Tips, Tricks, and Ideas

Blog articles written by HomeCity that showcase tips, tricks, and ideas for your home.

water damage to a house

When inspecting a prospective new home, it’s important to keep an eye out for warning signs that the house has irreparable issues. While there are common warning signs of a bad deal, there are also a variety of ‘sneaky issues’ that can fly relatively under the radar.

We asked our agents what they tell their clients to look out for when searching for a new property. What they came back with was advice on not only physical issues in a home but also common things to avoid during the home buying process.

Your agent should be educating you on the following pitfalls, but just in case they aren’t, here are our top 10 things to avoid when purchasing a home.

 

1. Don’t compromise because of a time crunch. Avoid making compromises due to a time

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mowing the lawn

Texas Summers can get downright miserable, upwards of 100 degrees and humid. It’s not uncommon to see lawns suffering in the dead of summer, especially during times of drought. While we’ve been pretty lucky with the amount of rain received lately, it’s never a bad idea to begin preparing your lawn early for the harsh summer ahead. We caught up with lawn care expert Jake Hill from LawnStarter Lawn Care, who shared his tips and best practices for keeping a healthy lawn all year round. 

 

Summer lawn care begins in the spring. Jake advises that about once every other year, homeowners should aerate their lawn to alleviate soil compaction and thus allow their lawn to breathe. “Just like a person – grass needs air, food, and water to survive (and the

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millennials financial planning

As more millennials graduate college and begin to plan out their lives, buying a house seems like the logical next step to many. However, saving up for a mortgage down payment, as well as planning out future spending habits have left some younger buyers hesitant, and many don’t know where to start when it comes to owning a home. Deciding whether or not to buy, as well as how to save once you do decide to buy can be frustrating and scary. 

Planning out your financial situation and saving up for a down payment are key. While there are some ways to put in less than the recommended 20 percent for a down payment, such as an FHA loan, investing that full 20 percent or more can have a significant impact on your monthly payments, as well as take some of

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home improvements that add property value

When preparing to sell your home, or simply trying to give it a facelift, it’s common to wonder what updates will provide the most return on investment. Which improvements or additions will add to your home's property value and equity? After all, if you’re going to put in the money to improve your home, you will want to know that your efforts could provide a return in the long run.

It’s smart to be thinking about the future equity of your home, and these are questions our agents here at HomeCity get asked a lot. There is no one, go to upgrade that will work in every situation and with every budget. However, here are some of our top suggestions – straight from the experts themselves!

Upgrade the kitchen and bathrooms. Remodeling the kitchen and

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millennial homebuyers buy their first house

Recently millennials, those born between 1981 and 1997, surpassed baby boomers as the largest share of homebuyers according to the 2015 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study. Overcoming generational hurdles like crippling student debt, post-recession low salaries and a more unstable lifestyle, more and more young people are entering the housing market. In fact, millennials are expected to form 20 million new households by 2025. While it’s perceived that millennials are postponing home ownership, studies show that over 49% of young renters say that their next move would likely be to own a home.

It can be scary to make such a large purchase, especially when you’re just starting your adult financial journey. However, knowing what to expect

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how to make new mommy friends

Written By: Jen Glatz, Realtor®

Moving to a new area can be both overwhelming and intimidating. Throw in a kid…or four…and to some, the task might seem daunting.  If you’re a mom or dad who works outside the home, then you’re in an environment conducive to meeting like-minded people. However, it’s a whole different ballgame if you’re a work-from-home parent or stay-at-home parent. Outside of a work environment where you’re organically socializing with individuals who share a common interest, kids can be the best way to make new friends. Children are naturally friendly, curious creatures.  So, hitch your wagon to your child’s personality and get ready to meet some new friends!

That seems simple enough, and reading it might feel a little

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 couple moving into home

Congratulations, you’ve found the perfect place to live and can’t wait to settle into your new home. The only thing left to do is - the dreaded move. Packing up your place and relocating to another can be not only tedious and time-consuming, but often expensive! 

However, there are tips and tricks used by the professionals that can make the moving process less of a headache. We asked some of the best in the business what they suggest doing to keep things organized before, during, and after the big move.  

Plan, plan, plan.

Professional organizer Jennifer Lava suggests starting as early as possible in your planning and scheduling. “Keep a master to-do list of all moving-related tasks. Then use your calendar to schedule and plan them out to

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advice from a real estate tax expert

It’s tax time again, which means that most people are gathering their documentation and counting their deductions. However, many people, homeowners, and investment property owners especially, don’t realize that they could be saving much more money than they are currently. Property owners are afforded all sorts of tax breaks and incentives that can sometimes be overlooked by those who are not 'in the know.' In many cases, employing the help of a CPA rather than doing your taxes yourself can garner a much larger tax return. We caught up with Brandon Hall from The Real Estate CPA to learn a little bit more about homeowner tax advantages, investor tax incentives, and why employing a CPA is a smart move. 

 

Now, you might be wondering, why are there

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2016 was a roller coaster of a year, and 2017 is likely to have some surprises in store as well. There are already changes being felt since Donald Trump won the presidential election, and while this change is unlikely to alter the fundamentals of real estate in the US, we expect there will be more. 

There has already been a slight jump in mortgage rates, although many predictions don’t see them rising above five percent. Even so, that increase in percentage points could mean the difference between being able to afford a home and not – especially for millennials and first-time home buyers. Supreme Lending’s John McClellan, in his 2017 Mortgage Forecast, showed how even a couple mortgage points could add hundreds to a monthly payment.

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Home prices continued to climb last quarter to levels not seen since late 2006. Throughout all of this, however, home sales are remaining level and affordability hasn’t suffered too much - thanks to lower mortgage rates. According to TheMortgageReports.com, “Last quarter, more than six in 10 U.S. homes were ‘affordable’ to households earning the national median income, assuming that household used a 30-year conventional mortgage to finance the home, made a modest down payment on the property, and carried good credit scores.”

However, some sources are warning that homes may become too expensive for many first time home buyers as time goes on. Due to unexpected election results, mortgage rates are rising to new 7-month highs, and economists fear they

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