Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Sept. 29, 2022

Lightning Proofing Your Home

 

Big storms can be scary. With the wind, heavy rain, and the threat of even more extreme weather, they can also bring with them a lot of damage. While a lot of people make plans on how to react to some of the big dangers associated with storms, there’s one more common threat that often goes overlooked: lightning strikes.

 

 

To be fair, there’s a lot of folk wisdom about how unlikely it is to be struck by lightning (less than a 1 in 15,000 chance) and about how lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice (though it does). What this leaves out is that there’s a 1 in 200 chance that your home will be struck be lightning, or the amount of damage that one of these strikes can do. If you really want to protect your home and your belongings from the dangers of lightning, there are a few things you’ll need to do.

 

Protecting Your Home

The most well-known way to protect your home from a lightning strike is the installation of a lightning rod. These devices provide a simple but effective means of attracting lightning strikes and then diverting it to the ground instead of allowing it to strike and damage other parts of your home. They are an effective solution when it comes to direct lightning strikes, but you may be surprised to learn that even with a lightning rod in place your home can still suffer significant damage from lightning.

The problem is that lightning from nearby strikes can also damage your home as they gets conducted through wires, pipes, and other materials in your house. Unfortunately, a lightning rod isn’t going to help with this. Instead, it’s recommended that you have a whole-home lightning protection system that includes lightning rods as well as protection on main conductors, grounds, and other elements that can divert and redirect lightning electricity even if it isn’t coming from a direct strike.

Protecting Your Belongings

Another big issue with lightning strikes is that they can cause damage to a wide range of electronic devices in your home. Computers, televisions, and any other electronic device that’s plugged in can be irreparably damaged by a lightning strike and will have to be replaced. This is one reason that surge protectors and similar devices are so highly recommended, as they can help protect the devices that are plugged into them.

Whole-home surge protection systems are also recommended, as they can prevent a lightning surge from even reaching your outlets, preventing possible damage to your home’s wiring, and greatly reducing the likelihood that your devices will be damaged by a power surge before a power strip surge protector can trip its breaker. You should also take the time to unplug unnecessary devices during storms just in case, and to make sure that the surge protectors you connect your electronics up to feature transient voltage surge protection that place a hard limit of 1.5 times the normal voltage range, so that your belongings are protected against even non-lightning spikes and surges.

Overcoming the Threat of Lightning

One big thing that you should do to help protect your home and your belongings is to check your homeowner’s policy to make sure that it features protection from lightning-related damage both to the structure of your home and to the items within. While this is common in a lot of policies, this sort of protection isn’t always there, and it’s better to know what coverage you have before you need it. If you don’t have sufficient coverage, you should talk to your insurance agent to see what’s needed to increase the coverage your policy provides.

It’s also a good idea to talk to an electrician or other pro to get a lightning protection system professionally installed to make sure that it’s set up correctly. They can ensure that your system has everything you need to keep you safe in the event of lightning strikes on or near your home. The One Oak Real Estate Group can help connect you with pros in your area to get you set up, give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help.

Posted in Home Owners, Home Tech
Sept. 22, 2022

Trellising 101: Climb, Plant, Climb!

 

Growing a garden is the ultimate act of faith. After all, you never know if your plants will thrive or if they will cease to be long before reaching their full potential. Hopefully, with diligent care, and a little luck, your plants will grow big, strong, and glorious. When it comes to growing climbing plants (often referred to as “vines,” “climbers,” or “lianas”), two of the most important parts of their success are having the right kinds of things to climb and the right help to get started on their way up.

 

What Is a Climbing Plant?

The term “climbing plant” is kind of a giant catch-all term that includes a range of plants with long, flexible stems, and some mechanism that allows them to reach great heights in their native environments. However, some climbing plants will also just become shrubs if they have nothing to climb, and others will climb for a while, then set roots where they land before shedding their climbing tools all together.

But in most cases, when people think of climbing plants, they think of plants that are vining. These plants climb over structures and other plants using several different mechanisms. This can include stems that twist around supports, leaves that twist around objects or one another, curly tendrils that wrap around supports, long roots that help them cling to solid surfaces, or hooks like thorns that help them move upward.

