Category — Real Estate News & Tips

4 Reasons to Buy a Home in the Spring

4 Reasons to Buy a Home in the Spring

Spring has sprung, and it’s a great time to buy a home! Here are four reasons to consider buying today instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest U.S. Home Price Insights reports that home prices have appreciated by 4.4% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.6% over the next year.

Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage came in at 4.41% last week. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting rates will increase by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage

Some renters have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgageeither yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The cost of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Examine the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, greater safety for your family, or you just want to have control over renovations, now could be the time to buy.

Bottom Line

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

 

Written By KCM Crew

https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2019/03/11/4-reasons-to-buy-a-home-in-the-spring/

March 11, 2019   No Comments

Down Payment Dilemma: How Do You Know How Much To Put Down On A Home?

You’d be a homeowner right now if it weren’t for one thing: the down payment. Right? Even for those who have decent credit and make good money, the down payment is often the great homeownership killer.

For many others, who do have enough money set aside to make a substantial down payment, the question is: how much? Conventional wisdom—not to mention most of the banks and a good portion of homebuying and financial experts—will tell you that 20 percent is the standard bearer when it comes to down payments. But is it really necessary to put 20 percent down?

The short answer is: no.

Now for the long answer.

“Raising a 20 percent down payment isn’t an easy thing to do. Fortunately, you don’t have to. “It’s a myth that all homebuyers must have a 20 percent down payment to buy a home,” says Nancy Herrera-Siples, a Riverside, Calif., branch manager at Primary Residential Mortgage on U.S. News. “So why do you constantly hear that you need to put 20 percent down? Because if you don’t, it usually means you’ll have to shell out money for either private mortgage insurance or government insurance, which is usually financed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).”

And there’s another rub for those who are already struggling to come up with the minimum down payment: that extra couple of hundred dollars per month feels like a penalty. It’s not, of course—”Mortgage insurance protects the lender in case you can’t make your payments and the house is foreclosed on,” said U.S. News—but that money can make a significant difference for those who are stretching to buy a home.

Still, when your only option to buy is a low down payment, which can mean an FHA loan or one of the new low down payment loans from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae—”At the end of 2014, the two government-backed companies announced plans to slash down payments from 5% to 3%,” said CNN—PMI might literally be a small price to pay. Especially if swelling rents are making homeownership look more and more promising. Remember that PMI does go away eventually when your loan balance is 80 percent or less of the home’s value. If you’re in an area where homes are rising in value, this could happen sooner than you think.

Still confused about the ins and outs of down payments? Here are a few reasons to go high…or low.

When to make a substantial down payment

  • When you’re looking to keep your monthly payment as low as possible and have cash to spare
  • When you just can’t fathom paying PMI
  • When your goal is to buy a forever home and own it free and clear
  • When you are approaching retirement age and can envision a reverse mortgage sometime down the line
  • When you want to buy your house and pay it off as quickly as possible
  • When the rate is lower with a higher down payment. “The more you put down, the better position you are in for negotiating a lower interest rate with your lender,” said Credit.com. Plus, a “low down payment might affect other loan features, such as…the points, which are upfront interest charges,” said Banking My Way.
  • If you’re worried about being under water. If the market should drop in your area, you run the risk of owing more than your home is worth.

When to go low

  • When you don’t have the funds for a higher down payment and can’t earn or borrow them quickly enough
  • When the rate on your FHA or Fannie or Freddie loan is comparable to that you’d get with a higher down payment
  • When you need to escape a high-rent situation and the monthly payment on a house is lower than what you’re currently paying, even with the PMI factored in
  • When you’re confident your home will appreciate quickly, allowing you to refinance and get rid of PMI quickly
  • When your investments can’t be touched without a penalty or are returning better than the interest rate you’ll get on your home
  • If you have something better to do with the money. “If you bought a $400,000 home, 5% down would be $20,000, while 20% down would be $80,000—a whopping difference. An immediate need such as a college tuition payment would make the smaller down payment more appealing,” said Banking My Way.
  • When you feel more secure setting money aside for emergencies instead of tying it all up in your house.

 

Written By Jaymi Naciri

Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/buyersadvice/item/38415-20150917-down-payment-dilemma-how-do-you-know-how-much-to-put-down-on-a-home?rtmpage=

March 11, 2019   No Comments

Selling Your Home? Make it a Summer Dream Home for Buyers

Selling your home in the summertime can be a great opportunity to attract buyers. Having your home “summer-ready” can increase the chances of it selling faster.

Searching for homes often increases just as schools let out and families have some extra time to begin the hunt prior to the next school year beginning.

