Ways to save on flood insurance - 05/11/2022
Homeowners purchase flood insurance because they believe it’s needed, or because their mortgage lender requires it. In either case, especially the latter, no one likes spending a lot for the protection. Just as the public perception of flooding risk is changing from the news images of disasters, experts are also reassessing...Read More

55 plus communities enjoy booming interest - 05/04/2022
Baby Boomers are now senior citizens, with the older edge in their seventies. But “they see themselves as younger,” says Deborah Blake, principal of consulting firm Ipsum Group. That mindset, along with the sheer numbers of Boomers, is driving an uptick in “55 Plus Active Adult “communities. While 55 is the...Read More

“These Mortgages Are Keepers?” - 04/20/2022
We may not hold many fond memories from the last couple of pandemic-ridden years, except for one notable exception: the record low mortgage rates. With the Federal Reserve beginning to steadily drop rates in 2020 that yearsaw an average rate of 3.11 percent on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, and rates dipped further to their lowest level...Read More

Uphill Battle: Buying a Home Amid Rising Rates - 04/13/2022
A “pre-approval letter” is like a license to buy a home; without it, a seller won’t take a buyer seriously. A pre-approval is a statement from a specific lender on how big a mortgage loan they’ll extend. Keep in mind though that pre-approval letters have a short shelf life. After a couple of years of flat and...Read More

Old Homes for Young Buyers - 04/06/2022
Millennials born between 1981 and 1996 may crave modern, multi-functional rooms. But, according to a recent report from the government-sponsored mortgage firm, Freddie Mac, they’re likely to buy homes reminiscent of ones that were built near or before they were born. Younger Millennials purchase homes that average 41 years old,...Read More

Bigger Share of Newly Constructed Homes on the Market - 03/30/2022
This year, home seekers who do buy are more likely than ever to purchase a new home – literally. Redfin reports that in December of 2021, newly constructed homes represented a 34.1 percent share of all homes for sale, a record high. Such a big portion is new construction, primarily because there’s such a very low supply of...Read More

Winning The Home Buying Race - 03/23/2022
The housing market is now a game of musical chairs. And it’s only buyers who stake their claim before others and end up with keys to a new home. How quick did successful buyers have to be in 2021, a year with sparse listings that promises to repeat itself in 2022? The National Association of Realtors {NAR} found that it took a...Read More

“How Big a Bite of Monthly Income Should a Mortgage Take?” - 03/16/2022
Getting mortgage pre-approval is a necessary step that allows homebuyers to make a serious offer, but the total loan amount given in pre-approval can be misleading. Instead, borrowers should “work backward from that number” taking the price of the home, property taxes, and the likely homeowner insurance charges and figuring...Read More

Income Tax Wrinkles For Home-Based Employees - 03/09/2022
Pandemic-bred remote workers transformed the housing market; fleeing to suburbs and far-flung locales. Now, income tax preparation is transformed for many of these WFH employees. Specifically, remote employees who’ve relocated to a different state than the one their employer is based can face hitches on their state tax bill. And,...Read More

Home Sellers: Are You Ready For Your Close-Up? - 03/02/2022
Before it’s listed or a potential buyer steps in, sellers should pour their best effort into making their home picture-perfect. After all, when the home is photographed – usually about a week before listing – is when hundreds of potential buyers will see it. The better the home looks in online video tours and slide shows,...Read More

“Sell, Retire, Rent… Could That Work?” - 02/23/2022
High home prices are a gift to aging homeowners whose retirement nest egg is skimpy. Except that when retired owners sell and pivot to the buy-side, high prices on even much smaller homes can erode much of their sale profit. The other choice is to invest sale proceeds and rent instead of buy. “Especially with today’s...Read More

It Takes a Village: The Appeal of Master Planned Communities - 02/16/2022
It’s been a pronounced seller’s market throughout most of the country, but that’s more or less the norm for a certain segment– the “Master Planned Community” or [MPC]. Typically in suburban locations where large portions of land are available, MPCs offer a mix of housing options, as well as...Read More

