The Hunte Group Realtors®


Posted by The Hunte Group Realtors® on 2/20/2018

If you're in the market for a new home, one of the first things you need to determine is how much of a monthly mortgage payment you can comfortably afford. A loan officer or mortgage broker can help you figure that out, based on your income, debts, and other information.

One thing they probably won't include in the equation is the cost of home maintenance and other essential services, like garbage collection.

Ultimately, it's up to the homeowner to build in enough "breathing room" in their budget to cover unexpected expenses. Although you can't predict exactly what those expenses will be or how much they'll cost, it's virtually guaranteed that they're going to occur. Whether you're planning to buy a new house or a mid-century dwelling, here's the short list of typical homeowner expenses that could crop up. While all these items may not apply directly to your situation, many of them eventually will.

  • Plumbing repairs: Leaky pipes, clogged drains, and broken plumbing fixtures are common problems in most homes. You may also need a plumber to fix or install a garbage disposal, repair or replace a hot water heater, or hook up a new refrigerator to your water supply.
  • HVAC services: When you combine the cost of semi-annual routine service calls and unexpected emergency repairs, the cost of maintaining your heating and cooling systems can really take a bite out of your household budget!
  • Appliance repair: The typical family depends on at least a half a dozen major appliances to prepare meals and keep their clothes and dishes clean. When one or more of those appliances break down, chaos can ensue! In many cases, it's more cost-effective and practical to call a repair service than buy a new appliance.
  • Exterminator services: Regardless of whether you live in the city or the country, unexpected and unwelcome insects, rodents, and other miscellaneous varmints can show up in your home and yard. Sometimes it's even necessary to call a wildlife control specialist to remove skunks, raccoons, and other intruders!
  • Electrical repairs and upgrades: Although electrical repairs are occasionally needed for safety reasons, most calls to electricians are more routine in nature. However, when light switches, electrical outlets, and ceiling lights stop working, it can be a huge inconvenience for you and your family. In some cases, you might even be desperate enough to pay extra for emergency electrical service on weekends!
  • Miscellaneous expenses: Garage door repairs, fireplace cleaning, swimming pool maintenance, deck repairs, rain gutter cleaning, professional carpet cleaning, landscaping, fence repair, home siding repair, and wet basement problems are a few of the many expenses that may require you to dip into your savings or household budget.
If you happen to be a first-time homeowner, you may also need to shell out hundreds (or thousands) of dollars for items like a lawn mower, yard maintenance tools, snow blower, vacuum cleaner, furniture, and interior painting supplies. While home ownership, decorating, and yard maintenance can give you a feeling of satisfaction and pride of ownership, it's necessary to earmark a sufficient amount of money to pay for those sometimes unexpected costs!





Posted by The Hunte Group Realtors® on 2/13/2018

One of the first and most important things that you should do when you buy a home is to be sure that you’re on top of your finances. Before you even begin the home search, you’ll need to be sure that you have money in the bank and know your credit score. What you really need is a plan. 


Set Up A Savings Account For Your Future Home


Having a separate account set up just to help you save for your down payment and other home costs can be very helpful. Find a bank with a bit of a higher interest rate. Often, online banks are your best bet. If you’re able, set up automatic transfers from one account to another for a set amount each month. You’ll be saving before you know it! 


Set Goals


If you have no idea of what you want, it will be difficult to understand what you need to do to get there. Typically, it’s a good idea to have 20% of a home’s purchase price saved for your down payment. Putting 20% down also helps you to avoid the additional cost of PMI, also known as private mortgage insurance. Once you have a goal, don’t look at the big picture. Break down your big goal for savings into smaller bits to make it less overwhelming. 


Make Savings Automatic


We’ve already mentioned the idea of setting up an automatic transfer, but you can do even more. When you are gifted money, instead of spending it, put it in your home savings account. If you get a bonus from work, save it. If you get a raise, live off of your previous income and use the additional income for savings. All of these little actions add up fast. When you make savings habit, it’s easier to reach your goals. 


See Where You Can Cut Costs


There’s probably plenty of places that you can cut costs in your budget. Sit down and see how much your expenses actually are compared to how much you actually do spend. Can you opt out of cable TV? Maybe you can reduce the speed of your internet connection, or find a cheaper cell phone plan. If you take a close look at your expenses, there’s probably plenty of ways for you to  cut back and save.


Sell Your Stuff


We’re not talking about selling your essentials, but if you have things around your home that you’re not using, there’s a better use for them. You can probably get some extra cash for these items by selling them. It’s so simple to sell things on the Internet these days that you can make some money and get rid of unwanted things pretty easily.  


Focus

With a bit of focus, hard work and diligence, you can save up enough money for a down payment on a home. Don’t forget to keep all of the other aspects of your financial life in order such as paying your bills on time and not opening new credit accounts. Good luck with your savings goals!





Posted by The Hunte Group Realtors® on 2/6/2018

In a world where we do much of our socializing online and can talk to people around the world in an instant it has become less incentivized to have a relationship with your neighbors. However, there are man benefits to having a tight-knit neighborhood that are sadly being forgotten. Some people are private by nature and like to keep to themselves, which is certainly okay. Others like to be involved members of their communities, getting to know the people who live around them and taking an interest in their well-being. Have you ever wished that your neighborhood had more things for your kids to do? Or maybe that you had a few friends next door to have cookouts with in the summer time? In this article we'll talk about the many ways you can build a community in your neighborhood to get your friends and neighbors more involved.