Although it’s common to see vines sold as ornamentals, there are also a number of climbing plants that are part of the vegetable garden. For example, cucumbers and tomatoes are both vining plants, which makes them perfect for vertical gardening.

Trellising Vining Plants

Climbing plants can be easy to grow, if you give them appropriate things to climb and help them get a foothold when needed. Trellising a plant isn’t difficult, but choosing the right trellis can be sometimes. Not every plant will respond to every trellis, so it’s very important to consider the method by which your plant climbs before choosing a trellis for it.

For example, if your plant climbs with tendrils, it will do best with a wire trellis with frequent horizontal cross pieces. Because it needs to be able to reach up and wrap the tendrils around something substantial but narrow, the thick, flat trellises can be difficult for this type of vine to climb. On the other hand, if you’re trying to grow something that uses its roots to climb, like Virginia creeper, you need those trellises with the wide, flat components. It’s very difficult for this kind of plant to climb up narrow trellis material because it has to have some significant space and texture to allow it to really grab on with its roots.

So, whether you choose your trellis first (maybe you already have one in mind) or you choose your plant first, they need to be compatible. For many climbing plants, something as simple as mesh fencing can make a magnificent trellis.

How to Train Your Vines

Training vines to their appropriate trellises is surprisingly simple most of the time. As long as your trellis is close enough to the ground that your vine can reach it quickly in its growing process, often all you have to do is wait and let the plant do its own thing. If your plant is a bit more resistant, that’s ok, there are ways to encourage it to grow up.

A common technique for training vines onto a trellis is simply to wait for it to grow long enough for you to start winding it through the trellis material. Be very gentle, as you’ll need those delicate growing tips to remain undamaged, but loosely weaving it through the trellis as it grows will help it establish a framework for where it should be hanging out, so to speak.

With vines that need to attach to flat areas using their roots, you may be able to tie them on loosely until the root has firmly secured the plant. Use a cloth tie if at all possible to reduce the risk of damage to your plant. Before you know it, you’ll be able to untie the plant and let it get on with growing.

Are you Moving
Sept. 20, 2022

How to Keep Your Ductwork Clean

 

Your home’s HVAC system works hard throughout the year. Unfortunately, this can cause it to experience problems over time, often at a time when you’d really rather it not fail on you. This is why yearly maintenance and inspections are recommended, since a little bit of attention now can save you a whole lot of problems (and money) later on.

 

 

There’s more that you can do to help your HVAC system stay in good working order than just having it inspected and maintained, though. One of the big things that you can do to help is keeping your ductwork clean. This helps to prevent blocked airflow, keeps dust and other particles from being recirculated into the air, and overall reduces the strain on your HVAC unit as it tries to push air through the entire ductwork system. If you’ve never cleaned your ductwork before, here’s what you need to know to start.

 

Cleaning Your Ductwork

There are a few things that you can do to clean up your ductwork. One that’s often overlooked is actually vacuuming it out to remove built up dust, dirt, and other particles. You obviously can’t do this to the entire length of your ductwork, but removing vent covers and vacuuming around the vent area still makes a huge difference. Dust and debris tend to pile up here because some of it is trapped by the vent cover itself, and it mixes with debris and other items that might get dropped down the vent by mistake. When the air kicks on, some of this loose debris is circulated back into the house, bringing with it mildew and mold spores and a variety of other things that will either be breathed in or clog up your air filter. Vacuum it out now to help keep this from happening.

Speaking of air filters, they are one of your best tools when it comes to cleaning up your ductwork. Changing them monthly keeps them in good working condition, preventing a lot of the dust, dander, and other unwanted particles from making it into your ductwork in the first place. Set a schedule to change your filter, writing it on your calendar or setting up some other reminder so that you don’t forget. Once this schedule is in place, you’ll be amazed at how much of an effect this consistency can have on the state of your ducts.

