Season Even Brighter!

Everyone knows 'tis the season to give and be merry, but what exactly does that mean? Are the holidays just a time to eat food with family, or is there so much more? If you are looking to maximize your holiday cheer then read on!


Holiday Spirit Tip 1: Help an Animal in Need 



The holiday season is all about helping out others - especially those who cannot help themselves. This year consider donating to a local animal shelter, volunteer at one, or adopt a pet.
Shelters adopt out animals who have passed health and temperament tests. Unless you're adopting a puppy or kitten - or special needs animal - the animal should be healthy, house broken and well-behaved. A new pet may be the perfect holiday present for your family.

Be warned: helping animals will come with an overwhelming sense of happiness!



Holiday Spirit Tip 2: Help a Person in Need




As you think about gathering around the table with your loved ones this year, remember that not everyone is so lucky. There are millions of Americans who go hungry every night - many are children or families.
Some of my friends have taken on the tradition of volunteering at local food banks and shelters for Thanksgiving, and opt out of celebrating it otherwise. Not everyone needs to be so self-sacrificing and indeed, many of us cannot afford to be - especially at this time of year. However, consider making a trip to a donation center and dropping off food. It's as easy as cleaning out the pantry: get rid of canned goods that no one is eating, and donate them to a local charity.
The holiday season reminds us to help our fellow man. You can donate canned goods, volunteer at a shelter, soup kitchen, or food bank, donate old clothes, furniture, etc, or even consider signing up with your local area Habitat for Humanity.



Holiday Spirit Tip 3: Help a Child in Need














No matter what culture you come from, and no matter what you will be celebrating this season, everyone can agree that no child should go feeling unloved and going without this time of year. Believe it or not there are children who may not be getting any presents this year in your local area. To brighten up their lives this holiday donate a toy or two to local charities.
Most churches and temples conduct toy drives around this time of year for needy children. If you have kids of your own, think about going through their old toys and donating them.
A friend of mine sat down with her son this year to sort out his old toys. She asked him, "do you play with this?" for every toy, encouraging him to answer truthfully. When he said he did not, she asked him "would you give this to a child who has no toys?" and let him decide what to give away. It may be a good opportunity to introduce your children to charity, selflessness, and the importance of helping others.

You're Almost Home - Final Steps to Sold!


Thinking about selling your home?  Now is a great time to sell!  You're in good hands with the experienced professionals at Inside Realty.  We guarantee that your home sale will be a simple and rewarding experience.  For an overview, read on.


Determining Your Home's Value
 






















Before you sign a listing contract with one of our realtors, we will provide you with a Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) of your home’s value. We will set the final asking price on your property based on this market value estimate.
When you receive an offer on your home, the buyer’s lender will require an appraisal of the property from a licensed appraiser. This evaluation helps assure the lender that the value of the home is sufficient should the buyer default on their mortgage.
 

 
Inspection 























In addition to an official appraisal, most buyers will request a home inspection with their offer. The goal of a home inspection is to give the buyer an objective, independent and comprehensive analysis of the physical condition of your property and check for any safety issues that might otherwise be unknowable.  A professional inspector will check on the structure, construction, and mechanical systems of the house, such as: 

• Lead Paint
• Asbestos
• Electrical  systems
Plumbing and waste disposal
Water heater
Insulation
Ventilation
HVAC system
Water source and quality
Pests
Foundation
Doors
Windows
Ceilings
Walls
Floors
Roof
 



Accepted Offer

 





























 Once we’ve received an acceptable offer there are several steps that will need to be completed before the transaction and transfer of your property is complete.
1. The buyer submits “earnest money” that is deposited into your real estate broker’s account.
2. A title policy will be ordered on your property.
3. We will set a closing date with your buyer.
4. The buyer will order an appraisal and in most cases, an independent home inspection.
5. After the appraisal and home inspection, The buyer will either remove the “conditions of sale”, try to renegotiate their initial offer, or withdraw their offer entirely.
6. You will need to complete any agreed upon requests for repair that were submitted by the buyer before the closing date.
7. The buyer will most likely schedule a walk through to verify the condition of the property and see any repairs that were made right before your closing appointment.
8. When the final offer is finalized we will submit the final legal disclosures and other material facts relevant to your property.
9. Closing is scheduled and completed. Your house is sold!





What will happen at the closing?
 














 Closing is the legal transfer of ownership of the home from seller to buyer. Closing procedures are usually held at the title company or lawyer’s office. Your closing officer will coordinate the signing of documents and the collection of and disbursement of funds. 



