Stock Tank Pools: Hot Trend For Summer

Stock Tank Pool

We’ve all been stuck at home, it’s starting to get hot, and school—at least in its current form—is almost out. That probably means one thing: You’re starting to think about what summer fun might look like this year. 

For many of us, summer means pools time. But if you live in an area where you depend on being able to use a community pool or recreation center, that might be questionable at this time. And building a pool is so expensive and time-consuming. 

That’s why we’re loving stock tank pools right now.

What is a stock tank pool?

“Here’s an idea: Instead of dropping a ton of cash just to stay cool for a few hours at a time this summer, you may want to consider the humble, yet far more affordable, galvanized stock tank swimming pool (also known as a ‘water trough pool’),”said Country Living. “These inexpensive farm staples were originally designed as water troughs for livestock, it’s true. But that’s part of their country-chic appeal. Nowadays, stock tank swimming pools have been popping up in backyards across the country.”

Whatever stigma still remains around traditional above-ground pools, stock tank pools have managed to sidestep it by embracing their farmhouse cache. It’s not lost on us that you can order your stock tank from a tractor supply—if you can even find one. 

Here’s how to make a splash with a stock tank pool in your own backyard.

Pick your size

You can find common galvanized stock tanks with a round, 10-foot diameter size, but they’re hard to come by. More common are eight-foot versions, but, as their popularity grows, they’re also challenging to secure. 

There are also six-foot tanks and oval options, but they don’t necessarily provide the same kind of swimming experience.

Pick your spot

Where you’re going to put your stock tank pool is just as important as the pool itself. Without a level foundation, you’ll have leaks. 

“Job one is obviously selecting the site for your stock tank pool. You’ll need to prepare the area by creating a solid, level base,” said Tractor Supply. “You could use compacted sand, or even crushed granite. But, it’s very important to ensure that it’s a smooth surface, free of any rocks or sharp edges. The same is true whether you plan to use the stock tank for an above-ground pool, or want to dig out enough soil to create an in-ground version. If digging a hole for an in-ground pool, remember to allow enough space behind the pool to accommodate the pump and hoses.”

Add your accessories

And by accessories, we mean two things: design and function.

First, let’s talk about function. A stock tank pool isn’t as easy to set up as a kiddie pool. You could just fill it with water and call it a day, but you’ll end up swimming in gunk. And standing water can also attract mosquitos, which is probably not one of your goals. 

Take a cue from the Hey Wanderer blog, which can walk you through the pump and the chlorine and all the supplies you’ll need and steps you’ll want to take to get the pool up and running.

Now that you’ve got your stock tank set up, it’s time to make it fancy. While the tank alone has its own distinct vibe, it can be dressed up in any number of ways. 

Paint the metal, build deck seating around it, hang lights and incorporate tikis to create a tropical getaway feel—the sky’s the limit. We love this rattan surround, which gives you bench seating and a shelf to hold your drinks! We’re into  the whole setup here with the umbrella, and lights mounted on the fence. When we get our pool, we’re definitely stealing this bamboo ideaEncased in stone with multiple fountains shooting across? Yes, please! 

Closing Costs

Closing Costs

When preparing to buy a Fort Collins or Loveland home, financing is typically in order. And for those shopping for their best mortgage deal, the two most asked-about questions concern the interest rate and closing costs. Sure, there are certainly other considerations but these two get mentioned more often than others. One lender can have a slightly lower rate, but the lender’s closing costs are a bit higher compared to others. Conversely, a lender offering slightly higher rates might have not just lower closing costs but might also offer a “no closing cost” option in exchange for an elevated rate. These are the things you and your loan officer will discuss.

While the rate is very important, after all it determines what your monthly payments will be well into the future, so too are closing costs. And consumers can make the wrong decision by not paying as much attention to how much a loan actually costs. A lender can provide you with a cost estimate either over the phone or by sending you a sample Loan Estimate. This estimate will highlight a list of closing costs you’re likely to see at your settlement. Your loan officer will also point out which costs are lender costs, and which are reserved for third party services.

