Squad Goals: 4 Steps to Throwing a Patio Party Your Friends Never Forget

July 20, 2017 by John · Leave a Comment 

Squad Goals: 4 Steps to Throwing a Patio Party Your Friends Never ForgetSummer may be the season for swimsuits and beachside barbecues, but it’s also a great time to get your friends together for a party in your own backyard. Whether you’re ready to show off your new home or are just looking for a good reason to celebrate the season, here are some ways to ensure your party is one that will make the summertime memorable.

Choose Dollar Store Decorations

When it comes to throwing the best party, nothing will work to create an atmosphere like the decorations! Instead of heading to the party store, though, take a trip to the dollar store where you’ll be able to find a variety of fun stuff for an inexpensive price. Any fun theme is likely to work but ensure that you stick with a color pattern that won’t overwhelm your guests.

Prep The Food Options

Planning the food for a big patio party can sometimes be difficult, but by determining a theme and getting prepared ahead of time, you should have a good handle on the offerings. Whether you opt for a Mexican theme with tacos and nacho chips or a barbecue with beer and brisket, preparing what you want to serve ahead of time will make the party itself more manageable. It’s even better if you can prepare a few items in advance to make the day run a little smoother.

Pick The Right Tunes

Putting the music on full blast might seem like the right move, but this can irritate your guests and impact conversation. In addition to making sure that the music is at an appropriate volume, it’s also good to offer up a playlist of classics your guests will know. If chit-chat is at a standstill, a few great songs will get them into the partying mood.

Mix It Up

Many people have a variety of different friends they share interests with, but it can sometimes be hard to get them all in the same place together. Fortunately, a fun party is the ideal time to get people talking and make your crowd mix! There’s no assurance that everyone will become friends, but there’s bound to be some fun conversation.

Throwing a great summer party might seem like a lot of work, but by picking the right tunes and sticking to a theme, you’ll have a party your friends will remember. And if you’re in need of a great new home to celebrate in, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

NAHB: Builder Confidence in Market Conditions Dips in July

July 19, 2017 by John · Leave a Comment 

According to the National Association of Home Builders, July builder sentiment dipped to an index reading of 64 as compared to June’s revised reading of 66, the original reading was 67. Analysts expected the reading for July to increase to 68. Builders cited increasing lumber prices as a concern affecting builders’ outlook on housing market conditions for new single-family homes. Any reading over 50 for the NAHB Housing Market Index indicates that more builders than fewer are positive about housing market conditions, but July’s reading was the lowest in eight months. NAHB said that home builder confidence in market condition “remains strong.”

Three month rolling averages were mixed. The Northwestern region gained one point for an index reading of 47, the Midwest gained one point to a reading of 66 and the Southern region dropped three points to a reading of 66. The Western region had the highest level of builder confidence but lost one point for a reading of 75.

Shortages of homes for sale and buildable lots have impacted builder confidence for several months. As the number of available homes dwindles, demand and home prices have risen. Real estate pros view building more home as the only solution for easing the shortage of homes for sale Lower readings on builder confidence in market conditions could indicate slowing in the construction of new homes.

Lumber Tariff Raises  New Home Prices, Could Cost Jobs

While home builder confidence jumped in the aftermath of the election, builders said that a tariff on Canadian lumber is affecting home prices and construction jobs. In a statement released with July’s Housing Market Index readings, NAHB said that the lumber tariff tacked on an average of  $1236 to the average home price. NAHB leaders also said that as materials costs continue to rise, affordability will become an issue and that construction layoffs could potentially exceed 8000 jobs.

NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald said about the lumber tariff, this is hurting housing affordability even as consumer interest in the new-home market remains strong” While current interest in new homes is healthy, home builders will have to manage costs to keep home prices affordable and competitive.

Buying a Home in a Fire Risk Area: Here’s What You Need to Know

July 18, 2017 by John · Leave a Comment 

Buying a Home in a Fire Risk Area: Here's What You Need to KnowOutside of the significant financial responsibility of delving into home ownership, there can also be a lot of other risks involved that you may not have thought about before investing in a home. You’ll need to protect your home against theft or burglary, and homeowner’s insurance to protect your home and belongings. But there are other less common occurrences you may not have thought about. If you happen to be living in an area that’s at high risk of fire, here are some things to consider beforehand.

Defining “High Risk”

It’s easy to be swept away by a beautiful home and forget about what the natural landscape around it consists of. Many homes across the United States are built in areas close to trees and shrubs, which can be dangerous in times of high temperatures, so it’s important to do your research. While hot spots can occur in many different areas, California and the southwest region are particularly vulnerable in times of drought.

