Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Many factors go into deciding whether or not to purchase a home. But, if you are able to buy, it’s been proven to be the cheaper route. Trulia.com announced two weeks ago that in America’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, buying a home is more affordable than renting.
Asking home prices have risen by 2.3% year over year, however, rents have risen more (4.7%). This means that home prices are lower relative to rents than they were a year ago.
Mortgage rates have also fallen. The best rates this summer have been around 3.5%, while last summer rates were closer to 4.5%. With rates that low, it makes home buying a powerful option.
There are several other factors to take into consideration when making these calculations, such as tax deductions and the length of time that you plan to remain in your home. You get the best savings by staying in your home seven years or longer. Seven years is the average amount of time a homeowner remains in their property, so for most people, this cost savings will be high.
The decision to rent or buy a home is very personal. There’s a strong emotional component: some people want the security of homeownership and others want the footloose freedom of renting. Affordability is at an all-time high and renting is no longer viable as the cheaper option. If you are able to buy a home, now is the time to do it!
Monday, September 24, 2012
A cold front has moved into the area, just in time for the beginning of Fall. We’re just two days into the new season and already we’re starting to see the leaves fall and the temperatures drop. Kick off this new season by taking the time now to prepare your home for the cooler temperatures ahead. Taking the time to complete these tasks now will ensure that you and your home will have an easy transition into the coming months.
1. Inspect the roof, gutters and drainpipes. You may want to hold off until later in the fall (when most leaves have dropped) before cleaning the gutters, but doing a visual inspection now is a good idea. If any branches and leaves fell during summer storms, remove them so they don't cause blockages during autumn rains. Inspecting your roof now will leave ample time to have repairs or a replacement made before winter.
2. Have your chimney cleaned before you light the first fire. Check your fireplace for residual soot, blockage, or creosote. Schedule to have a professional come out and clean your fireplace before you strike up a match. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, move your firewood to a covered area for easy access. Make sure you inspect for insects before moving the wood, otherwise you’ll run the risk of bringing them into your home.
3. Tidy up the porch. Falling leaves means lots of yard debris to pick up. Sweep away any dead leaves or branches to create a warm and inviting area to welcome your guests to your home. Add some brightly colored flowers, like mums, to planters by the front stoop, or hang a seasonal wreath on your door.
4. Prepare your doorways with rugs and mud trays for dirty shoes. When the wet weather strikes, make sure your flooring is protected by large rugs and boot trays by entrances. Add a basket or small bins for papers and cold-weather accessories to help keep entrances organized and clutter-free.
5. Clean, repair, and put away all lawn furniture and equipment. Close down and drain all lawn fountains, sprinklers and hoses before the freezing weather hits. Clean and put away all lawn care tools. After the last use of the year, prep your lawn mower for the winter.
Do you have any other tips to prepare your house for colder weather?
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
This weekend kicks off the 14th annual Woodford County Repair Affair, sponsored by the Versailles-Woodford County Rotary Club. Ball Homes is proud to be a sponsor of this important event. On September 21-22, over 200 volunteers from around the area will join together to help the elderly, disabled, and low-income individuals in the community improve the safety and comfort of their homes.
The goal of this year's event is to provide home maintenance and repairs for 20-25 homeowners in Woodford County. Since 1998, this annual event has repaired over 271 homes and, as a result, has provided safe and secure living arrangements to homeowners. Over 2,500 volunteers have worked to provide this service through no cost to the homeowners. Volunteers are able to be involved in a variety of different facets of this project - from fundraising, to publicity, to applicant interviewing, to providing professional home repairs (including HVAC, electrical and plumbing), to doing general handiwork things like painting, cleaning out brushes, or removing shingles from a roof. We're looking forward to participating in this important cause!
Everyone loves a good before and after shot--check out these photos of the exterior of one of the Repair Affair homes from 2011. What a difference!
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Choosing the right flooring for your Ball Home can be a tough decision. It has a major role in the look, feel, and the ambiance of a room in your home. Flooring materials are more varied than ever and offers both fashion and function. But all the attractive new options may leave you feeling confused about what best suits your needs. Depending on your lifestyle, budget, and the amount of traffic your floor will endure, will dictate the perfect flooring for you. Below are tips and some questions to ask yourself when choosing the right flooring for your home.
Lifestyle: How you and your family live and use your home is the most significant factor in choosing flooring. If your family has heavy traffic, pets, kids, and is very active – plush carpet may not be ideal. Heavy traffic areas should consider resilient flooring, such as ceramic tile, vinyl, or wood flooring. While there are some pre-finished wood floors that have durable top coatings, laminate floors or ceramic tile get the nod here for being the most durable relative to scratches and wear and tear. If your home has minimal traffic, and you enjoy having softness underfoot, carpeting or area rugs over wood flooring may be ideal for your home.
