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Entries Tagged as 'Home Ownershio'

Is Refinancing Right For You

February 18th, 2016 · No Comments


Interest rates remain extremely low making this a great time to think about refinancing you home. Here are a few tips for refinancing that will help you in making an informed decision.

  • If you have an FHA loan you need to get rid of the mortgage insurance as quickly as you possibly can. Mortgage insurance on FHA loans can add up over the years more than you realize. You will need to refinance your FHA loan into a different mortgage in order to get rid of the mortgage insurance if your loan is for 30 years and you put less than 10% down.
  • Be careful not to refinance too often just because interest rates have gotten lower. It is worth it to refinance for just half a percent these days but don’t keep going after lower and lower rates. It is best not to refinance more than two to three times during the life of your loan.
  • If you do decide to refinance your home loan, it is best to refinance for a shorter number of years. Refinancing a 30 year loan to another 30 year loan is essentially adding another 5 years to your payoff date. If you refinance try to refinance for 15 years if you can afford to do so.
  • If you are planning to sell your home anytime soon it is not a good idea to refinance because you are going to have to pay closing costs and therefore will be losing money in the long run. Be sure to take into consideration your long term goals when you consider refinancing.
  • Shop around for your new loan. Just because you have had a good rapport with your current mortgage company doesn’t mean you have to refinance with them. Do your part by shopping around for the best rate and take the one that saves you the most money.

Refinancing your home can be a great way to get ahead in life and to save some money along the way.   If you want to refinance I would suggest that you get online to check out what rates are being offered these days and to get the ball rolling!

Courtesy of Gainesville FL Real Estate Expert Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Home Ownershio · Money matters · North Central Florida Real Estate · Real Estate

Home Improvements to Get Your House Ready To Sell

January 15th, 2016 · No Comments

home improvement

Now that our weather has cooled off a bit, why not get started on some home improvements so that you can get your house ready to put on the market! Below are a few ways you can get started on home improvements both inside and out.

  • A fresh coat of paint inside your home is a great way to improve the way your home looks and get it ready to put on the market.   Try to keep a neutral theme if you can when painting because you want others to be able to see themselves living in your home and not the other way around. You will likely be amazed at just how much difference a fresh coat of paint will make to your home.
  • Panting your front door a color that pops is a great way to get awesome curb appeal. Many folks will love your home simply because it has a red door and it stands out above all the others in the neighborhood. Use a pop of color on your front door to your advantage when trying to sell your home!
  • Pressure washing your home is a great way to make it shine if your home is vinyl siding. You may have lived in your house so long that you forgot what color your siding actually is until you pressure wash it. This is another way to have great curb appeal when you put your house on the market.
  • If your house has columns at the front it may be a good time to replace them or at least give them a fresh coat of paint. Over the years columns tend to expand and crack and make the house look older than it actually is. Give your home a facelift by taking care of issues like these before you put it on the market.
  • Refinishing your hardwoods is another way to make your home look its best. You can do this yourself or you may want to choose to hire someone to do it for you. Either way, refinishing your hardwoods is a great home improvement idea!

Courtesy of Gainesville FL Real Estate Expert Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Home Ownershio · Real Estate · Seller Info

4 Tips for Putting Up Your Christmas Tree Without Messing Up Your Home

December 11th, 2015 · No Comments

christmas tree

If you haven’t already bought your Christmas tree you may want to hurry up and get that done. The time is upon us and Christmas will be here before you know it. Finding the right Christmas tree for your home can be a lot of fun if you go about it the right way and with a few guidelines. Below are some tips for putting up your Christmas tree without messing up your house.

  1. The first thing you should do even before purchasing your Christmas tree is to prepare your home for its arrival. If you have furniture that will need to be moved out of the way in order for your tree to take its rightful spot in your home then go ahead and move it out of the way before you leave so that when you arrive home you won’t have to worry about it being in your way.
  2. Be sure to put a sheet down before you drag the Christmas tree across your hardwoods. The sap that is possibly still present in your tree can get onto your hardwood floors and destroy them if you are not careful.   This will also make it easier for you to put the tree where you want it as it will alleviate you having to carry the tree through the house.
  3. Take measurements where you want your tree to go before you go get one. This way when you are searching for a tree you know exactly what size you will need for the space allotted. No one wants to pay top dollar for a Christmas tree only to get it home and realize you have to cut three inches or more off so that it won’t hit the ceiling.
  4. Water your tree daily to avoid it catching on fire due to dry and brittle branches. Be sure if your tree is not freshly cut that you trim at least a half inch off the bottom of the tree before you place it in its stand and water it, otherwise the tree will not be able to absorb the water and therefore will die prematurely and may catch fire.

