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June 2024
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Today's Feature Stories

How to Solve an Ant Problem

Ants can be small in size and potentially harmless, but it can create a lot of problems in your house. They can invade your house if they find a good source of food and water in your house. You need to get rid of the ants to keep your home and foods safe. The ants always invade the house in the form of army and you need to stop this invasion before it becomes too much. If you want to know about how to solve an ant problem, then you can call for a professional ant elimination team to help you.

If you are interested to know about how you can get rid of ants naturally, then you are at the right place. Ants can be found anywhere and everywhere. You can see a trail of ant army in your kitchen. To successfully get rid of these ants, you need to try some of the best and most effective methods.

Tips to Get Rid of House Ants:

  1. Homemade Ant Bait

Borax can be an excellent compound for killing house ants, and at the same time powdered sugar will attract them. To make a homemade ant bait, you need to mix one part of the borax thoroughly with 3 parts of powdered sugar. You can fill the bottle caps with this homemade ant bait and place these at the places where you suspect the invasion of ants.

  1. Spraying Vinegar

You can take a little bit of white vinegar and spray it in the cracks and on the kitchen countertops. These are the places where the ants mainly travel through or walk around for the search of food. You need to allow the vinegar to dry on the surfaces or you can also wipe it with a clean cloth. This can eliminate any chemical trail. 

  1. Keep the Place Sanitized

One of the best ways to keep ants out of your house or kitchen is by practicing good sanitation practices. Do not let the bread crumbs and food spills to stay in the kitchen. Clean them immediately. Make sure to clean the garbage too on a regular basis. Keep the sweets in zip-lock bags or in air-tight containers so that the ants cannot get into them. 

  1. Peppermint Essential Oil

Another great method that can deter the ants from entering into your house is the peppermint essential oil. You can either spray it all over the places where it is infested by the ants including the cracks from where they enter. You can also put some drops of peppermint essential oil in a cotton ball and place them near the areas where ants move or crawl through. Make sure to find 100% pure essential oils.

Conclusion

So, these are some of the best prevention methods on how to solve an ant problem. You can try all these ways to effectively eliminate the ants from your house. All these steps can be effective, but if you still see ants in your house, it is better to call for professional help. 

 

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Why Price Shouldn’t Be the Only Driver in the Search for Your First Home

Buying your first house? You’re likely driven mainly by budget, but there are some other important considerations you may not have thought of that can help you find the perfect place. Not only can these tips help you find a home that really suits your lifestyle, but also helps you afford to live there comfortably.

Can you afford to heat and cool it?

You may only be thinking of home size in terms of the number of rooms or square footage you want. But, in many cases, a larger home costs more to maintain. More space means more space to heat and cool. Although, a home that’s newer or that has updated systems can help defray costs because it’s more efficient. Your real estate agent may be able to get an idea of the monthly utility costs so you can have this information up front.

Who's going to mow the lawn?

If you’ve never had your own lawn or garden, you may not know if you have a green thumb or if you’ll regard the time it takes to care for it as a pleasure or a bummer. Then again, if you’re already dreading the idea of having to spend a couple hours out there each week, perhaps a single-family home isn’t for you. Yeah, you could pay someone else to do it, but you’re already stretching to buy your own place, right? Perhaps the lower-maintenance lifestyle offered by a condo or townhome is the best option for you.

What’s good for resale?

Are you thinking about how easy it will be to sell your home when you’re just about to buy it? Maybe not, but, the truth it it’s always a good idea to think like a seller when buying. Chances are, this starter home won’t be your forever home, and the same questions you have about the floorplan or location are likely the questions would-be buyers will be asking when you go to sell.

As it relates to the floorplan, it’s a good idea to think beyond what you think you might want and consider what’s popular in the area. If homes with downstairs master suites sell especially well and you haven’t considered that plan, this info may make you rethink your strategy.

How close are the schools?

