Choosing the Right Finishes for Your Home

Image by Mike Gattorna from Pixabay

The benefits of buying a luxury home that’s under new construction include customizing it to fit your life and your family, and choosing your own finishes is a perfect way to achieve this goal. But which finishes will still maintain their beauty under the stress of busy families on the go? Which ones require the least maintenance and will wear well under heavy traffic? Our experts have put together the perfect primer for homebuyers who want to customize their new construction from the ground up, so that the surfaces look great, last long and require minimal upkeep. Here’s what we recommend:

Cast Concrete Countertops

Concrete tops the list for designing versatile-yet-gorgeous countertops. Completely customizable right down to the color, concrete is an upscale, elegant material for countertops in both kitchen and bath, and it has benefits that make it worth the effort, including:

  • Superior Heat Resistance
  • Extreme Durability
  • Ease of Maintenance
  • Versatility
  • When you choose cast concrete as your choice of countertop, you can customize it to fit any shape and any space. You can even choose to have materials such as decorative river rock embedded. You can have your concrete countertops dyed, stamped or polished to ensure that they’re custom to your luxury home and your home only. 

    Eco-Friendly Flooring

    Even if you’re drawn to exotic hardwoods such as jatoba (Brazilian cherry), resist the urge to install them in your new luxury home because they contribute to harmful deforestation of the world’s rainforests. Opt for eco-friendly, sustainable woods instead. There are plenty from which to choose, including:

  • Bamboo
  • Cork
  • Plantation Teak
  • Reclaimed wood is a viable alternative to non-sustainable wood, as well. Old barn timbers and salvaged pine logs make beautiful, luxurious flooring options that add history and architectural appeal to every home without harming the planet. 

    Sustainable Cabinetry

    Wood is, far and away, the most popular choice for luxury kitchen cabinetry. And it’s not just the type of wood used, but the style and design of the cabinets, as well. For upscale, luxurious wooden cabinets in your kitchen, pantry or bath, consider American hardwoods such as cherry, maple, alder or ash. The growth and harvesting of these trees are monitored by the American Hardwood Export Council and strict best management practices ensure that no species is stressed or over-harvested. Additionally, they’re exceptionally hard to withstand all the dings and scratches that come with family use. Lastly, they look exquisite when installed in your kitchen as paneled ends on upper cabinetry, decorative legs on islands, and as the frames for elegant, glass-paned doors. 

    Your new luxury home is only made better by customization. Talk with your builder today about which finishes you’d like to see incorporated, and you’ll love the end result even more. 

    Effectively Depersonalize Your House

    For home sellers who want to do whatever it takes to enhance a house’s interior, depersonalization is key.

    By depersonalizing a house’s interior, a home seller can make it easy for a homebuyer to envision what life might be like if he or she purchases a residence. That way, a home seller can increase the likelihood of a fast, seamless and profitable home selling experience.

    Effectively depersonalizing a home’s interior can be simple – here are three areas that a home seller needs to consider to depersonalize a house’s interior:

    1. Photographs

    Although photographs of loved ones, celebrations and family vacations may hang throughout your residence, now is the right time to take them down if you’re selling your house.

    Removing photographs from all walls and shelves is necessary to effectively depersonalize a house. In addition, don’t forget to hide any photographs located in a home office.

    2. Antiques

    Antiques are beautiful treasures that deserve to be displayed. However, if you’re selling your house, it may be worthwhile to temporarily store these items outside your residence.

    When it comes to antiques, it is always better to err on the side of caution. If you have priceless treasures that need to be removed from your house, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to store them properly. This will enable you to minimize the risk of damage to your antiques while you sell your home.

    In some instances, renting a storage unit for your antiques may prove to be a great idea. Or, if you have a family member or friend who has extra storage space available, he or she may be able to hold your antiques until your residence sells.

    3. Artwork

    Awe-inspiring artwork can help you show off your unique personality. But if you have bold paintings, sculptures or other artwork in your home, you may want to remove these items while your house is listed on the real estate market.

    Artwork sometimes can be distracting, and as a result, may make it tough for homebuyers to imagine what life could be like if they purchase your house. Also, if artwork takes up lots of space, it might be difficult for homebuyers to see the full potential of your living space.

    If you need help with depersonalizing your house’s interior, you should reach out to a real estate agent for support.

    A real estate agent understands how to showcase a residence to homebuyers. As such, he or she will offer honest, unbiased recommendations to help you depersonalize your residence’s interior and ensure your home will capture homebuyers’ attention.

    Furthermore, a real estate agent can serve as your guide along the home selling journey. He or she will set up home showings and open houses, negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf and respond to your home selling concerns and questions at any time.

    Ready to depersonalize your house’s interior? Consider the aforementioned areas, and you can give your home’s interior a fresh look and feel before you list your residence.

