Category: Home Prices

Real Estate mogul, Sean Conlon, host of The Deed: Chicago on CNBC, was recently asked the question, should you buy? Or should you rent a house? Conlon responded:

“I am a true believer that you save every penny and you buy your first house… and that is still the fastest path to wealth in this country.”

Conlon went on to suggest that first-time buyers put down 10-20% “if they can make it work,” and to remain in their home at least 4-5 years to see a return on their investment.

Who is Sean Conlon, and why should you listen to his advice?

Within a few years of working in the real estate industry, Conlon had established himself as one of the leading agents in the United States and has founded 3 billion-dollar brokerages dealing in residential, commercial and investment sales. Since immigrating to America from the United Kingdom in 1990, he believes very strongly in the American Dream and the role that homeownership plays in achieving it. Conlon is quoted on his website as saying:

“I treat people the way I would like to be treated if I went in to buy a house and I work harder than anybody I know. I think if you do that in America, you will always succeed.”

Bottom Line

Homeownership is an investment you can leverage against in the future, that not only provides shelter and safety but also helps you build your family’s wealth. If you are debating whether or not to purchase a home this year, meet with a local real estate professional who can assist you, today!

4 Reasons Why You’re Not Too Young to Buy a Home

If you’re in your 20s and still paying off student loans, buying a house might seem like an unreasonable or even crazy idea. But with rents on the rise, more and more young people are trading in their leases for mortgage agreements. In fact, Millennials aged 18 to 34 have accounted for the largest group of homebuyers for the past three years. Here are four reasons why you should join them.

 

Owning Can Grow Your Savings

You don’t have to hand over all the money for your new home at once. If you’re looking to buy a $140,000 home, a 15% down payment comes out to $21,000. That’s a fair chunk of change, and it might not feel like savings. But over the long run, your mortgage payments could be turn out to be much cheaper than your monthly rent. Plus, with a fixed-rate mortgage, you can count on stability. Your rent won’t go up, because you won’t be paying rent.

 

You’ll Gain Equity

Even if your mortgage payments aren’t lower than your rent, at least you’re getting something back: equity in your home. With each payment you make, you own a little more of your home — which is money that will come back to you if you ever sell. You can also borrow against your home equity, which can come in handy if you need to finance a large purchase.

 

You’re Not Trapped

One advantage of renting is that you can change your plans relatively quickly and painlessly. Bad breakup? Sudden career change? Renters only have to wait out their lease — or break it — to make a change. To many habitual renters, ownership looks like a ball-and-chain. But it doesn’t have to be. You can always sell — and if you sell for a profit after three years, you can avoid paying a capital gains tax. No, it’s not a month-to-month lease, but if you know you’ll be living in your current area for over three years, ownership can be a smart (and flexible) decision.

 

You Don’t Have Kids (Probably)

Millennials are waiting longer to get married than any other generation in history, and similarly, many are waiting even longer to have children. In terms of home buying, this is a very good thing. When you have kids, your ability to build up your savings account is impeded — those babies aren’t cheap. Having already made the large purchase, and having already started reaping the monthly savings benefits, can be a financial advantage if and when you do decide to grow your family.

 

 

Sam Radbil is a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO, an online apartment marketplace. ABODO apartments was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin.

 

 

There are some people who have not purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s. As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained this month in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”:

While renting on a temporary basis isn’t terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you’re serious about your finances. It won’t make you rich overnight, but by renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. In effect, you’re making someone else rich.”

Christina Boyle, Senior Vice President and head of the Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management organization at Freddie Mac,explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:

“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person with that equity. Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were at 4.23% last week.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.

Kaitlin Krull

As the twenty-first century progresses, homes are becoming more high-tech and automated. While we haven’t quite reached Star Trek levels of technology in our homes yet, we at Home Improvement Leads think one of the best things about advancing technology in the home is the rapid development of products and materials that help save the environment. Eco-friendly residential design features like solar panels, energy efficient windows and appliances, and sustainable building materials help homeowners do their part to reduce carbon emissions while saving them money at the same time. Here are just a few of the latest eco-friendly home design features you may find in homes like yours in 2017.