Start a community garden

Is there a lot or patch on land in your neighborhood that is going unused? A great project to start that can benefit the neighborhood is to create a community garden. Gardening with others is a rewarding activity. You'll be busy working so you won't have to worry about awkward silences, and you will all share in the great rewards of seeing your creation grow. Here's how to start:
  • Get permission for using the land, unless you own it
  • Pass out flyers and post on Facebook to the people in your neighborhood to let them know about it.
  • Add on the flyer that it would be appreciated if people brought some tools and supplies along which you can also list on the flyer
  • Have a "breaking soil" day when your neighborhood comes out to commence work in the garden
  • Before long, word of mouth and curious passersby will make your garden a popular place to hang out in the neighborhood

Host an outdoor movie night

It's easier than ever to screen a movie outside. All you need is a laptop, some decent speakers, a projector, and a white sheet to hang against a wall. Just like with the garden, pass out flyers. And, be sure to choose a kid-friendly movie that people can bring the family to.

Start a neighborhood book club and book swap

Books are great icebreakers. You won't have to worry about having nothing to talk about because you'll have all the material from the books to discuss. Once you get a few people in the neighborhood to join the club, you might think about creating a neighborhood book swap. Take an outdoor cabinet and put it on your front lawn with a sign says "Take a book, leave a book." Then get some of your neighbors to join in as well.

Spend time outside and go for neighborhood walks

Just by spending more time in the front yard and taking nightly walks you'd be surprised at home many new members of your neighborhood you'll meet. Instead of hiding your benches in the backyard, put them in the front and remember to say "Hello!" to your neighbors when they pass by.  





Posted by The Hunte Group Realtors® on 1/30/2018

Growing fresh vegetables and herbs in your own backyard can hold a lot of appeal to many but not everyone has the luxury of a large backyard to start one. If you’re home has a yard with limited space don’t give up your garden dreams just yet! Below are some tips on how to start your own small vegetable garden whether you have a postage stamp lawn or none at all! Start with research - No matter what the square footage you are working with is it is important to do some research first. You will want to create a list of the types of vegetables and herbs you are hoping to grow. You will then want to find out how much light they require, which season they produce during and if there are any plants they do not do well next to. Other things to consider are how deep and wide the roots grow. When you only have so much space to work with you want to maximize every inch. If one plant takes up a quarter of your garden while another can share that same space with several other plants you will want to weigh out how badly you want that particular plant. Choosing “dwarf” or “compact” varieties of plants will also help you make the most any small garden. Small land - With some careful planning and thoughtful placement you can get just as much or more from your small garden than those with larger plots of land. It’s all in the details. One technique you will want to favor is the vertical growing method. Essentially you place the taller growing plants in the back and the shorter growing ones in the front so that they are not deprived of sunlight behind your taller plants. Use a garden planner tool to your advantage to pre-plan your garden and how you will fit the different varieties of plants on your small plot. You may also want to consider using the succession planting method. When a plant has stopped producing you remove it and plant seeds for a new crop whose growing season is upcoming. This will allow you to truly maximize your limited space. Patio - Creating a container garden will be your best friend when you are lacking land to plant vegetables in. When choosing pots ensure that they have drainage holes on the bottom and keep in in mind that the larger the pot the better. A larger pot helps the soil retain moisture and maintain an even temperature. If your container is large enough you may even be able to get away with planting an upward growing plant with some under growing varieties. Window boxes - If you don’t have enough space in your backyard or a patio to dedicate to a garden you still have options. Window boxes can offer more than just space for perennial flowers they are also perfect for growing herbs and salad greens in. Planting several herb varieties per box will provide you with a homegrown spice rack at your fingertips! While it may seem that gardening is impossible without a large plot of land almost anyone, no matter the space of their home can grow a garden. With a little research and a willingness to get your hands dirty, you too can have home grown produce!





Posted by The Hunte Group Realtors® on 1/23/2018

When you’re ready to buy a house, it would be easy to just pick a house and sign the papers, right? Too bad it doesn’t work anything like that! Besides getting your finances in order, there are plenty of things that you should do ahead of time to get yourself ready to buy a home. Choosing a relator should be high on that list of priorities.  


Do Your Research


There’s plenty of ways for you to search for a home before you even start in order to decide what you might like before you even set out with a realtor. Once you start working with a realtor, they’ll be able to set up alerts for you to get via e-mail where you’ll be able to see new properties that have just been listed and price changes to previously listed properties. 


Let Your Realtor Do Their Job 


Realtors are experts in homes. It is in their job description! Your realtor will do the research on prices and property details. An important aspect of the housing search is finding the price of similar homes in the area. This is key to making your offer. Your real estate agent has all of the information that you need.


Hang Out With Your Realtor During The House Hunt


When we say that you’ll have a close relationship with your realtor during the home search process, we mean it. Coordinate with your realtor to go to open houses. Your agent will either accompany you to the open house or make appointments for private showings of properties. Even if you have to bring your child and a carseat, your agent will be more than happy to accommodate you! 


Mention Properties You See When You’re Out And About


The realtor has your criteria of what you’re looking for in a home. However, if you’re out and see a home for sale that intrigues you, write down the address and contact your agent about it. They can either arrange a private showing of the property or advise you otherwise. Many times, a property may be out of your price range or have strange circumstances. However, occasionally, agents and computer software miss things! It’s always good to be on the lookout and seek more information.      


Don’t Hesitate To Really Look Around A Property


Although you may feel that you’re being a bit invasive by opening drawers, closets and doors in a home, it’s very important to! You need to see how you can make the best use of the storage space within the home for yourself. You’ll also want to make sure there’s no significant damage or hidden features that you’re missing out on.


Most importantly, remember that your realtor will be your ally throughout the house hunting process.  You want to make the best use of the great resource that your realtor is!  




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