Articles

Millennial Successfully Relocates And Buys Second Home at Age 25
Amy bought her first house in Grand Rapids, Michigan at age 23. Fast forward two years and she has since sold that house and relocated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Two houses in two years at age 25: Here’s one Millennial who isn’t sacrificing homeownership for mobility. The relocation shuffle Although Amy was perfectly happy with her first little house and made lots of friends in Grand Rapids, a job opportunity popped up that was too good to turn down. She recently relocated to Pittsburgh, where she serves as a regional sales manager for a major food distribution company.Before her move, she experienced the ups and downs of both buying and selling houses in two different states. Selling a first home in Michigan “Lucky for me, Grand Rapids has a shortage of homes for sale and a lot of buyers. I didn’t have a chance to make any improvements on my house, a farmhouse built in 1904, but I did add a simple deck and lots of flowers and new bushes. It has more curb appeal than when I bought it,” Amy says. She says that the hardest part about selling a house was making sure it was clean all the time and ready for prospective buyers to tour.Amy ultimately sold her house for $161,000, $21,000 more than what she paid in 2017. Even in that time, she accumulated some equity and walked away with a total of $28,000 when the sale closed. Buying a new house in Pennsylvania The next step was to find a house in Pittsburgh. Home prices are higher there, compared to Grand Rapids, Amy notes. She wanted to buy a nicer, more expensive home this time around.”I found one that was a little bit above my price range at $200,000. But it’s in perfect condition. I don’t have to worry about repairs or anything,” Amy says. Plus, coffee shops and restaurants are within walking distance.She explains, “I could have used all of the proceeds from the sale of my house as my down payment. But I didn’t want to drain my savings account. I used private mortgage insurance (PMI) again, so I could put less money down. I could have put 10 percent or $20,000 down, but I opted for a 5-percent down payment of $10,000 instead. My monthly payment is a little bit higher, but still affordable. Thanks to PMI, I could buy a bigger, better house and still have money in the bank.”Are you ready to buy a house right now?
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One Small House in Boise, One Big Step in Homeownership
There came a point in Meghanne’s 29-year-old life when she decided it was time to “be an adult and buy a house.” And as a loan officer, she wanted to practice what she preached about investing in homeownership.Then again, living on a dairy farm near Boise, Idaho, with only cows for neighbors could have been a factor, too.Either way, after 11 years of renting, Meghanne was ready to buy a house. As a single woman with an active lifestyle, Meghanne didn’t want an older house that required a lot of work or maintenance, so she focused her search on newer homes. Trouble was, many houses were out of her price range, and those that weren’t got snapped up quickly.Due to its lower cost of living, Boise is in the midst of a boom. People from more expensive cities, such as, San Francisco and Seattle, are flocking to the area. In fact, Forbes named Boise “America’s fastest-growing city in 2018″ with home prices increasing 11.58 percent. After getting priced out of the market in their cities of origin, these transplanted residents weren’t blinking at the median home price of $319,000. This and a shortage of inventory made for a super-hot real estate market – not exactly ideal when you’re looking for your first home and have a limited budget.Being a resourceful millennial, Meghanne started researching her options. She discovered a private non-profit organization, called NeighborWorks Boise, whose mission is to revitalize communities and offer affordable housing alternatives. This national organization builds pocket neighborhoods consisting of 10-15 energy-efficient homes, clustered together to form a close-knit community. Meghanne qualified for their program by meeting the income limit of $90,000.Through NeighborWorks Boise, Meghanne found a newly-constructed home affordably priced at $184,000. At only 700 square feet, the cute little house featured two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living area, kitchen, front porch and attached garage.”I fell in love,” says Meghanne, “and the price was perfect.”Because the home wasn’t complete, she was able to personalize it by making decisions on the finishes.Although NeighborWorks also offers affordable loans, Meghanne chose conventional financing through her employer, a mortgage lending company. Thanks to private mortgage insurance, she was able to put down only 3 percent ($5,520).”I considered making a 5 percent ($9,200) down payment but opted for 3 percent,” explains Meghanne. “I used the extra $3,680 to buy furniture, and keep some money in savings for a rainy day.”Since Meghanne moved in five months ago, her new home has already increased in value, appraising at $205,000 and boosting her equity by $21,000. And the planned close-knit community will soon be even closer when her co-worker moves into the same pocket neighborhood. Meghanne’s looking forward to having an already-made friend as her neighbor – instead of cows.Is it the right time for you to buy a house?
