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Text only newsletter stories Issue 4 Vl. 5


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Headline: What to avoid before you buy

Even with the help of a trusted real estate professional, it’s easy to fall into some common traps when you’re buying a home. Here are some of the most common regrets from home buyers—make sure to consider them before you make similar decisions.

*Using all of your savings *
It can be tempting to throw all the cash you have into your down payment so that you can have a lower monthly payment. But keep in mind that their are several other costs on the horizon—closing costs, inspection, and more. There will also be surprise repairs, taxes, and home maintenance. It’s a good idea to keep some cash in reserve for hidden or unexpected costs.

Borrowing the full amount offered
Banks will often offer a bigger loan than you can comfortably afford. You may be able to pay the mortgage, but it’ll really tighten your budget. A good rule of thumb is to only take 80% of what’s offered. That’ll give you a lot more flexibility in the long term.

Assuming you’ll like the neighbors
Your neighborhood is part of the package when you buy a home, so it’s important to learn about your next door neighbors. Make an effort to do a little homework on the neighbors, and their history with pets, home maintenance, and general behavior. You don’t want to be stuck living next to someone who is rude or inconsiderate.

Thinking short term with your loanb
An ARM with low introductory rate and mortgage payment can be attractive. It’s easy to think “I’ll be making more money when the rate gets adjusted.” But life can throw you some surprises, and there’s great security in knowing that your payment will be consistent for 15 or 30 years. If possible, go for the fixed-rate mortgage.


Headline: Five things to do right after closing

If you just bought your first home, you’re probably still celebrating and feeling the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with home ownership. You’re shopping for furniture, drawing up plans for renovations … but wait! There are some important tasks to cross off your list before you get to the fun stuff.

 1. *Change the locks: A lot of people came in possession of your keys during the home sale process, whether it was on the market for a year or a day. Protect yourself by changing all the locks, just in case a set of keys fell into the wrong hands.*

 2. Make copies: It’s good to have copies of all your closing documents, if only for reference. But in the worst case, you’ll be thankful you have your own copies if something goes wrong.

 3. Make sure you get your mail: The post office won’t deliver your mail if the mailbox doesn’t have a name, and it’ll be difficult to sign for packages if UPS can’t get to your front door. If you’re in a multi-unit building, make sure to put your name on your mailbox and verify that the buzzer or call box is working.

 4. Meet your neighbors: It’s not just about being cordial. It’s good to exchange contact info with your neighbors in case there’s a problem in the building or someone is being noisy.

 5. Prepare for emergencies: Store the contact info for insurance agents and services like plumbers and locksmiths in your phone. You don’t want to waste time searching the internet when you’re locked out on a winter night or your home suffers fire damage.


Headline: Start here if you need to tackle spring/summer maintenance

Winter is hard on your home. The weight of snow puts stress on your roof, and the cold expands and contracts the materials your home is made of. Now that winter weather is behind us, here’s where you should start with post-winter home maintenance.

Roof and shingles: It’s pretty common for shingles to get damaged or detach completely after a long cold winter. Thoroughly inspect your roof to ensure that shingles are in good condition and the roof is structurally sound. It may not be time to replace your roof yet, but consider how many more years it has left and start preparing a budget.

Check your gutters: The weight of heavy melting snow and debris is more than enough to make your gutters sag or loosen. Clear out all the leaves and other debris that’s collected in the gutters, and make sure they’re still securely attached at all points.

Check concrete surfaces: Fluctuating temperatures cause concrete to expand and contract. This can lead to damaged driveways, walkways, and other surfaces, and that can spell bad news for water drainage. Fill the cracks with an appropriate material, and seal your surfaces if possible.

HVAC service: Before you put your central air conditioner through a rigorous summer, clean the coils and change the filter. Better yet, bring in a professional for yearly maintenance.


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