Article by Kimberly Dawn Neumann | Realtor.com
Featured expertise by Jason Gelios | Realtor
Owning a home is the American dream, but at the moment it’s more like homebuying cancel culture.
According to a 2022 survey by home warranty site Cinch Home Services of 1,000 Americans who have tried to buy or sell a home in the past year, more than half of buyers (51%) say they had a home purchase contract fall through in that time period.
Why is this happening—and what can you do to make sure that your own real estate offer doesn’t crash and burn? Here are some of the reasons deals are collapsing right now, and what to do to help prevent this from happening to you.
1. Rising interests rates cause financing to fall throughWhen buyers first start looking for a home, they often dutifully check into mortgages to figure out how much home they can afford. The problem? In a mere year’s time, interest rates have nearly doubled—from the low 3% range in 2021 to the 6% range today.
As a result, buyers might not be able to borrow as much now. In fact, the Cinch survey found that 42% of buyers who had to pull out of home deals did so because their mortgage did not come through.
Episode 243 AskJasonGelios Show
Article by John Riha
Such as look for roof leaks before the first winter snow. Preventive maintenance is key.
When the last of summer’s heat is a faint memory and you’re pulling out your hoodies more than your shorts, it’s time to tackle a few simple chores. They’ll make winter more pleasant and prevent some nasty surprises next spring.
This fall checklist helps:
#1 Clean and Stow Your Mower
If you’re not familiar with fuel stabilizer, get to know it. In a mower that sits for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts. Fuel stabilizer ($10 for a 10-ounce bottle) prevents gas from degrading. Add stabilizer to your gasoline to help keep spare gas in good condition over the winter. And top off your mower tank with stabilized gas before you put the mower away for the winter. Run the mower for five minutes to make sure the stabilizer reaches the carburetor.
Another lawn mower care method is to run your mower dry before stowing it.
1. When the mower is cool, remove the spark plug and pour a capful of engine oil into the spark plug hole.
2. Pull the starter cord a couple of times to distribute the oil, which keeps pistons lubricated and ensures an easy start come spring.
3. Turn the mower on its side and clean out accumulated grass and gunk from the mower deck.
#2 Remove Garden Hoses from Faucets
Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage. Turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets. That way, you’ll guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet.
While you’re at it, drain garden hoses and store them in a shed or garage.
#3 Drain Your Sprinkler System
Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.
#4 Seal Air Leaks
Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk ($5 for a 12-ounce tube) and make a trip around your home’s exterior, sealing cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy.
Pick a nice day when temps are above 50 degrees so caulk flows easily.
#5 Degunk Your Gutters
Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.
If you find colored grit from asphalt roof shingles in your gutters, beware. That sand-like grit helps protect shingles from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun. Look closely for other signs of roof damage (#6, below); it may be time for a roofing replacement. Your downspouts should extend at least five feet away from your house to prevent foundation problems. If they don’t, add downspout extensions, which cost $10 to $20 each.
#6 Eyeball Your Roof
If you have a steep roof or a multistory house, stay safe and use binoculars to inspect your roof from the ground. Look for warning signs: shingles that are buckled, cracked, or missing; rust spots on flashing. Replace any loose, damaged, or missing shingles immediately. Black algae stains are just cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen could signal roofing that’s decayed underneath. Call in a pro roofer for a $50 to $100 evaluation. A plumbing vent stack usually is flashed with a rubber collar — called a boot — which may crack or loosen over time. A boot will wear out before your roof does, so make sure it’s in good shape. A pro roofer will charge $75 to $150 to replace a boot, depending on how steep your roof is.
#7 Direct Your Drainage
Take a close look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your house at least six vertical inches over 10 feet. That way, you’ll keep water from soaking the soils around your foundation, which could lead to cracks and leaks. Be sure soil doesn’t touch your siding.
#8 Check Your Furnace
Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. You’ll pay $50 to $100 for a checkup. An annual maintenance contract ensures you’re at the top of the list for checks and shaves 20% off the cost of a single visit. Change your furnace filters, too. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. If your HVAC includes a built-in humidifier, make sure the contractor replaces that filter.
#9 Prune Plants
Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees — when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds. For advice on pruning specific plants in your region, check with your state extension service.
#10 Give Your Fireplace a Once-Over
To make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Open the damper and look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney. Check the firebox for cracked or missing bricks and mortar. If you spot any damage, order a professional fireplace and chimney inspection. An inspection costs $79 to $500. Your fireplace flue should be cleaned of creosote buildup every other year. A professional chimney sweep will charge $150 to $250 for the service.
