7 Super-Easy Cleaning Recipes for the Most Awesome-Smelling Home

Essential oils are the key to these sweet-smelling (and highly effective!) homemade cleaners.

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“What’s that smell?” That question could go either way when potential buyers enter a home for a home tour. If you’re trying to sell your home, you most definitely don’t want a foul odor to turn away a buyer. Take a look at some of these great all natural ways to clean your home and fill it with soothing smells rather than harsh chemical smells as you clean for your next showing or open house!

If you get light-headed just reading the ingredients on your cleaning products, take heart: There’s another way.

These make-in-minutes, super-cheap recipes create potions that use sweet-smelling essential oils that won’t fumigate your home, while having superpowers to fight grime and bacteria.

And much like a food recipe you may try, you can modify the oils to suit your own olfactory senses.

Citrusy All-Purpose Cleaner

tray of orange fruits

  • 15 drops of essential oil of lemon
  • 5 drops essential oil of sweet orange
  • 5 drops essential oil of rosemary
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups filtered water

Funnel all these ingredients into a spray bottle, seal, and gently shake. There’ll be a battle of odors here, with the acidic vinegar likely winning out against the sweet-smelling oils, but don’t let this deter you.

The vinegar scent disappears quickly, but that citrusy, herby zing lingers on. And these oils aren’t just there for their scent alone. Lemon oil is a natural disinfectant, orange oil busts grease, and rosemary oil has some antibacterial and antiseptic qualities.

Lemon-Scented Window Cleaner

  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 10 drops essential oil of lemon

Mix all these ingredients in dark glass spray bottle (it’ll protect the oils from breaking down).

Spray on any glass surface and polish in with a microfiber cloth. You’ll have sparkling panes and mirrors in no time, and that wondrous essential oil of lemon will kill off the bacteria left behind by mucky fingerprints.

Eucalyptus Toilet Bowl Cleaner

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  • 25 drops essential oil of eucalyptus
  • 1/3 cup Castile soap
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1-1/3 cups baking soda

Fill a squeeze bottle with the water, baking soda, and eucalyptus oil.

Seal the bottle and shake. Next, add the Castile soap. Shake again. Squeeze around the bowl. Leave for 15 minutes, then scrub with a toilet brush, flush, and you’re done.

Aside from having a deliciously fresh aroma, eucalyptus is a natural germicide.

Lavender-Thyme Dish Cleaner

  • 20 drops essential oil of lavender
  • 10 drops essential oil of thyme
  • 5 drops of essential oil of tea tree
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 cup liquid Castile soap
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda

This one does require some stovetop time: Bring the water to a boil, then mix in the oils. (Thyme and tea tree goes to war on salmonella while emitting a pleasant aroma along with lavender.) Add the rest of the ingredients slowly. After that, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Once cooled, pour into a squeeze bottle. Shake gently before using.

Peppermint-Lavender Floor Cleaner

tray on coffee table

  • 5 drops essential oil of peppermint
  • 5 drops essential oil of lavender
  • 5 drops of essential oil of tea tree
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

Pour the vinegar into a bucket, fill that bucket up with hot water and add the oils.

Works on stone, tile, and wooden floors. Not only is peppermint oil anti-bacterial, many believe it can deter mice and other pests.

Tea tree oil is antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal. Not only is lavender oil antibacterial, too, but its aroma also has soothing properties that can calm your whole household.

Lavender Linen Spray

white textile

  • 6 drops of essential oil of lavender
  • 2 tablespoons witch hazel
  • Filtered water

Fill a spray bottle with the witch hazel and lavender. Shake, top off with water, shake again, and then spray away.

 

Cinnamon and Sandalwood Air Freshener

  • 10 drops essential oil of cinnamon
  • 10 drops oil of sandalwood
  • 1 cup filtered water

A spritz of this subtle-but-effective scent erases stinks in seconds. Fill a spray bottle with the water and the oils. Cinnamon scent boosts brain power and sandalwood is calming — perfect for a hardworking, stressed out home!

