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Spend significant time going through the following tips when you start to get serious about the home building process. This list is just the beginning of our commitment to helping you achieve the custom home of your dreams.

Please contact us if you have any additional questions.

1. Be prepared when you visit your banker. The items listed below are typically needed to secure a mortgage loan.

  • Pay stubs for the past 2-3 months
  • W-2 forms for the past 2 years
  • Information on long-term debts
  • Recent bank statements
  • Tax returns for the past 2 years
  • Proof of any other income
  • Address and description of the property you wish to buy
  • Sales contract

2. Get pre-approved to determine your price range.

Pre-approval is a lender's actual commitment to lend to you. It involves assembling all the financial records before an actual property is chosen and going through a preliminary approval process. Pre-approval gives you a definite idea of what you can afford and shows sellers that you are serious about buying.

3. Be there during your home inspection to learn more about your home.

Following the inspection, the home inspector will be able to answer questions about the report and any problem areas. This is also an opportunity to hear an objective opinion on the home you'd like to purchase and it is a good time to ask general maintenance questions.

4. Steps to take to lower your homeowner's insurance costs.

Be sure to shop around among several insurance companies. Also, consider the cost of insurance when you look at homes. Newer homes and homes constructed with materials like brick tend to have lower premiums.

Think about avoiding areas prone to natural disasters, like flooding. Choose a home with a fire hydrant or a fire department nearby. Other ways to lower insurance costs include insuring your home and car(s) with the same company, increasing home security, and seeking group coverage through alumni or business associations. Insurance costs are always lowered by raising your deductibles, but this exposes you to a higher out-of-pocket cost if you have to file a claim.

5. In addition to comparing the home to your minimum requirement and wish lists, consider the following:

  • Is there enough room for both the present and the future?
  • Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms?
  • Is the house structurally sound?
  • Do the mechanical systems and appliances work?
  • Is the yard big enough?
  • Do you like the floor plan?
  • Will your furniture fit in the space? Is there enough storage space? (Bring a tape measure to better answer these questions.)
  • Does anything need to be repaired or replaced? Will the seller repair or replace the items?
  • Imagine the house in good weather and bad, and in each season. Will you be happy with it year-round?Ask your real estate agent to point out the pros and cons of each home from a professional standpoint.

6. Your real estate agent will assist you in making an offer, which will include the following information:

  • Complete legal description of the property
  • Amount of earnest money
  • Down payment and financing details
  • Proposed move-in date
  • Price you are offering
  • Proposed closing date
  • Length of time the offer is valid
  • Details of the dealRemember that a sale commitment depends on negotiating a satisfactory contract with the seller, not just making an offer.

7. Pay off that loan early!

By sending in extra money each month or making an extra payment at the end of the year, you can accelerate the process of paying off the loan. When you send extra money, be sure to indicate that the excess payment is to be applied to the principal. Most lenders allow loan prepayment, though you may have to pay a prepayment penalty to do so. Ask your lender for details.

8. Things to consider for your initial offer.

Listen to your real estate agent's advice, but follow your own instincts on deciding a fair price.

Calculating your offer should involve several factors: what homes sell for in the area, the home's condition, how long it's been on the market, financing terms, and the seller's situation.

By the time you're ready to make an offer, you should have a good idea of what the home is worth and what you can afford. Be prepared for give-and-take negotiation, which is very common when buying a home. The buyer and seller may often go back and forth until they can agree on a price.

9. The following information provides helpful guidelines you can use in your spa shopping process.


The size spa you look for can be affected by two things - Before you begin shopping, decide where you would like to put your spa. Outline the spa's location using a garden hose or rope. This will help you envision your plan for the area. Consider access to and from, privacy, proximity to the appropriate electricity source and the view from the spa.

Decide how many people you would like your spa to hold. When friends and relatives visit, you won't want to have to take turns enjoying the spa.


Once you have determined the right size for your needs, the most important consideration is the level of comfort afforded by the spa's seating. If you're not comfortable in the spa, you will not enjoy using it no matter what else the spa offers or how much you paid.

Don't consider buying any spa unless you have actually sat in it. Some dealers will allow you to try out the spa with water in it in the showroom-the "wet test." (Do it if you can-this is no time to be shy.) But, even if this is not an option, you must sit in it dry. As you do this, consider the number and sizes of people that will be using your spa and answer the following questions:

Are the seats comfortable?

Is the footwell ample enough for everyone's feet and legs?

Is there a way the person in each seat can remain comfortably seated when the jets are turned on? In the buoyancy of water, it doesn't take much pressure to move a person around.

Can everyone in your family enjoy the spa without struggling to keep their chins above water? Many spas offer seats of varying depths.
Is the seat long enough from front to back to allow a taller person to get their shoulders down into the water without slipping off the front edge of the seat?

Are cushioned headrests provided for increased comfort?

Also, don't forget to see how loud the spa is. Listen to the noise level as you turn on the pumps and adjust the valves. A loud spa will not only inhibit relaxation, it will also alert your neighbors each time you use your spa.