Now that you have read these tips for setting up your Christmas tree, you better get on out there and get you one of your own before Christmas has come and gone!

Courtesy of Gainevsille FL Realtor Linda Luetjen!

Tags: Home Ownershio

3 Ideas To Make Fall Cleaning a Whole Lot Easier

October 23rd, 2015 · No Comments

fall cleaning

You have most likely heard the term spring cleaning but have you ever thought of tackling some fall cleaning in your home? Why Not?! A change of season is a great time to clean things around your home and get ready for a fresh new start, whether you plan to continue to live in your home for a while longer or you plan to put in on the market right away. Let’s take a look at a few ways to delve into fall cleaning.

  • De-cluttering your home is a great way to make it feel fresh and new and to have those who come into your home like what they see. A great way to make all things new inside of your home is to have a swap with your friends. Invite a few of your friends over to your home and let them look through all of the stuff you plan to get rid of, then have them go back to their own homes and bring over a few of their things they may want to get rid of and then swap stuff. This is a fun and easy way to make your home feel fresh and new. The items you receive from your friends may not be new but they will be new to you and that is the next best thing.
  • One way to start fresh this fall doesn’t involve your home as much as it does your finances. If you have recently gotten behind on the bills, fall is a great time to start fresh and catch up on a few of those bills. If you take the time to do this you might possibly be able to go into the New Year ahead of the game instead of always playing catch up.
  • Another great way to tackle some fall cleaning is to get down and dirty by cleaning such things in your home as baseboards and window sills. These places tend to collect quite a bit of dust throughout the year because they typically don’t get a lot of attention paid to them. Add these types of jobs to your fall cleaning list and you will be less likely to forget to do them.

Keep in mind that once fall is over the holidays are right around the corner. Won’t it be nice to have your home spic and span before all the hustle and bustle begins?!

Courtesy of Gainesville FL Real Estate Expert Linda Luetjen!

Tags: Home Ownershio · Real Estate

5 Tips So You Don’t Bungle Your Remodeling Project

September 3rd, 2015 · No Comments

Whether you are remodeling your home to get it ready to go on the market or you are making some changes to the home you just moved into, it doesn’t have to be a nightmare.   In this blog post I will give you a few tips on how to make your next remodeling project a good experience.


  1. Get hold of a set of plans for your home so that you will be able to take accurate measurements of doorways in small areas such as the bathroom. This will insure that you don’t end up with a door that is positioned in a way that is inconvenient for everyone.
  2. Make sure that you place outlets in areas in which they will be easily accessible. Also be sure not to place outlets in wet areas where you may be at risk for electric shock.
  3. When remodeling your kitchen be sure to place your appliances in an area that will have adequate clearance. There is nothing worse than opening the dishwasher and realizing that you cannot open it all the way because there is a wall in the way.
  4. When moving light fixtures over to make them fit in the center of your table, be sure that you have enough excess chain to make it look pretty and that it won’t end up looking like it was not intentional. If you are a little OCD, this kind of thing will bother you immensely if you do it wrong.
  5. Test your new paint color on the wall before you paint an entire room. Paint is not always the color on the swatch once it is dry. If you can get away with only purchasing one color and stick with that one color you will save yourself a lot of money and time.

Keep these helpful tips and ideas in mind for your next remodeling project and you should come away from it feeling as if you have accomplished something great rather than feeling like you never want to tackle that type of thing ever again.

Tags: Home Ownershio · Seller Info

Tips for Paying Off Your Mortgage Sooner

August 21st, 2015 · No Comments

According to a DexOne Corporation survey, as reported by CT Power Team, “42% of Americans say that their mortgage is the debt they most want to eliminate.” That is a completely understandable goal when you consider the savings. The important question is “How can I do it?” Here are some examples…

  • paying off mortgageIncrease your monthly mortgage payments simply by adding a fixed amount to your required payments. The easiest way to do this is to use an increase in your income from time to time to increase the amount of your mortgage payment. Doing that does two things for you…
  1. It decreases the amount of principal owed by a larger amount each month.
  2. The following month, after making an increased payment, you pay less interest because of the larger decrease in the principle.

The combination of the above two changes results in paying off the mortgage in less time than originally scheduled and you will pay significantly less total interest.

  • Make additional payments on the principle at any time if you can’t increase your regular monthly payment. You can do this anytime you have a little left over at the end of the month, or you get a bonus at the end of the year, or you receive a gift. No matter how much, or how little, you pay extra it will decrease the time it takes to pay off the mortgage. That means you will save interest.
  • Refinance with a shorter-term mortgage if you see the interest rates come down. Just keep in mind that refinancing means spending money on loan closing costs. Only consider this if the interest rates are lowered enough to justify paying closing costs. Otherwise, you can always choose to keep your original mortgage, but increase the monthly payment as outlined above.

