New guidelines from the Federal Housing Administration FHA means more homebuyers may be eligible for a government-backed mortgage. That could mean a lower down payment and easier qualifying than what is required for conventional loans for condos.nbsp;
ldquo;The federal agency >
According to the National Association of Realtors NAR, ldquo;The changes, many of which NAR has championed for over a decade, should yield thousands of new homeownership opportunities and help alleviate affordability restraints impacting markets across the country.rdquo;
Condos are often a more affordable option than single-family homes, which is what can make them so attractive to first-time buyers. The low-maintenance level is also an important factor. Because condos typically have homeownerrsquo;s associations HOA, front-yard maintenance is usually taken care of, and there are generally no yards to worry about.nbsp;
Some homebuyers look at HOAs as a negative because of what they consider to be strict rules governing what they can and canrsquo;t do, and also because of the fees. But, the truth is that most master-planned communities today have HOAs, which means the same rules and fees will apply.nbsp;
ldquo;HOA fees typically can range from about 200 to 300 a month; other factors may contribute to how much the fee will be, like your location, unit size and available amenities,rdquo; said Magnify Money. Monthly condo association fees can go as high as 700 or more, also depending on the amenities and services provided.rdquo;
Yoursquo;ll definitely want to do a strict comparison between any condo yoursquo;re considering and a single-family home. It may turn out that you can get more for your money with a home thatrsquo;s not in a planned community and therefore doesnrsquo;t have fees. Or, the converse may be true. Even with HOA fees, a condo may be the better buy simply from an affordability standpoint, but also because its newer, has more space, or is in a better location.nbsp;
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New roof installation will help with the selling of your home for several reasons. You can increase the asking price, prevent potential buyers from trying to bargain with you, sell your home faster by improving the overall appearance, and avoid negotiation issues with lending companies.
Increase Your Asking Price After a Roof Replacement
You might have a price point in mind for your home based on what you paid for it, the work youve done already, and what its worth to you. That number can be increased significantly if you add a roof replacement to the work you do before you put a for sale sign out in front of your property.
Even though youre going to be spending the money initially on what a complete residential roof replacement costs, you will get all of that back. You can even add on extra because you took the time to have it completed. As soon as you mention "new roof" on the features your home has in the realtor sales listing, people will automatically be more attracted to it. Its one of the top factors that potential home buyers look at when deciding what house they want to settle on as their permanent residence.nbsp;
If you have ever looked at buying a new home yourself, you know that when you see houses that have roofs that are ten years or older, you arent going to be willing to pay top dollar. Anyone that has done their research knows that the age of the roof has a huge impact on the price a seller can put on their property. A new roof allows you to keep the price point a bit higher so you can get the most out of your investment.nbsp;
Save Time on Dealing With Roof Repair Negotiations from Buyers
Its human nature to try and get something for less than the asking price, especially when it comes time to purchase a new home. Its not just a couple of hundred dollars that buyers bid below what they see listed either.nbsp;
They will often look for features of the home like the age of the roof and try to take thousands off the asking price.nbsp; You put the value on your home, taking into consideration the age of the roof, but thats not how outsiders view it. A new roof installation is a big job and a significant investment. Buyers know when they are looking at buying a home with a roof that is ten years or older, they have some work ahead of them. That additional effort they will have to put in allows for a bit of wiggle room. You put the value on your home, taking into consideration the age of the roof, but thats not how outsiders view it.
Taking the time and spending the money to put a brand new roof on your home for sale is going to save a lot of time and headache.nbsp; The people looking at your home wont be able to use the age of the roof as a reason for you to lower what you want when the sale is final. If youre in a hurry to get your home sold as quickly as possible, asphalt roof installation will shave a decent amount of time off the whole process.
Speed Up the Sale Process with a Beautiful New Roof
There isnt much need to look at your roof on a routine basis and inspecting it for damages only happens a couple of times a year. However, when people are considering the purchase of their dream home, the roof is one of the first features that gets investigated. Nobody wants to move in and discover that there are holes or leaks in what they thought was their ideal forever home.
If a person sees an older roof, they are more likely to skip over the house as an option. People dont want to have to put major improvements into a home theyre just moving into. For most, new homeowners want to be able to pull the moving truck up, unload their things, and sit and enjoy everything they just committed to with the purchase of a house.
With a brand new residential roof installation in your area, the people that are simply driving by are going to see that you took the time to have the work done. They will slow down and want to take a closer look because youve taken care of the exterior. Inquiring minds will want to see the interior. The more that people are stopping to explore your property, the quicker youre going to get the final offer settled.
Keep Lending Companies Satisfied with Adequate Roof Repairs
You might not care about the age of your roof when you have your house up for sale. Youre ultimately not going to be living there anymore, so why worry about it. You may even get lucky and find a DIY buyer that has no issue with doing their own roof repairs. That all sounds great until you get to the point in the home buying process when the bank or mortgage company comes to do their own inspection of the property.nbsp; This is especially true in colder climates where often hail damage has a huge impact on roof degradation. For example, this last winter, there were record numbers of roof repair in Fort Collins due to consistent hail storms and the damage thereafter.nbsp;
When they see that residential roof repairs are required, they might refuse to approve the loan enti>
Instead of trying to sell your home as-is, consider the plethora of benefits that come along with doing a complete roof replacement or at least the necessary roof repairs before putting your "For Sale" sign out front. Youre chances of getting more money increase. You wont waste time dealing with negotiations from the buyers or requirements from the lending company. All in all, everything will go much more quickly because of the updated and gorgeous appearance a new roof gives your property.
James Elliot and his team of expert roofing contractors at Fort Collins Roofing Company have been helping homeowners through the consistent hail damage plaguing the area for over 4 years. His expertise is in their streamlined process of helping homeowners through insurance claims processes so that they can get a new roof as soon as they need it.
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Your New Home Co-Broker NHCB designation gives you professional credentials to separate your services from your competition, or can if you take the following steps to make it happen. Bookmark this page and refer to it often.
Step 1. Announce your credentials in Realty Times. Free. See sample.
