Friday, July 29, 2016

How to Gain the Upper Hand in Real Estate Negotiations Without Being Mean or Rude

How to Gain the Upper Hand in Real Estate Negotiations Without Being Mean or Rude In a typical real estate transaction, numerous factors may be negotiated, and the terms of the purchase may be negotiated at different times throughout the process. For example, the contract may be negotiated at the time the original offer is made, but revisions to the contract may be negotiated after the property inspection has been completed. Both parties want to have the upper hand in negotiations, but those who focus on a few points are more likely to walk away feeling satisfied with the results of the negotiations.

Research All Factors Related To The Negotiation

A successful negotiation may be about achieving specific, desired goals, but in most cases, there will be a bit of give and take on both parties' parts in order to find success. Those who have the upper hand in real estate negotiations will take time to research all factors related to the negotiations, and this includes everything from market conditions and how long the property has been on the market to how competitively priced the real estate is, how many other buyers there are and more.

Understand All Motives And Influences

Beyond outside factors related to the negotiation, there typically are personal motives and influences that must be considered. For example, a seller may be motivated to sell quickly due to a job offer in another city, or a buyer may be motivated because the property is the only one of its kind close to a great school. Real estate agents can often provide information about motives and influences that may impact the negotiations and that may reveal who has the upper hand in negotiations.

Consider Alternative Creative Solutions

After all external and personal factors have been researched and itemized, it may appear that one party has a clear upper hand in negotiations and the other party does not. However, in order to be successful in negotiations, typically both parties will need to feel as though they are getting what they want. After all parties' motivations have been identified, it may be possible to think of creative, outside-the-box alternatives that may be agreeable to both parties.

When a buyer or a seller is preparing to negotiate with the other party, it is important that they fully understand all of the factors that may be at play in determining the outcome of negotiations. When buyers and sellers focus on these points before making an offer or counteroffer, they may find their negotiation efforts more successful. Contact your trusted real estate agent for more information.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

On a Variable Mortgage? 3 Signs Your Mortgage Payment Is About To Increase

On a Variable Mortgage? 3 Signs Your Mortgage Payment Is About To IncreaseFor many homebuyers who are new to the market, it can be very comforting to be on a fixed rate mortgage where fluctuating interest rates cannot have an impact on your monthly payments. While a variable rate mortgage can sometimes lead to significant savings at the end of the day, there are a few ways you can tell if your monthly payment is on the upswing.

An Increase In Your Home's Value

A marked increase in a home's value is ideal for most homeowners who consider their home an important investment. However, the downside of an increase in the price of real estate is that your property taxes will probably be bumped up along with it. According to Josh Moffitt at Silverton Mortgage, "If your home value increases because of market conditions, taxes will follow, and it will cost more to insure the home." In order to determine if a higher payment is on the horizon, you may want to take a look at the listings in your neighborhood.

A Miscalculation

Most people hope that a re-assessment of the value of their home will lead to a bump in its price, but if your monthly mortgage payments were calculated at a specific time during the transaction, this bump may mean a higher monthly payment for you. If there was some overlap between the assessment and the property transfer, or other fees were included in your payment, your tax professional should be able to advise you on the best course of action you can take come tax time

Insurance Renewal Is Up

In the event that the homeowner's insurance on your home is about to expire, there's a possibility that you'll be paying a bit more following renewal. Instead of leaving this to chance, ensure that your insurance company is communicating with you and keeping you abreast of changes. After all, while insurance is important to protect your investment, you have the option of looking into other insurance providers who may be able to give you a better rate.

It can be hard to plan for the increase in rates that can go along with a variable rate mortgage, but if your insurance is up for renewal and the value of the homes in your area has increased, a higher monthly payment will likely follow. Contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Slows in May

CaseShillerAccording to the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index, home price growth in May dropped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.20 percent as compared to April's reading of 5.40 percent. Analysts said that low mortgage rates continue to support housing markets, but also noted that affordability due to rising home prices is sidelining some would-be buyers. High demand for homes coupled with slim supplies of available homes have driven prices up for months; analysts said that "tentative signs" of slower gains in home prices were seen.

New Home Sales Hit Highest Level Since 2008

David M. Blitzer, Chairman of S&P Dow Jones Indices, cited high home prices and sales of previously-owned homes as contributing factors to a healthy housing sector. Slower home price growth in high priced metro areas may indicate that home prices are topping out in cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. With home prices out of reach in high demand metros, it's likely that rampant home price growth seen in recent years will have to slow in spite of pronounced shortages of homes and high demand in many areas.

Building more homes is the only way to combat outsized competition for homes and astronomical home prices. According to the Commerce Department, June sales of new homes jumped to 592,000 as compared to an expected reading of 562,000 and May's reading of 572,000 new homes sold on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. June sales of new homes were at their highest level since February 2008.