As a seller, there are a few things you can do to create a summer-ready home that influences your buyers to step inside and stay a bit. The longer they stay when previewing your home, the greater likelihood that they’re considering making an offer.

Make sure your winter decorations are put away and stored. I know this sounds basic and maybe even amusing but there have been instances when lingering holiday decor still adorns some areas of the home. This may be charming to the homeowners but rest assured it’s not to prospective buyers. It’ll simply look like clutter.

Pull the heavy-duty winter rugs up. If you have beautiful flooring like hardwood, go bare for the summer months. Revealing well-kept floors can be a big plus. Rugs that lined the floors in the winter months can be packed up when you’re listing your home for sale in the summer months.

Make the home look like the season and match the neighborhood. If it’s bright and cheerful outside, invite that into your home by opening up the windows and letting natural light flow through. If there is one, let a cool breeze blow in or keep the air conditioner on so that it’s a comfortable temperature to tour your home. Nothing is worse than entering a home to preview and finding that you can hardly stay inside because it’s stuffy and blazing hot.

Tidy up the backyard. Sometimes a lot of attention is given to the interior of the home and the outside area gets overlooked. Remember, in the summertime especially, homeowners will be sure to check out your yard. Make sure that it hasn’t become a dumping ground or storage for all the stuff you’re trying to get rid of before you move. Instead, create a pleasant vision for your prospective buyers by setting up the backyard with cute outdoor furniture. If you have gardens, make sure that you keep tending them. Don’t let them get overgrown. The charm of a lovely outdoor space, large or even petite, will be appealing to most buyers, especially if they’re starting with one that’s already designed and maintained.

Clean your fans and vents and change the heating/air conditioning filters. If you’re not using or living in the home, the fans and filters can collect a lot of dust. Be sure not to overlook cleaning these things as a dirty ceiling fan can whirl off a lot of dust and debris when it’s turned on. It’s not a good way to start a showing by flipping a switch and having handfuls of dust flutter about the room. Cleaning and changing air conditioning filters takes only a few minutes, but the return is huge.

A few simple things can help you “summer-ize” your home so that the prospective buyers can’t wait to move into the home and enjoy the rest of the summer.

Written By Realty Times Staff

Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/sellersadvice/item/36491-20150710-selling-your-home-make-it-a-summer-dream-home-for-buyers?rtmpage=null

March 7, 2019   No Comments

Why an Economic Slowdown Will NOT Crush Real Estate this Time

Why an Economic Slowdown Will NOT Crush Real Estate this Time

Last week, the National Association for Business Economics released their February 2019 Economic Policy Survey. The survey revealed that a majority of the panel believe an economic slowdown is in the near future:

“While only 10% of panelists expect a recession in 2019, 42% say a recession will happen in 2020, and 25% expect one in 2021.”

Their findings coincide with three previous surveys calling for a slowdown sometime in the next two years:

  1. The Pulsenomics Survey of Market Analysts
  2. The Wall Street Journal Survey of Economists
  3. The Duke University Survey of American CFOs

That raises the question: Will the real estate market be impacted like it was during the last recession?

A recession does not equal a housing crisis. According to the dictionary definition, a recession is:

“A period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters.”

During the last recession, prices fell dramatically because the housing collapse caused the recession. However, if we look at the previous four recessions, we can see that home values weren’t negatively impacted:

  • January 1980 to July 1980: Home values rose 4.5%
  • July 1981 to November 1982: Home values rose 1.9%
  • July 1990 to March 1991: Home values fell less than 1%
  • March 2001 to November 2001: Home values rose 4.8%

Most experts agree with Ralph McLaughlin, CoreLogic’s Deputy Chief Economist, who recently explained:

“There’s no reason to panic right now, even if we may be headed for a recession. We’re seeing a cooling of the housing market, but nothing that indicates a crash.”

The housing market is just “normalizing”. Inventory is starting to increase and home prices are finally stabilizing. This is a good thing for both buyers and sellers as we move forward.

Bottom Line

If there is an economic slowdown in our near future, there is no need for fear to set in. As renowned financial analyst, Morgan Housel, recently tweeted:

“An interesting thing is the widespread assumption that the next recession will be as bad as 2008. Natural to think that way, but, statistically, highly unlikely. Could be over before you realized it began.”

Written By KCM Crew

Source: https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2019/03/07/why-an-economic-slowdown-will-not-crush-real-estate-this-time/

March 7, 2019   No Comments

Simple DIY Projects That Will Increase the Value of Your Home

Looking to boost the value of your home without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars? You can! Making changes in certain rooms, like the kitchen and bathroom, is more beneficial than in others. These simple DIY projects will help increase your home’s value the most.

