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Home Modifications for the Aging-in-Place

November 23rd, 2021 by tisner

When your elderly father has decided that he would like to live in his home as long as possible, or it is time to make the mother-in-law’s home a little safer, a few changes in the house need to take place.  While every family is unique, most needs of our aging parents are the same.  How can we make small improvements with a big impact on their safety and comfort? The following tips are a great place to begin: 

  • For the wheelchair-bound person or one who needs to use a walker, add an accessibility ramp to their most-used entry.  Contractors who specialize in ADA-compliant improvements can assist with design and added features.  
  • Outdoor lighting is essential for everyone’s safety, but there are many options for adding low-voltage lights to posts along ramps and atop porch rails, as well as pathway lighting along walkways. 
  • Wherever there are steps, handrails are a must, as well as anti-skid treads to minimize slipping. 
  • Change all doorknobs to lever-type handles for ease of opening for those with arthritis or other motor skill issues. 
  • Widening doorways is something that may be necessary if wheelchair use is a possibility in the future. Enlarging them to 36” is the general width for ease of use. 
  • The type of flooring in the home can impact whether it’s a fall risk for someone who has trouble getting around.  Low-pile carpeting or secure low-pile area rugs with double-sided carpet tape or non-slip rug padding is best. 
  • A walk-in or wheelchair-accessible shower with a “curbless” entry is a safe choice when remodeling a bathroom. A built-in shower seat and adjustable showerhead are other useful items that can be added to make bathing safer. 
  • If a total bathroom remodel is not affordable, simply installing grab-bars to the shower, bath, and toilet area walls will offer security for moving around in the bathroom. 
  • Changing faucets in the kitchen and bath to a single lever handle or installing motion-sensor or touch-activated units are perfect for ease of use. 
  • Electrical issues to consider:  light switches that can be pressed for turning off and on, electrical outlets placed higher than the standard height and adding more interior lighting. 

Download this handy publication from AARP for other ideas to assist with setting up your loved one with independent living.  Hopefully you and your much-loved senior will look at this stage of life not as a challenge, but rather as a way to keep a distant but watchful eye over them while they maintain their sense of independence and quality of life. 

Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

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Photo credit: ASA Generations 

Budgeting for Major Construction Projects

November 9th, 2021 by tisner


Maybe you’re adding an expansion onto your home, constructing a standalone storage building in the back yard, or undertaking some other major construction project. Whatever it is that you’re building, you likely already know that big construction jobs can carry big costs. If you haven’t budgeted for the job correctly, though, you might end up surprised at how big some of these costs can be.

Sticker shock for construction projects can be a problem, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little bit of thought and planning you can make sure that you’ve got all your expenses covered in your budget before the job begins. While some of the costs involved will be very specific to the details of your construction project and where you live, these budgeting tips will help you to keep an eye out for things that can drive the price tag up, so you can account for everything.

Major Expenses

Some of the costs of major construction projects are obvious: You’re going to need money to cover things like lumber, siding, wiring, and other materials. You’re also going to have to pay your contractors and laborers for the work that they put into actually doing the construction. If you aren’t paying attention, however, these costs can get away from you and leave you with a bit of a surprise when the bills come due.

Many material costs fluctuate based on supply and other factors and may be affected by things like transportation costs as well. Lumber prices in particular are prone to fluctuation and can increase significantly if supplies are disrupted. If possible, get in a purchase order or otherwise get some sort of pricing guarantee before work starts so that you can lock in a price and protect yourself from price shifts down the road.

Easily Overlooked Costs

While changes to your material costs can be an issue, one problem many people have when budgeting for construction is that they forget to account for all of the smaller costs associated with this sort of project. Some of these costs (like getting a construction permit) may seem obvious, but they can be easy to overlook when looking at the significant costs of materials and other aspects of the job. These costs can also be significantly higher for large projects than they are for the sorts of projects you’ve tackled in the past, so keep that in mind.

