Category Archives: Home Ownership

12 Month-by-Month Organizing Goals for Your New Home

A beige couch in the middle of an open living room.‘Tis the season — for goal planning, that is! Many people spend December reflecting on the year and creating a list of goals to aim for in the New Year, and recent home buyers are no exception.

If you’re thinking about ways to preserve that “new-to-you” feeling in your home and keep the clutter at bay throughout the year, follow our handy month-by-month home organization planner.

January: Clear Out Any Cluttered Spaces

Decluttered spaces can keep your home looking and feeling like new (even if it isn’t). While you’re putting away holiday decorations, take some time to tackle any clutter that has begun to accumulate in catch-all spaces, such as closets, the garage, and any rooms that are still full of half-unpacked moving boxes.

February: Create a Home Organization Plan

A list of things to do each day of the week.Detailed planning is a great way to stay on top of your New Year’s home organization goals. Outline a list of tasks to complete daily, weekly, and monthly. This list can include indoor and outdoor maintenance as well as fun tasks like decorating.

Be sure to pin your home organization plan in a conspicuous space, such as on the refrigerator. You can also lighten your workload by divvying up the tasks to other members of the household. Continue reading

5 Simple Ideas for a Low-Maintenance Indoor Garden

Winter is Coming – Cheer Up with an Indoor Garden

a small potted plant on a living room tableMany homeowners find gardening is an enjoyable outdoor activity with several additional benefits: enhancing curb appeal, creating bright pops of color, and even providing homegrown ingredients for meals.

But outdoor plants need just the right amount of sunshine, space, fertile soil, and maintenance to be able to flourish.

You don’t need to abandon your dream of having a garden if you don’t have the space or it’s not the right season — bring the garden indoors! Here are a few ideas to spice up your home with easy-to-maintain indoor plants.

Grow Herbs on Your Kitchen Windowsill

Cooking can be a breeze when you have fresh herbs within easy reach. Choose a spot in your home with a lot of natural light, plant your favorite herbs in a container with good drainage, and you’ll be all set. Continue reading

Transform Your Home with These Timeless Seasonal Color Schemes

rainbow of colors on paint swatch samplesNothing can transform a home quite like a simple seasonal color palette. Whether you want to embrace the fall foliage, some holiday whimsy, or a little winter coziness, you can do all that with a few coats of paint and some well-placed splashes of color.

The best part of all? Not only are these color schemes great for seasonal home decorating, they work wonders when staging your home to sell, too! Here are a few irresistible color schemes you can blend into your home this fall and winter.

Down to Earth: Rust Red and Terra Cotta

Connect with nature in the fall season using rich tones of red and brown. For an added touch of earthiness, incorporate natural elements like wood to really pull the look together. Continue reading

What You Need to Know About Low-Maintenance Communities

fallen leaves on a lawn in the winterPicture this: It’s winter. It’s freezing. You still need to clear the last of the leaves from your lawn, but you’re finding every excuse to stay huddled inside your warm home and out of the cold, biting air. More than ever, you’re wishing your yard work would just do itself.

Sound familiar? Maintenance and lawn care can be tedious and exhausting chores, especially on the coldest or hottest days of the year. But there are types of residential developments that take care of these chores for you.

The Many Faces of Low-Maintenance Living

Low-maintenance communities, in general, are neighborhoods that provide services such as lawn care and exterior maintenance through an association fee. In a maintenance-free community, especially, little — if any — maintenance is required on the homeowner’s part.

As is the case with any neighborhood, different communities offer different amenities, especially when it comes to low- or no-maintenance living. So to give you a better idea about what to look for in a low-maintenance home, we’ve come up with a quick guide.

Low-Maintenance Townhome Developments

properties along a wide streetIf you want all the space of a single-family home but don’t mind sharing a wall, a townhouse is a great option for low-maintenance living. Though the amenities many vary from community to community, townhome developments typically provide common area maintenance and landscaping.

Low-Maintenance Condominiums

Think of condos as upgraded rental apartments: you have your own space, you can access community amenities, and you can count on someone else to take care of the most mundane chores.

It’s important to note that condos are a type of ownership: when you own a condo, you own everything within the walls of your home. Unlike with townhomes, you aren’t required to care for the exterior.

In addition, condo associations typically maintain the common areas and provide services like trash removal and pest control. Depending on the association, the community may also provide utilities, phone service, and cable or Internet.

No-Maintenance Residential Communities

house common in a maintenance-free communitySome communities, like 55+ communities, take care of more than just the common areas. True maintenance-free communities may also take care of your home’s exterior maintenance, lawn care, landscaping, and services like trash or snow removal.

Real estate options in these no-maintenance communities can include condos, townhomes, and/or single-family homes.

Where to Do Your Research

If a community has an association, check the rules and regulations to learn about what services the association provides. Not sure where to look? It never hurts to ask a trusted real estate agent.

Want to Buy a Low-Maintenance Home? Let’s Talk

We’re familiar with the types of homes and communities found throughout our area, so we’re more than happy to answer any questions you have. Just give us a call at The Bouma Group, Realtors today at 734-761-3060 or email info@bouma.com. Want to start looking now? Check out our real estate search tool here!

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Whose Mortgage Are You Paying?

Renting vs Buying…Either Way, You’re Paying Someone’s Mortgage

Man Paying Someone Money for Rent or Mortgage

Should you be renting vs buying? There are some people who have not purchased homes yet because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich,”

“While renting on a temporary basis isn’t terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you’re serious about your finances. It won’t make you rich overnight, but by renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. In effect, you’re making someone else rich.”

