US Home Refinance A Real Estate Blog 2017-11-22T08:44:14Z http://www.ushomerefinance.com/feed/atom/ Simon Campbell <![CDATA[6 Tips For Fixing Your Credit After Foreclosure]]> http://www.ushomerefinance.com/?p=610 2017-11-12T01:44:56Z 2017-11-10T10:13:06Z While you may be looking for a magical formula to fix your credit after a foreclosure, the hard reality is that it takes time. A foreclosure or bankruptcy is the worst predicament a homeowner has to go through financially. After the 2007-08 housing crisis, millions of homeowners found themselves underwater.Read More →

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6 Tips For Fixing Your Credit After Foreclosure

While you may be looking for a magical formula to fix your credit after a foreclosure, the hard reality is that it takes time.

A foreclosure or bankruptcy is the worst predicament a homeowner has to go through financially. After the 2007-08 housing crisis, millions of homeowners found themselves underwater. While the market has improved, people are still losing homes to foreclosure. A foreclosure stays on your credit report for up to seven years. You will find it difficult to take out a new loan, whether you want to buy a car or a new house. It lands homeowners in a more distressed situation than what they are already in after foreclosure.

But the fact that the battle is a long one doesn’t mean you should give up. Keep in mind if you don’t start working on your credit immediately after foreclosure, things can take a turn for the worse. It can actually render you unable to take out a loan for more than seven years.

To the contrary, if you play your cards right, you will see your score inch up after only a few months.

Here are a few tips for you to consider if you want to fix your credit after foreclosure:

Understand what credit score it and how it affects your financially

It is quite surprising, but true that most homeowners don’t have a clue what their credit score is and how it affects them financially.

First time homeowners check their credit score is when they apply for a loan. If you have gone through a foreclosure, you should check how severely it has affected your credit report. You should immediately request free credit reports from all main credit rating companies. It will help you know where you stand and chalk out a personalized strategy to fix credit after foreclosure.

Tap into your existing line of credit

Do you have a credit card? If the answer is yes, don’t think of getting rid of it.

A credit card can help you rebuild your credit score faster if you stay current on payments.

In some cases, card issuers can take certain steps in order to limit credit or close the card altogether if they come to know about a foreclosure. They can also raise your interest rate. If you receive a communication from them in this regard, you should act immediately and explain your situation. By directly communicating with them, you can avoid your card being closed or paying a higher interest rate.

The same goes true for an existing car loan or other types of loans. Make sure that you pay loan installments on time. It will help you rebuild your credit score faster.

Secured credit cards

While you may find it tough to get a regular credit card after foreclosure, you can always apply for a secured credit card, the latest buzz in the financial industry. Almost every lender now offers secured credit cards to people struggling financially.

Secured credit cards are easy to get simply because they don’t pose any risk to the lender. If you apply for a card with a credit limit of $500, you will normally have to keep the same amount of money in a bank account until the card closes. Your card issuer will have access to this money and forfeit it in case you default.

While there are many secured credit card issuers out there, shop around before choosing one. You wouldn’t want to end up paying hidden charges or comparatively higher interest rates.

Use secured credit cards very responsibly because they can be a great tool to build credit after foreclosure.

Join a credit union

There are all types of credit unions you can join depending on your employment history and background. Most credit unions operate locally, so check out which one you can join in your area.

When you join a credit union, you will have to open a checking or saving account with them. You will build your financial history with each transaction you make through this account, and it becomes the basis for applying for a loan in the future.

Credit unions often give weightage to your financial history with them, rather than your financial history with other banking institutions. As a result, they will tend to ignore a foreclosure or poor credit score on your report when considering your loan application.

Credit unions may charge a higher interest rate due to the risks involved in approving a loan to high-risk applicants, but the fact that at least they will consider your application makes them a great option to build your credit score after foreclosure.

Pay your bills on time

Most homeowners are unaware of the fact that falling behind on utility bill payments can hurt their chances of rebuilding credit after foreclosure.

Utility companies actually report late payments to credit companies, and it may be factored into your credit history.

The same goes true for other types of payments such as gym memberships, and cell phone and internet services.

The irony is that when you stay current on these payments, nobody bothers to report it to credit companies, but if you are late, you will get reported.

Don’t apply for more loans without checking your credit score

You should keep a hawk eye on your credit score after foreclosure. Request credit reports periodically and find out how much progress you have made. Don’t apply for a new credit card unless you have reached a satisfactory level. If you apply for too many loans, lenders will consider you desperate, still in a difficult financial situation. It will have an adverse impact on the prospects of your loan application’s approval.  

