Buy the good stuff
Painting is one of the least expensive, and most effective, ways to make over a space. But that doesnt mean you should buy the cheapest products you can find. Bargain basement paint likely wont give you the coverage you want, and cheap brushes can leave brush marks, streaks, and even bristles on the finish. The Spruce has a good guide to the best interior paints. Brands of brushes and rollers can vary depending on the store, so be sure to ask the paint specialist which options they would choose for their own walls.
Tape, tape, tape
Its tedious and time-consuming and a pain in the butt. And were speaking from personal experience. But paint all over your moldings or baseboards is not a good look. And, sadly, were also speaking from personal experience here, too.
Cover your stuff
Even if you have the gentlest, most even, most professional stroke in the world, splatters happen. So do drips and spills. Dont take the chance of ruining something special because you didnt remember to get a drop cloth.
Take a good look at your walls
Dings, cracks, or other imperfections in the walls will not be covered by paint. They may even look worse once youre done. Use Home Depots recommendations to get them looking good before you start layering on the color.
- "Carefully inspect walls for cracks, holes, dents or other surface imperfections before priming or painting.
- Use a lightweight spackling compound and putty knife to fill and repair any holes or imperfections, then remove any excess spackling with the putty knife and allow the area to dry completely.
- Once dry, use a small piece of very fine 220-grit sandpaper or a sanding sponge to smooth the repaired areas flush with the surface.
- Wipe the walls clean with a damp towel or sponge and allow them to dry before priming or painting.
- Use a floor duster to wipe the walls clean of dust to ensure paint applies evenly."
Full Story >
Community Living Rules Enforcement
Question. We live in a nice community, but every so often someone breaks one of our rules. Sometimes the infraction is minor -- such as washing their car on the public street. Other times, the violation is more serious, such as yelling, arguing and even threatening people. The violators may be unit owners or tenants. Can you outline in general terms what our Board of Directors can do to curtail these various infractions?
Answer. In my years of representing community associations, I have developed a long list of "Ps" of community living, including pets, people, presidents, prostitutes, parking, pianos, pigs vietnamese, pools, psychiatrists, portals, plumbers, etc.
Lets address the most serious matters first. Whether the person creating the problem is a tenant or an owner, if criminal conduct is involved, call the police immediately. Neither the Board of Directors nor management is competent to nor should -- handle such matters. More importantly, you do not want to be involved in obstructing the authorities in their investigation.
If the problem is not criminal, but involves an infraction of your association documents or your rules and regulations, we then have to determine if the alleged perpetrator is a unit owner or a tenant of an owner:
1. Owner: Here, the situation is >Make sure the alleged conduct does in fact violate your rules or your associations documents. If you have any uncertainty, discuss the matter with your association attorney.
Once you are satisfied you have a strong case, advise the owner that the Board or an authorized committee will hold a hearing, for the purpose of giving the owner an opportunity to defend his or her position. The owner can be represented by counsel at the hearing if he or she so desires. The hearing is informal and can be held before a panel of board members or other owners selected and approved by the board.
If the Board or the committee determines the owner has violated the governing rules, the Board has a number of options at its disposal. It is important to note that these comments are general in nature; some association documents may not permit some of these options or may even have others:
a. fine the errant owner;b. suspend voting;c. sanctions, e.g., the owner cannot use the Association amenities -- the pool;d. take the owner to court seeking declaratory or injunctive >e. have the owner sign a statement an agreement to the effect that the problem will not happen again. Such statement should include language spelling out what happens should the situation occur again.
2. Tenant: Many associations over the years have adopted -- and implemented -- a requirement that each owner and each tenant sign a "lease addendum". Such a document allows the association to step into the shoes of the owner and take all appropriate legal action against the tenant if there are violations created or caused by the tenant. If your association does not have such a "lease addendum" policy, again, it is strongly recommended that you immediately adopt such policy.
On the other hand, if the tenant did not sign a lease addendum, you may find it more difficult to take legal action against him/her. However, you should follow the same procedures as discussed above concerning owners with the owner receiving copies of all the notices and documents mailed to the tenant. In some cases, the Board may need to explain to the tenant that this is a community association, and that everyone is expected to honor and follow certain rules and regulations. Often, I have found that tenants are not aware of the applicable rules, and welcome the opportunity to learn about them.
