How To Crowdfund A Renovation Project

How To Crowdfund A Renovation ProjectCrowdfunding came into prominence with the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act that President Obama signed into law during 2012 and subsequent enhancements. The JOBS Act made it easier for startups to raise money and for the first time allowed the legal ability to advertise the investments and accept small investors.

Innovate And Renovate

Crowdfunding is useful for many projects. The method raises money to create new products, make documentary films, and for many kinds of fashion items. Crowdfunding successfully raises money for real estate transactions. 

Smaller investors participate in real estate projects that they would otherwise not have enough investment money to create on their own. They may invest a few hundred or a few thousand dollars. When their smaller investment money combines with all the others, the project raises enough money.

One thing that makes crowdfunding projects work is their popularity. Affinity groups who have a special interest in certain things invest money in projects related to something that they like.

One application of this motivational factor is to raise money using crowdfunding to renovate buildings with a historical value or that otherwise attract the interest of the public. The process does not have to start with money. It can start with crowd sourcing ideas.

The CLUE® Mansion

A fun example is the Hasbro Company teamed up with Houzz to get innovative ideas from interior designers about how to renovate the CLUE® Mansion. The mansion is a backdrop for the popular board game.

This promotion celebrates the game’s 70th anniversary. The mansion’s style in the game stayed the same since the game debuted in 1949. The winning room designs, selected by fans, will be part of a new version of the game.

There is no reason to stop there. A real mansion can be renovated to match the game. This could be a CLUE® museum and could offer escape rooms as a money-making enterprise. This is just an idea at this moment. Perhaps, someone will take this up and run with it.

Crowdfunding Renovations

The point is, historic buildings that are of interest may need renovation funds that can be raised using crowdfunding. Those who have an interest in the building from the local community and elsewhere can support the project by investing in the renovation with a small comfortable amount.

Summary

Renovation projects are not easy to finance using traditional lenders. However, if a thousand people invest $100 each that is $100,000 for a renovation project in your community. Paying back the loan can come from a portion of the entrance fees.

Hopefully, this will spark continued interest in preserving and restoring historic homes, which are a terrific part of the American heritage.

If you are interested in learning more about current financing options, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional.

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Fed Policymakers Cut Key Rate Range by .25 Percent

Fed Policymakers Cut Key Rate Range by.25 PercentThe Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee reduced its key short-term interest rate range one-quarter percent to 1.75 to 2.00 percent during it’s September meeting. While FOMC members had mixed opinions on reducing the benchmark rate range for short term loans, the post-meeting statement suggested that reducing the federal funds rate was a hedge against inflation. The federal funds rate impacts short-term consumer loan rates for autos and adjustable rate mortgages, but does not impact fixed mortgage rates. FOMC monetary policy decisions are governed by the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate of maintaining price stability and an inflation rate of 2.00 percent.

FOMC Members Facing Conflicted Opinions On Rate Cuts

Policymakers consider a variety of influences and news when cutting or raising the federal funds rate range. In addition to its dual mandate, FOMC members consider domestic and global impacts on the economy. Uncertainty over effects of international trade disputes and Great Britain’s looming exit from the European Union balanced strengths in the U.S. economy.

According to the post-meeting statement, seven FOMC members voted in favor of the rate cut to 1.75 to 2.00 percent; one member voted for a rate cut to 1.50 to 1.75 percent and two members voted against changing the target federal funds rate range.

Fed Chair: U.S. Economy Expected To Stay Strong

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a post-meeting press conference that while U.S. economy expanded for its 11th consecutive year, global economic outlook was less certain particularly in Europe and China. The U.S. economy expanded 2.50 percent in the first half of 2019; factors driving growth included rising consumer confidence, wages and strong job markets. Business investment and exports were lower due to uncertainties over trade. Job growth slowed, but this was expected based on 2018’s fast pace of job growth. Work force participation grew; the Fed expects the national unemployment rate to remain below four percent for the next few years.