Article by Kelley Walters
Fall’s cooler temps are perfect for deck and yard improvements.
Ah, September. The weather is changing, and we’re getting back to our normal, post-summer routines.
It’s also a great time to give the house a little extra love and maintenance.
Stain the Deck
Help your deck field what winter throws at it by re-staining it this month. September’s cooler temps and lower humidity make it the ideal time for this project.
Check Fire Extinguishers
According to the Red Cross, fires increase in the fall and winter. Keep your home fire safe by getting your fire extinguishers checked by a certified professional. Fire extinguishers do break down and malfunction. In fact, after six years they need to be emptied and reloaded. If you haven’t already, buy one for each floor — and the garage.
Spruce Up the Yard
Aerate your lawn, reseed or fertilize it if needed, and plant perennials and shrubs (often on sale now). Your lawn will green up faster after winter, and the shrubs and perennials will have a chance to establish roots before the first freeze.
Inspect Your Home’s Exterior
Spending money on roof repairs is no party, but neither is handing out buckets to the family to catch leaks in a winter storm. Inspect your roof — and other big-ticket items, like siding, grading, and gutters — before you’ve got problems. You’ll cut costs by fixing them now and stay dry and warm all winter long.
Article by Guest Writer: Sally Norton
Photo by Pexels
When house-buying, home buyers are sometimes overloaded with various ideas and emotions that they frequently ignore important details when visiting possible houses. Avoid falling in love with a property until you've thoroughly looked into all the specifics and any red flags to watch out for when buying a house. You'll make a better selection and know that your new home is worth every cent if you maintain a calm mind and keep your eyes open.
Exceptionally Low Cost
There is no more evident property investment red flag than just a price that appears to be too appealing to be true. Often, homeowners dramatically cut their home's listed price since it has been on sale for too long or because they are frantic to sell it. In any case, this might indicate that something is amiss with the property. Before you make any rash financial decisions, believing you've found a deal, have the house properly inspected and try to determine why it is that the estate is priced so low.
Photo by Pexels
Foundation cracks can be observed on the exterior of a house, within the cellar, or beneath the floors.
Cracks in the foundation
Foundation cracks may be disastrous for a home's future health, and they're a significant red flag that you shouldn't sign on the line. Foundation fractures can be seen on a home's façade, inside the basement, or beneath the floors. Foundation fractures can be produced by a variety of factors, including:
When inspecting a residential home, inspecting the roof is critical. Besides the fact that replacing a roof can cost big bucks, the manufacture and state of a house's roof installation can also have a significant influence on home insurance premiums. Determine the age and condition of the roof before proceeding with the purchase.
Examine for water leaks in the shape of discoloration, bubbles, or spots when touring a house before making an offer. Water stains on the ground, ceiling, or walls can cause paint discoloration, surface flaws, or hardness, as well as other visual or structural issues. The presence of leaks might ultimately cause holes or fissures in the surfaces or flooring due to degradation or corrosion. Water stains on the outside of a property appear as bubbles below the surface. The stains may suggest that the exterior siding needs to be replaced or has not been properly sealed. Watermarks within the home are also a symptom of a leaking roof or pipes, which may be costly to fix.
Unless you can negotiate a reasonable price with the seller, try to avoid houses with badly old or near-end-of-life plumbing systems. A single water stain isn't usually a cause for concern. Still, we suggest consulting with an expert inspector to verify that what you're seeing isn't an indicator of a broader problem beneath the surface. Skip the next property if it has several water stains – you don't wish to be the one fixing or cleaning away hundreds of water stains throughout your future home! When you finish all the inspections, Golans Moving and Storage experts can help you transfer your belongings. However, even after you have settled in, you should continue to be on the lookout for any signs of water damage.
No one wishes to reside in a residence that stinks. Unpleasant scents in a house can signal various problems, such as mold infection, water damage, inadequate ventilation, leaking plumbing, and HVAC problems. Not only should unpleasant odors be avoided, but so should excessive pleasant odors, perfumes, or air fresheners. One of the red flags to watch out for when buying a house is if a seller scatters air fresheners and other strong artificial fragrances about the home and may be attempting to conceal foul odors and more significant concerns with the property.
