Updated: Monday, June 24, 2019
USDA Loans- Rural Financing Made Simple
These areas are officially designated by the United States Census Bureau. Every 10 years as the national census is taken, the USDA identifies new areas that qualify for the program. Nearly 97 percent of the entire country is eligible for the program. To find out if a home is in an approved area, you can contact a USDA approved mortgage lender who will research the area and determine whether or not the USDA loan is an option.
An individual canrsquo;t determine whether or not an area qualifies just by looking around. Most likely in an area where there are very few homes, itrsquo;s probably okay. But itrsquo;s your loan officer who can make that determination for you. The USDA loan does not require a down payment and is offered with competitive, 30 year fixed rate terms. There are no adjustable rate options for the USDA program. The USDA loan also provides a guarantee to the lender. Should the loan ever go into default, the lender is compensated for the loss. This compensation is financed with two separate forms of mortgage insurance, an initial premium which is rolled into the final loan amount and an annual premium paid out in monthly installments along with the mortgage payment.
What may be surprising to many however is where the loan can actually be used. The last census was taken nearly 10 years ago. And as suburban areas expand, itrsquo;s possible a USDA loan can be used to finance a property in an area that looks nothing close to being rural. The only other zero down loan is the VA home loan program but that is reserved for veterans and certain members of the military. The USDA loan has no such restrictions regarding membership in a particular group.
In addition to location there are also household income limitations. For most parts of the country the household income limitation for a 1-4 member household is 82,700 and 109,150 for a 5-8 member household, all 18 years or older. Note, this is household income, not the income of those appearing on the loan application. In certain high cost counties, the limits can be as high as 125,700 and 165,900 respectively for 2019.
Applicants will be documented much like any other loan program. To verify income, paystubs covering the most recent 30 day period will be needed along with the last two years of W2 forms. Self-employed borrowers can be expected to provide the last two years of income tax returns along with a year-to-date profit and loss statement. Though there is no down payment needed there will still be standard closing costs. Your loan officer can provide you with a list of estimated fees at your request.
For approved areas the USDA loan is the proper choice. Conventional financing will require recent sales of similar properties in the area, typically no more than one mile away from the subject unit. In rural areas, there are few if any such comparable sales. This is where the USDA program comes into play and designed to finance such properties in approved areas.
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Do Wine Cabinets amp; Cellars Increase the Value of Your Home?
According to Realtor.com, a wine cellar ranks highly among home buyers who have incomes greater than 150,000. In fact, 31 percent of these home buyers listed anbsp;wine cellar as their most desired amenitiesnbsp;when shopping for a home.
The other trend, beyond that of a wine cellar is an in-home wine room where homeowners and guests can store and sip wine at their pleasure. These rooms are climate controlled for optimal wine storage, meaning the temperature is likely between 55 and 65 degrees. They often contain seating, multiple wine cabinets, and various accessories to make enjoying wine more pleasurable.
Not only do wine cellars and wine rooms meet the expectations of many buyers in the high end housing market, homes exceeding 800,000 in value, throughout most of the country, but they offer homeowners an opportunity to add a little ldquo;wowrdquo; factor to their homes.
Some people have taken to using wine cabinets and other wine storage options as showcase piecesnbsp;in their wine cellars. While it is important to make your wine cellar your own so you can enjoy it fully, if yoursquo;re eyeing a higher resale value for your home, then you also want to make it somewhat universally appealing too.
Herersquo;s where things get tricky though. Many people purchase homes with the idea of it being a 10, 20, 30-year or longer investment. If yoursquo;re planning to live in your home, itrsquo;s not just about improving the value of your home for future owners. Itrsquo;s about improving the value of your home for yourself and the needs of your family. If wine brings you pleasure, therersquo;s no reason you shouldnrsquo;t have a wine cellar or a wine room in your home.
In fact, doing so could improve your perceived value of your home and your personal space within your home. It certainly lends elegance to your home, is impressive to your guests, and it allows you to secure and store your wine in a manner that maximizes its flavor and appeal.
The only time it may be in your best interests to avoid adding a wine cellar is if yoursquo;re planning to sell your home soon and it is in a lower price point. While home buyers looking at houses in the middle 500,000 range may appreciate a wine cellar in the home, that isnrsquo;t the practical guarantee it would be at higher price points.
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The Drain Game: Fixing Drain Problems
Signs of trouble
You have to prepared for signs of trouble. The slow-draining bathtub or sink is one of the biggest ones. Experts say you should also pay attention to any gurgling noises coming from your drain. The walls may not be able to talk, but your pipes and drains definitely can. If theyrsquo;re making a noise that seems off, then you need to pay attention.
In extreme scenarios, raw sewage can back up and come out of your sink or tub. No one wants that. If your toilet and shower are located next to each other, the pipes could clog in a way that redirects sewage into your tub. That sounds gross because it is. Ideally, yoursquo;ll want to call a plumber to come over before that happens.
There are times when you can clear your drain on your own, but a raw sewage backup isnrsquo;t one of them. If you have long hair, then yoursquo;re more likely to get hair clogs in the shower. Those can be removed with a drain snake and a bit of hard work. If using a drain snake and pulling up sludgy hair feels gross, look at install a hair catcher in your drain to keep it from getting washed down the pipes in the first place.
Pinpointing drain problems
Older plumbing lines often have more problems than newer lines. Theyrsquo;ve undergone more wear and tear over the years, so it makes sense that they wonrsquo;t be able to handle issues the same way they did 10 or 20 years ago. If you live in an old house with a lot of trees in the backyard, then you should be prepared for the possibility that tree roots are clogging up your drain.
If you never that of that possibility, yoursquo;re not alone. Roots are kind of underground by nature, so you can pass the same pine tree every day and never suspect that it might be wreaking havoc on your drain. The roots can get so tangled up with your pipes that yoursquo;ll need to hire a team of plumbers to come out and perform a professional drain cleaning.
In some cases, plumbers may need to lower a camera into your pipes to get a better idea of whatrsquo;s going on, though. That should not be the first thing they do as soon as they get to your house, though. Instead, they should try more low-tech methods before jumping to a >
If you feel uneasy about their proposed methods, that means you need to ask more questions and get some clarification. A quality plumbing company will be happy to explain the thought process behind whatever theyrsquo;re doing. A shady company will shrug off your questions and ask you to just sign the paperwork. Look for companies that are transparent and pleasant rather than enigmatic and surly.
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