Before you do anything else, announce to the world that you earned your designation. All you have. Send a high-resolution .jpg of your photo and your contact information to with "NHCB Press >
Step 2. Market Your credentials in social media and your contact list.
Now that you have a professional announcement in a real estate new service that draws about 500,000 visitors a month, copy and paste the announcement web address into your email, and your social media announcements. Show your announcement to your broker, because it is good publicity for your broker, too
Step 3 Make sure you can access new homes inventory on demand.
Subscribe to newhomesourceprofessional.com. This gives you access to the same new homes inventory and floor plans you will see on Realtor.com. Never worry about finding new homes inventory on demand again. Free.
Step 4. Enter the names and contact information for three internet advisors in your mobile phone contact system.
Remember: they register your home shopper online, recommend specific products you should show, and many are now setting your appointments.
Step 5. Download your logo your certification logo.
If you wish to add your NHCB logo to your printed materials, website or blog, and need logo, download it here.nbsp;
Step 6. Become your own publicist.
It has been said that an expert is a person who has been quoted. There is a lot of truth to that. You can easily become favorably known as a trusted advisor by writing and publishing your own publicity right here in Realty Times for free. Click here to get started.
Step 7. Implement a consistent, measurable and affordable social media and communications strategy that requires little or no thinking, writing, or planning on your part.
Working closely with Realty Times, on your behalf, I am grateful and excited to strongly endorse a marketing package that makes more sense than anything I have researched over the years.
Take a close look at the social media tools and newsletter combination with the understanding that your one monthly payment for less than a 100 a month takes all the marketing pressure off of you. Cancel any time.
The task was to address these three issues:
a. ldquo;I dont have the talent, or the time to think about marketingrdquo;
b. "I can never tell what I am getting for my money."
c. "I cant afford it."
The one thing none of us can say is, "I dont need to market my services."
I looked long and hard for a long time and I have found nothing that better solves your marketing needs with as little demand and inconvenience to the agents as what is offered here. As is our policy we do not accept referral fees, because it would cloud our objectivity. In constantly looking for ways to help our graduates make more new home or resales with less stress.
Thank you for your business and thank you in advance for your referrals.
Founder, Lic. Real Estate Broker
New Home Co-Broker Academy LLC
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A recent report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. CMHC says that rising homeownership rates among seniors in the Toronto area is making it tougher for younger generations to get into the market.
Author Inna Breidburg says that as Torontorsquo;s senior population grows at a faster pace during the next decade, ldquo;the conventional view is that this demographic shift will likely help to increase the supply of housing to younger homeowners, since seniors typically downsize or leave homeownership.rdquo;
But she says baby boomers are working longer than previously and have more wealth, as well as community supports that will allow older seniors to stay in their homes longer. ldquo;Thus, over the next decade, seniors might not be freeing up the expected number of dwellings for younger households thus limiting supply. Furthermore, the share of seniors preferring to rent ground-oriented homes may increase further, thus contributing to tighter market conditions in this housing segment,rdquo; says Breidburg.
In 2016, when the most recent census was conducted, seniors represented 14 per cent of the Toronto population, up from 11.3 per cent in 2006. That percentage is expected to grow to 18.2 per cent by 2026.
Seniors owned 25 per cent of the homes in the Toronto area in 2016, up from 20.4 per cent a decade earlier. The homeownership rate among seniors was 75.1 per cent in 2016, up from 73.4 per cent in 2016.
Breidburgrsquo;s report prompted a reaction from people who felt she was blaming boomers for the struggles that young people, particularly millennials, are facing in the real estate market.
A popular millennial internet meme says, ldquo;If I had a dollar for every time a baby boomer complained about my generation, Irsquo;d have enough money to buy a house in the market they ruined.rdquo;
A recent report by the Real Estate Intelligence Network REIN says millennials are the largest demographic in Canada, ldquo;which means their preferences will impact housing trends for years to come.rdquo;
The report says so far, the Prairie provinces are the only place where there are more millennial homeowners than baby boomer owners.
The report authors couldnrsquo;t resist adding a few jokes ldquo;Look at that millennial, walking around like he rents the place.rdquo;, but it says real estate investors must learn how to cater to this growing demographic. The homeownership rate for millennials in the GTA is expected to rise from 40 per cent in 2016 to 60 per cent in 2026.nbsp;
ldquo;We know that millennials want to purchase a home, but that means getting rid of student debt, having stable employment that pays well and saving for a down payment,rdquo; says REIN. ldquo;This cohort is living at home longer, delaying marriage and having children, and delaying their own home purchase. Millennials are more likely to purchase a condo or townhome in an urban centre with good transit and amenities that supports their individual life>
The report says as of June 2018, 35 per cent of Canadian millennials were living at home. The increase in the number of intergenerational homes shows that rather than hurting millennialsrsquo; real estate prospects, many baby boomers are helping them by allowing them to save money while living at home. Itrsquo;s a win-win. Seniors get to stay in their homes longer with live-in support, while young people have time to build a nest egg.
This is also part of the reason why seniors are taking on more mortgage debt than they did a decade ago. The CMHC report says 26 per cent of all senior homeowner households in Toronto had a mortgage in 2016, up from 20.5 per cent in 2006.
ldquo;The known reasons for having a mortgage at an older age was financing in-place retirement, renovations, investments, as well as helping other family members,rdquo; says Breidburg.
