Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 10

Moisture & Mold

by Audrey and Frank Serio, CRS

Moisture & Mold

Moisture is mold's best friend and it thrives between 40 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit which is why it is commonly found in homes.  Mold spores float in the air and can grow on virtually any substance with moisture including tile, wood, drywall, paper, carpet, and food.

Moisture control and eliminating water problems are key to preventing mold. Common sources of moisture can be roof leaks, indoor plumbing leaks, outdoor drainage problems, damp basements or crawl spaces, steam from bathrooms or kitchen, condensation on cool surfaces, humidifiers, wet clothes drying inside, or improper ventilation of heating and cooking appliances.

  • Control the moisture problem
  • Scrub mold off hard surfaces using soap and water or other cleanser; dry completely
  • Do not paint or caulk moldy surfaces
  • Discard porous materials with extensive mold growth
  • Avoid exposing yourself or others to mold
  • Periodically, inspect the area for signs of moisture and new mold growth

The EPA suggests that if the moldy area is less than ten square feet, you can probably handle the cleanup yourself.  If the affected area is larger than that, find a contractor or professional service provider. 

Increasing ventilation in a bathroom by running a fan for at least 30 minutes or opening a window can help remove moisture and control mold growth.  After showering, squeegee the walls and doors. Wipe wet areas with dry towels.  Cleaning more frequently will also prevent mold from recurring or keep it to a minimum.

A simple solution to clean most mold is a 1:8 bleach/water mixture.  Since homes have thermostatically controlled temperatures and water is used all day long in the kitchen and bathrooms, the environment is conducive to mold. 

See Ten things you should know about mold written by the EPA.

Rising Rates Affect the Cost Too

by Audrey and Frank Serio, CRS

Rising Rates Affect the Cost Too

Mortgage rates have risen 0.5% in 2018 on 30-year and 15-year fixed rate mortgages and experts expect them to continue to increase. Buyers paying attention to the market understand the relationship that inventory has on pricing; when the supply is low, the price usually goes up. Rising interest rates can affect the cost of homes also.

When interest rates go up, fewer people can afford homes. Lower numbers of buyers can affect the demand, which could cause prices of homes to come down. The question is how much do the interest rates have to go up to affect demand?

As the rates gradually go up, the affect may not be noticeable at all except for the fact that the payments for the buyer have increased.

A ½% change in interest is approximately equal to a 5% change in price. A $300,000 mortgage at 4.5% for a 30-year term will have a $1,520.06 principal and interest payment. If the mortgage rate goes up 0.5%, it would affect the payment the same as if the price had gone up 5%. The difference in payments for the full term of the loan would be $32,547.

There are some things beyond buyers’ control, but indecision isn’t one of them. If they haven’t found the “right” home yet, it is understandable. However, when that home does present itself, the buyer needs to be ready to make a decision. If they are preapproved and have done their due diligence in the market, they should be able to contract before significant changes occur in the mortgage rates.

Replace It Anyway

by Audrey and Frank Serio, CRS

Replace It Anyway

If it's not broken, why would a homeowner consider replacing something as expensive as a toilet when there may be other things in the home to replace that provide more aesthetic appeal. Don't be too quick to ignore the functionality and the reliability of this basic convenience.

toilet.jpg

The first rationalization might take place at the economic level. A water-saving model could easily pay for itself in a few years and then, there is the good feeling of participating in the conservation of our natural resources.

Having to plunge a toilet more than once a week could motivate a homeowner to spend money on a replacement especially, if having made repairs to the flapper and fill valve didn't solve the issue.

Maybe your existing toilet has ugly scratches that make it difficult to clean. Maybe there are cracks in the tank or bowl that you're concerned will develop into a leak at the worst possible time.

The average cost to replace a toilet is around $400 with models ranging more and less based on the features and brands. Round toilet bowls tend to take up less room, are less expensive and better suited for children. Elongated bowls generally take more room, have more powerful flushing action, more comfortable, more stylish and cost more.

Replacing the shut-off valve for the toilet could be a good thing to do while you're replacing the toilet. Generally, it is as old as the toilet and having a reliable valve that works could be very convenient in a future repair or emergency.

There are a variety of videos on YouTube that could give you the confidence to do it yourself or simply, to have a better understanding of the scope of the project

Before You Leave Town...

by Audrey and Frank Serio, CRS

Before You Leave Town...

Along with all the planning of what you're going to do and where you're going to stay, consider this checklist to make you feel more comfortable while you're away from home.

  • Ask a trusted friend to pick up your mail, newspaper and keep yard picked up to avoid an appearance of not being at home.
  • Stop your mail (USPS Hold Mail Service) and your newspaper.

