Thursday, July 12, 2018

Financing Your Home


Once you’ve found the new home of your dreams it’s time to work on your financing so you can make a strong offer and get the process moving along!
While you are looking for homes, begin getting your financial documents in order so you don’t have to wait!  The mortgage process doesn’t have to be daunting – especially if you can do a little at a time to prepare.
So what do you need to apply?  Here are some documents you can gather and have ready:
-        The W-2 form from the last two year’s taxes
-        Most recent pay stub
-        Tax returns from the previous year
-        A complete list of debts such as credit cards, student loans, car payments, etc.
-        A list of your assets including bank statements and investment records
-        Documents of retirement accounts
Other information you’ll need is:
-        Social security number
-        Residence history for at least two years
-        Employment history for at least two years
-        Information on any gifts that may be used toward down payment or loan
As the mortgage process progresses there may be a need for more information or details on the information you provide. Don’t be discouraged! Remind yourself that once this process is complete you’ll have a brand new home!

Friday, July 6, 2018

How to reduce home allergies


Allergies are a real problem for millions of Americans.  Popular allergens can be found outdoors such as pollen or indoors such as dust.
The top indoor allergens are dust mites, pet dander, mold spores and cockroach particles. Symptoms can include a stuffy or runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and in some cases asthma.
Here are a few ways you can cut back on indoor allergens and make your home an easier place to breathe.
-        Control dust as much as possible. Keep surfaces uncluttered and dust frequently. Use cleaning tools such as microfiber that catch dust instead of just dispersing it back into the air.
-        Vacuum once or twice a week. Make sure that your vacuum is equipped with a HEPA filter for optimal results.
-        During peak pollen season keep windows and doors closed as much as possible.
-        Regularly wash bed linens and towels and use hot water to do so.
-        Reduce moisture build up by running ventilation fans in bathrooms and kitchen.
-        Keep pests like cockroaches and mice out of the home with regular treatments or traps.
-        Maintain an overall cool temperature in the home (between 68-72 degrees) and humidity no higher than 50 percent.
-        Have pets? Bathe them once a week to cut down on pet dander.
How do you maintain an allergen free home?

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Understanding Home Styles


If you’re a fan of home television shows you’ve most likely heard the following terms used to describe a home’s style – Craftsman, Contemporary, Colonial, or Mid-Century Modern.  But do you know what they mean? Which style is the one for you? Before you start shopping for your new home, brush up on these terms and determine what type of home fits your personality.
Craftsman
Craftsman style homes are typically identified as having the following characteristics:
-        Wood or stone siding
-        Wide overhanging eaves
-        Decorative beams or gables
-        Dormer windows
-        Full or partial porches accented with columns
Contemporary
Contemporary homes can be identified by the following:
-        Stone, brick or wood exteriors
-        Steep roofs or hip roofs
-        Large windows
-        Irregular sometimes asymmetrical shape
-        Eco-friendly and natural materials
-        Open floor plans with lots of natural light
Colonial
Colonial style homes have been around since the 1800’s and often incorporate:
-        Brick or wood exteriors
-        Two windows on each side of the entry and five windows on the second floor
-        One window above the entry door
-        Simple, symmetrical style
-        Front door as a focal point for the exterior
Mid-Century Modern
These homes often share the following style points:
-        Exteriors of stone or brick
-        Flat or gabled roofs
-        Oversized windows and sliding glass doors
-        Lots of open space
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Friday, June 22, 2018

What is Home Equity?


There are so many benefits to owning a home. From tax deductions to the pride of ownership, you can find lots of reasons to take the plunge and buy.  Today we’ll talk about another aspect of home ownership – home equity.
Home equity is the amount your home is worth minus the amount owed on your mortgage.  For example if your home is worth $250,000 and your mortgage is $150,000 then you have $100,000 equity in your home.
If the value of your home remains relatively stable over time, your equity will increase as your mortgage continues to decrease.
Your home’s value will fluctuate over time as the market rises and falls.  To keep up the value of your home ensure you keep up with your home’s maintenance and make improvements as necessary.
Home equity allows you to do several things:
-        Receive more cash for your home if you choose to sell in the future
-        Invest the money from the equity in your home toward a new home purchase
-        Receive a loan based on the equity you have in your home
With a brand new home, your home value is high due to the demand for new homes in the area and the newness of your home’s construction and materials.  To increase your equity in this situation, consider decreasing the debt on your home by making extra payments or refinancing to a shorter mortgage term.
If you are in the process of buying a new home, making a larger down payment will also quickly increase the equity you have in your home.
How do you keep up the value of your largest investment – your home?