Here’s just one example of how paying off early works…

Let’s assume you are paying on a 30-year mortgage for $200,000 at a 5% interest rate. If you pay off the mortgage in 30 years, you will pay $186,512 in interest. If you pay off that same mortgage with even payments over 20 years, you will pay as little as $116,779 in interest. That’s $70,000 that stays in you pocket!

Visit for more in-depth information. Also, use their online mortgage calculator. You will never regret paying off your mortgage sooner then planned.

Tags: Home Ownershio · Money matters · North Central Florida Real Estate · Real Estate

The Real Value Of Your Home Improvement

July 10th, 2015 · No Comments

The value of home improvements has two primary considerations:

  • the tangible dollar value that is added to your home compared to costs
  • the intangible value of your enjoyment of the improvement

home improvementMost homeowners focus primarily on the costs, and whether they are adding dollar for dollar value to their home for resale. Those are legitimate concerns. Let’s break them down…

The tangible costs of a project have many components to consider:

  • The first advice to seek is from a Realtor you know and trust. Ask them for some free advice. You want to know what is the likely increase in value you can expect from a project based on what “comparables” are available. You also want their professional opinion about how the buyers in your market are likely to value the improvement. Lastly, you want recommendations about builders you should talk with.
  • The next step is to talk with at least two builders/remodelers. Ask them to meet at your home. Describe what you are thinking about doing. Ask for suggests they have and for an estimate of what it is likely to cost. Also ask if they do design work, or do you need an architect?
  • Here are some general considerations to think about:
    • usefulness of the improvements to a future buyer will effect the value
    • if the house is older consider replacing electric wiring and plumbing
    • make sure everything is done professionally, even if done by the homeowner
    • badly done home improvements can actually detract from the home’s value
  • Lastly, be very careful about re-purposing a bedroom. It should be able to be re-converted back to a bedroom later. The number of bedrooms has a large impact on the value of a home.

The intangible value of your enjoyment is very important. Try to put a dollar amount on your enjoyment value. What benefits will you and your family gain? How long do you anticipate living in your home? What is your enjoyment worth to you in dollars?

Now you’re in a position to add to the tangible cost estimates you have. Add to the tangible costs the dollar value you place on your enjoyment of the benefits. Then compare that total improvement value to what your Realtor has estimated you can get back at resale. You’re now ready to make a decision whether or not to make the improvements.

Information provided by Gainesville FL Real Estate Expert Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Home Ownershio · North Central Florida Real Estate · Real Estate

5 Reasons To Add an Outdoor Living Space

June 12th, 2015 · No Comments

There are many reasons to consider adding an outdoor living area to your home! The benefits are many and personal. But, one added benefit is the value it can add.

A recent article in RISMedia, a real estate information leader, highlighted 5 reasons to invest in outdoor spaces. According to IBISWorld, a market research firm, “investing in outdoor living outdoor kitchenprovides a good return on investment for most people, making it an ideal home improvement project.”

Here are some benefits to consider:

  1. Personal enjoyment. Why spend money on home improvements unless they provide personal enjoyment for your family? This can range from providing a space to relax and unwind, to providing a place to simply enjoy each other and have fun, to providing fun for the kids.
  2. Save money by having an enjoyable place for your recreation right in your own backyard. Having outdoor spaces at your home means that it is custom made to your desires and you don’t have to get in your car to go somewhere else. The money saved in gas or fees to join a club can be better spent on your own space.
  3. Entertaining opportunities abound with your own private outdoor space. Imagine your indoor entertaining space flowing to the outdoors with a place for a fireplace or outdoor barbecue kitchen. It creates more opportunities for adults to have a space to talk and for the kids to have their own recreation opportunities.
  4. Benefits of nature. Lot’s of research demonstrates the benefits of spending time outdoors, including stress reduction and improved mental clarity and concentration. Stepping out of your indoor environment into a relationship with nature in any form transforms our ability to relax.
  5. Resale value of your home will be enhanced almost immeasurably by creating outdoor spaces. You shouldn’t necessarily count on recuperating 100% of the cost, but HGTV claims that homeowners recoup 65%-90% of their investment just by adding a deck! Meantime you and your family enjoy the added benefits of the outdoor living, and when you decide to sell there is an intangible added attraction for potential buyers.

Bob Dallas, CEO of, explains “not only is it good for the value of your home, but it’s a solid investment for…giving your family a relaxing area where they can re-charge their batteries.”

Research the many options including outdoor fireplaces, kitchens, water features, decks, sitting areas, and landscaping. The possibilities literally range from the extravagant to the very modest. Consider seeking the help of a design professional. The key is finding just the right combination of possibilities for the enjoyment of your family.

