Friday, May 26, 2017

4 Dated Design Features to Get Rid of Before Listing Your Home for Sale

4 Dated Design Features to Get Rid of Before Listing Your Home for SaleMost homeowners get used to a certain aesthetic in their own home that they're comfortable with, but if you're putting your home on the market it may be time to get rid of some of the old familiarities. While it won't be worth your time or money to renovate everything, here are a few design-style duds that you may want to update before you decide to sell.

Oversized Bathtubs or Jacuzzis

It may be very appealing for most people to find an oversized tub in their hotel room, but when it comes to the home you live in, big tubs have made their exit. While a tub can certainly allow a person to stretch out in comfort, gone are the days of big homes and large bathrooms. Instead of a sizeable tub, you'll want a bathroom space that you can maximize.

Tiled Counter Tops

The concept of kitchen tiles may look great in a magazine, but when it comes to the real deal tile can be a huge drawback. Despite your best efforts, it's quite likely the grout will need to be replaced and will provide an unclean appearance over time. Instead of leaving the tile behind, you may want to stick with a solid surface like marble so there will be no issues with cleanliness or damage.

Too Bright Colors

An accent wall or brightly hued design feature may have made a comeback in recent years, but the popularity of colorful pieces has died away in recent years. Instead of the kind of feature that will turn off potential homebuyers, opt for neutral tones so that homebuyers can imagine themselves in your place without the necessity for renovations.

Bulky Furniture Pieces

Much like the oversized tub in the bathroom, the boxy piece of furniture in your living room may be comfortable, but it's not the best when it comes to selling your home. Instead of having a huge piece of furniture command the attention of your entire room, choose smaller pieces that will offer comfort but still provide a positive impression to potential buyers.

Design trends can change a lot over the years, but by being aware of how styles are evolving you can be on the cutting edge of selling your home in style. If you're currently making some small renovations and are preparing to sell your home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dusty Attic, No More: How to Convert an Attic Into a Usable Living Space

Dusty Attic, No More: How to Convert an Attic Into a Usable Living SpaceThe attic may be one of the spaces in the house that everyone prefers to avoid, but many people forget that an attic can be a great place for a bedroom or an additional living room. If you're wondering how you can go about upgrading your attic for everyday use, here are some things to think about before you move forward.

Consider The Access Routes

In order for an attic to function as a truly livable space, you will need to have access to it and there will also need to be a fire escape route. This means that, in addition to a staircase that has a minimum clearance height, you will also require a window that will function as another means of exit. If you're not interested in doing a lot of construction, fixing up your attic may not be worth the effort, but if you already have some of these features in place, you're on the path to a space you can really use

Supporting The Floor

Most of us have seen the visuals in movies or on television of someone crawling up to the attic only to fall through the floor, and it's a familiar image for a reason. Because the attic floor will likely be relatively thin, it will need to be reinforced so that it can function as a space for consistent use. When it comes to making these changes, it's important to keep in mind that how much floor you'll add will also impact the available height in your attic.

Adding In Insulation

Whether you want to use your attic as a living room or an exercise area, one thing for certain is that you'll need to install some insulation to keep the temperature consistent with the rest of the house. It will also be necessary to have heating and cooling units for cold winter weather and hot summer air, as these will ensure that you don't have to deal with any moisture issues in the space. However upscale or down home you want your attic to be, you'll need to consider how to control temperature.

Attics may be the stuff of many myths and scary movies, but by making some structural changes they can be a much-loved extra space in your family home. If you're currently renovating your home and are preparing to sell, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Yes, It's True! Why Replacing Your Front Door Can Help to Sell Your Home Faster

Yes, It's True! Why Replacing Your Front Door Can Help to Sell Your Home FasterThere are plenty of things that you'll need to shape up when you embark on selling your home, whether it's painting the house or the minor fix-ups, but it's easy to forget about some items that will be readily apparent to homebuyers. If you're preparing to put your home on the market and are wondering what you shouldn't miss, here are a few reasons why replacing your front door should be at the top of the list.

It's The First Thing Buyers Will Notice

While the yard and the exterior of your home may be the most noticeable things to a potential homebuyer when they visit your home, the door will be one of the most imposing things they come across. Because this will be the access point for your home, the quality and stability of your door will create the first impression, good or bad. If you happen to have a flimsy or poorly designed door that is aging, it may be time to invest in something more substantial that will create a positive impression

A Sense Of Safety

An aesthetically appealing door may be pretty important when it comes to making an instant impression, but a solid door will be key in providing potential buyers with an idea of safety and stability. One of the most important things for homebuyers when it comes to purchasing a home is the sense of security it provides, and a sturdy door will go a long way towards making your community and the potential new dwelling feel like a welcome abode.

Increases Your Home's Value

There are plenty of small renovations you can take on that will bump up the value of your home, but replacing an unsound door is important because most homeowners won't make this upgrade right away. While it may seem like buying a door will be a significant splurge, there are actually many great options for a relatively economical price. It's just important to find something that won't break the bank and will fit in with your renovation budget.

When it comes times to sell your home, there are many renovations that can instantly bump up its value. However, many people forget that the door provides one of the first impressions and a sense of security and comfort. If you're currently preparing to put your home on the market, contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

5 Things That First-time Home Buyers Wish They Knew Before They Signed

5 Things That First-time Home Buyers Wish They Knew Before They SignedWithout a doubt, it can be both overwhelming and exciting to find your dream home and be able to put the money down for it. However, there are a lot of things to know before signing on the dotted line so you can avoid buyer's remorse. Instead of going it alone, here are a few tips to keep in mind before you decide to commit to your new home.

A Good Agent Is Important

Many homeowners want to find the right place on their own, but having an agent along to assist you in the process can go a long way towards finding your ideal home at the right price. Instead of risking it, choose an agent that comes highly recommended and has an abundance of experience in the business.

Is The Price Right?

It's easy to be taken in by a beautiful home, but before putting money down you'll want to calculate your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio to make sure it's within reach. You may feel like you can make it work, but paying a too-high mortgage will become a drain over time and may ruin the happiness of your home investment.

What's The Potential?

When it comes to first-time buying, many potential homeowners go into it with unrealistic expectations. However, demanding too much of your investment can mean you miss out on the gems that have a lot of hidden potential. Instead of saying 'no' right away, consider what you can improve for little cost.

Researching The Neighborhood

The focus for many homeowners is definitely the house, but 'location, location, location' is a cliche; for a reason. Instead of focusing only on your home, ensure you'll be living in a neighborhood where you can feel safe and will have access to all the amenities you need.

Investing In An Inspector

A home inspection may feel like a formality, but it's important to have the right inspector so they will notice maintenance items that can hugely impact your finances. While little items that need to be fixed-up are not a big deal, issues with the foundation or the roof can cause major grievances if they're not detected.

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when it comes to buying a home, but by doing your research and being aware of your financial outlook, you'll be well on your way to a good investment. If you're currently in the market for a home, please contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Monday, May 22, 2017

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - May 22, 2017

Last week's economic reports included readings from the National Association of Home Builders, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits and weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

NAHB Housing Market Index Rises, Exceeds Expectations

Builder Sentiment rose two points in May, which exceeded expectations of no change to April's reading of 68. Builders and analysts said that short inventories of available homes continue to drive demand for new homes. While index readings jumped immediately after the Presidential election in November, builder enthusiasm settled when tariffs on lumber were increased.

