Sug Jandu's Blog
Most homeowners would love to be able to pay off their mortgage early. However, few see it as a possibility when they take into account their earnings and other bills.
There are, however, a few ways to pay down your mortgage earlier than planned. But first, let’s talk about when it makes sense to try and pay off your mortgage.
When to consider paying off your mortgage early
If you recently got a promotion, have someone move in with you who contributes to paying the bills, or recently got a secondary form of income, you might want to consider making extra payments on your mortgage.
However, having extra money doesn’t always mean you should spend it immediately on your home loan.
First, consider if you have a large enough emergency savings fund. It might be tempting to try and throw any extra money at your mortgage as soon as possible, but there are other financial commitments you should plan for as well.
If you have kids who will be applying to college soon, remember that student aid takes into account their parents’ finances. If your children plan on applying to institutions with high tuition, then your equity will be counted against you.
Refinancing to pay your mortgage early
Refinancing your home loan is one option if you’re considering increasing the payments on your mortgage. If you can refinance a 30-year loan to a 15-year loan with a lower interest rate, you’ll save money in two ways--your lower interest rate and the fact that you’ll be accruing interest for less time.
There is a downside to refinancing. Once you refinance, you’re locked into your new payment amount. So, if your higher income isn’t dependable, it might not make sense to commit to a higher monthly payment that you aren’t sure you’re going to be able to keep paying.
There’s also the matter of refinancing costs. Just like the costs associated with signing on your mortgage, you’ll have to pay closing costs on refinancing. You’ll need to weigh the cost of refinancing against the amount you’ll save on interest over the term of your mortgage to see if it truly makes sense to go through the refinancing process.
Paying more on your current loan
Even if you aren’t sure that refinancing is the best option, there are other ways you can make payments on your mortgage to pay it off years sooner than your term length.
One of the common methods is to simply make thirteen payments each year instead of twelve. To do this, homeowners often use their tax returns or savings to make the thirteenth payment. Over a thirty year mortgage, this could save you over full two years of added interest.
A second option is to make two bi-weekly payments rather than one monthly payment. By making biweekly payments you have the ability to make 26 payments in a year. If you were to just make two payments per month then you would make 24 total payments. Over time, those two extra payments per year add up.
131 Magazine Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
Many sellers aren’t sure how to give a positive spin to their small backyard. We imagine that most homeowners want a large expanse of green with various types of trees and maybe even room for a vegetable garden.
However, there are ways to make a small yard a good thing. After all, less yard means less grass to mow and water and worry over when drought hits.
In this article, we’re going to give you some tips on making your tiny yard appealing to buyers.
Making an area seem more spacious is often a matter of smart decorating. Just like you can make a room appear bigger with bright colors and mirrors, you can make a yard appear bigger with proper landscaping and outdoor furniture.
When it comes to patio furniture, keep it simple. You don’t need a massive set of furniture in a small yard, and filling your yard up with chairs will make it feel crowded.
Choose a few well-placed decorations for your yard, and keep it simple.
A good way to make a small yard feel more in touch with nature is to plant in containers. Sticking to a central theme with your plants will give the yard a sense of continuity and simplicity that will make it feel welcoming.
Container gardening is also a good option for people who live in arid areas prone to drought. You can choose drought resistant plants that are easy to maintain.
Landscaping is key
You know how a cluttered and messy bedroom feels small and unwelcoming? The same is true for a cluttered and unkempt backyard. Cutting the grass and trimming the trees and hedges will go a long way. However, also remember to not use your backyard as a storage space. Tools and equipment that aren’t put away will make the yard feel even smaller than it already is.
Set a focal point
Small backyards don’t need a lot of features and amenities. One key area is enough to satisfy the eye. Rather than choosing several small decorations, stick to one thing. Whether it’s a small box garden, a fireplace, or a well-placed tree, drawing the eye is one way to distract from the size of the space.
Small is a style
The last important thing to keep in mind is that houses with small backyards are usually found in locations where small backyards are expected. You wouldn’t dream of finding a large backyard behind a class brownstone in Brooklyn, and as a result, the small backyards of those builds have taken on a charm of their own.
If you aren’t sure about how to incorporate landscaping and decorations in your tiny backyard, look up some inspiration online for urban backyards that match the style of your home. This will attract buyers who are already looking for something that your home already has--character.