Rising Rents Increase Demand for Homes

The national average price for a new home rose to $306,700 in June, while the supply of available homes sank to 4.90 percent. Real estate pros typically consider a six-month supply of available homes a typical reading. 574,000 new homes were sold in the second quarter of 2016, which was 10 percent higher than the reading of 524,000 new homes sold in the first quarter of 2016.

A report on rental vacancies is due out on Thursday. Rapidly rising rents have recently contributed to higher numbers of first-time buyers looking to buy homes and could continue to strengthen demand for available homes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

4 Ways to Safeguard Your Home While on Vacation

4 Ways to Safeguard Your Home While on VacationEveryone needs a vacation at some point, and worrying about your home should be the last thing on your mind while you're out of town. Here are 4 ways to boost home security when you're not around.

1. Enlist The Help Of Others

Even if you're only gone for a short amount of time, asking someone you trust to keep an eye on your home can offer a big-time boost in security.

Hiring a house-sitter to collect your mail, mow your lawn, and make your house look lived in can be a great option for longer vacations, as physical changes to your property can tip-off burglars that you're out of town.

For short trips, it is worthwhile to ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your home and to report any suspicious activity to the authorities. Having someone who is aware you're not around can nip crime in the bud, as they'll be less hesitant to call the police if they notice any unexpected guests around your home.

2. No Give-Aways!

Sharing your vacation photos on social media can be a convenient way to share your experiences with your friends, but it's best to do so after you've returned home. The fact that you're not around is information that can easily fall into the wrong hands on the web, making you a target for crime.

If you decide to change your voicemail greeting while you're away, be careful that it does not explicitly state that you're out of town. It's fine to tell callers that you're unable to accept calls for a period of time, but they do not need to know it's because you're a thousand miles away.

3. Leave It To The Pros

If you're looking for a security measure that's even more reliable than your neighbors, it may be worthwhile to install a home alarm system. Houses that lack security systems are burglarized more often than ones that have an alarm installed, making them a worthwhile investment for frequent travelers.

4. Don't Forget Internal Threats

It's not only outside threats that you have to consider before heading on vacation! Make sure you prep your home for your absence by unplugging any appliances (toaster, computer, TV) that are at risk of a power surge.

If you live in a cold climate and your pipes are at risk of freezing, ask someone you trust to stop by your home every few days to run the water. Make sure to show them where the water main shut-off is in case a pipe bursts while you're away.

Interested in more neighborhood safety advice? Contact your trusted real estate professional today!

Monday, July 25, 2016

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - July 25, 2016

Housing Starts, Building Permits Issued Rise

Commerce Department reports on housing starts and building permits issued were released Tuesday. Housing starts rose to 1.189 million in June against expectations of 1.165 million starts and May's downwardly revised reading of 1.135 million starts, Housing starts rose by 4.80 percent on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. This is good news for housing markets, but analysts said that demand for homes continued to exceed available supplies.

Building permits issued also rose in June to 1.53 million as compared to May's reading of 1.136 million permits issued.

Existing Home Sales Increase: National Association of Realtors®

Sales of previously-owned homes rose three percent year-over-year and reached their highest level since February 2007 in June. Existing home sales rose by 1.10 percent in June to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million sales. Analysts forecasted a reading of 5.48 million sales of pre-owned homes based on May's reading of 5.51 million sales.

Analysts said that first-time home buyers are returning to housing markets and helped boost June sales and cited changing buyer demographics that suggest a return to owner-occupant home sales. First-time buyers accounted for 33 percent of pre-owned home sales in July, which was their highest reading since 2012. First-time buyers are important to housing markets as their purchases of existing homes enable current homeowners to sell their homes to buy larger homes or to relocate.

Mortgage Rates Rise, New Jobless Claims Fall

Mortgage rates rose across the board last week according to Freddie Mac's weekly report. Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.45 percent, which was three basis points higher. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage also rose three basis points to 2.75 percent; rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 2.78 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed-rate mortgage and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims sustained their streak and fell last week to 253,000 against predictions of 260,000 new claims filed and the prior week's reading of 254,000 new claims filed. Analysts hailed declining jobless claims as a strong indicator that the economy and labor markets continue to improve. New jobless claims have remained below the key reading of 300,000 for 73 weeks. The four-week rolling average of new jobless claims fell by 1250 claims to 257,750. This reading is considered less volatile than week-to-week readings and offers evidence of steady improvements in labor markets.

What's Ahead

Next week's scheduled economic news includes the S&P Case-Shiller Housing Market Index, readings on new and pending home sales and the FOMC committee's post-meeting statement on Federal Reserve monetary policy decisions. Analysts widely expect the Fed to hold firm on its current federal funds rate of 0.25 to 0.50 percent.

Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be released along with a reading on consumer confidence.