    The Difference Between Pre-Qualified and Rep-Approved

    If you’re a first-time homebuyer, odds are you’ve thrown the words “prequalified” and “preapproved” interchangeably. However, when it comes to home loans, there are some very important differences between the two.

    For buyers hoping to purchase a home with a few missteps and misunderstandings as possible, it’s vital to understand the procedures involved in acquiring financing for a home.

    Today, we’ll break down these two real estate jargon terms so that you can go into the mortgage approval process armed with the knowledge to help you succeed in securing a home loan.

    Mortgage prequalification

    Let’s start with the easy part–mortgage prequalification. Getting prequalified helps borrowers find out what kind and what size mortgage they can likely secure financing for. It also helps lenders establish a relationship with potential customers, which is why you will often see so many ads for mortgage prequalification around the web.

    Prequalification is a relatively simple process. You’ll be asked to provide an overview of your finances, which your lender will plug into a formula and then report back to you whether or not you’re likely to get approved based on your current circumstances.

    The lender will ask you for general information about your income, assets, debt, and credit. You won’t need to provide exact documents for these things at this phase in the process, since you have not yet technically applied for a mortgage.

    Prequalification exists to give you a broad picture of what you can expect. You can use this information to plan for the future, or you can seek out other lenders for a second opinion. But, before you start shopping for homes, you’ll want to make sure you’re preapproved, not prequalified.

    Mortgage preapproval

    After you’ve prequalified, you can start thinking about preapproval. If you’re serious about buying a home in the near future, getting preapproved will simplify your buying process. It will also make sellers more likely to take you seriously, since you already have your financing partially secured.

    Mortgage preapproval requires you to provide the lender with income documentation. They will also perform a credit inquiry to receive your FICO score.

    Mortgage applications and credit scores

    Before we talk about the rest of the preapproval process, we need to address one common issue that buyers face when applying for a mortgage. There are two types of credit inquiries that lenders can perform to view your credit history–hard inquiries and soft inquiries.

    A soft inquiry won’t affect your credit score. But a hard inquiry can lower your score by a few points for a period of 1 to 2 months. So, when getting preapproved, you should expect your credit score to drop temporarily.

    After preapproval

    Once you’re preapproved for a mortgage, you can safely begin looking at homes. If you decide to make an offer on a home and your offer is accepted, your preapproval will make it easier to move forward in closing on the home.

    Once the lender checks off on the house you’re making an offer on, they will send you a loan commitment letter, enabling you to move forward with closing on the home.

    The Benefits of Using a Buyer’s Agent

    Photo by Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

    It may be tempting to purchase your first home without the help of a real estate agent. If you want to risk not having professional help to buy your first house, you can, but you’ll be leaving a lot of benefits on the table and assuming all the risks.

    The Benefits of Using a Buyer’s Agent

    A buyer’s agent works entirely on behalf of the buyer in the purchase process. The benefits of using one include:
    • Expert negotiations – Professional agents know the market, costs and what you’re looking for. They can combine the three, plus other variables, to create a formula for negotiating within both your price and comfort levels.
    • Full disclosure – A real estate expert knows what to ask regarding disclosures about the property. They’ll ask for items you may not even think of because of their experience. It’s not that the seller is intent on deceiving you, often they don’t know what to disclose either.
    • Neighborhood specialist – Some agents choose to represent buyers in specific neighborhoods and can tell them about local facts such as planned road construction or rezoning issues that might have an impact on your decision to buy there (both for and against).
    • Closing costs – Your buyer’s agent fights for the best deal for you, the buyer. Relying solely on the seller’s agent could end up costing thousands in extra charges.
    • Lender recommendations – An experienced buyer’s agent knows which lenders tend to close on time and which ones might drag out the process. If you’re closely timing a move, your agent can help you avoid being bogged down with a slow underwriting process. They’ll have recent experience with rates, terms, appraisals and comparable sales.
    • Making the offer – Real estate purchase offers have a lot of forms and papers that cover all sorts of things from contingencies to mold and asbestos mitigation. Your agent knows the right forms and what needs to go into your offer to both protect you and give you the best chance of having your offer accepted.
    • Inspection referrals – having a home inspection protects buyers from unexpected repairs and required renovations once the deal completes. Your agent knows reliable inspectors that look for basement seepage, dry rot, hidden mold, damaged roofs, sewer line issues and a host of other things. You might not think to check the chimney, but your inspector will, saving you from a potential house fire or other issues down the line. A failure in a major system such as electrical wiring, HVAC, or plumbing can wreck your budget if you don’t know about it.
    Bottom line is that purchasing directly from the seller without the protection of a knowledgeable agent puts you at risk for all kinds of issues. Remember that the seller pays both agents from the proceeds of the sale.