Selling or Staying: Best Trends of 2019 to Give Your Old House a Fresh Look

(TNS)—Your house is outdated, but where do you begin making changes? It might still have its original cabinets from 1978 or it’s been years since you changed the cosmetic details. Whatever end of the decor spectrum you’re on, a few modern tweaks can take your space from past to present.

How Revamping Your Space Can Sell It
For sellers, making a few small tweaks can help set your house apart from the competition, says Jason Saft, a real estate agent at Compass in New York. Some sellers choose to hire professional stagers to increase the look and appeal of their home. According to a recent survey by the National Association of REALTORS®, or NAR, staging can have an impact on selling a house:

  • 40 percent of buyers’ agents reported that home staging had an effect on how most buyers viewed the home.
  • 83 percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home helped buyers picture the house as their future home.
  • 25 percent of buyers’ agents said that staging increased the dollar value offered between 1 percent and 5 percent, compared to similar homes without staging.

Like staging, investing in the right updates can increase your return on investment. Experts agree that in a competitive market, the right changes can make all the difference, so keep reading.

Homeowners Can Enjoy a ‘New’ Home Without Moving
The onward and upward attitude toward housing has shifted amid rising home prices and squeezed inventory. And as more people age in place and make their starter homes their forever homes, the remodeling industry has exploded.

Now a $400 billion business, the residential remodeling market has seen a surge in activity, growing over 50 percent since 2010. In 2017, 29 percent of homeowners completed at least one remodeling project, according to the latest “Improving America’s Housing” report published by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

Some reasons for the uptick in home improvement projects are lagging construction and aging homes; some 40 percent of American homes are at least 50 years old, according to the report.

Americans are now more likely to stay in the same home than they were 35 years ago, according to NAR.

Many folks are skipping starter homes and going straight to affordable single-family homes in the suburbs, says Jessica Lautz, vice president of Demographics and Behavioral Insights at NAR. This has led to record levels of equity, as home values continue to climb.

Top Home Trends of 2019
From smart-home systems to outdoor living rooms, experts weigh in on the year’s most popular design features that will help give your house a fresh look that both sellers and homeowners can benefit from.

Smart-Home Systems
For the uninitiated, integrated smart-home systems are basically a variety of devices that are linked to a single hub, which coordinates everything. They range from six-figure customized systems to out-of-the-box gizmos you can install yourself for a couple hundred dollars.

Smart-home technology can be grouped into two basic categories: convenience and security. Convenience tech includes things like automated thermostats and Bluetooth audio (yes, you can have your very own theme song play when you enter your home). The security category includes cameras and alarm systems.

“Buyers want cameras and app-based home automation systems,” says Smitha R. Ramchandani, a broker associate at Sotheby’s International Realty in Summit, N.J. “They want to remotely control their lighting systems and blinds. If they’re away, they want to be able to turn off the thermostat.” 

Outdoor Living Rooms
Think of your outdoor space as another room, Saft says. Younger buyers often want to see social trends reflected in their living space and, as rooftop bars and other outdoor gathering areas gain popularity, this is appealing in a home, too.

“Outdoor living rooms are much more popular. Buyers are not looking at just a backyard; it’s another room,” Saft says.

Creating a backyard living room might be as easy as rearranging patio furniture and adding some lights and Bluetooth speakers. Homeowners starting from scratch should begin with an even foundation, which might mean putting in a concrete slab or wooden deck. Use pillows and blankets to add texture and warmth. Lighting plays an important part in creating an inviting ambiance. An easy way to add lights is to use simple string lighting, lanterns and LED candles.

Farmhouse Modern Look
From home makeover shows to big-box retailers, the trend best known as “farmhouse modern” is a favorite across the country, Saft says.

This is a look that’s easy to replicate in almost any style of home. The modern farmhouse look takes natural elements (reclaimed wood, rattan, wicker) and gives them a sleek, architectural look. Nowadays, these trends are accessible to anyone thanks to stores like Target partnering with high-end brands such as Hearth & Hand with Magnolia, owned by former HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, Saft says.

“People are really getting into an eco-conscious lifestyle,” Ramchandani says. “Things that appeal to today’s homeowners are natural finishes and fabrics, like cotton, that have a more organic appeal. They want a rustic, homey feel.” 

Bold Accents
Playful and expressive might be two words to describe home trends in 2019. Buyers are responding to wow-factor elements in homes, whether it’s a unique, colorful kitchen back splash or a single statement wall in the living room.

Colorful kitchen cabinets are replacing the all-white look, too, Saft says, so homeowners who want to update their kitchen without dumping a ton of money into it can simply repaint their cabinets. Cobalt blue and greens are popular color choices. Pair colorful cabinets with mixed metals, like pewter and brass, and your kitchen has suddenly entered 2019.

“I’m noticing and people are really gravitating toward bold designs—people want boldness in color. Like a tertiary color scheme, the white-on-white kitchens and the white-on-white walls are fading away,” Ramchandani says.