Essential oils do mix, so if any of the scents in these recipes don’t appeal, play around with other oils. Just keep the quantities the same. For example, if you switched sandalwood for orange oil in this air freshener, stick to the 10 drops specified in the recipe.

Article adapted from HouseLogic-Anna Tobin


Greenbrier Valley Upcoming Events

September 8, 2018 10a.m. – 4 p.m. White Sulphur Springs own Freshwater Folk Festival
The Freshwater Folk Festival is a celebration of our nation’s fish, wildlife, and natural resources. The 2018 festival will feature great music, food, dance, crafts, fun and educational activities.


Contact us for any real estate needs in Lewisburg, WV and ALL surrounding areas!
304.645.2255

 

Accent Wall Ideas that WOW!

Transform any wall in your home from boring to BOLD in a short amount of time!

What a great DIY project to add some flair and interest to a room! A quick and easy update to any room is to add an accent wall.

An accent wall can totally transform a room, taking it from boring and drab to bold and exciting. Accent walls create a new focal point for your space, add liveliness and contrast, and are typically a very inexpensive DIY project.

The starter accent wall

You can easily add an accent wall to your room in one afternoon by applying a new paint color. Deep blues and bright oranges are common choices for accent walls, but choose a color that will complement your existing decor and overall design aesthetic.

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Interesting textures

Bright, contrasting paint is a good starting point, but there are other options for accent walls that are even more eye-catching and distinct. Floor-to-ceiling wood planks can make your home seem both rustic and modern all at once and provide a natural, outdoors-inspired feel. It’s more work than simply painting a wall, but it’s still relatively inexpensive. You can source the wood from pallets and stain it yourself before attaching it to your wall. It takes a little extra elbow grease, but it’s worth the effort.

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Patterns, murals, and more

Paint and wood are bold enough on their own to transform a room, but they’re still pretty subtle compared to other accent wall options. A chalk paint accent wall is a creative idea for any room and makes for some fun moments when you’re entertaining. There are also endless options for wallpaper and stenciling if you want some patterns or you can get really bold with a mural or oversized art print.

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Contact us for any real estate needs in and around Lewisburg, WV. We proudly serve the Greenbrier Valley and surrounding areas with our experienced and dedicated team of REALTORS.
Gregory Allman, Broker

10 Restaurants You Have to Visit!

The Greenbrier Valley is no stranger to good food! Lewisburg and other areas near us offer a variety of options when it comes to food! Check out this short list of some popular area restaurants! (In no particular order!)

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  1. Del Sol Cantina and Grille– Great atmosphere and great Latin-American food, enjoy the welcoming patio or sit indoors
    206 W Washington St.
    Lewisburg, WV
    304.645.1717
  2. Jim’s Drive In– Serving all-american food right to your car window! A true gem to our area, serving since the early 1950s
    Route 60 W
    Lewisburg, WV
    304.645.2590
    Call for hours, open hours can vary.
  3. Food & Friends– Classic America cuisine, great service and great food
    213 W Washington St.
    Lewisburg, WV
    304.645.4548
    Check their website for hours of operation. Coming for dinner? You may want to make a reservation!
  4. The French Goat– Casual French style bistro located in the heart of downtown Lewisburg
    111 S. Lafayette St.
    Lewisburg, WV
    304.647.1052
    You can easily make a reservation and check availability on their website!
  5. Wah Gwaan Diner– A Jamaican Restaurant serving some of the most delicious authentic Jamaican and Fusion Cuisine
    687 Main St. E.
    White Sulphur Springs, WV
    304.956.2600
    Open Monday-Saturday 11:30-9 p.m.
  6. Rudy’s Corner Grill– 75 years of serving the community American style food buffet style (with other options) daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    201 W. Main St.
    Ronceverte, WV
    304.647.4700
  7. The Meeting Place– Also known as Alta Station located just off Interstate 64 you’ll find a welcoming small town feel restaurant located within the gas station, serving American style food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    13194 Alta Dr.
    Asbury, WV
    304.645.9015
  8. Hill and Holler– Wood fired pizza with lots of flair, fun atmosphere with occasional live music
    204 N Jefferson St.
    Lewisburg, WV
    304.647.4429
  9. The Livery Tavern– Utilizing a farm to table approach The Livery Tavern offers rich and real flavors to every menu item, the history of the building is very interesting as well!
    217 E. Washington St.
    Lewisburg, WV
    304.645.9836
    Open for dinner, call for reservation
  10. The Historic General Lewis Inn– The Jefferson Dining Room and Thistle Lounge are located on the main floor of the inn and are open to day guests. Resourcing locally-grown produce and ethically raised meats found in many of the dishes on the menu.
    1236 E. Washington St.
    Lewisburg, WV
    304.645.2600
    Check website for hours of operation