Modernize Fixtures

Replacing outlet covers can cost less than a dollar each, but if they have paint or other things on it, it’s a good change. While you’re at it, consider updating the outlets themselves. For about $25-$30 you can buy an outlet that also includes two USB charging ports. With all the smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices lying around, just a few of those, well-placed, can make a big difference. Think about the rooms in your home that don’t have enough outlets and the rooms that are most used for charging.

A less expensive upgrade? Doorknobs. Mismatched, broken, and dingy doorknobs can be a major deterrent. For a small amount of money per knob, you can update the look and make the whole house more visually appealing.

Lighten It Up

The more light you can add to your home, the better. Freshening up or removing curtains can brighten your home and make it more inviting.

Replacing windows is also a great way to add value to your home, particularly true if you live in an older home that has a lot of windows that stick or that let in the heat or cold. Installing energy efficient windows can also get you a nice tax break. However, poorly-installed windows can let in water, which can lead to mold and cracked foundations, so this isn’t for everyone.

Old light fixtures, or light fixtures that are dim or unappealing should be replaced to brighten the house.

Makeover the Bathroom

Bathrooms consistently get a high return on the investment. If you have a small budget and you’re DIYing, start small. A new vanity. New sink. A nice ceiling light. A spa-like shower head. A nice towel bar. None of these things have to cost over $100, but they all add value to your home by freshening it up, providing simple conveniences, and making it nicer. Who doesn’t want one of those fancy shower heads?

If your bathroom floor is falling apart, suffering from water damage or is just outdated, you can restore it yourself pretty inexpensively. Many home improvement stores offer a class so you can learn what you don’t know, which might enable you to choose a more expensive flooring. Stick with a neutral shade to add the most value.

Freshen Up the Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the biggest things that will turn potential buyers on or off to a house. It’s also one of the places where you can get the most money back for your investment. What’s the single best DIY change to make in the kitchen? A fresh coat of white paint on the cabinets. Go ahead and change out the knobs, too.

Storage is another change to consider. Add more shelves, possibly with space underneath to hang coffee mugs. Kitchen islands are in demand now and building one with storage will add value.

Keeping Up on Maintenance

A home in good repair is always going to be more valuable than one with a leaky roof. If the siding is old or falling apart, replace it. Consider getting a home warranty, to ensure the value of your appliances. Also make sure to maintain the appearance outside, sweep up the leaves, trim the bushes, and keep fences in good repair.

Adding value to your home doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Sometimes, the simplest DIY can be the best place to start. Start by considering your budget and your home’s most pressing needs, and update from there.

Written By Damien Justus

Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice/item/1002051-20170509-simple-diy-projects-that-will-increase-the-value-of-your-home?rtmpage=null

February 18, 2019   No Comments

Top 10 Most Expensive Mistakes You’re Making on Your Home

mistakes_home

Homes cost a lot of money to maintain. But are you spending extra money unnecessarily on upkeep? Here are the 10 most expensive mistakes you could be making in your home.

1. Using Traditional Light bulbs

If you still have incandescent light bulbs in your home, you could be throwing a lot of money away every month on inflated electric bills. Over its life span, an incandescent bulb can use $180 worth of electricity. A CFL will only use $41 worth of electricity over the same time period. Even better is the LED bulb, which only uses $30 per bulb. Think what replacing every light bulb in your home could do to your home’s bottom line.

2. Ignoring a Leaky Faucet

A leaky faucet that drips one drop per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year, which is enough water to take more than 180 showers. Some of us live in areas where water is plentiful, but for those of us in areas plagued with drought, this could be costing you a fortune. Fix or replace your leaky faucet and save a ton on your water bill.

3. Using the Wrong Air Filter Size

We all sometimes forget to change out the air filters for our HVAC systems or accidentally buy the wrong size. But using the wrong filter or a dirty filter can increase your power bill and cause expensive problems for your furnace down the road. Use the correct filters for your system, and set a reminder to change them after the recommended amount of time. You won’t regret it.

4. Not Customizing Temperature

Invest in a customizable thermostat. If you’re away at the office all day, you can program your heater to shift down a few degrees while you’re gone and then shift back up shortly before you return home. Heating or cooling an empty home wastes a lot of money in energy costs.

5. Not Adjusting Air Vents Properly

Is one room in your home hot, while the others are cold? Oftentimes homeowners will crank up the air conditioning in the whole house to combat hot temperatures in one area. Instead, adjust air vents to direct the flow of air more evenly throughout your entire home. Professionals will come regulate this to ensure that your entire home is receiving the same amount of air conditioning or heating.

