Tuesday, May 26, 2015

If I Had a Hammer...

If you are planning on selling your home over the next two years, now may be the time to act. Demand is high, supply is low and many homeowners are benefiting from an almost auction atmosphere with several buyers fighting for their house in the current multi-bid environment. Higher prices and less stringent contingencies are making it easier for the seller and their family.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Why Rates Matter

 Even a small increase in interest rates drastically impacts your budget.
 Securing a mortgage now while rates are still low means you can get more house for your money.  Spend your money on your dream home, not on interest.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Priorities

At the same time, Tim Rood, chairman of the business advisory firm The Collingwood Group, explained that real estate is:

 “…one of the last legitimate wealth creation opportunities…The leveraged return if you put down 10 percent on a house, the trajectory of appreciation lately is you’re going to get your money back inside of a year and then after that 5 to 10 percent appreciation rates. It's phenomenal."

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Extracting Teasures from the "Trash" of Home Rennovations




 Grist.com's "Ask Umbra" column provides some great suggestions for re-cycling the byproducts of home renovations:
....But if you don’t have a new home for it, someone else probably does (especially if you slap a “vintage” label on it). Renovators may be able to sell their old pieces on eBay or Craigslist to other thrifty builders – so if your neighbors have some particularly cool trash, it’s worth a shot.
 An even better option might be donating their unwanted tubs, lights, and flooring, though: This helps support worthy causes and may translate into a hefty tax write-off.
The biggie here is ReStore, Habitat for Humanity’s nationwide chain of resale shops for building materials, furniture, and the like. These outlets accept donations of all kinds of stuff, either for drop-off or pickup, as long as it’s in good shape.  Other local organizations or secondhand outfits might also accept the salvage from remodeling projects, so it’s worthwhile to ask around.
Bonus: Keeping supplies in circulation means other builders have access to local goodies, reducing shipping and transport costs for their projects. Yet another one of my favorite things! This robust secondhand market underscores why it’s important to do your home makeovers carefully, by the way. Smashing cabinets with a sledgehammer might sound like fun for a few minutes, I suppose, but carefully removing them for resale yields years of d├ęcor satisfaction for someone else. This practice even has a name: deconstruction, as opposed to demolition, and it can be applied to everything from counters to plumbing fixtures to roofing to molding. You can hire professionals who specialize in just this kind of mindful renovation (and local ReStore outlets can often hook you up with their own deconstruction crews).

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Lenders Lowering Mortgage Hurdles

There has been a lot of discussion about how difficult it is to get a home mortgage in this market. There is no doubt that the process is not as easy as it was eight to ten years ago and that’s probably good news. However, it does appear that availability to mortgage money is increasing with each passing day.

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association publishes the Mortgage Credit Availability Index(MCAI). According to their site the index is “a summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time”. As we can see from the graph below, mortgage availability has been increasing dramatically over the last six months.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The True Cost of Sprawl

Two new studies demonstrate the true costs of sprawl, and attempt to show that if new development was built at higher densities and with proper public transit, billions of dollars could be saved. Read more at TreeHugger.com

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Tiny Houses Evolving into Bed and Breakfast Biz

Breaking treehugger.com news from the rapidly growing movement towards tiny houses is this custom built house from Nashville. The 185 square ft. home uses a restored trailer, and the windows were sourced from the local Habitat Restore.

The owners reportedly built this small home as a way to generate extra income (they are currently renting it out on AirBnB), but plan to live in it in the future.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Serious Investors Still Flip for Flipping

Despite steadily rising rents, experienced investors still prefer fixing and flipping houses as opposed to buying a house for the purpose of renting it out, according a new report from Auction.com.

 The results come courtesy of Auction.com’s February 2015 Real Estate Investor Activity Report, a nationwide survey of real estate investors bidding on properties offered for auction during the period.

According to Auction.com’s survey, 57.3% of respondents who identified as full-time “real estate investors” are looking to flip a property, compared to 41.5% that are buying to rent.

On the other hand, survey respondents who said that they were just making a “one-time purchase” were much more likely to be buying to rent (64.5%) than buying to flip (34.6%).
More details via Housingwire:

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Understanding Points In A Home Mortgage Loan - When Is It Best To Use Them?

When determining the best interest rate option to choose, when doing a refinance or buying a new home, there are essentially 3 options that one should consider in order to come up with the best strategy for your loan situation.


  • PAY POINTS AND LOWER THE INTEREST RATE
  • GET THE BEST INTEREST RATE WITH NO POINTS ADDED
  • PAY A HIGHER INTEREST RATE AND PAY NO CLOSING COSTS  
Dan White has given us a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of each scenario.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Making Homes Affordable With Shared Equity

State and local governments are putting home ownership within reach of moderate and low-income families through a program called Shared Equity.

Under the program, homebuyers that earn $80,200 or less annually, do not own another home, or have significant assets beyond savings and retirement accounts, may qualify to receive funds for a down payment on a home.

According to the National Housing Conference, “In return for this investment, the government entity shares in the benefits of any home price appreciation that may occur.

The public’s share in the benefits of any home price appreciation may be used in two ways; it can either be returned to the government in the form of cash payment that can be used to help another family, or it can stay with the home, reducing the cost of that home for the next family.”
More details at cnn.com