Lewisburg, WV and all of our great neighbors have a variety of restaurants! Our list could’ve been much longer! So many other great restaurants in White Sulphur Springs, Union, Pickaway, Lewisburg, Alderson we just can’t list them all! We hope that if you are visiting our area you’ll take the time to check out a few of these restaurants and others as well!


For any real estate needs, contact us! We’d love to be your preferred Real Estate team!
Greenbrier Real Estate Service
1047 E. Washington St.
Lewisburg, WV
304.645.2255

To-Dos: Your August Home Checklist

With the transition from summer travels to school beginning in just 10 days in Greenbrier County, August can feel like a sudden downshift from the fun of vacation. Stretch out these last days of summer by squeezing in a few more home projects, savoring simple pleasures and, when the time comes, cleaning up the beach toys and preparing the house for a busy fall. Pick from these 13 to-dos to create your perfect August plan.

1. Clean and store summer gear. Once the last beach day is behind you, take the time to clean out the buckets, shovels and boogie boards so they’re fresh and clean for next year. Toss out cracked or broken toys, and shop end-of-season sales to replace items if needed.

person pinpointing pen on calendar
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

2. Set up a shared family calendar. Whether you choose a big paper wall calendar or a digital version, having one calendar to rule them all will be a big help come fall, when schedules get busier. Set up your preferred method now, and record important back-to-school dates and recurring events.

3. Clear the way for easy weeknight dinners. A too-packed kitchen (and fridge and pantry) can make meal prep harder than it needs to be. Clear away clutter to create a clean work space on the counter and remove expired, stale and unwanted food from the pantry, fridge and freezer. Donate unwanted and unexpired foods in their original packaging to a local food pantry.

4. Share your backyard harvest. Have a glut of tomatoes, squash or other summer produce? Pack up a basket to share with your neighbors, or check out Greenbrier County’s own Waste Not Want Not Project they host a Produce Market every Sunday in Fairlea, WV at Swift Level Fine Meats. A great project that benefits our area farmers as well as low income families and seniors in our area!

food salad healthy summer
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Tackle These Tasks Over a Weekend

5. Organize family photos. 
Have a bunch of new photos from your summer adventures? Take this opportunity to sort and organize them — back up digital photos with cloud-based storage, and make an album or a book of recent photos.

6. Clean carpets and floors. Sand and garden dirt tracked in over the summer can really take a toll on floors. Vacuum and mop floors, and have area rugs and carpeting professionally cleaned if needed.

person using mop on floor
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

7. Get organized for back to school (and work). Consider what would make this fall run more smoothly for your family: a few extra hooks in the entryway to handle coats and bags, perhaps? Or if papers are a constant problem, take the time now to set up a simple filing system and an inbox for each family member.

8. Check emergency kits.Emergency supplies don’t last forever. Open up your kit and check expiration dates on food and any medications; replace as needed. Don’t have an emergency kit yet? Make this the month you create one.

first aid case on wall
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

9. Organize closets before fall shopping. Before making any new purchases, spend some time assessing what you already have in the closet: Try on clothing, fold and hang up any clothes on the floor, get rid of items you don’t wear and make a list of what you need. Doing this before shopping can help save money and prevent cluttering up your closet.

