6 Smart Ways Hardware Can Upgrade Your New Home

6 Smart Ways Hardware Can Upgrade Your New HomeDecorating and putting the finishing touches on your new home is definitely one of the most fun parts of moving. It’s satisfying to fill your new home with furnishings and décor choices that reflect your personality and lifestyle.

One of the most overlooked aspects of decorating is the hardware. However, hardware changes can dramatically transform your home in unexpected ways. Here are some ideas to use.

Install A New Door Knocker

If your new home has a door knocker, replace it with a new one. If it doesn’t already have one, it’s easy to install a door knocker using a simple household tool box. 

Install A Peephole

Your front door will be more secure with a peephole installed. Modern peepholes give a broad range of vision that will allow you to see to the far right and left of the front door. Be sure to install it low enough that older kids can look out of it easily, too.

Replace Doorknobs

If your new home is actually just new to you, it may have old and worn doorknobs. New doorknobs will make the actual door look brand new, too. Consider decorative doorknobs, which are a step above the standard brass doorknobs we’re all familiar with. If you aren’t comfortable replacing doorknobs, consider hiring a handyman or locksmith to do it for you.

Upgrade Wall Outlet Covers

Wall outlets are in every room, yet few homeowners think to upgrade them. You can find decorative wall outlet covers in various patterns, colors and images in hardware stores and online. If the idea of switching out all your wall outlet covers is overwhelming, consider just a few in special places, like your child’s bedroom or in the kitchen.

Upgrade Lighting Pull Cords

Those ceiling light pull cords leave a lot to be desired. Most of them are utilitarian but definitely not decorative. Consider adding an attractive fob to the end of each lighting fixture pull. Your local hardware lighting section will have many to choose from, and they’re very easy to install with not tools at all.

Replace Kitchen Cabinet Handles

Your new kitchen cabinets will get a facelift when you replace the old handles with new ones. Be sure to also get matching drawer pulls for the best overall effect.

Now you can see that changing out or adding new hardware can make such a big difference in the way your new home looks and feels. Just one afternoon of doing this easy project will make your new home look amazing for years to come.

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

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Four Key Injury Prevention Tips On Moving Day

Four Key Injury Prevention Tips On Moving DayIt’s more likely that someone will incur an injury on moving day than on an ordinary day. The reason is that people are moving in ways that they don’t normally move, loads can be heavy, and accidents do happen. However, most injuries on moving day can be prevented by taking a few simple precautions.

Use A Dolly

Instead of trying to move more than one box by hand, use a dolly or a hand truck. This inexpensive tool can safely move multiple boxes without you having to lift anything at all. Keep in mind that all the boxes should be of equal size; don’t attempt to stack uneven boxes because they may shift and fall, causing an injury.

Take Breaks

Moving day is stressful because there is often a time constraint involved. Everything has to be moved into the truck by a certain time in order to remain on schedule. However, this is the kind of pressure that can lead to injuries. Being overtired leads to carelessness and that’s when accidents occur. Take multiple 10-minute rest breaks throughout the day so your body and mind have a chance to recuperate.

Don’t Overload Boxes

One of the most common moving day injuries happens when someone tries to lift a box that ends up being excessively heavy. Be mindful of the weigh of each box as you pack it. It’s better to keep the weight reasonable and stuff the box with filler than to overload boxes. You don’t have to weigh each box, but just give it a gentle lift to monitor how heavy it’s getting as you pack it.

Send Smaller Kids Packing

If you have smaller kids, the best option is to send them to the parents’ house, or to a babysitter’s until everything is in the truck. Smaller kids may run around and trip you up, distract your attention or otherwise get injured.  

Even the backyard is not a great idea, because they may wander near the truck out of curiosity. For their safety and yours, consider having someone care for them for the day off the premises.

Finally, if you do feel a twinge in your back or get overly exerted, stop what you’re doing and sit or lay down for a few minutes. Don’t try to “push through” the pain; it’s not worth it. Moving day injuries can be minimized or prevented when you take these simple steps. 

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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Young Home Buyers Are A Growing Trend

Young Home Buyers Are A Growing TrendA new group of young American adults is emerging as home buyers. These are the young adults who were born after 1995 and are part of the demographic group named Generation Z (Gen Z). In 2019, there are 31.5 million Gen Z members who are adult age. This will increase to 44.5 million adults in this demographic group by 2032 as all the younger members become adults.

