8 Costs To Consider When Buying A Home

plants-in-pots-818718_1280Buying a home can be a fun and stressful time. If you’re a first time home buyer, there are some costs (these tend to get overlooked) you should know about before entering into homeownership. Before buying a home, be prepared for these 8 costs:

  1. Mortgage payments. Your mortgage is a long-term loan which is borrowed in order to purchase a home. In addition to repaying the principal amount borrowed, you’ll be required to pay interest to the lender. To help give you an idea of what your monthly payments will be, check out this mortgage calculator.
  1. Inspection fees. Because a home is most likely to be your biggest financial investment, you should have the home inspected before making an offer. This is when you know any repairs the home might need and can use this information as leverage while negotiating the price of the home. A home inspection can run up to a several hundred of dollars so you’ll want to be prepared for this upfront.
  1. Appraisal fees. Before you buy a home, you’ll be obligated (by your lender) to have the property valued by a professional real estate appraiser. In the past this fee was included in the closing costs, but is no longer that way as the appraiser needs to be paid regardless if the deal goes through.
  1. Private mortgage insurance. If you put a down payment that is less than 20% of the home’s price, you’ll be required (in most cases) to take out a private mortgage insurance policy. According to Mortgage Insurance Companies of America, a home costing around $200,000 can expect a monthly premium between $50-$100 per month. Ideally, the closer to the 20% down payment, the better your monthly payments will be.
  1. Closing costs. As you prepare to sign the closing documents on your home, be prepared to pay closing costs  and any other assorted fee. The closing costs usually include processing fees, underwriting fees, recording fees, survey fees, and title insurance fees; these can run up to thousands (2-3% of the mortgage loan amount) of dollars. When applying for a loan, be sure to speak with your lender and make sure these fees are included in the loan.
  1. Homeowners insurance. This is critical to have to protect yourself against rebuilding, repair, or replacement costs in the event of a major disaster or theft. If you borrow money from a lender, you’ll be required to purchase homeowners insurance. Before buying a home, talk to your insurance agent and ask for a quote to get a sense of how much it will cost so you can budget accordingly.
  1. Property taxes. These taxes are charged by the local government for public expenses, such as schools, parks, and sidewalks. The seller or seller’s real estate agent can provide you with the current annual tax on the property is. Also, be sure to find out when the next tax assessment is scheduled and if it will be increased by the sale of the home.
  1. Utilities. Once you find your dream home, ask the seller to provide you with a record of a year’s worth of utility bills to get a sense of how much you need to budget for utilities (heating, cooling, electricity, gas, and water). Also, take into account the differences in family size.

As you move forward in the process of buying a home, your real estate agent can answer any of your questions. Ready to buy? Give us a call today and let us help you make your homeownership dream come true.

Prequalified vs. Preapproved: Do You Know The Difference?

savings-440782_1280Are you ready to buy a home but aren’t sure which step to take first? As you move forward in the home buying process, the first thing you need to know is how much of a home you can afford. To know what you qualify for, in terms of a financial loan, is to speak with your bank, credit union, or mortgage officer to find out how much you can borrow.

When you meet with your loan officer, it’s important to understand certain key terms in the home buying process. Two of those keywords are: prequalified vs. preapproved. These two terms can be confusing, especially to those who are new to real estate. When it comes to these two terms, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Prequalified. This is the initial screening done by the lender (bank, credit union, etc) to see have much money you qualify to borrow. This is where you’re given an estimate on what you may be able to borrow, but is not set in stone. It’s also important to note that, as prequalified only, this won’t hold much weight when you’re trying to make an offer on a home.

Preapproved. To be preapproved, this process digs deeper and requires some additional financial information. During this time, you may be asked to provide bank statements, tax returns, and proof of employment. Remember, even when preapproved for a home loan, it’s not official until the application process is complete. Once you receive your approval letter, you have 90 days before the letter expires and to make an offer on the home.

If you’re ready to start the process in finding your dream home, give us a call today. We’re ready to answer all your questions and help you to make the move to homeownership.

Protect Your Pipes From Freezing This Winter

The cold weather is here and with the freezing temperatures, it’s important to protect your pipes from freezing. This year, take some time to make sure the water pipes in your home don’t freeze with these tips:winter-820317_640

Keep your house temperature at 68 degrees (even when gone and for long absences) during the winter to protect your pipes from bursting. To protect your pipes, you can also wrap exterior pipes with heating tape and insulate outside walls of unheated areas in your home. During long absences, turn off the main water leading to your washing machine.