Two of three components used in calculating the NAHB Housing Market Index reading. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions gained two points to a reading of 76; Confidence in market conditions over the next six months gained four points to 79. The reading for buyer traffic in new home developments fell one point to 51. Any reading over 50 is considered positive in NAHB HMI reports.

Housing Starts, Building Permits Lower in April

Despite rising home builder confidence in current and future housing markets, housing starts and building permits issued were lower in April than for March. According to the Commerce Department, 1.172 million homes were started in April as compared to 1.203 million housing starts reported in March; April's housing starts were 0.070 percent higher year over year. Analysts had expected a reading of 1,259 million starts, which are calculated on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis.

Builders started single-family homes at a seasonally- adjusted annual pace of 835,000 homes in April, which indicated that builders may be gaining confidence in building homes for sale as compared to rental units. Building permits were issued at a pace of 1,229 million on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis; this was lower than the March reading of 1.260 million permits issued.

The apparent lag between strong builder sentiment and housing starts and permits could be due to ongoing concerns over increasing materials prices and shortages of buildable lots and labor needed to ramp up home construction.

Mortgage Rates, Weekly Jobless Claims Fall

Mortgage rates fell last week. Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged three basis points lower at 4.02 percent. Rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.27 percent, a drop of two basis points over the prior week. Mortgage rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 3.13 percent, which was one basis point lower than the prior week. Discount points were unchanged at an average of 0.50 percent for all three mortgage types reported.

New jobless claims were lower than expected last week, with 232,000 new claims filed as compared to 240,000 new claims expected and 236,000 claims reported the prior week. Low readings for new unemployment claims suggest strong jobs markets, but can be volatile and subject to adjustment

What's Ahead

This week's scheduled economic reports include readings on new and existing home sales and consumer sentiment. Mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Did You Know: Single Women Are Buying Homes Faster Than Single Men -- Here's Why

Did You Know: Single Women Are Buying Homes Faster Than Single Men -- Here's WhyWith low interest rates and uncertainty as to where the real estate market will be in the next six months, many people are opting into ownership and investing in a home. Interestingly, according to the National Association of Realtors, approximately 17 percent of homebuyers in the United States last year were women, which is a much higher percentage than the 7 percent of single men who invested in a home. While the statistics may be interesting enough on their own, here are some of the reasons why women may be opting in.

Single Parent Security

The numbers don't lie, and it's a fact that there are a much higher number of single mothers in the United States than fathers, which makes home ownership that much more of a benefit. With low interest rates, it's common sense that many single mothers will be flocking towards the housing market to find stable housing for their family in a market that may fluctuate in the coming months

Making A Lifestyle Choice

The days are long gone of women having to invest in a home when they get married, and for many women being single is a very popular lifestyle choice. This means that many single ladies are choosing to invest on their own terms and at their own time so that they can reap the benefits of home ownership. As Jessica Lautz of the National Association of Realtors says, "They really value home ownership, and they're willing to give up a lot to have a home of their own."

It's In The Numbers

There are certainly more than a few reasons why single women are flocking to the real estate market, but demographics are changing rapidly. While it was once the case that most people were married or would marry, more single women are opting out of marriage and opening up a wider market for single-person home purchases. Given the low interest rates and the increasing number of women choosing to be single, purchasing a home offers a solid bet and a financial boon.

With a home offering up the benefit of security and the advantage of being a good financial choice, it's no surprise that more and more women are turning to home ownership on their own. If you're contemplating purchasing a home of your own, contact your local real estate professional for more information about opportunities in your area.

Today's Home Seller Needs a Real Estate Agent More Than Ever -- and Here's Why


Today's Home Seller Needs a Real Estate Agent More Than Ever -- and Here's WhyMany home sellers attempt to get into the real estate market on their own without consulting the counsel of an experienced real estate agent. However, while having an agent will certainly cost you a percentage of your home sale, it can get you a lot more in the end for a lot less headache. If you're currently considering going agentless, here are some reasons you may want to get an expert involved.

They Have Neighborhood Knowledge

It's easy enough to look through the MLS listings and get and good sense of what a home in your neighborhood is worth, but a good real estate agent will already know your area and be able to make a better assessment based on this. Not only will they be able to determine what you can sell your home for in the real estate market you're heading into, they'll be able to provide the appropriate price so it won't sit on the market too long.

Home-Marketing Savvy

With social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, it's never been easier to sell your home online. However, a real estate agent will be able to determine the best social media strategy for you and decide how best to invest their energy in order to reach the kind of homebuyers you're looking for. Beyond making a website and a home video, they'll also be able to leverage their presence online to attract other interested parties who might not have found your home otherwise.

Doing The Tough Negotiating

One of the toughest parts of any real estate transaction is the negotiating, and it goes without saying that having an experienced agent along to seal the deal can be more than a little comforting. While it's all well and good if the home inspection was positive and you got your asking price, the right agent can be instrumental in providing the right advice and price in case there are counter-offers. It's just important to do the research so you can find the right agent for you.

Many homeowners like the idea of navigating the real estate market on their own, but an experienced agent can make the process of selling your home a lot easier and more profitable at the end of the day. If you're currently getting prepared to put your home on the market, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Rises in May

The National Association of Homebuilders reported a two-point increase in builder confidence in May. The NAHB Housing Market Index reading increased from 68 in April to 70, which was the second-highest reading since the economic recovery started. May's reading exceeded analyst expectations of a flat reading for May. Builder confidence rose as demand for homes continued to rise; this factor overrode builder obstacles including higher prices for lots and ongoing labor shortages. A new tariff on lumber was also expected to dampen builder confidence

Component Readings Suggest Strong Builder Confidence in Current and Future Housing Markets

The monthly Housing Market Index is comprised of three components. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose two points to 76; the reading for builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months rose four points to 79. Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new homes dropped one point to 51, but overall, builder confidence in market conditions is strong as any NAHB Housing Market Index reading over 50 is considered positive.

Fewer Mortgage Applications: Home Buyers Don't Share Builder Optimism

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage applications dropped 4.30 percent year-over-year in April, and were 20 percent lower than in March. While the Mortgage Bankers Association doesn't report seasonal adjustments, fewer applications for purchase mortgages on new homes illustrated ongoing affordability challenges faced by first-time and moderate income home buyers.

High demand for available homes puts mortgage-dependent home buyers at a disadvantage when cash offers are in play. Rapid escalation of home prices creates difficulty for first-time and moderate income buyers as down payment and mortgage qualification requirements sideline buyers.

Increasing home builder sentiment has not corresponded to the number of new homes being built, which industry analysts consider the main solution to high demand for homes driven by short inventories of homes. First-time buyers are important to housing markets as they enable "move-up" buyers to sell their homes and buy new or larger homes.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

3 Bedroom Staging Tips That Will Get Potential Buyers Excited About Your Home


3 Bedroom Staging Tips That Will Get Potential Buyers Excited About Your HomeArranging an open house is one of the most important parts of selling your home, but there can be a lot of tricks involved in staging it so you'll get the right offers. While the kitchen and the living room may be a bit more straightforward, here are some tips for staging your bedroom that will be sure to get buyers interested in making an offer on your home.

Brighten The Bedding

It's one thing to have makeshift bedding when you only have your family to impress, but when it comes to having an open house, you'll need to be prepared to make a statement. Instead of a mish-mash of colors and styles, ensure that you have one style and one look you're going for, and ensure that it's not cluttered with too many pillows and colors. You'll also want to make sure the colors you choose match the rest of the décor in your room so the viewer isn't distracted by the sight.