10. Schedule some do-nothing time. It can be surprisingly hard to relax and simply do nothing, even when you do have a pocket of free time. I find that the key is not calling it “free time” at all: By planning to do nothing, you are actually giving yourself permission to fully relax.

11. Clean and organize the garage. If you haven’t cleaned out your garage in a while, it’s likely this project will take an entire weekend (or more), so plan accordingly. It helps to think ahead and find out where you can take items (donations, hazardous waste, things to sell) before starting, and get a dumpster if you think you will need it. Wait until you’ve cleared away the clutter before purchasing new shelving or wall-mounted organizers. You’ll have a better idea of what you need once the decluttering is complete.

12. Finish up outdoor projects. Make use of the long August days to finish up any outdoor projects you started (or intended to start) over the summer.

13. Check your home for signs of pests. 
It’s not a pleasant subject, but being proactive when it comes to pests in and around your home is much better than trying to solve a pest problem that has gotten out of hand.  If you do need to use pesticides, choose the lowest-risk product first, and use according to the directions. If you hire a pest control pro, ask him or her to use bait, and crack and crevice control when possible; fogging should be a last resort.

What’s on your TO-DO List for the end of summer? Soak it up, get things done, and get ready for fall in the Greenbrier Valley!

Article adapted from Houzz.com-Laura Gaskill


Thinking of  moving to our beautiful “neck of the woods” Contact us! We’ll help you find your home sweet home!

Greenbrier Real Estate Service
1047 Washington St. E.
Lewisburg, WV 24957
304.645.2255

 

The 5 Best Things to Do When You Move into Your New Home

Moving into your dream home can be a daunting task. Between unpacking, cleaning, and trying to find that stray roll of toilet paper, it may feel like you’ve lost your mind in a sea of Bubble Wrap.

That’s why we wanted to share with you five simple things that you should do during the first month in your new home. These may feel like back-burner tasks, but really, they’ll help you sleep better at night and make your new place feel less like a house and more like your home.

#1 Lock It Up

Security is the No. 1 concern for most people in a new environment. You can easily switch out your locks and deadbolts to your new home to protect your valuables and your family.

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Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. on Pexels.com

Now’s the time to consider the lockset finish, and the options are endless. When it comes to exterior locks, make sure you choose something that looks timeless and can be cleaned easily.

A new security system is also a good idea. The options for this are endless as well. Systems with online monitoring, smartphone compatibility, thermostat control, and even video monitors for the interior including the baby nursery are super helpful. Even if that room is empty now, it might not be in the future – so go ahead and secure it!

#2 Remove Toilet Seats

Some folks may think it’s unnecessary to replace toilet seats, but my point here is to simply remove them. By removing your toilet seats, you can really deep clean under the bolts and hinges where the “yucks” like to hide. 

You can reinstall your existing seat or opt to shop for a new one. New versions with night-lights, padding, or even child-sized attachments are available. Either way, you’ll know your favorite seat in the house is ready for your entire family.

#3 Improve Your Home’s Air

Changing an air filter is a three-minute task, and it should be done right after moving into a new home – even if the previous owners swear the chore was just done. Changing out a filter can help improve the performance of your air conditioning and furnace and help with any allergens in the home.

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This inexpensive fix can also save you money! The U.S. Department of Energy says that replacing your dirty air filter with a new one can lower your A/C’s energy consumption by 5 percent to 10 percent.

It’s a good idea to write the replacement date directly on the filter when you put it in so you can be sure you know how long it’s been since the last change.

Also, take the time to test and change out batteries in all your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. These are often tested during inspections, but the batteries can die and tampered-with units aren’t uncommon, especially if a house was left vacant.

#4  Paint Your Front Door

Painting your front door (or freshening it up with a coat of oil if it’s wood) can show your new neighbors that you’ve arrived on the block and are investing in your home. This simple task is so easy!

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After you do proper prep work, which includes sanding the surface, make sure you pick an exterior-grade paint and use a high-quality bristle brush to give it multiple thin coats for the best coverage. It’s a great time to show off your personal style, and these days any color goes!