Chair Powell said that maintaining strong economic conditions was particularly important for low to middle income consumers left behind during the Great Recession. While current inflation stands at 1.40 percent, the Fed projects that it will grow to 1.90 percent in 2020 and achieve the target goal of 2.00 percent in 2021. Chair Powell said that inflation pressures are muted and at the lower end of historical ranges.

Chair Powell echoed the FOMC statement in saying that the Fed would continue to monitor economic developments abroad and would adjust monetary policy according to economic developments prompted by trade disputes and emerging economic developments.

 

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NAHB: Home Builders Remain Confident

NAHB Home Builders Remain ConfidentThe National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index shows steady builder confidence in housing market conditions. September’s index reading of 68 was one point higher than August’s reading. Any reading over 50 indicates that most home builders surveyed view housing market conditions as favorable. August’s original index reading was adjusted upward by one point.

Component readings for the Housing Market Index were mixed. Builder confidence in current market conditions rose two points to index reading of 75; this was the highest reading year-over-year. Builder confidence in home sales over the next six months fell by one point to 70. The gauge of buyer traffic in single-family housing developments held steady at 50. Readings for buyer traffic seldom exceed 50; September’s reading suggested higher builder confidence than the numerical reading suggested.

Average New Home Size Decreases, Builders Confident In Housing Markets

In recent months, builders have focused on producing larger homes, which has limited the number of affordable homes available to middle-income and first-time home buyers. High demand for homes caused by slim inventories of homes for sale and factors including competition with cash buyers sidelined would-be buyers. Home builders scaled down the size of new homes by 4.30 percent during the second quarter of 2019. This trend is expected to encourage potential home buyers into the market as lower home prices and mortgage rates combine to encourage more buyers into the housing market.

Lower Home Prices And Mortgage Rates Increase Affordability

Analysts and real estate pros have long said that the only way to ease demand for homes is by building more homes within all price ranges. Builders did not immediately respond to calls for more homes, but if current builder confidence and a new focus on building affordable homes continues, high demand for homes and short supplies of available homes may ease toward evenly balanced market conditions, but the unknown factor is mortgage rates. If they rise, affordability will be challenged and buyer interest in new homes could slow.

New home prices typically fall as peak buying season ends. Current trends toward building smaller homes, low mortgage rates and lower home prices combined to provide more choices and affordable options for home buyers. If general economic conditions remain strong, more home shoppers could become homeowners.

 

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New Home Prices Going Down Making Them More Affordable

Residential real estate developers in America are responding to a national slowdown in new home construction by building smaller homes that are more New Home Prices Going Down Making Them More Affordablemodestly priced. The demand for smaller, less expensive homes is growing, while the overall demand for new custom homes is declining. Prices decreased slightly, by about one-half percent, from the price levels in 2018 for newly-constructed homes.

Lower Profits For Builders

The median price for a newly-constructed home in America is $372,900. The median sales price of an existing home is $309,700.

American construction companies are feeling the pressure to build lower-priced homes along with the increased costs for imported building materials due to the tariffs and a labor shortage. This is lowering profits for the construction companies, yet creates a buying opportunity for those looking for a new home.

Lower New Home Inventory Levels

These pressures caused new home inventory to decrease by 1% from the 2018 levels. To put this in perspective, the inventory of new homes only decreased this much in 2013. Even though mortgage loans are easier to come by than a number of years ago, there is not the same demand as before for new homes. Perhaps, this is an advance indicator of an upcoming slowdown.

Down-Sized Demand

The U.S. Census reports that the average size of a new home went from 1,660 square feet in the 1970s to 2,687 square feet in 2105. In 2018, the average size of a new home was only 2,386 square feet.

During 2018, there were around 119,000 contractor-built single-family new homes that started construction and over 840,000 that were completed.