Conclusion

If you have read this article attentively, one thing must be clear: you shouldn’t make the same mistakes that caused foreclosure in the first place. Instead of feeling defeated, you should sit down and evaluate your situation. It will help you come up with a strategy. Taking tiny steps towards rebuilding your credit score such as paying your utility bills on time is imperative.

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Steven Clarke <![CDATA[Boost Your Property’s Value With These 6 Improvement Tips]]> http://www.ushomerefinance.com/?p=629 2017-11-19T08:22:54Z 2017-09-19T09:30:11Z Whether you plan to sell soon or sometime later, now is the time to begin investing in your home because it will add the value to your property. The goal is to make your property more worth than it was when you bought it, but at the same time, notRead More →

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Boost Your Property's Value With These 6 Improvement Tips

Whether you plan to sell soon or sometime later, now is the time to begin investing in your home because it will add the value to your property. The goal is to make your property more worth than it was when you bought it, but at the same time, not to go too far on the improvements since you do want to see some return on your investment.  Take time to research real estate prices in your area and to plan some strategic makeover, but make sure to focus on main issues.

Landscaping

Start from the outside, same as a potential buyer will while approaching your property. Front and back yards are the outdoor extension of the interior, therefore can well indicate the state of the household in general. It doesn’t take much to clean the yard and spruce it a bit, simply because the appealing landscape will give away better impression and will easily sell the property. Remember to set up some yard lighting for the buyers who will inspect your place at evening hours.

External makeover and repair

Look out for signs of damage on the external walls and make sure to take care of it because it will most definitely catch the eye of the buyer. After fixing the sidings, take the time to think about the colors you can use to repaint the walls. If you are not certain about the right choice of the color, do some research on a trendy and tasteful color palettes commonly used in a contemporary architecture.

Invest in doors and windows

Doors and windows are an important investment and valuable addition to the overall worth of the property. Redesigning the windows or changing the doors can add some elegance to the front side of your house. Consider window tinting since the windows improved that way can stand as a special feature of your real estate, implying that this is an energy-efficient household.

Interior makeover

As with the exterior, make sure to remove any signs of the damage, if there is some. Start from the bottom since many people pay special attention to the floors. The floors are expected to be shiny, easy to clean and stylish. Get rid of the old carpets and cover it with some tasty rugs. Kitchen and bathroom may need some work, but providing they are in good shape, make just a few changes like upgrading the appliances or repainting the walls. Also, repaint the walls in living area and again choose the colors carefully.

Foundations and roof

Be sure to inspect roof and foundations yourself, or call the professionals to assess the property for potential damage and structural flaws. Fix anything that requires repairs regardless of the costs, since it will hugely affect the price and the potential sale. Usually, the buyers hire someone to inspect the property, nonetheless do that in advance yourself, just in case there are some conditions that may affect the positive outcome.

Curb appeal

Improving a curb appeal is all about the first impression, which can have a powerful effect on the home buyers decision-making. Luckily, this is easy to do since the catch is in the details, like changing the doorknobs, replacing an old mailbox or adding new house numbers. In addition to these small fixes, you can install some window boxes with flowers that will improve the look of your house in a more charming way. Put some vivid color flowers on the porch also, but use the old trick of symmetry when placing them. That way it will give away the impression of warm household and harmony.

Conclusion

Even though the house sale with all the required preparation may seem overwhelming, if you plan the project ahead and act timely, you will manage to go through the whole process smoothly and to achieve your goal. No need to wait for the market to improve when you can add value yourself, simply by taking into consideration these useful tips. In the end, don’t hesitate to consult a qualified Realtor in your area since they can point you in a right direction concerning home improvements that will fit the market.

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Sam Radbil <![CDATA[6 Things To Know Before You Take Out A Mortgage]]> http://www.ushomerefinance.com/?p=546 2017-09-25T06:56:08Z 2017-09-10T16:00:39Z With a term of anywhere between 10 and 50 years, a mortgage is the largest single financial transaction most people perform in their lifetime. With so much money (and time) on the line, it’s crucial that you do your due diligence. So before you sign on the dotted line, doRead More →

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6 Things To Know Before You Take Out A Mortgage

With a term of anywhere between 10 and 50 years, a mortgage is the largest single financial transaction most people perform in their lifetime. With so much money (and time) on the line, it’s crucial that you do your due diligence. So before you sign on the dotted line, do your research! Here are a few things you need to know about home loans.

The Basics

There are two parties in a mortgage: the mortgagor, or borrower (you), and the mortgagee, or lender (typically your bank or credit union). A mortgage is technically a lien, with your home as the lender’s security on your debt. That means that the lender has the right to repossess or foreclose upon it if it becomes clear that you are unable to keep up with payments or eventually repay the principal, which is the original size of the loan. Interest is the mortgagee’s fee for using its funds.

