Can You Afford a Second House?

If you have always wanted to own a second home in the mountains, near the beach or just about anywhere else, now may be the ideal time to transform your dream into a reality. The housing market offers many opportunities for property buyers – even those who already own a residence. If you understand what it takes to navigate the homebuying journey, you could quickly and effortlessly purchase a second house that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Ultimately, there are lots of things you can do to streamline your search for a second residence, such as:

1. Get Your Finances in Order

If you still have a mortgage on your current residence, there is no need to stress. In fact, by consulting with a mortgage specialist, you can evaluate your home financing options as you prepare to search for a second house.

Mortgage specialists are available at banks and credit unions, and they understand the ins and outs of home financing. Thus, mortgage specialists can help you analyze your current mortgage, establish a homebuying budget and determine the optimal financing option for a second house.

Of course, if your current house’s mortgage is paid in full, mortgage specialists can still help you get ready to launch a search for a second residence. If you collaborate with mortgage specialists, you can get the help you need to immediately obtain financing to acquire a second house.

2. Narrow Your Home Search

You know you want to buy a second house – now, you just need to hone your house search based on your individual needs. If you focus on residences in a select group of cities and towns, you may quickly discover a wonderful house that you can enjoy for years to come.

As you consider potential cities and towns where you want to purchase a second home, think about your short- and long-term goals, too. By doing so, you can boost the likelihood of finding a second house that will suit you perfectly both now and in the future.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

For those who want to acquire a second home sooner rather than later, hiring a real estate agent is a must. Because if you have a friendly, knowledgeable real estate agent at your side, you can minimize the risk of encountering roadblocks that otherwise could slow down your homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is happy to teach you about the housing market in your preferred cities and towns. Plus, he or she can offer expert recommendations about how much to offer to pay for a residence you want to acquire. And if you have concerns or questions as you pursue a second home, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them right away.

Take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing a second residence – use the aforementioned tips, and you could speed up your search for a second house.

Create a Rustic Walkway with Native Stones

Image by Nancy Buron from Pixabay

If you’re like many homeowners who prefer a natural landscape plan, your outdoor living space undoubtedly features lush vegetation and bright, blooming flowers. However, you might also have the sense that something is missing but can’t quite put your finger on what it might be. If this describes you, the missing element is probably hardscaping. Hardscaping refers to elements of landscaping that aren’t plants, such as water features, statuary, gazebos and garden paths.

At its best, hardscaping brings functionality to the table as well as enhances aesthetics. Few things do this better than a rustic stone walkway meandering over the property. Here’s how to make it happen yourself over the course of an average weekend. 

Select Your Stones

Stones used for walkways should be flat, wide and thick enough to withstand foot traffic. Choosing stone that is found naturally in your area cuts down on retail and delivery costs. Avoid using polished stones because these present potential slip-and-fall issues due to their slick surfaces. Stones that are between two and three inches thick offer better stability than their thinner counterparts and often come with a more attractive price tag as well. 

Lay Out Your Walkway

The first step is to determine your walkway. Avoid straight lines — stone walkaways are meant to meander. Garden hoses are ideal for marking garden paths that curve. Use a sod cutter and a flat spade to cut and remove the grass, and dig out the soil where you want to place the stones to about a depth of five inches and make sure it’s firmly tamped down before placing landscape fabric and adding a two-inch layer of sand over it. 

After smoothing down the sand so it provides a flat surface, it’s time to lay down the stones. This part is a little like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, so take your time to figure out the placement. Be sure to use a carpenter’s level to make certain that the stones are at the same height, and add or remove sand as needed. However, if you live in an area that receives significant amounts of precipitation, slightly sloping the larger stones toward the outside of your walkaway helps prevent standing water issues.

Landscape the Walkway

Some people prefer the clean, austere aesthetic of pebble or oyster shell mulch in the gaps between the stones, while others like the rustic, tousled look provided by low-growing herbaceous plants. Corsican mint is an excellent choice because it has a bright green color all year round and releases a divine, minty aroma. Other choices include creeping thyme, rock cress, artemisia and sedum. You can also mix it up with a variety of ground covers for a classic, cottage garden look. 

Eliminating Pet Odors Before Selling Your Home

Any pet owner will tell you that their pets are a part of the family. They bring joy to new families getting their first dog, and companionship to people who would otherwise live alone. However, they also bring the pet odors associated with having them around the house.

