Tips for winterizing your home

The cold months of winter can be an easy reminder to cross some home maintenance projects off your list. Drafty rooms, dampness along windows and doors, and inconsistent temperatures throughout your home could be signs that it’s time to winter-proof your home.

Weatherizing your home can regulate temperatures and keep everyone a little more comfortable. You may also save money on your energy bill by sealing off leaks so warm air stays where it belongs.

Here are some simple ways to weatherize your home this winter season.

Check insulation

Depending on the age of the home, layout and other factors, it’s possible that installing new insulation is in order.

Well-insulated attic, flooring and crawlspaces can allow for temperatures inside the home to hold better and may also reduce energy costs, among other benefits. Solid home insulation also means less stress on your central heating and air system. This is the type of project that can be accomplished DIY-style, or you can hire a professional who can also conduct an energy audit to make sure everything is running like a well-oiled machine.

Update home décor

What does style have to do with comfort? Very little. But home décor, such as curtains and rugs, is a factor in home weatherization. Thick curtains can absorb the effects of a drafty window. A large area rug over cold floors will make everyone feel a little cozier.

Caulking for windows

Windows that breathe and let cold drafts inside are not ideal for keeping temperatures where you’d like them. They can also eat up energy resources and cause your utility bill to go up when it’s cold or hot outside. While window replacement is one possible solution, re-caulking is an effective and inexpensive way to weatherize your home.

Simple caulking applications around every window and door may seal off any openings that allow cold air to come in. This is another project you can do yourself, as there are plenty of step-by-step instructional aids online that will point you in the right direction.

Foam it in

Behind the plastic plate behind most of your home’s electrical outlets is a wider cavity that can let cold air into any room in the house. A simple ready-to-use foam spray can get into the crevasses and keep out cold air for good. This budget-friendly home weatherization project can be completed in just minutes.

Just make sure to take all necessary safety precautions before working with the outlet cover and filling with foam.

Seal with weather stripping

Filling in gaps and openings are a common theme in home weatherization. Along with other products, you can also use weather stripping for doors and windows. It’s one of the easiest replacements you can do as some products simply slide into place.

Did you know that sealing these gaps on doors and windows can save up to 15 percent on energy costs? This is just another incentive to weatherize your home this holiday season.

Every home weatherization project can make a difference in keeping things airtight. A well-insulated home can maintain temperatures, produce energy savings and make things just a little bit more comfortable all around.

Should you shop for a home during holidays?

With so much going on during the holiday season, who has time to buy a house? Yet, buying a home during the holidays could be an unconventional strategy that may get you ahead.

It might be hard to believe, but it’s possible to take advantage of today’s market. Here are some reasons why this holiday season could be the time to move in on a home of your dreams.

Fewer buyers

Some would-be buyers are in hibernation this time of year. As a result, the real estate market is less crowded. As demand subsides, the chances of your offer on a home being accepted may be higher. Home sellers are also aware of this wintry dynamic. They may be unlikely to list their home given the lack of competition. Their eyes could be set on spring, and prospects of a larger pool of homebuyers. So, if they do decide to list during winter, it’s more likely that they are well motivated and in sell-now mode  – which is another leg up to the homebuyer.

Discounted home services

The industry’s support service providers also experience a lull to their business this time of the year. Movers, inspectors, contractors and others with a professional lane in real estate might be more inclined to offer specials and discounted rates in the winter months.

It’s also less of a hassle to hire them during the holidays, which may help homebuyers save on time in addition to money. Since it’s not the typical season for home buying, this is another financial perk homebuyers may be able to count on if they decide to buy in the coming weeks and months.

Faster closing

Most people engaged in the real estate business right now want to get a deal done fast. Motivated sellers, for example, will work with real estate professionals to speed things up and might even make concessions along the way. Real estate agents, for example, might heed to their clients’ urgent schedules. And because it’s the holidays, they also might want to get off the hook and move forward with expediency wherever possible.

If you’re looking for an accelerated timeline to your home purchase, this could be the time to get it.

Greater flexibility from agents

Homebuyers might have better luck finding a real estate team to get them across the finish line. Since demand is not in peak, agents could have a little extra room to guide you through process. And if you’re entering the market to buy a home during winter, the real estate team knows you mean business and should be more than happy to help fulfill your holiday wish of becoming a homeowner.

If you need any help with the loan side of the purchase during the holidays, we can help! We would be honored to partner with you. Contact us today to learn more.

