Friday, August 10, 2018

Forgotten Chores


A lot of work goes into owning a home, and while you’re busy maintaining the obvious, you may be missing smaller, hidden tasks that could lead to damage or health and safety hazards if left unattended. Here are several to consider:


  1.  Test for water leaks. Water leaks not only waste water, but can also increase your water bill and cause serious damage inside walls or other hard-to-see places. The easiest way to check for leaks is to take a reading of the water meter, avoid using your water for a few hours and then take another reading. If it changes, then you have a leak.
  1.   Seal stone countertops. Natural stone countertops are porous and absorb liquids, bacteria and stains, leading to irreversible damage. To seal countertops, clean them with a stone-safe cleaner or soap and water, then let them dry. Then apply the sealer, wait 15 minutes and wipe off any excess.
  1. Clean dryer ducts. Lint, dirt and other residue can build up on the dryer screen, inside the lint trap, and around the machine and vents. Buildup blocks airflow, leading to less efficient drying or fires. Wash the lint screen with soap and water, use a long brush to clear out the lint trap, and vacuum out the tube and any stray lint.
  1. Reseal tile grout. Most grout is a mixture of sand and cement, which can absorb liquids, bacteria and stains. Before sealing, scrub the grout and tiles to remove dirt and particles. Then apply sealant and wipe off the excess. Wait 15 minutes, apply a second coat and remove the excess. Grout is successfully sealed when water beads on top.





Monday, July 23, 2018

Home Away



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Along with all the planning of what you're going to do and where you're going to stay, consider this checklist to make you feel more comfortable while you're away from home.

  • Stop your mail (USPS Hold Mail Service) and your newspaper
  • Ask a trusted friend to pick up your mail, newspaper and keep yard picked up to avoid an appearance of not being at home.
  • Don't post about your trip on Facebook and other social media until you return; some burglars look for this type of announcement to schedule their activities.
  • Do notify police or neighborhood watch - especially if you're going to be gone for more than just a few days. Let your monitoring service know when you'll be gone and if someone will be checking on your home for you.
  • Light timers make it look like someone is home. Set multiple timers for various times to better simulate someone at home. There are plug-in modules for lights and appliances that would allow you to control them from your phone while your out of town.
  • Do unplug certain appliances - TV, computers, toaster ovens that use electricity even when they're off and to protect them from power surges.
  • Don't hide a key; burglars know exactly where to look for your key and it only takes them a moment to check under the mat, above the door, in the flower pot or in a fake rock.
These easy-to-handle suggestions may protect your belongings while you're gone while adding a level of serenity to your trip.

Thursday, July 19, 2018


RENT VS. OWING A HOME

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When comparing the cost of owning a home to renting, there is more than the difference in house payment against the rent currently being paid. It very well could be lower than the rent but when you consider the other benefits, owning could be much lower than renting.

Each mortgage payment has an amount that is used to pay down the principal which is building equity for the owner. Similarly, the home appreciates over time which also benefits the owner by increasing their equity.

There are additional expenses for owning a home that renters don't have like repairs and possibly, a homeowner's association. To get a clear picture, look at the following example of a $300,000 home with a 3.5% down payment on a 4.5%, 30-year mortgage.

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The total payment is $2,264 including principal, interest, property taxes, property and mortgage insurance. However, when you consider the monthly principal reduction, appreciation, maintenance and HOA, the net cost of housing is $1,218. It costs $1,282 more to rent at $2,500 a month than to own. In a year's time, it would cost $15,000 more to rent than to own which is more than the down payment and closing costs to buy the home.

With normal amortization and 3% annual appreciation, the $10,500 down payment in this example turns into $112,00 in equity in seven years. Check out your own numbers using the Rent vs. Own .

Contact  Brandi Cook or Vikki Crossland the Aiken HOMES Team at Meybohm Real Estate at  803-645-3325,  (803) 645-8008 or info@AikenHOMES.com  to help. 

Each family's situation is unique.  Owning a home makes sense and can be one of the best investments a person will ever make.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer you don't want in your home but because it is colorless and odorless; you may not even be aware the deadly condition exists. The Center for Disease Control says more than 400 people in the U.S. die annually from carbon monoxide poisoning and over 10,000 require medical treatment each year.Carbon monoxide is a silent killer you don't want in your home but because it is colorless and odorless; you may not even be aware the deadly condition exists. The Center for Disease Control says more than 400 people in the U.S. die annually from carbon monoxide poisoning and over 10,000 require medical treatment each year.