Since we spend so much time in our own homes, we oftentimes don’t even notice pet odors. So, even if you think your home is free of odors, it’s a good idea to get an unbiased opinion of the various odors of your home so that you can address them if necessary.

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to identify and neutralize those pet odors before the open house or first home showing. That way you can make the best impression on potential sellers and leave them feeling like your home has been well-maintained.

Identifying pet odors in your home

Whether you’ve got a dog, cat, rabbit, or hamster, odds are your little friend puts off some amount of odor. To discover where, if any, odors can be found, invite a friend over to your home who isn’t familiar with the smells and ask them their honest opinions about the various rooms in your home. This will give you a good idea of where you need to focus your efforts.

Important areas to clean

First thing’s first: the fabrics, surfaces, furniture, and carpet in your home in your home hold onto odor the most. Renting or buying a carpet cleaner, mopping the hard surfaces, and washing or refreshing curtains is a great place to start.

Many steam cleaners can be used on various surfaces, making them a good solution to get the most value out of your cleaning budget.

Don’t forget the carpet pad

If your pets have ever had “accidents” on your carpets, it’s vital to remember that their mess likely soaked through the carpet onto the carpet pad. While it may seem like a lot of effort to pull up the carpet just to clean the pad, it may be your only option in severe cases of pet odors.  

Painting

Repainting is a guaranteed way to remove any lingering odors in your home. Try to time your painting so that the room has the chance to air out and the smell of fresh paint isn’t overpowering.

Repainting is also the perfect opportunity to brighten up the rooms of your home, making them feel more spacious. Sticking to neutral, proven colors will give you the most bang for your buck.

Let some fresh air in

Before showing your home, open up the doors and windows and doors to closets and basements and let a draft run through the house. This can eliminate any musty smells that have accumulated in the lesser used parts of your home, as well as help mitigate the effect of pet odor.

Last minute additions

The day of showing your home, use a high-quality scented candle or two in places that your pets frequent. You don’t want it to be obvious that you’re trying to mask any bad odors, so don’t use anything overpowering. Rather, opt for a pleasant-to-neutral fragrance that isn’t too noticeable.

3 Common Home Inspection Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

A home inspection can make or break a property sale. If all goes well during a home inspection, a buyer and seller can proceed with a transaction. Conversely, if a home inspector discovers major problems with a house, a property sale may be in jeopardy.

As a homebuyer, you’ll want to do everything possible to ensure a home inspection delivers valuable insights. With in-depth home insights at your disposal, you can determine whether to continue with a home purchase or reenter the housing market.

To ensure a successful home inspection, let’s take a look at three common home inspection mistakes, and how a homebuyer can avoid these problems.

1. A homebuyer hires an inexperienced home inspector.

When it comes to hiring a home inspector, it is always better to err on the side of caution. With an experienced home inspector at your side, you can boost the likelihood of a successful home inspection.

Evaluate a variety of local home inspectors. Then, take a look at each home inspector’s background and expertise to narrow your search.

In addition, if you feel comfortable with a home inspector, reach out to this professional directly before you make your final hiring decision. That way, you can request client referrals and gain additional insights to help you make an informed selection.

2. A homebuyer does not attend a home inspection.

A homebuyer is not required to attend a home inspection. However, attendance usually is a good idea, regardless of your homebuying expertise.

Remember, a home purchase is one of the biggest transactions that you likely will complete in your lifetime. If you want to ensure a home is a viable long-term investment, it certainly pays to walk around a property with a home inspector and conduct an in-depth evaluation.

In many instances, attending a home inspection may enable a homebuyer to gain home insights that might not be included in a home inspection report as well.

For example, a home inspector who identifies issues with a property may be able to give a homebuyer an estimate about how much it will cost to complete myriad property repairs. These insights are exceedingly valuable and can help a homebuyer determine whether a house is a worthwhile purchase.

3. A homebuyer ignores a home inspection report.

After a home inspector completes a property evaluation, this professional will provide the homebuyer with a home inspection report. Then, a homebuyer will have a set amount of time to review the report to determine whether to proceed with a home purchase.

A home inspection report contains plenty of valuable insights, and as such, should not be ignored. Instead, a homebuyer should spend time evaluating the report and learning from it. And if a homebuyer has any questions, he or she can reach out to the home inspector who provided the report for answers.

Lastly, if you need help planning a home inspection, you should employ a real estate agent. By hiring a real estate agent, you’ll have no trouble getting in touch with the best home inspectors in your area.