Right now, there are around 14 million adults in the Gen Z category who are using credit for the first time.

Not Too Young To Buy A Home

Transunion reports that most Gen Z members are getting credit cards, which is the easiest form of credit available to them. However, they are also applying for mortgage financing in record numbers. The year-over-year increase in home loans among this demographic group is up 112%.

Planning For The Future

In a study conducted by Bank of America, the majority of Gen Z consumers, who are between 18 and 23 years old, are already saving for the down payment needed to buy a home. A huge number of them, 59%, report that they plan to purchase a home during the next five years.

Most dream of owning a home before they are 30 years old. They want to buy modestly-sized and lower-priced homes. They have a high interest in homes that are energy-efficient, homes that use smart technology, and those with renewable energy systems.

Smart Homes And Smart Financial Planning

Many of this generation are still living with their parents to save money for a home purchase, which they would otherwise have to pay in rent. Having lived through the Great Recession in 2008, they are, in general, more pragmatic than previous generations. They take home ownership very seriously.

Manifestation Of The American Dream

Over 71%, of those desiring to buy a home, are already designing it in great detail by selecting things they find on the Internet, which appeal to them. They use social media systems like Pinterest and others to get interesting decorative ideas. They share their home decor ideas with friends.

Conclusion

REALTORS® who work with this new group of home buyers will likely find them more motivated to buy a home than previous generations. They are usually more dedicated with their serious financial planning efforts in how to go about achieving their dreams.

The Generation Z consumers know what they want. They are willing to make sacrifices to get it. The majority want a home and are making plans about how to pay for it.

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 your financing options.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 3rd, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 3rd, 2019Last week’s economic news included  readings on home price trends, pending home sales and weekly readings on average mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims. The University of Michigan also released consumer sentiment report.

Case-Shiller Reports Slower Home Price Growth in June

According to Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for June, home prices gained an average of 2.10 percent year-over-year. This was the slowest growth of home prices since 2012. Analysts said that home prices grew at one-third the 6.30 percent that home prices grew last year.

Home prices grew fastest in Phoenix, Arizona with year-over-year growth of 5.80 percent; Las Vegas, Nevada home prices rose 5.50 percent and Tampa, Florida reported 4.70 percent growth in home prices.

West coast cities led home price growth in recent years when home prices were rapidly increasing, but growth has slowed and Seattle, Washington reported negative year-over-year growth of home prices in June.Potential obstacles to home price growth include rising materials costs due to tariffs on imported building materials and concerns over slowing economic growth.

Pending Home Sales Lower in July

The National Association of Realtors® reported fewer pending home sales in July as compared to June. Pending sales, which are defined as sales for which purchase contracts have been signed, but sales not closed, fell by -2.50 percent in July as compared to 2,80 percent growth in June. Real estate pros said that the peak home-buying season slows as summer progresses.

All four regions reported fewer contract signings for previously-owned homes in July; the Northeast reported -1.60 percent fewer pending sales, the Midwest had -2.50 percent fewer pending sales and the South reported -2.40 percent fewer sales contracts signed. The biggest dip in contracts signed was in the West with sales contracts -3.40 percent lower than for June.

Analysts and real estate pros expected falling mortgage rates to boost home sales, but current homeowners took advantage of low mortgage rates to refinance their mortgages as would-be home buyers were unaffected by low mortgage rates.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates for fixed rate loans; rates rose three basis points on average for 30 and 15-year fixed rate mortgages. Rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.58 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.06 percent and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rates averaged 3.31 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages

Initial jobless claims rose from the prior week’s reading of 211,000 to 215,000 new jobless claims filed last week. Analysts expected 214,000 new claims to be filed. The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index dropped to an index reading of 89.8 as compared to the expected reading of 92.3 and July’s reading of 92.1. August’s reading was the lowest measurement of consumer sentiment since 2012.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on construction spending and data on public and private-sector jobs growth and the national unemployment rate. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and first-time jobless claims will also be released.

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Are Tiny Homes Here To Stay?

Are Tiny Homes Here To StayThe average size of an American home has been increasing since the 1970s. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) reports that, in 1973, the median size for a new home in the United States was 1,660 square feet.

Over the past 45 years or so, this increased by more than 1,000 square feet. The median size of a new home is now 2,687 square feet.