Friday, July 22, 2016

4 Reasons Why Your Home Isn't Selling

4 Reasons Why Your Home Isn't SellingSelling your house can be hard. Emotionally, because it's become your home, but also economically. If your home isn't selling, there are usually specific reasons which means there are ways to amend them and make your home more appealing to potential buyers. Here's a short list of reasons why your home might be stalling on the market

You Didn't Spread The Net Wide Enough

No longer is it enough for a sign on your front lawn and word of mouth to carry the brunt of your marketing. With the world moving increasingly online, you need to address social media when advertising your home. Think Facebook. And be sure to use professional photos of your house whenever advertising it, so that it is properly and engagingly represented. You Didn't Make Your Home A Blank Slate People on the hunt for a new home want to be able to picture themselves in the house (or apartment, or condo) they're being shown. This means your house needs to be a blank slate. If there are idiosyncratic rooms, paint them neutral colors and keep the furnishings simple. Remove personal items from all areas being shown photos, achievements, etc. Open up the space by moving furniture out first.

You Are Not Available Enough or Are Too Available.

Potential buyers can be easily discouraged before they even get into your home. Make sure your house is accessible for as many viewings as you can manage even at odd hours to accommodate them. But you should not go to the showing itself. Having the previous owner around hinders people's ability to assess the home objectively because they know it's not objective for you. That discomfort can lead to them not asking the questions they needed to, and being deterred from the purchase.

You Didn't Talk To The Buyers That Walked

It's inevitable there will always be buyers that are interested but unwilling to make the final commitment, so use those buyers to your advantage. If you can, reach out and ask what made them turn away. There could be external factors (literally, elements outside your home) that negatively impact a buyer's decision. If you learn that from almost-buyers, or even from your neighbors you'll be able to find a fix or adjust the price accordingly.

If your home is listed but not selling, sometimes it can feel like it's the universe rising against you. But often there are concrete reasons and simple solutions to get your home's appeal up. And remember, in the end, the best way to find out why your house isn't selling is to talk to your local real estate agent, who has the expertise to help.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Budget-Friendly DIY Projects That Instantly Boost Curb Appeal

Budget-Friendly DIY Projects That Instantly Boost Curb AppealWe're told not to judge a book by its cover, but there's no such rule in the housing market. Curb appeal is the external attractiveness of a home, and if you're in the market for a house that first impression has a lot to do with your final decision. Alternatively, if you're looking to sell, it's an easy area to boost the attractiveness of your home.

Essentially, ensure your home is accessible and inviting to make it appeal to potential buyers. It's like making new friends, and how you're much more likely to approach someone who is smiling. Help your home smile by spending a little time and money on outdoor seating, open spaces and color. Note that homes that have personality make stronger first impressions, so also try to put some of yourself into the exterior of your home.

A Place To Sit

Outdoor seating inspires relaxation, providing a great first impression. Potential buyers can pause and get a sense of the community without feeling rushed. They'll take in the external features of your home in comfort, and will be primed to imagine themselves sitting out there as new homeowners, sunning or sipping tea.

An Open Entrance

Open your home up literally. Creating an uncluttered space in front of your home will help direct and draw buyers. Use pathways and lighting (lamps, candles) to clearly guide the way into your home. A well-lit pathway is not only visually appealing, but safer and a confusing entrance could deter buyers before they even reach your house.

A Dash Of Color

Color draws the eye. Add flowers to the front of your house, or paint the shutters brightly to attract attention from the street. This will also help your home look tidy and put-together.

A Strong Front Door

The front door is the focal point of anyone walking up to your house. Why not paint it your favorite color, or decorate it with something that gives an idea of the interior, like a funky door-knocker or a wreath? Make sure the door is clean and everything works (knob, bell, hinges) to complete the look

A Personalized Mailbox

If you have a mailbox out front, you can give it the same personalizing treatment. Paint it, or plant it in a flowerbed. Keep it clean, functional and inviting, and it'll add to the overall impression of your house.

Riff off these easy, cheap projects to increase your home's curb appeal. Contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The 4 Most Common Mortgage Questions, Answered

The 4 Most Common Mortgage Questions, AnsweredMaking the decision to purchase a home is one of the most significant investments most people will make in their life, and this automatically means there are a lot of questions that need to be answered before putting any money down. If you're considering making the leap, here are some insights into some of the common questions you might have.

How Much Should You Put Down?

While many homebuyers have the option of putting as little as 3% down in order to purchase a home, there are benefits to saving up for a down payment and putting in 15 or 20%. Because your interest rate will be higher on a lower down payment, putting more down can mean a lower overall price tag and monthly payment.

Fixed or Variable Rate Mortgage?

While a fixed rate mortgage can be good for homeowners who are new to the market due to its stability, a variable rate can be hard to rely on because it can change all of the time. Fixed rates can end up costing more than variable rates in the event of low interest rates, but it's important to determine your comfort level with the market is before deciding on your mortgage type.

How Will The Lender Assess You?