 

Building integrated photovoltaics

Every year, more Americans are taking the leap into solar power for their homes. Renewable energy is important for several reasons, including the reduction of carbon emissions given off by traditionally designed buildings and our energy-heavy lifestyles. The latest technology in residential solar power includes photovoltaic panels that are built into the roof itself, making them less conspicuous and offering a more fluid design. Energy powerhouse Elon Musk of Tesla has just introduced a range of solar roofing tiles that will soon make its way into the product catalogs of solar providers throughout the country, changing the face of solar as we know it.

via Fortune

 

Solar batteries

Another advantage of using renewable energy in the home is the ability to store any extra power collected by solar panels to be used later. In addition to producing an innovative solution for solar panels, Tesla has also introduced a second version of its Powerwall—a solar battery for the home—in order to help make homes self sufficient. Solar batteries like these store unused solar energy and can be used to power the home for an extended period of time, making them perfect for off-grid living and eco-friendly homes.

via Tesla

 

Net-zero energy

New homes in particular have seen an upswing in the ultra-sustainable form of building design and construction known as net-zero energy. The goal with net-zero energy buildings is to produce as much energy as is consumed and to have no outstanding carbon emissions. This is accomplished through a variety of environmentally friendly and low energy use practices, including passive solar design (taking into consideration factors such as house direction in relation to the sun and natural shade), sustainable building practices and materials, and the regular use of a renewable energy source.

 

Sustainable building materials

Now more than ever, homeowners are choosing locally sourced, sustainable building materials for home renovation projects and new homes. These considerations not only lower the carbon footprint of a building project but also help the local economy at the same time. As noted above, choosing sustainable products and materials is one of the first and most essential steps in the net-zero energy building process and will instantly increase your home’s eco-friendly status.

Eco-friendly roofing materials

While thinking about the energy efficiency of materials used to construct your home seems straightforward, homeowners often forget to take into consideration the type of roofing their home has and its impact on the environment. Metallic and tile-based roofing materials and light colors can keep your home cooler in the summer by reflecting the sun’s rays, while heavier materials such as asphalt and fiber cement can withstand colder temperatures and give an insulating layer to your roof in the winter. Homeowners who really want to embrace an environmentally friendly lifestyle may opt for a living roof—which is covered in vegetation—to reduce their carbon footprint, blend in with their natural surroundings, and regulate the temperature in their home.

Courtni Wisenbaker-Scheel

 

A recent study by the National Association of Home Builders concluded that the typical homeowner stays in their house for only 13 years before selling, as opposed to the 30+ years from decades past. That’s why we at Home Improvement Leads know that it’s important to consider how each renovation will impact your home’s value and resale potential, in addition to your personal style, before the first hammer is swung. With these six renovation projects, though, you are sure to have both.

 

Increasing Energy Efficiency

In previous years, energy efficiency wasn’t a top priority for homeowners. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case, and any realtor will tell you that most potential buyers are willing to pay more for a home that touts exceptional energy savings. These renovations can be as simple as laying fiberglass attic insulation or as innovative as installing solar panels. No idea what improvements your home needs? A certified energy auditor can help you determine which upgrades will give you the best savings possible.

 

Window Replacements

Get the comfort you want by replacing worn-out windows with replacements that are approved by Energy Star. In most cases, any expense isn’t recouped through increased property value gets made up for in energy savings, making this renovation a double win.

 

Kitchen Upgrades

For most families, the kitchen is the heart of the home. If yours does little to inspire creativity, consider opting for a minor kitchen update rather than a full renovation—it’ll save both time and money while still yielding a strong ROI. Simply reface your cabinetry, upgrade modestly with your appliances, and replace your flooring and countertops to make your kitchen feel like new again.

 

Outdoor Living

Our homes are so much more than what exists under one roof. Beautiful landscaping and the addition of a backyard deck will not only yield your family hours of enjoyment, but an impressive ROI, too. The national average for new construction costs are more than $85 per square foot. Depending on the materials you choose, a new deck can run you as little as $15 per square foot while boosting your property value by close to $9,000.

 

Attic Conversions

Little does more to make your home more appealing to potential buyers than by having ample bedrooms. Converting unused attic space into a sophisticated bedroom will increase the available living space within your home without having to take on the financial burden that comes with building a new addition. Though this renovation has the potential to run close to $65,000, you can expect to recoup more than 60 percent of that whenever you choose to sell.

