5 Important Benefits Of Downsizing Your Home

5 Important Benefits Of Downsizing Your HomeAfter the children are all grown and moved out, the family home often feels excessively large and empty. If you’re in this stage of life, you may be wondering if you should downsize like so many others, or stay put. Downsizing may be the best option, depending on your lifestyle.

Here are five benefits of downsizing for you to consider.

1. Less Clutter

When you move into a smaller home, you’ll have the opportunity to get rid of many possessions that you no longer need. Whether it’s sporting goods or knick knacks, you’ll be able to either sell the items, give them away to kids and grandkids or donate them to a charitable organization. Your new home won’t have as much space, so this decluttering process is almost mandatory.

2. Lower Utility Bills

A smaller home means lower energy usage and lower utility bills. It’s likely that you’ll have fewer lights on the rooms, less square footage to heat and cool. You may also incur less water usage, since you may have fewer bathrooms and less lawn to irrigate. So, not only will you likely have a lower mortgage payment when you downsize, it will probably also take less money to run the home.

3. More Free Time

A smaller home means that it will likely take less time to maintain, too. There’s less to clean inside and a smaller house to maintain on the exterior of the home. This equates to much more time for you to do the things that you want to do instead of the things that you have to do.

4. Easier To Get Around

Downsizing usually makes it easier to get around the home. Many people who downsize opt for a single-floor home rather than a two-story home, so they can avoid having stairs in the home. Living on one floor is often easier as people age and climbing stairs becomes more cumbersome. 

5. More Sustainable Living

A smaller home means a smaller carbon footprint. For people who are earth-conscious, a smaller home affords the chance to play their part in helping by living a more environmentally sustainable life. 

Remember, downsizing doesn’t mean living with less. For many people who have already downsized, the process has infused their life with more opportunities to live a fuller existence by getting rid of space and possessions they didn’t really need anymore. 

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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The Incredible Value Of A Business Mentor

The Incredible Value Of A Business MentorIf someone says that they are a “self-made” success who did it all completely by themselves with no help from anyone, they are probably stretching the truth. Success never usually happens in a vacuum. The definition of success is that something is recognized and respected by others. 

Honest business people recognize and appreciate the help that they received from others. They know it was a big part of what made them able to achieve success. Clever people, when they are just starting out in something new, find a mentor. A mentor is a person who is willing to help a new person trying something for the first time.

Why Would Someone Want To Be A Mentor?

If you ask a mentor why are they a mentor, you are very likely to hear a story about how they were helped by another person when they were just starting out. Mentoring is a powerful way to give back. It is rewarding on both sides of the relationship of being a mentor and a mentee. It is so rewarding because both people learn something about themselves by sharing information and experiences with another person.

Mentoring Is Best When It’s A Balanced Relationship

In a healthy mentor/mentee relationship there is a nice give and take that is balanced. The mentor may know much more than the mentee about a subject matter of mutual interest. However, a mentor does not necessarily know everything. A mentee may also have unique experiences to share that the mentor knows nothing about.

Mentorship Is Different From Internship

Having a mentor is different from an internship. Both are meant to be a learning experience, but having a mentor is more about sharing knowledge that includes life skills, whereas an internship is usually limited to job skills.

For example, it is perfectly reasonable to ask your mentor questions like:

  • How did you deal with setbacks?
  • Did you have self-doubt?
  • What kept you from giving up?

The Rules Of Mentorship

There are no specific rules in mentorship. It’s a unique relationship each time based on individual circumstances. The relationship can be as formal or as informal as you like. If the relationship feels strained or uncomfortable for either party, it is time to break it off. The period of a mentor/mentee relationship may come and go; however, sage advice lasts a lifetime.

Finding A Mentor

Many choose a mentor from someone that they already know. One way to meet a mentor is to volunteer for service work in your community. Many times you can make valuable contacts with successful people who are also giving their time and expertise to these projects.

There are also formal mentor programs such as one offered by the Small Business Association. It is called the SCORE program and the services are free.

SCORE is a good program for aspiring entrepreneurs. It can help, if you do not know of anyone who is the kind of mentor you need. Seeking out help through the SBA puts you in touch with an experienced businessperson who is a part of their volunteer mentoring program.