Power up in today’s real estate market with 3-2-1 mortgage loan program

With rising home costs and interest rates, some would-be homebuyers may feel like they don’t have many options right now. With the 3-2-1 mortgage program, however, people can reinsert themselves into the market with confidence that they’ll turn the corner on homeownership.

Homebuyers come first

The Jaro Team pushes every button and uses every tool to make homebuying more accessible. The new 3-2-1 buy down lending program is our answer to the homebuyers’ evolving mortgage needs.

It reduces the stress of today’s higher housing costs by creating a little extra breathing room, especially during the first few years of a mortgage loan.

Here’s how it works

When borrowers choose the 3-2-1 mortgage program, they will enjoy a lower interest rate for the first few years of the loan, before it switches to a permanent, yet manageable rate in the following years.

Borrowers will pay an up-front fee, like purchasing discount points, to reap the benefits of the 3-2-1 mortgage program. The 3-2-1 loan program is used for primary residences and second homes, but not investment properties. It also doesn’t work in tandem with an adjustable-rate mortgage program.

The “3-2-1” refers to how the interest rates are structured during the first three years. Homeowners will pay 3 percent less on interest in the first year; in the second year the discount will be two percent; and in the third year it’s a one percent reduction.

Once the lower-interest rate period ends, the permanent rate kicks in for the remainder of the loan.

More benefits

A reduced mortgage rate translates into additional savings and buys time before the mortgage resets. For example, if there’s a big-ticket item loan with three years left before it’s paid off, the 3-2-1 mortgage buydown program creates some financial wiggle room to focus on other commitments.

Lower monthly payments for three years are an opportunity to redirect income toward a savings account. After the lower interest rate period ends, homeowners will have clarity about how much they will pay moving forward, allowing them to prepare the family’s budget.

Last but not least, the homebuyer can skip paying for the upfront cost of the 3-2-1 loan. In some instances, home sellers are willing to pick up the tab as an incentive to accelerate the home sale. Homebuilders are also sometimes willing to use a similar tactic to get homebuyers into a brand-new home.

This interest rate reprieve lets homeowners take on homebuying with renewed confidence. The 3-2-1 buydown loan makes homebuying more accessible and increases a homebuyer’s financial wherewithal during the critical first few years of homeownership.

Contact us today to learn more!


We have increased our conventional lending limit to give homebuyers a competitive edge

The rising costs of homeownership and rates have become a constant, much to the frustration of many future homeowners. To help alleviate some of this, however, we have increased our conventional lending limit to give homebuyers a competitive edge they need in today’s complex real estate market.

Our conventional loan limit is now $715,000, up from $647,200. We’re getting ahead of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which is expected to make the limit increase later this year.

This gives homebuyers access to tens of thousands of dollars of more buying power. This forward-thinking approach allows homebuyers and their real estate team to enter the field with the ability to make strong and attractive offers to offset competing buyers.

Most conventional lending programs have limits on how much someone can borrower, based on where they intend to purchase a home. Areas with higher costs of living will feature higher limits, for example.

Also known as conforming loan limits, buyers must stay under the lending threshold to take full advantage of the lending mechanism. Otherwise, homebuyers might have to turn to a jumbo loan, which has varying requirements. They typically have higher rates, stricter underwriting standards and require a larger down payment.

The baseline loan limit is the most a buyer can borrow assuming all their financial details are in good standing to manage a mortgage loan. For multiple housing units, the conventional loan limit will be higher. Unlike FHA loans, conventional loans are not backed by the federal government. In most cases, conventional loan limits are higher than FHA programs. Conventional loans are offered by private mortgage companies and are administered following rules set by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Conventional loans can be conforming or non-conforming, which means it’s a private-sector-backed mortgage. Conforming loans are handled by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. These entities are known as government-sponsored enterprises. They are setup to open access to credit opportunities to increase homeownership for the greater public good.

While not technically guaranteed by the federal government, these loans necessitate loan limits. This protects the government in the event of any extended lending losses.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

5 remodeling ideas for your garage

The home garage can sometimes play second fiddle to other spaces, often relegated as just the place for wide-use storage. A garage shelters your vehicle, laundry equipment and various other items inside storage containers.

It’s boring, yet absolutely needed.

But as you and your family spend more time at home, your garage can get a new lease on life with a remodeling project. Here are some ideas that will expand the functionality of your garage with style.

Add new flooring and fresh wall paint

If a total garage transformation is out of the question, start with new flooring and paint for a dramatic update. Most garage floors are made of concrete, which can look a little dull and are prone to cracking. Not to mention, most garage surfaces can soak up liquids and accumulate stains.

