Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ways to Manage Home Insurance Costs

Monday, November 25, 2013

Home Maintenance for the New Home Owner

NORFOLK, VA, Nov 25, 2013—Becoming a homeowner for the first time is one of the most fulfilling moments you may ever experience. Owning a home offers a myriad of benefits. However, it can also be costly, especially when you factor in maintenance and repairs over the lifetime of your home. To help reduce stress and costs, Louis Eisenberg, Associate Broker REALTOR ABR SFR of Prudential Towne Realty offers several tips for keeping up with home maintenance. “From the day you move in to the day you sell your home, there will always be something that will need to be repaired or remodeled,” says Eisenberg. Some changes will be simple; you may want to undertake certain updates simply to elevate your comfort level – like installing central air conditioning – or spruce up the home’s aesthetics, such as adding a few stained-glass windows. “Others will be more critical, like replacing a hazardous roof, fixing broken windows, and repairing leaky pipes,” says Eisenberg. These are all necessities. Left undone, they can lead to major problems and damages within the home. One of the top ways, according to Eisenberg, to keep up with your home is to take inventory. “From the very beginning, get in the habit of taking an inventory at least once a year of every nook and cranny in your home to check for potential problems,” says Eisenberg. “Examine the roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical wiring – basically everything. Try to fix trouble spots as soon as you uncover them. This proactive approach will help you avoid larger expenses later on, so leave no stone unturned when taking your inventory.” In terms of preparing for expenses, you can expect to spend an average of one percent of the purchase price of your home every year to handle a myriad of tasks, including painting, tree trimming, repairing gutters, caulking windows, and routine system repairs and maintenance. “An older home will usually require more maintenance, although a lot will depend on how well it has been maintained over the years,” notes Eisenberg. Tell yourself that the upkeep of your home is mandatory, and budget accordingly. Otherwise, your home’s value will suffer if you allow it to fall into a state of disrepair. It can be helpful to adopt the attitude that the cost of good home maintenance is usually minor compared to what it will cost to remedy a situation that you allowed to get out of hand. For example, unclogging and sealing gutters may cost a few hundred dollars, but repairing damage to a corner of your home where gutters have leaked can potentially cost several thousand dollars. “Remember, there is usually a direct link between a property’s condition and its market value: The better its condition, the more a buyer will likely pay for it down the road,” says Eisenberg. For more information on keeping up with your home, please contact Louis Eisenberg ABR, SFR, Realtor, Prudential Towne Realty, 109 E. Main Street, Norfolk, VA 23510, leisenberg@prudentialtownerealty.com, (757) 572-7244, or www.LouisEisenberg.com

Friday, November 22, 2013

Most Cost Effective Home Upgrades

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

De-Stress Your Home Buying Process

NORFOLK, VA, Nov 19, 2013—For many, buying a home is one of the most stressful endeavors you will ever take on. While you may never erase all of the stress associated with home-buying, with the right mindset, and the right toolset, you can certainly minimize the stress of finding and buying your dream home.

1. Get pre-approved. Making sure you are able to get a mortgage will reduce the stress of the home buying process, because you know you're eligible before you even begin hunting, automatically taking that stress factor off your plate. That's not the only way pre-approval will reduce stress – it also makes the home search easier. “Many sellers won't even work with a buyer who is not pre-approved, so you automatically open up your housing pool when you get pre-approved,” says Louis Eisenberg, Associate Broker REALTOR ABR SFR of Prudential Towne Realty.

2. Find the right budget and stick to it. Money is a huge source of stress when buying a house. “Figure out exactly how much house you can afford, and refuse to even consider a home outside of that budget,” says Eisenberg.

3. Make a Needs vs. Wants list. Similar to sticking to a budget, understanding your needs (three bedrooms) in relation to your wants (a gourmet kitchen) can save you time and energy during the home hunt.

4. Hire an agent you trust. A real estate agent is the number one way to reduce the stress of buying—or selling—a home. “Find an agent who specializes in your market and similar clients—first-time buyers, move-up clients, vacation homes, etc,” Eisenberg suggests. While many think hiring an agent will make the home-buying process costlier, agents can help save money in the negotiating process. Regardless of money saved, working with an agent—who knows the process inside and out—will save you a great deal of stress.

For more information on buying a home, please contact Louis Eisenberg, Prudential Towne Realty, 109 E. Main Street, Norfolk, VA 23510, leisenberg@prudentialtownerealty.com, (757) 572-7244, or www.LouisEisenberg.com

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Best U.S. Cities for Housing Investment

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stealing Space: How to Reconfigure Room for Your Home Addition

NORFOLK, VA, Nov 13, 2013—Looking to expand your home? You may have more room than you think, according to Louis Eisenberg, Associate Broker REALTOR ABR SFR of Prudential Towne Realty. Just look around you. If you see any space you don't currently use—say, that downstairs powder room that rarely ever sees traffic—then you can repurpose it to fit your needs. This concept of “stealing” space from a neighboring room is called space reconfiguration and it is much cheaper than a major remodeling job.

“Recycling isn't just for cans and bottles. Repurposing room for your home can save money and energy as well,” says Eisenberg. “What's key is finding space that can work in a new way.” That space may be as close as the next room, particularly if there are unused or under utilized areas in your home.