What’s Affordable? Check Your Own Paycheck’s Power - 02/09/2022
Affordability is one consideration every homebuyer contends with. Whether it’s a family with $80,000 in total income or a retiree who’s amassed a multi-million dollar nest egg, certain homes are available to them only if they can swing the expense. That’s why the “affordability index” has long been a staple...Read More

A New Job Could Delay Home Buying - 02/02/2022
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who’ve participated in the “Great Resignation,” and apply for a mortgage in the next couple of years, remember how you convinced your new employer you were perfect for the job. Repeating that argument effectively could win you loan approval. The pandemic-led upheaval in...Read More

Home Color Trends Veer Green - 01/26/2022
This year, home interiors that register with trend-conscious buyers will be warmer; with greens and earthy tones encroaching on the antiseptic, stark grays, and neutrals that have long-reigned. Each year, paint manufacturers unveil their “color of the year,” which their research shows reflects the mood of the country and...Read More

“Owners Win Big From Price Rises” - 01/19/2022
It’s a lucky time to be a homeowner. According to research firm CoreLogic, owners gained an average of $51,500 in equity from the end of 2020 through 2021. That’s the highest ever, due to record home price rises. {Home equity is determined by the current value of a home minus any outstanding mortgage balance owed.} The...Read More

Absentee Sellers Make a Home More Appealing - 01/05/2022
With properties averaging far fewer days from listing until purchase, recent times haven’t been a reflection of a “normal” housing market The speed at which houses are moving has prompted more sellers to invert the “normal” practice of selling first and then moving out. Instead, real estate agents report...Read More

A New Model of the Middle-Class Subdivision - 12/29/2021
America needs more affordable homes. And that’s a big reason why manufactured homes, which are built in a factory and transported to a site, are hitting record numbers, with more than an estimated 100,000 produced this year, about one-tenth the number of site-built homes. A big impetus for growth in the past few years, explains...Read More

Which Price Is Right? - 12/22/2021
Each buyer has his list of priorities that he looks for in a home, whether it’s an ample kitchen or a prime location. But, there’s one feature every home shopper cares about: the price tag. So it may seem a bit odd that on the sites that compile MLS home sale listings around the country, Zillow and Redfin, that the...Read More

Can We Interest You In Moving Here? - 12/15/2021
Thousands of home shoppers are no longer limited to search parameters in a specific geographic area. Remote workers without the hassle of a commute now have the freedom to find a home that offers certain advantages, whether it’s lower living costs, proximity to open spaces, or a family-friendly environment. Lately, smaller cities...Read More

Learning from the Mistakes of Frenzied Buyers - 12/08/2021
Sellers are routinely advised to clear away anything, like family photos, that identify their home as uniquely their own. And buyers with awareness of this tactic may find it easier to stick to a budget. “It’s easy for consumers to feel ownership of a home, especially when they enter it, touch countertops, and open...Read More

Profit From A Home Sale Sooner: If You Have Some Place To Go - 12/01/2021
Don’t buy a home unless you are relatively sure you’ll be there for three years—or better yet, five to seven. Financial advisors have long dispensed this advice because it takes time to recoup the cost of purchasing a home. Besides the charges for a moving van, closing costs on securing a mortgage are about two to...Read More

Mixing Work And Pleasure: Growing Popularity Of Short-Term Rentals - 11/24/2021
The pandemic upended Americans’ relationships with their homes. Many, forced to stay home, decided that they didn’t like what they had, and looked to put down roots in a more comfortable home. Others went in the opposite direction, not wanting to call any place home for long. Now, companies like Sentral, Landing, Mint House...Read More

Inheriting a Preference for Homeownership - 11/17/2021
Buying your first home is a long, hard slog. Did you know that the bulk of first-time buyers are now between the ages of 31 and 40? Additionally, the Urban Institute finds that whether young adults can buy before age 40 is influenced by whether their parents are homeowners. Even when controlling for factors like education, marital...Read More

How Much Color Helps a Home Sell? - 11/10/2021
Buyers want to find a place that they can easily envision themselves living in. But first, they have to be interested enough to tour a home and rank it among their favorites. That idea explains the findings of a recent Zillow survey of 1,300 prospective homebuyers who said they were more interested in visiting a home they viewed online...Read More

