4 Big Trends to Watch in Real Estate

home salesWhat should you watch for this year? The Urban Land Institute recently released its “Emerging Trends in Real Estate” report, covering the U.S. and Canada, for the coming year. The report covers some of the top trends expected to impact real estate in the short and mid-term.

Here are a few trends ULI says you should have on your radar screen for this year:

1. Rising mortgage rates. The rising interest rate is expected to be the mantra this year. “The underlying question is how the generation whose entire business career has been shaped by a low-interest-rate environment will respond to the upward movement in the price of money,” ULI’s report notes. “Will higher rates alter behaviors, to what degree, and at what threshold?” ULI says these will be the main questions that emerge this year.

2. Drought impact. The western part of the U.S. — particularly California — is facing a historic drought but the impact will likely be felt throughout the U.S. For example, “as irrigation has become more problematic and costly, so too have food prices for crops ranging from almonds and artichokes to pistachios and raisins,” the report notes. That will bring about a decline in farmland prices. Also, the report notes that semiconductor plants require large amounts of water, as do the snow-making machines at ski resorts. “Cities whose economic energy has been driven by population increases must confront limits on growth that are defined by water availability and cost,” the report notes. “Although a strong El Niño for the winter of 2015–2016 is forecast to bring much-needed rain, the water deficit west of the 100th Meridian is a factor that real estate should watch closely in the years ahead.”

3. Generation X in leadership. Gen Xers – those born between 1965 and 1980 – are due to take charge in real estate.“They are in a good position, in a way, as they are the ones whom the boomers should be grooming for management succession,” according to ULI. “But they came of age in the aftermath of the savings-and-loan crisis, in dire times for real estate. Few came into the business during the early 1990s, and even fewer have the benefit of real estate graduate education. Watch for the implications for leadership in the industry going forward.”

4. The Fair Housing Act and “the affordability crisis.” The U.S. Supreme Court says that local communities are able to take legal action to address any disparities in housing, even those that are unintentional. Also, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is now requiring local communities to “affirmatively further” equal housing opportunity. Communities could risk losing federal housing funds if they don’t comply. “This could alter where affordable housing is built, and where households in need of such housing may move,” the report notes. What’s more, ULI predicts that given the recent U.S. Supreme Court and HUD rulings, a heated debate on multifamily development will likely ensue this year.

Source: “Emerging Trends in Real Estate,” Urban Land Institute (2016)

2015 Marked ‘Very Strong Year’ for New Homes

buildSales of new homes surged to an eight-year high last year, according to the final numbers released Wednesday by the U.S. Commerce Department. Sales of new single-family homes increased 14.5 percent last year to 501,000 units, the highest level since 2007.

Just in December, new-home sales rose 10.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 544,000, proving a strong end to 2015 for new-home construction.

“The December sales report is a great end to a very strong year,” says Ed Brady, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. “As we move forward in 2016, we should see the housing market continue to make lasting gains.”

All four regions of the U.S. posted gains in new-home sales in December, led by the largest month-over-month gain in the Midwest with a 31.6 percent increase. Sales also rose 21 percent in the West; 20.8 percent in the Northeast; and 0.4 percent in the South.

“Relatively low interest rates and an improving economy are motivating buyers to make a new-home purchase,” says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Builders are upping their inventory in response to heightened consumer interest. Housing inventory is now at its highest level since October 2009.”

Inventories of new homes for sale is now at a 5.2-month supply at the current sales pace, the Commerce Department reports.

New-home prices averaged $294,575 for 2015, a 4 percent increase over the previous year.

Source: National Association of Home Builders

Are You in Credit Prison?

KCSHow a Low Credit Score Can Cost You

A low credit score hurts your ability to get loans, and raises the cost of credit when you can get it. Credit scores are also used for insurance rates, renting and even employment.

A poor credit score can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars over your life. Enter in a FICO score and a Loan Principal below to see how much a poor FICO score can cost you on just your mortgage. If you are a home owner or looking to buy, raising your FICO score is the most important thing for you to do. A better score not only means lower payments, but can mean a bigger house, the chance to take out more money on a re-fi, or even the difference between being able to buy.