The Types of Loans

There are a few different ways for lenders to charge interest: fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, and interest-only. A fixed-rate mortgage is self-explanatory: The terms you sign up for will not change for the duration of the loan. Adjustable-rate mortgages might initially present a lower introductory interest rate but, as the name implies, the rate is subject to change based on a predetermined index of national interest rates. As your rates change, so do your monthly payments. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends you calculate your payment based on your lender’s maximum rates (if available) to ensure you can afford the loan, even under extreme circumstances, before accepting it. Interest-only loans are unqualified mortgages that start out with fixed interest rates. The homeowner is not required to pay on the principal of the loan until the 10-year mark, which functions on the assumption that their income will increase over time to accommodate the larger payments.

‘Good’ vs ‘Bad’ Interest Rates

Interest rates can change from month to month, but keeping tabs on national average rates can help you distinguish a good deal from a bad one. According to Bloomberg, interest rates have been falling since 2014, reaching a low of about 3.4% in September 2016 before spiking up to 4.32% by the end of the year. Changes in the national average can give you a ballpark figure of what to expect, but don’t forget that your lender and credit ratings will also play a part in determining your interest rate. Before you finalize a loan, be sure to shop around, and always ask for estimated interest rate changes.

What Your Monthly Payments Will Look Like

Just because your monthly mortgage payment is less than your current rent, that doesn’t mean you’ll have rolls of cash at your disposal. As a homeowner, your expenses go beyond a monthly check. In addition to the mortgage payment, you should plan on saving 1% to 4% of the home’s value for home maintenance costs — which will crop up sooner than you think. Remember, too, that you have monthly insurance payments, as well as annual property taxes — those can be significant, so you should start saving for them well in advance of April 15. If you have an escrow account, though, insurance and taxes are automatically added to each mortgage payment to ensure those bills are paid.

The Necessity of Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage insurance allows lenders to protect themselves in the event that their loan recipients aren’t able to make their mortgage payments. Generally, if you put down more than 20% of the home’s purchase price, you won’t be required to have PMI (private mortgage insurance). Although a smaller down payment would allow you to purchase a home you couldn’t otherwise afford, the PMI payments will increase your monthly payment, adding to the total amount paid for the home.

A Loan Isn’t Always Forever

One of the most intimidating things about homeownership is how irreversible it feels. Mortgage, after all, is a word derived from Medieval French law, loosely translated as “death pledge.” When you sign for a 30-year mortgage, it’s easy to feel like the next three decades are set in stone. But that’s not necessarily true.

You do have to invest some time in the home — selling for a profit in less than two years can subject you to a capital gains tax, and just think of the transaction fees piling up — but a home loan doesn’t doom you to the same address for the rest of your pre-AARP days. You can always move, although to buy a new house while you have an existing mortgage, you would have to contact your lender for the payoff amount, and then decide if you want to move first or sell first. (Your real estate agent is a great resource for navigating this situation.) Also keep in mind that you can qualify to refinance your loan later down the road if interest rates drastically drop, or if you’d like turn your adjustable-rate mortgage into a fixed-rate.

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Ian Pearson <![CDATA[How To Get Your Home Ready To Sell]]> http://www.ushomerefinance.com/?p=642 2017-11-19T08:22:59Z 2017-06-27T08:00:09Z If you’ve decided to sell your house, there is a whole variety of things to be taken care of before you bring any potential buyers inside. Having your house in top shape will impress them more and enable it to become more likely to be sold at a higher price.Read More →

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How To Get Your Home Ready To Sell

If you’ve decided to sell your house, there is a whole variety of things to be taken care of before you bring any potential buyers inside. Having your house in top shape will impress them more and enable it to become more likely to be sold at a higher price. All you have to do is to implement a few alluring details and make it look well-maintained. If you’re selling during season it is very important to make your house stand out among dozens of others many people are going to look at. So, here are a few tips on how to make your home look the part for any visitors looking for a dream house.

Check for any damage

You have to check your home in and out for any damage that could potentially be harmful to your house’s value. Make sure everything is functional, from fixing loose knobs and handles to taking care of more serious damage, like leakage or mold. Pay special attention to wood rot around windows and door frames – especially outside. They can deteriorate over time when exposed to rain and moisture. Check for leaks around toilets or sinks, and if you have hardwood, check for any bulges to determine if you have a problem with flooding.