There are a number of different factors that lenders will assess you on including your income, personal debt load, employment and credit history. While it's important to be in the good books for these reasons, a lower credit score does not mean you will not be able to qualify for a mortgage; it simply means that you may need to provide a higher down payment.

What Will The Monthly Payment Be?

One of the conundrums of home ownership is being able to determine what you'll actually be paying per month to purchase your home, but this number is dependent on the size of your mortgage, your interest rate, and the frequency of your payments. There are also many handy online tools you can use to provide some estimates but it's best that you consult your mortgage specialist about this.

Most homeowners, particularly those that are new to home ownership, have many questions when it comes to purchasing a home, but by being aware of what a lender looks at and what you should put down, you're well on your way to a healthy attitude towards ownership. If you're currently considering buying a home, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB): Home Builder Confidence Slips in June

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week June 1 2015Home builder confidence fell slightly in June to a reading of 59 according to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index. Analysts had expected no change to June's reading of 60. June components of the HMI were also lower.

Builder confidence in current market conditions dropped by one point to 63; builder confidence in market conditions over the next six months fell three points to a reading of 66. The reading for foot traffic in new single-family developments dropped one point to 55. Readings over 50 indicate that more builders than fewer are confident about housing market conditions.

Are Housing Markets Cooling Down?

A statement released by NAHB said that June's readings were consistent with an ongoing gradual housing recovery. In related news, real estate analysts are seeing similarities in today's level of speculation to the pre-recession housing bubble that was fueled by speculation. More "mom-and-pop" investors are entering the market instead of seasoned institutional investors, which suggests that institutional investor interest is slowing.

In June, 2.50 percent of homes were purchased by institutional investors as compared to a peak of 9.80 percent in February 2013. Red flags suggesting that housing markets are cooling down appear consistent with June's NAHB Housing Market Index.

Too much speculation can create a housing bubble, which would burst when demand dries up due to overly inflated home prices and falling demand for homes. Slim supplies of available homes and rapidly rising home prices are obstacles for home buyers. Home builders continue to cite low supplies of suitable land and labor shortages as obstacles to home construction.

Short Supply of Homes, Affordability Issues Persist

In a report separate from the NAHB Housing Market Index, Fannie Mae economists said that they expect single-family housing starts to increase by 13 percent in 2016. Any increase in home building would help reduce the shortage of available homes. The willingness and ability of builders to produce more affordable homes is a key aspect of maintaining healthy housing markets. Strong competitions for homes and high home prices in major metro areas have made home ownership impossible for many would-be buyers. Short supplies of available homes are discouraging those who are prepared to buy but can't find homes they want.

Unless low supplies of homes and affordability concerns are resolved, overall market slow-downs are likely to occur at some point. Indications that professional investors may be slowing their former pace of snapping up homes could suggest that hot housing markets are starting to cool off.

Monday, July 18, 2016

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - July 18, 2016

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week January 04 2016Last week's economic news included reports on inflation, retail sales and weekly readings on mortgage rates and weekly jobless claims.

Mortgage rates were mixed with average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rising by one basis point to 3.42 percent. The average rate for a 15-year mortgage dropped by two basis points to 2.72 percent, and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose six basis points to 2.76 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 15 year fixed rate mortgages. Freddie Mac said that recent patterns in mortgage rates suggested that rates are likely to remain low throughout the summer; last year the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 4.09 percent.

Inflation Grows at Steady Rate

Inflation grew by 0.20 percent in June according to the Consumer Price Index issued by the government. Rent, gas and pharmaceuticals drove the increase, while grocery prices declined. The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, also grew by 0.200 percent; this reflects lower grocery prices and relatively low fuel costs.

Increasing rents could propel more renters into the home buying market, but high home prices and short supplies of available homes continue to limit home buyer choices. Inflation remains below the Federal Reserve's target of 2.00 percent annually; this indicates that the Fed isn't likely to raise its target federal fund rates in the near future.

Home and Garden Sales Drive June Retail Sales

Homeowners were busy with home improvements and yard work in June; this boosted retail sales to 0.50 percent against an expected reading of 0.10 percent and May's reading of 0.20 percent. June retail sales excluding automotive sales rose from May's reading of 0.40 percent to 0.70 percent; analysts had expected retail sales exclusive of autos to grow by 0.50 percent in June.

New Jobless Claims Hold Steady, Consumer Sentiment Dips

Weekly jobless claims were unchanged at 254,000 new claims filed; analysts had expected new claims to increase to 265,000 new claims. A wave of new claims created by end-of-school-year layoffs caused new claims to jump in recent weeks, but analysts said that layoffs remain low. New jobless claims remained well below the benchmark of 300,000 for the 71st consecutive week. This extended the longest time that new jobless claims were below 300,000 since 1973.