Your Credit Score Affects

  • Homeowner’s Insurance
  • Car Insurance Payments
  • Car Loan Payments
  • Personal Loans
  • Mortgage Refinance
  • Job Opportunities

Credit Score Basics

What is a Credit Score?

The majority of people understand the basics, like how failing to make a payment will cause your score to go down, but there are a number of complexities that trip up the average consumer. If you pay your debts on time, don’t carry too much debt on any one card, don’t close older accounts unless absolutely necessary and only apply for new credit when you have to you will generally be in good shape. However, it is important to keep yourself informed so you can maintain a credit score that accurately reflects your consumer status.

Lenders use your credit report in order to judge your reliability as a loan candidate. Your credit report indicates your ability to handle debt responsibly and will help banks decide if you are a desirable loan customer. A high credit score can help you lock in low APR rates or secure special deals on loans. A bad credit report may prevent you from securing loans and can damage your ability to buy a car, open a credit card or rent a home. A history of inability to manage your credit successfully will make lenders uncomfortable about trusting you with additional funds in the future.

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report once a year, an offer you should take advantage of. When you do receive your credit report, check to ensure the figures are accurate and act quickly to correct any mistakes. This may include any clerical errors, identity theft issues or incorrect information. If your credit score is low, you should begin working on a financial rehabilitation plan, either on your own or with a certified debt counselor, to begin correcting your bad debt habits.

Carla is one of my “Trusted Vendors”. To get started, please feel free to contact Carla Capasso at 877-221-8085 or click her for more information.

FSBO Pitfalls

FSBOFor Sale By Owner (FSBO) Homeowners obviously know their homes better than anyone, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best salespersons for their properties.

Some sellers are tempted to try a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) transaction because their local community is in the midst of a sellers’ market and they think they can sell easily without help. Others try the FSBO route because they want to maximize their profits and avoid paying a commission to a Realtor.

However, statistics show that selling your home with the assistance of a professional real estate agent will garner you a higher profit, enough to cover the commission as well as put more money in your pocket. According to the National Association of Realtor’s 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average FSBO sales price was $174,900, while the average price for a home represented by an agent was $215,000, a difference of $40,100.

Why to Sell With a Realtor

Choosing to sell with a professional rather than on your own makes sense for a variety of reasons:

  • A Realtor has access to market data about recent sales and other homes on the market that can be used to price your home appropriately. Studies show that homes priced right when they’re first listed sell more quickly and for a higher price than those that linger on the market.
  • A Realtor can show your home when you aren’t available, can respond to inquiries from potential buyers and their agents, and can get valuable feedback from visitors – all things that save you time.
  • A Realtor can look at your home objectively and suggest ways to improve its appearance – by staging and minor repairs – so it appeals to more buyers.
  • Buyers typically prefer to look at a home without the seller present so they can feel more comfortable exploring the rooms and visualizing themselves in the property. At an FSBO sale, the seller must be present.
  • A Realtor can screen visitors to your home, which provides a measure of safety that FSBO sellers don’t have. In addition, by checking to see if the buyers are legitimate and can afford to purchase your home, a Realtor can help you avoid wasting time showing your home to unrealistic buyers.
  • Realtors have professional marketing expertise, contacts with other Realtors who work with buyers, and the support of a brokerage that can market your home more widely than you can as an individual.
  • A Realtor can help you negotiate a contract that not only garners you an appropriate price for your home, but that meets your needs for a settlement date and perhaps includes a period when you rent back your home from your buyer. In addition, a Realtor can make sure your contract is in compliance with all local regulations.

FSBO Dangers

Most buyers today work with a buyers’ agent to represent their interests. If you choose to sell your home on your own, you’ll be negotiating with a professional and relying on your own skill to finalize a contract. Not only could you end up selling your home for less money, you could leave yourself open to potential legal problems unless you have the contract vetted by an experienced real estate attorney.

FSBO transactions can be successful, of course, but 90 percent of homeowners prefer to work with a professional rather than risk an unsatisfactory home selling experience. Let me help you navigate this complex process. Please feel free to reach out to me. I am happy to answer your questions.

