During the winter months, people tend to spend more and more time indoors. It's important to pay attention to the air in your home, and know whether you have a healthy Columbia SC home, or one that could be responsible for making you sick.
There are several things that could be responsible for you not having a healthy home. Mold, lead, a tainted water supply, or hazardous household products can all lead to a less than healthy Columbia SC home.
Steps To Ensure a Safe, Healthy Columbia SC Home
Protect Against Mold
Mold, sometimes known as mildew, grows where there are wet or damp surfaces.
To protect against mold, be sure your gutters are clean and not leaking, and that downspouts direct rainwater away from the house. Your yard should slope away from the building.
Repair leaking roofs, walls, doors and windows right away. Water is insidious, and can cause problems if left to stand. That means anywhere, even in refrigerator drip pans. Mold is one of the most difficult things to get rid of from all the things on the list responsible for you not having a safe and healthy Columbia SC home.
Unlike mold, you can't see, smell or feel carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that can make you sick or even kill you. Signs of low-level carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sleepiness, tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing. Many people confuse it with the flu.
Install carbon monoxide alarms near each sleeping area and on each floor. But to make sure they never go off, do not use the kitchen stove or oven to heat your house.
Never use charcoal grills or run car engines inside your house, garage or basement — even for a short time. They produce so much carbon monoxide that even opening the windows and doors will not give you enough fresh air. Never warm a vehicle while it sits inside the garage, even with the garage doors open. Start lawnmowers, leaf-blowers and other yard equipment outside, never inside.
Check for Lead
Lead poisoning poses a serious health risk for children. Lead is not used as much in paint, pipes and other materials as it once was — lead paint was banned in 1978 — so houses built prior to 1950 are the most problematic.
Also check for lead pipes, which are a dull gray in color and scratch easily with a key or penny, or pipes which are joined with lead solder. Water that flows through them can contain lead which can make for a very unhealthy Columbia SC home. This leads us to our next item on the list of things to watch for to ensure a safe, healthy Columbia SC home…
Public drinking water is safe, but if you have a well or other private water supply, it's up to you to protect yourself. And since you can't see, smell or taste potentially dangerous microbes, you should have your water tested about every two years for bacteria, nitrates and perhaps pesticides at a laboratory. Nothing can make an otherwise healthy Columbia SC home unhealthy quicker than contaminated water.
When it comes to hazardous household products, buy only what you need, and read and follow the directions. Properly dispose of what you don't use, or give the leftovers to someone who can use it. Never burn or dump leftover containers.
Most of these tips for having a healthy Columbia SC home come from the Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (nifa.usda.gov). You can find a whole list of other websites that specialize in making sure you have a healthy Columbia SC home by searching "healthy Columbia SC homes" on Google.
If you're looking to buy a Columbia SC home you probably already know that your credit score is important. But if you have a low credit score, you do still have options.
First, you should figure out what lenders expect of your credit score, since you might be surprised to find that you can indeed buy a Columbia SC home with your credit score where it is.
What Lenders Expect With Your Credit Score
Lending requirements vary from lender to lender, but they've generally become more strict since the sub-prime mortgage lending crisis in 2008. As a rule of thumb, though, you'll need your credit score to be about 650 to get a conventional mortgage –- and that's on the low end.
Remember, the lower your credit score, the higher your mortgage's interest rate is likely to be. This can have a dramatic effect on how much you pay for your home over time. So if you're sitting on the mid-to-low end of the credit spectrum, you may want to look into some of these options, even if you qualify for a conventional mortgage.
Put More Money Down
Mortgage lenders look at a host of factors when deciding whether or not to approve you for a mortgage. One of those factors is your credit score. But another factor is your down payment.
With some lenders, you may be able to offset a weak credit score with a higher down payment. With a bigger down payment, you'll have more equity in your home, which means the lender takes less of a risk when lending to you.
If you've got a substantial amount of money in savings, but your credit score is fairly low, consider applying for a mortgage with a smaller bank or credit union. Many times these smaller entities operate under more flexible lending guidelines, so you can talk to a loan officer about your situation and maybe get a mortgage after all.
Consider Non-Conventional Loans
If your credit score is low (and especially if you combine a low credit score and a small down payment) consider a non-conventional loan. Non-conventional or non-conforming loans, such as the Federal Housing Administration loan, Veterans Affairs loan and U.S. Department of Agriculture loan, often have less stringent lending requirements.
For instance, you may be able to get a FHA loan with a credit score of just 580, as long as you can put 3.5 percent down. With a higher down payment of 10 percent, you may be able to get an FHA loan with even lower credit.
Get Your Credit Score Up
You could just take the time to get your credit score up a little higher. Raising your score isn't complicated, but it does take time, discipline and hard work. These steps can help get your credit score up so that you can qualify for a mortgage:
- Correct any errors on your credit report, especially late payments or collections accounts that aren't recorded properly.
- Make all your payments on time. Late payments are the No. 1 way to ding your credit score.
- Pay down revolving debt like credit cards. A high debt-to-credit ratio is another surefire way to lower your credit score.
- Wait it out. As long as you're paying down debt and making payments on time, your credit score will eventually go up on its own.