The Problem With Big Houses

At first, a big house is appealing until one tries to clean it or pay the utility bills. Many baby boomers, who are now nearing retirement age, are downsizing, especially if their children have all moved away.

Moreover, Millennials are the first generation of Americans to experience a reduced standard of living when compared to their parents.

Many millennials see big houses as wasteful, environmentally destructive, and not sustainable. Also, with the challenge of paying off massive student debt, these young adults are delaying buying a home or may remain renters for their rest of their lives, foregoing the chance to have their own home.

One solution for the problems with big houses is to make homes smaller.

The Tiny House Movement

There are strong motivators for the social trend called “The Tiny House Movement.” Many want a smaller space to live in, which they can more easily maintain and afford. Tiny houses are no more than 400 square feet. That is like living in a compact studio apartment.

TheTinyLife says that tiny houses are being built all over the country. They come in almost any style imaginable. The median price for a quality tiny house is about $40,000, although do-it-yourself types can build one for a lot less.

Some are built on a trailer bed that makes them portable. Others are built to function properly in off-grid locations using solar power. There are even tiny houses that have been printed using 3-D printing technology.

Tiny houses can be luxurious, or they can be built to provide inexpensive solutions for housing that helps the homeless.

The Denver Tiny House Community

Denver is trying an experiment with a group of tiny houses called The Beloved Community Village. This is a group of private one-room units that share a communal kitchen and bathrooms. They started with 11 units and plan to expand to 20.

The challenges they experienced were not necessarily construction related. They needed to change the zoning and occupant density rules to allow the development.

Summary

People make a conscious choice to simplify their lifestyle for the freedom that a minimalistic philosophy brings. It is quite possible to live well while also living with less. Tiny houses may even be part of the solution for the approximately half a million homeless people living on the streets in America as the successful tiny house community village in Denver is now demonstrating.

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

 

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Join Or Create A Real Estate Investors’ Pool For Fun And Profit

Join Or Create A Real Estate Investors' Pool For Fun And ProfitMany baby boomers are reaching retirement age. If they set up their financial planning well, while younger, they should have accumulated enough wealth to have some discretionary money available for making investments.

Others, who may be just starting out, have some investment capital but not necessarily enough to buy a piece of commercial real estate on their own. These investors might enjoy a real estate investment pool, also called an investors’ club.

Pooling Resources

One way to get some investment participation in real estate is to pool investment funds needed to have enough for the down payment on a piece of real estate.

For example, if the down payment for acquiring a single-family rental home is $40,000 and four investors chip in, this means the contribution by each one will be $10,000. Each investor will own 25% of the deal. Many can come up with $10,000 for investment but it may not be as easy to find a spare $40,000.

Real Estate Investment Clubs

An investment club is where people get together to review the summary of a real estate deal to discuss its merits as a group investment.

To find a local group there is a nice system called Meetup online, which is a good resource. If there is no real estate investment club in a particular local area, consider forming a new one through that system.

Legal Structure

For real estate purchased by an investors’ pool, the best legal structure is to acquire the property by a newly-formed limited liability company (LLC). An LLC is very easy to create online. The LLC structure limits the liability of its owners (members) to the amount they each invest in the LLC.

It is best to set up a new LLC for each closing of a real estate acquisition. In this way, the owners can be different and to separate the deal from the successes or losses in other deals. Investors in an LLC buy units of the LLC, not shares.

When an LLC starts, it is authorized to issue a certain number of units. Each investment gets a proportional percentage ownership share of the LLC. The investor gets the number of units that represents the percentage value of the investment compared to the total investment.

Work with a real estate agent to help find deals. Use competent legal counsel and a professional accounting firm to set up and manage the LLC properly.

Summary

Investment clubs can be very fun. There may be considerable discussion and disagreement about each potential deal. This is a welcome thing. It is excellent practice to learn how to conduct proper due diligence.

Investors who are just learning about what to look for in a real estate deal gain insights from more experienced investors. Experienced investors stay active and get a chance to pass on their knowledge to the less-experienced ones. Everyone enjoys socializing together and that is a nice extra reward.

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Case-Shiller: June Home Prices Grew at Slowest Pace in 12 Years

Case-Shiller June Home Prices Grew at Slowest Pace in 12 YearsHome price growth continued to slow in June according to Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index. 17 cities reported higher home prices in June, but three cities reported lower home prices month-to-month. Seattle, Washington was the only city to report lower home prices year-over-year in June.

