Month: September 2022

Mortgage News Matters

Types of Homes and Styles

Each of us has our unique style, so it’s a good thing that our homes also come in different shapes and sizes. You probably have some idea of what types of homes you’re attracted to, but the two main elements that make up a home are its structure type and style. Understanding these differences will help you to find the perfect home that fits your lifestyle.

Structure Types:

Before you begin your home search, you’ll want to have a good understanding of what kind of space you are going to need. Below are the most common home structures as well as some pros and cons of each.


With an apartment, you are surrounded by a collection of other units while all sharing the same structure. In an apartment, however, you don’t have the option to purchase, leaving you unable to build equity in your home. Apartments can be great options for people planning on living in them for short periods, or if you prefer the resort-style amenities offered by many communities.  


Condos offer a lot of the same convenience as an apartment, except the difference is that you can own one if you want to. Condominiums are a great option if you enjoy living in the city, or if you are elderly and no longer want to maintain and upkeep a home.


Instead of outright owning a property, what if like the stock market, you could own a share of a residence and still be able to live there? When you buy into a housing cooperative, you are purchasing a fixed number of shares within the co-op, turning you into a shareholder tenant. Living in a co-op will bring a great sense of community and they are less expensive than owning a home, however, they offer less freedom.


With this home structure, you are completely detached from any other buildings, and are usually found in suburban areas. Single-family homes often offer much more space than the previous structure types. These structures are the most common home type in the U.S.


With a townhome, you are living in an individually owned home that shares a wall with one other unit. These are very popular in big cities where space is limited. These home styles are usually multiple stories and share amenities with surrounding townhomes. They are generally cheaper than a single-family home but offer less privacy.

Home Styles:

Along with each structure type, comes a certain style. The different home styles available date back decades, with many people replicating them into new home structures today.


These home styles highlight elements from Spanish and Italian villas with a large focus on outdoor space. Florida is no stranger to these types of homes, as they are most popular in a tropical climate. Some key features of these homes are tiled roofs, stucco walls, and warm stone and wood accents.


In the early 1930s, ranch-style homes became increasingly popular for their one-story, low-rise ceilings with large windows and backyards. Most ranch-style homes are rectangular, but often can be built as a “U” or “L” shape.

Split Level

Split-level homes developed from the ranch-style home, adding more separation. These homes have multiple floors attached with short flights of stairs and are uniquely separated.


Named after Queen Victoria, these homes became popular in the 1900s. These homes are categorized by Gothic influences and thoughtfully crafted woodwork. They feature pitched roofs, wraparound front porches, cylindrical turrets, and roof towers. A Victorian home does not offer lots of horizontal space, since their ceilings are high, but the rooms tend to be long and narrow.


Think large white homes, with wraparound porches and you’re on the right track. These rustic homes offer tall ceilings, with exposed beams and barn-like roofs. This type of home has been modernized to feature updated finishings and an overall cleaner look.

There is certainly a multitude of different home structures and styles available, but deciding what best suits you, and your lifestyle will help you greatly narrow down your search. Talk to your VanDyk Mortgage Loan Officer about which home might be best for you and get approved for a mortgage before you begin your search.

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How to Find a Good Investment Property

If you are thinking about purchasing an investment property, you want to make sure that the home you buy is going to make your investment well worthwhile. Trust the experts as those who have gone before you and see what they did before finding the right investment home. Here are some best practices on what to do before you purchase an investment property.


Ask yourself if the properties that you are considering are in a good location. A prime location will certainly bring you a better return as it will be more desirable to renters. Oftentimes, a good location can outweigh the features of a home. To find the right home, you have to be proactive. There are plenty of good deals on the market, but you need to make sure that you are quick and efficient in your search. The common goal of property investors is to make a profit, so you need to be committed to staying patient but remaining prompt and efficient throughout the process.

Avoid homes that need major work done

If a property has been on the market for quite some time, then that is a good indication that something is wrong. That can usually mean that there is extensive renovation work that needs to be done, and that can be costly. Homes with a solid foundation that could use just a few cosmetic upgrades like new flooring or a fresh paint job are minor tasks. Avoid homes that need any work done to the core structure of the home.