Two Final Tips (and these are biggies):
We've all seen the deals from furniture, appliance and electronics stores declaring, "Pay no interest for 24 months," or, "Same as cash" offers. One would naturally think that paying no interest by financing directly through the store makes sense, but DON'T DO IT!
According to most experts including the Federal Trade Commission, this type of financing is generally offered through a finance company, considered to be a "lender of last resort" and as such, can actually hurt your credit score. Finance companies typically deal with sub-prime borrowers and several such purchases can have an increasingly negative impact on your credit score.
Here's another "gotcha." When applying for credit, you may be wrongly advised to pay off an old medical collection bill, for example. Paying off a dormant bill can reset the timing counter from an aging derogatory obligation to a current one and could cost you significant points off your credit score simply because there was new activity on the unpaid obligation that had been aging off your credit score.
Even if you decide to apply for a non-conventional loan or put more money down when you buy a Columbia SC home, these are good credit health habits to maintain for a lifetime.
To stay on top of Columbia SC mortgage news and tips, check out our other articles by clicking on the Columbia SC Mortgage Info link to your right under Columbia SC Real Estate Categories.
After taking a break in the summer, Columbia SC home prices got back up to strength in September, according to statistics reported by DataQuick in the company's monthly Property Intelligence Report. Other metrics, however, weakened.
Columbia SC Home Prices See Rapid Growth
DataQuick reported that Columbia SC home prices "resumed at a rapid rate of growth in September and spread to all" of its 42 reporting counties on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. With the exception of July and August, DataQuick says growth of Columbia SC home prices has spread consistently, just as it has around the country, in the last 12 to 18 months, with all reporting markets seeing growth "in excess of their long term average."
There has been an increase in Columbia SC home prices and overall sales as homeowners with negative equity are gradually swept toward a position of positive equity, a decrease in foreclosures as homeowners have the equity to sell and avoid default, and an increase in demand for home equity lines of credit as borrowers look to tap into increased equity from home price growth.
Other factors DataQuick says to look out for are: "Continued single-family rental demand driven by decreases in home affordability, sustained risk of Columbia SC home prices seeing corrections and stringent mortgage credit standards, and an increase in purchases by investors" driven by the two preceding factors.
The risk of a "substantial correction" runs especially high as growth rates remain elevated, especially since growth isn't supported by steady economic fundamentals.
In the past, moderate economic fundamentals have supported long term growth of Columbia SC home prices with rates of three to four percent respectively. While generally positive, current economic drivers are weaker than those experienced in most previous expansions, leading to considerable uncertainty about future economic prospects.
We'll keep you informed on any news that might affect Columbia SC home prices right here at this website. For continuous updates regarding Columbia SC home prices, click the Columbia SC Real Estate News link to your right.
Attention all sellers of Columbia SC real estate! Give us a moment to share with you exactly why pricing your Columbia SC home correctly is more critical now than ever before.
Prices are being driven by a persistently tight supply of homes for sale, and demand remains high, but over the summer, mortgage rates began increasing and unemployment remains problematic. Housing is improving, but it is not without challenges.
Buyers are desperate to find the right home at the right price. It's not uncommon these days to see multiple offers on the same Columbia SC home. Prices are being driven up by these multiple offers, however, there is a down side to these rapid price increases.
Pricing Your Columbia SC Home Correctly – How The Appraisal May Be Affected
Pricing your Columbia SC home correctly is critical because it must appraise or the sale falls apart before the ink even dries on the purchase agreement. If you over-price your home, it most likely won't appraise for your selling price, even if you do get two or three buyers bidding on the home.
When this happens, one of two things happens. Either the seller comes down on price or the buyer comes to the closing with more money, which they usually don't have.
In reality, who really wins in this situation? No one. The buyer walks away to look for another home, and you have to put your home back on the market, usually at a lower price. Once the lower appraisal comes in, you must disclose what it appraised for, and there you are, wishing you had just started off pricing your Columbia SC home correctly to start with.
We're seeing sellers over-pricing homes because there is a lack of inventory, trying to take advantage of a market condition. This tactic will usually backfire.
The real estate market in the Columbia SC is moving so fast that most buyers know what things are selling for. If you over-price your home, you're just helping your neighbor down the street sell his home.
Yes, homes are selling fast, but at the same time, pricing your Columbia SC home correctly will help you find a buyer faster. Otherwise, if you over-price your home, you'll wind up being on the "skip it, it's over-priced" list.
Pricing your Columbia SC home correctly will also help the market not wind up like we all saw before — a bunch of over-priced homes for sale and no one buying them. That's what starts the proverbial real estate bubbles.
When your home just sits on the market for weeks and months because it's over-priced, you're also giving your home a stigma that's hard to overcome. And then dropping the price to where it probably should have been to start with just makes people ask, "What's wrong with it?"
Do yourself (and everyone else) a favor. Pricing your Columbia SC home correctly is not only important, it's really a must-do thing if you really want to sell.
For continuous Columbia SC housing news, click the Columbia SC Real Estate News link to your right under our Columbia SC Real Estate Categories.