Keeping It Clean

Cleaning your ductwork isn’t just a one-and-done event. You’ll still need to vacuum your vents periodically and stick with your air filter schedule to keep it clean. There’s more that you can do to help keep the ductwork clean and reduce the strain on your HVAC system, though. Things like installing a dehumidifier to reduce overall indoor humidity and dusting your home on a more regular basis can make a big difference, especially in the weeks following your initial cleaning to get any loose particles that you couldn’t reach with the vacuum.

Another thing that you can do to help keep your ductwork clean is to make sure that all your vents are open at least a little to facilitate air flow throughout the entire duct system. A lot of homeowners close vents in rooms that don’t see much use, but this actually increases pressure on the HVAC system and creates dead ends where dust and other particles can build up. By opening these vents at least partially, you can ensure good airflow throughout the house, and avoid situations where closed vents lead to buildup.

Ductwork Cleaning and Inspection

It’s already been mentioned how important HVAC inspections are, but you can actually get your ductwork professionally cleaned and inspected as well. This cleaning helps to ensure that the entire duct system is cleaned out, and the inspection ensures that there isn’t any damage or other issues that negatively affect airflow. The One Oak Real Estate Group can help you find HVAC pros in your area that offer ductwork cleaning and inspection services.

Sept. 12, 2022

Flood Clean Up Tips

 

When natural disasters hit, the effects are typically much more significant than you might first suspect. Sure, there is the immediate impact and potentially some damage resulting directly from that, but in most cases, there is also a significant amount of clean up and recovery that’s required afterward. This is especially true in instances of flooding where it can take weeks if not months or longer to get everything dried out and cleaned up.

 

 

So what should you do if your home is hit by flood waters? There are a lot of potential answers to this question, depending in large part on how severe the flooding was where you live. After all, getting some water in your house or basement is a much different situation than heavy flooding that damaged your foundation or broke windows and damaged walls. Assuming your home didn’t receive significant structural damage from the flood, here are a few suggestions to get you started with the cleanup process.

 

Dry It Out

Your first priority in dealing with flood cleanup is getting everything as dry as possible. Use pumps, buckets, wet/dry shop vacs, or other tools to remove as much water as you can, then wipe up or mop areas that still have a little bit of surface moisture on them. Set up fans to keep air moving to aid with the drying process, and open windows if possible to give water-laden air a place to go. For rooms that don’t have good ventilation, set up dehumidifiers to help remove moisture from the air. Getting as much water as possible out of your home quickly will help you avoid mold and mildew growth that is quite common after flooding.

If you’ve got mud, sludge, and other debris in your home, use a shovel or similar tool to scoop it up and remove it from the house. Try to get as much of it as possible while it’s still wet, because it will be much harder to remove once it starts to dry. Getting this sort of debris out of your house as soon as possible is also important to keep unwanted smells out of your home; mud and other debris can contain fungi, mold spores, and other materials that will break down and decay, so you want to get it out quickly if you can.

Keep Yourself Safe

There are worse things that can come from flood waters than just bad smells, so it’s important to keep yourself and your family safe during clean up and afterward. Flood waters can contain decaying materials, raw sewage, and materials that can cause a variety of illnesses, so it’s important that you try to protect yourself with gloves, masks, and eye protection while cleaning up after a flood. You should also shower and change your clothes as soon as possible after finishing clean up each day to avoid accidental contamination after the fact. Sanitize every surface you can, and anything that can’t be sanitized should be gotten rid of if it came in contact with dirty flood waters.

You should also keep in mind the fact that you don’t necessarily know what all is hiding in the debris you see in or around your home. Even if they’re not immediately obvious, objects with sharp points, jagged edges, and other potential hazards might be mixed in with everything that was deposited by the flood. Try to avoid picking up things directly unless you can confirm that it’s safe to do so, as even a small cut or other injury can introduce infection.

Call for Help

Don’t be afraid to call for help with your clean up and recovery. There are a number of recovery services available that can aid in cleaning up after a flood, and the One Oak Real Estate Group can help you connect with services in Prince George.

Sept. 8, 2022

What Kinds of Banks Issue Mortgages?

 

When you’re shopping for a mortgage, it can be tempting to just talk to the first person you meet, sign the loan documents, and be on your way. But before you do that, it’s actually pretty important that you ask what type of financial institution you’re dealing with, because they’re not all the same. Here’s a quick rundown of the main differences.