Make it squeaky clean

Nothing feels better than entering a clean home filled with pleasant smells. Take care of your windows, wash them thoroughly. Buyers will always notice a smudgy window. It’s important to take care of it because the view through the window is also an important aspect of your house’s aesthetic. Clean windows will also let more light into the rooms. If you have carpets, rugs or leather furniture, it could take you ages to get them in top shape for selling. Professionals advise that clean-looking carpets, rugs and leather furniture significantly boost the chances of impressing any potential buyers.

See Also: Increase Your Home’s Value With These 4 Methods

Boost your curb appeal

Remember: first impressions count! Before any potential buyers enter your home, they will most definitely scrutinize your property from a distance. They don’t only seek for a nice-looking exterior, but also signs that the property has been well maintained, and they don’t want to waste more money on that. Make sure your garden looks at its best, and make your gate, fence and doors fresher by repainting them. You can do all sorts of other things, like replace your house number, get a new mailbox, or install flower boxes for that extra spice.

Cut the clutter

Your aim is to enable potential buyers to visualize themselves living in the property. Therefore, you can create an illusion of bigger space and enable them to really think about what they would do to the place if they lived there. Keep away from decorating your house too much, because it can be a distraction. Put away all family photos and art pieces you like because not all people share your taste. As for the abundance of space, you can make the ceiling look higher by adding extra-long curtains to the windows or buying striped carpets or rugs that give the illusion of bigger space.

Revamp your kitchen

People today are mostly looking to buy a house that already has a reasonably polished kitchen. You can solve that problem with simple updates, like installing new cabinet doors, worktops, handles and other minor adjustments. If you’re feeling bold, you can replace tiles and floorings too. Just make sure to not stick to any DIY unless you’re completely confident in your skills – there’s no shame in hiring professionals to finish the job, and the expenses are sure to be worthwhile.

Pets

Being welcoming to your viewers is desirable, but your dog’s enthusiastic greeting may not be to everyone’s liking. Some people who visit might be allergic to dogs or cat’s hair, so make sure that they’re all comfortable with visiting your property. Ask a neighbor to look after your pets during viewings if possible, or if not, you can always take them to a pet day care.

Conclusion

Selling your property might seem like an awful and time consuming task, but if you invest in it the right way, you can go through that process stress-free. Prepare yourself for providing information about your house and the local area and keep an ear out to any feedback about your house you receive during the viewing or afterward from your estate agent – it may be helpful for future viewings.

Author bio: Aside from primary area of interest and expertise in business consulting with Ecofresh carpet cleaning Perth, Ian could be tagged also as a passionate sports fan, nature and photography enthusiast, always trying to keep up to date with tech innovations and development.

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Leila Dorari <![CDATA[5 Things Everyone Should Do Before Moving To A New Home]]> http://www.ushomerefinance.com/?p=613 2017-05-13T08:34:15Z 2017-05-13T12:00:08Z Moving into a new home is always a big deal. It doesn’t matter if this is the first house you bought, or the third one you’re moving to, changing houses is always a stressful affair. There are so many things to think about and take care of before you evenRead More →

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5 Things Everyone Should Do Before Moving To A New Home

Moving into a new home is always a big deal. It doesn’t matter if this is the first house you bought, or the third one you’re moving to, changing houses is always a stressful affair. There are so many things to think about and take care of before you even think about moving, that by the time you find yourself in your new home you will be too stressed to enjoy it. Before you unload your packing boxes out of the truck in front of your new home, here is what you should do.

1. Change The Locks

Who has the keys of your home? You and the members of your family, of course, but also your friends, and possibly your neighbor so they can stop by in case of emergency. The same probably goes for the previous tenants of your new home – there will be people who have keys to the locks of your house. Safety first; so you should change the locks on your front and back door, as well as the cellar (if there is one). This might seem like too much work, but you don’t want to think about who else may get into your home when you’re not around. If possible, install alarm system straightaway – you don’t actually know the neighborhood that well, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

2. Clean The Place

Not many people bother with cleaning when they’re moving away, and you never know in what condition your new house will be. Even if it looks spotless, it doesn’t mean that it’s really clear. You don’t have to call professional to clear every corner of your home, you can do it yourself with an all-purpose cleaner and a pair of rubber gloves. Still, you should take the carpets out to be steam cleaned, or borrow a steam cleaner and do it yourself. Couches and armchairs can also gather a lot of dust and dirt, so it’s best to have them disinfected too.

3. Change Your Address

This is incredibly boring and people think they can do it once they move, but it isn’t so. You should change your address as early as possible to avoid new tenants of your old house having to forward you mail, and bills piling up. The post office should be notified immediately of your new address, but you should also inform the businesses and government bodies individually. This will ensure that all your mail is going to the right place. Any subscriptions you have should be redirected to your new address, and your bank should be informed that you’ve moved too. Your details on the electoral roll should be updated as well, so you don’t have to travel to your old hometown when you have to vote.

