Marc LeBlanc's Blog
34 Walden Dr, Natick, MA 01760
Today's home buyers are looking for ways to maximize their space and their enjoyment of that space. While having friends and family over to enjoy a meal out on the patio or a backyard BBQ has long been a favorite way of spending time with loved ones, it's frequently left the hosts separated from the guests. Adding an outdoor kitchen offers numerous advantages. It could boost interest in your home and set it apart from similar ones in the area.
1. Makes Entertaining Easy
One of the most exciting things about having your own home is the ability to entertain more. Adding an outdoor kitchen to your home means that the home buyer is instantly set up for a home-warming party or any other type of gathering.
2. The Hosts Can Participate
As mentioned above, one of the best reasons for installing an outdoor kitchen is that it eliminates the separation of the cook -- which is nearly always the host -- from the rest of the party outdoors.
3. It Becomes a Team Effort
With an outdoor kitchen, there are more opportunities to make cooking a group effort. By keeping food prep as part of the overall party, it's easier for other people to jump in and help out. It's also great for when the homeowner wants to plan for shared cooking experiences.
4. It's Cozy
While the gathering place inside a house used to be the living room, the past few years have seen the kitchen take over that spot. If you think about it, this transition just makes sense. People like to gather where there's food. It encourages chatting and camaraderie. An outdoor kitchen that includes tables and chairs or other outdoor furniture encourage the same kind of coziness.
5. Increases Living Space
Adding an outdoor kitchen doesn't have to be complicated. One idea is to use the covered porch or patio you already have as the foundation for the outdoor kitchen space. Next, add the appropriate appliances. The result is that you've instantly increased the living space of your current home without having to add on another room.
If you're in an area of the country that is going through a housing boom, you might wonder if you should spring for an outdoor kitchen. Adding this highly-desirable feature to your home could also increase its value and make it easier to get your asking price during its sale.
When you’re a new homeowner in a new community, you don’t always know how to handle unforeseen emergencies. Before that day arrives, take the time to learn your community so that a minor issue doesn’t become a major catastrophe.
Handling Household Emergencies
Whether it’s a burst pipe or a broken window, household emergencies always seem to happen after hours or on weekends when service providers and insurance agents aren’t always available. When your roof leaks during that Sunday morning rainstorm or you find puddles in front of the dishwasher, you’ll wish you already had a relationship with a plumber or a roofer.
Often, emergency repair crews charge extra for weekend or evening callouts. They also might offer a temporary repair to get you through the weekend, but you’ll still need to have a regular service provider come in to complete the work during the week.
Find a Source & Have a Backup
The service provider you choose for regular projects and new installation may not be the only number you need. Ask them if they provide emergency services. If not, who do they recommend? Here’s a brief list of on-call experts you need the names and numbers of to get you through the off hour challenges.
Emergency Roofers: These folks don’t reroof your home, necessarily. Their expertise is in finding the source of a leak — or potential leak in the case of storm damage — and placing a protective cover over it until inclement weather passes. Once the weather improves, they usually offer to inspect the roof for damages and refer you to a crew that performs insurance repairs.
Electrical Issues: Start with your local utility. They often offer emergency services and procedures to prevent a crisis. Once the critical time passes though, you’ll need to involve certified electricians to repair or rewire your home.
Natural Gas or Propane Emergencies: Likewise, should prompt you to call your provider. This is particularly true if you smell gas and cannot identify or turn off the source when checking for extinguished pilot lights on stoves, furnaces, water heaters and fireplaces. Call the gas company emergency line immediately. But do not use your cell phone inside or leave family members or pets in the house. Go outside or to a neighbor’s house to call. They’ll mitigate any urgent issue and propose what needs repairing, but don’t usually repair those issues themselves. Instead, they’ll direct you to licensed contractors experienced in residential gas-line installation and repair.
Weather-Related Emergencies and Natural Disasters: They can happen any time, no matter where you live in the country. Be proactive in learning where the nearest shelters are for tornadoes and hurricanes. Learn the evacuation route and drive it several times if you live in a flood-prone, tsunami or water-surge area. Contact your local emergency services or the American Red Cross to learn disaster preparedness techniques and to find local information.
You’ve decided to start the process of buying a home. Congratulations! Now it’s time to figure out how much money you have, and what you can afford. The goal is to avoid purchasing more home than you can afford, but those variables change. In September 2019, the average price of a new home was almost $363,000. As an average, that may sound a bit steep, especially if this is your very first home.
A home may be one of the largest purchases you make. That’s why it’s important to go in with a clear head and everything aligned. Here are a few tips on learning how to budget when you’re preparing to purchase a new home:
- Start with the 25% rule
Your mortgage should not be more than 25% of your gross income each month.
- Consider every source of income you have. That means if you have 2 paychecks each month, each one should be included. If you have side work, that should also be included. That will encompass your total monthly income.
- Write down your monthly expenses and make sure you leave nothing out. That means your donations to charity, student loans, transportation/gas, movie night, coffee and everything else you spend on a monthly basis.
- Once you have these figures, subtract the expenses from the income. That will help you determine the max you will be able to pay for your mortgage. It’s also important to have a place to set aside some money for repairs. As a homeowner, things happen.
Any existing debt you have should be eliminated if you can afford it. The lower your debt to income ratio when you start the process, the better off you will be. Additionally, you should save as much as you can for a potential down payment. Depending on the loan, that will be 10 to 20%.
The figures you come up with will give you a good idea of where you stand and is a good starting point for your initial meeting with a mortgage broker. It’s also a good idea to review the types of loans that you may qualify for and look at the requirements. That will give you a general idea of the amount of money you will need to come up with for a viable down payment.
Although things may seem complicated, once you get started, everything should fall into place. Your real estate agent or mortgage broker will be able to provide more insight once you get started. Take your time and don't rush the process. It will be worth your while in the end.