Thomas Beauchemin's Blog
Diamond Drive, Henniker, NH 03242
Although statistics may not be reflective of your individual real-estate buying habits, the "typical" homeowner tends to stay put in their home for around a decade -- give or take.
One of the few "drawbacks" of being a long-term homeowner is that, over time, you tend to forgot many of the details of the home-buying process.
However, an advantage of buying a home in the Internet Age is the availability of instant information on everything from interest rates and real estate agent reviews to house hunting tips and choosing a moving company.
Your Real Estate Journey
Buying a home can be an extremely satisfying experience... or it can be filled with frustration and disappointment. However, by having a basic understanding of how the house-buying process works, you'll be more effective at preparing yourself for what's to come, anticipating what you need to do, and creating a clear picture in your mind of your requirements and ideal living environment. As various thought leaders have said over the years: If you're not clear on what you want, you'll probably end up with something else!
The cornerstones of a successful real estate search are knowing your credit score, having enough money on hand for a sufficient down payment and closing costs, enlisting the help of an experienced real estate agent, and being proactive about meeting with mortgage bankers and shopping for a competitive interest rate (and terms).
Staying organized, creating priority lists, and continually educating yourself about the nuts and bolts of buying a home will help ensure that your real estate experience will be a positive one. Even though there may be a few bumps and detours along the way, taking the time to be organized and well informed will help you stay on track and produce the type of results you and your family are looking for.
Although it does pay to read articles from credible online sources, you don't have to achieve "expert status" as a house hunter and real estate buyer. If you choose your real estate agent with care, they should be able to provide you with the expertise, advice, and professional guidance you need to clear the hurdles and make it all the way to the finish line!
How does one choose a great real estate agent? The ideal way is to get a referral from a trusted family member, friend, coworker, or neighbor. If someone you trust can attest to the service level and results a particular real estate agent has produced, then chances are good that your experience would be comparable. If more than one person you know recommends a top-notch agent, then that creates a "multiplier effect." In other words, it increases the likelihood that you'll be satisfied with the service and results this agent provides. If you don't know anyone personally who has worked with a great agent, there are well-known websites that post reviews, years of experience, and relevant sales information on licensed real estate agents.
Property buyers today may think of a credit union as an alternative form of lending and ultimately meant for people who don't fit the stereotypical borrower. But this assumption may a little unfair once you learn the facts. Credit unions present several unique opportunities that you simply won't find anywhere else. We'll give you both the good and bad, so you can make a better decision.
A Non-Profit Oasis
As a non-profit institution, credit unions tend to have better rates than traditional banks. Plus, they're a little more personal than a regular bank in that they're investing in a single community as opposed to the whole country. So while you may not get the level of sophistication you would from a well-known bank, you will get the kind of personalized service that's hard to find today.
Before you finance a property, you first need to qualify for your credit union. This essentially means proving you're connected to the credit union somehow. Often, it's based on where you live, but you may be able to join based on anything from your employer to your church to your family members. Before you dismiss your eligibility, talk to a credit union officer to see if there's a connection.
Once you qualify for the institution, you'll need to become an official member. To do this, credit unions typically have its customers purchase shares in the organization. (These fees are generally affordable and they're the key to securing your membership.
The practical advantages of a credit union mortgage are the flexible terms and requirements as well as the reasonable fees and rates. Plus, the credit union staff tend to take into account the relationship you've built with them. So while a national bank will encourage you to apply for a mortgage through the company, the fees may not change significantly from those of a stranger — regardless of your track record with the bank.
Why Skip the Credit Union
There are a few reasons not to finance with a credit union. For one, a credit union isn't going to have as many products as a bank would, which could inevitably cause you to miss out on a worthwhile opportunity. It's also likely to be a more traditional style of banking, meaning you may not have options for online banking. And as with a regular bank, a credit union may change leadership, which can, in turn, change the terms of your mortgage for the worse.
Regardless of where you finance, it's probably worth discussing your options with a credit union. As you shop around, you'll get a better sense of which products and terms are right for you.