Peel-and-stick wallpaper is an inexpensive, easy-to-install product for creating a dramatic wall, without the time and labor that traditional wallpaper requires. From wild prints to simple patterns, there’s a wide variety of paper to choose from.

Next Steps for Homeowners
For sellers, talk to your real estate agent about which updates are worth making for your particular property and buying demographic. Saft points out that what a Manhattan buyer might expect is different than what someone in the suburbs is looking for. Your real estate agent should know your market well and be able to give you strategic advice.

For homeowners who don’t want to move but want to use the equity in their homes for renovations, they might consider looking at home equity loans (HELs) or home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). In both cases, the lender uses your home as collateral, so if you can’t make the monthly payments, you could end up losing your home.

The advantage of home equity loans for some buyers is that they’re tax-deductible if you use them for home renovations. They also have fairly low interest rates, which are usually less than what personal loans and credit cards offer.

Another option for homeowners who want to lock in a lower interest rate while tapping their equity is a cash-out refinance. This will replace your current mortgage with a new home loan for a larger amount than your existing loan balance, and you’ll be able to withdraw the difference between the two mortgages in cash if you have enough equity. Refinancing typically makes the most sense when you can lower your interest rate and/or monthly payment—and stay in your home long enough to recoup the costs of refinancing (known as the break-even point).

Also, if you do a cash-out refinance, using the equity on things that won’t have a return later might end up costing you. Home renovation projects might be worth it if it’s going to increase your quality of life while also adding value to your property. A kitchen remodel or new roof, for example, might be good investments, whereas a Jacuzzi or high-end fixtures generally won’t offer enough ROI to make the expenditure worthwhile.

Before you use your home equity to finance a home remodel, be sure to talk with your financial adviser to make sure it’s in line with your goals and budget.

 

Written By Natalie Campisi

Source: https://rismedia.com/2019/09/12/selling-staying-trends-2019-house/

September 16, 2019   No Comments

How Property Taxes Can Impact Your Mortgage Payment

How Property Taxes Can Impact Your Mortgage Payment

When buying a home, taxes are one of the expenses that can make a significant difference in your monthly payment. Do you know how much you might pay for property taxes in your state or local area?

When applying for a mortgage, you’ll see one of two acronyms in your paperwork – P&I or PITI – depending on how you’re including your taxes in your mortgage payment.

P&I stands for Principal and Interest, and both are parts of your monthly mortgage payment that go toward paying off the loan you borrow. PITI stands for Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance, and they’re all important factors to calculate when you want to determine exactly what the cost of your new home will be.

TaxRates.org defines property taxes as,

“A municipal tax levied by counties, cities, or special tax districts on most types of real estate – including homes, businesses, and parcels of land. The amount of property tax owed depends on the appraised fair market value of the property, as determined by the property tax assessor.”

This organization also provides a map showing annual property taxes by state (including the District of Columbia), from lowest to highest, as a percentage of median home value.How Property Taxes Can Impact Your Mortgage Payment | Keeping Current MattersThe top 5 states with the highest median property taxes are New Jersey, New Hampshire, Texas, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. The states with the lowest median property taxes are Louisiana, Hawaii, Alabama, and Delaware, followed by the District of Columbia.

Bottom Line

Depending on where you live, property taxes can have a big impact on your monthly payment. To make sure your estimated taxes will fall within your desired budget, contact a local real estate professional today to find out how the neighborhood or area you choose can make a difference in your overall costs when buying a home.

Written By KCM Crew

Source: https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2019/09/04/how-property-taxes-can-impact-your-mortgage-payment/

September 16, 2019   No Comments

Things to Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage

Things to Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage

Congratulations! You’ve found a home to buy and have applied for a mortgage! You’re undoubtedly excited about the opportunity to decorate your new home, but before you make any large purchases, move your money around, or make any big-time life changes, consult your loan officer – someone who will be able to tell you how your decisions will impact your home loan.

Below is a list of Things You Shouldn’t Do After Applying for a Mortgage. Some may seem obvious, but some may not.

1. Don’t Change Jobs or the Way You Are Paid at Your Job. Your loan officer must be able to track the source and amount of your annual income. If possible, you’ll want to avoid changing from salary to commission or becoming self-employed during this time as well.

2. Don’t Deposit Cash into Your Bank Accounts. Lenders need to source your money, and cash is not really traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

3. Don’t Make Any Large Purchases Like a New Car or Furniture for Your New Home. New debt comes with it, including new monthly obligations. New obligations create new qualifications. People with new debt have higher debt to income ratios…higher ratios make for riskier loans…and sometimes qualified borrowers no longer qualify.

4. Don’t Co-Sign Other Loans for Anyone. When you co-sign, you are obligated. As we mentioned, with that obligation comes higher ratios as well. Even if you swear you will not be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payments against you.

5. Don’t Change Bank Accounts. Remember, lenders need to source and track assets. That task is significantly easier when there is consistency among your accounts. Before you even transfer any money, talk to your loan officer.

