If you are thinking of buying a new home, you must pay close attention to many details to ensure that you find one that will suit your needs and preferences. Before you start shopping, you should sit down with the members of your household to discuss your preferences and the many options available to you.
Here are some things you should consider:
The first step in the home buying process is determining how much you can afford. Check out our “Advice for Financing Your First Home” to learn more about how you can prepare for the financing process. To ensure that the financing process goes smoothly, buyers should consider pre-qualifying for a mortgage and having a financing commitment in place before shopping for a new home.
Before you start shopping, you should sit down with the members of your household to discuss your preferences and the many options available to you.
An easy way to organize your thoughts is to write each separate feature that you want on a 3X5 card, and arrange the cards in order of their importance to you. For instance, if you like to cook, you may want a home with a large, well-equipped kitchen. Or you may settle for a small kitchen, so that you can have extra space for a library, office or playroom. Some home buyers seek large, open interior spaces, while others prefer traditional rooms that afford more privacy. While looking for a home, consider whether your needs are likely to change over time. If you plan to add rooms, find out if there is enough space on your site for such expansion and whether such additions are permitted by your local jurisdiction.
Options include single-family homes and condominiums. Some home buyers prefer homes with large yards. Others opt for condominiums where they can avoid yard maintenance entirely. With a single-family home in a development, you'll be responsible for your own yard and home, but may be restricted to certain design elements or other regulations if there is a home owners association. A condominium is a home in a multi-unit complex, such as an apartment building or a townhouse cluster. You own the home, and you and your neighbors jointly own the common elements, such as the land around the complex, the parking areas, building exteriors, hallways, utility pipes and recreational facilities. A condominium owners association is responsible for maintaining the jointly owned elements. The day-to-day business of the complex is generally handled by a managing agency. Learn more about the types of home construction
Now that you know the type of home and features you are looking for, and how much home you can afford, you're ready to begin searching for your perfect home. Whether you use a realtor to find an existing home or work with a builder to buy a new home, you'll be more focused with your search.
Your home may be the biggest investment you will ever make. Taking good care of it with regular maintenance is necessary to preserve its value and ensure it will provide a comfortable, safe shelter for you and your family for years to come.
Maintenance Inside the Home
Safety and Security
Roof, Gutters and Downspouts
Windows and Doors
Faucets, Sinks and Toilets
With winter finally leaving and warmer weather on the way, it’s time to tackle all that spring cleaning!
It can be a lengthy process but it’s important that you don’t miss these often overlooked steps.
Winter can be rough on the exterior of your home. So you should start on the exterior before the spring rains cause more problems.
1. Clean out the gutters of any debris leftover from the winter storms and check to make sure your gutters are still securely fastened.
2. Clear away all the debris from your exterior drains. This will allow the heavy spring rains to properly flow and prevent back ups.
3. Check your windows for any cracking or splitting from the caulk. If so, clean off the mildew and replace the caulk.
4. The warming weather will inevitably lead to outdoor entertaining, so don’t forget to clean off your patio furniture using a mild soap and warm water. Gently scrub away any dirt that has collected over the winter. If you have wrought iron and rust has started forming, gently sand it off.
Now, wipe off your shoes and head inside.
5. Unplug your refrigerator, slide it away from the wall and vacuum the dust that has accumulated on the condenser coils. This task may seem small, but can greatly extend the life of your refrigerator.
6. Vacuum out the dust that is sticking to your air vents. After the vents are clear of dust, apply a thin layer of car wax on all surfaces of the vent to prevent dust from sticking and to allow for easier airflow.
Call in the Pros
There are still a few things left that should be done by professionals.
7. If you built a lot of fires over the winter, have a CSIA-Certified chimney sweep inspect your chimney and fireplace. This should be done annually to prevent house fires. As a bonus tip, throw a handful of salt into a fire to prevent soot and add some color to the flame!
8. Have a contractor certified by National Roofing Contractors Association inspect your roof for any missing, warped or loose shingles and check for loose seals on your skylights.
9. Before the weather warms up too much, have your HVAC system inspected by a qualified technician and, if needed, replace your filters.
Now that you've checked these jobs off your list, you can start enjoying the spring!
Homeownership is the American dream, but it’s also a lot of work. Your home is a significant investment and requires a consistent level of upkeep to maintain its efficiency and to protect its value.
As you make new resolutions for 2016, set aside some time to build a schedule of your ongoing home maintenance duties. Creating a calendar of anticipated maintenance needs will help you remember key milestones and better prepare for any big expenses.
The following examples of typical home maintenance should be completed at least annually. Consider your home’s specific needs to determine the relevance and timing of each task, and mark your calendar appropriately.
In the spring:
In the fall:
Anytime throughout the year:
The joys of homeownership come with a long list or responsibilities. But staying on top of these duties will help keep your home healthy as the seasons change and the years pass.