Make Your First Impression Your Best Impression

Couple painting wall

You wouldn’t head to a job interview without making sure you looked great, so why would you put your home on the market looking anything but its absolute best?

One of the biggest mistakes home sellers make is failing to make sure their property makes a great first impression.

Three ways to spruce up for a sale:

• Invest in fresh paint. It can turn your place from “that house with the orange bathroom” to a closed sale.

• Clear the clutter. Let’s make sure your listing photos make your home look beautiful.

• Fix it up. Little things count: replace broken screens, repair gutters, install new toilet seats.

Want to know how to sell your home quickly? Send me an email or give me a call. Nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX.

Program Offers Path Back to Home Ownership

house in cartHome Partners of America is committed to making home ownership a reality for more people. The program provides a clear path to home ownership. Our process is easy, transparent, and built on a foundation of choice and flexibility. Home Partners is helping more people get into great homes, in neighborhoods they love, with the opportunity to build a more secure financial future.

Home Partners provides responsible households a transparent path to home ownership through its Lease with a Right to Purchase Program. The program provides three to five years* of rent certainty with an initial financial commitment of just one year. Search for a home here!

Home Partners’ Lease with a Right to Purchase Program allows you to find a home that you want to rent from us initially, but may also like to buy in the next three to five years. We believe that there are many households who may be thinking about buying a home but for whatever reason would like to rent at the current time. You can lease the home for three to five one-year terms, depending on the state, and you may purchase the home from us at any time at a predetermined price.

Let me know what I can do to help you achieve your home ownership goals today!

Participation in Home Partners’ program is available solely for consumer purposes and subject to approval. To exercise a Right to Purchase after entering into a lease, a resident must obtain a mortgage loan from a third party lender. Home Partners is not a mortgage company, does not have any obligation to provide or arrange a mortgage loan, and cannot guarantee that a resident will be able to obtain a mortgage loan.

Foreclosure Property Disclosure, Yes or No?

Buyers & SellersDid you know that many states have laws that specifically exempt an owner who acquired a property via Foreclosure or Mortgage Release (also known as Deed in Lieu) from completing a Property Disclosure form?

If not specifically exempt and the state has a mandatory disclosure form, Fannie Mae must complete it, even if the response is “unknown”.

Whether the state provides for an exemption or has no disclosure form, known material defects must always be disclosed. A material defect is a specific issue with a system or component of a residential property that may have a significant, adverse impact on the value of the property.

Real Estate Agents are not relieved of any legally required responsibility to disclose, even if there is no requirement for seller to disclose.

For additional information, please feel free to contact me. I am more than happy to answer your questions.

CNN: The Rental Market is Going Gray

For RentRenters are looking a little older these days.

Rental applicants tend to conjure up images of recent college grads looking to start their life in the real world. But Millennials are facing increased competition from people who have already spent decades in adulthood, and may have better credit and higher income.

Since 2005, there has been an uptick in renters, with people in their 50s and 60s making up the largest chunk of the increase, according to a recent report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

In fact, the majority of all renters are currently 40 or older.

There are many reasons that the renter population includes a growing number of Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers.

The 2008 housing collapse that led to a wave of foreclosures has turned some people off to homeownership, according to Jon Spader, senior research associate at the Joint Center for Housing Studies. He added that the tight credit market can also hinder renters from securing a home loan.

Plus, not everyone wants to be a homeowner in their golden years, and the decision to trade a mortgage for a lease is about a new lifestyle, especially for empty-nesters.

“They are leaving their homes and renting in a much more urban-type settings from the suburbs to be part of the activities and be mixed in with people of all ages,” said Tiffany Curry, a real estate agent in Houston. “It gives them something to do if the kids are gone, or their spouses.”

The amenities that come in new rental buildings and their units are appealing to older renters. “They have everything they need in their building,” she said.

Renting also gets rid of the responsibilities that comes with home ownership, which can become burdensome as owners age.