What's Ahead

This week's scheduled economic news includes the NAHB Housing Market Index, Existing Home Sales, Housing Starts and Building Permits. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Friday, July 15, 2016

4 Ways to Help Your Mortgage Transaction Close On Time

4 Ways to Help Your Mortgage Transaction Close On TimeWhen you've finally found the home you're looking for at the right price, it's easy to think that the hard part is over; however, there's still a lot to do in order to ensure your purchase goes through without a hitch. If you're tying up the loose ends on your home purchase, here are some things you should do to avoid any unnecessary delays.

Hire A Legal Professional

However much research you may have done in regards to buying a home, there's still a lot of legal jargon in the closing documents that can be difficult for most people to understand. Instead of doing guesswork, you may want to use an attorney who will take the difficulty out of the documents for you so there will be no holdups with the paperwork.

Arrange A Home Inspection

A home inspection is a necessary step before the sale of a home, but this is an important one to get out of the way because it can seriously impact your home purchase. Because major problems can often be discovered during inspection, getting this out of the way and deciding if an item should be fixed or the total price knocked down will ensure there are no delays at the last minute.

Acquire Title Insurance

In order to make sure your property really belongs to you, it's a good idea to have a title search completed to see if there are any claims to your future property that could invalidate your purchase. As this is a legal safeguard for your claim to your home, it will help you avoid unnecessary issues in the event of an unknown property claim.

Determine The Closing Costs

An escrow company is responsible for holding the funds until all aspects of a home sale are complete, but there are fees that go along with this service. Before you get to the end of the process, determine what exactly the company will be charging so that you can be prepared for the final total. While fees are legitimate, if you see a higher tally than expected, you may want to negotiate for a reduced cost.

Purchasing a home is a significant investment full of hurdles you might not be aware of, but by acquiring title insurance and having a legal professional look through your documents, you can make your home purchase go a little smoother. If you're planning on purchasing a new home soon, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

4 Bathroom Design Trends That Buyers Hate

4 Bathroom Design Trends That Buyers HateBathrooms are an essential part of any home, especially when it comes to buying and selling a home. They're impossible to ignore and one of the first things buyers look at. Despite this, it's simple for homeowners to forget how important these rooms are.

Bathroom decor can quickly go wrong. Little features look big when they're packed into these small spaces, so minor things like shower curtains or how clean the window is can make a big difference.

On the other hand, homeowners are also able to take advantage of how powerful interior design can be in smaller spaces. A little effort goes a long way when looking to maximize the price of property or speed up a sale.

Homeowners can boost the benefits of their sale with these four tips on the most unappealing bathroom trends around.

1. Color Toilets and Sinks

Toilets and sinks in colors like rose pink or seafoam green were incredibly popular years ago, but they're still loved by many people who enjoy a vintage look or just love bright spaces.

However, homeowners have a greater potential to make more money faster if they appeal to a wide range of buyers. Bathrooms decorated in a classic style are great looking to most people, making them more likely to put in an offer.

2. Peel and Paste Wall Paper

Modern peel and paste wall paper is a new trend that's taken over many interior design websites and stores. It's available in countless prints, colors and patterns and its popularity continues to grow.

Despite this, it's difficult to find a style that's sought after by the majority of buyers. Yellow polka dot cabinets may be hip, but it's usually best for homeowners to decorate in neutral colors and traditional materials.

3. Carpet

Carpet is warm and feels great, but there are several drawbacks to decorating with this trend. Buyers know the potential hassle of wall-to-wall carpet, which may reduce the price of their offer or stop them from buying at all.

Buyers like stress-free flooring that's difficult to stain, so homeowners should consider using easy-to-clean materials in their bathrooms.

4. Unusual Tile and Linoleum Flooring

Unusual tile colors and patterns can look outdated, while linoleum flooring can look inexpensive. Unfortunately, neither results are attractive to buyers. To get the most out of their property, homeowners should consider replacing the flooring with hardwood or a convincing laminate alternative.

Reach out to your trusted real estate professional to get more advice on how to create beautiful bathrooms today.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Evaluating Neighborhoods: 4 Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Home

Evaluating Neighborhoods: 4 Things to Consider Before Purchasing a HomeFrom finding the right agent to discovering the home you can truly feel comfortable in, there are a variety of things involved in the home buying process. However, it's important not to get caught up in the home and ignore altogether the community you'll be living in. If you're planning a move to a new neighborhood, here are some things you should look into before putting in an offer.

Local Amenities

A peaceful, picturesque community is ideal, but if there are not a lot of resources nearby for your family, it's possible that your new neighborhood may not be the best fit. Instead of having to get in the car and drive everywhere, ensure you research nearby community centers, green spaces and recreational spots so your family has somewhere to spend their weekends.

Research The Crime Rate

You can certainly get a good sense of the well being of a community just by looking at it, but be sure that you're informed about exactly how safe the surrounding area is so your family will feel at ease in their new locale. While you can easily research the community and find information online, websites like Neighborhood Scout and Crime Report also make it simple to discover the less well-known details.