6. Don’t Apply for New Credit. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car. When you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), your FICO® score will be affected. Lower credit scores can determine your interest rate and maybe even your eligibility for approval.

7. Don’t Close Any Credit Accounts. Many clients erroneously believe that having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. Wrong. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both of those determinants in your score.

Bottom Line

Any blip in income, assets, or credit should be reviewed and executed in a way that ensures your home loan can still be approved. The best advice is to fully disclose and discuss your plans with your loan officer before you do anything financial in nature. They are there to guide you through the process.

 

Written By KCM Crew

Source: https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2019/09/16/things-to-avoid-after-applying-for-a-mortgage/

September 16, 2019   No Comments

Appreciation Is Strong: It Might Be Time to Sell

Appreciation Is Strong: It Might Be Time to Sell

There’s no doubt that today’s housing market is changing, and everything we see right now indicates it is time to sell. Here’s a look at why selling now is likely to drive the greatest return on your largest investment.

Home values have been appreciating for several years now, growing at a strong, steady, and impressive pace. In fact, the average annual appreciation rate since 2012 has nearly doubled the average rate from the more normal market of the 1990s (think: pre-bubble).Appreciation Is Strong: It Might Be Time to Sell | Keeping Current MattersAppreciation, however, is projected to shift back toward normal, meaning home prices will likely keep climbing over the next few years, but they are not projected to continue to increase at such a high rate.

Here’s What That Means for Homeowners:

As noted in the latest Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES) powered by Pulsenomics, experts forecast an average annual appreciation rate closer to 3.2% over the next five years, which is more in line with a historically normal market (3.6%). The good news is, there’s still time to take advantage of the current strength of home prices by selling your house now.Appreciation Is Strong: It Might Be Time to Sell | Keeping Current MattersLooking at the projections as they stand today, 2019 is slated to drive the strongest appreciation as compared to the upcoming few years. With average home prices still on the rise, the pace at which they are predicted to continue increasing will likely soften by 2020.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about selling your house, now is a great time to make your move. Don’t get stuck waiting until projected home price appreciation rates potentially re-accelerate again in 2023. You’ll likely earn the greatest return on your investment by selling now before the prices start to normalize next year.

 

Written By KCM Crew

Source: https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2019/08/07/appreciation-is-strong-it-might-be-time-to-sell/

August 13, 2019   No Comments

How Much Do You Know About Down Payments?

How Much Do You Know About Down Payments?

Whether you’ve owned a home before, or you’re ready to jump into homeownership for the first time, there are always a lot of questions swirling around about what is truly required for a down payment, and how to best source down payment assistance. Let’s tackle these two today.

1. How much do you really need for a down payment?

There is a long-standing misconception about down payment requirements. A survey from Fannie Mae shows only 17% of consumers know the minimum options are actually between 1 – 5% of the purchase price and 40% don’t know how much they need at all.How Much Do You Know About Down Payments? | Keeping Current MattersThere are many mortgage loans available that require as little as 3% down for first-time buyers, and some ask for only 3.5% down from repeat buyers. There are even loans available for Veterans that provide 0% down payment options too.

We’ve mentioned recently that you don’t need to come up with a 20% down payment to buy, and we’ve also shared how quickly you can save for a 3% or 10% down payment, depending on where you live. If you’re planning to put down just 3%, the research shows it may be possible in most states to have enough saved for a down payment in less than a year. That puts homeownership in a much closer reach for many potential buyers, maybe even you!

2. How can I get help with my down payment?

Regardless of the loans available, many buyers still need assistance with a down payment. The great news is, there are a lot of ways to tap into down payment assistance options. Here are just a couple of them:

Assistance from Family Members

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said, “a third of recent first-time buyers received down payment assistance from family members.” They also mentioned, “the average net worth of those aged 75 and over stands at $264,800…They just might offer the boost the next generation needs to become homeowners.

That means one of the ways to find help with a down payment is to accept a gift from a family member. If this is an option for you, make sure you talk to your loan officer before you accept the money, to ensure you document the process the way it is required by your loan. This way, it will be received properly and you can still potentially qualify.

Down Payment Assistance Programs

The reality is, not everyone has a loved one or a family member who can provide help with a down payment. There are, however, more than 2,500 down payment assistance programs available (by local areas like city, county, or neighborhood), and some of them are even specifically for first-time buyers.

The gap, as mentioned in the same survey, is “only 23% of consumers are familiar with low down payment programs.”

That’s why it is so important to get familiar with these options by doing your homework before you plan to buy a home. Determine what is available in the area where you ultimately want to live, so you have all the details you need to take advantage of the down payment assistance option that is best for your family.

Bottom Line

If buying a home is one of your long-term goals, you may be able to get there sooner than you think by tapping into one of the many down payment assistance programs available.

 

Written By KCM Crew

Source: https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2019/08/06/how-much-do-you-know-about-down-payments/

August 13, 2019   No Comments