What to Consider Before Buying a Pet

petIf you are a homeowner or are thinking of becoming one soon, there are several factors to consider before buying a pet. Pets are part of the family and are very important to their owners, but they can definitely leave their mark on a home. When it comes time to sell, the prospective or future buyers may not relish the thought of purchasing a property that shows signs of pet ownership. Dean Graziosi understands the importance of pet ownership and has provided some tips below that may help when making the decision to add a furry friend to your family.

Even the smallest of pets can do some real damage. A dog, for example, who is a chewer can destroy various parts of the home. Some dogs chew carpet and flooring and may even destroy trim over time.

Pets also scratch. If you plan to have hardwood flooring in your home, you’ll want to be mindful of this. Floors and walls that are scratched will not appeal to home buyers when your home is placed on the market.

Pets often leave behind odor. Try as you might, it can be very difficult to get rid of that distinctive smell that plagues the homes of many pet owners. This is especially true if you have owned a pet or pets for many years. Some odors will permeate carpet and other areas of the home and can be very difficult to get rid of when selling.

The good news is there are ways to get rid of the odors and marks left behind by pets. As an article posted on MSN Real Estate denotes, there are steps you can take to de-pet your home.

Clean your home frequently. This is a great way to get rid of odors. Also taking care to bathe and brush your dogs on a regular basis will help them take on a friendlier smell. If you have a pet who does not have good potty habits, you may need to find a way to address this problem. The last thing you want is evidence of business frequently being left behind in one or more rooms of your home.

Attend to scratches and other damage caused by pets. Fix up flooring and walls as well as other parts of the home. This is very important because you may wind up being required to make such repairs before selling. Tackling it ahead of time will only help the process go more quickly and smoothly.

If your pet or pets will reside inside the home, know they will leave their mark behind. Even the smallest of creatures can make a very big impact on a home. If you truly want to make the home theirs as well, you’ll need to let them roam and be a part of everyday family life. This will, of course mean you will be responsible for cleaning up after them. Stay on it and you will have less to do when it comes time to sell. You can learn more about this and other real estate topics by visiting Dean Graziosi’s blog.

Preparing Your Deck for Summer

deckAs we enter summer, it’s time to start making sure that your deck is in great shape and ready for all of the grilling and gathering that will take place.  No matter what type of material your deck is constructed from, you should perform regular maintenance to ensure that it continues to perform well and last for years, states Dean Graziosi.  Regular maintenance will also help prevent small problems from turning into larger ones which are more expensive to repair.  So, before you fire up the grill for the first time, you should perform some relatively simple steps to prepare your deck for summer.

The first thing that you should do is conduct a complete inspection of your deck.  During this inspection, you should look for any damaged or loose board and railings.  If you notice any areas that may have become loose, you should tighten the nuts and bolts.  If you see any boards that may have become splintered over the winter, now is the time to sand them and reseal them.  You should also take a close look at the base and foundation of the deck looking for any cracks or other noticeable problems.  It is recommended that you perform any repairs before you clean the deck.

Once you have taken care of any repairs that were needed, it is now time to thoroughly clean your deck.  To begin the process you should sweep away any debris that may be lying on the deck and in between the gaps of the boards.  You may think that using a power washer is the way to go, but if you do not understand and know how to operate one, you may actually end up causing more damage.  It is recommended that you use a stiff-bristled brush and garden sprayer.  If your deck is constructed from vinyl materials, you can simply use soap and water to clean it.  However, if your deck is made from wood, you may want to purchase a cleanser that is specifically designed for cleaning wood decks.

The final step in the preparation process is to seal your deck.  This is only necessary if your deck is made from wood.  If you have a vinyl deck, your work is done.  To provide your wood deck with an extra level of protection, you should seal it each year.  It is important that you begin the sealing process when you are sure that you are going to have a few days of nice weather and no rain.  You should thoroughly clean your deck and lightly sand it prior to applying the sealant.  Dean Graziosi states that once you have properly sealed your deck, you are ready to begin enjoying the warm summer weather.

