FIVE TIPS FOR A GREAT BACKYARD

FIVE TIPS FOR A GREAT BACKYARD

backyard

Summer is here, so entertaining has made the move from the living room to the backyard. It’s the season for barbecues and campouts. Here are five ways to make sure your back yard is everyone’s favorite.

  1. Make sure there’s a place to cook! The way to your guests’ hearts is through their stomachs. You could have something as simple as a charcoal grill or as elaborate as a fully-featured kitchen, but it‘s essential that you can prepare some food outdoors.
  2. Lighting matters. At the very least you need enough lighting to keep the party going when the sun goes down. But for a back yard that really pops, add some decorative lighting to walkways, landscaping, or anything else worth highlighting.
  3. Gather around the fire. This one’s a no brainer. Everyone loves a good place to make hot dogs and s’mores—just make sure you’re not violating any neighborhood ordinances.
  4. Bring the beach to your backyard. A little water will make everything look better. It could be something as simple as fountain or as elaborate as a waterfall or fish pond.

5. Don’t forget the foliage. Trees, shrubs and flowers are all important for adding the finishing touches to your outdoor entertainment space. The trees and shrubs can provide some much-needed shade when the sun is out, and flowers add just the right amount of color.

New Construction

new construction

Thinking of Building?  Know Your Options!

Unlike buying a new car, new homes don’t loose their value as soon as you buy them.  In fact, they can be a better investment than a used home if you choose the right builder and have your home built in the right location.  New homes have come along way over the years and if you want the latest and greatest in your next home, new construction is the only way to go.  Finding the right location, however, can be a bit hard if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Energy Efficient New Homes Biloxi Gulfport Ocean SpringsNew Construction Homes have all of the latest energy efficient and smart home functionality.  Getting a new home warranty is another benefit when buying a new construction home. While you can buy a home warranty with a used home, it normally only covers the appliances and minor coverage on the systems of the home like electric, plumbing and HVAC.  The State of Mississippi mandates that all new home builders must warrant their home’s build quality and systems for 1 year and structural for 6 years. Check out the Mississippi Home Warranty Act for more information.

New construction home building process elliott homes garlon homes mason trendsetters dr horton adams homes westin homes dsld homesThere are many pitfalls in building a new home, so we decided to go over a few of them here.  All agents at NextHome E-Realty have worked for multiple builders and have vast knowledge in new home building along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. While many builders try to take care of their customers, many do the minimum to get to the end.  There are really two types of builders you will be dealing with in single family residential homes.  The first is a Production Home Builder which builds you a home with hardly any changes that you can make.  The second type is a Custom Home Builder which is just the opposite.  They do mainly what their name suggests… build you a custom home that fits you exactly down to the door knobs and plumbing fixtures.  Let’s take a closer look at both types.

“Production” Home Builders

Adams Homes home for sale DR Horton homes for sale biloxi homes for sale gulfport homes for sale ocean springs homes for saleEssentially, production home builders build the same homes over and over and they’ve gotten very good at it.  The more efficient they get at it, the more they can bring down their cost of the home and pass that saving along to you.  Production builders also build on their own lots in their own subdivisions that they sometimes have developed.  The main three production builders on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are Adams Homes, DR Horton and DSLD Homes.  All offer to pay closing costs as long as you use one of their preferred lenders.  While value seems to be the biggest focus for production builders, they don’t give you the ability to make changes to their plans.  This means that you will most likely have to compromise on your home’s design.

“Custom” Home Builders

Elliott Homes for sale Biloxi Gulfport Ocean Springs homes for sale Garlon homes, Westin Homes, Mason Trendsetters, Homes for saleIf production home builders offer the best value, custom home builders offer you the best design… at a price.  So if you need some specifics in your next home, custom home builders offer you the best peace of mind because ultimately, you’ll be the one having to live in the home.  There’s nothing more annoying than to be reminded daily you should have chosen to build your home differently after you move in.  Having a home builder that asks the right questions eliminates this way up front.  You need to discuss how you live in the home, not just how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need.  The most well known custom home builders along the Mississippi Gulf Coast are Elliott Homes, Fritz Homes, Shepard Homes and Sapphire Homes.

 

Search New Construction Homes For Sale
List of all new construction homes for sale in biloxi, gulfport, ocean springsMap of all new construction homes for sale in biloxi, gulfport, ocean springs

     Biloxi – New Construction Homes for Sale

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Have a New Construction Home Builder in Mind?