Other interesting trends reported by the Census about the 840,000 new single-family homes that finished construction in 2018 include:

  • 783,000 of the new homes have air-conditioning installed, which is 93% of the total.
  • 778,000 of the new homes have wood frames.
  • 59,000 of the new homes have concrete frames.
  • 336,000 of the new homes have a heat pump.
  • 270,000 of the new homes have a porch or patio.
  • Only 10% or 84,000 of the new homes have two bedrooms or fewer.
  • About half or 376,000 of the new homes have four bedrooms or more.
  • 31,000 of the new homes have one and one-half bathrooms or fewer.
  • 306,000 of the new homes have three or more bathrooms.

Conclusion

Builders who offer smaller, lower-priced homes are still experiencing strong demand. In fact, the demand for these modest homes is growing. This trend is likely to continue for the time being.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 16th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 16th, 2019Last week’s economic news included readings on inflation, core inflation and consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Lower Gas Prices Dampen August Inflation Rate

Consumer prices fell in August; analysts attributed the decline to lower gasoline prices. August’s reading matched expectations, but was 0.20 percent lower than July’s reading. The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and fuel sectors, rose by 0.30 percent and matched July’s reading.

Analysts expected an August core inflation reading of 0.20 percent. Rising housing and healthcare costs indicated that overall inflation would rise in coming months. Core inflation rose to its highest level in 13 months and was 2.40 percent higher year-over-year.

Mortgage Rates, Rise; New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.56 percent and were two basis points higher than in the prior week. Rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.09 percent and were nine basis points higher on average.

Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate rose six  basis points to an average rate of 3.36 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims fell last week with 204,000 first-time claims filed. Analysts expected 213,000 new claims filed based on the prior week’s reading of 219,000 initial claims.

The University of Michigan reported a jump in consumer sentiment in September;  August readings fell due to consumer concerns over the impact of tariffs on imported goods. September’s consumer sentiment index reading rose to 92.00 as compared to August’s index reading of 89.80.

Analysts predicted a September index reading of 91.40. Analysts said that while confidence in general economic conditions rose, consumers continued to be worried about the effects of tariffs.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued and a statement by the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee statement.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell will also give a press conference. Sales of pre-owned homes will be reported along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

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4 Simple Tips For Staying Organized With Kids

4 Simple Tips For Staying Organized With KidsIt can be challenging to be organized when you have children. But this is only because, as a devoted parent, you want to be sure your child has everything they need to become happy, well-rounded adults some day.

This usually means you’ll be bringing your kids to extracurricular activities, play dates, fun events and family outings. It also typically means that over the years there will be a steady stream of school supplies, toys, new clothes and maybe even a musical instrument or two. So how can busy parents stay organized with kids? 

Share A Calendar

Depending on how you prefer to organize your days, consider sharing a digital or paper calendar with the entire family. Family members can add events as needed and everyone can access the latest updates. This way, no one gets caught off guard when the dinosaur diorama is due on Monday morning or your child’s ballet recital gets moved from Friday to Saturday afternoon.

Don’t Be Too Detailed

Toys and art supplies have a way of ending up on the living room floor no matter how many tidy storage bins are in your child’s room. Try keeping a large wicker laundry basket in the corner of the living room and let your child pile their things randomly inside the basket. This allows for fast cleanups and doesn’t require you to supervise the “organization.” It also lets smaller kids feel like they’re being a big kid by helping to straighten up.

Store Papers In Accordion Files

Keep accordion folders on hand in the kitchen for when your child comes home with artwork or papers with A grades. Have one accordion file for each month, because they will fill up fast. At the end of each month, go through and filter out anything you don’t want to save permanently. With this method you’ll automatically have your child’s best papers saved according to date.

Do Things On The Same Day

It’s surprisingly helpful to make a practice of always doing certain things on certain days. For instance, every Saturday is bath night, or every Wednesday is change the sheets day. This lets kids know what to expect in their lives and makes it easier for parents to remember things. 