Think of your perfect renter

Contemplate the kind of renter that you would like to host in your home and find the type of neighborhood that would interest them. Find a property that suits the character of the neighborhood that you are looking at. You don’t want a run-down condo in a luxury beachside community. Consider the type of home that is needed for your desired renter. Purchasing properties that are appropriate for your area will bring you better success in finding quality tenants.

Find out why the property is on the market

Asking the seller what their reason is for selling their home can give you some insight that can inform your decision. Learning about when the home was initially purchased will also give you insight into assessing the home’s value and knowing when things will need replacing.

Consider its value

A home’s market value is what most property investors should be interested in. Market value is created from the rental revenue generated and its potential for appreciation. A beginner real estate investor should understand that properties don’t typically sell for their assessed value in this market.

Properties with the greatest ROI

To get the most return out of your investment, you will want to zero in on markets where people are willing to pay high prices to either live or vacation. Do some research in booming markets and figure out the average cost of rent per bedroom and square footage. Location drives demand, so a popular city or town is sure to keep your home among the most desirable rentals.

Investing in real estate is one of the best ways to earn a passive income. If you enjoy working with people, then acquiring a rental property might be the right option for you. Before you decide to go all in on purchasing a property, make sure to research and ask the right questions.

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Home Maintenance Tips to do Throughout the year

Just as we change up our personal routines through the seasons, our home maintenance schedule is just as important for its upkeep. After all, it may just be our life’s biggest investment, so maintaining it is extremely important. Keeping up with your home’s exterior, appliances, heating and cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems will help to ensure smooth sailing and keep repairs to a minimum. A regular maintenance schedule of these things will also keep your home looking its best.

Just as each season brings new weather, with it comes a different list of chores to take on. Here are some great tips to follow all year long to keep your home running like a well-oiled machine.



The weather is finally starting to warm up again, it’s time to open the windows, and you are ready to prepare the house for spring. The best place to start might be the exterior. Depending on where you live, your yard may be thawing out and ready for some TLC. Rake up those leaves and lay down some fresh mulch in your flowerbeds and hedges to prevent drought. Check your outside faucets for any damage that could have occurred. You might want to consider having your trees checked by a professional for any signs of illness that could pose a safety hazard. You’ll also want to clear out your gutters and inspect the chimney for any damage.


If your home has central air and heat, you will want to call your HVAC technician to schedule your system’s biannual service. This is to check the ductwork and clean the furnace and A/C compressor. Check the plumbing, including underneath sinks, for any signs of leakage.



During the summer, you should plan on upkeeping and not fixing. This is the time to enjoy the outdoors and your yard. Keep your lawn mower on its highest setting to avoid cutting the grass too short to avoid exposing it to weeds and potential drought. Keep your garden and plants watered by checking your sprinkler heads and hire a professional if you can’t do it yourself. Your pool will also need regular care now that it will be used more frequently. Ensure that you are cleaning the filter basket and chemical levels weekly and scrub it once a month to prevent algae.


During this season, you will want to reverse the setting on your ceiling fans counterclockwise to cool you off and not push up the heat. Plan your home for extreme heat waves to pass through by making sure that the correct lining is attached to the doors. You aren’t the only one trying to enjoy the cool air this summer. Bugs and other pests pose bigger problems during this time of the year. Regularly clean your surfaces to avoid starting any infestations. If you notice a bug problem, it can often be eliminated with a bug repellent spray before having to call a professional. In some tropical climates, summertime can bring on natural disasters such as hurricanes. You’ll want to make sure that you have a plan in place, and a disaster kit ready in the event of an emergency.



As the temperature begins to drop, it’s time to prepare your house for the winter. If you live in a warmer climate, your preparations won’t be as hefty. To prepare your yard, you’ll want to make sure that your plants have plenty of water before going dormant for the winter. Once those fall leaves begin dropping, you will want to make sure you are regularly cleaning out your gutter to prevent any blockage. Before temperatures start dropping heavily, you’ll want to shut off your outdoor faucets so that they don’t freeze over. If you have a pool, make sure that you clean and close it for the winter.