4. Make Sure You Have Enough Packing Boxes

Packing boxes are a nightmare – no matter how many you have, it won’t be enough. If you have thought well in advance and packed your belongings in the labelled boxes, it’ll make organizing easier once you step into your new home. Think about all the things you have to pack, and try to get plenty of boxes of different sizes. Your clothes can be stored neatly even in something as simple as plain old trash bag (these are incredibly spacious and you’ll be able to pack a lot of clothes in there), but your books, glasses, plates, and family memorabilia should be packed neatly in cardboard boxes, so set off and find plenty of durable packing boxes so all your things are protected.

5. Connect Your Energy

No matter how long the previous tenant lived in the house, you need to disconnect the energy in their name and reconnect it in your own. You only need to call your energy provider, give them your address, and let them know when you’ll be moving in so they can make sure the connections are okay. They should have your contact numbers and identification, and it’s vital that you do this just before you move so that the previous tenant won’t be charged for the energy you’ve spent, and vice versa. Also, you should call internet service providers at least a month before to make sure you’ll have the internet in your new home.

We live in such times when moving houses isn’t a strange and rare thing anymore, most of us will move several (if not a dozen) times in our lifetime. If every time we moved we had to go through equal amount of stress, we would suffer greatly. By being systematic and well-organized, you will make your move as stress free as possible, and this means more time to enjoy the good things. Don’t put off things until the last minute, be thorough and responsible, and you will soon lean that moving isn’t so bad after all.

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Edwin C <![CDATA[6 Ways To Sell Clients On An Older Home]]> http://www.ushomerefinance.com/?p=602 2017-11-19T08:23:07Z 2017-05-05T15:00:12Z How can you help buyers get excited about an older property? A well-maintained historic home with gleaming wood floors and an updated kitchen is easy to sell in most markets, but when a property is a bit run down or dated looking, it can be a tough sell. Here areRead More →

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6 Ways To Sell Clients On An Older Home

How can you help buyers get excited about an older property? A well-maintained historic home with gleaming wood floors and an updated kitchen is easy to sell in most markets, but when a property is a bit run down or dated looking, it can be a tough sell. Here are some phrases that can persuade buyers to give these homes a second look; choose the ones that are true for the house you’re trying to market.

1. This House Has Good Bones

Clients who might consider a fixer-upper absolutely love this expression. The phrase “good bones” reassures them that the house doesn’t have any known structural issues or major defects and that its size and layout are desirable even if some of its surfaces look a little shabby.

2. You Can Make This Into Your Dream Home

If your buyers show a flair for creativity, appeal to their desire to personalize the house. Remind them that if the seller had already done all the work, they would be paying for finishing work done to someone else’s taste. Buying a home with cosmetic issues that haven’t been fixed by the seller lets them save money on the purchase price, and they can use those savings to install interior and exterior finishes that they love.

3. You Can Reduce Your Risk With A Warranty

An older home can mean questionable systems or appliances that are near the end of their life cycle. Your clients may not realize that they can buy a home warranty that will cover their electrical systems, appliances, furnace, and air conditioner. They can budget for the cost of the warranty and then sleep peacefully knowing that if their hot water heater breaks down, it is covered by the home warranty.

4. Let’s Talk About How To Fund The Renovations

New home buyers don’t always know that they can ask the seller for a credit to cover the cost of repairs. They might also want to know about mortgages that will cover renovations, too, like the FHA 203(k) program that wraps renovation costs into the mortgage loan.

5. This Is A Lot Of House For The Money

Bargain hunters who are willing to take on a seller’s problems or clean-up work can often get into neighborhoods or homes they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. Show them recent sales figures of similar homes in the same school district or neighborhood to help them see whether the fixer-upper is a good bargain.

6. The Neighborhood Is So Desirable

Savvy buyers know that a home will never be worth more than the surrounding properties, so stressing a solid neighborhood with stable property values will appeal to them. Also, while fixing up a house might be challenging, it’s at least possible; a bad neighborhood can’t be repaired. Point out features like good schools, easy access to highways, and low crime rates to help them realize that their bargain home is likely to appreciate in value.

There’s a lot to love about older homes, and there are buyers who love the opportunity to pick up a bargain and turn a house into a creative project. Use these ideas to help you connect those buyers with the fixer-upper of their dreams.