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How many houses have you been outbid on? And if you’re an owner who can’t even get a nibble out of buyers – if some barely even bother stepping inside – are you starting to feel like screaming?Yes, times are tricky for both buyers and sellers.”Rising demand among millennials, full employment, and the strong economy have bumped against limited inventory,” the Washington Post reported, “which fuels price increases.”What to do? Read on for some of the best insider tips.* January and February are the best months to buy. Forget the “experts” who warn you shouldn’t try to time the market. A recent study from NerdWallet shows houses typically cost 8.45 percent less during those two months than in June and August.True, the pickings might be slimmer, given that most sellers list a house in the peak spring or summer seasons. However, not only are you less likely to be up against buyers with wads of cash – they’re probably wintering in the likes of St. Barts – but you’ll also stand to profit from a time-tested truth. “If their home is (still) on the market in fall or winter,” notes the home improvement website BobVila.com, “chances are they’ll be eager to close.”With the median price of homes currently listed in the U.S. at $275,000, that 8.45 percent “discount” translates into a very un-chump change savings of more than $23,000 – and a lot more in pricier cities like San Francisco.Sellers, on the other hand, do best in the first half of May, according to Zillow.com.* Generation Z is quick to buy. We hear so much about Millennials these days, but those born after 1995 caught Zillow’s attention for a very good reason: When they buy, they buy “quickly.”More than two-thirds of those Gen Z buyers spent less than three months on their search, compared to 54 percent of Millennials and less than half of both Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1976) and Baby Boomers.One of the best ways to pique their interest? Smart home features that allow just about anything to be remotely controlled on their phones.* A new roof is a sure-fire way to boost a home’s resale value. A perennial fixture on Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report, roofs are often the first thing prospective buyers notice even before exiting their cars. And if yours pales in comparison to others up for sale in the area – or worse, looks like something out of “Twister” – that could explain the lack of nibbles.Patsy O’Neill, a sales associate with Sotheby’s in Montclair, New Jersey, has witnessed this effect first-hand.”If your current roof is an eyesore,” she says emphatically, “buyers will be predisposed to find other things they hate about your place. It’s just the way people’s minds work.”Your roof no longer cutting it? You might want to check out the popular Timberline roofing shingle line from GAF (gaf.com), North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, given their look of luxury at affordable prices. An even more upscale choice: the Designer Shingle line from the same company.* Play the online odds. “Studies show that homes with more than six listing photos online are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers,” Trulia.com reports.Of course, that only applies if the house you’re trying to sell is photo-worthy. (See “New Roof” above.) And if it isn’t … well, let’s just say you might want to skip this tip.
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TOWNHOUSE VS. CONDO: WHICH SHOULD YOU BUY?
Whether it’s your first time buying or you just want to purchase something smaller, townhouses and condos are both great options. Check out the differences between the two to help aid you in your search!
Condominiums are similar to apartments in that you purchase an individual unit inside of a larger building, but not the property it sits on. This generally includes access to the building’s amenities, such as the clubhouse, pool, and gym. However, condo owners are not responsible for the upkeep and repair of these common areas. Because of the number of shared spaces, living in a condo often allows for meeting new people and building a strong sense of community. There is a fairly similar vetting process for loan approval as for a full-sized home; however, the lender will also look at the health of the condo association.
Townhouses
Those who purchase a townhome are generally purchasing the complete unit, both inside and out, including the land it sits on. This might also include the driveway, yard, or roof. Traditionally, these units are two- or three-stories tall and may also include common areas like pools and parks. Townhome owners pay a fee to a homeowners association every month and the loan process is the same as buying a full-sized home.
