Robert Bodemer's Blog
If you’re planning on buying a home in the near future and are confused about many of the terms associated with mortgages, you’re not alone. Real estate is its own industry with its own set of processes, terms, and acronyms. If you’re new to the home buying process, there can be somewhat of a learning curve to understand what each of these terms means.
Since buying a home is such a huge investment and life decision, there’s a lot of pressure on home buyers to make sure they get everything right. This makes for a stressful situation for buyers who don’t feel like they understand the terminology of things like mortgages, appraisals, credit reports, and other factors that contribute to the home buying process.
To alleviate some of those concerns and to make the home buying process run more smoothly, we’ve compiled a list of the most common, and most commonly confused, real estate words, terms, and acronyms. That way, when you’re talking things over with your real estate agent or your mortgage lender, you’ll be confident that you understand exactly what’s being considered.
Read on for our real estate terminology glossary.
Adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) - This is one type of home loan. Mortgage rates with this type of loan fluctuate throughout the repayment term of the loan. The fluctuation is based on a market indicator.
Fixed rate mortgage (FRM) - Another type of home loan, a fixed rate mortgage has a rate which does not fluctuate, remaining constant for the life of the term, most commonly 15 or 30 years.
Appraisal - An appraisal is the determination of the value of a property. Appraisals are used when purchasing and selling a home, as well as when refinancing a home loan. Appraisers are required to be licensed or certified in each state and are usually paid for by the lender.
Appreciation - An increase in a property’s value, most commonly due to market inflation, or the general increase in home prices over time.
Depreciation - A decrease in a property’s value, due to either market deflation (uncommon) or the wear and tear on a home that comes with age.
Closing costs - The costs and fees that a buyer is responsible for when purchasing a home or taking out a mortgage. These include underwriting fees, inspections, appraisals, transfer taxes, and more. Closing costs typically range from 2% to 5% of the total loan amount.
Contingency - Home purchases have contracts to protect the interest of the buyer, seller, and lender. Contingencies are provisions designed to protect the buyer or lender should something occur in the time leading up to closing on (or purchasing) the home. One common contingency is the buyer’s right to have a final inspection of the home before closing to ensure no new issues with the home have occurred.
Private mortgage insurance (PMI) - Buyers who cannot afford a down payment of %20 typically are required to take out a private mortgage insurance policy. This policy protects the lender should the borrower default (fail to repay or meet the conditions of their loan).
If you’re ready to sell your home, you may wonder if you can do it all on your own or if you need an agent to help you. If you understand what a listing agent can help you to do, you’ll better understand their value.
Listing Agents Help You To Price Your Home
Pricing your home for sale is one of the most challenging parts of selling. Your listing agent can help you to take some of the pressure off. They will do the market research and help you come to that sweet spot for the price. How much your home goes on the market for matters because if the home is priced too high or too low, it can cause buyer interest to dwindle. If the home isn’t priced right, it can leave buyers wondering if there’s something wrong with the property or if a better deal will be available on the home at a later date. The price of a home is all part of the marketing strategy.
Advertising Your Home Listing
Realtors will be responsible for advertising your home listing. Your home for sale will be available across multiple listing services, giving your home the best chance of being seen by the right buyers.
Coordinating Open Houses And Showings
Hiring a listing agent can save you a lot of time. Your agent will coordinate your open house and advertise it. Their phone will also be the phone that’s ringing when people want to schedule showings for the house. The agent will coordinate convenient times with you but they will handle the overall scheduling and contact with buyers.
Questions To Ask A Prospective Listing Agent
- How many homes have you sold in this area?
- What price range property do you have the most experience with?
- How long has it typically taken for a home to be sold?
- What could be improved in my home to help it sell?
- What is the marketing plan?
- Who is the team that works with you?
- Will you be taking photos or can we hire a professional?
- Will we be using video marketing?
All of these questions can help you to understand whether you’re hiring the right listing agent for the job of selling your home. Listing agents work hard to earn that commission from the sale of your home. They want nothing more than satisfied clients. Your listing agent will also appreciate your recommendation for a job well done. Know that while you can sell your home on your own, there are many benefits to hiring a listing agent.
When you go on vacation, you look for those extra touches that allow you to truly bask in the glory of being away from home. A luxury hotel doesn’t have to be much different than your California Home. There are certain tasks that you can complete in your home that allow you to never leave that luxury hotel style behind even when you’re not on vacation.
Keep It Clutter Free
One difference between a hotel and most of our homes is that of clutter. When you live in a house, you’re undoubtedly going to collect some clutter. If your living room furniture has gone beyond basic, think of removing a few pieces. Remember that with furniture in a luxury home, bigger is always better. It’s more practical to have one large, comfy piece in a large room than a bunch of smaller pieces that take up more space and don’t look as good.
When it comes to decoration, less is always more. You can rotate your decor on a seasonal basis as well to always keep things fresh. Different occasions call for different types of decor. The important thing is for the room to look clear. While displaying things is nice, too much can lead to sensory overload for both you and your guests.