Monday, June 18, 2018

Meet The Builder

Stanley J. O'Brien Jr. - President and CEO

http://paradimeconstruction.com/builder-profile.html


Stan O'Brien, president, was raised in Charleston, South Carolina where the antebellum style homes first inspired his love of architecture. That love took him to Clemson University where he studied architecture formally. He received a Bachelors in Architecture and a Bachelors in Construction Science.

After working for a homebuilder in North Carolina, Stan returned to South Carolina and now resides in Columbia. He started Paradime Construction in 1999. His company goal is to design and build custom homes for clients who enjoy personal attention in every aspect of the homebuilding process while providing an affordable, quality home.

Paradime Construction incorporates green building techniques into their construction process creating energy efficient homes in Columbia and Lexington, South Carolina. Paradime Construction is a CHiP (Certified High Performance) home builder of the Green Building Council of Greater Columbia.

Paradime Construction incorporates Universal Design in their building process as well. The Certified Universal Living Home is a new certification offered by the Building Industry Association of Central SC. Homes that qualify under this certification are inspected by a third party to ensure they meet certain standards for homeowners with limited mobility.

http://paradimeconstruction.com

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Hot Weather Home Maintenance Tips


The heat is tough on everyone – scorching sun and high temperatures can take their toll not only on you and your family but also your home.  Here are a few ways to protect your home from the effects of summer.
-        Your air conditioner is working over time during the summer so do what you can to help it out. Keep landscaping from encroaching onto your outdoor unit. Also keep inside filters clean and replaced regularly.
-        Clean around windowsills to remove debris and ensure a tighter seal keeping warm air out and cool air in.
-        If your area is prone to summer storms check trees for loose or dead limbs that may be thrown during high winds.
-        Inspect your yard regularly for standing water and fill in as necessary to prevent mosquito habitats.
-        Keep your cool inside by utilizing ceiling fans and curtains.
-        Now is a good time to ensure all of your home ventilations is working properly and efficiently. Be sure to clean the fan over your range to remove grease and dust.  Use a vacuum hose to clean refrigerator coils and keep it running effectively.
-        Remove the lid on the outdoor dryer vent and clean out any lint to prevent fires and keep your dryer running smoothly.
-        Summer heat and moisture can cause mildew to build up on the exterior of your home. Pressure wash or clean regularly to keep it at bay.
What summer maintenance tips do you have to protect your home and keep it in peak condition during those long hot days?

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Natural Remedies to Keep Away Pests This Summer


Enjoying time outdoors is one of the hallmarks of summer vacation. Picnics, pool parties, BBQ’s or just blowing bubbles in the front yard.  Unfortunately the presence of unwanted insects can put a real damper on these occasions.  This year, forgo the chemical-laden options and try some of these natural alternatives to keep bugs away from your summer get together.
Landscape with natural repellent.  Some plants are natural insect repellents and may be worth planting around the areas you spend the most time in.  For example, to keep mosquitoes at bay try planting Marigolds, Peppermint, Lavender or Basil.
To keep wasps from building nests around your home hang a paper bag in overhangs or corners.  This will make the wasps think the area is already occupied. 
Spread Epsom salts around your garden plants to deter slugs and snails.
Mix equal portions of baking soda and powdered sugar and place them in shallow dishes outside when you want to get rid of ants.
Slice a fresh cucumber and put the pieces around your party area to keep bees from joining the group.
Fill plastic bags with water and add in a few pennies. Hang them around outside to scare flies away.
What tried and true bug remedies do you use to enjoy your summer outdoors?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Choosing the Right Front Door


Gone are the days when a boring black door welcomed friends and family into your home. There are so many new styles and options available to choose from.  Don’t wait till you get inside to let your personal decorating style shine.
Here are a few of the more popular choices.
Wood doors are a popular option and can be customized with glass panels or designs.  Note that overtime wood doors can warp and may need to be replaced more frequently than other man-made materials.
Fiberglass doors can be made to look like wood but will hold up better against the elements. Their insulated core also lends to better energy savings in the long run.
Steel doors are expensive but the safest option available in terms of preventing break-ins.  Take care to prevent dents as they may not be able to be repaired and will require the whole door being replaced.
Glass doors are admired for their atheistic appeal as well as the natural light they let into the home.  If you have privacy concerns choose a film or textured glass to distort the view.
Other front door options include:
-        Color.  Choose an inviting or bold color that really pops and brings attention to the entrance of the home.
-        Add sidelites or transoms for more natural light.
-        Consider adding a storm door for more flexibility and weather protection.
What do you look for in a front door? What statement are you trying to make?

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

What Size Home is Right for Me?