 

Smaller Projects with Big Returns

A bigger budget doesn’t always translate into a higher ROI. In fact, smaller projects like replacing your garage doors or your front door have the potential to recoup more than 90 percent of the renovation expense in increased property value. Plus, projects like these are relatively easy to DIY and can be completed in a weekend, which saves you labor costs, too.

 

By thinking of the future when you make your home renovation plans, you’ll get the home of your dreams now and an ROI that will keep you smiling for years to come.

Are you hosting for the holidays?  Not sure where to start? Running out of time? No worries!  If it’s calm you’re seeking let us help you get there. This quick guide to prepare for holiday guests will help relieve the stress of hosting and help you enjoy this special time with family and friends!

 

Guests should feel an expected welcome into your home as soon as they step foot through the front door. Keep overhead lights low inside the foyer and add a warm glow either through candles or a lamp sitting in an entry table or shelf. Find a fun, holiday welcome mat or floor rug to warm up the space. To also set a cozy feel, you can add usable seasonal accents like wool blankets or blanket scarves hanging from hooks or rolled up in baskets.

 

Make sure your house smells good! Clean the kitchen and bathrooms thoroughly using great smelling cleaning supplies. Vacuum the carpet and dust the furniture because dust actually smells. Take out the trash and if you have pets, clean out their cages and litter boxes. Add more candles throughout the house to create a warm, calm, and clean smelling space. Stick to one or two similar holiday scents or just a clean linen fragrance that will make your house smell fresh.

 

Besides the house smelling good, you should layer objects such as books, baskets, old trunks, crates, or foot stools under open tables or benches to give your living/family room a cozier feel. Add soft throw blankets to the couches or roll up into baskets for your guests to grab while they watch TV.

 

Lastly, when it’s time to head to bed, guests should feel comfortable in their space. Keep decor simple, but add a wreath or a touch of holiday decor to the guest bedroom and bathroom. Provide an empty closet and dresser. The bedding should have fresh, clean sheets and a couple of extra blankets and pillows left out to suit individual comfort levels. Stack big fluffy towels on the bed and in the bathroom. Set a basket full of essential toiletries and rolled up washcloths on the bathroom counter. You can also create warmth by adding candles, throw blankets, and even a cozy rug by the bed.

 

Bottom line…you set the tone, so if you want calm, be calm!  Relax, enjoy, and happy holidays.

Although a single late payment can lower your credit score—since payment history is 35 percent of your FICO credit score—how much it affects your score will depend on a lot of different factors. For example, making a payment one day late on a low-limit department store credit card may not be as detrimental to your credit as being 60 days overdue on your mortgage. Some of the factors that will determine the impact on your score include the type of account that it is, how late the payment is, if you’ve had other late payments, and what your credit score currently is. The important thing is to make the payment and get your account back in good standing, which you’ve done. Being late is one thing, but not making the payment at all is another thing altogether. Generally, if the late payment is your only late payment in the last several years, you shouldn’t worry too much about it. Also, keep in mind that a lender may choose to overlook a single late payment if the rest of your credit is very good. In the end, it’s not always about your credit score, but rather your creditworthiness in a lender’s eyes.

 

© Left Field Media

The day has finally arrived: you survived the recession by heading to grad school, you’ve been steadily working for a few years at XYZ Consulting Art History PR and Travel Blogging Firm (a nonprofit) to balance out your debt ratio, you’re in a committed relationship with your cat (so you think), and you’ve been roommate-free for two years and counting. Whew. It’s time to embrace that final mantle of adulthood by saying goodbye to your tiny rental/room in mom’s basement. Now, now, calm down—you know you’re ready! Let’s take a look at the number of factors to consider now that you’ve decided to adult.