Before moving forward, it’s advised to have the floor resurfaced to make way for epoxy treatment. With this type of flooring, you can kiss floor stains goodbye and welcome in a shiny and updated look.

In addition, you can add larger floor matting, strong enough to handle the weight of a car, yet comfortable for various workouts.

Once the flooring is installed, the walls can also be made over with a fresh coat of paint or newly installed sheetrock, if needed.

Loft it out

You can refine your garage’s footprint while retaining all that storage capacity, and maybe adding to it, by installing a loft. Look up and imagine what’s possible with a loft. Your storage needs can be fulfilled overhead, leaving you plenty of room to roam and experiment with the space on the ground floor.

If you feel extra ambitious, the loft area can double as a storage and office space or an extra room. The possibilities are endless.

Put in windows

Get rid of the envelop of darkness inside your garage by bringing in some light, preferably, of the natural variety.

The installation of skylights or windows will bring in some much-needed natural lighting and allow for better airflow. This two-for-one means more visibility and less garage stuffiness.

Boost the insulation

Floor-to-ceiling insulation will help maintain consistent temperatures and save money on your utility bill. If you plan to spend more time inside the garage, this is a win-win.

Remember that the garage door takes up an entire side of the garage. In effect, the door is the garage’s biggest weak spot. That’s why it’s important to also address the door’s insulation. Some steel garage doors come pre-insulated, but other materials aren’t as efficient.

So, don’t let this weak spot go unprotected.

Dim lights for movie night

The garage is an ideal location for watching movies. With long and unobstructed walls, any side of the garage is just asking to have a movie projected upon it.

Given all the space, your entire family and guests will have plenty of leg room to sprawl out and enjoy movie night. Just add some seating, such as an oversized couch and chair, a home theater system and maybe a popcorn maker. That’s all you’ll need to host the next best movie night inside your reinvented garage space.

If you are interested in information about a home loan, contact us today!

Stylish and functional bathroom design ideas entire family will love

With summer still here and remote work schedules in full effect, you and your family are likely still spending a fair amount of time at home.

One unfortunate side effect of being at home is that you’re probably doing more cleaning, too. Bathrooms included. But this is also an opportunity to maximize the bathroom space with cool design ideas that are both stylish, functional and forward-looking.

Get started with these ideas if you’re ready to update your powder rooms for living in 2022.

Tech-first faucet

A touchless faucet might have been a No. 1 must-have at the start of the pandemic. Even today, techy faucets remain top market items as folks keep a focus on handwashing and other hygienic practices.

You can make any sink more inviting, stylish and functional with a touchless faucet, which can help you save on water and cleaning. They come in a variety of styles and are a budget-friendly way to make a big design splash inside the home’s bathrooms.

Outside-the-box storage

Your primary bathroom could be a hub for supplies and other items that belong neatly stored and out of sight.

Homebuilders understand that people want a highly functional space with multipurpose storage throughout the home. This approach works particularly well in the bathroom. It won’t be too long before bathrooms include bigger dressing areas, closets and maybe laundry rooms.

In the meantime, you can make the most of any space with your own with multipurpose storage containers and system in addition to cabinets, shelves and over-the-toilet storage.

Lighting boost

Plenty of homeowners are upgrading their light fixtures for aesthetic reasons. But enhanced lighting in your room goes beyond style.

Start with vanity lighting. A simple upgrade includes swapping out Edison light bulbs with more sustainable products that produce a bright and sparkling ambiance. Some vanities are self-lit and will give you more light to take care of your tasks in front of the mirror.

Other trends include gold and black finishes and white glass.

Touches of organic

Another emerging trend involves your bathroom’s overall look and feel. Natural, warm and earthy colors are in. Plants and complementary accents will also elevate your bathroom’s style. Think about natural materials, water-like blues and natural lighting such as skylights when dreaming up your bathroom space. Also, keep in mind that organic style leans more toward the philosophy of less is more.

Wallpaper with attitude

If you want to make a statement instead of keeping to an all-organic look, consider a splash of color and motif with a bold wallpaper.

Cover one side of the room, from floor to ceiling, with an unexpected wallpaper design. There are no shortages of design or themes, which should make it easy to find something that fits seamlessly inside your bathroom without compromising the overall aesthetics, edges and corners of the surrounding space.

Time-machine furniture

Go back in time and add a surprise layer of visual splendor with vintage furniture.

Your piece, such as a vintage chest with drawers, armoire or double sink, will be a conversation piece and solidify your overall design.

If you are interested in information regarding a home loan, contact us today!