Mark Galante's Blog
In the gray days of winter, everyone can benefit from some additional sunlight. Take advantage of the well-documented medical and psychological benefits of sunshine and the vitamin D it generates. Sure, you can open your windows, but then you lose that privacy. You can split the difference with a skylight or a light tube that allows light to come down from the roof of your home.
What is a Skylight?
A skylight is a window that opens up to the sky through the ceiling and roof of your home instead of out the side wall. Skylights come in a variety of styles from clear to frosted or patterned. Some even open and may include fans to help increase ventilation. Skylights must reach all the way through the roof to get access to that sunshine, so they require rooftop placement. That means single story properties can have kitchen skylights, but your two-story home limits skylights to upstairs bedrooms or an office.
Skylights can be as simple or as fancy if you like. Just want some light? Go with a simple glass pane. Want some architectural detailing? Try a domed skylight or one with built-in shades or blinds. You can even get smart skylights that respond to apps on your phone or open and close on a schedule or with the predicted weather.
How about a Light Tube?
Light tubes differ from skylights because they reflect light down through a variety of tubes using mirrors. This structure removes the "view" element entirely and opens up a variety of locations that wouldn't work for skylights. One of the best features of light tubes is that the rooftop location doesn't have to be directly above the interior position. A lot of modern light tubes come with LED lights, so they work whether or not there is sunshine. Great places for light tubes include bathrooms, closets, and basically any dark niche. Light tubes that terminate in your walls instead of the roof open up lower or middle floors as well.
Value and Energy
Properly installed skylights potentially decrease your energy costs by adding more natural light which means less electric light. However, if installed poorly, they can mess with your insulation increasing your heating and cooling costs. Always ensure you use the correct skylight for your home and weather. When you add a skylight correctly, it increases your home’s value. The best skylights protect the home’s energy efficiency and blend in well with the original design. You don’t want your skylight looking like an afterthought.
Before you add skylights or light tubes to your home, talk to your real estate agent about what the actual market value increase will be and the best skylights to use.
If you own lots of items and plan to buy a house in the foreseeable future, now may be a good time to list any unwanted items online. That way, you can simultaneously eliminate clutter and earn extra cash for your excess items.
Ultimately, selling items online before you pursue a home can be simple – here are three tips to help you showcase your unwanted items online to dozens of potential buyers.
1. Provide Relevant Information in Your Item Listings
Find out as much as you can about any items you decide to list online. Because the more information you can provide to prospective buyers, the easier it becomes for a buyer to determine whether a particular item is the right choice.
There is no need to stretch the truth in your online item listings, either. If you provide accurate, relevant information, you can help a buyer make an informed decision.
2. Add High-Quality Photos
A picture is worth a thousand words, particularly for those who list items online. Thus, if you add high-quality photos to complement your online listings, you can instantly show off your items to large groups of prospective buyers.
You don't need to be an expert photographer to take high-quality photographs of your items. If you use a smartphone, tablet or digital camera, you should have no trouble capturing top-notch images that you can upload onto a computer without delay. Then, you can add these photos to your item listings and help buyers see exactly what you have to offer.
3. Be Ready to Respond to Concerns and Questions
If a buyer has a concern or question about an online item listing, you should be ready to quickly connect with this individual and provide him or her with the requested information. By doing so, you may be able to speed up the process of getting rid of unwanted items.
As you start selling items online and get ready to search for a house, you may want to find a real estate agent as well. If you hire a real estate agent, you can receive expert housing market assistance as you prepare to pursue your dream residence.
A real estate agent is happy to guide you along each stage of the homebuying journey. First, he or she will help you craft an effective homebuying strategy. A real estate agent next will keep you up to date about houses that fall within your price range and meet your desired criteria. Furthermore, if you find a home you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase. And if your offer is approved, a real estate agent will do everything possible to ensure you can finalize your home purchase as soon as possible.
Don't wait to get started on the homebuying journey – reach out to a real estate agent today, and you can begin your quest for your dream house.
