Heather Merrill's Blog
New windows can work wonders for a house. Depending on how old your windows are, replacements can make your home less drafty, and much quieter, but they can also spruce up a room that’s starting to look dated.
When you replace your windows you also might see a drop in your heating bill. However, the cost of replacing windows is steeper than you’re ever likely to save on heat. So, if you’re thinking of replacing your windows just to save cash, in the long run there might be better ways of doing so.
In this article, we’re going to talk about choosing replacement windows for your home. We’ll walk you through the different types of windows so you can find the type that fits your needs. Read on for our replacement windows buyer’s guide.
Choosing the right window style
There are endless types of windows that you could find in a given home. However, four main styles are what we normally think of when talking about replacement windows.
Single vs double-hung windows
First, there are single and double-hung windows. In double-hung windows, both the top and bottom sash are operable, or able to be opened. Being able to utilize both sashes is beneficial for airflow. Opening the top sash will allow the warm air escape, opening the bottom sash will allow cool air to enter.
In single-hung windows, only the lower sash is able to be opened and closed. But otherwise, they are very similar to double-hung windows.
Both of these types of windows come in variants that allow you to pivot the sashes inward to clean the exterior glass. However, if you buy single-hung windows you’ll only be able to wash the lower sash. Keep that in mind if you’re buying windows for a second floor or attic window.
Sliding windows are those which move horizontally on their tracks. They produce good ventilation and are easy to use. However, just like single-hung and double hung windows, they do slightly obstruct your view at the midpoint when closed. The rectangular shape of sliding windows, however, means you won’t likely be able to install an air conditioner.
Casement style windows
The last main type of window we’ll talk about are casement style windows. This type of window operates on a hinge like a door would. When they’re fully opened, they produce good ventilation. When they’re fully closed, they don’t obstruct the view at all.
However, just like with sliding windows, you won’t be able to install an AC unit. Furthermore, this type of window is more prone to malfunction due to the crank and hinge system, and cranking it open and closed all the time could be a minor annoyance for some homeowners.
Window frames come in four main materials--vinyl, wood, clad-wood, and aluminum.
Vinyl is the most common. They look clean and modern, and they also resist heat and condensation making them easy to maintain.
Wood frames are regaining popularity. Since they often come unfinished, you can easily customize them to your home.
Clad-wood frames are wood on the interior and aluminum on the exterior, making them rugged and resistant to weathering and rot.
Aluminum windows are economical, lightweight, and easy to maintain.
Now that you know a bit more about windows, you’ll be better equipped to decide what type of replacements to purchase for your home.
As a first-time homebuyer, it is important to understand what it takes to discover your dream residence as quickly as possible. By doing so, you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
What does it take for a first-time homebuyer to seamlessly navigate the housing market? Here are three tips that every first-time homebuyer needs to know.
1. Make a Homebuying Checklist
The definition of the "perfect" house differs from homebuyer to homebuyer. As such, a first-time homebuyer should allocate the necessary time and resources to determine what he or she wants to find in the ideal home. That way, a first-time homebuyer will have no trouble finding a house that matches or surpasses his or her expectations.
With a homebuying checklist, a first-time homebuyer can move one step closer to making his or her property ownership dreams come true. This checklist can help a homebuyer differentiate between home "must-haves" and "wants" so he or she can narrow a home search accordingly.
Furthermore, a first-time homebuyer can update a property buying checklist as he or she begins to check out houses. And if a homebuyer evaluates available residences, this property buyer can update his or her checklist as needed.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A first-time homebuyer likely wants to purchase a house as quickly as possible. Fortunately, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help a homebuyer move through the property buying process without delay.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, a first-time homebuyer should try to meet with several banks and credit unions. Each meeting will allow a homebuyer to learn about assorted mortgage options and select a mortgage that corresponds to his or her finances.
Moreover, a first-time homebuyer should be unafraid to ask plenty of questions when he or she meets with potential lenders. This will allow a homebuyer to make an informed decision about a mortgage.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to buying a house for the first time, a homebuyer should seek out expert support. Lucky for you, many real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals can make it simple for you to purchase your ideal house.
A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with buying a house for the first time. He or she will teach a first-time homebuyer about these challenges and ensure this property buyer is prepared to take a diligent approach to purchasing a home.
Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, offer honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations and negotiate with home sellers on a homebuyer's behalf. This housing market professional will even keep a homebuyer up to date about new houses, ensuring homebuyers can pounce on opportunities to acquire great houses as soon as they become available.
For a first-time homebuyer, there is no need to leave anything to chance. But with the aforementioned tips, a first-time homebuyer can accelerate the homebuying process and improve his or her chances of purchasing a stellar house at an affordable price.
Ready to upgrade from a condo to a house? You'll first need to add your condo to the real estate market to ensure that you can sell this property and buy a new residence. However, selling a condo sometimes can be difficult, particularly for those who are selling a property for the first time.
Fortunately, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of selling your condo. Here are three tips that you can use to list your condo on the real estate market and maximize your property's value.
1. Set a Competitive Price for Your Condo
Spend some time learning about the prices of condos in your area. By doing so, you'll be able to establish a fair price for your condo and improve your chances of generating substantial interest in it.
Condo sellers should look at the prices of similar properties in their respective neighborhoods. This will enable condo sellers to understand how much other condo sellers are asking for their properties, along with how much various condos have sold for over the past few months.
Also, don't forget to include your assets in your condo listing. If you have extra storage space or a covered parking spot, you may be able these amenities into your condo listing to help your property stand out from others.
2. Understand Your Condo Association's Rules
A homeowners association (HOA) sets guidelines and rules for condo owners to follow in a community. And if you fail to comply with these regulations, you may face fines or other penalties from the HOA.