The REIN report says millennials are ldquo;not necessarily looking for the same housing solutions as their parents or grandparents ndash; i.e. not the ranch bungalow in the suburbs.rdquo;
The report says the average age of a first-time mother has been steadily increasing since the 1970s and is over 30 in many parts of the country. ldquo;On average, it is only the first wave of millennials that has started to have children in the last few years. For a real estate investor, this translates into millennials not yet desiring a three- or four-bedroom house in the suburbs, instead preferring condo living in the urban centres.rdquo;
However, a shift may be in the works as affordable real estate becomes harder to find in the cities. ldquo;The number of millennials moving out of Toronto and Vancouver for less expensive areas of their province is trending upward,rdquo; says the report. ldquo;Family is important to this generation, despite their delay in marriage or having children, so theoretically, eventually millennials may shift to suburban living, or at minimum, larger dwellings with multiple bedrooms, in greater numbers.rdquo;
Breidburgrsquo;s report says among renters, the income of seniors was less than younger generations.nbsp;
ldquo;Historically, across all age groups, homeowner households tend to have higher incomes compared to renters,rdquo; she says. ldquo;However, over the past years more young professionals with high earnings have been renting in Toronto, thus contributing to a decrease in the income gap between renters and homeowners in the younger cohorts. For seniors though, the income difference between renters and homeowners widened further.rdquo;
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This generation, often typecast as angst-ridden and cynical, is in fact extremely driven and focused on their long-term goals. Theyrsquo;re always planning their next big move ndash; whether it be working longer or deciding where they want to live.
Del Webb, a leading builder of active adult home communities for those 55 and older, recently conducted a study of what Gen Xers really want for their future, and the results may surprise you.
3 Top Trends Among Gen Xers:
1. Gen Xers consider the idea of retiring, but they enjoy workinghellip;and many feel they need to.
While 72 percent of 50-year-olds surveyed said they look forward to retirement, 85 percent also reported that they enjoy their jobs. The amount of savings Gen Xers have set aside for retirement has increased as compared to those of the same age group a decade ago, with only 35 percent reporting having saved less than 50,000, as compared to 50 percent in a Del Webb survey conducted ten years ago. Despite this, most Gen Xers acknowledge that they may need to continue working longer. This has had a major impact on developers of adult home communities, and an increasing number of these communities are now popping up in large metropolitan areas and employment hubs.nbsp;
2. Gen Xers plan to pack up and move.
Despite the convenience of living closer to where they work, more than half of Gen Xers surveyed do not plan to reside in their current location in the future.nbsp; In fact, 60 percent stated they will move, with 58 percent of these people planning a significant move to a new city, state or country. In contrast, only 22 percent of those planning to move envision remaining in their current town.nbsp;
3. Gen Xers wonrsquo;t compromise when it comes to living space.
Previous research reported that Gen Xers help to drive the multi-generational housing trend, and this latest study by Del Webb suggests that trend will continue. Of the respondents, 71 percent preferred that their next home have three or more bedrooms, and 29 percent anticipated having to accommodate aging parents. With amenities such as dual master bedrooms, in-law suites and additional living space on their wish lists, Gen Xers are seeking homes designed specifically to accommodate their changing needs. In fact, among those who said they were looking to move, 43 percent expect their next home to be just as large as their current one, while 22 percent plan to go even larger.nbsp;
Builders of active adult communities have reacted to this trend by introducing innovative new home designs with larger floor plans and work-convenient locations that offer Gen Xers the flexibility they want as their needs continue to change. To read more about the Del Webb study and the future of Generation X, visit the Del Webb Blog, The 55 Society.nbsp;
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When potential borrowers start making a few phone calls to different mortgage companies to compare rates, itrsquo;s fairly straightforward. The loan officer answers the phone, gets a little information and provides a rate quote. Once the borrower decides where to apply, the wheels begin to turn. Lenders are required by statute to provide certain loan disclosures within three days of receiving an application. The Loan Estimate will feature the estimated loan amount, current rate for the day the quote is prepared, and the APR, among other items. But herersquo;s where it can get tricky.
The rate quoted over the phone is the note rate. Thatrsquo;s the rate used to calculate the monthly payment. The monthly payment includes both the principal and interest. If the borrowers choose or are required to have impounds or escrow accounts, the monthly payment will also include an amount for taxes and insurance. But when consumers receive their estimate within that three day period, one of the things theyrsquo;ll notice is the APR, prominently displayed. However, the APR wonrsquo;t be the same as the note rate. Why? Because the APR takes into consideration not just the interest rate but also additional fees to pay for other services and documents. These additional services and documents include both lender and non-lender fees.
The APR was initially designed to help borrowers compare loan choices among different lenders. And while thatrsquo;s true in reality itrsquo;s not all that helpful. Why? Rates change daily, sometimes intraday. They proper way to use the APR is to compare the note rate with the APR. If there is a slight discrepancy, that means there are lower fees involved. The note rate might be 3.50 percent and the APR 3.52 percent. But if the note rate is 3.50 percent and the APR is 3.75 percent, there are a lot more fees at play here.
Thatrsquo;s the APR. Itrsquo;s the cost of money borrowed expressed as an annual rate. Itrsquo;s not something to be ignored, but understanding its purpose and how itrsquo;s calculated can help consumers better understand their initial loan disclosures.
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Yes, Price-per-square-foot is an important factor in determining the value of a home. But itrsquo;s not the only one.nbsp;
ldquo;The reason why the price per square foot method is a poor method to determine market value is because every home is different,rdquo; said Coldwell Banker Seaside Realty.nbsp;ldquo;While homes are similar in terms of square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, and location, there are so many factors that arenrsquo;t taken into consideration when using the price per square foot valuation method. Condition, upgrades, is there a garage, screen porch, elevator, etc.rdquo;
These tips will help you see past the square footage to find the home that works best for your needs and your budget.
Donrsquo;t get hung up on a number
Unless your real estate agent has been specific about a certain size homemdash;perhaps homes under 2,500 square feet take three times longer to sell than larger homes in your market, for instancemdash;getting a number stuck in your head may not make sense. An 1,800-square-foot new construction home may feel larger than a 2,300-square-foot home that was built 50 years ago because the floor plan is open and airy, and it might end up being the better buy.nbsp;
But make sure therersquo;s room to grow
You do want to look carefully at the space the home offers, however. Itrsquo;s easy to get seduced by a well-staged home, and, especially by a model thatrsquo;s been all decked out. If you have young kids or are growing your family, yoursquo;ll want to make sure yoursquo;re not already maxing out the space.nbsp;
Itrsquo;s also important, especially in model homes, to take a good look at the furniture they have used. It may seem like living spaces or bedrooms are larger than they actually are because the furniture is sparse or undersized. Donrsquo;t be afraid to get out that measuring tape.