Of these, there are recurring and non-recurring charges. Recurring charges are those you’ll see again, either every month or every year. For example, each time you make a mortgage payment, a portion goes directly toward the outstanding loan balance while another goes toward interest. Interest is a cost and it will be paid every month. That makes it a recurring cost. Property taxes and property insurance is another type of recurring cost. Non-recurring charges are one time fees paid at the settlement table. Title insurance, attorney and other one-time costs are non-recurring.

Okay, so when shopping around for a mortgage you want to know where rates are, but you should also ask about the lender fees. Third party charges shouldn’t vary from one lender to the next. An attorney will charge the same amount for a similar transaction, for example. It’s the lender charges that can be different from one lender to the next. What sort of fees does the lender have control over?

Common lender fees might be a Loan Processing fee. A loan processing fee helps to cover the overhead needed when moving a loan file through the approval process. The individual lender decides whether or not to charge such a fee as well as how much that fee will be. Another common lender charge is an Underwriting fee. This fee goes to offset the cost for making sure the loan file meets all the guidelines for the selected mortgage program. Again, the lender decides whether or not to charge the fee and if so, how much. Other lender fees collected might actually go to others such as a credit report fee or funds to pay for an appraisal.

It’s just as important to evaluate the cost of the loan from the lender’s perspective. A lender might have a rate 0.125% lower than another but charge $500 in closing costs. Loan officers know that when quoting a rate to a prospective borrower, the rate will be the most important factor. However, many consumers ignore the other part of the equation. To complicate matters more, the Loan Estimate can be very difficult to discern. Loan officers send them out daily, but they can look a little complicated to the consumer at first glance.

The takeaway? Get your rate quoted but also ask for a list of lender-required charges. The other fees the lender has no control over. 

Message me if your thinking about buying a Fort Collins or Loveland home at m.me/EdPowersRealEstate

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Ed Powers Real Estate 970-690-3113 ed@EdPowersRealEstate.com www.EdPowersRealEstate.com

Tips to Save in Your Kitchen Remodel

Tips to Save in Your Kitchen Remodel

The kitchen is the hub of the household. It is where the family gathers daily to socialize and create delicious cuisine. Without a doubt, the kitchen is also one of the most important rooms to remodel to potentially increase the value of your home. In fact, a home that has undergone a kitchen remodel sells8% faster, according to realtor.com studies. 

Historically, the kitchen was once hidden away from the main house for several reasons, such as to reduce excessive heat and to control smells. Nowadays that is no longer the case. The kitchen has made its debut as an integral part of the home and perhaps the most important room, which is why many homeowners are looking to upgrade the space. In this article, we will explore tips to save in your kitchen remodel. 

Top Ways to Save in Your Kitchen Remodel 

The average cost of a kitchen remodel in the United States is between $8,500 to $25,000. The figure might seem a bit wide-ranging, but if you are looking for ways to pinch your pennies, then rest-assured that with frugal decisions, you can cut costs to keep the total amount in the lower end of the spectrum. 

Choose mid-range efficient appliances 

Sure, it is tempting to pick only high-end appliances for your kitchen, but such high-dollar items are usually unnecessary. You can choose practical, energy-efficient appliances that boast acceptable warranties and look fabulous. 

A factor to consider when picking appliances is longevity. Refrigerators usually last only 15 years or less but a cooktop and range function last considerably longer. Also, if you have a large family then you are constantly washing dishes, so a large, efficient dishwasher becomes a mandatory investment.  

Whichever appliances you choose, try to stick with one brand and appearance. Stainless steel remains the most popular finish choice. If you want your home to appear modern, then you will want to pay close attention to design and appearance while still trying to avoid paying premium prices. Instead, settle for moderate workhorse appliances that provide you with looks, function, energy-efficiency, and longevity. 

Opt for affordable yet durable counter materials 

When you walk into a kitchen, you might believe your focal point is the cabinets but most people zero in on the countertops first. Perhaps it is the clean, sleek design or the sparkle of the surface. A showpiece countertop dictates the cabinetry, room furnishings, and color scheme. 

When picking countertop materials, remember you can pick granite with a rating of a level 2 grade (mid-grade) versus a level 3 (premium grade). The differences are subtle and usually missed by a novice who does not work in the granite business. Choosing a lovely, mid-grade granite countertop offers a greater return-on-investment. The cost of granite countertops runs from $35 to $500/sq. ft. 