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Ian Pearson <![CDATA[Guide For Choosing The Right Kind Of Blinds]]> http://www.ushomerefinance.com/?p=595 2017-04-20T08:05:43Z 2017-04-19T16:00:39Z An essential part of decorating your own home is choosing the right blinds for your windows. What is great about blinds is that they can have a drastic effect on the way your rooms look. Furthermore, they add functionality. They are a very popular interior design choice, and can fitRead More →

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Guide For Choosing The Right Kind Of Blinds

An essential part of decorating your own home is choosing the right blinds for your windows. What is great about blinds is that they can have a drastic effect on the way your rooms look. Furthermore, they add functionality. They are a very popular interior design choice, and can fit any room in your home, such as the living room, bathroom, kitchen, and the like.

There is truly a wide variety of blinds to choose out there, so which ones should you install? In this article we are going to discuss the types of blinds, and help you make your choice. The factors that you have to keep in mind are the purpose of the room, the room’s décor, and of course, the size of the window.

Roller Blinds

If you’re looking for functionality, then roller blinds are one of the best choices for you. They are usually installed in rooms that serve as offices. Generally made out of plastic or a single layer or fabric, they stop the morning light from entering the room. You use a sidewinder chain to lift or lower them, but there are also cordless ones. They come in various colors and designs, so you can pick the one that suits you best.

Motorized Blinds

In case that you are tired of pulling your blinds or the cord, so that you can open and close your windows, motorized blinds are the perfect choice. They are essentially the epitome of convenience. Due to being mechanical, all you need to do in order to make use of them is to push a button. Some of the models even come with controls that enable you to tilt the shades, so that you don’t have to do it manually.

Venetian Blinds

Are you looking for a stylish and popular choice? Then you should go for venetian blinds. They consist of horizontal slats which are joined together in a vertical row. They hang suspended by a chord that is usually made out of cloth or band. You can close them completely, which makes them a good choice for a bathroom. In order to let the light in the way you want to, they can be rotated almost to 180 degrees. They come in a number of materials, like plastic, wood, metal, etc.

Roman Blinds

Another very popular choice are roman blinds. They are made out of one long, extended piece of fabric. Similarly to roller blinds, they can be lowered and raised any way you like it, due to horizontal folds that run along the entire length. Their look can be described as a combo of fabric drape and traditional blinds, and adds a luxurious feel to your room. They also work well for rooms where it feels a little cold.

Blockout Blinds

If you are looking for a way to block the light completely from entering the room, then it is blockout blinds that you need. Next to giving you the desired privacy, these blinds block direct sunlight and glare. Furthermore, what is great about them is that they are made out of fabrics that control how much heat comes into your room. You like your bedroom to be in complete darkness in order to get a good night sleep? Then blockout blinds are the way to go.

Honeycomb Blinds

An enticing option that is also a perfect solution for improving the energy efficiency of your home are honeycomb blinds. The main idea behind these blinds is fabric that is built into honeycomb cells. What honeycomb cells do is that they trap air between the room and the window. During the hot summer days, they make sure that your home stays cool, while in the winter, they retain the heat and help you stay warm.

Vertical Blinds

Vertical, or track blinds, consist out of vertical hanging slats that are joined together. They come in various materials and styles, such as fabric, solar, aluminum, cellular screen, faux wood, stiffened plastic, and the like. Vertical blinds are a perfect solution for big windows and sliding doors. What makes them great is that they work well if you are looking for energy efficiency, and give you just the right light control. Furthermore, they give your home a unique look.

Bamboo or Bali Blinds

If you are into Asian or African décor, then bamboo blinds are the perfect choice for you. They are also called Bali blinds, due to being made and sold by a company called Bali. They are both solid and versatile, and also quite cost-effective if compared to other blinds made out of exotic wood. The best description of these blinds would be a big sushi rolling mat that is used to cover your windows.

Panel Track Blinds

Another choice that functions similarly to vertical blinds are panel track blinds. These blinds are one of the best choices when it comes to light control and privacy. They consist of panels covered in fabric, which are quite easy to slide in order to reveal or cover up your windows. They are a frequent choice for dining rooms, living rooms, and rooms that have long windows. If you are looking for more than regular fabric, you can have them custom made.

In Summation

When it comes to home décor, you mustn’t forget about choosing the right blinds. The ones discussed in this article offer various benefits, from energy efficiency to perfect light control. Also, they offer various options when it comes to style. Make your choice, and make the best out of your rooms.