What It Means For Your Mortgage

Nearly all homes can be adversely affected by a fire so it’s important to realize that buying in a high-risk area will not impact your ability to get a mortgage. It can, however, impact some of the costs associated with investing in your home. While homeowner’s insurance is a requirement of buying a home and it will generally cover you in the incidence of a fire, it can be a bit pricier. Fortunately, you may be able to guard against some of the additional costs by purchasing a home with materials that are more fire resistant.

In The Event Of Fire

If the worst happens and your home incurs damage from a fire, you’ll want to assess the extent of the damage before making a decision on how to proceed. For a home that is minimally impacted, you may want to use insurance to repair the property. However, if the property is significantly or completely destroyed, a payout may be required in order to pay off the mortgage. Before purchasing a home in a fire-prone area it’s best to be aware of all aspects of your insurance policy so you can be prepared.

It’s a more significant risk to buy a home in a fire-prone area, but you can be prepared for the worst by knowing your options. If you’re currently considering purchasing a new home, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Selling Your Home This Summer? Here’s Why You’ll Want to Recruit the Neighbors to Help

July 14, 2017 by John · Leave a Comment 

Selling Your Home This Summer? Here's Why You'll Want to Recruit the Neighbors to HelpWith the power of social media, it’s easier than ever to use Twitter and Facebook and your own home website to sell your home online. However, there are a lot of different buyers on the market and that means it’s important to keep all your options open when it comes to marketing your home. If you’re wondering how you can harness the power of your neighbors to get the word out, here are some tips you may want to consider.

It’s Extra Marketing

If you have a good relationship with the people in your area, it’s possible that they’ll be happy to get the word out for you and assist you in the sale of your home. Whether they happen to have friends who might be interested in a property in the area or are willing to otherwise point out your place, a positive relationship can lead to opportunities that may come from the most unexpected places!

Selling The Home’s Reliability

In all likelihood, your neighbors will be well aware of situations adversely impacting the community or any past situations that have affected your home, whether there’s been a break in or a roofing issue. It’s often the case that potential buyers will consult with your neighbors to hear more about your home’s history. Since you won’t want an interested party to hear any bad news from your neighbor, it’s important to be upfront and discuss any adjustments or renovations you’ve made with your neighbors so you can be on the same page if an issue comes up.

Keeping Them In The Loop

In the sanctity of your own home, it can be easy to forget about the neighbors just next door. But don’t forget that the stream of people coming to look at your home can have an impact on those who live around you. Instead of neglecting to prepare your neighbors for additional visitors, go door-to-door and bring some baked goods or other treats to inform them of upcoming open houses. Not only will they appreciate the gesture, they might be happy to push some interested parties in your direction.

There are many ways to market a home sale, but it’s important not to forget about how your neighbors can assist you in getting your home off the market and sold. If you’re currently preparing to sell your home, contact your local real estate professional for more tips and advice.

Upgrade My Life, Alexa: 4 Great Reasons to Invest in a Home Smart Assistant

July 13, 2017 by John · Leave a Comment 

Upgrade My Life, Alexa: 4 Great Reasons to Invest in a Home Smart AssistantIn an age of rapidly changing technology, doing things like programming in temperature changes and monitoring your home security from afar are becoming common. Fortunately, having a smarter home is even easier these days with Alexa, which was created by Amazon in 2014 as a smart home assistant. If you’re looking for an instant home upgrade that will utilize the smartest technology on the market, here’s why Alexa might be a great option for you.

Hands-Free Convenience

Whether you’re doing laundry or cutting up vegetables, being able to do a lot of tasks around the home hands-free can be a great benefit. Fortunately, with Alexa, users can use their voice to get things done whether it’s activating an app, turning on their music or even getting the weather report. 

Control The Temperature

Having to set up the temperature in your home so it goes down at night and heats up throughout the day can be a challenge, particularly since the outside temperature is always changing. Fortunately, Alexa allows you to make adjustments to the temperature wherever you are. Whether you want to increase, decrease or set the temperature, the command is as easy as: “Alexa, set the temperature to 67.”

Adjusting The Lights

In addition to the temperature, Alexa also gives you the ability to adjust the lights in your home using a variety of different commands. Whether you want to turn the lights on or off, dim the lights or even adjust their color temperature, you just need to call Alexa’s name. Conveniently, you can even create groups of lights that will turn on at a specific command!

Making Simple Purchases

Whether you want to order take-out for dinner from places like Domino’s or purchase home necessities that you’re running low on, all you need to do is engage Alexa with the appropriate command. While some users have encountered early issues using Alexa to order products, it tends to work well for household items that you order frequently.