Minimize The Clutter

Few things will swallow the space in your bedroom like a lot of clutter, so it's important to clear out any extras from your room before you have any viewers. While it's a given that you'll want to get rid of extra papers and anything additional that's obstructing the eye, it's also important to clear out any oversized pieces of furniture. It's possible that you have a chaise lounge you're in love with, but if it swallows the room, you may want to re-consider it when staging time comes.

Don't Forget About The Walls

There are few things that will illuminate a room like a good piece of art, so ensure that your favorite space isn't entirely empty when it comes the time to stage your home. While you won't want to have something that's too dramatic or colorful, ensure that it's something that matches the color and style of your room and will help to illuminate the elements that make it ideal. It's also important to choose the right size of print so that it doesn't completely overwhelm your space.

There are a lot of small details that go into staging a home properly, but you can be sure to show your bedroom effectively by keeping it clutter free and making it match. If you're currently getting prepared to put your home up for sale, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Monday, May 15, 2017

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - May 15, 2017


Last week's economic reports included readings on inflation and core inflation, retail sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on new jobless claims and mortgage rates were also released.

Inflation, Retail Sales Higher in April

April inflation grew by 0.20 percent as expected. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, increased by 0.10 percent. Analysts expected a reading of 0.20 percent. The Federal Reserve monitors inflation readings as part of its research for monetary policy decisions. The Fed set a benchmark of 2.00 percent annual inflation as an indicator of solid economic recovery. Growing inflation could prompt the Fed to raise interest rates in June.

Retail sales grew in April from 0.10 percent in March to 0.40 percent, but fell short of an expected 0.50 percent increase. Retail sales not including the automotive sector rose by 0.30 percent in April, which was the same growth rate posted in March. Analysts expected a reading of 0.50 percent. Growing retail sales indicates that consumers are more confident about economic conditions.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Weekly Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was three basis points higher at 4.05 percent. 15-year fixed rate mortgages had an average rate of 3.29 percent and was two basis points higher than the prior week. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose one basis point to 3.14 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three types of mortgages reported.

New jobless claims fell to 236,000 last week as compared to an expected reading of 245,000 new claims and the prior week's reading of 238,000 new claims. Jobless claims remained below the 300,000 benchmark for the 114th consecutive week; last week's reading was the lowest in more than 28 months.

Consumer sentiment ended the week on a positive note with a May index reading of 97.7 as compared to an expected reading of 97.20 and April's reading of 97.0.

What's Ahead
Economic readings scheduled for this week includes reports on the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Commerce department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Friday, May 12, 2017

6 Tips That Will Help You Get the Most Out of Your Home Inspection

6 Tips That Will Help You Get the Most Out of Your Home InspectionA home inspection may be one of the last things that needs to be done before the deal is sealed. However, it's very important to have a proper inspection done so that you can ensure you're offering price is appropriate for the home you're getting. If you're prepping for an inspection soon, here are some things you'll want to consider beforehand

Choose A Good Inspector

Like a good agent, the right inspector is going to have expertise in what they do and know what to look for. They will not only find the small fix-ups, they'll be able to highlight the potentially huge issues that may arise down the road.

Prepare Your Papers

Your inspector may be able to do their job well on their own, but if you've noticed any issues when you've visited the house, it's important to address them. While they may amount to nothing, an inspector will be able to clear up any confusion.

Ask The Questions

Whether you're experienced with real estate or not, ask the questions you want to ask whether or not they make you feel like a novice. Even if the answer is simple, it will give you the information you're looking for.

Get The Lowdown

It might seem like a bridge too far, but talking to neighbors in the area can give you a good sense of the overall upkeep of the home. While it's unlikely you'll get any unfortunate tales, people in the area may be able to illuminate you on the house's history.

Partake In The Inspection

It's good enough for many a homeowner to get a written report, but going along to see the house can facilitate conversation and may give you insights into what to watch out for. It may also mean you have a clearer idea of any potential issues.

Facilitate The Discussion

In the event that there are significant issues with the home, it may be worth talking with the inspector about dealing directly with the contractor. While this may or may not be necessary, it's a good way to ensure any problems will be effectively communicated and can be rectified.

A home inspection may be par for the course, but by asking the right questions and being involved you can ensure you'll get the most out of your inspection. If you're currently in the market for a home, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

One-stop Shopping: The Quick and Easy Guide to Buying a Home the First Time You See It

One-stop Shopping: The Quick and Easy Guide to Buying a Home the First Time You See ItMost people peruse the real estate market for a while before they bite down and decide to invest in a home. However, whether you're in a rush or you think you've found the ideal place, it's possible you may be ready to put in an offer on the first visit. If you're trying to determine how you can get the home you're looking for the first time around, here are a few things to be aware of when going in.

Are There Any Maintenance Issues?

If you're planning on putting in an offer right away, it's imperative to take a look around at any maintenance issues that jump out. You may not be able to notice all of the things that might be in need of fixing, but watch out for things like peeling paint, windows drafts and small fix-ups that haven't been completed. This will give you a sense of what the overall home maintenance is like and may be a good sign of whether the home is a solid bet.

What Are You Willing To Pay?

Many people have an idea of what they want to spend, but it often flies out the window as soon as they see their dream home. It's important, however, to keep in mind what kind of offer you want to put down and not stray too far from it. This will ensure that you pay a reasonable price for your home and won't be stretching your monthly budget. It's just important to be ready to negotiate!

What Do You Really Want?

It's easy to get swept away by the excitement of investing in a home, but if you're planning to buy you'll need to know exactly what you're looking for so you can avoid buyer's remorse. Instead of making a split decision, write down a list of the things that you absolutely must have and the things you can do without. If you find a great place, you might be willing to let go of them in the moment, but review the list before making an offer to ensure it's the right choice.

There are a lot of factors that go into buying a home, but if you're prepared to purchase on the first visit it's important to determine beforehand what you really want and the price you want to pay. If you're currently searching for a home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

3 Simple Home Security Upgrades That Will Help to Deter Burglars


3 Simple Home Security Upgrades That Will Help to Deter BurglarsWhether you're going on an extended holiday or are just concerned about security in your neighborhood, you might be curious about the best ways to pursue safety in your home. If you're wondering how you can successfully stave off theft without a high price tag, here are some tips for protecting your property.

Keep It Clean

It's often said that one of the first things a burglar will look for when it comes to a prize home is an unkempt property. Fortunately for you, this means that keeping your property clean and tidy is a great way to prevent your home from being targeted. While everything doesn't need to be spic and span, it's a good idea to ensure that the lawn is mowed, the trees are well maintained and no tools or toys are hanging out on your yard for days on end. It might seem inconvenient, but it has the double-convenience of keeping your property clean and preventing crime!

Install Motion Activated Lights

It might have seemed like a good trick a few years ago to leave on the lights in the hope of scaring away burglars, but with more sophisticated technology comes more sophisticated methods. While you may want to use timers for your lights so they can go off randomly and give the illusion of you being at home, you may also want to spring for motion-activated lights. There is no 100% guard against crime, but motion-activated lights can work to scare off someone who's up to no good and illuminate your property for observant neighbors.

Secure Doors and Windows

Locking your doors and closing your windows might seem like the most apparent of security tips, but it actually goes a long way in deterring crime. Burglars are often looking for the easiest target and that means that an unlocked door or a slightly ajar window can go a long way in convincing them of a prospect. Instead of risking it, ensure that your doors are locked and all windows are secured before leaving your home. You may also want to use extra reinforcements if you have sliding windows or French doors.