Hydrotherapy Performance

Look carefully at the fit and finish of the spa. If the superficial things are sloppy, chances are that the things you can't see are, too. Check the location of the spa's key components. If something breaks down, the easier the access, the easier it will be to repair or replace.

Ask for the name and phone number of two or three customers. Call them and ask what their experience has been with the product and the dealer.


Examine it thoroughly. Generally speaking, the extent and duration of the warranty is a statement of the spa manufacturer's confidence in the product. Be aware, however, that the warranty is worth little if the manufacturer is not around to back the warranty or if the manufacturer or local dealer is not willing or prepared to back the warranty. Again, length of time in business and reputation can tell you a great deal.

Spas without circulation pumps rely on the low speed of a two-speed pump turning on periodically to provide filtration, ozone injection and the flow required for heating. On these spas, this periodic operation is typically controlled by a built-in programmable timer, by the spa's thermostat or both.

Check to be sure that the spa you are considering is listed by a recognized independent testing agency such as UL or ETL.

Make sure the cover comes with a means of locking it securely to the spa to prevent unauthorized use.

Use a qualified electrician to connect the electrical service to the spa.
After you get your spa, be sure to heed the warnings about use by small children, pregnant women, people with certain health conditions and people under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Tip Provided By: Pool Tech Plus

10. Below are a few things to help you understand why certain carpets perform better than others.

Yarn Twist- When it comes to carpet "tighter is better". In general terms, the tighter the twist the longer the carpet will perform before it begins to crush and matt. By taking lots of fine fiber strands (called filaments) and spinning them into a tightly twisted yarn and then locking them all together with heat you get a much more resilient yarn for making carpet.

Shorter Nap- The height of the carpet's nap is also important to the overall performance of the carpet. The higher the yarn stands above the backing of the carpet the more difficult it is for the manufacturer to make the carpet crush and matt resistant. So the shorter the pile height the more crush resistant and the longer the like-new appearance of your carpet will last.

Stitches Per Inch- Like most fabric materials, carpet that has more yarn (or stitches) per inch will also be more crush and matt resistant. Some carpets are so dense that it is nearly impossible to push your fingers in between the yarns. Obviously, the carpets where the yarns are so crowded and packed together will have an easier time resisting crushing.

Carpet Cushion- A good quality carpet cushion will extend the life of any carpet, regardless of the quality of the carpet. Carpet cushion serves a vital purpose which is often over looked. Good quality carpet cushion acts as both a shock absorber and a spring which helps improve a carpet's overall performance. Review the carpet manufacturer's cushion recommendations prior to purchasing a carpet.

Continuous Filament Nylon (CFN)- If you see on the back of a carpet sample a label that says "CFN", or "BCF", that means this carpet is made from continuous filament nylon. Continuous filament nylon starts out as one long continuous strand before made into yarn. The other type is called staple nylon, which means each fine filament starts out as a short strand about 7 inches long before it is spun into yarn and then tufted into carpet. As the short, unsecured pieces of staple nylon come loose from the yarn pile you get pilling on the surface of the carpet. This does not happen with a continuous nylon carpet.

Looped Carpets- From level loops to berbers there is an important factor to look for when buying a crush resistant looped carpet. This is the density of the loop and how much free space is in the middle of the loop. Like all carpets the more filaments that are packed in the yarn and the tighter the loop the better the performance will be.
Tip Provided By: Hacienda Carpet

11. How to Choose a Mortgage Lender

1. Do your homework:

  • Do you know anyone who has worked with the lender you are considering?
  • Were you referred by someone you trust? Realtor? Friend? Family?
  • Does the company have a good reputation?
  •  Are the rates and fees competitive? (not always the lowest...)

2. Do you TRUST the loan officer's advice? (most loan officers are on commission, are they working in your best interest?)

3. Did your loan officer spend time understanding your short and long term financial goals to help you integrate your new mortgage? Or did your loan officer "take your order"?

4. Are you comfortable with the level of experience the loan officer offers?

5. Is the loan officer part of your Realtor's "team"?

6. Always TRUST your Realtor and your loan officer. (If you don't, find someone you do TRUST.)

7. Is your loan servicing going to be sold upon closing?

8. Is your loan officer working for you, with you, or against you?

9. Listen to your Realtor's advice when choosing a lender.

10. Are you a loan or a family to the officer you are considering?

Remember: You have to live in the home and with the mortgage you choose. Choose wisely.

Tip Provided By: Joshua Christensen

12. When the unexpected happens.


1. Avoid Hazards! Electrical shock, falling on wet floors, and bacteria in sewer water are real and common dangers.

2. Stop The Source! If you haven't located the source of water, call immediately.

3. Take Immediate Action! By calling, any time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Time is crucial.

4. Remove Furniture! Wood and rust stains are difficult, if not impossible to remove. So move the furniture away from any water, or elevate it off the floor.

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