“It’s about portability. They want to travel and don’t want to be burdened by house payments and expenses and upkeep,” said Cara Ameer, a real estate agent based in northeast Florida who in the past few years has seen a roughly 15% increase in boomer-aged clients looking to sell their home to become renters.

Some older homeowners are also cashing in on the recent rise in home prices.

“They want to take advantage of getting equity out of their home now, and not wait until they actually retire to move into the city and get a cool apartment,” said Curry.

But it’s expensive to be a renter right now. Rents have been on a tear recently as inventory remains tight and demand grows. Discussing your current needs and reviewing your financial situation is the best way to create a road map for your future. I am happy to help you!

Which is Better? Renting or Owning?

house in cartA great place to start: Look at Dollars & Cents comparison;

A monthly rent payment goes into your landlords pocket. After 5 years of paying rent, you don’t have much to show for it.

A monthly mortgage payment goes to your lender and reduces you loan balance. You can also get two things you never see as a renter; home equity and tax benefits.

The question is whether you want to borrow to pay for something or pay to own something.

Let me show you the numbers to help you decide if your ready to buy. Please feel free to contact me with questions and concerns. I am happy to help!

I’m here to help with your real estate needs

NegotiatingThe world of real estate can seem like an intimidating place. Whatever your particular need, a real estate professional such as myself can help you navigate these potentially hazardous waters.

I pride myself not only on my professionalism, but also on my ability to understand my clients’ needs. I’ve always felt that to help someone you must first build a relationship. The relationship you have with your real estate agent can be a valuable one indeed.

If you have any real estate questions, please give me a call. Whether buying, selling, or just curious to learn more, I’m here to assist you in any way possible. I look forward to hearing from you.

NAR Forecast: Modest Increase in Home Sales Expected in 2016

housing-expectations-2016-infographic-2016-01-12-fullWASHINGTON (January 12, 2016) — Following the housing market’s best year in nearly a decade, existing-home sales are forecasted to expand in 2016 at a more moderate pace as pent-up buyer demand combats affordability pressures and meager economic growth, according to National Association of Realtors® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a newly-released video on his 2016 housing market expectations.

In the NAR-published video, Yun discusses his expectations for the U.S. economy and housing market in 2016 and points to pent-up demand, sustained job growth and improving inventory conditions as his reasons for an expected gain (from 2015) in new and existing-home sales (view infographic).

Despite his forecasted increase in sales, Yun cites rising mortgage rates, home prices still outpacing wages and shaky global economic conditions as headwinds that will likely hold back a stronger pace of sales.

“This year the housing market may only squeak out 1 to 3 percent growth in sales because of slower economic expansion and rising mortgage rates,” Yun says in the video. “Furthermore, the continued rise in home prices will occur due to the fact that we will again encounter housing shortages in many markets because of the cumulative effect of homebuilders under producing for multiple years. Once the spring buying season begins, we’ll begin to feel that again.”

With one month of data remaining for 20151, Yun expects total existing-homes sales to finish the year up 6.5 percent from 2014 at a pace of around 5.26 million —the highest since 2006, but roughly 25 percent below the prior peak set in 2005 (7.08 million). The national median existing-home price for all of 2015 will be close to $221,200, up around 6 percent from 2014. In 2016, existing sales are expected to grow between 1 and 2 percent (5.30 to 5.40 million) and prices between 5 and 6 percent.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

12 Toasty Tips for Staying Warm in Cold Weather

IcehotelStalwarts,C,J,-&N20Using these tips, you can stay warm no matter how frightful the weather outside gets.

1. Warm yourself first.

It’s easier to change your body temperature than room temperature, not to mention more eco-friendly. Instead of turning up the heat, put on another layer of clothing.

2. Wear a hat.

Your mom may have said that you lose 80 percent of your body heat through your head, but that’s not actually true. If you’re otherwise clothed, you’ll lose heat from any surface that’s exposed. So put on your hat, even if you’re inside.

3. Turn on the ceiling fan.

Warm air rises to the ceiling. Run your fan on its lowest setting in a clockwise direction to push the warm air back down to where you can feel it.