Protecting your home may seem like it comes at a high premium, but there are very simple and economical ways to keep your home secure. If you're currently preparing to put your home on the market, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Living With a Small Green Space: How to Make the Most of a Smaller, Intimate Yard

Living With a Small Green Space: How to Make the Most of a Smaller, Intimate YardIt's great to have a yard in this day and age, but so many new developments in the city have limited green space for you to let your imagination run wild. If you're wondering what you can do with your patch of green space or small yard, here are a few options for making it aesthetically appealing and still maximizing its potential.

Pick A Centerpiece

In order to stretch the look of your green space, try adding a centerpiece or focal point that will draw the eye and instantly improve your yard's appeal. Whether you decide on a planter, a birdbath or an awning covered in vines, a unique piece will work to distract from the limitations imposed by your yard. A centerpiece may do nothing to expand your garden space, but by changing the way you view it, it will make all the difference in how you feel about it.

Make It Match

Your garden or back green space is going to look a whole lot smaller if it's eclectic style diverges greatly from your home, so keep the two aligned. If there's a selection of colors and style you use in the room that faces your yard, use them outdoors! It's also important to make it something you'll really use. As landscape architect Amber Freda of Amber Freda Home & Garden Design says, "A plain dining table with wooden chairs won't entice you to use it very much, but really comfortable lounge seating will."

Keep It Clean

It's a well-known fact that clutter in any enclosed space will instantly make it look smaller, and it's no different when it comes to your yard. Instead of jamming an excessive amount of stuff into your small space, keep it simple and decide exactly what you want to get out of the area, whether it's a vegetable garden or a comfortable place to sit. In keeping with clutter free, you'll also want to make sure you keep any invasive or aggressive plants from making themselves too comfortable!

It may seem limiting to have an undersized green space, but by deciding what you want to get out of it and creating a central point of interest, you'll be well on your way to a comfortable place. If you're currently fixing up your home in the hopes of putting it up for sale, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Monday, May 8, 2017

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - May 8, 2017


Last week's economic news included readings on construction spending, the post-meeting statement by the Fed's Open Market Committee and labor-related reports including ADP payrolls, Non-farm payrolls and the national unemployment rate. Weekly readings on new jobless claims and mortgage rates were also released.

Fed Rate Unchanged, Mortgage Rates Hold Steady

Federal Reserve policymakers did not change the target federal funds rate, which ranges from 0.75 to 1.00 percent. In its usual post-meeting statement, FOMC said that a weak first quarter was "transitory" and expected economic growth to continue going forward. Less consumer spending contributed to a sluggish first quarter, but analysts said that a rate hike was very likely at the FOMC meeting in June. The FOMC included its usual caveat concerning monetary policy in its statement; FOMC policies are not pre-determined, but are based on members' ongoing review of news and economic developments.

Freddie Mac reported minor changes in its weekly survey of mortgage rates. 30-year fixed rate mortgage rates were one basis point lower at 4.02 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was unchanged at 3.27 percent; the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose one basis point to 3.13 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three mortgage types.

Construction, Labor Reports Reflect Economic Growth

Construction spending fell in March after an unusually high reading in February. The original growth rate for February construction spending was 0.80 percent, but was adjusted to 1.80 percent. A spurt of unseasonably warm weather was cited as pushing construction activity to unusual levels in February. Construction spending fell by -0.20 percent as compared to an expected reading of 0.50 percent, which was based on the original reading for February.

ADP Payrolls reported lower growth for private sector jobs in April with a reading of 177,000 new jobs as compared to 255,000 new jobs gained in March. The Federal Non-farm payrolls report, which covers public and private sector jobs, posted a gain of 211,000 jobs in April after reporting only 79,000 jobs added in March. The disparity in month to month readings indicates ongoing volatility in jobs growth, but the national unemployment rate dropped to 440 percent in April from 4.50 percent in March. Low unemployment rates can indicate economic growth with job seekers gaining employment.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Til' Debt Do Us Part: How to Get a Mortgage If One Spouse Has A Poor Credit Score

Til' Debt Do Us Part: How to Get a Mortgage If One Spouse Has A Terrible Credit ScoreA poor credit history is a reality for many people, but it can be particularly daunting when it comes to investing in a house. Fortunately, simply because you or yours have experienced bad credit doesn't mean that you should be penalized in the future. If your spouse has struggled with bad credit in the past but you're both preparing to move forward and invest in a home, here are some tips for getting it together financially.

Face The Music

Many people who have bad credit are too scared to take a look at their credit report and broach it honestly, but it's important to come to terms with the problem so that it can be fixed. Instead of ignoring it, get a copy of the credit report and review it for any errors so that you can update these if needed and be aware of the issues impacting your credit score. While there may not be any inaccuracies on the report, knowing what you're dealing with will give you a point to start from.

Make Your Payments

At some point, most people have missed a credit card or bill payment, but the first step involved in improving your finances and your credit is ensuring your spouse is paying their bills on time. While this won't require paying the complete balance each month, it's important to pay the minimum balance before the due date, and stick with it! It may seem like a small step, but over time it will improve credit and say a lot to mortgage lenders!

Save Up For Down Payment

20% is the amount that's often suggested when it comes to a down payment, but if your spouse has terrible credit, it may be worth your while to save up more. It goes without saying that having good credit for both yourself and your spouse is important in getting approved for a mortgage, but by having extra for your down payment and paying your bills on time, you may be successful at convincing lenders you're a solid bet.

It can be a lot more difficult to get your mortgage approved if your spouse has bad credit, but there are steps you can take to improve your financial outlook and give lenders a better impression. If you're planning on investing in a home in the near future, contact your local real estate professionals for more information.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Three Ugly, Dated Design Features That You Need to Get Rid of Before You Sell Your Home


Three Ugly, Dated Design Features That You Need to Get Rid of Before You Sell Your HomeThere are a lot of inexpensive renovations that can easily improve the value of your home, but you might not be aware of dated features that are working against you and aging its look. If you're ready to put your home on the market and are wondering what types of design will downgrade your home's appeal, here are a few things you may want to consider upgrading or discarding before planning your first open house.

Bright Accent Walls

While brightly colored paint can certainly enhance a room if it's done in the right home and the right space, it can also age the room it's in. If you've got a neon tone that's overstayed its welcome, you may want to pull out the paint and go back to a neutral-toned wall. This will ensure that visitors to your home are not overwhelmed by the look and won't have to consider renovating right away if they don't like the color.

Lightly-Shaded Wood Cabinets

It's one thing if you're in a log cabin, but most potential homebuyers don't want to see old kitchen cabinets that are lightly toned like maple and oak. This color palette can instantly age a kitchen and they're also not that easy an upgrade. A kitchen is one of the most important selling features of your home, so instead of leaving this to chance, consider pulling out the paint for an instantly improved cabinet finish.

Clunky Furniture Pieces

The furniture that fills your home may be one of the easiest fixes there is, but it also has a significant impact on how homebuyers will view the potential of your home. A large L-shaped couch or a clunky chair can not only swallow up a room, they can create an unpleasant visual for the buyer. In these modern times, it's best to stick with a more minimal look so that homebuyers can imagine themselves in your house. If you can't cover up your item, you may want to consider moving it out when it comes time for home viewings.