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Alice Porter <![CDATA[The US Housing Market Forecast For 2017]]> http://www.ushomerefinance.com/?p=590 2017-04-12T08:24:29Z 2017-04-12T08:24:29Z The majority of real estate experts are predicting a strong and prosperous year for the US housing market in 2017 and into the foreseeable future and the value of homes in some markets continue to climb at a speedy rate. In cities like Miami, L.A, San Francisco and San Diego, it’sRead More →

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The US Housing Market Forecast For 2017

The majority of real estate experts are predicting a strong and prosperous year for the US housing market in 2017 and into the foreseeable future and the value of homes in some markets continue to climb at a speedy rate. In cities like Miami, L.A, San Francisco and San Diego, it’s thought that the housing market was going to experience a crash, which could mean challenging and interesting times for property investors and developers.

Here are some of the biggest predictions and insights for the housing market in 2017.

Expert Predictions

The biggest factor that will affect the housing market this year is President Donald Trump. The plans of the repatriation of business, investment and jobs back to the US could essentially lead to strong inflation and a high dollar, which will have a domino effect and impact on the price of homes, which means that renters will want to get into the market quickly.

Vice President of Statistical and Economic Modeling Eric Fox has indicated that the top forecast markets to show price appreciation will occur in Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon, Denver and Colorado, where the rates range between 10-11%.

Housing Construction On The Rise

It’s predicted that new home construction will not keep up with the housing demand, and over the next decade, a lot of renters will become home owners. Across the nation, housing prices are an average of $50,000 below the pre-recession highs. But as construction rates moderate, hot markets like Miami, San Francisco and the other previously mentioned cities should all massively increase to all-time highs which could have serious implications for a housing market crash.

Mortgage Rate Trends

Mortgage rates are expected to remain at around 4% which is historically low for new homeowners looking to lock in a 30 year mortgage. This is widely being referred to as the Trump Effect as business and home lending becomes more eased and lax. This is predicted to boost the number of home purchases in the next few years. Employment is growing and wages are increasing, which means that the housing market is essentially set for growth.

Some housing market experts foresee a plateau in the housing market in 2020 after strong growth in the next few years. According to experts, the housing market is yet to recover from the housing crash and recession of 2007, and although single family spending is rapidly on the up rise, nobody believes that the conditions for high inflation exist. This clearly points to the fact that the next few years will see healthy growth ahead, with an unfulfilled demand for single, detached homes.

With houses remaining on the market for less than 50 days across the nation, the market is as exuberant as it was in 2006, before the prices began to plummet. This could be a clear indicator that the market is nearing the top. It could be great for first time buyers, but could have serious implications on the future of the market.

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Edwin C <![CDATA[3 Things Real Estate Companies Won’t Tell You]]> http://www.ushomerefinance.com/?p=587 2017-05-06T18:21:25Z 2017-04-07T02:50:17Z Most of the real estate agents people meet during the course of selling their house will be just like everyone else – decent people who are trying to make a living in their chosen profession. Unfortunately, just as there are unscrupulous people in other places, some have found their wayRead More →

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Most of the real estate agents people meet during the course of selling their house will be just like everyone else – decent people who are trying to make a living in their chosen profession.

Unfortunately, just as there are unscrupulous people in other places, some have found their way to real estate. Keep the following in mind when dealing with real estate agents, just in case they don’t have your best interests at heart.

1. I’m selling myself as much as your house.

​The housing market has recently managed to return to the level it was at before the recession happened, recent surveys suggest, with the potential for the buyer’s market to be changing to a seller’s one in the near future.

Not only is this good news for everyone trying to sell their house, it is also good news for the people who sell them – the real estate agents.

The same surveys which have been suggesting the shift back into the seller’s market have also shown that the income of the average real estate agent (which depends heavily on commissions from their customers) is returning to its pre-recession levels.

​The real estate agent who is using your business to market themselves will make massive promises of marketing your house in the best publications and in the most flattering ways possible, while also drumming up as much business as possible in the surrounding areas to bring would-be buyers into the house.

What they won’t tell you is that these methods sell themselves as much as they sell the houses in question; using mailing lists brings attention to the overall neighbourhood, rather than specific houses, so it is an ideal method for real estate agents to get their name out.

2. Commissions aren’t fixed rate.

​Commission itself is something which raises a lot of controversy throughout the real estate business – some people think it is fine to add an additional fee onto the original price, whereas others think it is an unnecessary addition. While not everyone in the real estate business works on commission, close to eighty percent do.

​Most estate agents work on the basis of a six percent commission fee, with it being split fifty\fifty between the real estate agent and the business he is attached to, but what not many know is that commission and other things is variable. The reason estate agents don’t tell you this is that having a sliding commission may have an effect on their own abilities in the future.