Transportation And Accessibility

A community you love is ideal, but if you work in the downtown core or an area far away, it will be important to determine the effect this will have on the length of your commute. In addition, you'll want to be sure there are local transportation options like buses and shuttles that provide access all over the center in the event that it's needed.

Learn About The Locals

There's something to be said for the perfect home, but you'll also need to feel a certain sense of comfort in the place you live so ensure you choose a place with nice neighbors and a community feel. This may seem hard to determine before buying a house, but try visiting the local community center or knocking on a few doors for a quick impression of what the locals are like.

It can be easy to throw everything else out the window as soon as you've found the perfect home, but it's important that your home is situated in a neighborhood you'll feel comfortable in. Contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

3 Important Things To Consider Before Listing Your Home on Airbnb

3 Important Things To Consider Before Listing Your Home on AirbnbAirbnb has become an attractive way for homeowners to make income from their property. Although Airbnb's is known for its reputable insurance policy, there are a few things you should consider before listing your home online.

Time Commitment

People have a tendency to think more about what they can gain from hosting on Airbnb than what hosting will do to their life. Having a steady stream of guests is quite a time-consuming endeavor; you'll have to respond to inquiries online, clean your guest's space and do laundry after every booking, and make sure your home is constantly neat and tidy.

This may seem like a small to-do list, but if you have a new guest every 3-4 days that could add up to 10 extra loads of laundry per month. Yikes!

As a host, you will also need to be present to check guests in and out of your home, which means you'll need to book time off from your other commitments to properly welcome your guests and fulfill your hosting requirements. Hosting on Airbnb is just like having a real B&B, it is a business and requires time as such.

Risky Business

Needless to say, allowing strangers to stay in your home comes with inherent risk. Although Airbnb has insurance to protect its hosts and their homes, hosts are still vulnerable to theft or property damage. This can be especially devastating if sentimental items, such a wedding rings or family heirlooms, are stolen by a guest.

Another risk for Airbnb hosts to be aware of is squatting scams. Some scammers have taken advantage of the fact that when a guest stays in a home for longer than 30 days, they may gain squatting rights to the property, making it difficult for their host to force them to leave.

To avoid this situation, do not accept bookings that are longer than 30 days, and/or be very clear in your communication to guests that they are only allowed to stay at your property until the agreed upon departure date, and explicitly state that they must vacate your home after that time.

Be Realistic

It is unlikely that listing your home on Airbnb will provide you with enough financial freedom to quit your job and travel the world, though it may provide you with extra funds to contribute towards your mortgage payments. Be realistic about your expected hosting income, and don't make any major financial changes based on your expectations until you have experience as a host and can accurately predict your monthly Airbnb profit.

Are you ready to find an ideal income property for Airbnb guests? Speak with your local real estate professional today!

Monday, July 11, 2016

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - July 11, 2016

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week April 27 2015Last week's economic news included minutes from the most recent meeting of the Fed's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) along with several reports on private and public sector employment and the national unemployment rate. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

FOMC Minutes: Committee Closely Monitoring Economic Developments

The minutes of June's FOMC meeting indicate that Fed policymakers continue to be cautious based on low inflation and close review of domestic and global economic developments. Committee members acknowledged improvements in the housing market, but also noted that annual inflation remains below the Fed's two percent goal. Low inflation and wage growth presented obstacles to would-be home buyers who continued to face rapidly rising home prices and low inventories of available homes. FOMC members voted not to increase the current target federal funds rate of 0.25 to 0.50 percent.

FOMC's June meeting occurred before Great Britain's decision to leave the EU, which created volatility in financial markets and caused mortgage rates to drop.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported an across-the-board drop in average mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by seven basis points to 3.41 percent and the rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 2.74 percent. Rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate averaged 2.68 percent. Discount points were unchanged at 0.50, 0.40 and 0.50 percent respectively.

New jobless claims were decreased to a three-month low of 254,000 as compared to expectations of 265,000 new claims and the prior week's reading of 270,000 new claims. New jobless claims were higher after the end of the school year, when some school workers became eligible for benefits when schools closed for summer break.

Job Creation Jumps After May Lull

Non-farm payrolls expanded significantly in June after May's sharp drop. 287,000 jobs were created in June as compared to expectations of 173,000 new jobs and May's dismal reading of 11,000 new jobs. The non-farm payrolls report includes readings for public and private sector jobs. June's ADP payrolls report measures private-sector jobs; June's reading surpassed May's reading of 168,000 jobs with 172,000 new jobs.

In related news, the Commerce Department reported that national unemployment increased from May's reading of 4.80 to 4.90 percent. Analysts said that this uptick may not be bad news, but instead indicated an expanding workforce. Unemployment readings are based on the number of workers seeking work and don't include workers who have left the workforce.