There are many design features and items in your home that you may love, but when it comes to oversized furniture and bright accent walls, they may not appeal to the modern buyer. If you're currently cleaning up your home and are planning to put it on the market soon, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Suffering in a 'Low Inventory' Real Estate Market? 3 Helpful Tips for Finding a Home to Buy


Suffering in a 'Low Inventory' Real Estate Market? 3 Helpful Tips for Finding a Home to BuyMany homebuyers struggle with finding a home that is within their price range, but many of those perusing the market also struggle when it comes to the search. If you're currently in the real estate market and are having difficulty finding a good selection of homes, here are some ways to expand your search so you can find an opportunity you're prepared to invest in.

Look Over The Old Listings

Whether you do it on your own or enlist the help of your real estate agent, it's worth looking through the old listings to determine if any old opportunities are still available. There may be many formerly listed homes that have since sold, but homes that have lingered on the market may be open to offers; they may also be more aligned with the current market rates. Instead of taking the listings for granted, search for old opportunities that might turn up something good!

Consider Other Marketing Strategies

The market has changed in recent years, but the way that people choose to sell their home has changed along with it. While it's still possible to see a sign on the front lawn or find a home on a real estate agent's page, social media has become a very popular way to buy and sell. Aside from looking through the listings, consider searching Twitter or Facebook posts for homes that are for sale in your area. While you may not find your dream home, it's entirely possible that an interesting detail or neighborhood that might have been missed will capture your attention.

Keep An Eye On Expensive Listings

Most homebuyers will immediately write off a listing that is out of their price range, but homes that are overpriced will often sit on the market. Fortunately, for many homeowners, this is something they can use to their advantage. Instead of avoiding pricey homes altogether, make sure to keep tabs on ones that are a little bit out of range but manage to pique your interest. It's entirely possible that they won't come down in price, but if they do it may be well worth the wait.

Many homebuyers struggle to find a home in a tight market, but by keeping an eye out on listings and considering all of the post-modern strategies for marketing, you may be able to find your dream home. If you're currently searching for a home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

3 'Hidden' Costs You'll Uncover Buying Your First Home - and How to Plan for Them

3 'Hidden' Costs You'll Uncover Buying Your First Home – and How to Plan for ThemAre you about to become a first-time home buyer? If so, there's a lot to get excited about. You'll soon be a home owner, able to customize and improve your living space as you see fit.

Of course, buying a home is an investment unlike any other. To get the best deal on your home, you'll need to be diligent. Let's have a look at some of the hidden costs you may uncover when buying your first home.

#1:The Home Inspection (And What It Finds)

A major step before buying any home is the inspection. A licensed inspector will go over the home from top to bottom, looking for current or future issues. The inspection itself isn't very costly. But any unresolved issues that come up may lead to expensive problems later.

If possible, try to ensure that the seller pays for any necessary repairs. When you take possession of the home, it should be in top condition.

#2: Taxes And Fees You've Never Even Heard Of

You already know about the major taxes, such as sales taxes that apply to a home's sale price. Or property taxes, charged by local governments each year and based on your home's assessed value. But depending on where you live, there may be a whole host of other taxes and fees involved. Many of which you've never even heard of!

For example, you may be subject to a Land Transfer Tax or Property Purchase Tax. These are taxes charged when a property changes hands. If you're taking out a mortgage loan, the lender may require you to pay land survey or appraisal fees. These costs help the lender to ensure the risk involved with the mortgage is appropriate.

#3: Insurance, Insurance And More Insurance

Finally, don't forget the cost of insurance. On top of regular home insurance, you may need mortgage insurance, title insurance, extra life insurance and more. It's worth booking some time with an insurance professional to find out what kind of coverage you will need.

These are three of the possible costs involved in closing the purchase of a new home. For more information about closing costs and new homes in your neighborhood, contact your local real estate agent. We have the data and insight to help you make the best decision.

Monday, May 1, 2017

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - May 1, 2017

Last week's economic news included readings on Case-Shiller Home Prices Indices, new and pending home sales. Weekly readings on new jobless claims and average mortgage rates were also released. Case-Shiller reported that home prices rose by 0.20 percent from January to February with a year-over- year growth rate of 5.80 percent.

Western cities continued to post the fastest growth rates for home prices with Seattle, Washington topping annual home price growth rates at 12.20 percent; Portland, Oregon followed with a year-over-year home price growth rate of 9.70 percent. Dallas, Texas posted the third fastest growth rate for home prices with year-over-year growth in home prices at 8.80 percent. Dallas replaced Denver, Colorado for third place in the 20-City Home Price Index. 15 of 20 cities tracked in the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index posted higher year-over-year gains in February than for January 2017

New Home Sales Rise as Pending Home Sales Dip

New home sales rose to 621,000 sales in March; analysts expected a reading of 580,000 new homes sold on a seasonally adjusted annual basis based on January's reading of 587,000 new home sales. Sales of new homes are important due to months of high demand for homes coupled with low inventories of homes for sale. Sales of new homes can indicate future readings on builder confidence and housing starts, but there are no definite connections between new home sales, builder confidence in housing market conditions and housing starts.

Pending home sales dipped in March with a month-to-month reading of -0.80 percent as compared to February's seasonally adjusted annual reading of 5.50 percent. Pending sales are home sales for which sales contracts are signed but have not been closed. Pending home sales are an indicator of future completed sales and can be impacted by factors including fluctuating mortgage rates and regulatory influences on mortgage lending and mortgage approval requirements.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was six basis points higher at 4.03 percent. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was four basis points higher at 3.27 percent. Mortgage rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 3.12 percent which was two basis points higher than for the previous week. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and averaged 0.40 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims rose to 257,000 last week as compared to expectations of 245,000 new claims filed and the prior week's reading of 243,000. Analysts said that the spike appeared to be localized in New York State and would likely resolve soon.

What's Ahead

This week's economic readings include ADP and Non-Farm Payrolls, national unemployment rate and readings on inflation. The Federal Open Market Committee of the Fed will issue its customary post-meeting announcement on Wednesday; this announcement is expected to reveal the Fed's next move on interest rates. Weekly readings on new jobless claims and mortgage rates will also be released.

Friday, April 28, 2017

5 Tips for Crafting a Counter-offer That Doesn't Scare Away a Potential Home Buyer

5 Tips for Crafting a Counter-offer That Doesn't Scare Away a Potential Home BuyerIf you've recently put your home up for sale, one of the most exciting parts of the selling process is getting an offer. However, all is not said and done once you've received an offer, as you'll probably want to negotiate a better price. If you're wondering how you can counter without losing a potential buyer, here are some tips when the time comes to negotiate.

Lower Your Price (A Little)

As a seller, it's important to believe in the price you've put your home on the market for, but lowering your asking price after getting an offer will tell the potential buyer that you're flexible. While you may not want to compromise too much, you'll have to move a bit to keep them interested.

Pay For Closing Costs

There are so many costs involved in home ownership that many people are tired of all the associated fees of buying a home by the time it comes to closing. Instead of budging on your price, offering to pay for the closing costs can serve as a significant financial benefit for many buyers.

Hold Off On Offers

It can be a risky strategy, but choosing a specific day to consider offers can create a healthy competition for your home, and may stimulate interest without losing potential buyers. While you'll want to be careful how you navigate this, it can work out well when it comes to bumping up the offers.

Provide An Expiration Date

Most counter-offers come with a timeframe that will allow those interested to accept the deal; however, consider adjusting this period to a timeframe that will work better for you. While you shouldn't wait too long, a period of more than one day will tell the potential buyer that you want your home to be the right choice for them.

