Category Archives: Real Estate

Private Mortgage Insurance: What is it and How to Get Rid of It?

Mortgage LoanLenders recommend that first-time homebuyers place a 20 percent down payment on their mortgages for several reasons. For one, the 20 percent down payment assures lenders that you can pay off your home loan completely.

Secondly, on your side of things, finance expert notes you can build equity faster on your home. Nonetheless, many homebuyers today opt for down payments less than 20 percent. In turn, lenders require them to pay private mortgage insurance.

What Is PMI?

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) becomes an added cost to your mortgage if you place less than 20 percent down payment. You can expect your monthly mortgage payments to increase because of PMI.

PMI protects the lender in case you default on your mortgage; if you do, the insurance policy will pay off the rest of the loan to your lender.

How Can You Avoid PMI?

Now, PMI may seem like an added worry for you if you place less than 20 percent down payment. You can consider putting 20 down to get a mortgage, no PMI, but 20 percent down payment can be a great deal of cash.

Alternately, you can go with a less than 20 percent down and build up your equity to 20 percent to have PMI canceled.

How Can You Remove PMI?

Fortunately, you can eliminate private mortgage insurance faster through different means. Once you have paid your mortgage for a few years already, and your home’s value has increased within that time, you can refinance to a lower mortgage rate for lower monthly payments.

The refinance will also remove the PMI. You can also pay down your principal little by little. Pay what extra you can pay every month or every year to build up your equity faster.

Alternately, you can also finance a remodel that will increase your home’s market value. A higher home market value can mean lower loan-to-value ratio (LTV). Around 80 percent LTV will be enough to remove PMI.

Private mortgage insurance may now appear less daunting than it first seemed. With the methods above, you can quickly cancel that insurance policy.

Collective Enfranchisement Explained

Property personnel talking to a lease holderIf you hold a long lease on your house or flat, you may be entitled to join together with other residents to take over the freehold from the freeholder. This is called collective enfranchisement.

Collective enfranchisement is a complicated business and the assistance of an experienced mortgage solicitor in London, like Saracens Solicitors, is really helpful.

Some terms and roles explained

First, let’s be clear about the terms involved:

  • Leasehold property, this is where someone has a long-term lease or ownership of a property but not the land on which it stands. The property is usually a flat but could be a house, especially if there is shared ownership involved;
  • Leaseholder, the leaseholder is the occupant of the property. They normally pay a fee to the freeholder for the upkeep of the common ground;
  • Freehold, outright ownership of a property or piece of land;
  • Freeholder, the owner of a property or land on which it stands.

To learn about everyone’s rights and responsibilities in these cases, it’s helpful to have a mortgage solicitor in London.

The steps involved in collective enfranchisement

The exact procedure depends on the group and buildings involved. The conditions are quite specific, which is why it’s handy to have a mortgage solicitor in London to help with the details.

Generally speaking, half or more of the leaseholders within a block of 4 or more flats join together and instruct a surveyor to produce a valuation. This is used to make an application to the freeholder for purchase. The mortgage solicitor then advises on the best way to enact co-ownership of the property. This normally entails setting up a company for the purposes of sharing the leasehold. An agreement between this many parties needs to be very clear to avoid future struggles. The solicitor makes an application to the freeholder, which they then accept or challenge through the courts.

The leaseholders are required to pay the costs involved, including reasonable costs incurred by the freeholder.

Advantages of collective enfranchisement

Collective enfranchisement, while fraught with its own issues, is often a good solution to the experience of poor management of a building. It can also raise the value of a property because tenants can make enhancements without relying on a freeholder.

Why You Should Focus On Maintenance Rather than Repair

Air Conditioning in Salt Lake CityA simple routine maintenance can minimize costs when your air conditioner starts to break down. Its parts work as a unit and there’s a chance that you’ll need to replace your AC in case one component malfunctions. Think of how inconvenient and costly that would be, especially if you run a business.

For Salt Lake City companies, like All Hours Plumbing and HVAC, it’s important to educate their clients that repairing their air conditioners when they break down is not enough. Instead, giving them regular care will result in a long service life.

 Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Let’s say your AC malfunctioned and you started looking for tips to repair it by yourself. You’re thinking this could save you a lot of money instead of hiring professionals to fix it. Do-It-Yourself troubleshooting can only do so much, and that’s if you’re willing to tinker with your unit to clean filters or replace a fuse without fussing over getting electrocuted.

If a quick fix works, then it would probably be the fulfilling for you. The point of regular maintenance, however, is not only preserving your AC and increasing its efficiency. It’s about preventing breakdowns and the frequency of which they occur.

Yes, it’s all about prevention. While it’s impossible to stop HVAC systems from ever failing, a good maintenance plan can do wonders. Maintenance Is King

It could be as simple as cleaning clogged filters and drain passages, but it’s one of the simplest ways to keep a unit running. Shutting it down frequently makes it work too hard. Keep in mind that all the heating and cooling requires a lot of effort from its components. Think of your car, for example. It takes more gas for it to move from a state of rest.

The point is that too much focus is on repair while regular maintenance is often overlooked. In the end, it could prove more valuable as it can save you more money. You don’t want to spend on a new AC system every few years.

Springtime Sadness: Plumbing Problems Uncovered

Plumbers in Eagle Mountain

Winter is making its way out and it’s time for the flowers to bloom once again.

Include plumbing maintenance into your spring cleaning checklist because while you’ve dealt with winter problems a few months before, how sure are you that the cold breeze and snow didn’t do any damage to your plumbing systems? Here are some problems brought on by the aftermath of winter; check these out before calling a certified plumber within your area of Eagle Mountain.

Basement Flooding

Springtime brings heavy rains – as well as melted snow, which means you have to make sure that you protect your home from the water that may seep into your home and flood certain areas, such as the basement. Basement floods can be very expensive, which is why you need regular maintenance, especially on the sump pumps.

Cracked Pipes

In cold climates, leaky faucets are very common, especially after leaving hoses on the bib during the winter. Make sure that you check for leaks and have your local plumber replace these for you before it causes some serious water damage.

Sink and Bathtub Backup

Apart from leaky faucets, clogged drains are also common during spring because it sees a lot of use during the winter season. There’s a possibility of your drains backing up and producing a bowlful of sticky sludge.

There are many things that may clog your drains during the winter, bath bombs, oils, and even dog fur, especially when you’ve been bathing your dog during the winter. Leaving bacteria and waste stuck inside the pipes produce a stench, especially when coupled with warm temperatures.

Just because your neighbor is a handyman and can fix anything by himself, doesn’t mean that you should, too. While these issues are easy to fix by yourself, there are still risks of doing further damage to your plumbing system, which means more expensive repairs. Once it comes to your attention that your plumbing needs maintenance, call a trusted and reliable plumber immediately.

Vinyl or Wood Plantation Shutter, Which is Perfect for You?

Shutters Plantation shutters highlight a sequence of adjustable louvres that enable light and air to come into a home. At the same time, it preserves a sense of security and privacy. Residents typically use it outdoors since it can function as a decoration, or it can shield against changing weather and storms. Even though the preferred pieces are always plantation wood shutters, vinyl is now another material that has entered the market.

Differences in Colour

Wood plantation shutters offer a wide array of colours, finishes and species. The manufacturers can stain or paint them to alter their appearance whenever you need a new feature in your home or to balance out your decor. Meanwhile, vinyl plantations only come in neutral shades and they cannot be refinished, stained or painted.

 Variation in Strength and Size

When it comes to strength, vinyl has nothing compared to the durability of wood. They even come in different sizes and shapes than their vinyl counterpart. The manufacturers reveal that they can only create vinyl not larger than 29 inches wide for the material is not sturdy enough to withstand this length.

It does not even matter if your window is smaller than the maximum length allowed because vinyl still needs support members like divider rails. However, this will ruin the traditional appearance of the shutters. Residents with huge windows should opt for wood plantation shutters to prevent issues with bending or sagging louvres.

Contrast in Costs

When it comes to the cost of purchasing plantation shutters, vinyl is the sure winner as it is more affordable than its counterpart. Manufacturers even reveal that residents can get at least 10 to 30 percent savings if they choose vinyl.