4. Switch between hot and cold water in the shower.

Hot showers immediately warm you up, but cold showers improve blood circulation between your skin and organs. Cold showers are also correlated with a stronger immune system.

5. Block drafts with a pool noodle.

Keep heat in and cold out by cutting a pool noodle in half lengthwise, wrapping it in fabric, and sliding it under your door. It’ll stay put all winter, and you can re-use it at the pool come summer. (But we recommend you spring for a new one.)

6. Two words: Programmable thermostat.

Another two words: Obvious, right? Stay toasty on schedule, so you never go home to a living room that’s colder than outside. You can even do it with your smartphone.

7. Trick a locked thermostat.

Not everyone has access to adjust the thermostat in their apartment or office building. If that’s the case, you may need to outsmart the device by making it “think” the room is colder than it actually is. Putting ice near it often does the trick.

8. Dress your windows up in warmer clothes.

If you’re not wearing a tank top or going sleeveless, your windows shouldn’t, either. Replace thin curtains with heavier wool or fleece drapes in the winter. But be sure to open them on sunny days for free heat.

9. Go ahead, bake all day.

Using your oven heats up the whole house. You’ll feel even cozier if you invite friends—and all their body heat—over to eat four dozen cookies.

10. Start composting.

If you’re already interested in composting, here’s another reason to do it: The microbial breakdown of organic material produces heat. Some people use it to warm up showers and greenhouses, but even small-timers in studio apartments can feel a difference.

11. Layer your covers with the thinnest, densest ones on top.

It’s intuitive, but fluffy blankets should be closer to your skin. Thin, dense blankets should be on top to prevent convective heat loss. Bonus tip: Don’t put your bed directly against an exterior wall. You’ll be warmer if you leave a little space.

12.  Stuff your coat pockets with DIY hand warmers.

You could just buy hand warmers, but you’ll radiate pride and self-sufficiency if you make them yourself. All it takes is two Ziploc bags, water, and calcium chloride ice melt pellets from the hardware store.

Using the Internet to Sell Your Home

InternetIn today’s real estate market, a good selling plan can truly excel when properly combined with current Internet technology. Modern home buyers expect on-demand home shopping, and meeting that expectation is a crucial element of marketing a home. My website allows home buyers to search and sort through thousands of listings to find the home that is right for them. As your seller’s agent, I can ensure that your home is listed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Every day countless home buyers use the resources of the Internet to help narrow their home search. Listing your home with me allows interested buyers to find your property based on the features that are most important to them. My website serves as a great filter, showing buyers the homes that best fit their needs and bringing you those buyers that are most interested in what your home has to offer.

If you still need convincing, take a look at my website to see the kinds of resources I’ve made available. Try a property search of your own to see what potential home buyers experience. I think you’ll be impressed with the efficiency and detail I’ve committed to my site. I’d love the chance to speak with you in person or on the phone about how I can use the web to sell your home. I’m here to help with any of your real estate needs.

What Does That Mean???

AnswersHome buying and selling is stressful – and with the industry acronyms and real estate terms flying at you from all directions, you may feel overwhelmed navigating your new real estate reality. Whether you’re a first time home buyer sifting through homes for sale, or a seasoned investor, there’s always more to learn.

Here’s a quick guide to learn common real estate terms. In real estate, there is always more to learn. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have.

Are you moving to a new community?

RelocationMoving to a new area can be a very exciting process. You’ll soon be learning a new community, moving into a new home, and building new relationships. Naturally, a change of this magnitude is also potentially stressful. Concerns over selling your current home, buying a home in your new city, and coordinating your move can become overwhelming. As a real estate professional I can ease the burden on you and make sure your relocation is invigorating.

I’ve assisted many individuals and families with the process of relocating to a new part of the country, and I’ll draw on that experience to provide you with the very best of service. Whether you’re going to be joining our community for the first time or heading off to a new horizon, I’d be delighted to help you. I can guide you through the home selling and buying process, provide access to the best moving companies, and give you all the information you need.

This is without a doubt a dramatic time in your life and the lives of your loved ones. I would certainly enjoy the opportunity to be a part of your transition into a new life. Give me a call and we can discuss how I can help you.