29938746-250.jpg

  • Don't post about your trip on Facebook and other social media until you return; some burglars look for this type of announcement to schedule their activities.
  • Do notify police or neighborhood watch - especially if you're going to be gone for more than just a few days. Let your monitoring service know when you'll be gone and if someone will be checking on your home for you.
  • Light timers make it look like someone is home. Set multiple timers for various times to better simulate someone at home. There are plug-in modules for lights and appliances that would allow you to control them from your phone while your out of town.
  • Do unplug certain appliances - TV, computers, toaster ovens that use electricity even when they're off and to protect them from power surges.
  • Don't hide a key; burglars know exactly where to look for your key and it only takes them a moment to check under the mat, above the door, in the flower pot or in a fake rock.

These easy-to-handle suggestions may protect your belongings while you're gone while adding a level of serenity to your trip.

A Word Homeowners Need to Understand

by Audrey and Frank Serio, CRS

A Word Homeowners Need to Understand

Acquisition Debt is the amount of money borrowed used to buy, build or improve a principal residence or second home. Under the new tax law, mortgages taken after 12/14/17 are limited to a combination of $750,000 on the first and second homes. The mortgage interest on this debt is tax deductible when itemizing deductions.

12844696-250.jpg

It is a dynamic number that is reduced with each payment as the unpaid balance goes down. The only way to increase acquisition debt is to borrow money to make capital improvements.

Prior to the new law, homeowners could additionally borrow up to $100,000 of home equity debt for any purpose and deduct the interest when itemizing deductions. Mortgage interest on home equity debt is no longer deductible unless it is for capital improvements.

Acquisition debt cannot be increased by refinancing. Some confusion occurs because mortgage lenders are concerned in making home loans that will be repaid according the terms of the note and using the home as collateral. That does not include making a tax-deductible mortgage.

Another thing that adds confusion to the issue is that the lenders will annually report how much interest was paid in a year but only the amount that is attributable to acquisition debt is deductible.

Even if the interest on the cash-out refinance is not deductible, it may be advantageous to pay off higher interest debt such as credit card debt and replacing it with lower mortgage debt.

It is the responsibility of the taxpayer to know what part of their mortgage debt is deductible. The challenge becomes more difficult after a cash-out refinance. Homeowners should keep records of all financing and capital improvements and consult with their tax professional.

Unexpected Expenses

by Audrey and Frank Serio, CRS

Unexpected Expenses

It's common for Sellers to consider offering a home warranty or protection plan to make their home more marketable. A growing number of homeowners are now purchasing this type of protection for themselves to limit the unexpected expenses of repairs and replacements.

34399062-250.png

A home protection plan is a renewable service contract that covers the repair or replacement of many of the components in a home. Some homeowners especially like the convenience that it organizes a qualified service provider as well as the cost of the repairs or replacements.

There are a variety of companies that offer home warranties and the coverage may differ but the majority of things will include heating, air conditioning, most built-in and some free-standing appliances, as well as other specific items. Additional specific coverage may be available for other items like pool and spa equipment.

Some investors are even placing this coverage on their rental properties to limit the amount of repairs during the year. It is a viable way to manage the financial risk and the stress dealing with unexpected expenses.

Call me at (302) 537-3171 if you'd like a recommendation of available programs.

Gift or Inheritance - Does It Matter?

by Audrey and Frank Serio, CRS

A person called into a radio talk program with a situation that was troubling to the caller and disturbing based on the potential tax liability that may have been avoided.

18732493-250.jpg

The caller’s elderly father had deeded his home to his daughter a few years earlier because in his mind, his daughter was going to get the home eventually and this would be one less thing to be taken care of after his death. The daughter didn’t really care because the father was going to continue to live in the home and take care of it so that it would be no expense to her.

Obviously, unknown to either the father or the daughter, transferring the title of a home from one person to another could have significant tax implications. In this case, when the father “gave” the home to his daughter, he also gave her the basis in the home which is basically what he paid for it. If she sells the home in the future, the gain will be the difference in the net sales price and her father’s basis which could be considerably higher than had she inherited it.

If the home was purchased for $75,000 and worth $250,000 at the time of transfer, there is a possible gain of $175,000. However, when a person inherits property, the basis is "stepped-up" to fair market value at the time of the decedent's death.  If the adult child had inherited the property, at the time of the parent's death, their new basis would be $250,000 or the fair market value at the time of death and the possible gain would be zero.

In most cases, there are less tax consequences with inheritance than with a gift. There are other factors that may come into play but being aware that there is a difference between a gift and inheritance is certainly an important warning flag that would indicate that expert tax advice should be sought before any steps are taken.