There are two main ways you can do this:

Converting. Dying for a home office or a small in-house fitness space? “A garage, attic, side porch, large closet, or basement can all be converted to fit the use you have in mind,” suggests Eisenberg. The pre-existing structure and frame will make the process cheaper and easier to complete. This goes for major additions, like a bonus room, as well. Building up, or placing it above the garage, will be easier than creating a whole new foundation.

Carving. If you have an oversized kitchen or a big formal dining room, consider putting up walls to carve out a new space from the existing one. Maybe a small area can be carved from a larger area to create a powder or laundry room. Or, do it the other way around. “If your bedroom is bigger than you really need, expand your bathroom into a deluxe master suite,” says Eisenberg.

When looking to convert or carve new space, it's important to utilize what's already around you, and this includes things like plumbing. “Putting a new laundry room next to a kitchen or bathroom will be easier than sticking it on the second floor, because the piping is already nearby,” notes Eisenberg.
For more real estate information, please contact Louis Eisenberg, Prudential Towne Realty, 109 E. Main Street, Norfolk, VA 23510,  leisenberg@prudentialtownerealty.com, (757) 572-7244, or www.LouisEisenberg.com

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Life after foreclosure: When can you buy?

NORFOLK, VA, Nov 07, 2013—For those consumers who have a foreclosure on their record, it may feel like they will never repair their credit enough to become a homeowner again. It can happen, notes Louis Eisenberg, Associate Broker REALTOR ABR SFR of Prudential Towne Realty, but it will depend on a variety of variables.

“Bouncing back after a foreclosure will depend greatly on your individual circumstances, as well as the mortgage interest rate you are willing to pay,” says Eisenberg. Foreclosures can remain on your credit record for seven to 10 years. Most lenders will consider your request for a home loan two to four years after your foreclosure, although your interest rates will be higher.

“Keep an eye out for predatory lenders that will issue a home mortgage in less time than average, but will charge you obscenely high mortgage interest rates, fees, and penalties,” warns Eisenberg.

A quality lender will expect you to show that you have cleaned up your credit. In this light, a borrower who has worked hard to reestablish good credit may also be shown some leniency by the lender.  

Repairing your credit is possible, although it can be a slow-moving process. Act as quickly as you can to take care of any outstanding delinquencies, tackling a little at a time until you get back on the right track. “Make an effort, if at all possible, to repay your debt in full and on time for six months to a year to prove you are working hard to repair any damage,” says Eisenberg.

“It will also be helpful to provide a reasonable explanation about the circumstances that led to the foreclosure, such as exuberant medical expenses or lifestyle changes beyond your control,” notes Eisenberg. If you declared bankruptcy because you were laid off from your job, the lender may be more sympathetic. If, however, you went through bankruptcy because you overextended personal credit lines and lived beyond your means, it is unlikely the lender will readily give you a break.

If you've waited several years after your foreclosure and you're still having trouble obtaining a traditional mortgage, consider other options, such as subprime mortgages, which are made to borrowers who do not meet traditional credit criteria at a higher interest rate.  
For more information on obtaining a mortgage, please contact Louis Eisenberg, Prudential Towne Realty, leisenberg@prudentialtownerealty.com, (757) 572-7244, or www.LouisEisenberg.com

Monday, November 4, 2013

Buying a garage door? Think insulation

There are seemingly endless options through which homeowners must navigate when buying a new garage door: the style, materials and accessories, just to name a few. But perhaps the most important feature that should top the garage door consumer's list is energy efficiency.
Why? Because the garage door is generally the largest moving object in your home and offers the greatest exposure to the elements. An insulated garage door will maintain the temperature in your garage in the winter and in the summer and likely decrease your heating and cooling costs. Insulated garage doors not only make the garage itself more comfortable to be in, but also the rooms adjacent to or above the garage. A well-insulated garage also helps keep moisture out, and its sturdy construction offers a greater noise-reducing sound barrier.
What should consumers look for in an energy efficient garage door? For starters, check out the R-value. R-value is a measure of thermal resistance to heat flow and is how most manufacturers show the energy efficiency of their product. The higher the R-value of a door, the more insulation you'll get. Second, look at the door's construction. Well-insulated doors will have a "triple-layer" construction, consisting of environmentally safe polystyrene or polyurethane thermal insulation between two layers of heavy-duty steel. Some insulated garage doors also include a thermal break which is a nonconductive material within the door that keeps thermal energy from passing through, resulting in improved energy efficiency for the home.
Well-insulated garage doors should be able to stand up to the most extreme of conditions while simultaneously protecting your garage and the rest of your home.
Whether your garage door withstands heat, wind, snow, rain, or all of the above, it's the largest line of defense for your home. Make sure that it's working hard for you by reducing your home's energy consumption and providing strong, durable protection from the outside. Your utility bills - and the rest of your (climate-controlled) house will thank you.

For more information contact Louis Eisenberg, Prudential Towne Realty, 109 E. Main Street, Norfolk, VA 23510, leisenberg@prudentialtownerealty.com (757) 572-7244 www.LouisEisenberg.com

Friday, November 1, 2013

Months inventory of homes for sale

Inventory of existing homes continues to fall. It is looking better for homes sellers.