Paint is the magic elixir when it comes to inexpensive home makeovers. It rejuvenates space in a way few other things can do. Yet many homeowners have blinders on when it comes to the places they can paint. Namely, they only see the walls as a palette. Let's challenge that notion and remind you of a new way to use paint -- on cabinets.
Step One: Prepping
Whatever you do, don't skip step one — prepping. Though tempting to overlook, the risks of ruining your cabinetry if you do are simply too high.
To prep your cabinets, begin by labeling each cabinet opening and door front with corresponding numbers marked on painter's tape. This will save you countless headaches when it comes time to reinstall. You'll remove the labels before spraying with primer and paint, and then replace the tape when you're ready for reinstallation. You can place the labels just above wherever you've set the pieces to dry so you don't lose track.
Remove all hardware, including hinges and screws. If you're getting new hardware, it likely won't align properly, so be prepared to redo these holes later.
Wipe each cabinet front with a bonding solvent. Allow 1 1/2 hours of drying time before troweling a thin layer of spackling compound over the entire surface to fill holes, blemishes and wood grain pores. Use a second coat if deep holes are evident.
Next, it's time to sand. Doing so eliminates any existing sheen or protective sealant from your cabinets, thereby allowing primer and paint to bond appropriately to the surface. Fine-grit sanding blocks or pads work best for most cabinet and drawer fronts; however, rough-grit sandpaper is acceptable for cabinets with a lot of lacquer or shellac.
Step Two: Add Primer
After vacuuming or wiping down the cabinets, add primer using pigmented shellac sealer and a 2-inch brush. Pour about 1 1/2- inches of your primer into a small can and dip the brush about 1-inch. Press the brush against the side of the can to remove excess primer. Don’t wipe it across the rim, as this removes too much primer. Shellac dries quickly, so move fast and avoid going back over areas that have started to dry. Try to avoid heavy buildup and runs, but don't be overly concerned with uneven patches.
Step Three: Paint
Brush on the first coat of paint, then smooth it out with just the tip of the brush. Follow each layer by sanding lightly using a fine-grit sanding sponge.Allow at least 8 hours for each layer to dry before going over it again. Work from top to bottom to avoid dripping on finished areas. Likewise, paint the insides of the cabinets before moving to the outside. If any paint spills onto a finished area, simply dab it with a cloth dampened with mineral spirits.
Step Four: Reinstall Hardware
Finally, it's time to reinstall door hinges, handles, pulls, mounting plates, and other hardware removed for the project. Once this is complete, attach the door fronts and reset the cabinets in place.
Getting ready for a move or remodel can be stressful. Call, email or use the contact form on the site to schedule a consultation today.
Starting an extensive renovation or replacement of hardwood flooring can be costly. Thankfully, there are other ways to bring your floors back to life if they are not deeply damaged. If you want to give your floors a facelift, try out these tips.
Give It A Good Clean
Sometimes, all a dull hardwood floor needs to help it sparkle again is a thorough cleaning. To begin, remove furniture and rugs from the space. Lift your furniture to avoid additional scratches or damage. Once the room is empty, vacuum and wipe down the floor with a damp cloth. If your wooden floor is very dirty, use a gentle cleaning product, but in most cases, warm water alone works well. Take care to use cleaning products formulated specifically for wood surfaces. Consider steam cleaning but only if the seal on the floor is in good shape before you begin. Otherwise, the added moisture may worsen the condition of the floor.
Screening and Recoating
Screening and recoating your floor is an effective way to bring the sparkle to your old wooden floor without completely refinishing it. This process works well on floors that are not deeply damaged. The first step is to lightly sand the surface with a buffing machine to prepare the floor for a sealant like polyurethane. Hiring a buffer from a hardware store is reasonable if you have a large area of wood flooring in your home. Once the floor has been buffed, apply a new coat of finish. Be sure to allow for plenty of drying time before bringing your furniture back in. If you have a few smaller areas that are dull or distressed, you may be able to sand by hand then apply a sealant product with a rag.
Consider A Full Sanding and Refinish
If there are deep scratches or other similar damage on your floor, you may consider working with a flooring contractor for full sanding and refinishing. This project can be daunting, but the result is a consistent finish and color. For those that have engineered wood flooring, ensure the veneer or solid wood top layer of your flooring is thick enough to withstand a sanding.
Visit your local hardware store for supplies and advice if you choose to DIY. Otherwise, ask your real estate agent for recommended contractors in your area.