Laminate countertops are another option. They mimic the appearance of granite without the high cost. Historically, you could not install an under-mount sink in a laminate countertop, but designs have changed and now you can. Laminate hovers at an affordable $5 to $30/sq. ft.

Quartz (an engineered stone) and concrete countertops are other cost-saving options. The average cost of quartz is $55 to $200/sq. ft. and concrete runs $75 to $200/sq. ft. 

Resurfacing an older countertop with tile is another option. This project typically costs around $10 to $70/sq. ft. 

Go for a cosmetic upgrade instead of a whole cabinet replacement

It’s tempting to purchase all new cabinets for the kitchen but that can become expensive with 30 linear feet of average cabinets costing from $6,412 to $11,400 for installation. However, resurfacing the existing cabinets is a great way to provide an instant facelift to the room. Many opt to carry out refinishing cabinets as a DIY project to save even more. 

You can also replace kitchen cabinets with veneer models instead of real wood. Budget cabinets range from $70 to $100 per linear foot. Handles, knobs, and pull are the crowning glory on your kitchen cabinets. However, that does not mean that you must spend a fortune on the hardware. Knobs can range from $1 to $100 and hinges from $1 to $15.  There is a huge range of prices so you can find your comfort zone within your budget. 

Install a backsplash with attractive, long-lasting materials 

Backsplashes look good and showcase not only the kitchen cabinets but also the countertops. There are a lot of different backsplash materials you can choose to create your perfect backsplash, but they aren’t all created equally. Depending on how much cooking you do, you’ll want to find a material that’s durable, stylish, and long-lasting.

Ceramic tile is very popular but it’s also costly, with the average price hovering at $5 to $100/sq. ft. However, you can pick a porcelain tile for $5 to $20/sq. ft. Also, why not cut costs by using large tiles that would usually be laid on floors as a backsplash? The bigger tiles require less grout and costly cutting. Deco-pieces like glass tiles are easy to fashion into eye-catching mosaics. 

Plan ahead by shopping around and doing some work yourself

Feel out your contractor’s schedule and get him at a slower time of year. Typically the middle of summer and the middle of winter are a little slower and could get you a better rate.

Next, check your local tile, stone, flooring, and bathroom fitting showrooms for odd lots. Odd lots are often left over or returned items. They’re just as good quality, but they go for rock bottom prices. The only catch is that what you see is what you get, so if you need 150 square feet of something, and they have 140, it won’t work. But, many times you can get lucky and find a thousand feet of something discontinued that you can get for pennies. This also goes for sinks and faucets – it really pays to check around, especially if you aren’t picky. 

If you need a small piece of stone for a vanity top, bar top, or table, also be sure to ask about remnants at the stone yard. 

Final thoughts

Yes, you can create the kitchen of your dreams on a shoestring budget with just a few of the ideas above. These tips to save in your kitchen remodel help you create an upscale remodel without spending an excessive amount of money. You can enjoy your beautiful kitchen while feeling good about the fact that you have potentially increased the value of your home, which is a great return on your real estate investment.

Message me if your thinking about selling your Fort Collins or Loveland home at m.me/EdPowersRealEstate

Ed Powers Real Estate 970-690-3113 ed@EdPowersRealEstate.com www.EdPowersRealEstate.com

How To Choose the Right Property

How To Choose the Right Property

When looking for a new Fort Collins or Loveland home, you have a lot to consider. There are many options on the market, but only a few that meet your needs. You deserve the home of your dreams, and that means scouring the market for the perfect property. Follow these tips to simplify your search.

1. Make a List of Your Needs and Wants

Before you start your search, make a list of everything you need in a property. This should include your maximum budget for a home, the number of bedrooms it must have, and the size of the yard. If there are other details that matter, like a pool or a fenced-in yard, include those on your list.

Then, make a list of your wants. Although you would settle for three bedrooms, you may prefer four. On this list, include everything that’s not a necessity but would be icing on the cake.

2. Pinpoint Your Ideal Location

You’ve heard it before – location matters. As you begin your search for homes, consider which areas you would like to move to. Is the location dependent on the commute time? Do you want to be in a certain school district?

While it’s great to pinpoint a few neighborhoods, you should also keep an open mind. There may be other areas of which you are unfamiliar. A real estate agent could help you find the best location for your lifestyle.