Does the floor plan work for your life>
There may be lots of space to work with, but is it usable? A formal living room and dining room can add significant square footage, but if your family is more likely to gather around the kitchen island or breakfast nook for meals, and in the family room to watch movies, these spaces may just be wasted. A smaller floor plan that is more open may end up working better for you.nbsp;
Pay close attention, also, to things like master bedroom retreats. Spaces like these do add square footage, obviously. And, they can also appeal to that part of you that dreams of >
Carefully examine floor plan configurations when looking at new construction; Some builder options are better than others. One particular floor plan in a new community in Texas has had people talking. The builder of the 2,250-square-foot model offered a split garage, with two garage bays on one side and a one-car garage on the other. Buyers could then option the one-car garage as a bonus space.nbsp;
Most of the buyers of this particular model chose the bonus space. However, because of the configuration of the home, this space can only be accessed through the master and master bathroom. It might work as a nursery, but when the child is older, itrsquo;s not all that convenient to have their bedroom in a location that can only be reached if you walk through the master and the master bath. Some owners have turned the space into a home office space or a retreat, and many have, again, a big, expensive space to fold their laundry.nbsp;
Most important: Despite the fact that the homes with the bonus space have more square footage, sales prices have been comparable to the same model that has the third garage bay. In this case, having a three car garage is often preferable to a weird bonus space with limited usage.
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Sellers that are trying to compete with higher inventory levels will need to be able to compete with other sellers.
One way of doing this is by offering seller concessions rather than lowering the price of the property. Home sales remain strong in many markets, but in others, increased inventory may require concessions to ldquo;sweeten the deal.rdquo;
Seller concessions offer, oftentimes, contributions to the costs of purchasing the home. For example, the closing costs, loan processing fees, title insurance and other costs may be holding many would-be homeowners from buying a home.
The seller may offer to pay part or all of these costs.
And when they do, it will be an added benefit for the buyer. The buyer may have 1,200 or their 2,400 in closing costs covered. Its an advantage to the buyer who now doesnrsquo;t have to come up with more money to close on their home.
Concession Limits to Understand
There are limits to the amount of concessions that can be paid by the seller. Concessions vary from state-to-state, but the total amount of the concession will often fall between 2 and 9 of the homersquo;s appraised value.
The type of mortgage that the buyer obtains will also dictate how much in concessions that you can offer.
Mortgage brokers will be able to tell the seller what limit in concessions that they can offer. Some brokers may even offer seller commission rebates, and this is a rebate from the broker to get the deal done.
This would alleviate some of the financial burden that the seller has made to make the sale.
As a seller, you may be able to offer:
bull; Closing cost assistance
bull; Payment of condo fees
bull; Down payment assistance
bull; Interest rate buy downs
bull; Loan origination fee
Sellers may also offer personal property as a seller concession, and if a buyer is concerned about a concession, they should discuss the matter with their loan provider.
Disadvantages When Offering Concessions
As a seller, there is a disadvantage when offering concessions. More money comes out of the sellerrsquo;s pocket, and this means that the house price may have to be raised, or the seller may have to suffer from a slightly lower profit off of the sale of the home.
Buyers should not >
As a buyer, you should talk to the mortgage broker or a qualified real estate agent to see if any seller concessions are available. Concessions will allow the seller to sell a home faster, or at the very least, offer a slight advantage compared to other sellers in the market.
When a home is having difficulty selling, concessions can often speed up the sales process.
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The Type of Mortgage
A common mortgage lasts for 30 years, but that isnrsquo;t the only option you have. Depending on your budget, you may choose among varying policies that differ by length, down payment, or government assistance. For instance, the Veterans Affairs Benefits Administration and Federal Housing Administration offer loans that come with as little as zero to three percent down payment for qualifiers. Itrsquo;s also possible to get shorter mortgages, usually around fifteen to twenty years. Even if you go with the standard length, though, you can make a difference on your own by making a higher down payment and reducing the overall price from the start. Yoursquo;ll have to consider your budget and other long-term goals, as well as local programs for home buyers, before deciding.
Though yoursquo;ve probably already checked and double-checked your savings before committing to making a purchase, your credit will also need to be secure. A good score can be the difference between the home of your dreams and no home at all, as well as whether you have access to a mortgage loan and its rates. Check your credit before you get too far into the process, and handle any errors or disputes on your account. Yoursquo;ll also not want any surprises, so avoid opening new accounts until yoursquo;re secure in your finances.
Good Home Warranties
A home warranty might seem like an unnecessary added cost, but the right one can save you a great deal of trouble. Home warranties are not the same as home insurance, which covers just the physical structure of the house, so your appliances and major systems might need the extra protection. While they arenrsquo;t required, home warranties tend to be inexpensive and come in handy when you arenrsquo;t sure you can cover repair or losses for those fixtures. Not all warranty plans are the same, though, so shop around as you deliberate.
Once yoursquo;re in your home, will you have enough to cover closing costs? What about needing to furnish the place? The former can run between two and five percent of the loan, and whether you plan to live in this house for the length of the mortgage and beyond or not, the full cost can vary. Some fees are negotiable, if not defrayable by the lender. As for furnishing costs, donrsquo;t forget that the home might need fixes, improvements, or simply new pieces of furniture for your comfort. Be sure to budget carefully for these in the event the prices fluctuate.
Where the house is can matter a lot more than you might expect. Besides the common concerns over crime and safety rates, yoursquo;ll want to know about the traffic, nearby amenities, and helpful business to determine if the arearsquo;s a good fit. You should also check out the schools and exact neighborhood itself, as these can have an impact not only on price but on later home value. Depending on what your needs and future plans are, yoursquo;ll want to mind your options.
No matter where your chosen home is, this purchase is no small deal. Itll affect your life for years to come, so picking well matters. Make a more informed decision with the tips above, and youll be closer to having the right place at the right price.
Full Story >
Keep Things Easy
While simple living is all the rage, you may not be interested in minimalist design. However, it is important for busy adults to design their homes in a way that keeps things easy.