Create A Focus
Every room of your luxury home should have a focus. You can do this with paint, pictures, or items that already exist in the room like a fireplace. The focal point of the room can be a bit busier than any other area of the room. Include pops of color and accents around the room that bring out your focal point. The art and decor that’s used around your home shouldn’t just be wonderful to look it, it should remind you of all the things you love. Did you buy a special painting in Europe that reminds you of your favorite sidewalk cafe? Does the statue that you ordered as a replica remind you of wandering around an inspiring museum? Use these pieces and make them the focus to continue to inspire you and help you feel alive.
Don’t Forget To Pamper Yourself
Pampering yourself isn’t just an activity for while you’re away. Your bathroom should have that spa feel. If it doesn’t, you’re doing something wrong. Use the features of your hotel as inspiration for your own home bathroom. Do you enjoy a tub with jets? Maybe you’d like to install a sauna if your home doesn’t already have one. Anything that can improve your own health and wellness should be included in your California luxury home for the ultimate comfort.
If you’re in a space with a small kitchen, you know that you face a lot of problems including not enough storage, minuscule amounts of prep space, and barely enough room for more than one person in the kitchen at a time. The layout of the room along with the design is what you must work with when you have a small kitchen. There are a few storage solutions that you can use to make your kitchen into a workable space.
Clear The Clutter
Do you have a lot of gadgets hanging around your kitchen that you aren’t using on a regular basis? If there’s no space to store them, perhaps you should consider getting rid of them. That ice cream maker that you may have thought was a good idea to purchase may sit unused, taking up space. You should store only the things you need, and get rid of any items that are just collecting dust.
Use An Armoire Or Other Shelving Unit
Small kitchens often lack cabinet space. You can use items like armories and bookshelves to give yourself more storage space. Whether you need to store dishes, food items, or pots and pans, these unusual items can help to provide you big amounts of storage. You can even add your own shelves to kitchen walls. All of these ideas provide inexpensive, yet practical solutions to your kitchen storage woes.
Find An Island
There are carts and other portable kitchen island units that exist to provide additional storage and prep space fro you. Many of these have fold-out counter space and drawers and cabinets. If you have some floor space in your small kitchen, this could be a great use of that space.
Hang Your Things
No matter how small your kitchen is, you have some room to hang things. You can use hooks in various places in the kitchen whether it’s on a wall or under a shelf. All of your utensils and pots and pans have the ability to hang up somewhere. Give yourself some more storage room and maximize the space that you do have in the kitchen. There are various designs that you can make use of to hang pots and pans using hooks, racks, or even a hanging shelf. Hang your utensils strategically so they are within reach of your cooking area.
Remember that you have a lot of space available over your head in most cases in a small kitchen. The more you can maximize vertical space, the better off you’ll be. You can place your least used items the highest up and work your way down.
With the right techniques, storage space doesn’t have to be a huge issue in a small kitchen.
When spring arrives it brings everyone out to the backyard for games, cookouts, picnics, and a number of other fun, fair weather activities. It also brings yardwork.
With the busy schedules that most homeowners have, it can be difficult to find time to spend hours working in the yard each weekend. Depending on where you live and the size of your backyard, there are many options for making it a bit easier to take care of your lawn and garden.
In this article, we’ll give you some advice on how to make caring for your backyard a lot simpler so that you can spend your time outside enjoying the weather rather than working up a sweat.
In most suburban and rural neighborhoods, lawncare seems like a competition. Everyone wants their grass to look as green as their neighbor’s. But keeping a meticulous lawn can be difficult if you have kids, pets, or just don’t have the time to spend manicuring and fertilizing your lawn. What’s more, lawncare can get expensive quickly and can go wrong just as quickly in the case of droughts and pests.
There are many ways you can simplify your lawn care. If you love having a lawn, but mowing is a pain, it can be easier to remove some obstacles from your yard. Bird baths and other decorations can be a nice accept, but sometimes they make mowing more difficult than it needs to be.
If you don’t want to deal with grass at all, or want a smaller area to mow, you have a few options.
You could make your yard more of a natural meadow by planting wildflowers and encouraging long grasses. Laying a brick path down the middle creates the air of a walkthrough garden where you can view the many florae that will be ever-changing in your yard.
If you like your yard to look neat and tidy, creating a patio and placing a few choice potted plants and trees on it will save you a lot of time pushing the lawnmower.
Choose the right plants
Many people plant bushes, trees, and flowers based solely on the fact that they like them. It makes more sense in the long run, though, to choose your plants based on their hardiness, and your ability to care for them.
Some plants are marketed as being impossible to kill. However, you should still read the care requirements to make sure they’ll work with your yard’s climate, light, and water conditions.
In warmer climates, cacti and succulents are a good choice and will likely fit the scenery. For colder climates, there are a number of conifers, shrubs, and bushes that will stay green throughout the winter, adding a bit of color to the dreary season.
A good way to make sure your yard will be low maintenance year-round is to use plants and trees that are native to your area. Since they’re in their natural habitat, they’ll likely require less work on your part.