There are many home upgrades available on the market, but Amazon’s Alexa is a great choice for those who want a product that’s easy to use and technologically adaptable. And when you’re ready to upgrade to a more tech-friendly home, contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

3 Home Renovation Lessons That You Won’t Want to Learn the Hard (or Expensive!) Way

July 12, 2017 by John · Leave a Comment 

3 Home Renovation Lessons That You Won't Want to Learn the Hard (or Expensive!) WayMost people make a number of home upgrades when the time comes to put their home on the market. This can include minor fix-ups or significant improvements that come with a high cost. However, it’s important to determine what will improve the value of your home and what renovations you can ignore before you move forward with any updates. If you’re wondering how to plan for your renovations, here are three things to ponder before getting started.

Make (And Stick!) To A Budget

If there’s a certain offer price you’re looking for in your home, it’s important to go into home renovations with a clear head and decide beforehand how much you’re willing to spend. You certainly won’t be able to do everything, but by doing the little fix ups, adding a coat of paint and removing some outdated design features, you can likely spend less for a lot more value. The only thing to keep in mind is that once you’ve decided on a budget, you should aim to stay within it.

Choose Complementary Improvements

From year to year, what’s popular in the design market changes and it can be tempting to try and test out the trends in the hopes of garnering a higher price. However, simply because something is trendy does not mean that it’s going to flatter the aesthetic of your home. Instead of choosing improvements that are trendy but out of place, opt for changes that will complement the home you have and add value at the same time.

Re-Consider The Extra Room

Many homeowners in recent years have been strong believers in quantity over quality, and this means many have invested in renovations to add an additional bedroom or a den. It might seem like an extra room is ideal no matter what, but if you’re cutting into your kitchen, living room or extra space, it can completely change the aesthetic of your home. With open floor plans becoming more popular, you may want to stick with fewer rooms that will garner more interest.

There are so many renovations that can instantly improve the value of your home, but it’s important to determine what will complement your home and how much you want to spend before committing to anything. If you’re planning on putting your home on the market in the near future, contact your local real estate professionals for more information.

Can I Qualify for a Mortgage After Declaring Bankruptcy? Yes — and Here’s How

July 11, 2017 by John · Leave a Comment 

Can I Qualify for a Mortgage After Declaring Bankruptcy? Yes -- and Here's HowIt may feel like a daunting task to consider buying a home after you’ve declared bankruptcy, and there’s no doubt that it’s an uphill battle. Fortunately, while you’ll have hard work ahead, there are things you can do in order to make your dream of home ownership a possibility. Whether you’ve just declared bankruptcy or some time has passed, here are some things you should consider before getting into the market.

Wait It Out

It might not be what you want to hear, but you’ll have to wait before you purchase a home following bankruptcy. Since lenders will not want to take the risk on someone that has proven to have poor financial habits, they will require a waiting period in order for the credit risk you pose to improve. While this may seem like a long time, take the opportunity to improve your financial habits so you can be amply prepared when the time comes.

Build Up Your Credit

In order to own a home, you’ll need to develop some solid financial habits, and that means getting on top of your finances even in times when it feels like you have no leverage. Ensure you get a copy of your credit report and, if you notice any errors, reach out to the credit bureau for corrections. It’s also a good idea to consider applying for a secured credit card and ensure that you pay all of your bills on time. While it might feel like a lengthy task, developing good habits will have a positive impact on your credit over time.

Prepare For Your Payment

When it comes to a poor credit history, you’ll need to pull out every stop you can to convince lenders that you’re a solid financial bet. Write up a budget for yourself and save a sizable sum for your down payment each month. It’s possible that 10 or 15% down will do, but a 20% down payment will help you avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI) and will go further in convincing lenders of your reliability.

It’s more than a little disheartening to have to deal with bankruptcy, but by waiting it out and developing good financial habits in the interim, you’ll be well on your way to buying a home. If you’re currently preparing to purchase, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 10, 2017

July 10, 2017 by John · Leave a Comment 

Last week’s economic reports suggested that demand for homes is rising despite a jump in mortgage rates and rising home prices fueled by low inventories of homes for sale. Demand for homes rose by 1.40 percent as interest rates jumped after the 10-year Treasury rate rose by 10 basis points.

Construction spending was unchanged in May as compared to a -0.70 percent reading in April. Although builders express high confidence in housing market conditions, construction spending continued to lag behind spending levels based on builder confidence readings.