 

Traditional Banks

Traditional banks are exactly what you imagine when you think of banks. They’re big institutions that collect deposits, notarize things, and sell bonds to the public. With the funds from these activities, they also may lend their own money for the long term, or they may sell their loans to a secondary loan buyer like Fannie Mae to free up more cash.

With a traditional bank, you’ll often get a pretty good deal when it comes to fees, since there are no middlemen to pay, and a competitive lending rate. However, if you’re looking for special homebuyer programs, you’ll find that banks can’t always offer the same ones, and you may have to go to the specific bank offering the program you’re after. They can also be pretty picky when it comes to borrowers, and may not be willing to overlook blips on your credit report.

Mortgage Brokers

Mortgage brokers often get a bad rap, but they can be very useful if you’re looking for different kinds of programs to help with things like down payment assistance or loans that are far more forgiving of credit issues or high debt-to-income ratios.

You will pay a higher fee for using a mortgage broker, but sometimes that fee is worth the value they bring. Unlike with a traditional bank, mortgage brokers can match you with loans from a portfolio of banks, making it easier for borrowers to secure the mortgage loans they’re after. They can also often close very quickly, since they should know which lenders move quickly and which are slower to respond.

Credit Unions

Credit unions generally require borrowers to be members, but they can be valuable assets when it comes to securing a loan. Like a traditional bank, they typically loan their own money, or the money of credit unions in their network, but unlike a traditional bank, can often make unusual types of loans for specific circumstances. What each credit union will or can do will vary wildly between credit unions.

The fees with a credit union will typically be on the low side, but you may find that the lending is a bit slower and more tedious, since they may not make very many loans per year. This isn’t a bad thing, but it is a thing to be aware of if you need a quick closing because a previous loan or contract fell through and you’re scrambling.

Community Development Financial Institutions

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) are specially certified organizations that have a primary aim to increase access to financial services like mortgages for low-income communities and other people who simply lack access to financing. These organizations can be banks, credit unions, or even venture capital funds.

If you qualify for a loan through a CDFI, you’ll find that you’ll receive favorable terms, as well as low fees, but may also be limited in your options when it comes to lending programs. However, the loans you can get through these organizations are generally very flexible, making it significantly easier for less than perfect borrowers to qualify.

Looking for a Lender?

Look no further than One Oak Real Estate Group. We work with many different lenders to help our clients achieve their real estate goals. Give us a call!

Posted in Buyers
Aug. 29, 2022

Smart Switches 101

 

As smart homes become more common, some homeowners are going beyond basics like smart bulbs and assistant hubs like Google Home and Amazon Echo. This can take a number of forms, from the addition of smart electronics and security systems to sensors throughout the house that can recognize when people walk into rooms and adjust the lighting and other resources accordingly. One increasingly popular option is the installation of smart switches in lieu of simply relying on individual smart bulbs to control lighting.

 

 

So what are smart switches, anyway? How do they work? Can you install them anywhere, or are there specific things that your home needs? If you’re curious about smart switches and whether they would be a good addition to your home, here are some of the basics that you should consider.

 

How Smart Switches Work

At their core, smart switches operate like most standard light switches and can turn lights or other connected devices on and off. Given that the switches are smart devices, though, they can do significantly more than that. Smart switches allow you to control the lights remotely using either an app or voice control through a digital assistant or a third-party hub. Depending on the bulbs that you use with your smart switch, you may also be able to control the brightness of the lights (similar to a dimmer switch) or function as a three-way switch. It’s worth noting that unless the bulbs are designed for it, smart switches can’t give you the ability to control the light’s color the way that standard smart bulbs can.

Perhaps the greater benefit of smart switches is that they allow you to tie your lighting into a larger smart ecosystem without having to pair each individual light bulb to the network. This gives you greater control of your home as a whole and allows you to incorporate lighting into smart home routines without having to program a bunch of individual components. You can also pair your smart switches with remote controls, giving you a portable switch that lets you control your lighting even without accessing your overall smart home controls.

