Lisa Westerman - ReMax Professional Associates


Most homes have some sort of an office space set up. Whether you work from home 100% of the time, use your office space from time to time, or just need a space to pay your bills and do a bit of paperwork, your home office space should be comfortable. You’ll need a bit more than a table and chair that is shoved into a corner somewhere in your home. Here are some tips to help you create the perfect home office:


Find The Perfect Space


You’ll need to find a good space for your home office. You should choose a space that doesn’t have too many distractions and is fairly quiet so that you can work. If the nature of your work requires you to have clients stop by, you’ll want to set up the office much differently than if you’re a writer who just enjoys a bit of activity around them. 


Everything That You need Should Be In The Space


While home office furniture should complement furniture in other rooms of the home, you need to be sure that it’s functional. Don’t forget comfortable chairs, a good sized desk and a comfortable desk chair for the office. You can even add some of your favorite decorative pieces in the apace that make you happy and feel peaceful while working. 


Keep The Color Theme One That You Love


Forget bland colors. Paint the walls of your home office a color that you love. If the walls feel vibrant, so too won’t your work feel that way. The color of a room really sets the tone and the mood for a room. You can match your decor around the color that you choose. While you don’t want your office to be sleepy, you also want to choose a color that will keep you calm and focused while working.


Organize The Room Both Ways


If you use your space in the home office both across and upward, you’ll have much more space to store whatever you need in the room. Everything that’s important will also be within an arm’s reach of you. 


Decorate How You Like


Don’t forget that while this is an office, it’s yours right in your home. Just as if you were going to work and would put a picture of your family on your desk, you’ll want to add personal decorative touches to your home office space. These items could include kids’ artwork, vacation pictures, or pictures of places that make you feel happy and peaceful.  

 

Your home office space should be a place of productivity and inspiration. Create it as a separate space, yet an equally stylish part of your own home.


No income verification mortgage loans sound like a great idea. Also known as stated loans, these are easier to obtain than traditional mortgages. You won’t have to go through endless amounts of paperwork that traditional mortgages require. Think again. These types of loans are high risk and borrowers may have a hard time paying these loans back. Many lenders have removed these kinds of loans from their list of options. In certain circumstances, these loans can work for you, but you have to do your homework. 


Where Can You Get A Stated Loan?


Some lenders still provide these stated loans with no verification process required. Unlike earlier times, these loans are now pretty difficult to obtain. Typically, this type of mortgage is geared towards the self-employed and requires a large down payment. Also, the borrower must have a very good credit score to be considered for the loan. 


Are Stated Loans Unaffordable?


Since these loans come at very high interest rates, they are often seen as unaffordable due to the high monthly payment. Stated loans can have double the interest rate of what the current available mortgage rates are. However, if you don’t have many options, or are in a hurry to get a home and have money in the bank, it could work well for you.  


Could A No Income Verification Loan Be Right For You? 


If you really want a home loan, the first step is to be truly honest about your income. If you find a beautiful home and know that it’s out of your price range, you could risk defaulting on the loan. 


To truly understand what you can afford, you’ll need to figure out all of your monthly expenses including taxes, mortgage insurance, phone bills and grocery bills. This will give you a full picture of your finances. Once you look at all of these factors, you may find that it does make the most sense for you to get a no income verification loan. 


Deciding On The Type Of Loan You’ll Get


If you find that you need a lower monthly payment, it may make more sense for you to go after a traditional home loan. If you’re self-employed and know that your options are limited, a stated loan certainly is an option for you, you’ll just need to understand the risks of the entire process. You’ll also need to have a bunch of documents ready for the lender once you decide to go for the home loan. You can compare the costs of a no income verification loan to a traditional mortgage. Then, you can ask your lender what they’ll need from you in order to verify everything for the traditional mortgage. Any good broker can help you through your decision-making process. You’ll want to be well informed and compare all of the programs along with their fees. You should get recommendations on a lender who has the knowledge and experience to help you find the home loan that’s right for you.


Homeowners have become increasingly aware of the dangers that face them and their homes. More Americans than ever lock their doors at night and own home security systems to protect themselves and their homes from intruders.

However, one danger that many homeowners aren’t prepared for is posed by scammers. These scammers are innovative and use tools like the internet and the semblance of authority to their advantage. What’s more, the nature of their scams is always evolving.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common scams affecting homeowners. We’ll talk about how to protect yourself from these scams and recognize them so that you and your home can avoid potential disaster.

Foreclosure scams

There are few things more concerning to a homeowner than the thought of losing their home. Scammers take advantage of these fears by promoting “relief programs” that promise to reduce your monthly payments or otherwise protect you from being foreclosed on.

The scam here is that these companies might not help you at all but will still charge for their services. They’ll often browse public foreclosure notices or post ads online. When they reach out to a homeowner they’ll do so via a letter that seems personal and professional. They could also call your phone or send you an email offer.

By U.S. law, such companies cannot charge you for any services unless they successfully help you gain relief from your lender, and even then you must still accept the offer before the relief company can ever charge you.