Throughout the winter, watch your pipes for signs of freezing. Take some time during the winter to check the water pressure of your pipes by turning them on and off in the morning and night. Also, check the pipes around your water meter to ensure their is no leakage. If there are cold drafts in your home, caulk the gaps that are close to the pipes.

If you’re pipe freeze, you can use a hair dryer to defrost the pipes. NOTE: if there is any standing water in the area DO NOT use a hair dryer. Instead, heat up some water and soak towels in the hot water. Wrap them around the pipes to help the thaw. When thawing pipes, turn on the faucet nearest the area you’re working. This will allow the melted water to drip out. In the case that the pipes burst, turn off the main water valve and call a plumber.

Make the Move Easier With These 5 Tips

So, you’ve just bought your new home or you’re getting serious in your house hunting. As you navigate through the moving process, juggle kids, and deal with the day to day aspects of life, make the moving experience easier with these 5 tips.couch-881125_1280

  1. Decide to keep and throw. Don’t waste your time and energy moving garbage and other junk to your new home. If you no longer want it, love it, or can use it, throw it out. Better yet, donate it to a local charity or hold a yard sale. Who doesn’t want a little extra cash, especially when moving.
  1. Relocating your plants. Most people don’t tend to think of their plants during a move. Help keep your larger plants unbroken by wrapping them in old, large blankets. With plants that are smaller, place them securely in a box with paper around them to hold them still during the relocation.
  1. Moving the big things. When dealing with larger appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, washers, and dryers have a professional or someone who knows what they are doing disconnect them. With freezers and refrigerators, be sure to remove all the food from them, defrost, clean, and dry them before the move. Also, place any extra parts and screws in a plastic bag to keep them for getting lost or misplaced during the move.
  1. Consider your pet’s feelings. Help make your pets feel safe and happy during the move by providing them with a quiet place to settle their nerves. Also, make sure the address on your pet’s collar is updated with the new address in case they escape during the move. Once you are settled in your new digs, allow your pets to wander the home, supervised, to get used to their new home.
  1. Get your kids ready for the move. Take some time to help your kids adjust to the move by scoping out the neighborhood and surrounding parks, schools, and community organizations to see what will be available and where your kids can make new friends.

This is going to be a wonderful new adventure. Help ensure you are ready for it with these other tips from Home Creations.

Get In The Spirit Of The Season With These Fun Gift Ideas

smallJarsThe holidays are right around the corner. With the Christmas lights, shopping, and get togethers there is a lot of excellent things to do and see to make the season enjoyable. One part of the season, which can be a lot of fun or additional stress, is finding the perfect gift for your neighbors and coworkers.

Homemade Peppermint Bath Bombs.  For those who enjoy scents and baths, these peppermint bath bombs are the perfect gift.

Lumps of Goal. This can be a fun (and tasty) gift to give to friends or coworkers.

Chalkboard Painted Mugs. Who doesn’t love hot coco? Give your friends and coworkers a tasty  gift and in some cozy mugs with this fun gift idea. What is great about these gifts is you can make them personalized and unique to fit each recipient’s personality.

Mason jars are another popular gift, probably because of their diversity. There are many great ideas (for both men and women) you can create such as Christmas in a Jar, Mason Jar Manicure Set, and so much more. The ideas are endless, so set a budget on how much you want to spend and let your imagination go.

5 DIY Projects To Invest In Your Home

flowers-675949_1280How would you rate the look and feel of your home? Your home is your greatest investment (and asset) and keeping your home looking its best is important. Help make your home look its best and have some fun with these DIY projects:

  • Give the front door a fresh coat of paint. Add a new coat of paint to your door to help keep it looking its best. Help make your curb appeal pop by painting it a color that is rich in color like a rich golden yellow, warm apple red. or striking black. Play around with colors to find the right one to fit your home and style.
  • Maintain a healthy lawn. Curb appeal is so important, especially when selling your home, and one of the easiest (with the biggest effect) is keeping the lawn green and healthy. Take time or hire someone to mow, fertilize, and aerate the lawn.
  • Keep walkways clear of debris.  Keep your walkways and other paths clear of clutter, debris, and other dirt so they are always looking their best and minimize any accidents. Pressure washers and leaf blowers are excellent tools for maintaining a clear path.
  • Incorporate safety lights. Install floodlights, landscape lighting, and solar lighting along your pathways for safety and to showcase specific areas of your home to highlight the beauty of your home. Floodlights can be an excellent resource to use to accent focal points throughout your yard.
  • Replace broken window screens. Broken screens and other damages around your home can have a negative impact on the beauty of your home. Take time to invest in new screens for maximum curb appeal.