3. Your home isn’t worth as much as you think.

​Most real estate agents will help their clients be realistic about the state of the market, and about their chances on it, but some will try to prolong the selling time (and therefore fatten their commission) by building up client expectations.

Normally, this will take the form of allowing their client to think that their house is worth much more than it actually is, leaving it to sit on the market for much longer than it would before the price is brought down to reasonable levels.

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Anum Yoon <![CDATA[9 Ways To Make Your Home Energy Efficient]]> http://www.ushomerefinance.com/?p=564 2017-03-11T06:39:38Z 2017-03-11T17:00:57Z Energy efficiency is in. Taking steps to make your home more energy efficient lessens the demand for energy, which is often powered by fossil fuels such as oil and gas. Fossil fuels have a large carbon footprint, and their use contributes to global warming. Energy-efficiency is also cost-effective. The lessRead More →

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9 Ways To Make Your Home Energy Efficient

Energy efficiency is in. Taking steps to make your home more energy efficient lessens the demand for energy, which is often powered by fossil fuels such as oil and gas. Fossil fuels have a large carbon footprint, and their use contributes to global warming.

Energy-efficiency is also cost-effective. The less energy you use, the less your bill will be. For both a green planet and your wallet, energy efficiency is a good thing.

How can you make your home more energy efficient? Here are nine ways.

Do An Energy Audit

In business, you need to know the metrics of any challenge before you start to work on it. If you don’t, you have no idea how much you’ve improved. The same is true of your home. In an energy audit, a professional comes to your home to review it and let you know where best to save on energy.

Fix Any Drafts Or Leaks

If your house has significant drafts or leaks, you may as well be sending dollar bills up the chimney. Your heating and cooling devices have to work harder to regulate the temperature in your home if cold air is coming in during the winter and if hot air is blowing in during the summer.

Check around windows, doors, patio doors and even light fixtures. And speaking of chimneys? If flues are closed, they’re a prime source of drafts. Caulk and seal any drafts or leaks you find.

Buy EnergyStar Appliances

When you buy appliances for your kitchen or need to replace the ones you have, be sure to look for the EnergyStar label. EnergyStar products are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Energy to save energy. An EnergyStar washing machine, for example, will save 25 percent in energy costs and use 45 percent less water. Almost every appliance you can think of has an EnergyStar model: refrigerators, ovens, fans and more.

Use Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs

Don’t forget the simple lightbulb as an energy-saving device. Replacing every lightbulb in your house with maximum energy-efficiency ones can save a lot of energy. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can save from 25 percent to 80 percent of energy use. They can also last up to 25 times longer. Want detailed information on how much you can save? A lightbulb finder smartphone app can give you a readout, show you a picture of the bulb you’re looking for and even let you order it.

Upgrade Your Heating and Cooling Systems

State-of-the-art heating and cooling systems can save up to 20 percent of energy use. Heating and cooling systems, depending on the size of your house and the climate you live in, are major users of energy. When the time comes to replace and upgrade, choose EnergyStar systems here as well.

Install Programmable Thermostats

As you’re looking for new heating and cooling systems, be sure to buy products that allow you to program your thermostats. Newer systems can be programmed from smartphones wherever you are. If you planned to be home at 5:30 and programmed the heat to turn on at 5:00, you can reprogram it from work if you’re going to be running late. Programmable thermostats can save up to 15 percent in energy costs.

Seal and Insulate Air Ducts

Air ducts can be a prime source of energy loss if they aren’t properly sealed or insulated. Leaky ducts may reduce your heating and cooling system’s efficiency by up to 20 percent. If you’re a skilled do-it-yourselfer, you can seal and insulate air ducts yourself. If not, it’s best to have a professional come out and do this job.

Place Solar Panels on the Roof

Solar panels capture the sun’s energy and convert it for home use. As a result, it can reduce your reliance on your energy company and save both fossil fuel and costs. You don’t need to live in a perpetually sunny climate to benefit, although your roof does need access to sunlight. Make sure it’s not surrounded by tall buildings or trees.

One caution: Because solar panels go on the roof and last at least 15 years, they will be most cost-effective if your roof also lasts that long. If your roof will need to be replaced in five to 10 years, wait until then.

Don’t Forget Landscaping

People thinking about energy efficiency in the home often think just of the interior. Your landscaping can help save energy costs as well. Large shade trees, for example, will make your home cooler in the summer, reducing the need for energy. Just make sure they don’t block light from the windows. Shrubs and lawns also have a cooling effect on the area around your home.

Energy efficiency reduces the carbon footprint caused by fossil fuels as well as homeowner’s costs. As these tips show, making your home more energy efficient is fairly easy and can be taken in both small steps and larger ones.

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