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While Home Sales Lag, Demand Grows

Despite a growing demand among homebuyers, the sales of existing homes lagged for the third straight month in June, according to the latest existing home sales data released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) on Monday. According to the report, total existing-home sales, decreased 0.6 percent to 5.38 million in June. On a year-over-year basis, existing home sales were down 2.2 percent over the same period a year ago, NAR said. The deceleration was led by declines in the South and West, which exceeded the sales gains in the Northeast and Midwest regions, the report indicated. While the report found that the median existing-home price for all housing types was $276,900, total housing inventory at the end of June climbed 4.3 percent to 1.95 million existing homes for sale—0.5 percent above the same period a year ago.   About Author: Radhika Ojha Radhika Ojha, Online Editor at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her master’s degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Dallas, Texas. You can contact her at Radhika.Ojha@theMReport.com

Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Before You Waive The Home Inspection...

When you're trying to make your offer as attractive as possible, skipping the inspection may seem like a good idea. Here's why it's not. If you’re buying a home in a competitive market and your offers keep getting beat out, you may be tempted to resort to desperate measures. In addition to offering more than the asking price or a quick closing, some buyers agree to waive inspections. This is never a good idea. The home may look OK to the naked eye, but it’s what’s beyond the surface, or items that you can’t identify as problematic, that cause the biggest issues. For example, the typical buyer won’t be able to spot asbestos, nor will they see evidence of termite infestation or a leak inside the HVAC system.

Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Buying Your First Home? Plan for These Hidden Costs

Buying You r First Home? Plan for These Hidden Costs Expect the unexpected For almost every person who buys a home, the spending doesn’t stop with the down payment. Homeowners insurance and closing costs, like appraisal and lender fees, are typically easy to plan for because they’re lumped into the home-buying process, but most costs beyond those vary. Consider the creature comforts Another cost is your own comfort. It’s easy to not think fully about what you’re expecting from your new home until after you move in. Plan ahead This starts with budgeting both before house hunting and throughout your search. Look at homes in your budget that need improvements, and then research how much those improvements could cost. Nothing is worse than buying a home thinking you can fix the yard for a few hundred dollars and then realizing it will cost thousan

Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Counteroffers | Negotiating In Real Estate

Negotiation power When reviewing a counteroffer, it’s important to have an experienced real estate agent who can capitalize on your advantages in a negotiation. Both sellers and buyers can take steps to put themselves in an advantageous position through planning and smart counteroffers. Knowledge is power in negotiations, so try to glean as much information about the seller or buyer as you can. Your agent will also seek information from the other agent on your behalf. Sometimes sellers use the pending sale of their home to finance another, meaning they have a truncated timeline and could be more eager to make a deal. Similarly, buyers who have terminated a lease may be desperate for a place to live and more willing to negotiate. If you’re selling a home with known issues, anticipate how these problems may put you at a disadvantage during negotiations. A leaky roof may not be discovered until after buyers order a home inspection. Depending on the cost, they may ask the seller to either fix the roof or deduct the cost of a new roof from the sale price. These types of issues put sellers at a distinct disadvantage because they have to either pay for repairs, lower the selling price, or reject the counteroffer and hope the next buyer doesn’t notice or care about repairs. This is why it’s worth the money (around $500) to pay for an inspection before listing a house. Preparation can save you headaches and money down the road. Responding to a counteroffer If you’ve received a counteroffer as a buyer or a seller, carefully review every aspect. Real estate agents, apart from yours, are under no obligation to ensure you read the full contract. So make sure you read everything carefully before you sign. With each individual counteroffer, consider every aspect of the sale, including old and new information. If you made an offer above the list price, there is always the possibility for an appraisal to come in low. If you are responding to a counteroffer before an appraisal or inspection, keep those at the forefront of your mind. Prepare yourself for future counteroffers once they are completed. Whether you’re selling or buying a home, establish a baseline for when you will walk away from a sale. As a buyer, you don’t want to spend so much on a home that you move in with no cash for improvements and repairs. And as a seller, you should know how much you want to make off the sale. With a measured and informed approach, counteroffers can be your friend. Communicate often with your agent to let them know what you want from the sale, and never be afraid to walk away if things go south.

Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

What You Need to Know About Employer Relocation Packages

Before you start packing boxes, it’s important to know what your employer will and won’t offer in terms of relocation assistance, and how that could affect both your move and your pocketbook. Make no assumptions Approximately 70 percent of U.S. companies offer relocation incentives for employees or new hires. If a relocation package isn’t discussed with your offer, you’ll need to start the conversation yourself. Ask for what you want, including all the services and compensation you’ll need for your move.   Ask about  extras No two companies offer the same relocation packages. Some will cover just the basics, while others will transfer vehicles, provide cultural training, help pay closing costs or mortgage points buy down, or even provide employment assistance for an accompanying spouse or partner. If you’re a homeowner being asked to relocate, you’ll know you’ve hit the jackpot if your relocation package includes a Guaranteed Buy Out (GBO). With a GBO, the relocation company hires two independent appraisers prior to listing your home. If you’re unable to sell the property on your own within a certain time period, the company will buy your home for the average of the two appraisals. Doing it yourself If your company’s relocation package is of the barebones variety, you may want to explore your DIY alternatives. A DIY option is renting a moving truck. A large-capacity truck is easier to load and unload than a car, and allows you to accomplish the task with fewer trips back and forth. In addition to the cost of renting the truck, you’ll need to buy gas to get the vehicle from one place to another, and you may be required to purchase additional insurance. Self-service moving uses portable storage containers, and is a blend of DIY moving and professional moving.  Tax implications If your job requires you to relocate, your moving costs and the expense of traveling to your new location could be deductible if they meet certain IRS standards regarding distance and time worked after the move.  

Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

What if a printer could solve the housing crisis?

What if a printer could solve the housing crisis? 3D printing could be the silver bullet. ICON, a construction technologies company, designed a 3D printer to produce homes. A single-story home, with a total footprint measuring 600 to 800 square feet, can be printed in underserved communities in less than 24 hours. The cost? Just $4,000.

Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Want to create wealth through homeownership? Build equity.

How to build your equity Here are six ways your home can create wealth for you. Some require time, money — or both. A lender can help you decide what works best for you. 1. Let your home appreciate Building equity through appreciation can take little time or a lot, depending on the market. With home prices going up like they have in recent years, appreciation has been a boon for many home owners. 2. Make a larger down payment You can do this but, as we’ve seen, waiting to save extra cash can go against your broader financial interests if you lose the chance to build equity through appreciation. Therefore, you must strike a balance among down payment, monthly budget and savings for other priorities. A good lender can provide rate and market insight to help you do this. 3. Use financial windfalls Take advantage of work bonuses, family gifts and inheritances to pay down your mortgage. If you do pay down in lump sums, see if your lender will recalculate (or “recast”) your payment based on the new, lower balance. 4. Make biweekly payments Make mortgage payments every two weeks instead of once a month. Over the course of a year, this will add up to 13 monthly payments instead of 12. You’ll build equity faster and shave five to six years off a 30-year mortgage. Just make sure your lender isn’t charging extra for processing semimonthly payments. 5. Cut your loan term in half Take out a 15-year mortgage instead of a 30-year mortgage, and you’ll build equity twice as fast. Two caveats here: You’ll have a significantly higher monthly payment and, because of that, you may have a tougher time qualifying. 6. Make home improvements New appliances or cosmetic features like paint are unlikely to increase value. Only big improvements like new kitchens, or additional bathrooms or other rooms will add meaningful value. Make sure the cost of such improvements will create the added value you’re looking for. How to use your equity You must borrow or sell your home to use your equity. The three most well-known ways to get to your equity through borrowing are a home equity line of credit (HELOC), home equity loan or cash-out refinance.  Rates are rising right now, so these borrowing options might cost more in the future. Talk to your lender to determine the best approach for you.

Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Refresh Your Room

Pale blues and serene greens can really change the mood of a space. No need to break out the paintbrush or buy a new sofa to get those peaceful, chill Spring vibes. Instead, focus on layering colored accents into your existing decor—adding a blue frame or candle on a living room console, placing a porcelain glass vase full of fresh flowers artfully on a mantel, and showcasing crystal topped containers can all enhance your room's positive energy  

Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Using inspiring natural pieces in home decor

“In interior design we're seeing a strong push toward eco-consciousness—looking toward items that are made of sustainable materials and have a natural feel to them,” says Ana Zuravliova, an interior designer at Roman Blinds Direct. “People care about the production, the history, and the story of their furniture more than they ever have before.”

Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Mixing metals in home decor

5 Tips for Mixing Metals Choose a Dominant Metal: Choose a metal finish you love to be the most prominent in your home, and then select one or two metal accents to complete the look. ... Blend Warm and Cool Tones: ... Consider Your Palette: ... Use Lots of Texture: ... Keep it Subtle

Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Fannie Mae Recognizes Innovative Ideas

Fannie Mae reports: “We received hundreds of proposals from across the U.S., and these ideas reflect the most innovative thinking on creative ways to increase opportunities for local residents,” said Maria Evans, Fannie Mae’s VP of Sustainable Communities Partnership and Innovation. “We look forward to working with the selected organizations and their community partners to make a difference in tackling the affordability crisis and supporting sustainable, healthy communities.” Fannie Mae whittled down the contenders in the first phase of its Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge from hundreds to three, it announced. The chosen proposals hail from Florida, Ohio, and Colorado, with ideas aimed at advancing affordable housing development and onsite healthcare workforce training, gentrifying neighborhoods, and remaking vacant commercial properties into entrepreneurial co-housing in low-income communities

Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Housing Market Trends

"Home prices continue to rise rapidly—48 percent over the past six years according to the National Association of Realtors. Mortgage rates have risen a full point over the last year. Want to know what homes are selling for in our area? Need to buy and have questions about locking in your rate? Now is the time to get all the facts and I am here to help!  

Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Home Decor Tips

In general, keep the purpose of the room in mind when deciding where to display your prized possessions. Don’t just go by where you have available wall space; take time to find the right fit  

Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

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