Phoenix, Arizona Home Price Growth Highest in June

Phoenix, Arizona toppled Last Vegas, Nevada’s hold on first place for home price growth in June. According to Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index, home prices in Phoenix rose by 5.80 percent year-over-year in June. Las Vegas, Nevada followed closely with year-over-year home price growth of 5.50 percent. Tampa, Florida had the third highest rate of home price growth with a year-over-year reading of 4.70 percent.

Home prices also slowed nationally; Case-Shiller reported 3.10 percent growth as compared to May’s year-over-year pace of 3.30 percent growth in home prices.

Home Buyers Leaving High-Cost West Coast

Analysts pointed out that recent slowing in home price growth followed a long period of rapidly rising home prices and higher mortgage rates. This sidelined many buyers as cash buyers and investors competed for fewer available homes. First-time and moderate income buyers could not afford rapidly rising prices and mortgages. Stricter mortgage loan requirements put in place after the Great Recession made qualifying for home loans more difficult.

Homeowners may not be seeing top pricing, buyer competition and offers higher than their asking prices, but after the long and fast increase in home prices, many sellers stand to realize significant profits after years of gains. At the height of the housing recovery, cities on the west coast saw steep rises in home prices. Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California enjoyed rapid home price growth as buyers paid cash and outbid each other, but lagging home price growth suggests that sky-high home prices have peaked in the West.

Seattle, Washington was the first city to show a year-over-year drop in home prices. Low mortgage rates may encourage formerly sidelined home buyers to enter the housing market. Analysts said that the only obstacle to increasing home sales might be homeowners unwilling to sell as home prices ease. Consumer concerns over the economic impact of trade tariffs may delay decisions to buy a home as consumer costs continue to rise. Home builders share these concerns as the cost of imported building materials increases.

 

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Should You Relocate A House To Improve Its Value?

Should You Relocate A House To Improve Its ValueWhat can be done with a house that is just perfect but it is in a bad neighborhood or a dangerous spot? Think about homes that are in decent condition; yet, too close to the water. America is experiencing flooding now that is not supposed to happen in 500 years.

That cute little beach bungalow could easily get wiped out in the next hurricane. It might be time to think about moving those homes to a safer area or higher ground.

The International Association of Structural Movers says that around 8,000 homes are moved each year in America. Relocation may be due to hazards, such as the erosion of an oceanfront or cliff side lot. Others relocate for their historical value.

What It Takes To Move A Home

There are five main considerations for moving a home, which are:

  1. Legal Issues: Moving the home and transporting it must be allowed by law.
  2. Strength: A home must be strong enough to stay together when disconnected from its foundation.
  3. Lift and Transport: It must be possible to lift the home and transport it to the new location.
  4. Access: Access to the home’s new location must be unimpaired on the route to get there and on the site when the home arrives.
  5. Cost: The cost to move a home may be shockingly prohibitive.

Legal Issues

The legal issues can be very challenging. Do not give up easily, if the idea of moving a home is blocked at first because it may be possible to get a one-time waiver from the regulations.

Strength

Some homes are not strong enough to move. However, it is surprising what is possible if the home and/or lot is very valuable.

There are home-moving projects that lifted Victorian-style homes built over one hundred years ago in the most valuable parts of San Francisco. These homes only moved upwards. They stayed on their lots. The moving project raised them 15-feet higher to allow a garage to be built underneath. These well-built wooden homes survived the 1906 earthquake. They were carefully raised without damaging them.

Lift And Transport

Experts use many techniques to lift a home and prepare it for transport. Homes may be transported by strong flat-bed trucks, by industrial, heavy-lifting helicopters, and on barges in the river or ocean. Homes can be disassembled partially to make moving them easier.

Access

When moving a home, even if separated in pieces, the pieces may be very large. The entire transport route needs to be carefully checked by an engineer for proper clearance heights, enough turning radius when needed, and sufficient width for passage.

Cost

While many homes are movable, the cost may be too high to make it worthwhile. However, the cost to move a multi-million dollar mansion falling off a cliff may be far less than the home’s value, which might otherwise be lost.

Summary

If there is a beautiful heritage home sitting on a cliff’s edge overlooking the ocean and teetering on the edge of collapse, there is a new way to think about it. It may make perfect sense to move it to a lot that is down the street and further away from the edge.

