Strategic Landscaping

Today we’re going to talk about how to maximize the resale value of your home with… …strategic landscaping…

When planning renovations, don’t overlook the value of your yard. Nothing adds more immediate curb appeal than attractive landscaping.

Choosing the right plan will definitely make your home more salable. But even if you’re not planning to sell anytime soon, you can enjoy the benefits of enhanced landscaping and be confident they have lasting value.

According to a recent SmartMoney article, the right landscaping can add up to 15% to a home’s value.

Here are the 5 landscaping strategies that offer the highest return…

Strategy #1: Concentrate on the entryway of your house – that’s what buyers see first. Replace worn-out stairways with decorative concrete blocks. Make it staggered or curved for extra impact, and edge it with raised planters.
Continue the raised planters along the front of your home to enhance drainage and tie the landscaping into the architecture.

Strategy #2: Xeriscaping your yard. This is a style of landscaping that requires little irrigation or maintenance. It is inexpensive to do, saves ongoing costs and appeals to today’s time squeezed buyers.

Strategy #3: Add a deck. This is an inexpensive way to increase the apparent floor space of your home. Make outdoor and indoor space blend seamlessly by using French doors and indoor-style light fixtures and furnishings. The deck shouldn’t be more than one-third of the square footage of your home’s main floor.

Strategy #4: Add terraces. Replace hard-to-maintain slopes in your yard with terraces that feature plantings or mini patios with furniture.

Strategy #5: Add lush vegetation, but don’t go overboard. Everyone – including you! – enjoys green, leafy surroundings. But few buyers like high-maintenance gardens. Choose hardy perennials and shrubs, and use ground cover planting to reduce weeding and watering.

Wondering how you’re going to pay for all this?

As your mortgage professional, we can help you analyze your options to determine if it would make sense to use the equity in your home to finance your landscaping project. In some cases, we can even finance your project, consolidate high interest debts, and still keep your monthly payments the same or less than they are now. For more information, Call us today!

House Painter

I don’t know if you’re planning on painting your home any time soon but if you are, this info will come in handy…

Before you hire the first “student painter” who comes along, here are…

6 Tips for Choosing The Right House Painter

Tip #1: Get three detailed written estimates. [Click] Don’t settle for a price without knowing what’s included. The estimate should indicate areas to be painted, sanding/scraping, repairs, taping, type of paint, cleanup, time involved, etc.

Tip #2: Ask about the Crew. [Click] Find out how many people will be working. This gives you an idea how long the job will take (if there’s only one painter and you live in a big house, the job could last all summer!). Make sure the same people who start the job will finish it, to ensure quality control.

Tip #3: Discuss the paint. [Click] Paint can be cheap or expensive. Since you don’t want to be painting frequently, make sure you get good quality. Compare the price the contractor offers with how much it would cost if you bought the paint yourself.

Tip #4: Specify level of clean-up. [Click] Make it clear that you expect all tape to be removed, landscaping put back in order, garbage taken away, etc.

Tip #5: Ask about follow-up. [Click] A good painter should be willing to come back a week later to do touch-ups and deal with any concerns.

Tip #6: Check their track record. Ask to see some unedited customer reviews. If you’re still not 100% confident, go visit a few of their finished jobs. The proof is in the pudding!

So there you have it. I’ve just given you six important tips that can save you a whole whack of time, energy, money and stress when it comes to painting your home. Now the rest is up to you!

If you’d like a recommendation on a top-notch, professional painter (with affordable prices) who can give you a free estimate on painting your home, Call us today!

Better Investment

I’m not a financial advisor, nor am I an expert in investing, but in these turbulent economic times it’s more important than ever to discuss this important and controversial topic…

Even today, both mutual funds and real estate still offer investment potential.
Wondering which is better?

Here are a few things to consider….

When you borrow to make either investment, the interest is tax deductible. But revenue property delivers further benefits: maintenance expenses and building depreciation are also deductible.

If liquidity is important, mutual funds offer faster access to cash than real estate.

In both cases, buying low is a major benefit. But with a revenue property, you can buy even lower with a fixer-upper, do the work yourself, and create even higher profits.

Real estate offers leverage opportunities. Let’s say you make a 20% down payment on a $500,000 house, and in two years it’s worth 10% more ($550,000). The return on your actual investment is 50%! Leveraging equities can be riskier because values change more rapidly. Plus, the bank won’t loan you $400,000 to buy $500,000 in stocks!

Both real estate and mutual funds gain value over the long term. But revenue properties also yield monthly rental income, which can cover mortgage payments. As you build equity, you have more funds to purchase a second property.

If you’re interested in investing in revenue property, call us today! Chances are we can access the equity in your current home to help you generate new wealth!

Before Refinancing

Before you consider refinancing your existing mortgage…

…it’s important for you to determine the break-even point, which represents how soon the cost of the refinance will be recaptured through lower monthly payments.

The answer to this question depends on multiple factors.

These factors include your current interest rate, the new potential rate, closing costs and how long you plan to stay in your home. But while the break-even point is easy enough to calculate, other factors may also influence your decision and, if it’s a go, the type of loan you’ll select.

While there is no rule of thumb for the maximum payback period (break-even point) that makes sense for most borrowers, three years or fewer typically is considered reasonable if you intend to keep your mortgage at least that long.

If you can get a true zero-cost refinance, your break-even point will occur immediately.

In that case, it may make sense to refinance your mortgage even if your interest rate is lowered by just an eighth of a percentage point, because you’ll save money every month, though the amount may be small. A true no-cost refinance means you pay no money upfront and neither your loan amount nor your interest rate is increased to build any costs into your new loan.

As your mortgage advisor, we can help you sort through the confusion by providing you with a quick ‘n easy break-even analysis to determine if refinancing your mortgage is a sound financial decision. [Click] For more info, call us today!

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DBA – Invis West Coast Mortgages