In order to ensure a smooth closing you and your Realtor will:













 Review the Settlement Statement or HUD-1 that the buyer’s lender or closing agent will provide you 1 to 2 days before closing. These documents will contain a detailed description of all costs associated with the transaction, including the exact dollar amount the buyer will need to bring to closing.
Verify with your closing agent any other items that you need to bring with you such as a valid driver’s license or other form of identification.


Please feel free to call Inside Realty with any questions.  We are dedicated professional and love what we do!  We are happy to help!  Call 248-758-0022, seven days a week.






12/06/2013

What are HOAs and CCRs?

What are HOAs and CCRs?
 
The acronyms "HOA" and "CCRs," although they are used daily by real estate agents, may be unfamiliar to the average person. Let's break down these acronyms and get you up to speed on what homebuyers should know.

HOA

HOA stands for homeowner association – a nonprofit organization that is funded by all the association's members and overseen by an elected board of directors. In some states, HOAs must be registered with the department of real estate or another state regulatory agency.
Most of the country's HOAs are run by volunteers from within the community, with the remainder run by management companies.
The primary purpose of the HOA is to enforce the policies, procedures, regulations and restrictions agreed to by the members, thereby maintaining property values. Financial support for the HOA comes from each homeowner in the form of monthly dues and occasional assessments.
So, how does one become a member of an HOA? If you purchase a home in a managed community, you don't have a choice about whether to become a member. It is required and automatic. For this reason, when considering the purchase of a home governed by an HOA, reading the HOA documents before you agree to purchase is of critical importance.







CC&Rs

CC&R stands for covenants, conditions and restrictions – the governing documents for the operation of the HOA. These are the rules that homeowners, tenants and guests are obligated to follow.
Want to paint your house psychedelic pink? Check the CC&Rs first. From the number of pets allowed to parking restrictions, the CC&Rs are the laws of the community. Failure to abide by them could mean a hefty fine for the homeowner. Unpaid fines can lead to foreclosure proceedings and the loss of the home to the HOA.
Here are just a few items commonly regulated by CC&Rs, according to the authors of "Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home":
Noise.
Landscaping.
Roofing material.
Fences.
Exterior paint color.
Outdoor play equipment such as swing sets and basketball hoops.
Garages and outbuildings.
Mailboxes.
Window coverings.
Holiday decorations.
Clotheslines.
Garbage and recycling containers.
Pets (size, breed restrictions, etc.).
Parking.
Home businesses.

Purchasing a Home in an HOA-Governed Community


Immediately after your offer is accepted on a home governed by an HOA, your agent will go to work to obtain what is typically referred to as the "HOA docs." This is a large package that contains everything you need to know about the HOA and about life in the community.
Unfortunately, the HOA docs need to be ordered, then compiled by the HOA, and typically don't reach the buyer until late in the process. By this time the buyer has usually paid for a home inspection, not to mention the HOA doc fee, which can be quite hefty.
This is the most critical part of the process, though, and requires extreme due diligence. If you don't understand anything in the HOA documents, ask your real estate agent or attorney to explain it. Never close escrow until you've read every word on every sheet of paper in the HOA documents package.

What to Look for in HOA Documents


Several documents in the HOA package require even closer scrutiny:

Special Assessments
A HOA will levy a special assessment when there is not enough money in the reserve fund to pay for major repairs or improvements to the community resources, such as roofs and major systems.
Check the documents carefully for the number of special assessments imposed over the life of the HOA and the amount that was imposed. Excessive assessments are a bad sign.
While you're at it, check for mention of any major projects planned and whether the HOA reserve fund can cover them. You'll find information about the reserve fund in the HOA's budget. There should be a minimum of 10 percent of the annual budget amount on reserve.
Litigation
Your lender will find out about this, so you may as well check to see if there is any ongoing or pending litigation on behalf of or against the HOA. If the litigation is over construction defects, the lender won't approve your loan until the litigation is complete.
Meeting Minutes
The HOA holds meetings and someone is responsible for keeping track of what occurs during the meetings. Look through the minutes for homeowner complaints, especially repeated complaints. This is an indication of an unresponsive HOA - another red flag. Some associations are striking homeowner comments from their minutes. If you see no comments, ask your real estate agent to find out why.
While other documents, such as the insurance policy, are important, the ones mentioned above are those that the layperson can most easily understand. Again, if you don't know how to read an insurance policy (and who does?) run it by your attorney.
No matter how much you love that adorable condo, it's not worth purchasing if the CC&Rs impact your lifestyle and restrict your freedom. Read HOA docs carefully before signing an offer to purchase.
 
 
 
As always, we are here for your home buying and home selling questions!  Please contact us anytime!
 
We are looking forward to your call at 248-758-0022!
 

Residential for sale - 240 W YALE Avenue, Pontiac, MI 48340

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