Unmaintained furnaces, water heaters and appliances can produce the deadly gas. In addition, other sources could be leaking chimneys, unvented kerosene or gas space heaters or exhaust from cars or trucks operating in an attached garage.
The Environmental Protection Agency suggests the following to reduce exposure in the home:
  • Keep gas appliances properly adjusted
  • Install and use an exhaust fan vented to the outdoors over gas stoves
  • Open flues when fireplaces are in use
  • Do not idle car inside garage
  • Have a trained professional inspect, clean and tune-up central heating systems annually
Headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and feelings of weakness or fatigue are a few of the most common symptoms. Lower levels of exposure to carbon monoxide may be mistaken for the flu.
Carbon monoxide alarms should be on every level of a home and especially, in sleeping areas. The alarms can be purchased for as little as $25 and plugged into the wall like a night light.
Regardless of the government requirements, no one would want to put their family, guests or themselves at risk for something so deadly.

Unmaintained furnaces, water heaters and appliances can produce the deadly gas. In addition, other sources could be leaking chimneys, unvented kerosene or gas space heaters or exhaust from cars or trucks operating in an attached garage.
The Environmental Protection Agency suggests the following to reduce exposure in the home:
  • Keep gas appliances properly adjusted
  • Install and use an exhaust fan vented to the outdoors over gas stoves
  • Open flues when fireplaces are in use
  • Do not idle car inside garage
  • Have a trained professional inspect, clean and tune-up central heating systems annually
Headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and feelings of weakness or fatigue are a few of the most common symptoms. Lower levels of exposure to carbon monoxide may be mistaken for the flu.
Carbon monoxide alarms should be on every level of a home and especially, in sleeping areas. The alarms can be purchased for as little as $25 and plugged into the wall like a night light.
Regardless of the government requirements, no one would want to put their family, guests or themselves at risk for something so deadly.

Monday, April 23, 2018

The one experience that homeowners can agree upon after completing a remodeling project is that it costs more and takes longer than expected. It doesn't really matter that you researched, planned, and received multiple bids, it will, invariably, cost more and take longer than you originally anticipated.
Replacing floor covering or painting is a project that a homeowner can easily get bids and contract with the workmen directly. A new level of complexity occurs when the project involves more specialized contractors, like plumbers, electricians, carpenters, counters, and others.
Now, a homeowner is faced with dealing with one general contractor who will run roughshod over the sub-contractors or make the decision to do it themselves. Typically, you'll pay more for a general contractor, but the trade-off is that they have the contacts and experience to make things go smoothly.
Subs are notorious for wanting to finish their "part" of the project and move onto to the next job. Sometimes, they're not interested in the "big picture" enough to consider doing things in a way that are best for the overall outcome.
When you start tearing out some things, you find out that there may be unexpected expenses involved. Another common occurrence is that during the project, you get a new thought about changing something else "since it is already torn up anyway." This will add time and money to the job.
There can be the situation that the homeowner doesn't even know the right questions to ask or what to consider when trying to coordinate the different workers. The most detailed timetable can be thrown off track if one set of workers don't show up or finish on time. At best, it delays the project for a few days. At worst, it can delay it for a few weeks because the individual workers may have committed to other jobs that don't allow them to reschedule.
Once the work is done in a professional manner, you're probably going to live with it for years. If it is something you've wanted to do and it will allow you to enjoy your home more, it is worth doing. Just be patient and enter this adventure with the understanding that it will cost more and take longer than you expect.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A couple is planning to tour the United States in a travel trailer during their first few years of retirement. They are going to sell their current home now and purchase another home when they finish their travels.  
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An interesting exercise is to determine the optimum time of selling the home: now or when they're ready to buy their replacement home.
If they intend on traveling for more than three years, then, it may be a good decision to sell prior to the sojourn to avoid paying taxes on the gain in their home. IRS allows for a temporary rental of a principal residence while still keeping the $250,000/$500,000 capital gains exclusion intact. A homeowner must own and use a home for three out of the previous five years which means that it could be rented for up to three years, but it would need to be sold and closed before that three-year window expires.
If the travel will be less than three years, there is an option of selling now or later. Using the example below, the homeowner sold the home, paid their expenses and invested the proceeds in a three-year certificate of deposit until the replacement home was purchased.

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As an alternative, if the homeowner rented the home, not only would they have income, the home would continue to appreciate and the unpaid balance would go down resulting in larger net proceeds. Based on a 5% appreciation and continued amortization of the mortgage, the net proceeds could easily be $40,000 more.

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Obviously, there are a lot of considerations that affect the decision to sell now or later but in an appreciating real estate environment, being without a home for several years could affect the financial position of the owner in the replacement property. It is certainly reasonable to look at various alternatives before making a decision since each area is unique. 

Call Vikki Crossland and Brandi  Cook, The Aiken HOMES Team at Meybohm Real Estate at 803-645-8008 or 803-645-3325 to discuss your specific real estate goals and  always consult your tax professional.