Determine the upsides and drawbacks of each material that perfectly suits your home. This will prevent you from having regrets in the future and keep you from unnecessary expenses if you decide to replace it.

Safer Way to Install Christmas Lights This Season

Christmas Lights In MinneapolisWe all know that Christmas won’t be complete without the blinking Christmas lights in our homes. These actually bring Christmas spirit in every home. In the US, 80 percent of the homes put up their Christmas lights early just to feel the budding excitement that comes along with the holidays.

However, with the lack of safety installation procedures, your holiday night glitters could turn against you. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), around 240 American homes get burned by Christmas lights every year due to careless installation.

So for you to stay safe this season, here are some effective measures for more enjoyable holiday lighting: 

Brighter Lighting 

  • Buy only those that pass the UL (Underwriters Laboratories). You can find the UL mark that signifies the item passes the standards of safety and quality.

  • For used lights, check and double check the wires. If wires are broken or frayed, buy a new one. Christmas lights don’t cost much.

  • Buying outdoor or indoor lights? Ask for assistance. Indoor lights when used outdoor is not good news.

  • Don’t hang the lights where things can easily get burnt like paper, nylon curtains, and so on.

  • Never use thumbtacks, nails or staplers in fixing the wire to the wall. Use insulated or plastic wire holders instead.

If you want to know more about how to install Christmas lights safely, do some research. Learn from those who have too much experience with these things. You may even learn how to craftily organize your lighting system to create a fantastic array of colorful blinkers.

Got a Large Home to Light?

If you have a very large home, a yard, office or business establishment in Minneapolis and around St. Paul metro area that you would want to make it alive with amazing lighting displays, you can hire a company that specializes in installing safe Christmas lights in residential properties.

With them, you are ensured that you only get installed legal and safe lightings that pass UL standards. And they have lighting artists as well. They can give you the most adorable lights to make your home more vibrant. So alive that your neighbors may even envy your home’s Christmas ambiance. Isn't that cool?

The Secret to Clean Blinds: Know the Types

Blinds TypeWindows improve the interior of your home. More often than not, however, cleaning them regularly do not make it to your list of chores for the day. Cleaning them is not a hard chore.

Make your home in Brisbane even more welcoming! Get ready and be inspired to clean your roller blinds with these ideas. 

Know your blinds type

There are different types of window blinds. The first step to properly care for your blinds is to know which material they are made of, reminds an expert from Image Blinds. For blinds made of fabrics, use a light brush, vacuum them or soak them in water with soap occasionally to make them squeaky clean without ruining the quality.

Blinds made of wood, on the other hand, can be cleaned using dusters or using a vacuum cleaner. They should not be soaked in soap and water. For aluminium blinds, an occasional cleaning with warm soapy water can restore its shine. For faux-wood blinds, dusting is enough. But when your faux-wood blinds are in the kitchen and are covered with grease, mix a part of vinegar with water. Use a cloth to clean the blinds.

There are different blinds type, be sure to know which method to use for which type of material to ensure a lasting quality for your blinds. 

DIY cleaning materials 

Because of its delicate material, specialised blinds cleaning solution and materials are sold in the market. Mixing water and vinegar and using it for cleaning will save your blinds from strong and harmful substances usually found in commercial cleaning solutions.

It may not always make it to your list of chores for the day, but cleaning your blinds is something worth doing regularly.

How Do Skyscrapers Stay Upright?

SkyscrapersDubai’s Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest building, stands at 2,723 feet from base to tip. Take that in for a moment. That’s about as tall as a low-rise mountain, for goodness’ sake. And the upcoming world’s tallest building, the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is said to be at least 3,280 feet tall. That’s almost one kilometer.

Ever wondered how in the world these buildings stay upright? Well, the folks over at MPFP sure do, like others in their field. Today’s mega-tall skyscrapers require unimaginable feats of engineering and architectural ingenuity to become a reality. Here’s a look at what their construction entails.

Forces of Nature

Nature is the mega-tall skyscraper’s biggest enemy. It all begins with the foundation. But know this: many skyscrapers are actually not built on solid ground. One example is London’s 95-story Shard Tower, which stands on soft clay. To be able to stand, its foundations go deep underground — a monumental concrete slab held up by hundreds of concrete piles supports the Shard. These piles go 173 feet beneath the earth. In cities with more solid ground, piles only go as deep as 52 feet.