Home maintenance and repair

One of the more dangerous scams on our list involves something seemingly innocent--a knock on your door to let you know your roof needs repair. While some startup companies may go door-to-door offering their services, most of the time this should send up a red flag. There are a few potential scams that come in the form of a person in work uniform knocking on your door.

First, a company might be selling real services, but they could be services you don’t need. Make sure you understand facts about your home, such as the last time your roof was repaired. This will help you avoid making a bad deal to replace something that doesn’t need replacing.

Also be sure to never let someone into your home, regardless of their uniform, if you are alone or it’s late at night. Someone may be dressed like a salesperson or utility worker, but they could in reality be doing research on your home and your valuables. Would-be burglars can often spot your valuables, and see how secure your home is before coming back when no one is home.

Protect your identity

The issue of identity theft has been in the public eye with the rise of online communications. However, one of the easiest ways to steal your valuable information could be sitting right in your mailbox or in your garbage can.

Always be sure to shred papers that have personal information on them. And, if you go away on vacation, ask a neighbor or relative to bring in your mail for you. Not only will this help keep your identity safe, but it will make it look like someone is at home by keeping the pile of mail and newspapers outside low.  


Receiving a low offer on a home can be frustrating for a seller. But, you’re likely to see at least one or two offers on your property that are lower than you would like.

Right now, the housing market is filled with young professionals burdened with student loans, rising costs of living, and stagnating wages. So, it’s no wonder that they’re trying to save money anywhere they can.

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about what to do when you get a low offer so you can set yourself up for a sale that you’re happy with.

Don’t refuse outright

The first thing to know about low offers is that they can sometimes turn into something that both you and the buyer are happy with. Many successful home sales started at a number that the seller considered too low, but--through negotiation--was brought to a higher price and better deal overall.

Many sellers are uncomfortable with the idea of negotiation. Most people seldom negotiate prices unless they are buying a car, and even then would prefer to avoid the hassle.

For others, negotiation is a normal part of everyday life. Flatout refusing an offer, especially if you aren’t receiving many other higher offers, could be a missed opportunity.

Compare your asking price with similar homes nearby

Odds are that you and your agent have already done your research and found an asking price that is comparable in your neighborhood. But home prices fluctuate. To reassure yourself that your asking price is fair, take another look at homes up for sale that are around the same age and size of your home.

Take time to craft a counteroffer

Once you’ve had time to talk the offer over with your family and real estate agent (and maybe vented a bit), it’s time to come up with a counteroffer.

There are a few options for making a counteroffer that don’t involve significantly lowering the amount you stand to gain from the home sale. First, you could offer to relieve the buyer of some of the closing costs, such as paying for the inspection. Or, if you planned on leaving new appliances in the home, you could lower your asking price but take the appliances when you move.

Weigh your options

If the buyer still won’t raise their offer close to your asking price, it’s probably a good time to move on and rethink your sale strategy.

Take some time to consider the sale as a whole. If you aren’t receiving many other offers, it might be time to consider lowering to price or rethinking your marketing plan. You might consider repainting and taking new photos, or changing up your listing to highlight some other features of the house.


When you’re shopping for a home, one of the most important things is that you feel comfortable in the home. Sure, you can look at the listing and visit the property, but you’ll never know what it’s like to sleep in a home until you move in. While there aren’t many homeowners that offer overnights in order for you to feel out their property listing, there are ways that you can test a home out subtly.


Check Out The Neighborhood


You can learn a lot about a neighborhood just by observing the area. See how many people are out walking around. What is the age group of the people you see? This can give you a great idea of the neighborhood that your potential home is in. You could do this investigating several times at different hours of the day to get a full picture of the area.


Getting out and taking a stroll around the neighborhood is also a great idea to see what potentially living in your new home will be like. Check out public transportation options and local establishments like restaurants and coffee shops. Another great place to check out is local parks and recreation centers. This will allow you to see both the quality and the quantity of the options available to you. 


Test The Plumbing


If you have a chance as you’re walking through a home, touring it, be sure to check out the plumbing. Turn on the faucets. See how the water pressure from the shower is. It seems like kind of a strange thing to think of testing, but it’s important. You don’t want to move into a house only to find out the water pressure is unlivable and the hot water isn’t so hot! 


Check Out How The Windows Work


A home with a breeze is always nice. See if any windows get stuck or are leaking out cold air when shut. This is a subtle way to do your own home inspection of an important aspect of your potential future home. Paying attention to the windows can also help you to hear the noise factor that you might face in the home. Can you hear a lot of traffic? Is the neighborhood quiet? Discovering these things will be very important in your decision to purchase a home.   


How Is The Storage Space?


Look around the homes that you’re considering and see how much storage space you’ll have. Is there a basement or an attic or both? How easy are these spaces to access? If a home lacks adequate closet space for storing things like towels, cleaners, clothing, etc, you may find yourself scrambling for ways to keep all of your things in the home once you move in. Make sure the storage space you see is enough for you and your family’s lifestyle.