 

Remember to contact me first before contacting any new home builder.  They have their own sales staff representing the builder’s interest and I will be representing your interest.  The great part about having me on your side is that it costs you absolutely nothing.  I get paid by the builder, but as the state mandates… I represent you!  If you have already visited the home builder’s model home, it’s okay!  I can still represent you as long as you have not signed their construction agreement yet.  So, contact me now to get started!

MAKE YOUR BATHROOM EASIER TO CLEAN

MAKE YOUR BATHROOM EASIER TO CLEAN

Bathrooms can be the most difficult places in our homes to keep clean. However, with a few clever changes and upgrades, it can be much easier to clean and maintain your bathroom.

No-Touch Faucets: They’re not just for public restrooms, you know. A sensor on your bathroom faucet will eliminate one of the main touchable surfaces.

touchfree

Install or upgrade the exhaust fan: The fan isn’t just for reducing odors or keeping the mirrors from fogging. The better your ventilation system in the bathroom, the easier it will be to prevent mildew and mold. It’ll also prevent paint from bubbling and peeling.

Easy-Clean Toilets: Whoever designed older toilets certainly didn’t design them with cleaning in mind! Newer toilets are often designed with smoother services that make cleaning a much simpler task—no more standing on your head to reach every toilet surface.

easyclean toilet

Remove grout: Germs and grime love to build up in the spaces between tile. Instead of tile, you can cover larger surfaces with glass or stone veneer, or simply use larger tiles. That’ll reduce the overall amount of grout in your bathroom.

groutless

Top 5 Foreclosure Tips

My Top 5 Foreclosure Tips

5 top tips for buying foreclosures, foreclosure power search, foreclosure search, foreclosure, foreclosures, biloxi foreclosures, gulfport foreclosures, long beach foreclosures, ocean springs foreclosures, gautier foreclosures, st martin foreclosures, woolmarket foreclosures, north biloxi foreclosures, diberville foreclosures, pass christian foreclosures, bay st louis foreclosures, waveland foreclosures, diamondhead foreclosures, harrison county foreclosures, hancock county foreclosures, jackson county foreclosures, foreclosures for sale, foreclosure homesWe’ll give you 5 Top Tips in buying it right!  Foreclosures can be a tricky purchase due to several issues that can arise in the home buying process.  With the last few years giving us more foreclosures on the market than usual, everyone is looking for a great deal.  You can get a deal and sometimes a steal, if you play your cards right.

The big lure of foreclosures is the price… but it comes at a cost.  All bank owned properties are sold “AS IS” with no seller’s disclosure of the property and most of the time sold granting the buyer a Special Warranty Deed, not a General Warranty Deed.

 

1.) Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

foreclosure home mortgage approvalGetting pre-approved for a mortgage is a huge advantage over other foreclosure buyers you may be competing against.  Having a pre-approval letter to submit with your offer significantly increases your odds with the bank’s opinion of you.  It says you can actually go through with what you are claiming in your offer.  Banks mostly require a pre-approval letter to be submitted and if you already have this done, you can make the offer on the spot… not having to wait to get pre-approved.

2.) Get a Home Inspection

get a home inspection when buying a foreclosure in biloxi, gulfport, ocean springs, gautier, pascagoula, long beach, pass christianWhen buying a foreclosure, getting a home inspection is a must and can be worth its weight in gold!  A good home inspector can give you insight into a home that even the seller wouldn’t be aware of most times.  Over time, a home can fall into disrepair in areas that can’t be seen.  Home inspectors have a huge checklist to go through from checking the attic vents for leaks to checking the plumbing connections under the kitchen sink.  They can give you a very detailed report with pictures of concerned issues which is very helpful in making an offer. Another big reason you want a home inspector is to check for Chinese drywall.  This is still a big issue today since a lot of homes had drywall repairs after Hurricane Katrina.  Chinese drywall can be very harmful to people and pets… and the house suffers as well.

3.) Check With the Home Owner’s Association (HOA)

home owners association, hoa, hoa dues, foreclosures in biloxi gulfport ocean springs mississippiMore times than most, buyers do not check with the Home Owner’s Association before putting in an offer.  Not only do you want to see if the past property owners paid their HOA dues which may be due, you want to ask people in the HOA about the neighborhood and the property if they know of any past issues. When dealing with a bank foreclosure, the bank doesn’t have any knowledge of the property’s history and they are exempt from filling out a “Property Condition Disclosure Statement”.  Another thing you want to get from the HOA (if there is one), is to get a copy of the restrictive covenants. This way, you won’t be surprised after you move in that you can’t erect a fence or have pets.