Smart Switch Requirements

There are two major things that you’re going to need to use smart switches in your home. Perhaps the most important is grounded wiring, as all smart switches require grounding to operate. If you’re upgrading light switches that weren’t grounded, you’ll have to ensure that a ground wire is available, or your new switches simply won’t work.

Once you’ve got your switches grounded, you’re also going to need access to a 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi network. While this is a standard Wi-Fi frequency, 5Ghz Wi-Fi is also increasingly common, but is not compatible with most smart devices (including modern smart switches). Almost all modern routers and wireless access points are capable of broadcasting on both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands, so if you don’t have a 2.4Ghz band currently at your home then it shouldn’t be too difficult to add one.

Installing Smart Switches

There are two aspects to installing smart switches: installing the physical switch, and connecting it to your Wi-Fi network. Installing the switch is similar to any other grounded light switch installation, so it’s certainly doable as a DIY project if you feel confident in your wiring abilities, but check with your code office to make sure you’re allowed to do this kind of work. Once installed, the switch can then be connected to your Wi-Fi network using the manufacturer’s smartphone app on a phone or other mobile device that’s connected to the same network that the switch will eventually use.

Since wiring a smart switch involves dealing with electricity, if you aren’t confident in your ability to install the switch, if your local code office requires an electrician for that kind of work, or if you need a wiring upgrade, then you should call in a professional.

Aug. 25, 2022

What Is a Deep Energy Retrofit?

 

 

Owning an older home can be a really amazing experience. Not only do you get to actually live in a slice of history, you’re also there to make decisions about this building that will stay with it potentially for generations to come (no pressure). But it’s not all pink toilets and clawfoot tubs; a lot of the most important calls in older homes are about energy efficiency.

 

 

Deep energy retrofits are becoming increasingly common for older homes, helping to turn these structures that can be absolute energy vampires into far more efficient versions of themselves. This is well beyond a little weather stripping, and can make a big difference to longer term performance.

 

Deep Energy Retrofit Versus Weatherproofing

Weatherproofing is vital for homes of all ages, just to make sure that your home is sealed as best it can be, and that the equipment you have is performing at its best. But weatherproofing usually involves sealing cracks, caulking trim, and making sure everything fits snugly together. Deep energy retrofits can go well beyond that, depending on your home, your goals, and what your experts have to say about it.

In a deep energy retrofit, sealing the holes is important, but so is upgrading materials that are fundamental for the energy efficiency of an older home, using materials that make it more on par with newer ones. For example, as part of a deep energy retrofit, you might replace all your windows with triple pane insulated glass unit windows, and insulate the underside of your roof to help prevent heat penetration into your attic.

You might also upgrade or completely change your HVAC system, for example, going from a boiler to a ductless mini split system or improving air flow by adding new air intakes throughout your home. The combinations are endless, and largely depend on your local climate and your home’s needs.

Problems to Watch for With Deep Energy Retrofits

Although deep energy retrofits can save you a lot of money in the long term, there are some issues with doing the wrong kinds of upgrades to your home. Some houses, for example, use a type of exterior wall structure that isn’t very compatible with spray foam. They actually need the air gap between the walls to help moisture evaporate away from your house.

Other homes might have never been intended to be sealed so tight, so older fixtures like gas stoves and furnaces may require additional ventilation to prevent build-up of harmful carbon monoxide gasses. Most older homes constantly exchange air with the outside world, which is why they may require significant modification to achieve a safe deep energy retrofit.

Because deep energy retrofits often require a rethinking of how the building envelope functions, they can be very time consuming and costly to complete. This isn’t a reason to not pursue one, but it is something to keep in mind while you’re planning out your upgrades. After all, it’s hard enough to live with a kitchen in chaos, let alone an entire house turned upside down. A “one section at a time” approach can work well.

Looking for a Deep Energy Expert?

Although most of the work involved in a deep energy retrofit can be easily completed by a brave general contractor or handyman, it’s important to get the right person for the job when it comes to these projects. Not only will your home’s individual needs be taken into consideration, you’ll be certain that other, less obvious things (like carbon monoxide buildup) are caught before they become an issue.