Embarrassed by your outdated kitchen or tired of that ugly bathroom, but aren’t yet ready to move to a new home? Remodeling those rooms is your next best option. And there is no better time to consider a remodeling project than during National Remodeling Month in May!
But beware that even a seemingly simple modification to your home could become a dangerous task for even the most confident do-it-yourselfer. By first consulting with a professional remodeler, you could save yourself a lot of time, money and headache by getting the job done right the first time. Yet with so many remodelers to choose from, how do you find the right one for you and your home?
The easiest way to begin your remodeler reconnaissance is by going online.
Proceed with Caution
The Internet makes it easy to find a wealth of information with just a few quick clicks of the mouse. Much of what you find will provide some useful background, but you can’t believe everything you see or read. When looking through customer rating sites, use good judgment to weigh the value of certain online reviews (positive or negative).
Keep in mind:
Remember, the most accurate customer review will always come directly from the mouth of a previous client. If you don’t happen to know any former clients of the remodelers you are considering, simply ask those remodelers for references of recent projects.
To find a reliable Remodeling Council contractor that is a member of The Wichita Area Builders Association, click on “Find a Member” and then “Remodelers Council.” You will find a list of current members of the Council. Another good resource is our “Remodelers Council Directory and Resource Guide” which you can also access through our website at www.wabahome.com.
The judging for the 2016 Spring Parade of Homes winners is completed and you can click below to see a complete list of the winners.
In addition to these winners, there are many great homes to look at during the Parade of Homes that you won't want to miss.
Pick up a Parade of Homes magazine from area grocery stores, Parade homes or download it from this website for more detailed information and a map of locations.
The Parade of Homes hours continue from Noon to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, April 16 & 17 and 23rd & 24th!
Come and see the home of your dreams!
The home building industry celebrates New Homes Month in April by sharing the top features that will be seen in typical new homes built in 2016. Once again, builders are responding to what home buyers want by offering greater efficiency in the design and function of the home.
"Today's new homes include features that will help homeowners reduce energy consumption and enhance the conveniences of modern living," said Ed Brady, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill. "Our builders are telling us that energy efficiency continues to be a top demand from consumers."
NAHB recently surveyed builders about the features they are most likely to include in new homes they build this year. Four of the top 10 features focused on energy efficiency: low-E windows, Energy Star-rated appliances and windows, and programmable thermostats.
These features correspond to the list of features that consumers say are most important to them, as well. According to NAHB's latest survey of home buyer preferences, Energy Star appliances and windows, as well as an Energy Star rating for the entire house, are among the top five most-wanted features.
In fact, home buyers are willing to pay more for a home if they can get lower utility costs in return. On average, they will pay an additional $10,732 up front to save $1,000 a year in utilities.
Other popular features that builders said they are most likely to add to their homes include a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, laundry room, great room (kitchen-family room-living room) and a central island and granite countertop in the kitchen.
While lenders are looking more closely at borrowers today than in recent years, there are options for purchasing your first home without a 20% downpayment. For example, the FEderal Housing Administration (FHA) offers loans to first-ime home buyers with downpayments as low as 3.5%. However, these loans require mortgage insurance.To ensure that the financing process goes smoothly, buyers should consider pre-qualifying for a mortgage and having a financing commitment in place before shopping for a new home. Buyers also may find that some home builders have arranged favorable financing for their customers or offer financial incentives.
Designed to accommodate today's busy lifestyles, new homes - including urban condos and single-famiy homes - feature open floor plans, flexible spaces, low-maintenance materials and other amenities that appeal to younger buyers.With energy costs newar the top of consumer concerns, it's good to know that new homes can be more energy efficient than ever. Innovative materials and construction techniques mean that today's new homes are built to be much more energy efficient than homes constructed a generation ago. Not only can they be more affordable to operate, new homes also are significantly more resource efficient and environmentally friendly.
Today's tech-savvy home buyers use mobile apps to quickly gather all of the key information on a property and to see extensive photos from their cell phones or tablets. For example, Homesnap allows you to snap a picture of any home and get all the relevant property details, including any interior photos for homes on the market.If you're just beginning your search, Realtor.com is a popular app becuase it generally contains the most accurate information gathered from more than 800 local MLS's (multiple listing services).There are also several free mortgage apps to help you determine how much you can afford and to compare real-time rates from multiple lenders. Popular mortgage calculator apps include Zillow and Trulia.
For most Americans, homeownership is a primary source of new worth and is an important step in accumulating personal financial assets over the long term. Although property values have declined in many markets, Americans have more than $10.8 trillion of equity in their homes, and for most families, home equity represents the largest share of net worth. At the same time, rent prices continue to climb - 2.8 percent in 2013 - as rental vacancies dropped to their lowest po int since 2000, according to a recent report from Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. That makes now a great time to start investing in your future - insead of your landlord's.