Every day you walk in through your newly made-over door, you’ll feel welcomed into your new home and inspired to keep creating a space you love.

#5 Choose Your Signature Scent

Every house has a smell. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that “other people smell” that’s definitely not your own particular brand of aroma. Even if the smell isn’t bad, it just isn’t yours, and that makes you feel like an intruder in someone else’s space. Make your dream home even more dreamy by filling it with your signature scent.

Don’t have a signature scent? Check out a candle store or the air-freshener aisle to peruse the options, and then regularly use your favorite in your new home. My favorite is a lemon-vanilla-rosemary mix that I let simmer all day on the stove; it fills every room of the house.

In homes that have particularly distressing “stanks,” try getting the carpets cleaned before moving in the furniture. It can eliminate the smell as well as remove allergens, dirt, and stains.

This article was adapted from Katie and Jeremy Bower/House Logic


Happening now in the Greenbrier Valley!

The State Fair of WV! Check out all that it has to offer!

Thinking of moving to our area? We would love to help you find your new home?

Contact us! 304.645.2255
Gregory Allman, Broker

7 Small Home Flaws That Can Be Big Deals for Buyers

After living in the same home for a while, it’s amazing what you can get used to. A creaky floorboard, for instance. A chipped tile that you’ve been meaning to replace but haven’t gotten around to. A doorknob that needs a little coaxing to turn. No big deal, right?

Well, these small flaws can be huge deal breakers when you decide to sell your home.

Prospective buyers are going to add all the ‘flaws’ they find to the price of the property, and that’s when they start trying to discount the price.

Curious what some of these seemingly small problems are? Check out this list of minuscule (to you) things that buyers see as big hurdles to closing a sale.

1. An old electrical panel

This issue could arise when the home inspection is completed and an inspector might claim that repairs occur to get it “up to code.”

Sellers, you may see this as a small issue, and insist that the current panel works just fine.

But buyers, you more than likely see the electrical panel as a bigger issue that could fail at any time.

2. Ripped window screens

Window screens will wear out over time, but if yours are torn, take it seriously.

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They’re a pain for anyone to replace. Therefore, sellers don’t want to do it and buyers will insist that they do. If the sellers refuse to fix it, the buyers will demand a credit.

3. The location of your laundry room

Even if you own a state-of-the-art washer and dryer—and plan to bestow both on your lucky buyers—they may not be so thrilled with these nice appliances if they aren’t situated in what they think is the “right” place.

Some buyers have a problem with the laundry being on the ‘wrong’ level, especially in a three-level house or townhouse-style condo.

In other words, you might be fine lugging your laundry to the basement, but don’t expect all buyers to feel the same way. Offer to move these items to a new locale to warm buyers up.

4. Sticky door locks

Live in a house long enough, and you’ll encounter a malfunctioning door latch or lock. That may be no big deal to you, but it may alarm buyers big-time.

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If it’s an exterior door, they will likely view this as a major safety issue. And although it may seem like a simple fix, it’s often a complex one.

5. Your bathtub or shower

Some people prefer showers, others want baths (particularly parents who must clean up small kids). So if you’re missing one or the other, watch out.

In an ideal world, you’ll have both: a bath with a showerhead above. But even if your bathtub works just fine, make sure the style isn’t too off. Not everyone is excited to soak in a tub straight out of “Stranger Things” in avocado green.

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Nice, clean, and crisp bathroom will attract buyers. This combination offers a tub and shower.

6. Small closets

Many buyers focus on closets. Are there enough? Are they large enough? Walk-in closets are also preferred.

There are a few things you can do to ease these concerns. For one, try to make your closets look roomier by decluttering them as much as possible. Put excess items elsewhere (like a rented storage unit). You might also consider hiring a contractor to build or extend closets where needed—or at least point out to buyers that they can do this themselves.

7. The walls of your kitchen

Some people like—no, make that love— open kitchens. So if your kitchen currently has four walls, you could be in trouble.