Do you enjoy outdoor activities such as working on your own lawn or in your own garden? Make sure the entrance youll use the most after these activities is easy to access and that you have a place to dump your muddy shoes. If you have or are planning to have young children, make sure that the first stop in from the garage or the bus has a durable floor thats easy to clean.
Focus on Flow
As soon as you step into your very own home, youll likely start shedding things. It may be a briefcase or work boots. Youll also want to de-stress as you move into your home.
Design choices may include an easy-to-access closet with cubbies and chargers for electronics. If youre planning a custom home sound or lighting system, create a spot for those controllers.
For those who like to entertain, its critical to have plenty of kitchen space for people to gather. An open floor plan is a wonderful way to invite guests into the heart of your home. Plan for an island or a peninsula if youd like your guests to gather in this crucial workspace.
A Word on Security
Security cameras arent just for your front door anymore. If youre away from home for long periods of time, or will have children home alone before you get home from work, the ability to check in on your kids and make sure the interior of your home is secure and safe is crucial. Plans for these tools will need to be made before the walls go up.
Natural Light for a Healthy Brain
The placement of windows and skylights can go a long way to making your home both happy and healthy. Natural light is critical to good brain health and quality sleep.
If nearby houses are closer than you would like, consider putting in frosted or textured windows to allow for natural light without the view. Also, skylights that allow venting are a great way to bring in both sunshine and fresh air.
Not a morning person? Plan your sleeping space away from the rising sun, or avoid a lot of east facing windows. You can enjoy plenty of light with south-facing windows and still sleep in
Build In Some Decadence
Everyone needs a little pampering. As with keeping things easy, its different for every one of us. If you need surround sound in the laundry room, plan this while the walls are open. For those whove always wanted a giant tub, now is the time to treat yourself.
Let this spill into your yard. If your spouse loves to grill, consider building a deck with plenty of space and wiring for a smoker or pellet grill. Few of us can get every luxury weve ever wanted in our homes, but with proper planning you can get at least one feature youve always wanted.
Home design is a lot of fun but also puts a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of the buyer. Work with a designer or architect that is willing to put in the time discussing the things you need and the items you really want.
Full Story >
30-year fixed-rate conventional
This is a 30-year loan with rates that are fixed every month. These loans follow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines and are not backed by the government like FHA loans.
Pro: With set payments, therersquo;s no need to worry about rising rates. Loans are available for a range of buyers, with options like HomeReady andnbsp;Conventional 97nbsp;that offer as little as 3 down. Also, there is no upfront mortgage insurance fee like you have on FHA loans.nbsp;nbsp;
Con: You have to pay PMI if you put less than 20 down. There also may be higher credit score requirements than FHA loans.nbsp;nbsp;
A 15-year fixed-rate option also has fixed rates for the life of the loan. If yoursquo;re the type who wants to pay your home off more quickly, this could be a good choice.
Pro: You pay far less interest over the life of the loan and pay off your home in half the time.nbsp;
Con: Monthly payments are higher.
FHA loans are federally insured, which is why down payment and credit score requirements are more >
Pro: FHA loans require as little as 3.5 down. Credit score requirements are also lower than conventional loans. You can typically qualify for a loan with a 3.5 down payment at a 580 score, and may be able to get a loan with a score as low as 500 if you have 10 down.nbsp;
Con: Yoursquo;ll have to pay mortgage interest, which you canrsquo;t get rid of unless you refinance. FHA loans also come with an upfront mortgage insurance fee.
ldquo;An adjustable-rate mortgage ARM is a type of mortgage in which the interest rate applied on the outstanding balance varies throughout the life of the loan,rdquo; said Investopedia. ldquo;Normally, the initial interest rate is fixed for a period of time, after which it resets periodically, often every year or even monthly. The interest rate resets based on anbsp;benchmarknbsp;or index plus an additional spread, called annbsp;ARM margin.rdquo;
Pro: Rates are often lower during the introductory or fixed period than what a borrower can get with a fixed-rate loan, making homeownership more affordable initially.nbsp;
Con: Once the ARM gets past the fixed period, monthly payments can skyrocket, leaving owners unprepared and possibly in danger of defaulting.nbsp;
Looking to buy in a rural area? You may qualify for a USDA loan. USDA-eligible homes may also be located in some suburban areas. You can check eligibility on their website.nbsp;nbsp;
nbsp;Pros: USDA loans offer low or even no down payments and low interest rates. Rates can be as low as 1 with subsidies on direct loans.
Cons: Household income is capped and anbsp;mortgage insurancenbsp;premium is required for down payments under 20.
Veterans Administration VA loansnbsp;help military members and veterans purchase homes.
Pro: VA loans tend to have the lowest average interest rates, and loans are available with no down payment. In addition, there is ldquo;no monthly mortgage insurance premiums or PMI to pay,rdquo; according to VAloans.com.
Con: Theyrsquo;re not available to the general public, and veterans must meet a list of conditions.nbsp;
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More often than not, individual deeds of trust [DOTs] provide a higher coupon than mortgage pool funds [Funds], but there are some specific downsides to choosing individual DOTs instead of Funds. First, choosing the right DOT takes due diligence and a certain amount of expertise in many cases. Investing in extremely conservative DOTs that have LTVs at lower than 25 may not need a PhD in economics, but the yields on these types of DOTs are usually much lower than one can earn in a Fund; thus, one has to start looking at less conservative assets in order to produce the desired yield.
Another advantage to investing in individual DOTs is that the investor can pick and choose which DOT to in invest in compared to having the manager of a Fund choose which mortgage fits the desired yield. This is really not much different than an investor choosing to invest in specific stocks instead of investing in a mutual fund; for some reason, however, the public seems to be more at ease in trusting a mutual fund manager than a Fund manager. Could this be because mutual funds are regulated under the Investment Act of 1940? Could it be the >
There are some advantages for investing in a Fund [as compared to an individual DOT] that may outweigh the negatives. For one, there is diversification in a Fund, so the risk is spread amongst many DOTs. Unless the Fund experiences a major disaster, distributions to the investor should be uninterrupted. With an individual DOT, a default usually means months or possibly a year or longer [as in the case of a bankruptcy by a borrower]. If foreclosure proceedings are necessary, the Fund will usually handle them without the need for the investor to get involved or have to come up with money to pay the trustee or other costs, such as an attorney. In the case of an individual DOT, the investor/lender has to front these costs. If regular distributions are a must, a Fund is a more conservative route.