What's Ahead

This week's scheduled economic releases include the Consumer Price Index, Core CPI, retail sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Friday, July 8, 2016

How to Design a Modern, Luxurious Home Inside of an Older Piece of Real Estate

How to Design a Modern, Luxurious Home Inside of an Older Piece of Real Estate Newer properties may be infused with built-in designer touches that give them an instant sense of luxury, but older homes may lack many of these built-in features. Whether buying or renovating an older property, many people are interested in learning how to instill modern luxury in older property. The good news is that this is easier than it sounds, and it can be accomplished by following a few simple tips.

Make Thoughtful Upgrades

It may not be cost-effective or reasonable to upgrade the entire space with an extensive renovation, but making a few thoughtful upgrades can yield fabulous results. The light fixtures, faucets and hardware in the space should receive attention first, and homeowners should choose a modern finish that goes well with the rest of the home. If funds permit, consider upgrading the counter tops, sinks and bathtubs to further add luxury and modern style to the style.

Choose The Right Fabrics

When decorating the home, it is important to choose fabrics that speak to the luxury that is desired in the space. While some affordable materials have a luxurious look, it may be necessary to invest in premium materials like leather or upgraded upholstery in some areas to achieve the desired results. Think about the use of color, and layer fabrics for a truly upscale, finished look in the space.

Take Advantage Of Antique Charm

Most older homes have a special antique charm, and homeowners may have better results when working with this charm rather than trying to remove it from the space. Antiques can be incorporated with modern pieces to create a historic, classic or even rustic look to a home. Consider which aspects of the existing decor to highlight, such as gorgeous wood floors or an antique banister, and celebrate these areas while also including modern fabrics and other decorative touches to create the luxurious, modern look that is desired.

Decorating an older home can be challenging for many reasons, but it is possible to instill a sense of modern luxury into the space without a complete renovation. Some smaller remodeling efforts may be needed for the best results, and they can be incorporated with these tips to provide a lovely look that homeowners can truly fall in love with. Those who are thinking about buying an older home or renovating their older  speak with your local real estate professional for more information about thoughtful upgrades that can add value to the property.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

3 Things You Must Do after Inheriting a Home

3 Things You Must Do after Inheriting a HomeThere can be a lot of excitement when it comes to the realization that you've inherited a home, but simply because it's an inheritance doesn't mean there aren't a few strings attached. Whether you're expecting to be gifted with a home in the future or you're currently going through this process, here are a few things you may need to watch out for.

The State Of The Mortgage

Once a home has been effectively handed over to you, it's important to determine the status of the mortgage with the lender and if anything is still owed. While you have the option of taking over the mortgage in a lot of cases, in the event that there's a reversible mortgage or you're choosing to rent it out as a second property, you may not be able to transfer the mortgage. While this can often be a rather seamless process, if money is owed there can be other factors to consider.

Determine If You Want It

If you already have a first home and don't want to take care of your second property as a rental unit, it's important to realize that keeping the home may not be the best decision for you. While you have the option of organizing a short sale if you'd like to get it off of your hands, you can also contact a real estate agent who will be able to provide you with advice on how to proceed if you're unwilling (or unable) to take control of the property.

Is It In Good Condition?

Whether you want to keep the home or not, there can be cases where it's not even a question if it's a home that you're going to end up investing money into without much return. In the situation that a lot of money is owed on the house or there are serious issues with its general condition, you may want to release yourself from the inheritance and move on with your financial situation still intact.

There can be an instant feeling of acquired wealth in the event that you've inherited a home, but a home in bad condition or that you don't want to take care of can end up being more of a headache than anything else. If you're currently considering your options when it comes to a home inheritance, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

How to Differentiate Your Home from the Neighbors for a Faster Sale

How to Differentiate Your Home from the Neighbors for a Faster SaleWhen it comes to selling your home, there can be a lot of options on the market, and nothing is quite so competitive as having your house listed right alongside the home of your neighbor. If you're struggling with how to highlight your home to potential homebuyers, here are some things you can do to ensure it gets the attention it deserves

Engage All The Marketing Options

Many people prefer their real estate agent to take care of the heavy lifting when it comes to selling a home, but there's no reason you can't go beyond the typical measures to really get potential homebuyers interested. Instead of leaving it up to a website or a sign on the street, send out flyers to all of your neighbors and utilize social media as a resource for getting the word out. You may also want to create a website for your home that will highlight its features in the best light.

Emphasize The Special Details

You may not think that the small things matter when it comes to selling your home, but the little details add up and they can actually make your home quite memorable to someone who's seen a lot of open houses. Whether you've installed them or they were there already, your house probably has a special feature like brightly cultured kitchen tiles or an interesting light fixture; just ensure it's effectively displayed and your home will stand out from the pack!