RE/MAX National Housing Report November 2014

by Audrey and Frank Serio, CRS
Published on Dec 3, 2014

RE/MAX researches 53 major metropolitan markets and analyzes the data to get a pulse on the US housing market. Here are some highlights from this months report. To download the full report visit http://www.remax.com/c/about/newsroom. For more information about your local real estate market and what these trends mean for you, contact Audrey and Frank Serio, CRS for more information on the Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island and surrounding resort areas. To get the latest listings as they hit the market free to your inbox just click here and customize your search.

 

 

Audrey & Frank Serio, CRS

REMAX By The Sea

Bethany Beach DE 19930

Direct: 302.537.3171

Frank@TheSerios.com

A Daily Email List of New Homes for Sale as they Hit the Market in Bethany Beach – Fenwick Island and the Resort’s Surrounding Areas!

Just Click Here…

The Importance of a Pre-Listing Home Inspection

by Audrey and Frank Serio, CRS

Prior to putting your home on the market it is a recommended that you have your home pre-inspected to avoid any potential problems or delays in the sale of your home and to also save you time and money.  The last thing you need when selling your home is to have negotiated a sale price with a buyer only to have an unexpected home inspection item that needs to be addressed prior to closing and costing you more out of pocket money.

Today’s home buyer’s will seek the services of a licensed home inspector to go through the home to insure that they know the quality of  the home they are buying and to have those items that need repair taken care of prior to closing.  Having a Pre-Listing Home Inspection performed will help solidify your contract and the buyers’ home inspector will confirm that they are buying a good, sound home.

We have had two situations recently where we recommended a pre-listing home inspection on homes we were listing for sale in the Bethany Beach-Fenwick Island resorts areas.  Both of the homes were rather new but still we recommended the pre-listing home inspection just to be proactive and avoid any potential problems when the home would go under contract.  In both cases the owner's felt comfortable with the quality of their homes and refused to have a pre-listing home inspection and in both cases there was a problem.

Now the seller's had negotiated their bottom line and then had to come out of pocket to pay for additional repairs.

If you are thinking of selling your home consider having your home pre-inspected.  you need to ask yourself a couple of questions;  Am I confident in the quality of my home that a buyer's home inspector will not find anything wrong with our home? and, Will I be able to pay for additional repairs after the contract has been negotiated?

We have prepared a checklist that can help get you get started with your own evaluation of your home and prepare you for the pre-inspection.  It is important to note that this is not a home inspection and should not be considered as an official home inspection but merely to be used as a reference sheet.

We will be happy to provide you with a list of licensed home inspector that will inspector your home and give you a full report.

 

Audrey & Frank Serio, CRS

REMAX By The Sea

Bethany Beach DE 19930

Frank@TheSerios.com

www.TheSerios.com

"Like"us on Facebook

 

Establishing An Email List Through Your Social Presence

by Audrey and Frank Serio, CRS

The economics of target marketing relevant information to the consumer is extremely effective and a benefit to any business or brand.  Through the advent and growth of social networks the consumer is already sharing information and engaging with the brands they trust and admire.  Being able to capture these consumers when they are interested and engaged becomes critical to the success of the marketing of the brand.  So, the challenge is, how do brands turn fans and followers into an email subscriber.

 

The answer here is to get the consumer's permission to have direct, targeted, relevant information sent directly to them.  Most consumers would confirm that the best way to get your brands message to them would be by email.  The brand then must maintain a level of engagement to keep the consumer interested.  A good way to think about this is to ask yourself, “If I received this email would I open it?”  A well thought out email campaign is critical to the ongoing relationship being established.

 

Facebook and Tweeter are ideal for converting fans and followers.  With Facebook create a call to action or widget with an opt-in form for the consumer to sign up to receive upcoming messages.  Create contests, give away coupons, free reports and any other information the consumer will find relevant.  Maybe have testimonials on the landing page of other consumers who are pleased with the information. 

 

This can also be accomplished through Twitter by using an abbreviated URL with a catchy description to get followers to click on the link and go to the brand’s landing page.  Tweet about contests, give-aways, exclusive offers, etc.  The consumers are following the brand for a reason and in most cases they will opt to receive what the brand is offering.

 

Very few brands do this and if your message is compelling enough your fans will request more information.  Do the same on your websites and blogs and you will find your email list growing pretty quickly with the most important consumers to your brand.

 

Frank Serio, CRS can be contacted at REMAX By The Sea, in Bethany Beach Delaware.

 

"Like" us at www.Facebook.com/TheSerios

For no obligation updates on new listings in the Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island Delaware resorts just click here, www.ListingUpdate365.com

 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 10

Contact Information

Photo of Audrey and Frank Serio, CRS Real Estate
Audrey and Frank Serio, CRS
Keller Williams Realty
33012 Coastal Highway
Bethany Beach DE 19930
Direct: 302.537.3171
Office: 302-360-0300 x 435