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Beautiful, open kitchen is as inviting to buyers as it is to future guests in your new home!

Buyers may look at the possibility of breaking down a wall. But be warned, many might not want to do the work, or just get such a bad first impression of your kitchen that they move on. If you think your kitchen’s four walls feel cramped and is stalling your sale, consider opening it up yourself.

Article adapted from Realtor.com


Contact us for any of your real estate needs! We would love to offer our experience and expertise to you in you home selling or buying journey!

Greenbrier Real Estate Service | 304.645.2255 | 1047 Washington St. E. Lewisburg, WV 24957

5 Mortgage Misconceptions Set Straight

Getting a mortgage can be a breeze or a slog, depending on what you know about the process. To get organized and set your expectations properly, let’s debunk some common mortgage myths.

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1. Lenders use your best credit scores

If you’re applying for a mortgage jointly with a co-borrower, logic suggests that your lender would use the highest credit score between both of you.

However, lenders take the middle of three credit scores (from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) for each borrower, and then use the lowest score between both borrowers’ “middle scores.”

So, if you had a middle score of 780, and your co-borrower had a middle score of 660, most lenders would qualify and approve you using the 660 credit score.

Rates are tied to credit scores, so in this example, your rate would be based on the 660 credit score, which would push your rate up significantly — or potentially even make you ineligible for the loan.

There are exceptions to this lowest-case-credit-score rule. Most notably, if you have the higher credit score and are also the higher earner, some lenders will allow your higher credit score on the file — but this is mostly for jumbo loans above $417,000.

Ask your lender about exceptions if you have credit score disparity between co-borrowers, but know that these exceptions are rare.

2. The rate you’re quoted is the rate you’ll get

Unless you’re locking in a rate at the moment it’s quoted, that rate quote can change. Rates are tied to daily trading of mortgage bonds, so most lenders’ rates change throughout each day.

Refinancers can often lock a rate when it’s quoted — as long as you’ve given your lender enough information and documentation to determine if you qualify for the quoted rate.

You typically receive a quote when you’re beginning your pre-approval process, but a rate lock runs with a borrower and a property. So until you’ve found a home to buy, you can’t lock your rate. And while you’re home shopping, rates will be changing daily, so you’ll need updated quotes from your lender throughout your home shopping process.

Rate quotes also come with an annual percentage rate (APR), which is a federally required disclosure that shows what your rate would be if all loan fees are incorporated into the rate.

This can make you think that APR is the rate you’ll get, but your loan payment will always be based on your locked rate, and the APR is just a disclosure to help you understand fees.

3. Fixed-rate mortgages are always better than adjustable-rate mortgages

After the 2008 financial crisis, many borrowers started preferring 30-year fixed loans. For good reason too: The rate and payment on a 30-year fixed loan can never change. But the longer the rate is fixed for, the higher the rate.

So before settling on a 30-year fixed, ask yourself this question: How long am I going to own this home (or keep the loan) for?blue-rendered-outline-house-and-yellow-percent-sign_573x300.jpg

Suppose the answer is five years. If you got a five-year adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) instead of a 30-year fixed, your rate would be about .875 percent lower. On a $200,000 loan, you’d save $146 per month in interest by taking the five-year ARM. On a $600,000 loan, the monthly interest cost savings is $438.

To optimize your home financing, peg the loan term as closely as you can to your expected time horizon in the home.

4. Real estate agents don’t care which lender you use

A federal law enacted in 1974 called the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) prohibits lenders and real estate agents from paying each other fees to refer customers to each other. So as a mortgage shopper, you’re always free to use any lender you choose.

But real estate agents who would represent you as a buyer do care which lender you use. They’ll often suggest that you use a local lender who’s experienced with your area’s nuances, such as local taxation rules, settlement procedures and appraisal methodologies.

–You can contact us to get more information about lenders in our area!

These areas are all part of the loan process and can delay or kill deals if a nonlocal lender isn’t experienced enough to handle them.