Children add so much joy to parents’ lives. When you’re organized, you’ll probably find that you have even more time to share with your little loved ones.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

 

 

 

 

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How Long Should I Spend Looking For a New Home?

How Long Should I Spend Looking For a New HomeWhether you’ve been looking for a home for a long time now, or you’re just about to get started on the hunt, you’re probably wondering how long should you spend looking for a new home. Does it take weeks to find your forever home, or months or even a year? What’s typical?

There Is No Typical

The reality is, there is no typical amount of time it takes to find your home. There are too many variables, including how actively you’re looking. Maybe you’ve heard horror stories of people who’ve been hunting for a house for a year. But come to find out, they’ve only really devoted one weekend a month to looking at houses.

Or you’ve heard of a couple who found their dream home in just two days. Well, odds are they spent many nights online, sifting through hundreds of house images and only went to see a handful of homes in person which really met their search criteria.

The Market Plays A Part

It takes longer to find a home when the market is slanted toward sellers. In times like that, there’s less inventory and the houses that are available may be out of reach financially. Keep looking, though, because your real estate agent may find the ideal house on the market from a motivated seller who’s wiling to come down on the price. Hang in there and you’ll find your dream home in any market.

Does Your Dream Home Exist?

If you feel like your home search has been dragging on despite a favorable market, it could be you’re looking for something too elusive to find. Maybe it’s not the houses you’re dissatisfied with, but something else. You may be unconsciously trying to recapture something you’ve lost, like your old childhood neighborhood or a feeling of community.

These are all valid desires that you can acquire with the right home in the right place. Try to identify what you’re really looking for so your real estate agent can help you find it. 

When it comes to finding your home, it takes as long as it takes. Be sure to secure your pre-approved financing with your trusted home mortgage professional and enjoy the process. Communicate with your real estate agent and try to keep an open mind. One day, when you least expect it, you’ll walk through the doors of your next home for the first time. 

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Smooth Move: Do These Six Things When Transitioning Towns

Smooth Move Do These Six Things When Transitioning TownsIt can be physically and emotionally challenging when moving from one town to another. There are lots of things going on at once; the actual packing and moving your belongings, saying goodbye to friends, changing jobs and just getting used to a new way of living.

It can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Try these six tips for a smooth transition.

1. Let Go

Try to look forward instead of back. You will certainly want to remember all the wonderful moments you’ve had in your “old” town, but give yourself permission to be excited about your new place to live. Leave the past in the past while still treasuring the times you shared with friends and loved one. This will enable you to fully open yourself to new possibilities.

2. Learn Your Way Around

Do some exploring in your new town. If possible, stroll or bicycle around to acclimate yourself to your new surroundings. If it’s too far away and you haven’t yet moved, use Google Earth’s street view to wander around virtually. Locate the places you’ll definitely need, like the post office, coffee shop and dry cleaners. 

3. Join Local Groups

Do a search for Facebook groups in your new town and ask to join. You’ll get a sense of the community and get better tuned into what resources are available and what people are talking about. Try searching Meetup groups in the new town for activities in which you’re interested.

4. Plant Roots

Make your new house a home by planting some pretty perennials out front or creating a vegetable garden out back. When you literally plant roots, you’ll feel more like you really belong.

5. Get Involved

It’s hard sometimes to make new friends as adults, especially out of work. But if you make an effort to get involved in the community, you’ll likely find that people are eager to get to know you. Keep your eyes and ears open for ways to join in with community events.

6. Fling Open The Doors

Say yes to life. You’re in a new town, and this is the perfect time to start new projects, try new things and meet new people. Try doing something new at least once a week. You just might find a new favorite activity or a new friend.

These six tips for transitioning to a new town will help you begin your new life with a positive outlook. Remember, there’s no time like the present to start the future!