6. Over Watering Lawn

Many homeowners have their sprinkler systems programmed to come on in the early morning hours for optimum lawn health. This can become a problem, however, if you’re never around to see what you’re actually watering. A broken sprinkler head could be causing a fountain, or the trajectory of your sprinkler may be directed at a fence instead of your lawn. Periodically run your sprinklers during the day so you can see how they are performing when you’re not around.

7. Water Heater Temperature Set Too High

Unless you have a tankless water heater, your water heater is keeping the water in its tank hot 24/7. If you don’t keep an eye on the temperature as each season changes, you may be paying too much to heat your water. Decrease the temperature in the summer, and bump it back up when winter comes.

8. Leaky Windows and Doors

Leaky windows and doors are great places for cold, winter winds to enter your home. Many homeowners simply ignore them and crank up their heaters. Caulk leaky windows and put rubber seal around doors to keep winter winds out and warmth in.

9. Paying a Handyman

Don’t pay a handyman for a job that is simple enough to do yourself. If you’re unsure of how to do something, look up video tutorials online. Doing simple tasks yourself can save you a lot of money.

10. Ignoring Curled Shingles

It may be easy to ignore problems on your roof, but it will only lead to bigger problems later. If you see any possible issues with your roof, repair them as soon as possible, as this will save you significant costs later.

Use these 10 tips to cut maintenance costs on your home today.

 

Written By Cary Teller

Source: http://blog.rismedia.com/2016/top-10-expensive-mistakes/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email#close

February 15, 2019   No Comments

Do You Know How Much Your Home Has Increased in Value?

Do You Know How Much Your Home Has Increased in Value?

Last year we saw headlines about a possible housing market bubble, and many wondered if Americans still felt confident about the value of their homes. Recently, the 2018 Houzz & Home Study revealed:

Homeowners with mortgages have seen their home equity more than double since 2011, increasing to a record-setting $8.3 trillion in 2017.”

The average homeowner gained $16,200 in home equity between Q2 2017 and Q2 2018 according to the latest release of CoreLogic’s Home Equity Report.

Since 2011 home values have increased significantly throughout the country, with prices rising by 5.1% in 2018 alone. When surveyed, homeowners revealed the top four reasons why they felt their homes had increased in value.

  1. Desirable Location
  2. Improved National Economy
  3. Improved Local Economy
  4. Low Home Inventory in My Area

As we can see, not only does the data show that the homes have appreciated, but homeowners also believe they know why. Many have taken advantage of the opportunity to use their newly found equity to sell their current house and move up to their dream home!

2019 will be a good year for the homeowners that still want to take advantage of their home equity! CoreLogicforecasts that home prices will increase by 4.8% by the end of the year.

Bottom Line

If you are a homeowner who would like to find out your current home value, contact a local real estate professional who can help you to discover the hidden opportunities in your home!

 

Written By KCM Crew

Source: https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2019/01/31/do-you-know-how-much-your-home-has-increased-in-value/

February 4, 2019   No Comments

Think Curb Appeal When Remodeling to Sell

With home prices up in some areas, the return on remodeling investments at resale can be good. Making little changes can have big impacts when it comes to remodeling your home to sell.

Some updates will return as much as they cost in hotter markets, but unless your home is in a rapidly inflating city, you may not get enough bang for your buck.

But the lesson isn’t to avoid remodeling your home. It’s to rethink your expectations. Do you want to enjoy your updates for a few years? Or do you want to make your home more immediately appealing to homebuyers?

If you’re remodeling for your own household, updating a home has a legitimate purpose that is unquantifiable. When you add square footage, update systems and fixtures, or rearrange traffic flow, you improve the functionality of your home. Refreshing wall colors, window coverings, and flooring adds to the beauty and enjoyment of your home. Many would consider that money better spent, and if you decide to sell in a few years, you’ll be ahead of the game in terms of updates that will appeal to homebuyers.

But if you’re remodeling strictly for the next buyer, there’s some risk. Will you choose the right elements to appeal to the next buyer? What if they don’t share your taste or appreciate the areas where you allocated your remodeling budget?

Start with what absolutely has to be done, whether you plan to stay in your home or not. You may be tempted to put off replacing the roof for an average of nearly $20,000, because Remodeling Magazine says it will only return approximately 72 percent of costs. But a new roof could make the difference in whether or not an FHA or VA buyer can buy your home and pass government inspection.

Otherwise, stick to smaller updates that can yield big impacts in terms of curb appeal, safety and building integrity. The top five cost-to-value projects that netted the most return in 2015 were:

  1. Replacing the front door with a 20-guage steel door – 102 percent.
  2. Manufactured stone veneer — 92. 2 percent
  3. Fiber-cement siding — 84.3 percent.
  4. Garage door replacement — 82.5 percent
  5. Wood window replacement — 78 percent.