Aug. 17, 2022

Create Cool Summer Spaces With Awnings

 

If you have any kind of outdoor space, the chances are good that it’s the perfect place to hang out in only limited windows throughout the year. Although you probably imagined something like a backyard oasis when you chose your home, the reality is a little different when the sun gets a bit too bright and bears down a little extra enthusiastically.

 

 

That’s ok! There’s a solution for this very problem, and it’s a simple fix that can help transform that hot, bright patio or deck into a truly flexible outdoor haven. That’s right, it’s time to consider adding an awning to your home.

 

What Is an Awning?

Awnings were very popular features of homes prior to widespread air conditioning systems, and even persisted after central air was common to help shade windows and porches. You still see them as standard features on recreational vehicles, but they’re also coming back as important parts of a home’s exterior.

These large shades, made of materials like durable cloth or aluminum, are simple to install, relatively inexpensive, and create pools of shade immediately. Unlike trying to grow trees for shade, which can take years and years, or installing temporary shades like sail shades, awnings are fast and permanent solutions to your heat puddle woes.

In the past, they only came as fixed units, so once installed, they were where they were, even if you needed there to be more sunlight in the shaded space at certain times of the year. Today, however, you can choose between fixed awnings and retractable awnings, and even awnings that have remote controls to help you open and close them whenever you feel like it.

Retractable Awnings Versus Fixed Awnings

Because there are so many awning types available today, it can be hard to decide which one is ideal for your situation. Perhaps the most important question you need to ask yourself is if you’d be better off with a retractable awning or a fixed awning. Both have their pros and cons.

Fixed awnings are generally very sturdy, and can be less expensive because of the lack of additional mechanisms required to make them open and close. They don’t need a lot of maintenance because they have no moving parts, so besides the occasional wash, they mostly just hang around. Fixed awnings are great for patios that you’d like to shade year-round, or for places like above windows or doors that let far too much sun into your home.

Retractable awnings, on the other hand, can be an important part of your home’s climate management, even if they also double as shades for entertainment spaces. Because they can retract, you can close these awnings when the weather starts to cool off to allow the sun to help warm your home through passive solar heating. Even if you don’t need the thermal help, they can be closed before bad storms or heavy snows, leaving you with one less thing to worry about.

Freestanding Awnings Offer Flexible Solutions

If you’re not quite sure where you want your awning installed, or that you want it installed on your home at all, a freestanding awning might be the right solution for you. They’re great for backyards and pool areas, creating a lot of shade exactly where you need it, without being dependent on the location of a nearby wall.

Like building-mounted awnings, freestanding awnings come in a variety of materials, designs, and with retractable or fixed options. The only difference is that instead of being mounted on a building, they’re mounted on top of legs, much like a pop-up canopy. There is some risk with this design of wind damage, so if you’re in a windy area, make sure to choose one rated for high wind speeds and mount it securely to the ground.

Aug. 11, 2022

How Does a HELOC Work?

 

 

With home values having risen dramatically in the last few years, many homeowners are looking for ways to tap their equity without selling their home or refinancing their primary mortgage. If your home has gained significant value since you purchased it, or you’ve just paid so much of the mortgage down that you’ve got ample equity to work with, a second mortgage on your home might make sense.

 

 

Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) are popular options for homeowners in this very situation. They’re flexible loans that give you a lot of options and time to decide what you want to do with your equity, but they can also be a bit confusing because they don’t work like a more traditional home loan.

 

HELOCs Are Lines of Credit

The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to a HELOC is that, unlike a traditional home equity loan, HELOCs are lines of credit. That means that they work much more like a credit card than a mortgage. You’re approved for a line of credit that represents the maximum amount of money you can charge to your HELOC (just like with a credit card), and your payments are based on how much of that line of credit you’ve used.

If you max out your HELOC, you can pay it down and charge again, just like with a credit card. Unlike a credit card, however, your home is being used as the security for this loan, so if you get in over your head, your home is at risk of foreclosure. So you must be very careful with this particular kind of credit line.