Photo by Pexels
One of the red flags to watch out for when buying a house if the seller refuses to allow an inspection
Refusing To Consent to An Inspection
While it's important to explore any concerns arising throughout the process of purchasing a property, another red flag that stands out is when the seller refuses to allow the buyer to do an inspection. Unless you adore the house, this is typically a red indication that you should back out of the sale. Communicate with your real estate professional, ask them for tips on how to avoid real estate scams, and try to arrive at an acceptable solution for all sides, but stay away from bad deals. Pass on the house if you can't meet in the middle. Remember, you'll be purchasing all of its flaws in addition to its charm.
Doors That Refuse to Close
Sometimes when a door doesn't quite close properly, the frame might have moved. Because the main door no longer nicely fits the frame, any potential owner may be required to take a small slice off the top or bottom of the door to force it shut. This can happen due to poor construction, fundamental concerns, weather, and other factors. Before purchasing a new home, inspect each door. If you notice one with a piece of wood chopped off the side, it suggests the homeowner has dealt with this problem in the past.
Photo by Pexels
Random fresh coatings around the home should be cause for concern,
regardless of what they're attempting to conceal.
Not every freshly painted house has an issue. Renovating is among the most efficient and economical methods to prep a home for sale, so it's common for sellers to put a fresh coat of paint on the walls before advertising their home. On the other hand, fresh paint raises a red signal when only a few walls or sections of the property have been repainted. Why would the vendor repaint just one corner of the area or only part of the ceiling? They may be concealing an issue, such as a wall fault or bleach stains from leakage. Random new paints about the house should be the reason for alarm, whatever they're trying to disguise.
Purchasing a property is among the most important decisions you'll ever make, so be sure you get it correctly. Whether you are a first-time or seasoned home buyer, you should never skip a home inspection. There are several red flags to watch out for when buying a house that you may not be able to identify on your own. Having a licensed home inspection specialist fully evaluate the property will alert you to any difficulties with the property you are about to purchase. Taking care of any significant issues before the sale will save you hundreds of bucks in property insurance and eventual repair bills.
Realtor Rant By Jason Gelios
Episode 242 AskJasonGelios Real Estate Show
Episode 241 AskJasonGelios Show
Article by Terri Williams | Real Simple
Featured Expertise by Jason Gelios | Realtor
The trend takes "farmhouse chic" to the next level.
The lack of existing homes and/or affordable housing has led prospective buyers to consider nontraditional ways to purchase a home. For example, there's been an increase in parents and grandparents helping their offspring buy a home—either to provide a financial boost, or to enter into a multigenerational living arrangement. Other people are paying cash for a home, and entering bidding wars against other buyers. Perhaps the most unexpected trend: People are buying barns, or, in this context, "barndominiums."
"A barndominium is a type of architectural style in which a barn is converted to a livable space," explains Tyler Forte, CEO of Freshbuilds, a general contracting company specializing in interior renovations. He adds that barndominiums are typically constructed of corrugated metal sheets with spray foam insulation and a prominent feature of these homes is large, open spaces (think "open concept" to an extreme). In fact, he says, some are even large enough to store an RV.
Article by Nicole Spector | GoBankingRates Contributor
Featured Expertise by Jason Gelios | Realtor
Following a two-year whirlwind that saw homes flying off the market amid rock-bottom mortgage rates, the housing market is finally starting to cool down a bit, and inventory is growing. This is chiefly because mortgage rates have gone back up, and because inflation is crushing so many would-be buyers.
5 Places in Florida Where You Can Live Only on Social Security
Find Out: Should You Still Buy a Home in Today’s Market?
It all makes for a rather confusing situation that may have hopeful homeowners asking themselves, “So should I buy a house now or wait?”
The answer is to wait — but not for too long. Fall (especially late fall) is the best time to buy a house. Here’s why.
Article by Anna Cottrell | Homes & Gardens
Featured Expertise by Jason Gelios | Realtor
These enviable home storage features will help you sell your home for more – and faster
The storage features that add value to a home have changed quite a lot over the past couple of years, just like most other home buyer expectations. Our homes are now the centers of our lives in ways they haven't been for a long time, and the storage needs that home buyers now have reflect that.
We've asked real estate and house flipping professionals for their take on the best ways to add value with storage. The consensus is that everyone wants more – and better – storage, preferably in a separate room. Here are the top areas to focus on if you're selling.