When it comes to selling your condo, it always is better to err on the side of caution. Thus, you should reach out to your HOA in advance to inform the association of your decision to sell your condo. This will allow you to find out whether a homebuyer will need to be approved by the HOA before he or she can purchase your condo.
3. Work with an Experienced Real Estate Professional
Collaborate with a real estate agent who understands what it takes to sell a condo. With this real estate agent at your disposal, you should have no trouble stirring up plenty of interest in your condo in a short amount of time.
An experienced real estate agent will possess many years of condo selling experience and can share his or her insights with you. Plus, if you ever have concerns or questions about selling your condo, your real estate agent will be happy to respond to these queries immediately.
In addition, an experienced real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to sell your property. He or she will host condo showings and keep you up to date about any potential offers. This real estate professional also will provide expert guidance to help you optimize the value of your property.
Hire an experienced real estate agent to sell your condo, and ultimately, you can streamline the condo selling process.
In the pre-internet era, furniture shopping was an all-day event. You would make room in the back of your vehicle and bring along bungee cords in case you decided on a purchase. Then you would spend hours walking around a massive warehouse, ultimately only liking a few items. Today, on the other hand, you can shop for furniture on your smartphone during your lunch break.
Online furniture shopping has its advantages and disadvantages. Pictures can be deceiving, so it’s sometimes difficult to buy an item solely on its online photo gallery. Oftentimes, a piece of furniture will look different online than it will in your home depending on the lighting and other furniture. Furthermore, if you’re buying a sofa or recliner that you’re going to use daily, you’re going to want to feel the texture, and test the comfort level for yourself. In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the ups and downs of shopping for furniture online. And, we’ll give you some tips to improve your overall shopping experience.
Use the internet as a time saver for household furniture shopping
When it comes to furniture shopping, the internet can save you time in multiple ways. If you’re shopping for a simple side table or throw rug, you might not need to see the item in person before you buy.
For bigger items like sofas and chairs, the internet can still be a useful tool. First, find out what you’re looking for and use the right search terms. Furniture, like anything else, has its own set of vocabulary. Chesterfield, mid-century modern, sectionals… all of these are important search terms for when you’re looking for the perfect sofa.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, you have two choices. You can take that information to your local furniture store and start shopping, or you can order online.
Buying furniture for your house online
There is a massive number of places to buy furniture online, and the list is constantly getting bigger. Here, we’ll break down some of the best places to shop online based on their different options, styles, and services.
Ikea. The unofficial king of online furniture shopping, Ikea makes affordable, modular, and modern furniture. With Ikea, you can browse items for any area of the house and of any size. If you’re lucky enough to have a brick and mortar store near you, you can browse the website or catalog and then go check it out in person.
Poppin. For all of your home office needs. Poppin offers customizable, modern desk and storage solutions. Their style tends to be sleek, minimal, and modern. But, as their name suggests, their furniture tends to pop with color.
Amazon, Overstock, Wayfair. These three web giants have a lot to offer at any price range. Be sure to read customer reviews carefully, as they will be a good indicator of quality.
Etsy. The rise of online shopping has given a boost to independent craftsmen and furniture makers. There are countless Etsy shops where you’ll find handcrafted, furniture that you won’t see anywhere else.
Since home values are continually on the rise, it makes more sense for many Americans to tap into their home equity for financial security. The home equity line of credit is a great resource that has come back with many benefits. You can finance so many things from home improvement projects to the vacation you have always wanted with a reverse mortgage. There are consequences if you don’t turn to home equity with careful thought. You could end up owing more than your home is even worth at a certain point. That’s not giving you any value.
Smart Financial Moves
Tapping into a home equity line of credit could be a smart financial move. If you use little to none of the money it can be wise to have extra cash on hand for emergencies, considering rates are so low for home loans. It can help you to be prepared for unexpected financial setbacks. The key is to not use the money unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Good Ideas For Home Equity
- Emergency fund
- Home renovations
- Education funds (if you’ll be able to pay it back in a timely manner)
Bad Ideas For Home Equity
- Car purchase
- Random spending
If you’re expecting an increase in income and need some extra cash on hand for a purpose, using a home equity line of credit can be a good resource. Also, if you’re selling your home soon, tapping into home equity for improvement projects can help to give you a better return on the sale.
Home Equity Is Not An Unlimited Source Of Funds
Home values can change drastically with the market and the amount of demand. The amount of equity you may have can change as well, and your repayment amounts can vary drastically based on the state of the housing market. While tapping into home equity will most likely put you in the positive, you could end up in the negative if you’re not carefully prepared.
The Ways To Draw On Your Home Equity
There are 3 main ways to draw on your home’s equity. In any of these cases, you cannot borrow more than 80% of your home’s value from any lender.
This loan is exactly as it sounds; you take a set mount of cash out from your home and refinance it at the same time.
Home Equity Loan
This is a loan that is sometimes referred to a second mortgage. This usually has a fixed rate.
Home Equity Line Of Credit
This loan is like using a credit card. There’s a maximum that you can borrow, and you use money as you need it. After a certain amount of time, you can no longer draw on the money.
Refinancing your home will extend the life of your mortgage. You’ll have higher costs but end up with lower rates most often.
Questions To Consider When Thinking Of A Home Equity Line Of Credit
- Does your home need renovations?
- Is the loan rate lower than other types of loans like car loans?
- Do you need to consolidate your debt?
- Are you facing large bills like medical bills or college tuition?
- Are you starting a business?
Used in smart ways, home equity can be a great financial resource for you. Consider your options and plan your finances wisely. Your home is in fact your biggest asset!