As you can see, the most lucrative projects for resale were all about curb appeal. Seal the deal with a new welcome mat, new sconces to complement the new steel door, and potted plants for color. Wow your buyers on the outside and they’ll be more likely to choose your home over the competition.

Written By Blanche Evans

Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/sellersadvice/item/39790-20151104-think-curb-appeal-when-remodeling-to-sell?rtmpage=

 

February 4, 2019   No Comments

Termites: A Gnawing Problem

Termites — or other so-called “wood boring insects” — can wreck havoc to both your home and your pocket book. Many parts of the country are affected by termites, and every homeowner — or potential homeowner — must be aware of the problems and the solutions.

Since the late 1980’s, when environmental concerns stopped the use of such chemicals as chlordane and heptachlor (which had been proven effective to curtail termite activity), termite damage has been on the rise.

Accordingly, most mortgage lenders insist on receiving a letter — a certificate — from a licensed termite inspection company indicating the house is free of active infestation. And even if your lender does not so insist, all potential homeowners must require their sellers to either furnish this certificate or allow the purchaser to obtain it — before closing takes place on the house.

Most states — and many real estate agents — have form contracts for the purchase and sale of real estate. Here is suggested language, which should be incorporated into any such sales contract:

Seller warrants at the time of settlement that all dwellings and/or garage(s) within the Property (excluding fences or shrubs not abutting garage(s) or dwelling(s)) are free of visible termites and other wood-destroying insects, and free from visible insect damage. The (Purchaser)(Seller) acceptable to the lender from a pest control firm. Required extermination and repairs shall be at the Seller’s expense.

In some contracts, the purchaser is required to pay the cost of this inspection. But regardless of cost — this is too important an issue to ignore.

Termites (also known as white ants) feed on the cellulose in wood. In some areas, property owners often find subterranean termites. These little devils hide below ground so as to obtain adequate moisture, but come to the surface to eat. The surface is the wood touching the damp ground. Termites create corridors in this wood, and then move freely through these passages happily eating their way, seeking additional food, moisture and shelter.

Whether you are a buyer or a seller, you must carefully review the sales contract clauses dealing with termites. Here are some suggestions to be considered:

1. Some sales contracts only refer to an inspection of the house. If this is the case, make sure that you add “garage and accessory buildings” to the language. The house may be termite free, but the garage may be completely infested.

2. Watch out for language which only requires the inspection of “accessible” or “visible” areas. This often will not include basement crawl spaces or other inaccessible areas, which unfortunately carry the greatest risk of infestation.

3. Demand that the termite company making the inspection provide a one year warranty against termite infestation. Some companies will offer such a warranty; others will not. Additionally, it is strongly recommended that after the buyer goes to settlement, the warranty be continued on a year-to-year basis. The cost for this should be nominal. This will not only give the new owner continued peace of mind, but will probably save a lot of time and money if and when the property is again put on the market for sale.

4. If the termite inspection company finds damage caused by termites, often that company will also want to make the necessary corrections. Insist on obtaining at least two or three bids for any such work before authorizing the termite company to proceed. I have seen too many sellers pay sizable termite repair bills at settlement without having any opportunity to obtain comparable estimates.

Finally, a note of caution. Many people buy firewood from strangers who drive around neighborhoods trying to make a sale. Beware and be cautious of this wood; it may contain termites. If you put the wood near your fireplace — or rest it against the side of your property– you may find those little creatures starting to eat into your most valuable investment: your house.

 

Written By

Source: https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice/item/1024062-termites-a-gnawing-problem?rtmpage=

February 1, 2019   No Comments

10 Decluttering Projects You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less

Let’s face it: Clearing clutter doesn’t usually top our list of fun things to do. Sure, the joy of a clutter-free space is something we can all get behind, but finding the time (and the motivation) to make it happen is quite another matter. That’s where quickie clutter clearing comes in. Instead of waiting for that mythical perfect storm of ample time, energy and motivation to appear (spoiler alert — it’s not coming), why not take the reins and decide to make progress, one tiny project at a time? Here are 10 easy places to begin. Ready, set, start that timer.

10. Entryway Drop Spot

Put pocket change in a cup, recycle junk mail, hang up coats and put away any items that have migrated here from other areas of the house. If there are library books or other items waiting to be returned, take a moment to carry them out to the car so that they’re ready and waiting (and not cluttering up your entryway).

Written By Laura Gaskill
Source: https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/81853344/list/10-decluttering-projects-you-can-do-in-15-minutes-or-less

January 30, 2019   No Comments