Why Winter’s a Great Time to List!

Winter houseWhile some homeowners may be hesitant to list their home for sale during the winter months, doing so might be advantageous, notes a recent Time.com article. Sellers tend to net more above asking price during the months of December, January, February, and March than they do during those “traditional” selling months – June through November – even in cold-weather cities such as Boston and Chicago, notes a Redfin study. What’s more, homes listed in the winter tend to sell faster than those listed in the spring, says Redfin.

“Timing always depends on supply and demand,” Christine Dossman, a real estate professional in Indianapolis, told Time.com.

But is it right for your client? If you’re on the fence, view the number of days on the market (DOM) for current and recently sold local listings. If most are 60+, says Time.com, you might advise the homeowner to wait. But if properties are selling quickly, “take that as a green light,” advised Peggy Yee, a Vienna, VA, real estate broker.

Once you’ve decided to move forward with a winter sale, ask the homeowner to think carefully about the listing price, as fewer buyers may be shopping. Give special attention to seasonal issues buyers may ask about, such as heating costs.

You should also “stage” the home with a cozy fire, extra blankets, and freshly baked cookies. And don’t forget curb appeal. Winter plants, such as holly, add color and help create a welcoming impression. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have.

Savvy Homebuyers are Great Customers – Now and in the Future

BuyersA recent Fannie Mae survey found that consumers have limited understanding of what it takes to qualify for a mortgage, and most believe the requirements are tougher than they are. When asked about key mortgage qualification criteria (such as down payment percentage, credit score, and debt-to-income ratio), roughly half of consumers selected “don’t know” or provided an incorrect answer. This research suggests that there are too many eligible homebuyers sitting on the sidelines due to misperceptions or anxiety about being turned down for a loan.

Buying a home is complex and often intimidating. There are great tools and resources that real estate professionals can take advantage of to help educate their customers and give them the knowledge to move ahead and buy with confidence.


To take advantage of the Fannie Mae HomeReady™ mortgage, potential homebuyers complete the Framework online homeownership education course. The Framework course is an engaging state-of-the-art, web-based, mobile-enabled program that walks buyers through every phase of the home purchase and ownership process. Encouraging homebuyers to take the course early will help them navigate the home buying process more smoothly and help them make realistic and sustainable choices.

Framework costs $75 for unlimited access (less than many monthly cell phone bills!). Coupons are available for bulk purchase and make a great premium for new clients. Framework can partner with you to offer the course through your business website, which offers another channel to stay connected to prospects.

But what about the prospects who truly aren’t ready to buy? Many families are struggling with credit troubles and limited savings. Fannie Mae partners with nonprofit housing counseling agencies around the country that can provide homebuyers with quality advice to help them improve their credit, manage budgets, and save money for homeownership. These agencies are a great resource for real estate professionals. Connecting those “not quite ready” prospects with real help can earn you a loyal future customer who will return ready and able to buy.

As always, I am here to answer your questions. Please feel free to reach me via FB, e-mail, text or phone.

Long Decline in Young-Adult Homeownership Be Nearing an End?

Driven by demographic and social shifts, the number of young homeowners in the U.S. has been in decline for decades, with the exception of a brief growth spurt during the housing boom. During the depth of the housing bust and Great Recession, the number of owner-occupants between the ages of 25 and 34 plummeted by more than 300,000 annually, despite strong population gains for this age group. Declines have moderated recently, however, as the number of young homeowners fell by fewer than 100,000 in 2013 and was essentially flat in 2014.

Given that the young-adult population is expected to expand robustly during the second half of the decade, it would take only modest further improvements in homeownership rate trends for the number of young homeowners to return to growth. Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group produced several projection scenarios in which young-adult homeownership rates:

1) continue to decline at the recent pace;
2) remain constant at current levels; or
3) recover slightly, returning by decade’s end to the long-term trend.