Be Reliable And Responsive

For an interested homebuyer, there's nothing worse than having a home-seller that is not responsive to their offer. Instead of sitting on an offer too long, ensure you're letting interested parties know that you're considering their offer and will get back to them as soon as you've made a decision.

The art of negotiating can be complicated when it comes to selling your home, but by being responsive and showing flexibility, you may be able to get the offer you're looking for. If you're currently getting prepared to buy a new home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Case-Shiller: February Home Prices Grow at Fastest Pace in 3 Years

According to the Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, February home prices grew at their fastest pace in three years. While home prices have steadily grown in recent months, growth rates slowed in many areas month-to-month; the escalation of home prices from January to February indicates stronger housing markets. National home prices increased by 0.20 percent in February to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.80 percent appreciation.

Case-Shiller's 20-City Home Price Index posted a month-to-month gain of 0.20 percent for a year-over-year gain of 5.90 percent. Seattle, Washington again topped the 20-City index with year-over-year home price growth of 12.20 percent. Portland Oregon followed with an annual price gain of 9.70 percent. Denver, Colorado was replaced by Dallas, Texas with a year-over-year home price growth rate of 8.80 percent. Fifteen cities posted higher year-over-year gains in home prices in February as compared to January readings.

Month-to Month Home Prices

Case-Shiller National, 20-City and 10-City Home Price Indices reported moth-to-month 0.20 percent home price growth before seasonal adjustment. After prices were seasonally adjusted, national home prices increased by 0.40 percent month-to-month; the 20-city index showed an increase of 0.70 percent and home prices in the 10-City Index rose by 0.60 percent after seasonal adjustment.

Home Prices Rising on High Demand, Low Inventory of Homes Available

David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chair of the S&P Dow Jones Indices Committee, said that ongoing shortages of homes for sale continue to boost home prices as demand exceeds supply. First-time and moderate income home buyers continue to face affordability concerns as rising home prices can negatively impact buyers' ability to qualify for mortgage loans.

Analysts said that while rising home prices are a sign of economic strength, housing market indicators such as housing starts have not had corresponding growth rates. New construction is viewed as the only way to ease demand for homes as rising home prices have so far not cooled demand.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Are You 'Mortgage Pre-approval Worthy'? Learn How to Assess Your Finances in 10 Minutes

Are You 'Mortgage Pre-approval Worthy'? Learn How to Assess Your Finances in 10 MinutesFinding the right home and the right mortgage can take a lot of time and energy, so it's important to consider whether you'll be prepared for approval before diving into the process. Whether you've had some financial setbacks or you just want to have an idea ahead of time, here are some ways to quickly determine if you'll be pre-approved for a mortgage.

Do You Have A Down Payment?

You may have heard that the ideal down payment amount is 20% of the cost of the home, but this doesn't mean you have to have this amount. However, it is important that you have a significant chunk of change put away so that it can signal to the lender that you're financially sound and will be able to come up with your monthly payment. A down payment will not only minimize the amount of money you owe the lender each month, it will also show that you know how to save and can be trusted with a significant financial investment.

Determine Your Credit History

Many potential homebuyers have financial hiccups in their history, but it's how they're dealt with that determines the future. While you may have considerable issues getting a mortgage approved if you're not paying your minimum payments on time and have debt, by making this change, you can have a positive impact on your credit history in a matter of months. You may also want to get a copy of your credit report to ensure there are no errors that have adversely impacted your score.

Do You Have A Solid Employment History? It's very important to have a solid work history in the event that you're applying for a mortgage, as this will signal to the lender that you have the funds to make your monthly payment. Keep in mind that it's good to have at least 2 years of solid employment under your belt, and you'll need to provide pay stubs. If you're self-employed or your recent job opportunities have been sporadic, this can cause issues with getting pre-approved.

It can take a lot of time to find the right house and the right lender, but if you have a solid history of employment and a sizable down payment you're well on your way to pre-approval. If you're preparing for purchasing a home and would like to learn more, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Buying a 'Micro' Home? Be Sure to Consider These Major Lifestyle Changes First

Buying a 'Micro' Home? Be Sure to Consider These Major Lifestyle Changes FirstWith the cost of a home on the rise and the concept of being sustainable becoming more popular, many people are considering moving to a smaller home to minimize their impact. It's important, however, to consider what living small is really like before deciding that it's the right move for you. If you're curious about life on a smaller-scale, here are some things to contemplate beforehand

Getting Rid Of The Excess

It's just a fact that a smaller amount of space means a smaller amount of stuff, but many people don't realize this works two ways. While you won't be able to accumulate the same amount of stuff in a smaller home, you also won't have the luxury of being able to take everything from a larger house with you. It may not be a big deal for you to pack things away or discard the old, but if you're the type of person who likes stuff, you may want to re-consider micro.

Will You Miss The Space?

Many homeowners spend a lot of time outdoors or even travelling for work, so the size of their home may not matter that much. However, if you're the kind of homeowner who loves to nest and have their space, the idea of lounging around a small home may not be for you. A micro-sized space can minimize costs and be easier to decorate, but if you like being able to spread out and luxuriate in a variety of surroundings, something undersized can be quite limiting.

Forget The Home Maintenance

Whether you live on a massive estate or in a studio apartment, there are minor things that need to be done to keep your space clean and clutter free. When it comes to smaller living though, there will be a lot less to do, and this can greatly impact your free time. It's great if you're the kind of person who has plenty of hobbies to keep them busy, but if you like taking care of the yard and doing an assortment of home maintenance duties, it may be a struggle to own a property that needs less tending.

It's never been more popular to go 'micro' when it comes to home ownership, but it's important to make sure small living is right for you before taking the leap. If you're currently on the market for a 'micro' home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Monday, April 24, 2017

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - April 24, 2017

Last week's economic reports included NAHB Housing Market Index, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. The National Association of Realtors® released data on existing home sales; Freddie Mac released average mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Builder Sentiment Dips in April, but Remains Stron

The National Association of Home Builders reported that home builder sentiment dipped three points in April to an index reading of 78. Any reading over 50 indicates that more builders are positive about housing market conditions than not. Builders continued to cite concerns including shortages of labor and buildable lots and increasing materials costs.

Builder confidence in housing market conditions do not always reflect building activity. March housing starts were lower at 1.215 million starts on a year-over-year basis. February's reading was 1.303 million starts; the expected reading for April was 1.238 million starts. Readings for housing starts include single family homes of one to four units and multifamily complexes with five or more units. Single-family housing starts were 6.20 percent lower than in February at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 821,000 starts.

While housing starts were lower in March, more building permits were issued in March than in February. 1,260 million permits were issued in March on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to February's reading of 1.216 million building permits issued.

Mortgage Rates Fall, Existing Home Sales Up

Mortgage rates fell below three percent according to Freddie Mac. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage dropped from 4.08 percent to 3.97 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell by nine basis point from 3.34 percent to 3.23 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was eight basis points lower at 3.10 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage. Lower mortgage rates are good news for home buyers challenged by rapidly rising home prices based on high demand and low supplies of homes for sale.

Home buyers persisted in March despite higher home prices. Sales of pre-owned homes hit a 10 year high in March as 5.71 million pre-owned homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. As compared to February's reading of 5.48 million pre-owned homes sold, analysts expected a reading of 5.65 million sales of pre-owned homes in March.

