June Updates

Last weekend, the Cleveland Cavaliers took home the NBA championship. On Wednesday, an estimated 1.3 million fans came together downtown to celebrate the win. The Cavaliers broke the curse of the city, winning the first world title in 52 years. Lebron James was named MVP of the NBA Finals.

The Cleveland Indians are currently leading their division ahead of Kansas City. Things are finally looking up for Cleveland Sports!

Upcoming In July

Every 4th of July, many Clevelanders travel to Edgewater Park to watch an amazing fireworks display. The Indians also put on great fireworks every year. Watch from Progressive Field while cheering on the Cleveland Indians against the Detroit Tigers over July 4th weekend. The fireworks proceed the Monday night game.

The Republican National Convention will be held in Cleveland July 18-21. There are 50,000 expected attendees traveling to the city for the convention, so plan ahead if you are going downtown during this time period. There will be tighter security and no driving zones, so make an effort to go green and take public transportation downtown. 


For Sellers: Selling Your Home Before Buying Again

It would be great if you could hand your keys to the buyer at closing, close escrow on your next home, and get your new keys all at the same time. While it’s possible for closings to go that smoothly, you may need a contingency plan if delays occur to one transaction or the other.

Sometimes the buyer’s home doesn’t close on time, so they can’t close on your home as scheduled. Your builder may not have your home ready for move in by close of escrow. Or, you may sell your home before you’ve found another home to move into.

What can you do? Put a contingency into the contract that you rent back your home after closing for a few days or weeks. Or, ask your real estate professional to help you find a short-term furnished executive rental. There are also commercial executive suites that you can rent by the week or month.

Where will you store your furniture and belongings? Get a safe deposit box at your bank for your most precious valuables and papers. A climate-controlled storage facility can run hundreds of dollars per month, but they’re well worth it in terms of protection. Be sure to get storage insurance for floods, leaks and other water damage. Your moving company may also have short-term storage available.

What about bills? Pay them online or get a post office box.

With a contingency plan, you’ll be more relaxed and flexible. The important thing is not to let delays stop you from selling your home.


Conforming, Conventional and Government Loans

The most confusing world for homebuyers has to be mortgage loans. If you don’t know the difference between “conforming,” “conventional” and “government” loans, here’s a quick tutorial of what you should know, so you’ll have a better idea what kind of loan you want and you can get preapproved to buy the home you want.

First of all, the USA doesn’t lend money to homebuyers, so there really is no such thing as agovernment loan. But, through federal agencies such as the Federal Housing Authority and the Veteran’s Administration, there is a guarantee that banks that offer mortgages won’t lose their money should the loans go into default.

FHA and VA loans allow first-time or low-income borrowers to buy a home with little or no down payment and with less than perfect credit scores. To protect taxpayers from losses, the loans are guaranteed through mortgage insurance that borrowers pay for the life of the loans.

Conforming loans refer to loans that conform to borrowing limits, depending on the cost of living for the area. Loans that are above the given amount are called non-conforming or jumbo loans.

While it may seem counterintuitive, a conventional mortgage is simply any loan that is not guaranteed by the federal government. Conventional loans conform to borrowing guidelines set by the government-sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which buy loans packaged into securities from mortgage lenders. To minimize risk for investors, Fannie and Freddie insist that the borrower and bank must “conform” to their terms and amounts.

Talk to your mortgage lender to learn which loans would be right for you.


Refresh Bathroom Grout

If your bathroom has older or antique tile that is still attractive, you can make it look newer simply by refreshing the grout. If the grout is eroded, mildewed or stained, you don’t have to hire a professional. You can easily follow these easy steps yourself.

Since most grout comes in standard colors, you can purchase the same color by digging out an eroded sample and matching it. Mix the grout according to instructions and apply. Seal with suggested sealant as needed.

Mildewed grout can be cleaned with products you may already have under the sink. You'll need white vinegar, liquid bleach (oxygen bleach for septic systems), and mild abrasive cleaner. Don’t use a steel brush because that can scratch the tile. Instead, purchase a new scrub brush with nylon or plastic bristles.

Keeping windows open or fans running, remove as much of the mildew and scrum as possible from the grout and tile, rinsing often. Use the vinegar soaked in paper towels and apply them to the stubborn areas, leaving them to soak into the grout. Check back and lightly brush to see if deeply embedded mildew comes away. Reapply as needed.

Clean the area again, then apply the undiluted bleach with paper towels, leaving them to saturate the grout, repeating as necessary. When you’re satisfied with the process, clean the area again. By keeping the bathroom clean, dry and well-ventilated, you’ll be able to cut down on future mildew issues.

Finish the repair by caulking between the walls, tub or shower and tile and your bathroom will look shiny and new!


Stone Countertops As Art

You want an upscale look for your kitchen, and the best way to get it is with stone countertops. The fine art look in granite comes from choosing an exotic slab for fabrication, which offers the beauty of a contiguous swirl or lighting-like pattern.

This abstract pattern is one of a kind and cannot be duplicated. Have the slab fabricated without a seam to showcase across a large countertop or island. The effect can be dazzling, yet there are other ways to enjoy the beauty of stone.

Engineered stone is about 93 percent quartz, which is then rounded out with epoxy, polymers, pebbles, shells, fossils, semi-precious stones and other materials.  Unlike granite, which can stain if it’s not sealed and resealed periodically, engineered stone is completely non-porous. While granite is measured and cut to specifications, quartz is an engineered stone that is poured into a mold to fit the measurement. Since it’s man-made, it’s easy to match and arrives looking just like the sample in your hand.

To get basic colors and designs in quartz, visit your local home improvement store. For custom quartz, contact your local kitchen specialty store, an interior designer, or kitchen design specialist. They’ll have stunning palettes to choose from, from granite-like patterns to solid colors of all hues.

Consider marble for baking areas where you’ll need a cool surface to roll dough. Soapstone or slate also make beautiful countertops. You’ll have fewer color choices, but they both offer fabulous textures.

All stone is durable, so no matter which you choose, stone counter tops in your kitchen will provide both beauty and value.

Newsletter brought to you by The Task Team & Berkshire Hathaway Professional Realty