Real Estate Agents Can Be Great Mentors Too

If you are interested in learning about investing in real estate in your local community, a great place to start a mentoring relationship is with a professional real estate agent.  Real estate professionals are well versed in the local market and can answer questions and guide you through your transactions to avoid major pitfalls. The best real estate agents can also find special opportunities to bring to investors that they are mentoring and help make your real estate investments more profitable.

Summary

Dale Carnegie wrote his classic self-help book How to Win Friends and Influence People in the 1930s. Carnegie was a great business mentor. He recommends that if you want to be a success in a particular area of life, be around people who are already successful in that area and copy what they do. That advice is still good, even almost ninety years later.

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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NAHB: Housing Market Index Rises 1 Point in July

NAHB Housing Market Index Rises 1 Point in JulyHome Builder sentiment rose one point in July according to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index. 2019 builder confidence in housing market condition continued to fall short of 2018 levels. July’s Housing Market Index reading of 65 was one point higher than June’s reading.

Component readings also rose one point each. Builder confidence in current housing market conditions rose to 72; the reading for builder confidence in market conditions for the next six months rose to 71. Builder confidence in buyer traffic in new housing developments rose to an index reading of 48; buyer traffic readings seldom exceed the neutral reading of reading of 50.

2019 Builder Confidence Is Lagging Behind 2018 Readings

Year to date, builder confidence index readings averaged 63 as compared to a reading of 67 in 2018 and 68 in 2017. Ongoing headwinds affecting builders were familiar concerns over materials prices and shortages of buildable lots and labor. Analysts said that builders remain leery of building to many homes after having large inventories of unsold homes after the Great Recession.

Builders also noted that increasing regulation and local building codes are impacting some areas. Builders are under pressure to produce affordable homes, but are log-jammed by “not in my backyard” zoning restrictions when they apply to build mixed developments of single and multi-family homes.

There may be good news on the horizon. Oregon passed state legislation banning exclusively single-family zoning. Depending on population, local jurisdictions will be allowed to build duplexes and larger multi-family units. If other states and communities follow Oregon’s lead, builders may find new options for building multiple units on lots formerly zoned for single family homes. Building affordable homes would help to ease housing shortages and ease demand for homes.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage and real estate professionals. 

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How To Find Hot Real Estate Markets

How To Find Hot Real Estate MarketsA hot market in real estate is identified by a few things, which include higher prices, lower amounts of unsold inventory, and desirable neighborhoods. Neighborhoods can increase in value because of having an excellent location, high-paying jobs, quality schools, and a variety of attractive amenities.

Hot Markets Are After The Fact

Properties in a hot market may sell faster, for higher prices, and without needing to be in perfect condition or staged for sale. Real estate investors do not necessarily benefit from learning about a hot market unless they already own property in that market area.

It is nice to be an owner with a property for sale in a hot market. However, more success may come from identifying a market as potentially valuable before it becomes a hot market.

Hot Market Trends Before The Fact

Gentrification is a pattern that may start out slowly and then build until a market goes from cold to hot. With gentrification, renovation of rundown neighborhoods attracts new, wealthier residents. Many cities encourage the gentrification of deteriorating urban areas.

Streets with abandoned storefronts may convert into pedestrian-only shopping promenades. Old wharf warehouses may turn into a riverfront boardwalk. Artist types may move into a bad neighborhood because of the low rent and then turn it into an eclectic, hip area with art galleries, coffee shops, boutiques, and street murals.

One way to benefit from gentrification possibilities is to follow the long-term development plans of a community and be an early investor in those plans. Invest in property just on the outskirts of a planned gentrification zone.

Be careful to note any physical barricades, such as a wide street, which may stop gentrification from progressing further. A wide street may prevent gentrification from moving across it to the rundown area on the other side.

A similar pattern shows up when investing in real estate that is on the outskirts of a growing area or adjacent to a desirable neighborhood. Over time, if the growth continues, these outlying areas may become a nicely profitable investment for those who are patient.

Getting Out Of A Hot Market At The Right Time

It is important to know when to sell properties in a hot market and move on to find a different one. Continuing to re-invest in a hot market may ultimately disappoint when there is a market correction to the downside. Try to avoid this if possible.

Market indicators to watch include:

  • Year-over-year increases in listing prices compared to historical figures for the same area.
  • The percentage of listings showing a price reduction.
  • The average time a property is listed before being sold.
  • A comparison between the listing price and the sales price for sold properties.

Conclusion

Studying market growth and guessing the direction of growth helps identify a potentially strong market before it gets hot.