New Jobless Claims Rise

First-time jobless claims were higher last week with a reading of 244,000 new claims as compared to the prior week's reading of 234,000 new jobless claims. Week-to-week readings for new jobless claims tend to be volatile, but last week's reading remained well below the benchmark of 300,000 new claims filed.

What's Ahead

This week's economic news includes readings on new and pending home sales, Case-Shiller Home Price Index reports, along with weekly reports on average mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Your Debt-To-Income Ratio and How It Affects Your Mortgage


Your Debt-To-Income Ratio and How It Affects Your MortgageWhen you're delving into the market in the hopes of finding your dream home, it's likely you'll come across the term debt-to-income ratio. This may not seem important at first, but your DTI is the key to determining the amount of money you can put into your home and just how much you should spend on a monthly basis. If you're curious about what this means for you, here's how to calculate it and how it can impact your mortgage.

What's Your DTI Ratio?

One of the best ways to determine whether or not a home is affordable for you is to first calculate your DTI ratio. To get this amount, add up all of your monthly payments including any credit card, loan and mortgage payments, and divide this amount by your gross monthly income. The amount you get is your DTI percentage and this will help to determine how much your monthly payment should be.

What Does Your DTI Mean?

Your DTI percentage helps to determine the amount of house you can afford on a monthly basis, and this is why it can be such a good way to help you find the right home. While a DTI of 25% or less is ideal, a DTI that rises above 43% may be hard to get financing for since there will be little room for error. When it comes to a higher debt load, approval may come down to what your credit history says about your financial health.

The Amount Of Home You Can Afford

It's easy to be convinced that your dream home is for you, and worth the splurge, but investing in too much home on a consistent basis can lead to future financial difficulties. If you're set on a home that has a high monthly payment, you may want to hold off until you've saved a larger down payment or revamp your budget so that you can make the investment work for you. It may also be worth continuing the housing search so that you have more flexibility to invest in education, travel or other things down the road.

Your DTI ratio may be unfamiliar now, but this can be a great save when it comes to determining how much home you can afford and what will stretch your limits.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

How Young Is 'Too Young' to Buy Your First Home? Getting Started Early Has Its Ups and Downs


How Young Is 'Too Young' to Buy Your First Home? Getting Started Early Has Its Ups and DownsMany millennials are expected to enter the housing market in the next year with the interest rates still low. However, while it may be a good time, it does not necessarily mean that it's the right time for you to make the investment. If you're currently weighing your options when it comes to home ownership, here are some things to consider before you decide put the money down.

Are You Struggling With Student Debt

It's possible to invest in a home when you're still paying down student debt, but if you're also struggling with a low-paying job and a high debt load, it may not be the right time to buy. Instead of trying to make ends meet to pay a monthly mortgage payment, it might be a better decision to pay off some of your debt, lower your interest costs and consider investing later on. This will also enable you to afford more home when you decide the time is right to buy.

Do You Have A Down Payment?

It can be a good testament to your financial ability if you want to purchase a home at a young age, but having a down payment is one of the most important things to have on hand when it comes to investing. If you've come up with 20% of the purchase price, this will allow you to avoid mortgage loan insurance. If you don't have this amount, however, or much of anything saved up, you may want to create a budget in order to save up for your down payment.

Are Your Ready To Commit?

Many people romanticize the idea of buying a home since it's something that really belongs to them, but it's important to be prepared for the monthly mortgage payments, home maintenance and all the other fees and responsibilities associated with home ownership. It's great if you want to invest, but if you want to travel or explore different job opportunities or even continue your education, an investment commitment may not be the best choice.

It can be a great financial benefit for your future to invest in a home at a young age, but it's important to ensure you're ready for the commitment by having your debt paid down and having money saved. If you're currently getting prepared to invest in a home, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

NAHB: Builder Sentiment Dips in April


According to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for April, Builder Confidence dropped three points to an index reading of 68 in April. While any reading over 50 indicates positive builder confidence, home builders said that they continue to face obstacles including higher costs for materials and elevated costs associated with regulatory issues. Builders have repeatedly cited concerns including a lack of buildable lots and labor shortages in past months.

Home Builder Component Readings Fall But Remain in Positive Territory

Component readings of the Housing Market Index include builder confidence in current market conditions for newly built homes, which dropped three points to 73. Builder confidence in market conditions over the next six months fell three points to 75. Home builder confidence in buyer traffic volume for new housing developments dropped one point to an April reading of 52.

Regional Readings for Builder Sentiment Vary

Regional readings for April were included in the three-month rolling average in four U.S. regions. Builder confidence in the Northeastern region fell by two points to 46; The Midwestern region added one point for a builder confidence reading of 68, while the Southern region's reading was unchanged at 68. The Western region added one point for a three-month reading of 77.

Housing industry groups and analysts watch the NAHB Housing Market Index for indications of future volume in housing starts, but builder confidence and housing starts are not always closely connected. The Commerce Department will release readings for March housing starts and building permits issued on Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Going Tankless: The Pros and Cons of Installing an Energy-efficient Tankless Water Heater


Going Tankless: The Pros and Cons of Installing an Energy-efficient Tankless Water HeaterThere are so many ways in which you can green up your home and make it more sustainable these days that many people are considering tankless water heaters. While this can certainly be the right option depending on the space you have and the type of water you use, here are some things to consider before you decide to invest in the switch.

Maximizing Your Space

One of the biggest issues with a traditional water heater is the amount of space it takes up, whether it's a side closet or a closed-off area in the basement. Fortunately, one of the benefits of tankless water heaters is that they can be wall-mounted almost anywhere in your house so they won't need their own separate space. The traditional water heater may be bulky and require an area of its own, but your tankless water heater will not have to work around the needs of the rest of the house!

Heating What's Needed

While a traditional water heater stores water and will be able to supply hot water at a quicker rate, a tankless water heater works more slowly. Because it is heating the water as it's being used, it's only using the energy it needs to in order to provide the water required. While this will have a positive impact on your energy costs over time, it can also mean waiting on hot water a little longer than expected. In order to go tankless, you'll require a minimum water flow amount.

Do You Have Hard Water?

A tankless water heater can be more efficient when it comes to space and energy, but if you have an issue with hard water, the tankless option may not be the way to go. Because a tankless heater essentially warms water within the tank, it is vulnerable to scale build up, which can cut into its overall efficiency. While a traditional water heater does not experience this issue, a tankless water heater working with hard water may end up being less useful due to this build up.

There are a number of benefits associated with a tankless water heater, but it's important to determine if this option will be truly energy efficient for you before you decide to invest. If you're currently working on home renovations and are getting prepared to put your home on the market, contact your trusted real estate professionals for more information.

Monday, April 17, 2017

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - April 17, 2017


Last week's economic releases included readings on inflation, core inflation, new jobless claims, and mortgage rates. Consumer sentiment for April was also released.

Inflation Rate Dips in April

Consumer Price Index readings for April indicated that inflation decreased from 0.10 percent growth in March to a negative reading of -0.30 percent reading in April. The Core Consumer Price Index, which does not include volatile food and energy readings, also dipped in April to -0.10 percent from the March reading of +0.20 percent. While negative readings for month=to-month inflation suggests sluggish economic conditions, month-to-month readings can be volatile.

It's possible that sluggish inflation readings could cause the Fed to postpone further interest rate increases. Lenders typically raise consumer interest rates when the Fed raises its target federal funds rate.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week. Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 4.08 percent a reading two basis points lower than for the previous week. The average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was two basis points lower at 3.34 percent; rates for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage dropped by one basis point to an average of 3.18 percent Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
Last week's mortgage rates were the lowest seen so far in 2017.