4.) Read the Fine Print

Read the fine print when buying a foreclosure home in biloxi gulfport ocean springs long beach pass christian pascagoula mississippiBefore putting in an offer on a bank owned foreclosure, you will have to sign off on the bank’s disclosure package.  Sometimes it can be 50-60 pages of fine print… some pertaining to you on this specific property, some not.  The reason there are so many pages is because of so many different types of properties and issues the banks have had when foreclosing on properties across the United States.  Here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, we don’t have to worry much about snow or basements, but some of the disclosures you may have to sign could pertain to these.  When I say “have to sign”, I mean it.  All banks will not accept an offer on any of their foreclosures without having the paperwork on their side.  This is what you are giving up for price… some liability.  I say “some liability” because if you do what we are saying here, your liability will be reduced.

5.) Find Out Why It Was Foreclosed

Find out why a home was foreclosed on or not selling before you buy a foreclosure in biloxi, gulfport, ocean springs, pascagoula, gautier, pass christian, long beach, diamondhead, mississippi gulf coastIf the house was foreclosed… why?  Was it the layout?  Was it not priced correctly?  Was it listed previously?  If it was listed, compare the old and current listings to see if you can see any discrepancies. We have an article on this site under the “Selling” tab at the top of this page named “Looking to Sell?  Here’s the Top 5 Reasons Why It May Not”.  Read this article to see why this house didn’t sell.  It could have been the location, functionality or condition.  Whatever it was… you want to try to figure it out before you make an offer, not after you move in.  If you need to sell the home later, you want to be able to without surprises. The more you do now, the better off you will be!

INSTANT HOME MAKEOVER

INSTANT HOME MAKEOVER

Not every home makeover has to be a major project that lasts days, weeks, or even months. There are a ton of quick touch-ups and fixes that can make a huge difference in the look and feel of your home, even though you can finish the project in less than an hour.

mailbox

A new mailbox: Chances are you’re still using the same mailbox that came with your home. But giving your mailbox a fresh coat of paint—or even replacing it entirely—is pretty painless, and it instantly upgrades your home’s curb appeal.

mailbox

Declutter: Less is usually more. Go through your home and consider all the stuff that you haven’t used in years. If it’s no longer serving a purpose, sell it, donate it, or throw it away.

declutter

New hardware for your drawers: Painting kitchen and bathroom cabinets can be a big undertaking—drop cloths, tape, washing brushes and rollers, etc. But you can change out your drawer hardware in just a few minutes—all you have to do is pick out the new fixtures.

drawer pulls

REFINANCING: THE RIGHT MOVE?

refinance

REFINANCING: THE RIGHT MOVE?

If you have an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage, consider these factors about refinancing.

The federal reserve recently raised interest rates, and if you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM), it may be a good time to consider refinancing your home. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to whether your should refinance, so here are a few of the main considerations.

How long does your introductory rate last?
Most ARMs have a fixed rate for the beginning of the mortgage. This is an introductory period (usually 3-10 years) when your rate will remain constant before it can be adjusted. If you have several years left in your introductory period, you can monitor interest rates for a while before making a decision. But if the intro rate is ending soon, it’s a great time to explore refinancing at a fixed rate.

How long are you staying?
If you plan to sell your home soon—especially if you’re still on a fixed introductory rate—there’s not much motivation to refinance. But if you’ll be at your home indefinitely, you should consider your refinancing options. You could eliminate the stress of not knowing what your future mortgage rate and payments will be.

What’s your loan balance?
The change in your mortgage payment will of course be determined in part by your remaining balance. If you owe $100,000-$200,000, a new interest rate may not greatly affect your monthly payment. On the other hand, if you owe $500,000, a change in interest rate could lead to a much higher payment.

Other factors
The previous items are just a few of the factors that should go into a decision about refinancing. Changes in income and your current credit score should also be considered, so be sure to weigh your options and make an educated decision.

WHICH FEATURES ARE MILLENNIALS LOOKING FOR IN A HOME?

millenials

WHICH FEATURES ARE MILLENNIALS LOOKING FOR IN A HOME?

Millennials are the second-largest segment of home buyers, ranking behind only baby boomers, according to the National Association of Realtors.  Here are five features that tend to entice millennials who are looking to buy.