Seniors Save Their Housing Wealth for Their Kids - 11/03/2021
Now and in the years ahead, Baby Boomers and older Americans are passing down trillions of dollars to their heirs, according to Federal Reserve data. And it’s not just those with surnames like Buffett, Bloomberg and Bezos who stand to receive money when wills are read. If your parent or grandparent is a homeowner, there’s...Read More

What Would an Expert Do to Sell Your Home? - 10/27/2021
Home sales slow in autumn, but thinking about selling kicks into high gear, as owners prepare to list early the next year. Now, owners of “ordinary” homes – near the median price and of a typical style for the area – can tap experts other than local real estate agents for input on what improvement could help them...Read More

Time For a Bath That Sells - 10/20/2021
We’ve de-cluttered and worked on the yard and garden. Now, especially since it won’t be disrupting as much homeschooling and remote work as 2020 saw, households are doing more ambitious kitchen and bath remodeling, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). Drawn by rising home sale prices, homeowners are...Read More

Flood Insurance Changes to Better Reflect Risk - 10/13/2021
What are the odds that your home will flood? Given the number of extreme storms making headlines, you may answer that question differently now than you did several years ago. Now, FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program {NFIP}, the federal program most owners get flood coverage from, has revamped its premiums effective October...Read More

Taking A Productive Break from The Home Buying Frenzy - 10/06/2021
Moving is one of life’s top stressors. But this year if a move involved buying a home, it was both stressful and disheartening, as many would-be buyers lost out in multiple bidding wars. Real estate agents report that some exhausted buyers are taking a break. Should a home shopping vacation involve a break from all things real...Read More

Making A New Place Your Hometown - 09/29/2021
More Americans have been making big moves: Out of an urban center to an outlying suburb, or to new towns and cities that promise more affordable, easier living. Except that, initially, the quest for a more enjoyable living may not feel very comfortable, caution people who’ve felt the loneliness a new locale can engender. Make-up...Read More

The Hot Million Dollar Market - 09/22/2021
Sales above list price are commonplace lately, so why would a home on the market for $700,000 that’s bid up to $750,000 be any less remarkable than a $950,000 home that also sells for $50,000 above list? Do the math and the answer becomes obvious: Entering “million” dollar territory conveys ultra high-end...Read More

Toss Or Save? Factor Storage Costs in Equation - 09/15/2021
Even when Americans are staying home, their stuff is going places. Despite a big supply of newly built self-storage units and a big drop in the number of Americans moving to a new home during the first half of 2020, research firm Yardi Matrix finds that rental rates held steady. And, by April of this year rates were up about eight...Read More

Seniors Fixing to Stay Put Need the Right Fixes - 09/08/2021
Comfortable in their home, many seniors never want to move. About one-half get their wish and can stay home until they die, according to Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research {CRR}. But a fall or illness that makes living in their home unmanageable forces others out. Sometimes small fixes, like installing grab bars...Read More

Renters Caught in Price Spirals Have Limited Options - 09/01/2021
Bidding wars between homebuyers who are paying thousands over list price is the real estate headline of 2021. But renters haven’t exactly had it easy, either. Nationwide rates on all apartments jumped 6.3 percent at the end of June 2021 from the previous year, according to Yardi Matrix. Typically, rises are 2.5 to 3 percent, notes...Read More

The Pros And Cons of Different Mortgage Lenders - 08/25/2021
We no longer have to visit a physical store to buy everything from groceries to a new car, so why would we look for a mortgage at a neighborhood bank or credit union? In fact, in 2020, the majority of mortgage seekers -- 68.1 percent – didn’t tap a financial institution where they might have their checking or savings account,...Read More

The Big Picture Look at Living in A New Location - 08/18/2021
For many, living better in retirement means living somewhere new, evidenced by the fact that 18 percent of all recent buyers were between 56 and 65, according to stats from the National Association of Realtors {NAR}. But while dreams of a golf community, a better climate, or simply smaller, one-story living can be the original moving...Read More

Reading Between the Lines: Floor Plans Crucial to Listings - 08/11/2021
Increasingly, buyers have multiple ways to view a home: in-person, a virtual tour, a 3-D tour, a slide show. But a relatively simple two-dimensional drawing – the floor plan -- offers unique insights into how you’d live within those lines. The public is becoming more familiar with floor plans, which are distinct from a...Read More