HELOCs Have Two Separate Loan Periods

HELOCs start out their lives as open lines of credit, allowing you to charge or pay off as much as you wish at any given time. You’re usually expected to make at least an interest payment each month, but beyond that, you can charge a lot or a little and only pay based on the percentage of the credit line you’ve utilized. This is known as the “draw” period.

This period of the HELOC, where it functions as a line of credit, is usually about 10 years, but can be more or less, depending on the loan you take out. Immediately following this period, your HELOC becomes a set loan, and you can no longer charge anything else to the line of credit.

In the repayment period, your HELOC becomes much more like a traditional second mortgage, with a payment that’s based on the amount of credit you ultimately used during the draw period. From here on, your payment is more or less fixed, but can vary if you have an adjustable rate loan. The repayment period is usually about 20 years, but, again, can be different based on your agreement with your bank.

There is often a balloon payment due at the end of the repayment period, so if this is a concern for you, make sure that your loan either will fully amortize or that you’re paying extra each month to ensure your last payment takes your note to a zero balance.

HELOC Requirements

Like other home equity loans, you’ll need to be able to qualify for a HELOC with a reasonable credit score (ask your lender for specifics), a debt-to-income ratio of about 40% or below, and a high amount of home equity. Most lenders won’t lend more than about 85% of your home’s equity back to you, in case of default.

Of course, there are exceptions to all of these rules of thumb, so it’s very important to consult with multiple lenders before you make your final decision on who will be servicing your HELOC. You’ll also need an appraisal to assess the current value of your home, as well as minimal closing paperwork to finalize and record the loan.

Posted in Home Owners
July 14, 2022

Considering Building a Wine Cellar?

 

Whether you enjoy an occasional glass of wine or consider yourself a connoisseur, you know the importance of storing your wine properly. Wine is perishable after all, so unless you buy wine only when you plan on drinking it, you need a good place to keep your bottles until you’re ready for them. Some people use small wine fridges or similar devices, but if you fancy a nice collection of wine then you might be thinking of installing a wine cellar instead.

 

 

Wine cellars were once considered something of a status symbol, but they’ve become much more common over the years as quality wines have become more accessible. Some people even install them because they’ve gotten into winemaking as a hobby and want somewhere safe to store their creations. Whatever the reason is that you’re considering a wine cellar, here are a few things that you should add in with your considerations.

 

Wine Cellar Benefits

There are definite benefits to having a wine cellar, whether it’s a small rack or a large storage area. A well-built wine cellar controls the temperature and humidity around your wine bottles, keeping the bottles’ corks from breaking down and preventing the wine from spoiling in the bottle. Wine cellars also reduce the effect of vibrations on the bottles, keeping them secure and helping to prevent sediment from being disturbed and ruining the wine’s quality.

Wine cellars can also help with organizing a wine collection, especially if your collection is still growing. The racks in the cellar allow for organization and labeling, and many are designed so that you can easily view the labels of your best bottles if you want to show off your collection as well. Even if you don’t have any high-value wines to show off, just having that secure storage space will allow you to buy multiple bottles of your favorites at once so that you can keep them on hand while enjoying discounts for buying in bulk.

Home Value Considerations

Adding a wine cellar to your home can also improve the home’s overall value, even if you’re not installing a large cellar. This is most evident if you list the home for sale and a wine enthusiast is a potential buyer; they’ll obviously know the value of having good wine storage built in, and it might be a major selling point for them. That value only goes up if your wine cellar is designed as a display piece as well as storage.

Even for those potential buyers who don’t drink a lot of wine, a wine cellar can be a positive in the home. Built-in storage that’s designed for temperature and humidity control can serve a lot of uses, and potential buyers could easily convert wine racks to shelving to make the wine cellar into something of a cool storage solution. And who knows? Maybe buying a home with a built-in wine cellar could kick off someone else’s desire to create a wine collection.

Building a Wine Cellar

Depending on the type of wine cellar you want, the budget you’re working with, and the amount of space you have available, there are a few different ways you can approach wine cellar installation. Building a wine cellar in your home could be as simple as installing a few racks in an empty nook or as complex as overhauling part of your basement as a home for your wine collection.