An up-to-date kitchen and bath
Younger buyers often have limited funds for renovations, so it’s important that they have functional and inviting bathroom and kitchen spaces from the very start.

An open floor plan
Having a formal dining room isn’t of particular importance to millennials, in fact, many prefer open spaces with no separation between kitchen, living room, and dining room. An open concept makes it easier to entertain everyone at once.

An office
More and more jobs are offering work-from-home options, and there are also plenty of freelancers and telecommuters among millennials. A dedicated space for getting some work done can be a key attraction.

Friendly location
With gas prices rising, many millennials prefer walking, biking, or public transit for their commutes. A great location is key.

Energy savings
Millennials are often more conscious of energy conservation and efficiency. Energy-efficient appliances, energy-efficient windows, and quality insulation can make a huge difference.

QUICK TIP FOR BUYERS TO COMBAT MULTIPLE OFFERS

multiple offers

A NEW OPTION FOR HELPING BUYERS COMBAT MULTIPLE OFFERS

There’s intense competition for homes in areas where home inventory is low, and cash buyers often get the nod in situations where there are multiple offers.

But there’s a new option for non-cash buyers that could help them compete in these situations, according to an article in the New York Times.

Some mortgage lenders are beginning to offer “pre-underwriting.” Rather than a simple pre-approval for a loan, which is usually based on the borrower’s credit report, pre-underwriting is a complete review of all documents that would be required for loan approval. This “pre-underwriting” strategy puts borrowers on more equal footing with cash offers.

Pre-underwriting is much more involved and time-consuming than a typical pre-approval, so not all buyers are eligible, but that could change in the future.

No two markets are the same, so if you have questions about your market and your financing options, get started by contacting your trusted real estate professional.

THE DIRTIEST ITEMS IN THE HOME AND HOW TO CLEAN THEM

dirty jobs

5 of the Dirtiest items in your home

Of course, one of the dirtiest items in anyone’s home is the toilet. But, that’s not the only place where dirt and germs accumulate. Here are five other dirty items and suggestions for cleaning them.

  1. Bath Towels – When you and your family dry off from your shower, your bath towel absorbs the water from your body. Then it sits all day breeding bacteria that thrive in warm, moist areas. Combat this issue by changing your bath towels out every two days and washing your dirty towels in hot water to kill anything living on them.
  2. Shower Curtain – Shower curtains easily pick up bacteria the same way bath towels do. They also attract germs from the toilet if they are near each other. Clean your shower curtain by spraying it down with a bleach-based product. Spray the rings and rod, too. Also, when the shower curtain is beyond cleaning, replace it.
  3. Doorknobs – Entryway and bathroom doorknobs are exposed to myriad germs daily. Thankfully, doorknobs are easy to clean. Wipe them down with antibacterial wipes regularly.
  4. Window/Door Tracks – Window and door tracks are harbingers of dust and dirt. The grime that builds up can make you and your family ill. You can easily clean these areas by vacuuming out large pieces of debris and then spraying the stuck-on dirt with water, letting it loosen up and wiping it with a damp cloth.
  5. Toothbrush Holders – Your toothbrush holder is likely teeming with germs and bacteria. Wash it with hot soapy water twice a week. If you can, run it through the dishwasher to ensure it gets clean and sterilized.

Better Paint Job

painttips

How to get a better paint job

Painting is one of the most inexpensive ways to give your home a makeover. Whether it’s updating an old bathroom paint scheme or adding a bold accent wall, painting can totally transform a room. But painting can be a big hassle and come with tons of prep work and clean up. Here are a few top tips to getting a better paint job, make your painting experience more enjoyable, and lead to a more professional finish.

Prep beyond tape and drop cloths

A drop cloth will protect your floors, but a thick and durable drop cloth is also a little clumsy to maneuver. For smaller, awkward items that are in danger of paint splatter, use plastic wrap. It’ll make it much less frustrating to protect a toilet or bathroom sink.

Be ready for spills and splatters

At the very least, a few drops of paint are going to end up where you don’t want them. Have a rag and some Q-Tips ready for the inevitable paint splatter, so that you can quickly wipe them off before they dry and set on your frames, countertops, or hardwood floor.

Use heat to remove tape 

Patience is key when removing painter’s tape, but it can still tear and leave splotchy edges no matter how careful you are. Hold a heat gun or hair dryer a few inches away from the tape as your remove it little by little. The heat will break down the adhesive and make removing the tape a much less frustrating task.