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Ten Steps to Oklahoma Home Ownership Step 10: What to do Next?

You have officially done everything. You have gone through all the steps, from looking at properties, extending an offer, obtaining financing, and closing the loan. You have a home to call your own. Is there anything else you need to do for the home buying process?

Whether this is your first time buying a home or you are an experienced buyer, there are several further steps you will want to complete.

Hold on to all the papers you received at settlement because each one is extremely valuable! Right away they can aid you in filing tax deductions for the year that the property was purchased. For future reference, the papers will remain important for tax purposes such as when the property is sold and in some instances, for determining estate taxes.

During closing, it is good to find out the status of the utilities required for the home. Such items include water, gas, sewage, oil, and electric service. Confirm that all the utility bills are paid in full by the owners as of closing. You also want to make sure the services are transferred over to your name to begin receiving the billing. In most instances you can transfer utilities over without turning anything off. Speak with your realtor to obtain any contact numbers or accompanying information you may need.

Approximately two weeks after your closing, get in touch with the local property records office and get confirmation that your deed was recorded officially. These documents are public notices that declare your interest in the property.

Moving in

The general understanding is that sellers will leave the home “broom clean” when they move out. This term does not mean the property will be vacuumed or spotless. It simply means that the house is ready to be cleaned and painted, so expect to do a little work.

Protect your home and your money

For most people, their home is the largest single asset they have, so it makes no sense to not protect that asset.

Try making a video or photo record of your home and possessions for insurance purposes. Be sure to keep the records in a safety deposit box. For recommendations on what to photograph and how to secure it, contact your insurance provider.

Also, it is important to maintain theft, fire, and liability insurance. The coverage for these should rise as the value of your home rises. Once again, contact your insurance provider for further details. Last but not least, enjoy every piece of your home. The process of owning real estate can be tough to get through with all the contracts, taxes, and loans but it is very important that you have a great experience. Sit back and enjoy!

This article was brought to you by Oklahoma Mortgage Bank. Oklahoma Mortgage Bank offers a wide array of mortgage programs to eligible borrowers nationwide. Click here to visit our website.
If you or someone you know has questions about home financing in Oklahoma or nationwide, contact our Oklahoma mortgage team: (405) 358-3560 or (800) 308-8503.

How to Save Money on your Electric Bill this Summer

oklahoma-energy-conservationThis guest post was provided by the Ames Apartments experts at Jensen Group.

When you own a home, your electricity cost can at times be one of your highest bills. As temperatures and electricity continue to rise together, energy bills become increasingly less affordable. However, there are a wide variety of practices that you can help you save money on your electric bill. Here are
our top tips for keeping those electricity bills manageable:

1. First, check the lighting in your home.

You may be using bulbs that use excess wattage and just aren’t practical to use in your bedroom or kitchen but can be replaced with more efficient bulbs. Do some research online and find out which types of bulbs are most efficient for different types of rooms and lighting. Also, get into the habit of turning lights off so they don’t use energy when it’s not needed.

2. Keep your fridge in check!

Staying on top of your refrigerator maintenance is key. This includes making sure the cooling coils in both the refrigerator and the freezer are clear. Another tip to help your fridge run better is to go to the bottom and back of the unit and clean out the vent. Finally, do a regular defrosting to get rid of any thick ice surrounding the freezer container.

3. For the other appliances, simply turn them off when not in use.

When you leave your house be sure all appliances are turned off and unplugged, as most electronics use electricity even when turned off.

4. Procure a wattage meter that can measure how much electricity the devices around your home are using.

They normally are pretty inexpensive, usually less than $20, and provide a quick do-it yourself method for effectively monitoring your energy consumption.

5. Try doing everyday tasks with minimal electricity.

Examples include drying your clothes outside, taking indoor tasks outdoors, and using cold water whenever possible.

6. Finally, contact your electric company representative.

A growing number of electric companies now offering “time-of-use plans” which offer lower rates for energy consumption during off-peak hours. The catch is that users often pay more for peak-hours use, so consider the daily schedule before signing up. All you have to do is ask!

While some of these points may be harder to accomplish than others, be sure to keep the long-term benefits and savings in mind. The savings can truly pile up if you can start thinking green!

Oklahoma Mortgage Bank’s 10 Steps to Home Ownership Series Part 4

Part 4: Look at Homes

Oklahoma Home Search

The time to start looking at homes has finally come. In the U.S., millions of new and existing homes are
sold every year. With the housing market in its current state, there is definitely no shortage of housing
choices. While having countless housing options seems great, it can become difficult to narrow down your list and find a home that best suits your needs.