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

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 26th, 2019

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – August 26th, 2019Last week’s economic news included readings  from the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index and July readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on initial jobless claims and mortgage rates were also released.

NAHB: Home Builder Sentiment Remains High

According to the National Association of Home Builders, builder confidence in housing market conditions rose one point to an index reading of 66 for August. Housing Market Index readings showed that builder sentiment has held steady with readings of 64 to 66; any reading over 50 indicates positive builder sentiment.

Analysts said that despite strong readings for builder confidence in recent months, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued did not reflect high builder confidence readings. Reports on housing starts and building permits issued fall one month behind the NAHB Housing Market Index.

Housing Starts Falter as Building Permits Increase

Commerce Department readings for July showed mixed results for housing starts and building permits issued as starts fell from June’s  downwardly revised reading of 1.24 million starts to 1.19 million starts in July. Housing starts are calculated on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis.

July building permits rose from June’s reading of 1.232 million permits to 1.336 million permits issued. Analysts expected a reading of 1.287 million housing starts for July. This was the second consecutive positive reading for housing starts after a post-recession period of fewer starts.

While building permits for single-family homes traditionally outpace permits issued for multi-family housing, analysts noted that demand for multi-family housing developments is trending higher due to high prices for single-family homes.

Increasing costs for building materials, indications of  global and domestic economic uncertainty and changing consumer priorities were cited as trends impacting housing starts.

Mortgage Rates Hold Near Record  Low, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported little change in mortgage rates last week; the average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages was unchanged at 3.60 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.07 percent and were two basis points higher.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell one basis point to 3.35 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

First-time jobless claims rose last week to 220,000 new claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 211,000 new jobless claims filed. Analysts expected 212,000 claims to be filed last week. Nearly 6000 new jobless claims filed in California boosted last week’s reading for new claims.

The less volatile four-week rolling report on new jobless claims rose by 1000 claims to  213,750 new claims filed. New jobless claims hit their highest level in six weeks, but were lower than average.

Consumer sentiment concerning current economic conditions fell 6.20 points to an index reading of 92.1 according to the University of Michigan monthly survey of consumer confidence in the economy. Concerns over trade wars and the Federal Reserve’s decision to lower its target interest rate range prompted consumer confidence to slip in August.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on sales of new and previously owned homes and minutes from the last meeting of the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

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Tips On Making Friends In Your New Neighborhood

Tips On Making Friends In Your New NeighborhoodIt’s often harder to make friends as an adult than it is when you’re a child. It’s even more challenging to make adult friends when you move into a new neighborhood. You may feel like people already have their own group of friends and aren’t looking to include newcomers. Of course, that’s just an illusion.

Here are some easy ways to implement tips for making friends in your new neighborhood.

Put Out The Welcome Mat

Make your front door inviting to the neighbors. Place some cheery flower pots near the porch and buy a nice welcome mat for the front door. Be sure to put fresh light bulbs in the porch lanterns, too. These small touches will show neighbors you’re setting a friendly tone.

Have Coffee And Lunch Out

Make a point of having your coffee breaks and lunch at the nearby cafes as often as possible. Mention to the servers or owner that you’re new in town and this is your first time trying out their menu. They’ll likely take an interest in you and ask what house you bought, and so on. As you continue returning, you’ll be on a first-name basis, which will probably lead to some casual introductions to other locals who are stopping in for coffee.

Host A Housewarming Party

Housewarming parties are a fantastic way to welcome old friends and meet new ones. They are also a great excuse to knock on your neighbors’ doors and personally let them know they’re invited. If you feel uncomfortable having strangers in your new home, make it a backyard BBQ housewarming. In no time at all, you’ll have a new collection of local friends and acquaintances.

Join The Local Clubs

Membership clubs offer a natural way to meet new people without appearing overtly friendly. Look for some local clubs you’re interested in, such as gardening, exercise and book clubs. When you start attending on a routine basis, friendships will organically begin to develop.

Volunteer

If you have an extra hour or two in the week, consider volunteering as a way to help the community and to make new friends. Places that typically need volunteers include theaters, schools and athletic programs.

Making friends in your new neighborhood will enable you and your family to feel more at home sooner. One or more of the above-mentioned tips is likely to work for your personality and preferences.  And don’t forget your real estate and mortgage professionals! They’d be happy to help get you connected as well!

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