3. Ask Questions

As you search for a home, you’ll probably go to many showings. When you arrive at a new property, come prepared. Have a list of questions you want to ask the real estate agent. While the listing should give you some information, not everything will be included in the property description.

Some important questions to ask include:

• When was the roof installed or redone?
• Is the HVAC system new?
• Is everything up to code?

While walking around the property, have an eye for detail. If anything looks unfinished or in disrepair, make a note of it. Although it might not be significant enough to keep you from buying the home, it could be enough for you to request a lower price. Keep a list of all of your concerns. After the showing, express your concerns to your realtor.

4. Be Open-Minded

Your dream home could be hiding under your nose. But to find it, you need to be open-minded. For instance, you might see a picture of a home that doesn’t visually appeal to you.

After reading the description, you could find that it meets all of your desires. If you choose to buy the home, you could make a few changes to the home to make it more your style.

5. Work with an Experienced Real Estate Agent

Unless you are a real estate professional, you probably don’t have the resources and tools needed to find the right property. Looking online will only get you so far. A real estate broker has insider knowledge of the local market. They know where to look for the latest listings and can help you pinpoint the ideal neighborhood.

Message me if your thinking about buying a Fort Collins or Loveland home at m.me/EdPowersRealEstate

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Ed Powers Real Estate 970-690-3113 ed@EdPowersRealEstate.com www.EdPowersRealEstate.com

3 Reasons You Should Buy a Vacation Rental Home Instead of a Home for Yourself

3 Reasons You Should Buy a Vacation Rental Home Instead of a Home for Yourself

WRITTEN BY CARA BERKELEY

When I was looking to buy my first home, I was of course super excited to pick something out that I loved. To live in my own home and have a proper investment instead of throwing money away each month on rent.

But a funny thing happened. I said no to myself and what I wanted. In a way.

Nashville at that time was blowing up. Tourism was rising and the prices on real estate were rising at an unusually high rate!

So, I realized I had a chance to do something different. Did I really want to just buy a home I could live in, or did I want to take advantage of the moment and buy something that would make me money?

So that’s why I decided to buy a home that could be a short term rental property. If it didn’t go well, and it didn’t make money I could just move in!

It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I ended up making a ton of profit on the home and I was able to buy another home just a year later.

Here are 3 reasons you should buy your own vacation rental home!

1. It’s your chance to make money

Purchasing a home for yourself is the biggest investment you will ever make. So why not make it count? Buying a home for you means a big monthly payment you make with a small amount going to the principal and a large amount going to interest.

It is better than renting, but it doesn’t net you a whole lot. Whereas, purchasing a vacation rental property in a booming tourist destination could actually make you money.

So, each month on top of the mortgage payment being covered by other people, meaning you are purchasing that home for free, you also should be making a profit.

Passive income for yourself, that you can use to save up for another home! Which leads me to point #2.

2. You can buy second house

If you buy a house for yourself, that’s it. It’s done and you won’t have the loan-to-debt ratio to purchase another one.

BUT, if you first purchase a rental property, in two tax return years you can show income from the property that can be used to get you another loan approval. A regular rental home that isn’t AirBnb would require even less tax returns.

If the vacation rental property is bringing in twice the mortgage amount each month, then when you look to get a loan to purchase another home it is almost like that debt doesn’t exist.

Because the home is bringing in extra income, it cancels out the debt, leaving you room in your debt-to-income ratio to get approved for another mortgage loan.

But if you had just purchased a home for yourself that wouldn’t be an option.

3. It creates a passive income business

The best kind of business you could have for yourself is one that doesn’t require a lot of work. One that creates passive income, meaning the income just keeps coming without a lot of activity from you! 

As long as you have a good cleaning crew in place and someone to work on maintenance, there isn’t a lot of heavy lifting on a vacation rental home once furnish it and get it listed.

So, it’s the perfect business to create that still allows you to work a full-time job, or run another business!

If you don’t have enough saved up yet for the down payment, keep saving, I promise it will be worth it!

Cara Berkeley is a blogger, investment property owner, and full-time marketing executive. She has learned that thinking outside the box can make all the difference and shares her tips and tricks on smart money management on her blog at www.pennypolly.com.  Find new ways to save money, make money and have fun doing it!