Which is the best choice?
Both townhomes and condos offer less maintenance than a traditional home and generally offer great shared areas. Your decision ultimately comes down to you and your family’s needs and wants. Things you’ll want to take into consideration include location, lifestyle, family growth, and price.
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Your Guide to the Home Appraisal
You’ve found your dream home and now it’s time to cross all your T’s and dot all your I’s before it’s all your own. And one of the first items on your closing checklist the home appraisal. So, what exactly is that?
The home appraisal is essentially a value assessment of the home and property. It is conducted by a certified third party and is used to determine whether the home is priced appropriately.
During a home appraisal, the appraiser conducts a complete visual inspection of the interior and exterior of the home. He or she factors in a variety of things, including the home’s floor plan functionality, condition, location, school district, fixtures, lot size, and more. An upward adjustment is generally made if the home has a deck, a view, or a large yard. The appraiser will also compare the home to several similar homes that were sold within the last six months in the area.
The final report must include a street map showing the property and the ones’ compared, photographs of the interior and exterior, an explanation on how the square footage was calculated, market sales data, public land records, and more.
After it is complete, the lender uses the information found to ensure that the property is worth the amount they are investing. This is a safe-guard for the lender as the home acts as collateral for the mortgage. If the buyer defaults on the mortgage and goes into foreclosure, the lender generally sells the home to recover the money borrowed.
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Turning a Bedroom Into a Lux Bedroom
For most of us, our bedroom is little more than a place to sleep and relax. However, just because it’s always been that way doesn’t mean that we have to settle for drab and dreary.
One trend that’s gaining steam these days is converting your current bedroom into a luxury suite (or something comparable). If you want to live like you’re renting a room at the Ritz, then you want to follow these tips.
Compartmentalize Your Activities
Making your bedroom more functional is going to make it more luxurious. Add a gorgeous desk for working and a TV area for entertainment, and you’ll be living it up in no time.
Make it Chic
Choose a color palette that is both luxurious and classy. Silver and gold can seem tacky, so choose muted shades that compliment each other.
Also, a brilliant and commanding headboard can instantly upgrade the look of your room without any other changes.
Light it Properly
Finally, make sure that you have the right light to show off your designs. If it’s too washed out or yellow, then it will look drab and run down. Switch to brilliant LEDs and see the difference.
Choose Your Accents Wisely
We already mentioned a headboard, but some elegant drapes can also make your room feel more royal. Being strategic with your furniture accessories is going to both keep you under budget and avoid doing too much with the space.
Are you ready to lux your bedroom? You’ll be impressed by the results, and the feeling of decadence will make you more confident in your surroundings.
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What to Negotiate When Buying a House
Whether you are a first-time home buyer or a seasoned veteran, the negotiation part of the transaction can be a little daunting and stressful. However, it is necessary to ensure you are getting the best possible deal for your money. So, what should you negotiate when buying a home?
Closing costs. Your closing costs are determined by a variety of factors, but you can expect it to be between 2% to 5% of the purchase price. Ask the seller to cover some or all of the closing costs upfront or request a closing credit that can be used to make specific updates and fixes to the home.
Furnishings. Love how the seller has furnished and decorated the home? Buyers often negotiate keeping couches, fixtures, landscaping items, patio furniture, appliances, and more. And many sellers agree, wanting to make the home more appealing.
Inspection and closing timing. Buyer offers that include a quick inspection and close timeline are often more attractive to sellers who have been going through the process for far too long. Just ensure you allow yourself ample time to get your financing in place and complete proper, thorough inspections.
Home warranty. Sellers will often agree to pay the premium on the home warranty at closing and then hand it off to the new homeowner, who is responsible for the deductible on any future claims.
Repairs. Your inspection may uncover small or large repairs needed to bring the home up to standard. You can negotiate to have these items fixed before closing or ask for a price reduction to cover the costs.
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