Although individual DOTs usually earn a higher interest rate than a Fund [about 1-1.5 on average], Funds may offer the advantage of offering a reinvestment program whereby the interest can compound, usually adding about 35 basis points, whereas an individual DOT has to take the monthly distribution with no ability to reinvest. The gap between interest rates of Funds and DOTs gets even narrower [for most investors] when considering the income tax issue because of the new QBID [Qualified Business Income Tax Deduction] introduced in 2018. Congress decided to allow Funds the benefit of reducing the income that has to be reported on an investorrsquo;s tax return [subject to certain income limits]. Investing in individual DOTs does not allow for this tax benefit. This 20 reduction in reporting can have a significant impact on the after tax rate of return of a Fund compared to an individual DOT. For example, if a Fund is paying 7, and an individual DOT is paying 8.5, the after tax return [presuming a 40 tax bracket] of the Fund is 4.76 whereas the DOTrsquo;s after tax return is 4.80. This 4 basis point difference is not significant, especially if one were to reinvest the distributions in a Fund.
The most important factor nowadays [at least in California] is the continuity of a investing in a Fund compared to investing in individual DOTs due to the downtime experienced in many investorrsquo;s portfolio when a loan gets paid off. In these circumstances, the investor usually calls his broker for another DOT to invest in and may be told that there are no good loans to look at for the moment. The investor is asked to be patient or may be forced to look at less quality DOTs. There is tremendous pressure in the market right now for loans to fund, as there is significant capital looking for a home. This competition for loans has driven down interest rates that an investor can earn on a DOT as well as adding to the length of time to reinvest capital that has been returned due to payoffs from borrowers. When one looks at the time value of money, this delay in redeploying capital can significantly lower the net, after tax, rate of return desired by investors. Money that is not deployed in new DOTs sitting idle in low earning bank accounts bring the net yield down for the investor. For example, if an investor desires an 8 return on an individual DOT, having money sit idle for three months at 1 produces a pre-tax return for the year of 6.25. Money sitting idle for four months lowers the net yield to 5.67. In addition, in many cases, Funds snap up the better quality DOTs, leaving the less quality loans available for individual investors. The main reason for this is that Funds want to produce steady, uninterrupted returns for their investors. They usually desire to avoid loans that have a more likely default rate, even if the yield could be higher by taking on a bit more risk. Some investors lower their quality investing standards in order to keep their money working; thus, investors have to carefully consider whether the benefits of investing in individual DOTs outweighs the benefits of investing in a Fund.
nbsp;Edward Brown is an investment expert and host of the radio show, ldquo;The Best of Investing.rdquo; He is in the Investor >
Full Story >
ldquo;Refinancing your mortgage to take cash out using your homersquo;s equity may not be as easy to do under new limitations on cash-out refinances >
The previous loan-to-value LTV limit on cash-out refinances was 85; effective for loans on or after September 1, 2019, HUD is lowering the requirement to 80. This change ldquo;seeks to mitigate riskshellip;associated with increasing levels of insured loan balances on cash-out refinance mortgages,rdquo; said HUD in a Mortgagee Letter announcing the change. ldquo;This new requirement is a prudent safeguard that permits FHA to ensure it stays ahead of any shift in housing stability.rdquo;
The last time HUD adjusted the max LTV for cash-out refinances was back in 2009, when they set the current benchmark of 85 ldquo;in response to the weakening housing marketrdquo; and in recognition of a rapid increase in ldquo;the share of cash-out refinanceshellip;as housing prices increased through the mid-2000s. Subsequent studies have shown that a significant increase in foreclosures may have been the result of a high number of cash-out refinances completed prior to the collapse of the housing market,rdquo; they said. Prior to that shift, homeowners could tap up to 95 of their home equity.nbsp;
The letter also noted that FHA cash-out refinances have swelled by more than 250 from 2013 to 2018, HUD reported. There were more than 150,000 of these transactions last year. ldquo;Cash-out refinances comprised 64 of all FHA-insured refinance transactions, up nearly 39 from the year prior,rdquo; said Realtor Magazine. ldquo;The increase in home prices has prompted more cash-out refis, according to the annual Report to Congress issued last fall.rdquo;
Cash-out refinances are a popular option among homeowners whose houses have appreciated because, while rates vary depending on many factors including the strength of the borrowerrsquo;s credit, the money is often less expensive than in other types of lending. And, if the money is used for smart updates or improvements, it can increase the homersquo;s value and provide some safeguards should there be market adjustments.
ldquo;This option can be beneficial to consumers who have seen the value of their home rise in recent years,rdquo; said Bankrate. While many financial experts caution against taking too much money out of your homemdash;and this move by the FHA is intended to help keep owners from ending up under watermdash;ldquo;Taking the money from the cash-out refi and putting it towards paying down high-interest debt or home repairs can be a financially sound decision.rdquo;
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1. Rates are crazy low.
Lower rates mean more affordable lending, or more for your money if you choose to reach higher.nbsp;
2. Because it will appreciate.
According to Co>
3. Because passive income is good.nbsp;
Yes, itrsquo;s nice to know there will likely be appreciation over time, but the real key to success with investment properties is passive income.nbsp;
ldquo;The best part about rental properties is that they provide a stable income,rdquo; said Mashvisor. ldquo;What would be better than having a check sent to you every month? In order to have positive cash flow, you have to make sure you invest in a profitable rental property.rdquo;
Many real estate investors use the one percent rule when looking for a cash flow-positive property. ldquo;Monthly rental incomenbsp;ge; one percent of purchase price,rdquo; said Norada Real Estate Investments. ldquo;So according to the rule, a property with a total investment price upfront repairs of 200,000 should rent for 2,000/month or more in order to be a good investment. If the rent is only 1,500/month, the 200,000 price would not meet the rule. Or if you had to pay 250,000 for a property that rents for 2,000, it would not meet the rule either.rdquo;nbsp;
4. To turn it into a short-term rental.
The short-term rental market has opened up a new world of opportunity for investors.nbsp;By buying in the right locationmdash;by the beach, bear a ski resort, or in close proximity to a popular annual event like Coachella, you have the potential of making six figures in a short period of time.