It is time to sell and move on, if the listing prices are not increasing each year or if price reductions are increasing. Other strong indicators that a market is cooling down are when the average listing time is increasing and the average difference between the listing price and sale price is widening.

If you’re in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to set up a consult with your trusted home mortgage professional.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 15th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 15th, 2019Last week’s economic releases included reports on inflation, core inflation and minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee Meeting held June 18 and 19. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims were also released.

Inflation Rate Rises, but Grows at Lowest Pace in Four Months

June’s Consumer Price Index reported the lowest rate of inflation in four months with a year-over-year rate of 1.60 percent growth as compared to May’s year-over-year inflation rate of 1.80 percent. Fuel prices were lower, which helped balance rising costs of rent, clothing and autos. Analysts said that falling inflation rates would be a primary reason why the Fed is likely to cut its key interest rate range later this month.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, rose 0.30 percent in June and surpassed expectations of 0.20 percent growth and May’s 0.10 percent growth rate.

Federal Reserve policymakers base their decisions  on the Fed’s dual mandate of maintaining maximum employment and economic growth, which is benchmarked at 2.00 percent annual inflation. FOMC members repeatedly state their commitment to reviewing domestic and global economic news and willingness to adjust Fed policy according to changing economic conditions and current events.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac  reported little change in average mortgage rates last week; Rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages were unchanged at 3.75 percent; rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages rose four basis points on average to 3.22 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable mortgages rose one basis point to 3.40 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims fell by 13,000 claims to 209,000 claims filed and was lower than the expected reading of 221,000 new claims filed.  The July 4 holiday likely impacted the number of initial claims filed.

Whats Next

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 report on consumer sentiment. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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4 Times When Laminate Flooring Is Better Than Hardwood

4 Times When Laminate Flooring Is Better Than HardwoodHardwood flooring is considered a premium flooring material. It’s natural, long-lasting, durable and comes in a wide assortment of colors, wood, stains and plank widths. But hardwood flooring isn’t always the best choice. If you’re looking at homes to buy and eliminating the ones with laminate flooring, you could be overlooking some important considerations.

Following are four times when laminate flooring is a better option than hardwood.

1. You Live In A Very Humid Climate

Excess humidity isn’t kind to hardwood floors. Wood is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs moisture from the surroundings. Too much moisture in the air can make hardwood floor planks “cup,” which is when the lateral sides curl up. Wood swells when it gets wet, which can cause displacement of individual planks. Remember too, that you can live in a temperate climate, but if the house is lakeside or within 10 miles from the shoreline, that will increase the humidity levels in the home.

2. You Live In A Very Dry Climate

Hardwood floors don’t respond well to dry climates, either. In times of very low humidity, wood contracts. This can lead to cracking and the development of cracks in between planks. While the gaps can be temporary, if grime gets in there, they can become permanent. Cracking is permanent and needs to be repaired and then sealed. 

3. Your Family Is Hard On Floors

If you have youngsters, a big dog, or other factors, those can be hard on floors. In some cases like this, it can be damaging to hardwood floors, which are expensive to buy and maintain. Laminate flooring is much more accepting of wear and tear, and if you need to replace it, the cost isn’t exorbitant.

4. You Have Special Hobbies

If you have certain activities you engage in, such as painting, fishing, wood carving or other special hobbies, you might want to reconsider the value of laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is a lot easier to clean up when it comes to paint splatters, muddy boots and wood shavings. With laminate flooring, instead of worrying about protecting your hardwood floors, you can focus on enjoying your hobby.

If your real estate agent wants you to see a house with laminate flooring, give it a chance. You might just discover that there are times when laminate flooring is better than hardwood. 

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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Making Money Buying Homes And More From Estate Sales

Making Money Buying Homes And More From Estate SalesAn estate sale is the sale of the property owned by a person after a person dies. This sale may include real property, such as a home, and personal property, such as the home’s contents.

There are two ways to buy property through an estate sale. One way is to buy it from the person who inherited the property. The other way is to buy it from the estate through the executor of the estate. The executor is the person with the legal authority to dispose of the estate’s assets according to the last will and testament of the person who died.

The executor of the estate may be working with the state authorities in a probate court if the estate is in probate. Probate is an action by law that occurs automatically if the person died without leaving a will. Probate legal proceedings may also happen if the beneficiaries of an estate dispute a will that exists.