First, the scary stuff: Consider your finances.
Buying a home is a great option if (1) your job is stable, (2) you don’t plan on moving soon (it’s the worst, anyway), and (3) rents are increasing. Take a look at your credit history and score, and figure out what available resources you can dedicate to a down payment and a monthly payment. The total amount you’ll need for a conventional loan is 20% of the home value plus closing costs. While this number may seem scary, there are multiple government programs and options for lower down payments. Typically, first-time homebuyers can put down 0-5%. Next, you’ll need to find a lender to pre-qualify you for a home loan at an affordable rate. Getting pre-approved for a loan will help expedite the closing process

Now the fun stuff: Finding the best fit. Looking for that perfect, two-bedroom downtown loft accessible to hiking trails, Trader Joe’s, and your favorite pub crawl will be a majorly fun timesuck. There are multiple online sites and apps to browse while commuting to work, being at work, coming home from work, and lying in bed before tucking your phone under the pillow. But before you jump online and start searching willy-nilly, decide what’s important to you. How far is your commute? How walkable is the community? How accessible are you to main roads and retail amenities? How many hipsters per square mile? How easy is it to find a bar? Are there Uber drivers always at ready? Is the neighborhood mostly families, older couples, young professionals, or a mixture? Narrow down your search to a specific geographic region in order to find what will fit you the best, as well as influence the outcome of your first major investment. It’s also important to remember that different kinds of homes have different expenses. For example, single-family homes don’t the same expenses for landscaping, HOA fees, and community amenities as townhomes and condos.

The dealmakers: Can I do this by myself? The short answer is no. I know, I know. You were raised on the internet, and therefore you can lifehack your way through any process. While this may be true when changing your timing belt or getting the best deal on a flatscreen TV, you’ll receive invaluable guidance and information by working with a licensed real estate agent. While the vast majority of inventory is accessible online with photos, video tours, and detailed information, agents specialize in specific market areas and have access to information about the homes and communities that you can’t find anywhere else. Additionally, their expertise is invaluable when touring a home. Licensed, experienced agents (read: not your friend’s friend’s brother or your goddaughter’s uncle) can look for potential issues and problems on house walkthroughs. While major issues are usually uncovered during inspections, an agent can save you a lot of heartache by offering their experienced-backed opinions before you make it to the inspection stage. If only Grey’s Anatomy had come with some kind of initial walkthrough…

So. Now you’ve found the house, you’ve selected an agent, and it’s time to submit your offer. An agent will be very useful—especially in competitive markets—in negotiating an appropriate price. The offer is put in writing (again, an agent will navigate you through this maze of paperwork), you’ll submit a “good faith” deposit, and you’ll finalize your purchase contract. Don’t panic! This is just the housing version of “You want to like, date seriously, like only me?” Yes, I want to date, like, only you.” It basically means that you’re committed, they’re committed.

Last steps: Closing. This is an entirely other blog post by itself, but never fear. With the right agent, it’s only a waiting game.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully become the kind of person who can read an entire article (with no GIFs or videos, mind you) about adulting without falling into a full-blown panic attack! While buying your first home may seem like a daunting task, with the right mindset and preparation, you’ll soon be moving your childhood paraphernalia from Mom and Dad’s into your new home and taking daily trips to IKEA—and don’t forget to bring the cat!

TransUnion recently released the results of a new study titled The Bubble, the Burst and Now – What Happened to the Consumer? The study revealed that 1.5 million homeowners that were negatively impacted by the housing crisis could re-enter the housing market in the next three years.

TransUnion defined “negatively impacted” as…

“…those who were 60+ days past due on a mortgage loan, lost their mortgage through foreclosure, short sale or other non-satisfactory closure, or had a mortgage loan modification between the Bubble and Burst.”

Other interesting findings in the study:

  • During the mortgage bubble in 2006, 78 million consumers, or 43% of credit-active consumers in the U.S., had a mortgage
  • More than 8% of these consumers were “impacted”
  • 5 Million consumers will again be eligible for a mortgage in the next four years

Here are the numbers of consumers who will meet mortgage guidelines over the next four years:

Boomerang Buyers Re-Entering The Market | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

If you are a family that experienced the impact of the last housing crisis, now may be the right time to again buy your own home.

Thank you to Keeping Current Matters for this article.

Now that the housing market has stabilized, more and more homeowners are considering moving up to their dream home. With interest rates still near 4% and home values on the rise, now may be a great time to make a move.

Sellers should realize that waiting while mortgage rates are increasing probably doesn’t make sense. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain budget for your monthly housing costs.

Here is a chart detailing this point:

Buyer's Purchasing Power | Keeping Current Matters

With each quarter percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5%, (in this example, $10,000). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 5% by this time next year.

Act now to get the most house for your hard earned money.