If yoursquo;re considering purchasing a home to turn into a short-term rental, be sure to check the local laws. Lots of cities have been cracking down on Airbnb and other services, stripping away some of the income potential for property owners.nbsp;
5. Because you can be a homeowner without living in the home.
What you can afford to buy may not match up with your expectations. Perhaps you donrsquo;t want to live in an attached residence or move to the suburbs, or even out of your current neighborhood. If yoursquo;ve been priced out of what you want to buy for yourself right now, you can still make a smart investment in the type of property other people are looking to rent.
6. Because it can help you buy the home of your dreams down the line.
ldquo;Buying an investment property before your first home does not imply that you wonrsquo;t have the funds to purchase your actual home at some point,rdquo; said Mashvisor. ldquo;In fact, investment properties that have been purchased wisely and have grown in value can offer you a sizeable amount of wealth and equity.rdquo;
7. Because there are tax benefits.
ldquo;Rental real estate has more tax benefits than almost any other investment out there,rdquo; said Real Wealth Network. ldquo;Failure to take advantage of rental property tax deductions, can cost landlords thousands of dollars a year. So why are rental property owners paying more in taxes than they have to? Simply, because they have no idea there are multiple tax deductions they could be taking advantage of. Tax deductions include:
Interest savingsmdash;ldquo;Interest on rental property is typically the biggest tax deductible expense for owners. This includes, interest on your mortgage loan, or other loans used to improve the property, and if you use a credit card for anything >
Depreciation of Rental Propertymdash;Depreciation or wear and tear on the property is not tax deductible in the first year, but, after that, ldquo;Rental property owners can deduct depreciation in smaller amounts, over a longer period of time.rdquo;
Claim All Property Expensesmdash;Certain repair costs, furnishings, and insurance including ldquo;fire, flood, theft, and landlord liability insurancerdquo; can be deducted.
Pass-Through Tax Deductionmdash;ldquo;This is an income tax, not a rental tax deduction, made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Depending on your income, landlords can deduct 1 up to 20 of net rental income, or 2 2.5 of initial cost of rental property, plus 25 of cost for any employees or independent contractors used if applicable. This deduction is scheduled to end in 2025.rdquo;
Full Story >
You have not listed your house or condominium unit for sale. Why?
Is the decision not to sell and move the result of your active exploration of housing and life>
Inertia, or the trend toward passiveness or inactivity, describes, in physics, the tendency of a body at rest to stay at rest unless external energy is applied.
In real estate terms, this means yoursquo;ll stay where you are unless an external force or changendash;positive or negativendash;catalyzes you into action and makes moving the right thing to do:
bull; Itrsquo;s inertia if you wait to see what happens and take no action yourself. If you stay in your home or recreational property for another year without researching your other options and making anbsp;conscious decision to stay, inertia has set in. Yoursquo;re not in control of your future with this passive wait-and-see approach.
bull; When you actively explore your housing and life>
Should you stick with inertia and wait until something happens to trigger or force a move or should you be more proactive about your real estate options?
bull; When selling and moving is triggered by an external force or a circumstance forced on you, like unemployment, you may have to act quickly and make snap judgements about what to do next. ldquo;Wait-and-seerdquo; thinking may leave you unprepared to take advantage of available opportunities until itrsquo;s too late. For instance, once a ldquo;hot marketrdquo; peaks and disappears, high selling prices disappear, too. If you waited to see what happened before acting, you may have missed out.
bull; If you maintain awareness of what is going on in the real estate market, what your housing and life>
Inertia is fed by assumptionsndash;things we assume will continue, things we assume will never happen, and things we assume we can control when we canrsquo;t. The list differs with individuals and families.
This might not be the best time for you to list your home. To make the most of real estate ownership, that should be an active decision based on knowledge of the current real estate market and many other factors >
Staying and letting another year speed by without making sure you are really in the right place may cost you in the long run:
bull; Time speeds up and suddenly that full renovation you struggled through is 10 years old and already showing its age. That means, therersquo;s work ahead to keep your home modernized. Is this the best property to invest more time and money in?
bull; What attracted you to the house or neighborhood when you first bought? Is that still why you love it or have your tastes and life>
bull; Do you have little in common with neighbors, so you spend more time alone or have to travel to spend time with friends or those with similar interests?
bull; Do you have more fun on vacation, especially on over-winter extended stays, than during most of the year at home?
These are a few inertia-busting ideas to start you thinking about what more you could have. Search out a real estate professional who respects your wish to stay and your intent to keep exploring options associated with a move. Say a firm ldquo;goodbyerdquo; to anyone aggressive or who pressures you to list.
Yoursquo;ll appreciate help, beginning with answers to questions like, ldquo;If I didnrsquo;t live here, where could I afford to move tondash;near or far?rdquo;
Personal introspection will enable you to further assess your situation:
bull; What or whom do I/we need to be near?
bull; What or whom do I/we want to be near?
bull; What do I/we love about the home that we would want to duplicate in our next property?
bull; What do we want to do differently?
As a real estate owner, you have the right to continually explore the potential of your investment and to decide to do nothing and stay where you are.
Thatrsquo;s not inertia. Once you understand your options, that ldquo;stay hererdquo; decision may represent good business sense and solid property management to protect and improve on your investment and chosen life>
All it takes is a little asking, answering, ldquo;what ifrdquo;-ing, and day dreaming with your family and a real estate professional or two who respect your curiosity about what could be next.