Finding A HARP Lender

HARPThe government chose to create the HARP program to help homeowners survive the housing crisis, states Dean Graziosi.  The primary purpose of the Home Affordable Refinance Program is to help homeowners who have discovered that they currently owe more on their home than it is currently valued at.  When you refinance through HARP you are able to refinance at a rate that will reflect the current value of your home.

Once you have researched the program and discovered that it may be beneficial to you and your situation, your next step should be contacting a HARP lender.  To find a HARP lender you may want to ask your current lender if they are one and if not, if they know of any creditable lenders who you can contact.  This is an important step, because not all lenders offer the HARP refinancing program, to avoid wasting valuable time during this process you should ensure that the lender you are contacting is a HARP lender.  If your lender is not a HARP lender, you can use some online tools that will help you locate a lender.

If your existing lender is not participating in the HARP program you shouldn’t worry.  You are not required to stay with your existing lender when you refinance through HARP.  This is extremely beneficial, according to Mr. Graziosi, because it allows you to shop around different lenders and find the best rate that is available to you.  But you always have the option to contact a lender that you would prefer to work with and ask if they are offering the program.  Not every lender advertises that they are offering this particular refinancing option, so it never hurts to ask.

If you’ve looked and have not been able to locate a lender that you are familiar with and would feel comfortable working with, Mr. Graziosi recommends that you go over the list of lenders offering the HARP program.  If, after second glance, you find a lender that you believe is a good fit for your current financial situation, your next step should be contacting that lender.  When you contact a lender, you should ask to speak to a HARP specialist who can help you through the purpose.

You should also be aware that some lenders refer to the HARP program by other names.  When you contact a lender, it is important that you state that you are interested in refinancing your home through the Federal Housing Finance Agency.  This will help you avoid any misunderstanding s and ensure that you are refinancing through the proper program.  Any time you choose to refinance your home it can be a stressful endeavor; however, once you contact a lender who is familiar with everything involved in a HARP refinance, you will be well on your way to keeping your home and lowering your payments.

The Most Common HARP Refinancing Questions

mortgageHARP, also known as the Home Affordable Refinance Program was created by the government to help many homeowners lower their monthly mortgage payments and stay in their homes.  If you are a homeowner who is currently underwater on their mortgage, HARP may be able to help you too, even if you currently owe more on your existing loan than your home is currently worth.  Since it was first created in 2009, the program experienced many changes which have allowed it to help more homeowners refinance their existing mortgage.

While HARP has proven to be beneficial for homeowners, many still have questions about the program itself and what it is designed to do.  To help you understand the program and what it consists of, Mr. Graziosi has put together a list of the most commonly asked questions regarding HARP.

  • Can I Refinance Through HARP If I Have An Adjustable-Rate Mortgage – The answer to this question is yes.  In fact, refinancing through HARP can help you obtain a more stable fixed-rate mortgage.  If you’re a homeowner who is approaching a payment reset, refinancing through HARP now will lock you into a low fixed-rate before they go any higher.
  • Have Recent Changes To HARP Made It Easier To Be Eligible Now – Recently the program experienced significant changes, but the major improvement to the program was that the limit on the amount that they could be underwater was removed.  Because of this recent change, more homeowners may be eligible to seek refinancing through the program than before.
  • Is HARP My Only Option – HARP is currently one of many different refinancing options available for homeowners.  What makes HARP unique is that it is the only program available that allows borrowers who have little to no equity in their home to take advantage of the lower interest rates we are currently seeing.
  • During A HARP Refinance Can I Remove Or Add Someone On The Loan – This is a common question among those who are interested in refinancing through HARP.  The answer is yes, during the refinancing process changes can be made and borrowers can either add or remove someone as long as one of the original borrowers remains on the loan.
  • How Do I Determine Whether Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae Owns My Loan – This is a relatively easy step for homeowners interested in refinancing their mortgage.  The first thing you should do is visit the following websites to determine if your loan is owned by one of the lenders mentioned above.  http://freddiemac.com/mymortgage  http://knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup
  • Will I Have To Make A Down Payment If I’m Currently Underwater – The answer to this question is no.  There is no down payment required when you refinance through HARP, many lenders will often allow you to include your closing costs in the new loan to avoid any out-of-pocket expenses.