During this time, you will want to have your furnace and HVAC serviced. Having a clean system will ensure energy efficiency and take care of any problems before it gets cold. It’s a smart thing to make sure that your dryer vent is inspected and always free of lint. You’ll want to ensure that a professional inspection is done annually. During the fall it can also be a great time to take on some indoor projects. Since you aren’t spending as much time outside of your home, fall can be a good time to paint the living room or update your bathroom.



Depending on where you live, you may or may not be spending much time outdoors during this season. If you are from colder climates, you will want to make sure you have a few things ready to tackle the harsh winter storms. Ensure that you have the proper tools ready for that first snowfall such as your snowblower. Make sure it’s running smoothly by sending it in for a quick tune-up. You’ll also want to make sure that you have plenty of supplies. If you are visited by snowstorms frequently, you’ll want to make sure that you have ice melt on hand. Be sure to check the labels on certain brands, as some chemicals can be harmful to pets if ingested.


Heat will be your best friend during these colder months, so check to make sure that the filters on your heating systems are changed. Having a generator on hand can save your life in the event of a blackout. Even if you don’t use it, you should have it serviced throughout the year and make sure you have enough fuel for when you do need to use it. A strong winter storm can leave you stranded for several days, so make sure that you have plenty of firewood, water bottles, and canned food.

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Home Renovations with the Greatest ROI

As a homeowner, you may have some spaces within your home that could benefit from a little upgrading. Whether or not you plan on selling your property or would just like to enjoy a few simple upgrades to make your home feel newer, there are several ways to increase your return on investment through home improvements. Before you begin renovating your home, you might want to ask yourself these important questions:

  1. Is my home at least one step above comparable properties in my community?
  2. Will upgrading my home increase its value?
  3. Is my home updated and attractive to potential buyers?

Housing prices are continuing to rise, so a home improvement project can increase your home’s value even more. The first places buyers look for in a home are kitchens and bathrooms. These two areas can be a great place to begin your first project. A renovation project doesn’t have to be a complete remodel either. A few minor changes can bring a major return.

Kitchen Remodel

According to Remodeling magazine’s annual analysis of cost versus value, a kitchen “face-lift” will return more than a full redesign. These changes can include a fresh paint job, refinished surfaces, or new appliances. According to a post made by Fortunebuilders, the average cost of a minor kitchen remodel is about $15,000 with an ROI of 98.5%.

Bathroom Renovation

A minor bathroom remodel may only include replacing the shower head or changing the lighting to give a brighter appearance. These changes could cost you less than $5,000 and bring you a 100% return on your investment. If you want to take things a bit further and undergo a major bathroom renovation, then it would be best to start with a clean slate. If fixtures aren’t adding to the bathroom’s overall look, they are hindering it. When you fully upgrade a bathroom, especially a master bath, that can be the deciding factor for someone purchasing your home.


No matter the home type, a property’s landscaping will give off a strong first impression. If a yard is maintained and well kept, then potential buyers will assume the same for the interior of the home. The average cost of new landscaping can cost around $3,500 bringing you a return of $4,900. An often-overlooked aspect of a home’s landscaping is the outdoor lighting. If the lighting in the front yard is outdated, invest in a replacement. Be sure to test the lighting at night to see if any elements need rearranging. If you live in a condo or apartment, a few thoughtful touches on a patio or deck can go a long way.


Another great home improvement project that can completely change a home’s look is replacing the flooring. Changing out carpeted areas for hardwood floors can make a home feel brand new again, which can convince a buyer to pay more for the home. In some cases, you can have a return of up to 80% when you update the flooring. If you have existing hardwood floors, consider having them refinished by a professional to bring them back to life. In no circumstances should you cover up existing hardwood with carpet or you are guaranteed to lose money. Along with these different home improvement projects, there are plenty of other ways to upgrade your home on a smaller scale. A fresh paint job to either the interior or exterior of the home can neutralize its appearance and bring a fresh fragrance to a home. Another option is to change the old blinds for modern ones. Replacing old shades/blinds can make buyers believe a home is much newer than it is. Regardless, if you are planning on living in your home for the long term then you should make any upgrades that fit your desired lifestyle. However, if you plan on turning a profit when you sell, you should try upgrading your home to bring you the greatest ROI. The highest home renovations for increasing your return on investment can improve the demand and value at the same time. It’s important to make the right upgrades to your home because the highest ROI improvements will show to be most effective and worthwhile.