Is My Home in a Flood Zone?

A home’s risk of flooding—from hurricanes or a huge downpour—is probably not the first thing you’d think to check. Ideally, you want to size up this potential and take precautions if necessary well before you might end up underwater!

Most homes in high-risk flood zones are near a body of water. For instance, the Gulf Coast is one of the U.S. regions most vulnerable to hurricanes that cause flooding. Yet more than 20% of flood-related home insurance claims happen in non-flood zones, so no one should assume they’re safe.

And due to climate changes, flooding may also become more common. According to Popular Science, “Nearly 15 million American properties are at substantial risk of flooding in the next 30 years, and more than three million are almost certain to be underwater at some point in that time.”

So how can you find out if your home is in a flood zone—and if it is, how can you assess the size of this risk and what protections can you put in place? Whether you own a home or are looking to buy, here’s how to figure that out.

Crucial Questions to Ask a Real Estate Agent When Selling Your Home

To start, hire a fantastic listing real estate agent. These professionals will have the tools and background needed to help you sell your home in today’s quickly changing market.

It’s smart to be picky! A great real estate agent can help find buyers to sell your home fast, and for the most money. Make the wrong choice, and your listing might languish. Then, the lowballing bargain hunters come circling—it’s not pretty.

But there are specific questions to ask so that you can pinpoint the right professional for you.

Here are some important questions to ask your agent when selling your home, from sales plans to listing costs.

How To Add Value to Your Home Without Draining Your Savings Account

You might find that now is not the right time to buy a new home. Instead, it might be time to love the one you already own.

Need a little help feeling good about staying put for the time being? Then perhaps, it’s time for a remodel project to turn your house into the home you’ve always dreamed about.

Before you run away screaming at the thought of renovating, read on.

A remodel could increase the overall value of your home, which would be beneficial if you consider selling in the future. (And maybe a home face-lift will make you want to stay put.)
It’s possible to embark on a home remodel project without draining your bank account. Here’s how.

Signs You’re Buying Land That’s a Money Pit

When homebuyers tour potential homes, most can spot obvious problems like a bad grout job in the bathroom or an outdated kitchen. But do you know what to look for outside the house, on the land beneath your feet?

Land is more of a mystery to homebuyers, since variables such as soil quality and proper drainage aren’t easy to eyeball. Still, it’s important to get the dirt on it, since it can hide a variety of issues that can cause major problems for the homeowner and be costly to fix (if it can be fixed at all).

To help you ferret out these expensive issues, here are some red flags that can commonly be found lurking on a bad piece of property. 

What Is a Realtor?

Realtor®, real estate agent, broker—it’s hard to keep up with all the lingo involved in a real estate transaction. A good place to start is by learning what a Realtor really means.

What is a Realtor?

Realtors are licensed real estate agents that belong to the National Association of Realtors®, the largest trade group in the country. Every real estate agent is not a Realtor, but most are. If you’re unsure, you can ask your agent if he or she is a licensed Realtor.

Read more HERE.

What Is Knob and Tube Wiring, and Is It Hiding in Your Home?

What is knob and tube wiring? While it might sound like a bad 1990s indie band, it’s actually an outdated electrical system that’s still found in many old homes in the United States.

Often abbreviated as K&T, this early standard—widespread in residences built from the 1880s to the 1930s—is often considered a hazard today, depending on how it was installed.

So if a home you’re hoping to buy has it, you’ll want to have it examined closely and possibly replaced. Why?

Here’s everything you never knew you needed to know about ye olde knob and tube.

Who Pays the Real Estate Commission and Closing Costs: The Homebuyer or Seller?

Do you know how much an average real estate agent commission is? Or who pays real estate agent fees and closing costs?

Though most homebuyers and sellers might not be able to tell you what these fees are, they’re fairly critical to the real estate agent working for you. These fees are how most real estate agents are paid.

So in real estate, who is responsible for paying commissions and fees: the homebuyer or the home seller? How much, on average, should you expect it to cost, and what other fees are you responsible for when you buy or sell a house?

Read more HERE.

Homebuyer’s Guide to Offers and Winning a Bidding War

There are signs that the housing market is easing off the record-high prices it’s seen during the past few years, but bidding wars for homes are far from over—especially in competitive markets. And the difference between landing your dream home and going back to square one can come down to something as silly as minor misunderstandings or misinterpretations of real estate lingo.

Take, for example, the subtle difference between the terms “highest and best” and “best and final,” which are used to describe the types of offers a buyer makes on a house. Many home sellers are asking buyers to submit one of the two types of offers in anticipation of—or amid—a bidding war.

Are you sure you know the difference between these two types of offers? Read on for the definition—and for savvy tactics from real estate experts—so you can put your best foot forward and land the home you have your heart set on.

Budget-Friendly Ways To Update Your Bedroom

The bedroom is a private retreat that should evoke a sense of calm—but getting to this sweet spot can take some work. Renovating your bedroom might be the solution, but a small budget or the fact that you rent might get in the way.

Still, you don’t have to settle for a hot mess in the boudoir. With some savvy updates and even DIY fixes, your resting place can be the haven you’ve always dreamed of and deserved.

To help, check out the advice gathered from design pros so you can upgrade your bedroom without the mess and cost of full-on renovations.

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