One of your best assets to navigate the properties in a new town is an experienced real estate professional. Be sure to make contact with your wish list before you start your search.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

 

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Using Smart Home Technology To Help Sell It

Using Smart Home Technology To Help Sell ItSmart home technology is useful for many reasons. It improves security, helps improve energy-efficiency, and makes it more convenient for the home’s occupants. There is also a new trend in the use of smart home technology as a sales tool to help sell a home or a condominium.

A real-estate agency in Atlanta, Georgia is using Alexa® devices, along with nicely-framed display cards, to help prospective buyers learn more about a condominium that is for sale in the Districts Lofts building.

There are now more than 53 million personal assistant devices, such as the Alexa® device from Amazon and the Google Assistant®, which are in use. Many people are very comfortable using them to ask questions and get the answers spoken back to them in a calm, soothing voice.

Alexa® Tell Me More

The innovative trend in home sales is to place an Alexa® device in each room, preprogrammed with the answers to frequently asked questions. Display cards that sit on the counter next to the Alexa® device encourage the potential buyer to says things like “Alexa, tell me about the kitchen.” or “Alexa, what are the amenities in the neighborhood?”

These systems work with chatbot technology that uses artificial-intelligence, voice-recognition programming to understand the questions and provide the answers from a stored database of information. Also, if the chatbot cannot answer the question, the Alexa® device can connect the potential buyer to a live human operator to answer the question.

Friendly, Effective, And Cost-Efficient

Using the Alexa® device and similar devices can be less intimidating for many people than having to speak with a human salesperson. These devices can deliver the answers in a professional and consistent way.

Not needing to have a human being waiting around for a potential customer saves an enormous amount of labor expense and time. Moreover, the Alexa® device can be always available for extended hours to show a model unit when it is convenient for potential customers.

Conclusion

Using Alexa® devices to better inform potential buyers is interesting. The devices can be preprogrammed with all the information needed and can also collect customer information, which the customers voluntarily give, for follow-up purposes.

After Alexa® answers all a potential buyer’s questions, it can then ask them if they would like a brochure emailed to their email address to build up a mailing list for the real estate agency. This kind of personalized customer service, using advanced technology, is the wave of the future for real estate sales.

Of course, technology can only go so far. Your professional real estate agent and mortgage lender are the best resource for making a decision on which home is the right one for you and helping you negotiate your best deal. 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 9th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 9th, 2019Last week’s economic reports included readings on construction spending, public and private-sector jobs and the national unemployment rate. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Construction Spending Rises in August

Construction spending rose 0.10 percent higher than in July according to the Commerce Department. Analysts expected construction spending to increase by 0.60 percent based on June’s reading of -0.70 percent. Construction spending was -2.70 percent lower year-over-year based on revisions to data going back to 2008.

Construction spending was impacted by multiple factors including costs of labor and building materials and inclement weather in some areas of the United States. As peak home buying season winds down to fall and winter, builders are expected to reduce spending. Builder concerns over the impact of tariffs on imported building materials continued to affect builders’ budgets.

Mortgage Rates Fall, Weekly Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week; the average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages was nine basis points lower at 3.49 percent. Rates for 15-year mortgages were six basis points lower and averaged  3.00 percent.

Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.30 percent and were one basis point lower. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages, 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims rose by 1000 claims to 217,000 new claims filed. Analysts expected 214,000 initial jobless claims based on the prior week’s reading of 216,000 first-time claims filed. No signs of layoffs were indicated in relation to the higher reading for new jobless claims.

The monthly reading for new jobless claims showed 216,250 new claims filed and was higher by 1500 new claims filed. The monthly reading is considered more stable than week-to-week readings for initial jobless claims.

Public and Private-Sector Jobs Reports Mixed, Unemployment Rate Holds Steady

ADP reported 195,000 private-sector jobs added in August. The Commerce Department reported 130,000 public and private sector jobs added; analysts expected 170,000 jobs added in August. The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.70 percent.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on inflation, retail sales and consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims will also be released.

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