A few aspects of the job that you might not consider which can significantly increase your expenses include things like putting down a slab or foundation, installing a roof on a finished building or expansion, renting a dumpster for the construction crew, and interior materials such as fixtures and appliances once the project is done. Even landscaping costs and a bit of extra funding to cover incidentals or unexpected situations should be considered. The last thing you want to do is to budget things precisely and then realize that a portion of your yard has to be dug up to replace some pipes or some of your existing wiring will have to be ripped out to get everything up to code.

Managing Your Project

There are a lot of moving pieces in any major construction project, and hiring a project manager can go a long way toward managing all of them. In some cases your general contractor may act as a project manager as well, but many times they’re there to do the job they’re hired for and the rest of the details are squarely on your shoulders. Consider bringing in a project manager or ensuring that you’ve picked a contractor who will manage the project as well will help with budgeting and cost tracking, while also making sure that you don’t forget some important part of the project that might otherwise come back to haunt you.

HomeKeepr can help you find the project manager or contractor who will keep everything in order. Just sign up for a free account today and start connecting with pros in your area. Once you find the right connection to help keep your project in line, you’ll find that everything else gets a lot easier moving forward.

Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

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By: Homekeepr, Rob Morelli

Weekly Market Snapshot 10/28 – 11/3

November 4th, 2021 by tisner


Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website
.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

Get Orlando Daily News delivered to your inbox! Subscribe here!

Stats courtesy of StellarMLS

FAQ for First-Time Home Buyers

November 2nd, 2021 by tisner


When you read and hear that now is the time to buy a home, but are simply unsure of the process, it may keep you sitting right there in your rental! Let these Frequently Asked Questions help get you moving–to a home of your own!
 

  • Does my credit need to be perfect?  Not necessarily, but the higher your credit score, the better the loan’s interest rate will be. Lower credit scores could cost thousands over time in higher interest rates. FICO has some tips for improving your credit score. 
  • I am not sure how much house I can afford.  Lenders will look at your debt-to-income ratio when deciding to grant a home loan.  Get an idea for yourself by using this handy DTI calculator. 
  • How much money do I need for a down payment?  That depends! Most lenders require 5-20% for a down payment. USDA and FHA offer no- or low-down-payment home loans. Veterans and servicemembers have the benefit of applying for a no-down-payment VA Home Loan through the Veterans Administration as well. 
  • What is Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) and will I have to pay? For most lenders, PMI is a requirement for homebuyers that do not pay a 20% down payment. The cost is normally included in the mortgage payment. 
  • I am pre-approved for a mortgage. Can I make an offer on a house that I love?  Sellers will likely reject an offer that has no lender back-up. Return to the bank and go through the pre-qualification process so you will know just how much you will have to offer on a property. 
  • Are there any tax advantages to owning a home?  While there are many costs associated with homeownership that renters do not have, there are tax credits for some of the taxes you pay, as well as for those who use points to get a lower interest rate. And with rent prices rising, your monthly mortgage payment could be lower than rent! 
  • How long does the whole process take?  A smooth home-buying transaction takes approximately 30-45 days. The time varies as there are so many aspects to the process, and once in a while, there are hurdles to get through.   
  • Who pays closing costs–the seller or the buyer?  In most cases, the buyer pays the closing costs, an expense that can run 3-6% of the cost of the home.  In some instances, however, the seller will offer to help with these costs as an incentive to buy the home. 

If all of your questions are not answered here, call a Realtor® before you begin your home search or mortgage approval. Their experience in helping you find a lender–not to mention your new home–is invaluable. The best thing about getting assistance from a real estate professional is that their services, in almost all cases, are free to the buyer! Now, what are you waiting for? 

Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

Get Orlando Daily News delivered to your inbox! Subscribe here!

Photo credit: www.dca.ga.gov

Weekly Market Snapshot 10/21 – 10/27

October 28th, 2021 by tisner


Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website
.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

Get Orlando Daily News delivered to your inbox! Subscribe here!