Likewise, real estate agents representing sellers on homes you’re interested in will often prioritize purchase offers based on the quality of loan approvals. Local lenders who are known and respected by listing agents give your purchase offers more credibility.

5. Mortgage insurance is always required if you put less than 20 percent down

Mortgage insurance is a lender-risk premium placed on many home loans when you’re putting less than 20 percent down. In short, it means your total monthly housing cost is higher. But you can buy a home with less than 20 percent down and avoid mortgage insurance.

The most common way to do this is with a combination first and second mortgage — often called a piggyback — where the first mortgage is capped at 80 percent of the home’s value, and the second mortgage is for the balance of what you want to finance.

 

We hope that you found this information helpful!
Any questions, feel free to contact us!
304.645.2255

Home Buying Checklist

This checklist and the right agent will help you get on the right track in your house hunt!

Buying a home can be bewildering and stressful. (We get it.) And we’re here for you every step of the way.

We think this simple and easy to use checklist is great! So we’re sharing it! Trulia’s printable home buying checklist breaks down the process and points you to the tips and tools you need to find your next place. Download the PDF here to get started on your real estate journey. You can also contact us to help you start the process!

1. Gather Financials

Before you start looking at homes for sale, get your financial house in order. First, request your credit report from all three bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Comb through each report to ensure it’s accurate — and fix any errors you spot!

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Next, compile all the documents you may need to provide to a loan officer, including pay stubs, bank statements, and previous years’ tax returns.

2. Research Mortgages

Credit score and financial documents in hand, you’re ready to start researching options for your home loan.

Take advantage of online aids. You can comparison shop from a diverse group of reputable lenders in all 50 states, ranging from small, regional providers to larger, well-known brands such as Citi and Bank of America. You’ll get a personalized quote and can read lender reviews and ratings to help gain insights into which lender is right for you.

One of the best things to tackle on this section of the home buying checklist? Find out if you qualify for a special loan, such as a Veterans Affairs (VA) loan or any special home buying financing options through state or federal programs.

Make sure you get that mortgage preapproval letter — it’ll make you a more competitive buyer!

3. Explore Neighborhoods

Now for the fun part of the home buying checklist! It’s time to explore neighborhoods.

Investigate everything from commute times to walk score to school ratings and crime activity. Once you’ve honed in on the right neighborhood for your new place, be sure to check out bordering neighborhoods for even more options.

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4. Make a shopping list

As you get deeper into the process, it can be tough to keep your priorities straight. The more homes you see, the more you can lose track of what really matters.

Yes, that home has a gourmet kitchen with stainless steel appliances. But it’s $75,000 above the comfortable high in your price range — worth it?

That’s where this section of the home buying checklist comes into play: the home-shopping list. Take a few hours to hone in on exactly what constitutes a “must-have” item in your new home and then expand upon those points to determine what might constitute your “nice-to-have” and “dream features.”

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For example, a well-lit kitchen with ample storage space and new-ish appliances might be in your must-have section, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops in your nice-to-have section, and a chef-style gas range and pot filler in your dream-features section.

Knowing what matters most will help you and your real estate agent navigate the home buying process more quickly — and with less confusion.

5. Find an agent

As with any profession, there are amazing, miracle-working real estate agents … and there are some less than stellar ones. While it may seem like an easy to-do on the home buying checklist, finding a real estate agent is one of the most important steps in the process.

Ask family and friends for recommendations — and be sure to call your prospective agent’s references to get details on their experience.

But above all else, be sure to choose an agent who specializes in the type of home you’re seeking and is an expert on your desired neighborhood.

6. Start house hunting!

You’re so close to the finish line! (Well, almost.) This is when the real action begins.

Now that you’ve completed all preliminary steps on the home buying checklist, you’re ready to start searching. Online listings are a great place to start–check out our listing on our website! Click here! Visit open houses and work with your agent to schedule private showings.

Enjoy the house hunt, because your next steps — negotiating with sellers, home inspections, closing costs, and more — still lie ahead.

Article adapted from Trulia.com

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