Seller Beware: Unsolicited Purchase Offers Are Likely Low - 08/04/2021
It’s a hot seller’s market. But is it so hot that even homeowners who’ve expressed no desire to move should be receiving calls and letters from strangers urging them to sell? That’s what’s happening in select housing markets around the country, typically in areas where homes are priced...Read More

Nailing The Right Remodeling Financing - 07/28/2021
In the past pandemic year, homeowners who didn’t suffer income disruptions enjoyed fatter stimulus-fed savings accounts, and many decided to use those dollars for home improvements. Now, the surge in smaller and DIY projects will give way to more pricey remodeling, predicts Abbe Will, of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing...Read More

Don’t Count on It: Square Footage Is Approximate - 07/21/2021
Space, more or less, is a major factor motivating a move. A young family cramped in an 1100 square foot condo wants more bedrooms; a single professional needs a larger kitchen; a downsizing couple wants to trade half their space to be mortgage-free. But home shoppers clicking through listings shouldn’t take what would seem to be...Read More

When A Home Offers Something Special - 07/14/2021
How would you like to live in a Craftsman bungalow, replete with a wide front porch and interior beams? Or maybe you’re better suited for a Georgian colonial featuring that style’s many front-facing windows and pillared porch? Unfortunately, dreams and reality can be at odds in real estate, especially now. “Most...Read More

Buyers Wanting a Lot Have A Unique Mortgage Option - 07/07/2021
City life has been losing favor. In 2020, net new suburban households rose 43 percent, as buyers turned from urban settings to places where a green lot separates them from their neighbors. Living in more open spaces opens another type of government-guaranteed mortgage to more home buyers: USDA loans. Yes, that’s the same...Read More

Investors Provide Certainty for Sellers, Frustration for Buyers - 06/30/2021
“Will I ever beat the competition?” That’s the question home buyers, waiting in lines to enter an open house, only to have their offer rejected again, are asking themselves. Frustrated shoppers, go easy on yourself. Currently, says Rick Palacios Jr., principal of John Burns Real Estate Consulting,...Read More

Stay Safe: When Sellers Stay Past Closing - 06/23/2021
Homes are selling in record time. Sellers, though, aren’t moving so quickly. Accepting an offer within days after listing leaves sellers with the challenge of finding their new place before the scheduled closing on their sale – a time span typically between 30 and 60 days. At closing, the buyer becomes the official owner...Read More

A Fair Approach to Multiple Bids - 06/09/2021
Sellers are enjoying an unprecedented luxury of choice, with scarce inventories prompting bidding wars in many parts of the country. But that enviable position involves the responsibility of making a fair choice, defined by federal law as not discriminating against any buyer based on his/her race, color, national origin, religion, and...Read More

The Varied Returns of Owning A Home - 06/02/2021
A home is a comfort – and not just as a relaxing refuge from the world. Ninety percent of Americans also think it’s the best place to invest in. Professional financial advisors agree, within limits. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York surveyed Americans in February 2020, October 2020, and finally in February 2021,...Read More

Can Young Adults Ever Buy a Home? - 05/26/2021
Any Millennial [that includes anyone currently age 23 to 41] who is a homeowner is blessed with a generous relative, or patience, or creativity– or a combination of these. The National Association of Realtors [NAR} has been profiling home buyers since 1981 – when first-time buyers averaged age 29. In 2020, 48 percent of...Read More

Only Retiring Minds Can Decide Mortgage Question - 05/19/2021
It’s an “old” dilemma that keeps begging new answers: If you have the means, should you pay off your mortgage in retirement? Back in 2009, Tony Webb, then senior research economist with Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research [CRR}, advocated in a CRR brief that most households should not “retain...Read More

Keeping up with an old home - 05/12/2021
An old house’s charm is in the eye of the beholder. For many of the 1.4 million Millennial followers of @cheapoldhouses, the appeal is “to get into homeownership at a good price point,” says Elizabeth Finkelstein, who with husband Ethan runs the Instagram account, as well as CIRCA Old Houses, which lists older homes for...Read More

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