Stats courtesy of StellarMLS

Packing for a Move – Make it Green!

October 26th, 2021 by tisner

It is time to start packing for the move, and the thought of using rolls and rolls of plastic bubble wrap, foam packing materials, or new cardboard boxes that your moving company provides can fill the eco-conscious with dread. Sure, cardboard and paper are recyclable, but what can you do to even save that much? These tips will help reduce the volume of recyclables and throwaways you will need! 

  • Use what you have first. If you are already anticipating the move, hold on to any packaging your deliveries have come in. Stack them out of sight if your house is still on the market, or go ahead and pack non-necessities in them and hide them under the bed or storage area. 
  • Other items you have on hand to use: suitcases, duffel bags, trash cans, and reusable grocery bags can all be utilized to cut back on cardboard boxes. 
  • Produce boxes make great moving containers! They are very sturdy and some come with lids so you will not have to use so much tape to close them. Ask for them at local grocery stores and produce stands. 
  • Towels, sheets, and pillows can be used in place of packing material, and towels and sheets can be used for wrapping fragile items as well. Using them is a double win because you will have one less thing to pack! 
  • If it is within the budget, consider using an eco-friendly moving company. 
  •  Already contracted with a mover? Ask them about any green options they have in place for your move. 
  • It only takes a quick search online to find a company that rents clean and ready-to-pack storage containers. Many of them will deliver them to your door, then pick them up at the new house when the containers are empty! 
  • Another option is ordering a moving kit or just the boxes from UsedCardboardBoxes. The company “rescues” misprinted or in-almost-perfect-condition used cardboard boxes that are headed for a landfill, and ships them directly to you. 

Once your move and unpacking are complete, recycle what you can, or offer the items to someone local who is getting ready to move or needs storage boxes. Your efforts will help cut back on what you throw away and even save a few trees!

Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

Get Orlando Daily News delivered to your inbox! Subscribe here!

Photo credit: moving.com

Is Renting-to-Own Right For You?

October 19th, 2021 by tisner

When someone decides to purchase a home, one of the first things they must comb through is their credit report and credit score. If their credit is less than stellar, and they cannot qualify for a conventional home mortgage, renting-to-own or a lease with the option to purchase sounds like a great way to begin their home buying process. There are positives and negatives to this type of transaction; let this guide help make whether the decision is worth it. 

  • Rent-to-own agreements can also be called lease-to-own, lease-with-option-to-purchase, or simply a lease option. Lease-purchase agreements require the tenant to buy the property, and this can cause major financial issues if the tenant cannot follow through on the purchase, no matter the reason.  
  • Decide on a final purchase price at the end of the option period, or agree upon an appraisal contingency. Depending on the fluctuation of the housing market, however, this could benefit the buyer if market value goes down, but could benefit the seller if values increase.  
  • It may be a good idea to have a home inspection performed before getting into this situation. In the case that the inspection raises concerns, repair costs can be worked out between the tenant and the owner. 
  • A portion of the above-market rent will go towards the purchase of the house, most commonly in the form of a down payment.   
  • Some tenants agree to pay HOA fees (if applicable), property taxes, insurance and take care of the cost of necessary repairs. 
  • In most situations, the tenant can purchase the property at any time during the option period, but once that time is up, the option expires and the owner can sell the property to someone else. 
  • One very important thing to remember is that there is still a lease involved. If you fall behind on the payments, the landlord can have you evicted. Besides eviction, the option fee and extra rent paid will be lost. 
  • Sometimes a seller offers to finance the purchase altogether, and that situation will require a completely different set of agreements. Again, owner-financed sale contracts should be handled with a real estate attorney. 

While it may be a relief for someone who cannot get financing for a traditional home loan, a lease-with-option agreement is not something to enter into lightly. If you feel you will not be able to purchase the home at the end of the option, go into a standard lease agreement, and put away as much money as you possibly can towards a traditional down payment while working on improving your credit score. 

Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

Get Orlando Daily News delivered to your inbox! Subscribe here!

Photo credit: NPR

Weekly Market Snapshot 10/7 – 10/13

October 14th, 2021 by tisner


Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website
.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

Get Orlando Daily News delivered to your inbox! Subscribe here!

Stats courtesy of StellarMLS

Homebuyers and Bidding Wars

October 5th, 2021 by tisner

When you see a home and know beyond a doubt that it is your meant-to-be and put in an offer, you find out that someone else feels the same way and has made an offer at the same time. Sometimes it is more than one buyer, and either way, a bidding war can begin. Let these tips guide you through the process: 

  • When you start your house hunt, be certain you are pre-approved for a mortgage. This will show any seller that you can buy their property. A pre-qualification is not enough. 
  • Before you even put in your offer, make sure there is some wiggle room in the amount. Offering the maximum that you are approved for can take you out of the contest during the first round. 
  • If you can offer cash for the purchase or a better-than-average earnest money deposit, sellers are more likely to add you to their “possibilities” list. Cash talks, no matter the amount of your purchase offer. 
  • Some potential buyers ask an agent to add an escalation clause to the contract.  The downside to this is leaving your negotiations on a purchase price laid bare for the seller to see. It may be best to make sure your Realtor® is ready with counteroffers in case your original is rejected. 
  • Being competitive means laying aside some contingencies.  For instance, a well-maintained home may have fewer issues in the inspection, so waiving the home inspection contingency could be enticing to the seller. This can be risky, however, if the house has not been updated in a long time, so make this decision wisely. 
  • If you absolutely love the home, talk to your agent about allowing your offer to be a back-up.  Keep an eye on the sale just in case it does not go through. Remember that most sales do go through, but there is always hope! 
  • Finally, it may simply be best to take the loss and walk away. In a sellers’ market, it may be best to let go of some of the items on your “want” list, as well as look at houses that are under budget. 

Your Realtor® should be knowledgeable on how to handle a property with multiple offers, and when they are, you can be sure that they are fighting as hard as you are for the house you love.  Your confidence in your agent will give you peace in the bidding war, whether you win or move on.  

Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

Get Orlando Daily News delivered to your inbox! Subscribe here!

Photo credit: condos.ca

Things NOT To Do During the Mortgage Process

October 1st, 2021 by tisner

1. DO NOT change jobs, quit your job, change pay structure, work less, or become self-employed.

2. DO NOT buy a new car (or you may be living in it!)

3. DO NOT let ANYONE pull your credit. Which means do not take on any new credit at ALL!

4. DO NOT charge up your credit cards until AFTER the closing.

5. DO NOT spend any money you have saved for the closing.

6. DO NOT deposit any cash OR make large deposits into your bank accounts.

7. DO NOT pay any bills late during the mortgage process.

8. DO NOT buy furniture or begin moving.

9. DO NOT change banks.

10. DO NOT deposit ANY cash into your accounts! (This really needs to be mentioned twice)

As long as you follow these simple steps, your transaction should be a smooth one. However, if you feel that it is necessary to do any of these items mentioned above, please call your lender to discuss how it will affect your mortgage loan approval.

Access Teri’s one-stop Orlando FL home search website.

Teri Isner is the team leader of Orlando Avenue Top Team and has been a Realtor for over 24 years. Teri has distinguished herself as a leader in the Orlando FL real estate market. Teri assists buyers looking for Orlando FL real estate for sale and aggressively markets Orlando FL homes for sale.

You deserve professional real estate service! You obtain the best results with Teri Isner plus you benefit from her marketing skills, experience and ability to network with other REALTORS®. Your job gets done pleasantly and efficiently.  You are able to make important decisions easily with fast, accurate information from Teri. The Orlando Avenue Top Team handles the details and follow-up that are important to the success of your transaction.

Get Orlando Daily News delivered to your inbox! Subscribe here!

Photo credit: relentless moves

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