One thing that makes the housing market especially complicated is the fact that the stock of homes is always in changing. Homes become available and properties for sale are put under a contract almost every minute of every day. Unfortunately, the technology needed to generate a complete list of every property available in a specific area has not become available to us yet. Therefore, homebuyers are looking at a moving target in a housing market that is never fixed. Because of this, our team at Oklahoma Mortgage Bank has provided a few tips to help future homebuyers narrow down their home search and find a home the best suits their needs.

What do you want?

There is so much more to a home than square footage and price. If you tell your real estate agent or realtor that you are looking for a three bedroom, two and a half bathroom home in a particular price range, they are likely to provide you with a lengthy list of contenders. You will soon find that several properties will have the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need at the price point you wish to stay at. However, homes are more than just a collection of bedrooms and bathrooms. Two homes with the same amount of square footage and the exact same price may very well represent different styles, commuting distances, lot sizes, tax costs, interior finishes and exterior architectural elements.

Every homeowner is different; therefore, it is extremely important to list the features and benefits you are searching for in your future home. Do you want a pool, large kitchen, master suite or big backyard? Are you looking for a single-story home or two-story? Do you have the time and energy for a fixer-upper or do you need a home that is move-in ready? Asking yourself these questions will make it easier for you to narrow down the list of homes that fit your basic needs.

Prioritize your wants.

Let’s face it; the majority of us do not have an unlimited budget to purchase a home with. Therefore, the next step in looking at homes is to prioritize your list of wants. What features are more important to you? Would you rather have a home that is closer to work, but smaller in size or a home that is a further commute, but includes an extra bedroom? Would you be willing to sacrifice a swimming pool for a big kitchen?

Lastly, think about your future needs. If you are looking to start a family, would you rather buy a larger home in the beginning or add on later? Once you have given your list of home features some thought, develop a new list with your must haves on top.

Start looking at neighborhoods.

Every neighborhood and community has a different identity and value. Some neighborhoods may be known for their historic homes and tree-lined streets, while other neighborhoods may be known for their contemporary-style condos and retail. Use your list of home features to help you select a neighborhood or community. Once you have a defined area, it is time to select a home.

How to find a house.

Whether you choose to search properties yourself online, or have a real estate agent do the searching for you, it is crucial to target your search. To start, use your price range and area to develop a list of homes. Once you have a list, look for homes with the features that you find most attractive. To help keep track of the homes you like, print off each listing and make notes as you view the homes. Once you are finished looking, create a file for the listing, your notes and the agent’s information.

How to Get Rid of Tough Home Odors

Oklahoma Mortgage Lender

This post was provided by Realty Austin, specializing in Lake Austin homes and downtown Austin Condos.

Are you preparing your home for sale or maybe found the perfect fixer-upper but are dealing with a tough lingering odor? It’s not the smell of a week-old casserole or even “old house”, but something more pungent like mold or smoke in the air. Smells like this can be tough to get rid of, but the Austin homes experts at Realty Austin have some tricks to help you get that stench out. Next time you find yourself facing a tough home odor, try these tricks:

Step One: Lemon Juice and Baking Soda

Make a 1-to-1 mixture of distilled water and lemon juice, and put it in a spray bottle. Then, carefully go over every hard surface in your home, sprinkling baking soda down, spraying the lemon juice on it, and then rubbing it firmly with a chamois or a clean rag. It’s a lot of elbow grease, but the combination will take out most any moldly scent quite effectively.

Step Two: Vinegar

Mix one part vinegar to five parts water, and put it in a spray bottle. Generously spray everything that won’t be damaged by the spray, and let it sit for an hour before you wipe it up. Vinegar is an extraordinary disinfectant, and it will take almost every biological smell out of the air. You’ll have to put up with the smell of vinegar for a day or two, but it’ll be worth it.

Step Three: Vinegar and Baking Soda

This step is all about the carpet. You’ll want a big bag — the 12-lb. kind at least — of baking soda. Select a 10′ square of carpet, and sprinkle baking soda generously over it. Spray that with ample amounts of the aforementioned 1-to-5-vinegar/water solution. Yes, it will foam up. Let it, and then let it die back down, and then wait overnight for the carpet to dry up. Vacuum it up in the morning, and it should be odor-free. This process will also work for mattresses, fabric-covered sofa cushions, and most other similar items.

At this point, if your home still smells, your last hope is hiring a disaster recovery team to come in and deodorize. It might cost you a few bucks, but you’ll know how worthwhile it was the first time you inhale.