Dying to walk your kids to and from school every day? That’s the dream for many a parent. But what you might not be envisioning is being able to watch—and hear—every kid in the school walk by twice a day, every day. What seems like a super-convenient location right on the walking path to the elementary school may just turn out to be too much of a good thing if it impacts your privacy and peace of mind.

Did anything weird happen there?

Yes, the seller will be required to disclose physical defects and also defects that create the potential for stigmatization. “What you’re talking about is the issue of ‘psychological damage’ to a property, to be distinguished from ‘physical damage,’” said NOLO. “In some cases, the psychological damage is so great—such as after a violent or highly publicized murder or suicide, or widespread reports of haunting—that the house is considered ‘stigmatized’ and therefore less valuable. In most states, the owner would indeed be expected to disclose a defect causing the house to be stigmatized, so that buyers could adjust their expectations and purchase price accordingly.”

A natural death in the home, however, is not generally something that needs to be disclosed. If that’s the type of thing that could keep you from wanting to live there you, just ask. “If a prospective home buyer asks you outright about whether anyone has died in the home, you cannot lie (unless you want to risk being later sued for fraud),” they said. “Also, be prepared for any buyer who is interested in this issue (or shall we say obsessed by it?) to find out the information online, at a site like DiedinHouse.com.”

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Just How Accurate Are Those Online Home Value Estimates?

If you’ve ever gone online to check out the value of your home or to make comparisons, you aren’t alone. Online home value estimators can be a handy tool in some cases, but you have to understand their limitations.

Zillow’s Zestimate is perhaps the most well-known estimator, but Redfin has one too.

Below, we talk about what you should know about home valuation tools, also known as automated valuation models or AVM.

What is an Automated Valuation Model?

AVMs are computer-driven algorithms and formulas that use basic property features paired with pricing trends and local market information to create a value range or an estimated value for a home.

There are some cases where a lender might use an AVM to quickly get a potential estimate of the value of a property.

All the AVMs use their own formulas and may pull data from different databases. As you might imagine, the estimates' reliability and accuracy depend primarily on the quality and integrity of the data they’re pulling information from.

There are a lot of underlying assumptions made with an automated model.

For example, AVMs work on the assumption that all properties are in a similar condition to one another. There’s no way for these automated algorithms to consider if a home is in poor condition or if upgrades have been made.

Due to the fluctuations in the figures AVMs come to, lenders will set policies on whether they’ll use them and, if so, which they’ll use.

How Do Zillow Zestimates Work?

Zillow’s well-known Zestimates are based on what the company says is a proprietary algorithm. Zillow reports the estimates include data from public records and data users submit.

The company doesn’t claim that they’re 100% accurate. If all the properties within a small radius are similar, the prices are more accurate because there are less likely to be major variances throwing off the algorithm.

If the estimates come from a neighborhood with older homes, they’re likely to be less accurate. Some homes will have been improved and maintained over the years, and others won’t have been.

The accuracy of a valuation is measured using an error rate. An error rate calculates how often the algorithm is wrong. More specifically, how often the value of a property as measured by the AVM is very different from the sales price of a home.

The Zestimate gets within 5% of a home’s actual sales price more than 82% of the time. It’s within 10% of sales price more than 95% of the time and within 20% nearly 99% of the time.

That can sound pretty accurate at first, but it's less impressive when you figure out how many tens of thousands of dollars these variances can represent.

The Zestimate median error rate goes up to nearly 7% for off-market homes. If a home hasn’t been sold lately, there’s not much data that an AVM can pull on it.

Over time, the algorithms tend to get more accurate. Zillow says that it will make offers to buy homes at their Zestimate price in some markets, or at least it did when Zillow Offers was operational, which it recently announced was closing down.

Realtor.com Offers Three Figures

Realtor.com takes a different approach when it offers online users home value estimates. The company pulls estimates from data provided by different companies it partners with. There are three estimates so that people can see the picture of how much their home is worth is more variable than what they might get from just one figure.

Redfin vs. Zillow

Redfin and Zillow are two competing tools for estimating the value of a home. They can sometimes give different figures for the same property.