Location in Home: Flooring that is at the entry or foyer of your home should have a “wow” factor, but be durable to outdoor elements. If snow, rain, and mud are a factor in the entry to your home, consider using durable flooring, such as tile or wood. Entry mats outside of the home should be placed to remove the majority of outdoor moisture; this will help keep your floors cleaner too! Flooring in bedrooms, and kid’s rooms should be comfortable for bare feet. Flooring in utility, laundry and bathrooms should be able to resist water. Hardwood and laminate wood flooring in not recommended in areas of high moisture, as warping and damage can occur.
Maintenance and Upkeep: It'd be great if there was such a thing as a zero-maintenance floor, but unfortunately, there isn't. Some level of work will be required to keep any type of floor looking good. If you prefer a mop-and-go approach, vinyl may be a better option in some areas of your home to keep cleaning time to a minimum. It’s easy to do a quick sweep of the vacuum over carpets, but lighter colors show more stains than a darker color does.
Cost: Flooring is priced per square foot and can add up quickly! All flooring materials have ‘grades’ of quality. Synthetic carpet is cheaper than Berber carpet that contains big and small tufts of pile. The plusher or more durable the carpet – naturally the more expensive it will be. When choosing carpet, don’t forget about the carpet pad beneath. The carpet pad will make your steps more comfortable, and will make your carpet last longer. Tile is very low maintenance and doesn’t usually have to be replaced, unless it cracks. Wood and laminate flooring has become more affordable over the years, due to new products entering the flooring market.
The type of flooring you choose for your home depends on a lot of different factors. Doing a little bit of research on the different types of flooring ensures that your floors will stay looking fresh and your home looking new!
Friday, September 7, 2012
New homes mean more options, newer designs, smarter energy usage, and that special brand-new, only-for-you feeling. They also mean lower maintenance, and fewer surprises.
Here are ten reasons that we believe that NEW is the way to go:
1. Choosing a new home means getting exactly what you want—not the finishes, colors, fixtures, and options chosen by the previous owners of an existing home. Everything’s brand new, from the tubs, showers, appliances, carpet, fixtures, and so forth, inside and out. It’s all new, fresh, and clean, and it’s never been lived in by anyone else.
2. Newly constructed homes offer the benefits of current preferences in colors, textures, and design, like warm earth tones, highly textured flooring finishes, and luxury surfaces like granite and wrought iron.
3. Building new means getting the benefit of choosing everything at once, resulting in a smooth and cohesive décor, rather than the mixture of styles and colors that can result from updating an older home over time.
4. Buyers of new homes get more modern conveniences without retrofitting an existing home. Phone and cable jacks in just the right places--including above the fireplace for that big TV— and options like home theater and even home automation systems that control lighting, security, entertainment systems, and more.
5. Its all ready when you turn the key in the front door for the first time. Sure, you can buy an older home and fix it up, but the time and hassle of arranging all that work, finding the right people and products, and working out budgets, schedules, and priorities can take all the joy out of owning a home— and take all your time and money. And that doesn’t even include living with the daily interruptions of life in a remodeling zone.
6. With a new home, you get exactly what you expect— no hidden repairs or surprises. Even better, new Ball Homes include warranties that protect the buyer from unexpected maintenance costs.
7. Today’s new homes are much more energy-efficient than even those built five or six years ago, which means you pay less for monthly utilities, and the environment benefits as well. Our Energy Smart Homes are better insulated, more tightly constructed, and more efficiently heated and cooled than older homes. In fact, they are independently rated to assure that they perform 15% better than the current building code requires.
8. Like everything else, evolutions in lifestyle and family mean that homebuyers need a home that keeps up with their needs. Flexible spaces are important features of new designs, like lofts and bonus rooms, and multi-purpose rooms like a downstairs study that can be configured as a guest suite with private bath. Even secondary bedrooms are much more comfortably sized, and storage and closet space are a priority in new floor plans. Check out our newest and most popular floor plans to see examples of what today's buyers are after.
9. Let’s face it, some days it’s tough out there, and we want our homes to be a place to relax, retreat, and recreate ourselves as individuals and as families. Covered decks and patios are in style, as more and more homeowners relax and entertain outdoors. Luxurious master baths with bigger and better fixtures, like 4 and 5 foot showers, and six foot tubs, are increasingly popular in new homes of all sizes and prices. Master suites are more spacious in modern designs, and often include a sitting area. Kitchens are made for serious cooking, with upscale cabinets, drop-in cooktop options, and even wine centers and butler’s pantries. The luxury options available in even a modestly priced new home far exceed what was being built even ten years ago.
10. Today’s homebuyers expect more than ever for their home-buying dollar, and great price-per-square-foot values are in high demand. Newly constructed homes from today’s floor plans mean better use of space, with more finished area over the garage, less empty second story space, and better overall value.