Christina Boyle, Senior Vice President and head of the Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management organization at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:

“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person with that equity.

Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were at 3.94% last week.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy. Let’s get together and talk about your options and see if buying is better than renting for you! 734-761-3060 or info@bouma.com. Start your home search here!

The Truth About Homeowner Equity

What is the Truth About Homeowner Equity?

Which Road to Choose, What is the Truth?
A recent article from a reputable news source was titled: Here’s why some homeowners still can’t sell. In the opening bullets of the article, the author claimed, “Negative equity is one of the main reasons why there are so few homes for sale.”  The article then goes on to soften that stance, but we want to bring better clarity to the equity situation.

A recent report from CoreLogic (which was quoted in the article) revealed that over 80% of all homes now have “significant equity,” which means the home has over 20% equity. That level of equity allows the homeowner to sell their home if they so desire. (There was no reference to significant equity in the article.) Continue reading

6 Reasons Why Owning a Home is Awesome

Owning a Home IS Awesome!

From personalizing your living spaces to turning a profit when you sell, there are dozens of reasons why first-time home buyers can’t wait to find a home and make it their own. Though there are plenty of benefits of owning a home, here are the six benefits that stand out from the rest.

decorated room in a home

1. You Can Customize Your Space

Whether you want to invest in the latest high-tech home features or paint your walls neon green, owning a home gives you the freedom to do just about anything you want.

cute dog in a backyard Continue reading

10 Autumn Upkeep Tips for Your Home and Yard

10 Autumn Upkeep Tips

10 Autumn Upkeep Tips Photo of Fall Leaves

Fall is here! As the temperatures become cooler, it’s a great time to start thinking about autumn maintenance in and around your home. The last thing you want is to be trying to finish home improvement projects outside as the snow starts to fly. Here are 10 autumn upkeep tips that you should consider doing now so that you’ll have more time to prepare for the holidays later.

  1. SEPTIC TANK – In addition to regular inspections, you should have your tank pumped out by a licensed contractor every 2 – 5 years depending on usage.
  2. INDOORS – Replace screens with storm windows if applicable. Reverse your ceiling fan to spin clockwise for fall and winter to pull cool air up and warm air down. Pull out your quilts and comforters to make your home more cozy.
  3. DÉCOR – Why wait until it’s cold and snowy to hang holiday lights? Get the job done now while it’s warm and sunny, and then just plug them in when the time is right. Be sure to test everything before hanging and pick up extra bulbs if needed.
  4. HVAC – Have you changed your furnace filter lately? Consider scheduling your annual furnace inspection now before they book up. Have venting cleaned and/or inspected.
  5. FIREPLACE – Have your chimney cleaned and inspected prior to using your fireplace for chilly fall evenings. Have firewood delivered or find a reliable source.
  6. INSULATION – Add attic and/or wall insulation to lower heating bills over the winter. Purchase insulating film and window air conditioner covers if you plan to use them. Weather-strip windows and doors and install storm windows and doors if applicable.
  7. ROOF – Inspect your roof for damage or dampness and make or schedule repairs if needed. Clean out and inspect gutters. Consider installing heating cables if you have sustained damage from ice dams in the past.
  8. WATER – Turn off outside faucets and ensure that all related pipes have been drained to avoid bursting. Direct downspouts far away from your foundation to avoid flooding during spring thaws.
  9. OUTSIDE – Put away patio furniture, grills, and yard implements. Cut back perennials and clean out annuals. Winterize your lawn mower and have your snow blower readied for use. Purchase a new shovel before the stores run out after the first snow. Have salt and/or sand ready for your sidewalk and driveway.
  10. FINANCES – While this could be done any time of year, “earn” a little extra money for holiday shopping by calling your alarm, cable, and insurance companies to ask if there are any new promotions or discounts that might apply to you, especially if you have been a long-time customer. Doing a little research beforehand, such as calling a competitor for a bid, could result in significant savings from what you’re currently paying.

If you think you might be ready for a new home to improve, call us today and we’ll match you with a seasoned exclusive buyers agent at The Bouma Group, Realtors to guide you through the process. They have local knowledge and market experience and can help you find your new home for the holidays. Call 734-761-3060 or email info@bouma.com today!

Where Are Home Prices Heading in The Next 5 Years?

What Experts are Saying About Future Home Prices

Steps Heading in an Upward Direction depicting Home Prices in the future
Today, many real estate conversations center on home prices and where they may be headed. That is why we like the Home Price Expectation Survey.

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment & market strategists about where they believe prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number to better depict the results. Continue reading

Should You Hire a Professional or DIY on Those Home Repairs?

equipment for a do-it-yourself home repairsTo DIY or not to DIY? That’s the question on many homeowners’ minds when there are home repairs or home improvement projects on their to-do lists. The good news is that you can do plenty of things on your own. But for other projects, you’re better off hiring a licensed contractor, plumber, or electrician to do the work for you.

When undertaking a home improvement project, whether you’re buying or selling a home, you want to strike a balance between saving time by hiring a professional and saving money by doing it yourself. So here’s how to know when to hire a professional and when to go DIY.

Replacing Hardware — Do It Yourself

Need an upgrade from tarnished doorknobs, outdated cabinet pulls, or boring light switches? Pick up new hardware from a local home improvement store and go for it. Replacing hardware is a fairly simple fix that any homeowner can do on their own.

roofer's tool belt on top of a houseReplacing Roof Shingles — Hire a Professional

Unless you have significant roofing experience (and aren’t afraid of heights), you’re better off leaving this job to the professionals. Contractors can repair your roof in significantly less time — and save you risk of injury. Be sure to get a few quotes to ensure the best price. Continue reading