Opportunities In Estate Sales

Usually, the property purchased from an estate sale is available at a discount from its market value. Sometimes, this discount may be significant. When a person buys a home sold this way, the purchase is usually on an “as-is” basis. That means the buyer takes all the risk when acquiring the property. The buyer may have to make significant repairs to the property if it needs them.

For this reason, the price of these estate homes is often much less than their market value. Moreover, when buying the contents of the home, it is possible to find treasures in the contents. Unfortunately, it is also possible to find only trash and junk that costs more to remove and throw out than it is worth.

Disadvantages Of Property Acquisition Through Estate Sales

The main disadvantage is buying something without really knowing what it is worth or having a complete evaluation of its condition.

Other disadvantages are that if the sale goes through probate, it may take a very long time to close, perhaps up to a year or more. There is a need to check all the familial circumstances, the legal title, and the will carefully. Otherwise, there may be legal complications and claims of ownership even after the property is acquired.

This is why having competent legal counsel to review a deal before making the purchase is critical. Nobody wants to buy a property that brings them into a lawsuit.

Finding Estate Sales

If a disputed will, or the lack thereof, puts a property through a legal probate process, then this is part of the public records. These records are available to anyone who wants to look at the information. Properties may be put up for public auction as part of the probate process.

For properties sold through the executor for the purpose of dividing up the proceeds among the heirs, they can be found by reading the obituaries and making contact with the executor after a person died.

Summary

Buying property through an estate sale may be very profitable. Many specialists make their careers in real estate investing based on these opportunities. To be successful in this effort requires patience and careful attention to details with competent legal support.

Whether you are interested in buying a home through an estate sale or a more traditional sale, be sure to get your pre-approval for financing in place with your trusted home mortgage professional well before you place an offer.

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3D Printing Used For Home Renovations And Construction

3D Printing Used For Home Renovations And Construction3D printing technology is a game-changer in the home construction business. Not only is the technology capable of printing a home, but it can also be used to print one at a much lower cost when compared to traditional home construction.

All3DP reports on homes printed using 3D technology that costs as little as $4,000 to $10,000. Some are ready for occupancy within 24 hours.

The $4,000 Home

A company in Texas, called ICON, is working with NewStoryCharity.org to create 3D-printed homes at an extremely low cost. New Story Charity builds simple homes in other countries, like Haiti and El Salvador. They give these homes to very poor people who live in shacks built out of plastic and cardboard.

These homes are small (around 500 square feet) and yet fully self-contained with a kitchen area, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a living space area.

Weather-Resistant Homes

A Russian company, called Apis Cor, used 3D printing to build a ready-to-use home for just over US$10,000 that can withstand the severe climate during winters in Russia. The 410-square-foot home is completely finished, painted inside and out, and wired for electricity. It was printed and built completely on site. It is small, yet quite attractive.

Ten Homes In One Day

A company in Shanghai, China, called Winsun, achieved the break-through of 3D printing ten homes out of a foamy, lightweight concrete material in a single day. The prospects of factory-produced extremely low-cost homes are extremely appealing in China where many millions are looking to have a new home.

Architectural Firsts

Many of the applications of 3D-printing technology in home construction focus on small homes built quickly for a really cheap price. That was what Winsun first started doing. However, 3D-printing technology is not limited to these cheap homes.

In fact, using 3D-printing technology, Winsun produced a beautiful, architecturally-stunning, office building that went up in Dubai for the price of $140,000. The project only took 17 days to complete. The cost was about one-half of regular construction costs for a building of the same type.

The office building has beautifully-curved walls and a style that would be very difficult to replicate by using other construction methods.

Summary

Expect that 3-D printing technology will increase in use for the construction of homes. Using 3D-printing technology also means that the homes can be very stylish. They can have nicely curved walls and are not limited to simple, rectangular-angled styles.

This means that, right now, they are perfect for a cottage home, an in-law apartment, or home office built in the back yards of larger homes in America. If you are thinking about a backyard cottage you can already get one 3D printed for a great price.

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

Posted in Real Estate | Tagged , ,

3D Printing Used For Home Renovations And Construction

3D Printing Used For Home Renovations And Construction3D printing technology is a game-changer in the home construction business. Not only is the technology capable of printing a home, but it can also be used to print one at a much lower cost when compared to traditional home construction.

All3DP reports on homes printed using 3D technology that costs as little as $4,000 to $10,000. Some are ready for occupancy within 24 hours.

