The Front Yard : September
Real Estate News from the Ground Up
Improvement & DIY Zone
Thinking About Finishing Your Basement?
A finished basement is a desirable feature for homebuyers, and can add to the value of a home. In addition, it expands the livable space of a home by adding room for children to play, an extra bedroom and/or a recreation area for all ages. While finishing your basement sounds like a great idea, not all basements lend themselves to a remodel.
The first things to consider are the requirements laid out by the International Residential Code (IRC). Specifically, a basement living space must have a clear, floor-to-ceiling height of at least 7 feet (6 feet for bathrooms). There is also a requirement that the staircase leading from the home’s main level to the basement include a handrail and stairs with proper width, tread and riser dimensions. Lastly, there must be at least one door or window large enough for people to get out and for help to get in during an emergency.
If your home does not meet these requirements, it may still be possible to finish the basement; however, it will involve added expenses. For example, if the ceiling is not high enough, it is possible to raise your house and build up the foundation around it, or lower the floor, to gain the ceiling height you need. If the stairway isn’t wide enough or the steps aren’t to code, the staircase may need to be rebuilt.
Other considerations to make a basement a usable living space include heating and cooling, as well as controlling moisture. A contractor can tap into the existing HVAC system and then add vents or upgrade the system as necessary to comply with building codes. Any moisture problems can be solved by waterproofing walls and floors, grading the yard so water falls away from the foundation and/or installing a sump pump or drains around the foundation.
Game Day Recipe
Football season is here and that means enjoying some good food with friends and family while you watch your team.
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Buying a Home? 10 Financial Things You Shouldn’t Do
You’ve decided to buy a house, and you need financing. Even if you have good credit, you should keep your finances shipshape until closing so that lenders won’t think twice.
Here are 10 things to avoid while you’re buying a home:
1. Don’t change your job before applying for a home loan.Also, now is not the right time to become self-employed or to quit your job. You want to show lenders stability, which means you’ll be less likely to default on the loan.
2. Don’t change banks. As with your employment, you want your banking history to show stability.
3. Don’t buy a car that you have to finance. Buying a vehicle or any other form of transportation through a loan increases your debt-to-income ratio, and loan officers don’t want to see that.
4. Don’t buy furniture on credit before buying your house. Charging big-ticket items increases your debt-to-income ratio. Save your money for the down payment.
5. Don’t be late on your credit card payments or charge excessively. You need a track record of responsibility that shows you can manage your money.
6. Don’t make large deposits into your bank accounts. Lenders like it when the money for your down payment has been sitting in your account for at least two months – what they call “seasoning” – so that the funds don’t just appear out of the ether.
7. Don’t lie on your loan application. Sounds simple, right? But don’t leave out any debts or liabilities or fudge your income. It’s fraud.
8. Don’t co-sign a loan for anyone. Even if you’re not making the payments on that loan, co-signing increases your debt-to-income ratio.
9. Don’t apply for new credit cards or prompt any other inquiries into your credit rating. Looking for new credit translates into higher risk for lenders. If your inquiries are related to your mortgage search, that usually doesn’t affect your credit score, because lenders assume that you’re rate-shopping. But opening credit accounts within a short period of time represents some risk, and your credit could take a hit. Inquiries are probably not a huge factor in calculating your ability to repay a loan, but why take a chance?
10. Don’t spend money you’ll need for closing costs. Part of the price of financing a loan is closing costs, and you’ll likely have some responsibility for paying them. Make sure you have enough for your share
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About Me !
*12 years in Sales & Marketing
* Full-time Real Estate Professional
* Member of the Lehigh Valley Association of Realtors & PA Association of Realtors
* Member of the National Association of Realtors
* Specializing in the Lehigh Valley
Feel free to contact me anytime, whether it's to get started on helping you realize your goals and dreams, or just to ask a question. I would welcome the opportunity to make a difference for you.