Home buyers received good news as major credit bureaus removed two key components from consumer credit reports. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac raised the debt/to income ratio for home loans from 45 percent to 50 percent of gross income. This move was made to help would-be home buyers swamped with education debt. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, said that raising the debt to income ratio would not increase lender risk significantly.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Mortgage rates rose last week. Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose eight basis points to 3.96 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose five basis points to 3.22 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose four basis points to 3.21 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and held steady at 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Jobless claims rose last week to 248,000 new claims from the prior week’s reading of 244,000 new claims, but this increase does not appear to be related to layoffs. Non-Farm Payrolls for June increased to 222,000 jobs added as compared to 180,000 jobs expected and May’s reading of 152,000 jobs added. Non-Farm Payrolls include public and private-sector jobs.

ADP Payrolls, which reports private-sector job growth, dipped in June to 158,000 jobs added as compared to 230,000 private-sector jobs added in June. Employers have repeatedly cited difficulty in finding skilled candidates for job openings, which makes it less likely that they’ll lay off employees who have needed skills. The national unemployment rate edged up in June with a reading of 4.40 percent against expectations of 4.30 percent and May’s reading of 4.30 percent.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include testimony by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, readings on inflation and core inflation and retail sales. Mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be released along with a reading on consumer sentiment.

Buying a Home for the First Time? Five Real Estate Terms You’ll Need to Know

July 7, 2017 by John · Leave a Comment 

Buying a Home for the First Time? Five Real Estate Terms You'll Need to KnowThe terminology involved in the real estate market can be vexing for the newcomer, but if you’re getting prepared to buy a home, there are a few choice words you should take some time to learn. While it’s hard to learn the ins and outs in one article, here’s a place to begin with five terms you may be hearing a lot of in the future.

Amortization Period

It may sound like a very fancy term, but the amortization period or mortgage term is simply the length of time it will take you to pay off your mortgage loan by monthly mortgage payments. While 25 years is the standard amortization period, it varies from lender to lender.

Fixed Rate Mortgage

A fixed rate mortgage is one of the interest rate options you’ll have which involves a stable interest rate that remains unchanged. While this means your monthly payment will stay the same each month, it can also mean a higher amount paid overall since your fixed rate may be higher than the market rate over time.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage

Another option when it comes to mortgage interest rates is an adjustable rate, which means that your monthly payment will fluctuate along with the prime market rate. While this can provide a sense of insecurity since your mortgage payment will shift each month, it can end up being more economical than a fixed rate.

Closing Costs

Buying a home can cost enough with the loan, the down payment, and the interest, but closing costs will also be a part of the housing costs. Closing costs generally range anywhere from 2-5%, they include items like loan administration costs and title insurance costs that come part and parcel with the mortgage.

There are many terms in the world of real estate, but by making yourself aware of a few and doing your research, you can begin to understand what they mean for you. If you’re ready to invest in a home, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Buyer Beware: Three Major Red Flags to Watch for When Visiting Open Houses

July 6, 2017 by John · Leave a Comment 

Buyer Beware: Three Major Red Flags to Watch for When Visiting Open HousesAn open house is a good opportunity to get out and about to see what kind of home you’re looking for and if it will work for you. Fortunately, they can also be a good opportunity to find out some things about the house you’re looking at that might not be listed on the website and may be less than flattering. If you’re wondering what red flags to watch out for, pay attention to the following things the next time you’re at a showing.

Strong Odors

Many home sellers try to engage the senses in order to entice buyers by baking cookies or spraying air freshener. However, a lot of air freshener or scent can also be a means of hiding less than pleasant smells that are a giveaway for big problems. If you notice a lot of scents when visiting an open house or if there’s an odor, you may want to look for mildew or mold as this can mean a huge house-owning hurdle to deal with down the road.

An Abundance Of Fix-Up

A small maintenance issue here and there may not be a big deal, whether it’s a doorknob that doesn’t catch or peeling paint on the wall. Unfortunately, an abundance of small issues can signal a certain attitude towards general maintenance that should be approached with caution. While it may just be a few details that were forgotten about, it’s important to pay attention as there may be a lot of more important maintenance issues that are not being taken care of if the minor ones are visible.

Issues With the Foundation

There are many issues that will hopefully come to the forefront at the home inspection, but it’s not worth it to get invested in a home only to back out due to a failing foundation. Instead of leaving it up to the due diligence of the home inspector, check for large gaps in the home’s foundation to unveil any issues on this front. The foundation can be a huge issue if it requires a fix-up, and it’s one you probably won’t want to deal with in your new home.

Open houses can provide a great sense of what it’s like to live in a home, but they can also be a good opportunity to take note of any major issues with a future home. If you’re currently preparing to buy a home, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Next Page »