Fewer new jobless claims were filed last week with 234,000 new claims filed as compared expectations of 245,000 new claims filed and the previous week's reading of 235, new claims filed.

Consumer sentiment rose in April to an index reading of 98.0. Analysts expected a reading of 96.0 based on the March reading of 96.9. The University of Michigan said that most consumers are upbeat about current economic conditions.

What's Ahead

This week's scheduled economic news includes the NAHB Housing Market Index, Existing Home Sales, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings for average mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Four Ways a Real Estate Agent Can Help Your Home Sell for More Than Your Asking Price

Four Ways a Real Estate Agent Can Help Ensure Your Home Sells for More Than Your Asking PriceMost home sellers are thrilled to get the asking price they're looking for when putting their home up for sale, but many have not thought about the possibility of getting even more! If you're wondering what tricks of the trade your agent can use when it comes to getting a higher offer, you may want to have them test out some of the following tips.

Price It A Little Lower

It's generally said that you should price your home at market value so it will not linger on the market, but by having your real estate agent price it slightly lower you may be able to get a lot more people through the door. Instead of lowering the price of your home, this can actually work to stimulate a bidding war for those who see the value in your home and are willing to pay more.

Hold Off For The Right Offer

The benefit of using a real estate agent is that they know the market and will be able to determine what amount the offer on your home should be, so make sure you consult with them before saying yes. It's easy to be tempted by the first good offer that's close to your asking price, but it's often worth it to hold out for the amount you really want.

Sell In The Springtime

It's possible to get a good price for your home at any time of the year, but Spring is the time that homebuyers like to hit the market and this means that you may have a lot more interested parties to choose from. Instead of waiting for buyers to come to you, put your home on the market when there will be a lot of people ready to invest.

Make It Unique

Whether you've recently made some renovations or your home has a number of unique features, ensure that these details are being properly promoted in your marketing material and at your open house. Not only can these features add a lot of value to your home, they can make potential homebuyers remember it so they'll be willing to negotiate.

Most home sellers put their home on the market with the hope of getting a certain amount, but by highlighting unique features and holding out for a better offer you can get more than you asked for. If you're currently on the market for a home, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Let's Talk Fencing: How to Put a Fence Around Your Home Without Destroying Its Appeal

Let's Talk Fencing: How to Put a Fence Around Your Home Without Destroying Its AppealMany homeowners consider a fence around their property for a variety of reasons, whether it's to keep the dog in the yard or to maintain privacy. However, the wrong fence can entirely change the look of your property and make a beautiful yard a bit of an eyesore. If you're trying to determine what kind of fence will work for your home, here are some tips before you start to dig in the dirt.

What's Your Fence For?

Before deciding what kind of material to use, it's important to know what type of utility you want for your fence. While a stone fence may be elegant and offer a lot of privacy, it can also be quite expensive; on the other hand, a wooden fence may be more affordable but it can deteriorate over time. It's entirely possible you have a material you've already decided upon, but ensure that it's something that will live up to your expectations and have the functionality you're looking for.

What's Your Home's Style?

An imposing stone fence may be the style that instantly draws you, but if you have a relatively unassuming home or a more whimsical style, it can be a bit much for what your home. Instead of basing your fence purchase around the budget you can afford and the style you like, ensure that it will complement the style of your home and the yards surrounding yours so there is no marked contrast between your fence and the rest of your property.

What's The Neighborhood Vibe?

Most neighborhoods have a distinct style, so in order to get some ideas for what type of fence will work with your property, take a look around your local area. There will likely be homes that look similar to yours and they may be able to give you a good idea of what options you have when it comes to fencing. You'll also want to take note of how particular fences look around the gardens and patios of other homes, as these are features you won't want to obscure.

There are many fences available on the market that serve every purpose, but it's important to be aware of what will work for your property so you can make a good aesthetic decision. If you're currently renovating your home and are looking to put it up for sale, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

Buying a Home With a Mortgage? Here's What You Can Expect at Your Closing Meeting


Buying a Home With a Mortgage? Here's What You Can Expect at Your Closing MeetingIf you've decided to invest and have finally found your ideal home, it's probably an exciting time for you and your family. But before the deal is sealed, there will be a closing meeting so that all of the loose ends can be tied up. If you want to be ready for closing and are curious what the final meeting will entail, here are a few things to be prepared for.

The Last Walk Through

The initial home inspection may have already occurred prior to your closing meeting, but a final walk through should also be granted in the event that anything has happened to the house since it occurred. If problems have been made note of and a price or repair has been negotiated, you won't need to worry, but the final walk through is a good opportunity to cover off any additional maintenance issues.

Discussion Of The Details

It's a good idea to bring any paperwork you have regarding your mortgage along to the closing meeting as this will enable you to follow up on any outstanding questions and go through the specifics of the home sale. In all likelihood, you'll be going through items like the closing costs, escrow payments, the settlement costs related to the home sale and the deed of trust to secure your mortgage, so ensure you understand all of the documents and are prepared to sign on the dotted line.

All The Appropriate Parties

You may expect the closing meeting to be rather informal after the offer has been accepted, but there are many parties that will be present in order to transfer the ownership of your new home. In addition to the home seller, yourself and your respective real estate agents, there will also be any attorneys present, a closing agent, and the lender. While it can be overwhelming to have so many people present, it is generally a formality so that the proceedings can take place without a hitch.

If you've determined that the home you've made an offer on is right for you, the closing meeting will likely be a seamless experience. However, it's important to ensure you've done your final walk through and looked over all the applicable documents to avoid any issues related to the purchase of your home.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Selling Your Home? Understanding Why a Buyer Might Withdraw -- and How to Win Them Back


Selling Your Home? Understanding Why a Buyer Might Withdraw -- and How to Win Them BackIt may seem like the hard part is over once you've received a few offers on your home and are preparing for the negotiation process. Unfortunately, anything can happen until the papers and signed and this means that potential homebuyers can back out. If you're dealing with a wavering bidder and are wondering how you can win them back, here are some reasons they might withdraw and how you may be able to win them over.

The Price Is Too High

It's possible that when it comes to negotiating, many interested parties will offer to put down a little more than they otherwise would have; however, when it comes to sealing the deal, they may realize the price is a little higher than what they wanted to spend. Instead of letting the negotiations fall through, consider lowering your price slightly to give the potential homebuyer a hook. You don't have to lower your price by a significant margin, but it will let them know that you're still interested in selling to them.

An Unresponsive Negotiation

The power may be in your hands when someone is interested in your home, but it's still very important to stay responsive so that you can ensure a potential homebuyer won't lose interest. If you may have rubbed someone the wrong way with a slow response time, ensure that you reach out and keep them aware of the process and your timeline. It may seem like a small gesture, but it means a lot to someone who is interested in your home and may be working under a time crunch.

Still Not Convinced?

There are a variety of reasons that a homebuyer may withdraw from negotiations, whether it's the neighborhood or too much home or they've found a better deal. But, if you're really interested in the offer you've received, you may want to consider offering a little extra in order to win them back. Whether you decide to pay their closing costs or provide a closer move-in date, there are plenty of little things you can do that will make them re-consider their options.

There are many reasons that a buyer might withdraw their offer on your home, but by being communicative and offering some extras you may be able to re-negotiate a deal. If you're currently preparing to put your home on the market, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.