Overall, Zillow’s Zestimate seems to be more accurate. The median error rate is a little lower than what’s calculated for Redfin, including both on-market and off-market properties.

Redfin is very transparent, though, which is an advantage it has. Redfin provides a lot of information on how they get their figures.

You have to remember that while these tools might give you a general idea of how much a home is worth, they’re not the same as an appraiser.

Before a lender signs off on a home loan, they require an appraisal. Appraisers do a walk-through and then write a report. They will also include market data and comparable properties, so this will be much more accurate than what you see online.

FULL STORY->

Comparing a Pre-Approval and Pre-Underwriting

When you’re shopping for a new home, there are a lot of steps in what can be an overwhelming and frustrating process.

Much of that frustration comes from getting mortgage financing.

Before you start to look for a home, you might decide to get pre-qualified or pre-approved. There’s also the option to go through pre-underwriting. When the housing market remains competitive and bidding wars are common, there are some benefits to pre-underwriting, which we detail below.

What is Pre-Qualification?

Pre-qualifying for a loan is a single step on your way to a pre-approval. Pre-qualifying is part of a process when you work with a lender, and they decide the type of guarantee they will give you.

Then, once you get pre-qualified, you would move on to get pre-approved or pre-underwritten.

You don’t have to pre-qualify to do either of the next possible steps, but some people like to do it as their first step because they learn more about what they can afford.

It's a soft pull when you do a pre-qualification before your pre-approval. The pre-qualification won’t hurt your credit score, which is important for your interest rate and whether you’re approved at all.

A lender needs a few basic things for a pre-qualification—your monthly income, estimated monthly debts, and the down payment you can make.

The figure a lender gives you as a pre-qualification amount is estimated and based on assumptions of your financial situation. The number indicates a figure that a lender might be willing to give you, but it’s not definite.

You’ll probably need an actual pre-approval letter to start working with a real estate agent.

Getting a Pre-Approval

While a pre-qualification is a figure the lender would likely lend you, a pre-approval has the terms detailed for their theoretical offer. The details in a pre-approval will include your allowable purchase price, interest rate, and lending fees.

It would be best if you went into the process to shop for a mortgage with a pre-approval in hand. This is what a real estate agent wants to see to work with you to ensure you’re not wasting anyone’s time.

The pre-approval letter is a tentative amount of money that a lender says they would loan to you.

A pre-approval will require a hard pull.

Your lender will probably ask for quite a bit when doing a loan pre-approval. They’ll want to see all your financial information, including your tax returns and bank statements for at least the past 60 days. They’ll want retirement and brokerage statements for the past 60 days, totals for your monthly debt payments, and documents related to any foreclosures or bankruptcies.

Then, There’s Underwriting

Underwriting is the last step to actually getting financing to buy a home. After submitting everything to get approved for a loan, your loan goes through underwriting. This is a time when the lender will closely assess all of your finances to determine their risk level in extending you a mortgage.

This is where you’ll probably run into most of the delays.

Pre-underwriting is when you can go through this step before you’re under contract for a house. An underwriter can do everything on their end that would otherwise come after your offer is accepted before you start looking at properties.

With pre-underwriting, sellers know you’re someone they can have confidence in. You’re showing them there are limited opportunities for surprises or things to go wrong.

In a competitive market, pre-underwriting can be a tool that makes you a very strong candidate, and it can help you win a bidding war, even more so than offering more money.

Pre-underwriting is a somewhat new option, so your lender may not offer it, but if so, it can take some of the stress off of you and make it more likely you will get the home of your dreams.

FULL STORY->


Mortgage Rates
Averages as of June 2024:


30 yr. fixed: 7.03%
15 yr. fixed: 6.36%
5/1 yr. adj: 6.59%








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Ken Bradley,REALTOR, e-Pro, Luxury Home Specialist
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http://KenBradleyRealtor.com
Cell: 772-538-9981
Florida HomeTown Realty Inc.
Call Ken Direct 772-538-9981
Vero Beach Island Vero Beach Mainland North Hutchinson Island Sebastian.


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