Clean Up The Curb

It's possible that you have a stunning panoramic shot of your home from the outside, but if your house looks nothing like this when potential homebuyers arrive they'll immediately be reconsidering the visit. Instead of leaving this to chance, make sure that you've done any minor repairs to the exterior of the house, cleaned up the lawn and organized everything so nothing looks messy or disheveled from the street. Your exterior will provide the initial impression, and nothing will make your home stand out from your neighbors like an immaculate facade.

It can be a struggle to know how to best display your house so it stands out, but by organizing the exterior and highlighting your home's special features, you may be on your way to an ideal offer. If you're getting ready to put your home on the market, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - July 5, 2016

Closing Paperwork: How to Read and Understand the Truth-in-Lending Disclosure StatementLast week's economic events included S&P Case-Shiller's Housing Market Indices for April along with reports on Construction Spending and Pending Home Sales. Consumer Confidence was higher in June in spite of low wage growth and inflation well below the Fed's goal of 2.00 percent annually.

S&P Case-Shiller: Home Price Growth Ticks Downward

April home values grew by 5.40 percent in April on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Case Shiller reported a drop in momentum from the March reading of 5.50 percent according to the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index. While no city included in the 20-City Index reported lower home values, the rate of growth appears to be slowing. High home prices driven by high demand and slim inventories of available homes may continue to lose steam as high home prices coupled with stricter mortgage requirements sideline first-time and moderate income buyers.

Pending home sales in May saw their first decline since August 2015 According to the National Association of Realtors®, Pending sales dropped from April's downwardly revised index reading of 115.0 to 110.8. Pending home sales were -3.70 percent lower in May as compared to April's reading of +3.90 percent. The drop in pending sales, which represents homes under contract that are not yet closed, is largely blamed on markedly low inventories of homes for sale in many areas.

Construction spending was higher in May, but remained in negative territory with a reading of -0.80 percent as compared to expectations of +0.50 percent and April's reading of -2.00 percent. While the overall reading appears unremarkable, residential construction spending was 5.30 percent higher in May.

Mortgage Rates Lower, Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates in the aftermath of Great Britain's vote to leave the EU. Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.48 percent.15-year mortgage rates averaged 2.78 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was 2.70 percent. Discount points were also lower at 0.50, 0.40 and 0.50 percent respectively.

Jobless reports jumped due to the end of the school year; New York State in particular allows some workers to file jobless claims when schools are closed. 268,000 new jobless claims were filed as compared to expectations of 265,000 new claims and the prior week's reading of 258,000 new claims.

Consumer confidence rose in June, but consumers were surveyed before the Brexit vote. Consumer confidence increased to 98.0 in June as compared to May's index reading of 92.40.Stronger job markets and stabilized gas prices were seen as contributing factors that boosted consumer confidence.

What's Ahead

Next week's scheduled economic reports include several labor-related reports including Non-Farm Payrolls, ADP Payrolls, June's national unemployment rate and minutes of the Fed's last FOMC meeting. Freddie Mac's survey of mortgage rates and weekly jobless claims will also be released.

Friday, July 1, 2016

4 Staging Tips to Achieve a Welcoming Feel

4 Staging Tips to Achieve a Welcoming FeelStaging a home effectively is among the best ways to make an impression on the market and get the purchasing offer you're looking for, but it's important to do it in a way that will really make homebuyers feel comfortable. While there are plenty of tricks of the trade to try, here are four ways your visitors are sure to feel right at home.

Give The Exterior A Boost

It's pretty easy for many home sellers to forget about the outside, but the first thing visitors to your home will see is the exterior view so it needs to be in tip-top shape. By ensuring that you've trimmed the hedges, cleaned away any unsightly yard tools and done the small fix-ups to your front entrance, your guests are sure to have a positive first impression.

Buy A Beautiful Bouquet

Few things will be more inviting to home viewers than a beautiful flower arrangement that makes them feel like they're in the midst of a well-kept space, so you may want to pick up a bouquet for your front entrance. Not only will this provide an instantly striking visual, it will also give off a pleasant smell which can be key when it comes to engaging home viewers.

Depersonalize Your Property

It's certainly the case that a staged home is likely to have more success on the market, but a home that has too many personal items like pictures and papers can actually sway viewers in the opposite direction. While it's great to keep some personalized pieces, you should definitely survey your house and take down what may make potential homebuyers feel like they're intruding.

Clean It Up

Cleaning up your house before having guests over may be something of a cliché, but it's never so important to spic 'n' span as it is when you're staging your home. Instead of a sweep and a mop, ensure you've cleaned the bathroom top to bottom, vacuumed and mopped where necessary, and cleared away all the junk that will catch the eye of those who will be sure to notice any flaws.

There are a lot of things that go into effectively staging a home, but by cleaning up the outside and doing a thorough cleaning inside you'll be able to make a positive impression. If you're going to be putting your home on the market in the near future, contact your local real estate professional for more information.