When choosing a new home there are so many things to consider.  Location, price, style and size are just a few of the decisions that need to be made.
How do you decide on the size of your home?
Ask yourself several questions:
First – determine your budget before hand. Be sure to include the mortgage, interest, insurance and down payment amounts.   Your budget should be the most pressing factor in your decision process. No house is worth putting your family at risk financially.
Then, think about how your family uses the space.  Do you entertain a lot? Do you need guest rooms for out-of-town family? Is your family going to be growing in the future?
Do you need space for hobbies? An outdoor workshop or craft room?
Also consider the upkeep of your home. A larger home means more maintenance – interior and exterior.  Be aware of the extra time a larger home may require.
If you’re concerned about not having enough space – think about flexibility. Can rooms be used for multiple purposes? Is there opportunity to change a room’s function in the future?  You may not need more space just more versatility.
What are you looking for in a new home? What rooms are most important to you?

Friday, May 11, 2018

Kitchen Countertop Options


A new home is a great opportunity to personalize for both style and function.  Let’s start in the kitchen! Here are a few options for kitchen counters!
Quartz
Quartz is a great low maintenance option. Countertops are stain, scratch and heat resistant. They are available in a range of colors and don’t require sealing like many natural stone countertops.
Granite
Granite has been a traditional stand by for most new homes.  It offers an upscale look and durable workspace. It’s important to clean up spills quickly and maintain a sealing routine about once a year.
Laminate
Laminate countertops are the most affordable option and now come in a wide variety of patterns that look more like natural stone. 
Wood
Butcher block countertops offer a farmhouse chic alternative to traditional stone.  They are highly heat resistant but need to be properly sealed before using for prep work.
Marble
Marble countertops are an up and coming option in the design world. The cost is similar to granite and their look is clean and timeless. Marble is porous though so be careful about stains.
Which look or option is your favorite? What factors do you need to consider before making a decision?

Friday, May 4, 2018

Keeping Home Safe While You’re Away


Counting down to that summer vacation?   While you’re planning what to pack and where to eat, don’t forget to plan ahead for keeping your home and belongings safe while you’re away.
If possible, arrange for a trusted friend or family member to come by and check on the house.  Water plants, pick up any packages or deliveries and take out the garbage.  They can help the home look lived in by turning lights on and off and opening blinds.
Make sure to stop your mail before you leave. This can be done online and is a free service offered by the Postal Service.
If you’ll be away for a long time arrange for lawn service to keep your home looking maintained.
So what shouldn’t you do?
Don’t announce your upcoming trip on social media.
Don’t leave a window or door unlocked just in case.
Don’t leave your lights on to make the home look like someone is inside.
And last? Do let the police know you’ll be gone. They can drive by to check on your home to make sure that nothing looks out of place.
A little extra planning and you can enjoy your vacation with no worries about what is happening back home.

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Appeal of Open Floor Plans


Flip on most any home shopping or design program and you’re likely to hear a similar request – the need for an open floor plan.  What exactly does this mean? Why has it become so popular? Is it here to stay?
Homes are considered to have an open floor plan if the overall layout is spacious and blends several spaces together – typically the living, dining and kitchen areas.
Open floor plans are great for families. They allow for easy opportunities to watch the kids while working in the kitchen and prepping the night’s dinner.  This means more multi-tasking opportunities and less stress wondering what the kids are doing while you aren’t around!
A spacious open layout is great for entertaining and allowing guests to mingle in and out of the living and dining areas.  Guest are encouraged to talk across rooms and spaces with no place to feel left out or overlooked.
Open floor plans allow for more natural light from the windows without being blocked by additional interior walls. This combination makes even a smaller square foot home feel larger.
The trend towards open floor plan designs doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.  Changes in how the family functions, design norms and home construction support the ongoing popularity of open concept homes.  What are your thoughts on open floor plans? Pros, cons?  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Where to Upgrade Your Home’s Features



Buying a new home allows for a lot of freedom when it comes to personalizing the look and feel of your home.  You can choose to build your home with the standard finishes and options that your builder offers or you may want to add in some upgraded items.
Which upgrades make the most sense?  To answer this question you need to think about two things – home functionality and possible resale value.  Will the upgrade make living in your home more enjoyable? And will it add to the overall value of your home should you choose to sell in the future.
Particularly in the master bathroom – a separate shower and bath are preferred.  A more luxurious shower option such as a tiled stall makes a big impression.
Many homebuyers expect granite countertops in the kitchen and stainless steel appliances.  These features offer both visual appeal and added functionality.
Other popular upgrades include lighting fixtures, stone accents on the exterior of the home and hardwood flooring.
Some options are important to work out in the beginning stages of home design or construction because they affect the layout and build of the home.  Plan in advance if you are interested in a kitchen island, gas fireplace, additional attic space or increased insulation.
What are some of your wish list items you want in a new home? What trends do you think are here to stay?

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