Moving from one state to another is stressful enough for adults and children. Often pets are doubly confused. Your home may be the only world they've known. They don't understand why you're leaving or if you're coming back. Boxes are piling up and moving people, family and friends are everywhere. This may increase your pet's anxiety and find them acting out or running away more than usual.
We've compiled five of the best expert tips for moving cross-country with your pet.
1. Prepare yourself for the move
We love this one from the New York Times. Often pets pick up on your own frazzled, sad or angry emotions. If you're frantically sorting boxes or searching for items, your pet will feel equally frustrated.
If this move is causing you stress, take time to slow down and do something you love. Remember, this is temporary. Whether it's an upgrade or a downsize, you're going to love your new home.
2. Put them in a quiet room
All the boxes, shifting furniture and people are disorienting. On top of that, the front door may be propped open for extended periods. Put your pet in a room as far from the commotion as possible. If they're prone to gnawing or scratching, put them in a crate and play some white noise, pleasant music or a TV program they'll associate with you to ease the stress.
3. Acclimate your pet to their carrier
If your pet is afraid of the carrier they'll travel in, leave it out in the room for a few weeks before your move. They can walk in and out of it on their own and know that it's not a trap. Put some treats and a blanket they love in there. Help them make positive associations with that safe traveling crate.
4. Assess the new surroundings
If you're moving cross country, you may encounter unfamiliar hazards like:
- Poisonous plants
- Feral animals
- Busy streets close to your home
- Rat traps or bug-control pellets
You know your pet best and what may be a risk to them. Inspecting for hazards will help you prepare for their safe arrival.
5. Let them adjust slowly
Don't give your pets a whole new world to explore all at once. Instead, start them in one room like a laundry room or bathroom with food, water, bed and litter box (if applicable). Spend a few hours with them there. Then introduce them to the rest of their new home.
For more tips on moving, buying and selling your home, follow our blog.
Cooking or baking, refrigerating food and running the dishwasher all contribute to the amount of energy your home uses overall. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, refrigerators use the highest amount of energy in household kitchens. While large appliances require more energy, lighting and other sources of energy, such as water heating, also factor into your total usage. You can save energy in your kitchen with the following energy efficiency tips.
Switch to Energy-Efficient Appliances
Since refrigerators, dishwashers and stoves use up the most energy in your kitchen, consider replacing older ones with more energy-efficient models. Appliances with the Energy Star label can save you a significant amount on your energy usage. For example, refrigerators with this label use roughly 15 percent less energy than newer ones without this label, according to the Department of Energy. They also use up to 40 percent less energy than older refrigerators. The energy savings you'll get from these appliances helps make up for the cost of purchasing them and having them installed.
Use Appliances More Efficiently
The way you use your appliances can have a big impact on how much energy they need.
- Refrigerator: Covering foods inside your fridge, keeping the temperature between 35 and 38 degrees and making sure the door is tightly sealed helps reduce energy usage.
- Dishwasher: The biggest source of energy use from dishwashers is heating water. You can save energy with your dishwasher by only running it when you have a full load of dishes and letting them air dry when they're done being rinsed.
- Stove: To reduce your stove's energy usage, use the right size pot or pan. For example, using a small pan on a large burner leads to a higher amount of wasted energy. Instead of using your oven for a small dish or amount of food, consider other more efficient alternatives, such as your microwave or slow cooker.
Replace Kitchen Lightbulbs
If you use traditional incandescent lightbulbs for overhead lights, task lights and other lights in your kitchen, think about replacing them with more efficient ones. CFL or LED lightbulbs use less energy and have a longer lifespan, so you don't need to replace them as often. Making the switch to these lights can save you in terms of energy usage and utility bills.
Limit Exhaust Fan Use
The exhaust fan in your kitchen can help remove odors and pollutants, improving your indoor air quality. However, you don’t need to leave it running for long periods of time to get these benefits. Turning your exhaust fan on while cooking and shutting it off afterwards helps reduce the amount of energy it uses.
If your upcoming plans include buying a home or selling one, contact us.