Showing posts from September, 2018

How to Clean Gutters

The gutters and downspouts on your home are intended to channel rainwater away from your home and its foundation.   When they're blocked and not functioning properly they can lead to the gutters coming loose, wood rot and mildew, staining of painted surfaces, and even worse, foundation issues or water penetration into the interior of the home. Most experts recommend cleaning the gutters at least once a year.   More often might be necessary depending on the proximity of leaves and other debris that could collect. If this is a task that you feel comfortable about tackling yourself, there are few things to consider.   If the debris is dry, it will be easier to clean the gutters.   Safety is important, and precautions should be taken such as using a sturdy ladder and possibly, having someone hold it while you're on the ladder. Other useful tools will be a five-gallon plastic bucket to hook on the ladder to hold the debris; work gloves to protect your hands from sharp edges o

Consumer Protection from Irresponsible Mortgage Practices

Congress enacted the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010 in response to the mortgage crisis that led to America's Great Recession.   The two parts that apply closely to homebuyers are the Ability-to-Repay (ATR) and Qualified Mortgages (QM). A Qualified Mortgage is a category of loans that have certain, more stable features that help make it more likely that borrowers will be able to afford their loan.   These loans do not allow certain risky features like an interest-only period when no money is applied to reduce the principal; negative amortization that would allow the mortgage balance to increase; and, "balloon payments" at the end of the loan that are larger than the normal periodic payments. A debt-to-income ratio of less than or equal to 43% has been established to provide a limit on how much of a borrower's income can go toward total debt including the mortgage and all other monthly debt payments.   However, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau believes these loans sho

Quick Plumbing Inspection

No one wants to waste water or money.   For that reason, take a few minutes every other month to do the following inspections: Check to see if cutoff valves on sinks and toilets are working properly.   Many times, builders will put individual cutoffs on supply lines to sinks and toilets.   It is reasonable to expect them to work but after some time, they can corrode which prevents opening and closing.   It is a good idea to test them occasionally before you need them in an emergency.   Fill each sink with a few inches of water to see if they drain in what you feel is a normal time. A slow-draining sink can be an indication of a clog that builds up around the insides of the pipe.   Common causes are food, grease, hair and soap scum.   Plunging can take care of some slow-running sinks.   After partially filling the sink with water, seal the plunger over the drain and pump it up and down a few times.   Inspect each toile

Act Decisively

Whether it is hesitation or procrastination due to uncertainty, it can cost buyers by having to pay more for both the house and the financing.   This is one of those markets where most of the experts expect interest rates and prices will continue to rise through 2019. The National Association of REALTORS® reports there is currently a 4.2-month supply of homes for sale which is close to the same as last year's inventory.   Normal inventory is considered to be a 6-month supply. If during the period you're waiting to buy, the price of the home goes up by 5% and the mortgage rate increases by 1%, the payment on a $275,000 home with a 95% mortgage could be $233.80 more each and every month.   Over a seven-year period, the delay to purchase would total close to $20,000. To act decisively, you need good information; a confused mind will not generally make a decision.   In today's market, you need to know exactly what price home you can qualify for and you need to know what