The $4,000 Home

A company in Texas, called ICON, is working with NewStoryCharity.org to create 3D-printed homes at an extremely low cost. New Story Charity builds simple homes in other countries, like Haiti and El Salvador. They give these homes to very poor people who live in shacks built out of plastic and cardboard.

These homes are small (around 500 square feet) and yet fully self-contained with a kitchen area, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a living space area.

Weather-Resistant Homes

A Russian company, called Apis Cor, used 3D printing to build a ready-to-use home for just over US$10,000 that can withstand the severe climate during winters in Russia. The 410-square-foot home is completely finished, painted inside and out, and wired for electricity. It was printed and built completely on site. It is small, yet quite attractive.

Ten Homes In One Day

A company in Shanghai, China, called Winsun, achieved the break-through of 3D printing ten homes out of a foamy, lightweight concrete material in a single day. The prospects of factory-produced extremely low-cost homes are extremely appealing in China where many millions are looking to have a new home.

Architectural Firsts

Many of the applications of 3D-printing technology in home construction focus on small homes built quickly for a really cheap price. That was what Winsun first started doing. However, 3D-printing technology is not limited to these cheap homes.

In fact, using 3D-printing technology, Winsun produced a beautiful, architecturally-stunning, office building that went up in Dubai for the price of $140,000. The project only took 17 days to complete. The cost was about one-half of regular construction costs for a building of the same type.

The office building has beautifully-curved walls and a style that would be very difficult to replicate by using other construction methods.

Summary

Expect that 3-D printing technology will increase in use for the construction of homes. Using 3D-printing technology also means that the homes can be very stylish. They can have nicely curved walls and are not limited to simple, rectangular-angled styles.

This means that, right now, they are perfect for a cottage home, an in-law apartment, or home office built in the back yards of larger homes in America. If you are thinking about a backyard cottage you can already get one 3D printed for a great price.

If you’re 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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Rent-To-Own Opportunities For Those With Bad Credit

Rent-To-Own Opportunities For Those With Bad CreditFor those who have less than a stellar credit history; yet, who still want to have their own home, a rent-to-own option is worth considering. A rent-to-own (RTO) agreement is a hybrid between buying a home and renting a home.

Usually, RTO deals require a significant down payment that applies towards the home purchase. An RTO tenant/buyer gets the option to buy the home for a certain price at some date in the future. The down payment is lost if a tenant/buyer does not go forward with the home purchase.

Another common characteristic of RTO deals is that a portion of the rent applies to the home purchase.

The Pros Of Rent-To-Own Deals

The significant down payment on an RTO deal is usually more than would be required as a security deposit for a lease agreement on a home of a similar type. This down payment gives the home seller/landlord the financial security needed to let a person occupy the home even if they have a bad credit history.

In some cases, the party offering an RTO sale does not even bother to run a credit history check on the RTO buyer.

The seller/landlord gets to keep the down payment no matter what happens. Usually, a person putting down a significant amount is a good tenant in spite of having bad credit. Having money invested in the property gives the tenant/buyer a strong incentive to take better care of the property than if renting or leasing.

Another advantage for the tenant/buyer is the ability to lock in a home purchase price for a sales transaction completed far in the future.

Typical RTO deals last for two years or longer, with the average being five years. This gives the tenant/buyer time to improve credit records and to qualify for the financing needed to consummate the home purchase.

The Cons Of Rent-To-Own Deals

If property values go down in the area where the home is, the value of the RTO deal can suffer. A few years later, the home may not be worth the price for buying it that is in the RTO agreement.

If any life circumstances change, the tenant/buyer may lose the down payment by having to forgo purchasing the property. If the tenant/buyer does not consummate the purchase they lose the down payment plus any portion of the rent applied to reduce the purchase price.

The tenant/buyer in the RTO transaction typically has to take on full responsibility for the home after they occupy it. This is an advantage for the seller/landlord but a disadvantage for the tenant/buyer who becomes responsible for all the maintenance, repairs, and upkeep of the property.

Summary

Rent-to-own deals are quite popular and effective for both sides in the deal under certain circumstances. Certainly for those that have a poor credit history an RTO deal is a convenient way to reduce the waste of paying rent and gain some potentially valuable home ownership instead.

Please consider meeting with your trusted real estate and mortgage professionals to discuss your options before entering into a risky financial agreement.

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