Full Story >
You must first understand how these three digit scores are calculated. Scores range from as low as 300 to as high as 850. Although Irsquo;ve never seen any score as low as 300 or as high as the perfect 850. Personally, I think either is impossible to achieve. That said, those with excellent credit didnrsquo;t get those scores by accident. Credit scores assign values to five different credit patterns. Those are:
bull; Payment History
bull; Length of Credit History
bull; Types of Credit Used
bull; Credit Inquiries
Payment History is listed first because it has the greatest impact on a score. This one category alone makes up 35 of your total score. This makes sense because this is the one single measure of someone uses and manages credit. A consumer credit report wonrsquo;t list when account payments were made but will list when a payment is made more than 30, 60 and 90 days past the due date. As long as a credit account payment was made before 30 days, the score wonrsquo;t be negatively impacted, and scores will gradually improve. Note, if someone makes a monthly payment say 20 days past the due date, while it wonrsquo;t impact the score the consumer will likely pay some sort of late payment fee to the creditor. If a payment is made more than 30 days past the due date, scores will begin to falter. More so if a payment is made more than 60 and then 90 days past the due date.
The second most important category is credit utilization. Some may think that carrying a zero balance and leaving the account alone that way is a good way to increase credit scores. Thatrsquo;s not the case at all. And if you think about it, how would any algorithm calculate a credit score if there is no activity, right? Utilization accounts for 30 of the total score. There should also be a running balance instead of paying off the credit account to zero each month. Most creditors report payments at different times so carrying a balance is typically an automatic. However, scores do improve is the running balance is approximately one-third of the total credit line.
How long someone has used credit also contributes to the total score. If someone has used credit for a long time, that counts more toward a score compared to someone brand new to the credit world. Even if someone with a history and a credit newbie have perfect credit histories, the person who has used credit responsibly over a longer period of time will be rewarded. This category represents 15 of the total score.
Finally, using different types of credit accounts helps out. A car loan, credit card and installment accounts are a good mix and accounts for 10 of the total score. Recent credit inquiries also make up the final 10 of the score. Credit inquiries are those when an individual makes multiple requests for new credit accounts within a >
How consumers achieve high credit scores means concentrating on the first two, payment history and utilization. These two alone make up nearly two-thirds of the total score. By paying attention to payment history and keeping a running balance near the magic mark, scores can and will begin to rise from any level.
Full Story >
What is Solar Power? How is it Used?
In using sustainable solar power, solar panels use photons, or light energy from the sun to create electricity. Crystalline silicon or thin-film cells collect the energy. A junction box connects the solar panel and its output interface. MC4 connectors or USB power interfaces provide weatherproof connections to the system and are weatherproof, too. Not only does a solar panel provide electricity, but the parts of the panel itself are even recyclable when the unit wears out.
Is Solar Energy Sustainable?
In actuality, solar energy is much more sustainable in the long run than are fossil fuels. The sunrsquo;s light continues to be much more sustainable than do most types of energy producing fuels, such as coal.
According to the United Nations, sustainability is explained as the ability to meet the needs of people today without compromising the ability of future generations of people to meet their needs. Solar energy greatly resembles this definition because using solar power doesnrsquo;t diminish the sunrsquo;s future ability to shine. Many experts believe that solar power remains the most critical source of sustainable energy.
Solar Energy VS. Fossil Fuel Effects on the Earthrsquo;s Ecosystem
Energy from fossil fuels began to be used during the Industrial Revolution. Fossil fuels became used as the primary source of the worldrsquo;s energy supply. Natural sources of fossil fuels include:
bull; Natural gas.
bull; Crude oil.nbsp;
These sources continue to provide us with the energy we need to get around, to have electricity, and to heat our homes. But sources of fossil fuels will come to an end eventually, because the earth isnt continually creating them. Plus, using fossil fuels pollute the world because their use creates >
Compare fossil fuels to using the renewable resource of solar panels. Solar power provides constant sources of energy. Solar power is non-polluting, and can also reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions in the world. Solar power collects the energy from the sun and converts it into electricity without harmful pollution. And there is enough renewable solar energy to use to power the earth as long as the sun exists.nbsp;
The addition of solar panels to your home will reduce your >
Full Story >
Change Real Estate Agents
Sometimes the problem with selling your home isnrsquo;t the house but the selling agent. The worst performers are ldquo;post and prayrdquo; agents who assume that listing your home on the MLS is all they need to do. The solution is to change your real estate agent. Switching to a high volume real estate agent or someone who specializes in your neighborhood could be all you need to do.
Ask about a Guaranteed Purchase Program
If yoursquo;re moving for work, ask your company or new employer if they have a guaranteed purchase program. These programs will buy your home if you canrsquo;t sell it yourself and then sell it on. Fewer businesses offer programs like these, but you may still get money toward your real estate agentrsquo;s commission.
Make Your Home Look Like What Buyers Want
The problem may not be a bad picture of the front of the house, but that it looks bad no matter how you frame it. Your home may need a facelift. Cut back the shrubbery, clean up the yard, and give it a new coat of paint. Clean up the interior, too, so that it looks like it is well kept. Once this is done, take new pictures if the old ones showed a home everyone else would consider a fixer-upper. In some cases, home staging is necessary so that potential buyers can imagine themselves living in the property.
If your home requires more work than you can handle to attract buyers, then you could sell the property to the real estate investment firm. They visit properties, appraise their condition, and offer a competitive price for them. This is one of the fastest and easiest ways to move a property, especially if you need the money to move into the home you truly want. Theyrsquo;ll even clean up the items you leave behind, so this is the best choice for those who need to close quickly.
Rent It Out
Renting a property out could generate cash flow now while allowing you to wait for the real estate market to improve. Becoming a landlord is a lot of work, though you can hire a property management company to handle that for you. You could also offer the property as ldquo;rent to ownrdquo;, allowing renters the option to buy the property over time. You might be able to find renters who will maintain the property as if it were their own because they hope to buy it one day.
Full Story >
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New roof installation will help with the selling of your home for several reasons. You can i...
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Your New Home Co-Broker NHCB designation gives you professional credentials to separate your...
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