Next up is gale force winds. Up there in the atmosphere, wind speeds can get crazy enough to topple anything or blow planes off course. An extremely sturdy skeleton, either inside or outside, is needed for this purpose. China’s upcoming 1,535-foot Chengdu tower has an exoskeleton to help it resist winds. Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, on the other hand, has an intricate inner frame keeping it upright.

But it doesn’t stop there. Believe it when you’re told that these buildings sway in the wind (it’s also true in the case of earthquakes). The ability to go with natural forces lessens the stress on the entire building. So if you feel like the floor is moving while on the 38th floor of your office building or in your penthouse suite, that’s why. Some even use actual counterweights (like New York’s Citigroup Center Building). These weights are moved by a computer system based on which direction the wind comes from. The result is a “smart” building that adapts to the forces of nature.

Buildings seem to be only getting taller. Who knows? Advances in engineering and architecture might make 2-kilometer-tall skyscrapers a reality.

Safer Store: Reducing the Hazards in Your Retail Store

HVAC SystemIt’s a known fact that people are drawn to people or things that make them feel safe. This assumption applies well to business, too.

Connect Building Services says that a safe store is a strong business. A foolproof store design, which encompasses ergonomics and security, will not only keep your goods. What’s more important is that it protects your workers and customers. Though not directly seen, this translates to a better reputation. From guaranteed commercial electrical supplies from Sandy to store barricades, investing in things that will help reduce hazards in your store will be all worth it.

Keep the Fire Away

Just because you don’t sell gas or flammable fluids doesn’t mean that you’re free from fire risks. Items that depend on wiring may become sources of fire. To prevent this catastrophe and casualties, make sure that your store is compliant with commercial regulations on fire. Have a fire extinguisher and come up with fire escape plans.

Prioritize Disaster Planning

Disasters cannot be controlled. But that does not mean that you can’t do anything to protect your workers and customers. When it comes to storage, make sure that the boxes are stacked securely. In the case of flash floods, there should be a room above the store that people can stay in. Similarly, a sturdy basement can protect people from the wrath of wind-based calamities, such as storms and tornadoes.

Don’t Forget the HVAC System

Air quality is of utmost importance when it comes to store safety. As your store is peopled by hundreds or thousands of customers each day, you can’t be so sure that the air is pure. To reduce the pollutants present in the air, improve your store’s ventilation and install sophisticated HVAC systems.

Planning your store’s safety should be at the top of your list. Don’t forget to work with a reliable contractor.

3 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal Effectively

Improve Your Home's Curb Appeal in UtahCurb appeal is one of the most important characteristics of any property to make sure you’re giving your guests and neighbors a good impression. Your exterior areas are the most visible areas of your home, so it’s only natural to want to keep it as clean, beautiful, and appealing as possible.

Here are some simple yet creative ways to add curb appeal to your home and make it look uniquely yours.

Clean the Pathway

The pathway leading to your door is important because this is where your guests will pass by. If it’s dirty, chances are your guests will already have a poor impression of your home. If you mow the lawn, trim the shrubs, and arrange the flowers and plants, they will see it as a wonderful pathway to a sanctuary. Greenside Landscaping says that you can apply lawn fertilization in your Utah landscape to make this happen.

Update the Windows

The front door is a focal and important part of your exteriors, but that doesn’t mean you can simply forget the windows. After all, windows provide a glimpse of what your home looks like inside. Keep them clean at all times. If you think they’re outdated, replace them as soon as possible. Dirty, broken, and rotten windows will only take away whatever beauty your front door may have.


Adding a fresh coat of paint is one of the simplest and cheapest yet most effective ways of making your yard more appealing. This is true especially if the paint is already flaking away, peeling, or discolored. You can choose to add a fresh coat of the same paint color or go apply a fresh and more vibrant shade to liven up the exterior walls.

These are only some of the simplest and easiest ways for you to add curb appeal to your home. Do them correctly and you’ll surely impress your house visitors and neighbors.