By investing in the upkeep up of your home, you will add value to your property and create a place you are proud to call yours. There are so many great upcycle and DIY projects you can do around your home.

There Is Still Time To Decorate For Halloween

halloween-500113_640Halloween is right around the corner and, if you haven’t decorated yet, there is still time. Get your home ready for the season with these fun and easy ideas (that don’t break the bank).

Pumpkins can add a simple and yet spooky addition to your home. Add a variety of sizes and colors around your entryway to make it pop. A personal favorite of mine, incorporate gords of rich greens, stunning white, and golden yellows for different colors. There are many pumpkin patches around here to explore.

If you are feeling ambitious, carve faces into some of your pumpkins to greet (or spook) any visitors who come to your door. Or, you can add some interesting designs on your pumpkin with some elaborate stencils. Remember to always practice safety when carving your pumpkins.

Not into carving? No problem because there are a lot of other great things you can do to decorate your pumpkins. Let your creative side come out by adding paint. ribbons, flowers, and glitter for a new look. There are lots of great ideas out there to pull inspiration from. Does anything inspire you?

How To Create The Best Jack-o-Lantern This Halloween

Halloween is almost here. With the excitement of trick-or-treating and putting out your spooky decor, another fun tradition many people enjoy is pumpkin carving. As you can about picking the best pumpkins, here are some carving tips to make the process a little easier.

Make an incision wide enough for your hand to fit easily inside the pumpkin so you can maneuver your hand while cleaning out the inside. Use a spoon to scrap out the inside of the pumpkin, taking care to remove all the seeds and other gunk. If you want to eat the pumpkin seeds afterwards, here is a great recipe to try. Also, take a moment to ensure the base of the pumpkin is flat so your candle stays upright.  4062692354_cfed5b0159_z

Once your pumpkin is cleaned out, use a pattern or create your own to give your pumpkin a spooky design, face, or whatever you decide. There are many great patterns to choose so you’ll probably want to pick up a few pumpkins for all your creations. As you decide your pattern, secure it on the pumpkin with tape and then carefully outline the stencil onto your pumpkin. Use a knife to remove the pieces once the outline is completed.

To help preserve your pumpkins, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly over the cut areas of your pumpkin and any area where the skin was removed. Another thing you can do to help prolong your pumpkin’s life is to store it in the refrigerator  during the day.

Remember, always be careful and use safety measures when using a knife to carve your pumpkins. Learn more about carving here.

3 Hikes You Need To Explore

In Utah, hiking is a popular pastime and is it really any surprise? With all the beautiful parks, mountains, and red rocks there is a lot of wonderful trails to explore around the state. 

If you are looking for some great, family-friendly hikes, here are 3 we recommend:bdc8ebfa-2202-4128-8df2-bc65f585cc1c

A popular destination for many people is the Grotto Falls. Feel like a kid again as you wander over a river, past narrow tree trunks, and a thundering waterfall (be sure to make it to secret gem at the end). Find out more about the trail here.

Love dinosaurs? The Silver Reef Trail needs to be on your list of trails to hike. This dinosaur-track trail, located at the Red Cliffs Recreation areas near Leeds, Utah, has swimming holes, waterfalls, and much more to take your breath away. Learn more here and be sure to ask about their camping options.

Known for it’s shimmering water and colorful wildflowers, the Cecret Lake is another popular Utah destination for families. Weave your way through Little Cottonwood Canyon to explore the beauty all around and fall in love with Utah all over again. Find out more about this hike, here.

Remember to always take precautions before heading out. Tell people where you are going, when to expect you back, and check the weather report.

Check out Wander Rookie to learn more about all the various hikes around Utah. With so many wonders to be seen around the world, it is cool to think how many of them we have in our backyard.

The Smells of the Season

Fall is here! Well, almost, and with the autumn months brings pumpkins, hot apple cider, and candy corn. One of the things I love most about the season is the wonderful spices that fill the air and give your home that extra cozy feeling.

There are various ways you can add some autumn smells to your home: 1) scented candles, 2) bake some pumpkin bread or cookies, or 3) oil diffuser.

One of my favorite thing to do to add some autumn smell to my home is to simmer a pot of apples, oranges, cinnamon, and water on the stove or in a crock pot. For the complete recipe, this is my favorite.

What is your favorite part of the season? Share your tips and stories about the autumn months on Facebook.