Karen King Group's Blog
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Buying a home is never easy, but it can be especially challenging if you're making your purchase from a remote location, like when you're buying a vacation home. If you're purchasing a second home or a vacation property in the next few months, these tips can help you through the process. By doing your homework, working with the right real estate professional, and by making decisions in advance, you can make the purchasing process easier on yourself. Here's what you need to know.
Understand the Tax & Loan Implications
Mortgages for vacation homes often require a larger down payment than primary residences. In addition, some loans that can be used to purchase primary residences cannot be used to buy vacation homes. For example, you can't pay for a vacation home with an FHA loan.
You may be able to deduct the mortgage interest from your taxes, but only up to a certain amount. Your accountant can help you understand how the mortgage deduction will work before you buy the house. Call your accountant before getting into the home purchase process, so you can be fully aware of the tax implications before finalizing the purchase.
Know What You Want
Sit down with your family before you start shopping for a home. Have discussions that will focus your search. Ask questions like: Where do we want to buy? How big will the house be? How large should the lot be? Answering these questions in advance will help you narrow your search and keep it focused on houses that are likely to make you happy.
Research the Real Estate Market
Are homes competitive in the area where you'd like to buy? Do they go fast? Must you act quickly? What's the price range of homes you'd like to buy? What's the forecast for real estate in the area? Having answers to these questions will help you make decisions that will inform your home buying process. Some of this information can be found online, but the best and most accurate way to get a lot of this information is to work with a reputable real estate professional.
Plan at Least One or Two Trips
Much of the home buying process can be done remotely. PDF document signing technology has made it easy to make offers and send documents to home buyers from out of state or even out of the country. However, it's still advisable to make at least one trip to the area and see the house you'd like to buy in-person before making an offer.
Very likely, you won't find the house you want to buy in the first trip. Plan to make at least one (and possibly two or more) trips to the area where you'd like to purchase. Plan your trips carefully to ensure each trip is productive. Make a list of properties to see before leaving. Communicate your list of properties with your real estate agent in advance, so your real estate professional can make appointments to see homes before you arrive.
Find the Right Real Estate Professional
Work with a real estate agent who has facilitated long distance purchases in the past, and who has strategies for helping out of town buyers. To find a real estate agent, interview reputable candidates before settling on the right one for you. The real estate professional you choose should be friendly, communicative and confident in their ability to help. Working with the right real estate agent, you'll be able to get the job done, even when you're not in town.
Many people look forward to the long summer months, but when it gets unbearably hot, it is time to look for a way to cool down. If your home doesn’t have a central cooling system, installing a mini-split air conditioner is your best bet for fighting the intense heat.
What is a split air conditioner?
A split air conditioner system has an outdoor unit and an indoor unit. The outdoor unit, installed on or near an exterior wall of the home, contains the compressor, condenser coil, and either capillary tubing or an expansion coil. In a central system, the indoor unit has ducts, louvers, and controls to set the temperature and direct the cool air. If the system is a heat pump arrangement, it sends heated air outside and pulls cooler air from underground pipes to make cooling more efficient.
Installing a central split system requires a complete retrofit of your home which might not fit every budget. Instead, consider installing one or more mini-split systems in your home.
How does a mini system work?
In the same way that a central HVAC system has an indoor and an outdoor unit, the mini system has both units as well. The outdoor unit is a compressor/condenser and the indoor unit handles evaporation, temperature controls, and louvers for directing the cooled air. The two units are connected through a small conduit opening in the wall through which pass power wiring, copper tubing, communication lines, and the condensation drain line.
What makes it efficient?
Mini-split systems do not require ducts, so retrofitting an older home is simply a matter of locating one or more units to cool the most used areas of the home. Because the cooled air does not travel through ductwork, it requires half or less of the energy that a central system requires to cool the same space. Up to 30 percent of energy consumption in a central system is lost through ductwork in attics and crawlspaces. Further, because you only need to cool the rooms you are using, you can better control your energy bills.
Some mini-split systems may be fitted with a localized duct system to push cooled air into more than one room, allowing for multi-room cooling. These systems use one outdoor unit with two or more indoor units so that each room or zone can be individually adjusted for comfort.
Why should you install one?
If you own or wish to purchase an older home that does not have a central HVAC, utilizing a mini-split air conditioning system can save your money initially, on your purchase, and in the long term on your energy bills.
Consider viewing older homes without a central AC system that might otherwise be the perfect choice for you and your budget.