Applying the three homeownership rate paths to recent Census Bureau population projections yields several alternative scenarios for future growth in the number of young owner-occupants (see chart). Should homeownership rates continue to decrease at the current pace, the number of young owner-occupants would fall, but at a substantially slower pace than during the housing bust. Should rates merely stabilize, strong population growth would generate a slightly faster pace of increase in young homeowners than during the housing boom period of 2000 to 2005. And, if rates were to recover just slightly, young owner-occupants would increase at a rate twice that observed during the boom.

Even Modest Improvements in Rate Trends Would Generate Increases in Young Owners

Average Annual Change in Owner Occupants

Which of these projection scenarios is most likely to occur? It’s difficult to predict, but given that young adults are experiencing steady job gains and the beginnings of an income recovery, and given their persistently strong aspirations for homeownership, stability or modest improvement in homeownership rates is certainly plausible. Recent efforts to expand mortgage credit for first-time homebuyers also could help nudge the young-adult homeownership rate in a positive direction.

Resumed growth in the number of young homeowners would stand out from the experience of recent decades, in which declines have been the norm. A return to modest growth in young homeowners could have several implications for the housing industry, including creating the need to adjust the size, type, and geographic location of new housing construction, to expand education and counseling efforts targeted at inexperienced homeowners, and to step up efforts to provide services and technologies suitable for youthful homebuyers.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau: Decennial Census, American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Population Estimates, and Population Projections; Fannie Mae Economic & Strategic Research projections

Tips for First Time Home Buyers

HouseIf you are currently in the market for your first home, you probably have lots of questions. You are about to be making an important decision for your future, a great investment of both money and time. I have a wealth of experience helping first time buyers like you make sound, informed decisions. Here are some tips that can help make your home buying process successful:

  • Tip #1: Do Your Homework
    The perfect home won’t find you by itself. The key step in buying a home is doing the proper research. Educate yourself on local schools, neighborhoods, and the kinds of homes available. By reading available materials and talking with experts, you can start to put together your idea of the perfect home.
  • Tip #2: Start Planning
    Most decisions benefit greatly from proper planning, and home buying is certainly no exception. Start a filing system with sections such as home buying, home financing, and service providers. By forming a home buying plan you can more easily focus on the most important factors and help give structure to the entire process. My website is a great resource for property information.
  • Tip #3: Get PreQualified
    Getting prequalified for a loan normally only requires a short phone conversation with a lender, and can greatly help your home search. Prequalification does not guarantee you a loan, but it does provide you with an estimated monthly payment and a price range to use as a guide when shopping for homes. Being prequalified can also often indicate to sellers that you are a serious, prepared buyer.
  • Tip #4: Look for Value
    When shopping for homes, it’s important to consider potential value. Even if you’re not planning to sell the home some time down the line, it’s a good idea to consider the future value of the home. Protect yourself against things like falling prices and gradual shifts in the nature of the neighborhood. You may not think of a new home as a means to make money, but it’s an important investment that requires caution.
  • Tip #5: Decide What You’re Looking For
    Settle on the home features that are important to you (covered parking, hardwood floors, architectural style, etc.) and make an ordered list. Having well established guidelines will help narrow down your search and will prevent you from being shown properties that lack your key amenities. It can help you make the decision not to buy an attractive property that doesn’t really fit your needs. My website has a search feature that allows you to filter thousands of listings based on attributes that you select. If you know you want a brick house with gas heat and a garage, you can get the results you’re looking for.
  • Tip #6: Relax
    You don’t have to make an offer on the first home you see. Make sure to look at other listings in the area to get a feel for the marketplace. When you decide to make an offer on a house, consult with your real estate professional so that all of your questions are answered.
  • Tip #7: Shop Around for Your Mortgage
    Deciding on the financing for your home can be as important as choosing a home itself. The first step is deciding what kind of loan best fits you: a fixed rate mortgage, or an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM). There are benefits to each form of loan, and your real estate professional can provide you with more information. Next you’ll want to begin to shop around for different lenders.
  • Tip #8: Protect Yourself
    Be careful when signing a contract on a home that allows you to find financing, have the home inspected, and work through any problem areas that may arise. Paying for a quality home inspection is absolutely crucial! You can save yourself thousands in repair costs by being sure of what you’re getting into.