Information courtesy of Gainesville FL Real Estate Expert Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · Home Ownershio · North Central Florida Real Estate · Real Estate · Seller Info

Why NOT to Sell ‘As Is’

April 17th, 2015 · No Comments

I am often asked, “Should sellers fix up their home before selling or sell ‘as is’?” First, let’s talk about the stuff any Realtor is going to tell you so you have context for the rest.

house repairIt is easier to sell a house that is attractive to buyers and shows as being well-maintained. That is a matter of doing a little fix-up, but mostly clean-up. Make sure pipes aren’t leaking, for instance. That is relatively easy and not expensive. If your home really needs painting consider doing that. These are not high priced issues. Below we are talking about the expensive items.

If your house has structural defects or other problems that are expensive to fix you have more challenging decisions to make. First, remember that every house has defects! That is simply the nature of a complex structure. Second, savvy buyers know to expect defects so don’t try to hide them. Don’t kid yourself that if a problem can’t be seen easily it won’t be found out.

Most buyers assume there are some problems with any house. If they make an offer that you accept they will pay for a professional home inspector who knows real estate. Good buyer inspectors are very thorough. They are being paid by the buyer and are looking out for the buyer’s interests, not yours. It is not unusual for an inspection report to be in excess of twenty pages…in small type! Being honest with yourself about defects will prepare you better when you are faced with that inspection report.

So, the question becomes “Do I fix the problems before going on the market, or do I make it clear that I am selling “as-is” and discount the price accordingly?” The obvious follow-up question is “If I spend the money before selling, will I get that money back in the final sale price?” The general answer is that it depends on the nature of the defect and magnitude of the likely cost of repair.

Potential buyers are most likely to overestimate the cost if they have to make the repair and under-estimate the cost if the seller is paying. Cost versus value then becomes a negotiation to establishing a final purchase/sale price. If the cost of repair is major, such as a septic system, it makes the most sense to repair it before selling.

The best way to go about making these decisions is to pay a professional home inspector in your real estate market to make an inspection on your behalf as the seller. Their report will give you a thorough list of issues you might be faced with. It will also give you the tool to get estimates from contractors to make the repairs. Then you have a sound basis for making decisions.

An added benefit to having your own inspection on hand is that you have a professional document that you can use when negotiating with a buyer. Be practical and be prepared with your own inspection.

Information provided by Linda Luetjen, Gainesville FL Real Estate Broker.

Tags: Home Ownershio · Real Estate · Seller Info

Ins and Outs Of Home Warranties

April 10th, 2015 · No Comments

This blog is not about selling home warranties! It’s about providing information, some of which you may not have considered before.

home warrantiesBoth buyers and sellers benefit from home warranties! That is especially true when the sale/purchase involves an older home. recently interviewed Mark Barry, with American Home Shield. He said, “New homeowners want to be confident that they made a smart purchase and to know that they’re prepared for the unexpected” after they purchase.

But, what about sellers? Consider what a home warranty provides for both sides of a transaction, starting with defining “home warranty.” A home warranty policy is a little like an insurance policy, but different. Insurance typically pays out a predetermined amount of money if something goes wrong. Examples include an auto accident, a fire covered by homeowners insurance, and life insurance.

A home warranty covers breakdowns of home systems, such as heating and air conditioning components, and major appliances. It does not just pay out for a loss. It either repairs the component that failed or replaces it.

Home warranty companies have contracts with local repair companies. When something goes wrong with your home, a local contractor is sent to repair it. If it can’t be repaired, it will be replaced. The warranty policy defines deductibles and restrictions…so read the fine print!

Benefits to sellers are often overlooked. A seller can buy a home warranty policy in advance of putting their home on the market. Some benefits to doing that are…

  • Protection against the cost of breakdowns during the selling process
  • Prevention of a buyer opening downward price negotiations while under contract
  • The marketability of the property is enhanced with the added protection
  • The policy can be transferred to a buyer, making the property more attractive

Homebuyers, especially first time buyers, are looking for assurances. A home warranty gives them confidence that they’re not buying unforeseen problems due to their inexperience.

  • The home warranty can be transferred to the new owner
  • The buyer is protected against breakdowns for up to a year
  • The annual policy is renewable at the new owner’s option

In short, there is potential peace of mind for both buyers and sellers in your home sale/purchase. Do some research and make sure both parties have clear expectations. Make sure you understand what the policy does, and does not protect. And then rest easy that you are protected.

Information provided by Gainesville FL Realtor Linda Luetjen.

Tags: Buyer Info · Home Ownershio · Real Estate · Seller Info