By: Barbara Eisner Bayer
Be the home on the block that bugs run from. A lush spot for outdoor entertaining? Great. Perfect. A constant swarm of insects that invade your patio and home? No, thank you. Here’s how to keep bugs away from your patio and yard, and from getting inside your house.
#1 Install Patio Fans
Mosquitos may have a tough sting, but they’re wimps when it comes to standing up to a breeze. Patio fans can keep your outdoor entertaining space free from mosquitoes (and other little flyers) with the flip of a switch. And you’ll get the benefit of a cool breeze.
#2 Don’t Mulch Too Much (or Too Little)
While mulching is generally a good thing for curb appeal, overdoing it can cause problems. It could give cockroaches and ants the ideal environment to nest and find their way into your home, says Brittany Campbell, an entomologist and technical services manager at Control Services in Omaha. As mulch decomposes, it generates heat while providing cover for brooding pests. It can even help mice tunnel into your home. So keep mulch at least 12 inches away from the foundation — or use inorganic mulch, such as rock or gravel. But don’t go in the opposite direction and forgo mulching altogether, leaving the ground essentially bare. Yellow jackets make their nests by tunneling into bare dirt.
#3 Get Rid of Standing Water
You probably know this one already. But did you know your gutters and downspouts may harbor multiple mosquito maternity wards? Clean out gutters and downspouts regularly to prevent clogs that can trap water and give those nasty stingers a place to breed. Also make sure to keep kiddie pools, buckets, and watering cans empty when not in use. Even your beloved birdbath can be an issue. “Make sure you get one with running water, so you don’t inadvertently create a mosquito breeding ground,” says Kevin Espiritu, home landscaping expert and author.
#4 Keep Your Yard Trimmed, Mowed, and Tidy
Pull out that lawnmower regularly and keep your garden shears sharpened. “Ticks like to hide in tall grass and wait for a passing human or animal, while bushes or tree limbs touching the home can provide easy access for pests to get indoors,” says Campbell. Plus having a tidy yard makes for good curb appeal.
#5 Add Landscaping Plants That Bugs Hate
Bugs hate strong scents of mint or citrus. Mix plants with those scents into your landscaping, especially near the porch, patio, or deck for added beauty and functionality.
Here are some pest-repelling plants and the bugs that hate them:
Basil: Flies, mosquitoes Catnip: mosquitoes, ticks, Flies, cockroaches
Chrysanthemums: roaches, ants, ticks, fleas, bedbugs Lavender: moths, fleas, flies, mosquitoes
Citronella: mosquitoes Geranium, lemon scented: mosquitoes Lemon thyme: mosquitoes
Marigold: mosquitoes Rosemary: mosquitoes
#6 Paint Your Home Lighter Colors
Studies show that bugs see dark and bright colors more easily, which is why people are often advised to wear light-colored clothing to repel them. The same principle may work for your home. Choose lighter shades of paint color for your home’s siding, doors, trim, and other features such as fencing, patio, and decking to make them less attractive to mosquitoes. And if pesky birds are a problem, avoid paint that’s the same color as their favorite foods. Just be sure the paint job fits into the neighborhood and enhances your home’s beauty. Bugs are a pain, but hurting your home’s value is more painful.
#7 Build a Bat House
If you live in an area where bats are local, lucky you. Really. Harness their appetite for insects to control pests in your yard. You can invite them to be your permanent guests by building a bat house. According to Bat Conservation International, one small bat can consume up to 1,000 mosquitoes per hour!
Episode 240 AskJasonGelios Real Estate Show
When you're on the hunt for a new home, there are a lot of factors to consider beyond just the appearance. However, sellers (and their realtors) know that the home-buying process is also based on emotional decisions, and the way a house looks can have a big impact on whether or not prospective homebuyers can envision themselves in it. That's why smart sellers make sure their homes are staged to perfection.
Good staging highlights a home's best features—but it can also hide potential problems. This doesn't necessarily mean that sellers are being deceptive. They're just trying to be sure that you don't focus on any imperfections in the home. These imperfections can be pretty minor and may not be deal breakers, but it's good to know exactly what you're getting into before you sign on the dotted line. Here are some common home staging tricks that you should be aware of.
Jason Gelios is a Husband and Father. After that, a Top Producing REALTOR®, Author of the books 'Think like a REALTOR®' and 'Beating The Force Of Average', Creator of The AskJasonGelios Real Estate Show and Expert Media Contributor to media outlets across the country.