buying your first home

Buying Your First Home: 3 Buying Myths Debunked

It’s a seller’s market, yet here in Tampa the homes are in demand and aren’t lasting too quick. Buying your first home can be a big challenge, filled with unfamiliar ground. Here are 3 buying myths debunked as you move into buying your first home.

Looking first is the wrong first step

Most first time home buyers start with looking at homes. This could include driving around neighborhoods or searching online. But if you’re serious about buying your first home, your first step should be getting qualified for a mortgage.

If you fall in love with a house and have no idea if you can afford it then you may be setting yourself up for heartbreak. With online services like Lending Tree, you don’t even have to walk into a bank to find out if you can qualify for a home loan. Start with the loan then proceed with the looking. Wit your finances in place, it also means if you do find a home you love you don’t have to hesitate in making an offer.

Your down payment can vary depending on your lender

Most buyers have the misconception that you have to put 20% down as a down payment. Traditional loans have always required a minimum 20% down payment. However, many loans now offer a variety of down payment options.

Some lenders also offer incentives or programs that will reduce your down payment percentage, or not even require a down payment. Some programs also cater to veterans, military, or other eligibility requirements.

An appraisal and a home inspection are two very different things

If you’re buying your first home then you might confuse a home appraisal and a home inspection. A home inspection is paid out of the buyer’s own pocket. Most lenders require will require a home inspection before you purchase the home so the inspector can identify any issues or concerns you need to be aware of before completing the purchase.

A home appraisal is for the bank to determine how risky of an investment the bank is making by allowing you to buy the home. An appraiser will spend 5 – 15 minutes in your home, as opposed to a home inspector who will spend 3 – 4 hours. The appraiser will determine the overall value of the home.

Don’t forget to call Divinity Inspection Service when you are ready to schedule your home inspection! One of the worst mistakes you can make is completing your home purchase without a home inspection first.

avoid a disastrous home

How To Avoid A Disastrous Home

No home is perfect. Even new builds have their issues. However, there are also disastrous homes you want to stay away from. Here are a few things you need to know to avoid a disastrous home.

Get a home inspection

The best thing you can do for your home is get a home inspection. In fact, the worse thing you can do as a home buyer is not inspect the home before you complete the purchase. Too often things are missed when you don’t know what to look for. A seasoned home inspector follows a very extensive list and can educate you on your new home.

Ask a lot of questions

You have two opportunities to ask a lot of questions and you want to take advantage of both. Before the home inspection and during. You should always attend the home inspection so you can address any questions you have directly with the home inspector. You also want to give the inspector an opportunity to discuss their findings or any concerns with you.

Become familiar with a sample report

A sample report will give you a template of what to expect. Reports are very long and detailed but if you become familiar with a sample report then you can read your report more easily. Keep in mind, Divinity Inspection Services will keep your report in their database for up to a year.

Feeling confident about your home inspection also means feeling confident about your home inspector. At Divinity Inspection Service, we make sure you feel comfortable, confident, and excited about your new home!

Flood Disasters & Emergencies

Prepare For Flood Disasters & Emergencies

Flood disasters and emergencies happen specifically during our rainy season here in Tampa Bay. As most natives already know, there are some areas in Tampa that are especially prone to flooding. Are you prepared to handle a flood disaster or emergency? We hope this article can help.

Keep emergency information on hand

The last thing you want to be doing during an emergency is looking for emergency information. Do you know your evacuation route? Do you live on an evacuation route? Here is a good resource to find the emergency contact information you need for your area: http://www.floridadisaster.org/index.asp.

Keep important documents in an easy to reach place

Keeping important documents together and easy to find can make all the difference in an emergency situation. If you have to go looking for your passport or birth certificate, you could really effect your response time. Many emergent sources recommend keeping copies of important documents in your home and the originals in a safe place outside your home.

Review your flood insurance policies

Understanding your flood insurance policy is very important. Ask your representative a lot of questions until you feel confident you understand your policy and make sure you have the proper level of protection.

Understand the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning

A flood watch means there is potential for flooding. A flood warning means flooding has already occurred or will occur soon. Knowing the difference can help you prepare for efficiently.

In conclusion, if there is an emergency situation, you won’t have a lot of time. If you are prepared, it won’t matter. During our home inspection, we are able to tell you if there has been any flood damage to the home or if you are potentially in an area that floods often. We also recommend driving by the home during a rainy day to see for yourself if there is any flooding in the neighborhood or in the house.

street flooding

How To Help Prevent Street Flooding

If you have noticed your street or driveway is prone to flooding, then you could be contributing to the problem. Here are a few tips to help prevent street flooding that you can implement during this rainy season.

1. Start with your storm drains

Keep your storm drains clean and free of debris. If you noticed a clogged grate on your street, do everyone a favor and rake it up. Clogged grates are the main reason for street flooding.

2. You are responsible for your culverts

Culverts are pipes that carry storm water under a roadway. These culverts can get clogged and create street flooding. Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of these private drainage systems so keep your eye on yours.

3. Test your sump pump

The last thing you want to deal with is a sump pump over flow! Test your sump pump and make sure it is ready if a storm hits.

4. Have emergency service numbers on hand for an emergency

We hope this is never the case, but if it is, you will want to be prepared. If you know a big storm is headed your way then take an extra step and have emergency service numbers on hand should you need them.

5. Prepare your home when your gone on vacation

This is one of the most commonly forgotten tasks. During summer many families go on vacation and they don’t consider what would happen if a big storm were to hit their home while they were gone. Is your home prepared to defend itself without you? Make sure it is before you leave.

Keep your family safe and contribute to neighborhood safety by using these tips to prevent street flooding. And contact Divinity Inspection Services for any home inspection needs.

how to stay cool

How To Stay Cool On A Budget

Tampanians everywhere are trying to figure out how to stay cool without paying really high electric bills. Summer is already here, with the heat index in the high nineties and the humidity over 50% on most days. Tampa is hot. That means your house might be feeling hot too. Here a few things you can do to beat the heat without sending your electric bill over the hill.

1. Take advantage of a free energy-saving assessment

Did you know that both TECO and Duke Energy offer free in-home assessments? This means one of their representatives will come into your home and make recommendations on how you can increase energy efficiency. They check everything in your home that they can see. This can make a huge impact and they offer this service at no charge. You just have to call and make the appointment.

2. How much heat can you take?

According to Duke Energy, every degree increase saves about 5% in cooling costs. Obviously, the higher you can set your A/C, the more you will decrease your bill.

3. Change your air filters often

I recommend at least monthly during the summer. If you have pets then even more often. Changing the filter can have a big impact on your A/C’s efficiency.

4. Find the air leaks

Air leaks are a huge air sucker and will definitely increase your electric bill. Find and seal any and all air leaks in your home.

5. Use your ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are great to keep rooms in your home cool. Fans work to spread the cool air around your home, keep the temperature down, and give you some direct cool air.

These are just a few of the many things you can do to stay cool this summer. Now that you know how to stay cool on a budget, make sure to give us a call if you also need a home inspection!