More information for first time buyers can be found on my website, or by giving me a call. I’m confident that I can provide the kind of exceptional service that will make this process an exciting one. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have, I would love to be of assistance to you.

Common Household Hazardous Waste & What to do With Them

REA_Jan2016

We want to believe our homes are as safe as they can be, and for the most part they are. But there are items we use every day that are in fact hazardous. Knowing what products are hazardous, and the proper ways of disposing household hazardous waste, is not only good for the environment, but it will help you feel even safer in your home.

Batteries

We all use batteries in our homes, and most of those will be the regular alkaline batteries purchased at the grocery or hardware store. These batteries can be thrown away in the garbage once used, but it is suggested that if you have the ability to recycle them you do so. But should you have different batteries in your home, like rechargeable batteries, automotive batteries, or lithium, lithium ion or zinc air, these should definitely be recycled through a proper facility as the contents inside the batteries are toxic and harmful to humans, animals and the environment.

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Fluorescent CFL bulb, closeup shot

Touted as a great way to save energy, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) became popular in the mid-2000s and they continue to be a top choice for American households. But while these bulbs provide energy and money saving opportunities for homeowners, they do contain mercury, which is known to be a potent developmental neurotoxin. Because of the mercury in the bulbs, it’s best to not put them in the garbage, as they can end up in landfills (or end up outside landfills) and contaminate the environment. Recycle CFLs at your local hardware store (the larger retailers have places to put used bulbs) or contact your local jurisdiction to find out the best way of recycling your used CFLs. Should a CFL break in your home, wear gloves to pick it up, and contact your local hazardous waste disposal company to ask for information on disposing of the broken bulb.

Corrosives

Many household cleaners are considered corrosives, which means they can cause skin damage or corrode metal. Because of this, there should be caution when using them and when they are discarded. Yes, some corrosives are used in drains, but that doesn’t mean you should pour corrosives down the drain to get rid of them. If you need to dispose of corrosives, it’s best to bring them to a place that will dispose of household hazardous waste for you, and be sure to wear gloves and protective eye wear whenever handling corrosives.

Pesticides and Herbicides

Woman spraying flowers in the garden

If you have a yard, it’s likely you’ve used a pesticide or herbicide before. While these chemicals can come in handy when battling weeds or common yard pests (bugs and other insects), they are generally very toxic to humans and animals (especially pets!). When handling pesticides and herbicides, make sure you protect your eyes, face, arms and hands with gloves and a mask or goggles, and should you need to dispose of these chemicals it is best to bring them to a hazardous waste drop-off site. Whatever you do, don’t put these items in the garbage or dump them into a drain or onto the street.

Electronic Waste

Old, used and obsolete electronic equipment

We don’t often think of old electronics as waste, but that old computer or outdated television that’s been sitting in your garage for a few years is definitely waste. Electronic waste (also known as e-waste) can come in many forms: cell phones, computers, televisions, VHS and DVD players, and anything else that is an electronic. While we may be inclined to just throw these items into the garbage can, many of these items contain hazardous materials within them, like lead or mercury, and they require special recycling. Should the materials in them get into the ground or find their way into a water system, it would be detrimental to the local environment. You can do a general Internet search to find companies that are more than willing to take any old electronics you might have in your home.

Aerosols

Aerosol cans come in many shapes and sizes, and whether they contain oil for greasing baking pans or WD-40, cans that are full or partially full have the ability to explode if punctured or exposed to heat. Empty aerosol cans can be put in the garbage, as long as they are indeed empty of contents, but if they are not, it’s best to take cans to a household hazardous waste drop-off point, especially if they contain chemicals or anything flammable in them.

Automotive Products

Canisters, Liquids for car on vivid moto concept

If you have a garage and a car, it’s likely you might have some automotive products; you might even have some if you have yard equipment like a lawn mower or a blower. Automotive products (fuel, oil and other fluids) can be highly flammable, and all of them are not safe to dispose of in a garbage can or in an outdoor drain. Because of their designations as hazardous materials, these fluids should be taken to a hazardous waste facility when being disposed of to ensure that they’re being properly taken care of.