If you want to achieve the best-possible results during the home selling journey, you should be open to negotiating with a homebuyer. Because if you communicate with a property buyer, you may increase your chances of enjoying a quick, successful home selling experience.
There is no need to stress about a home negotiation. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you handle a negotiation with a homebuyer.
1. Consider the Buyer's Perspective
Both a home seller and homebuyer share a common goal: to reach an agreement on a house sale. If you analyze both sides of a home negotiation, you may be better equipped than ever before to come to terms with a buyer.
Ultimately, it may be beneficial to make small sacrifices to ensure you and a buyer can find common ground during a negotiation. If you are willing to work with a buyer, you may find that a buyer will work with you too. And as a result, you and a buyer could reach an agreement that satisfies the needs of both parties.
2. Evaluate Your Options
A home negotiation can be stressful, but there is no need to let stress get the best of you. Instead, you should try to stay calm and consider your options as you navigate a negotiation. That way, you can make informed home selling decisions.
Oftentimes, it is helpful to review housing market data as you negotiate with a homebuyer. Information about the prices of recently sold houses in your area that are similar to your own, for example, may help you explain why you want a certain price for your residence.
You also should be unafraid to walk away from a home negotiation. If you feel you cannot find common ground with a buyer, you can continue to promote your residence to prospective buyers until you receive an offer to purchase that matches your expectations.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
There is no need to enter a home negotiation on your own. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can negotiate with a buyer on your behalf.
During a home negotiation, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you achieve the optimal results. He or she will keep you up to date throughout a home negotiation. Plus, a real estate agent is happy to provide recommendations about whether to accept, reject or counter a buyer's offer to purchase your house.
Let's not forget about the assistance a real estate agent provides after you accept an offer to purchase, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help you prepare for a home closing. He or she will respond to any of your home closing concerns or questions as well.
Be ready to negotiate with a homebuyer – use the aforementioned tips, and you can prepare for a home negotiation and boost the likelihood of getting the best price for your residence.
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The amount of money you will need to ensure you can purchase a house varies based on a number of factors. For example, if you want to purchase a house in a big city, you may need to save more money than you likely would require to buy a residence in a small town. Meanwhile, your decision to choose a fixed-rate mortgage over an adjustable-rate mortgage – or vice-versa – can impact your monthly housing costs. And let's not forget about the costs of home utilities like electricity and water, either.
Ultimately, it helps to put together a homebuying budget before you embark on a house search. Because if you know how much money you have at your disposal, you can map out your house search accordingly. And as a result, you can minimize the risk of spending too much to acquire your dream residence.
Let's now take a look at three tips to help you craft an effective homebuying budget.
1. Evaluate Your Current Expenses
An in-depth assessment of your current monthly expenses is key. If you conduct an expense evaluation, you can find out how much you spend on various must-haves and wants. You then can take steps to reduce your monthly expenses and increase your savings for a new home.
It also never hurts to consult with a financial planner. If you have a financial planner at your side, you can gain expert insights to help you evaluate your current expenses. Plus, you can work with a financial planner to determine the best course of action so you can eventually buy your dream residence.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions and explore your mortgage options – you will be happy you did. If you assess your mortgage options closely, you can find one that complements your finances. And once you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you will know how much you can spend on a house.
Generally, it is beneficial to meet with as many banks and credit unions as you can. If you consult with myriad lenders, you can receive extensive insights into many mortgage options. Best of all, you will be better equipped than ever before to find the lowest-possible interest rate on a mortgage.
3. Consider Your Down Payment Options
The down payment required for a home purchase varies, but it commonly ranges between 5 percent and 20 percent of a house's total price. If you account for a down payment as you craft a homebuying budget, you can use this total to plan ahead for the property buying journey.
Lastly, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent as you prepare to launch a home search. In addition to helping you find your dream residence, a real estate agent can put you in touch with potential lenders and offer plenty of guidance throughout the property buying journey.
Ready to pursue a home? Use the aforementioned tips, and you create a successful homebuying budget.