If the tenant shows no concern -- or indeed is hostile to your overtures -- advise the tenant and owner that the Board has to follow the rules and that legal action will be taken if the alleged violations do not cease.
Full Story >
Legal Marijuana: Where To Move, And Why
Because you need it for medical reasons. Because you want to become a grower or open a dispensary. Or because youre simply a fan of getting high. Theyre all reasons for moving to states where marijuana is now legal. But there are also a few you may not have thought about, like the fact that, "Legal marijuana is a boon to the economy," said Forbes. And that the economic benefit is largely being felt by homeowners.
"One thing is clear, pot entrepreneurs are contributing to real estate booms in commercial and residential markets in states that have legalized the drug for medical and recreational use," said PropLogix.
The impact on commercial sales has been palpable, with growers and dispensaries creating demand for warehouses, factories, and "long-abandoned strip malls. As a result, states like Colorado and Washington are seeing premium prices for building leases and purchases within the proper zoning," they said.
As for residential sales, Colorado provides a prime example of the demand being created. "Colorados state law allows for counties to determine if they and how they want to legalize and regulate the drug. Areas where its legal attract more homebuyers, including marijuana users as well as entrepreneurs and job seekers. As more growers and retailers open up shop in these municipalities, the demand for workers rise. The influx of new residents inevitably leads to more home sales and higher rents. There are also plenty of people moving to pot-friendly states without intent to work for the industry, but rather to enjoy the bud of its labor."
So how does that translate to home values? The Cannifornian also turned to Colorado for a look at how the states home values were affected by the legalization of marijuana. "Researchers looking at the impact of legalized recreational marijuana on Denvers home prices found a surprising trend: dispensaries that began selling recreational marijuana had a large positive impact on neighboring property values," they said. "After recreational sales became legal, houses close to a participating dispensary saw their value increase more than 8 percent >In addition, Realtor.com looked at real estate values in Colorado and three other legalized states, Alaska, Oregon and Washington. They "showed a marked increase in home prices well above the national median price," after at least "a year of experience with recreational marijuana sales," said the Herald-Tribune.
Where its legal
Oklahoma recently became the 30th state to legalize medical marijuana. The rest are:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Nine states, plus Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana for recreational use:
- Washington D.C.
Several additional states including New York are considering the move, especially in light of the growing support pun intended and tax ramifications. The Verges recent look at whether or not New York should legalize weed brought up several interesting points in favor:
"Itd certainly be a popular move, since one in 10 New Yorkers used marijuana in the last month. It could also help fight the opioid epidemic. After all, medical cannabis can be prescribed for pain->Indeed, a Gallup Poll shows that support for marijuana legalizationis at "64 of Americans, and a recent report predicts "the legal marijuana market will reach 24.5 billion in salesa 28 annual compound growth rate - by 2021, as more state-legal markets come online," said Business Insider.
The financial consideration for states is tremendous. "In the end, legalizing pot could be good for New York States bottom line because the state could rake in the tax revenue," said The Verge. "People buy between 6.5 and 10.2 million ounces of weed illegally in New York State every year. If you estimate that it costs between 270 to 340 per ounce, that adds up to a 1.7 to 3.5 billion-dollar market. With taxes, anywhere between 173.3 million to 542.3 million of that could end up in state coffers."
Full Story >
What its Really Like to Live in a Mountain Town - The Steamboat Springs Experience
In 2005, my wife and I, along with our two sons, decided to do just that. Many of our friends thought we were nuts. How could we leave a stable, mid-career environment and venture into the great unknown? Wasnrsquo;t that supposed to be for ski bums? Shouldnrsquo;t we wait until we retire?
But undaunted, we took the plunge, and moved to Steamboat Springs, nestled in the Rockies in a beautiful but isolated corner of Northwest Colorado.
Herersquo;s what we learned from our personal experiences.
Yoursquo;ll be the Happiest Contrarian Around
We felt the time to make the move was when we could really enjoy it. Who knows what wersquo;d feel like when we retire, or what kind of shape wersquo;ll be in. We decided it wasnrsquo;t worth the risk to put our dreams on hold.
Visitors will Envy Younbsp;
Often while skiing, people will ask, ldquo;how did you do it?rdquo; We tell them candidly we just decided to do it. Most people have the skills to adapt to different situations or work remotely, and wersquo;re no different.
Yoursquo;ll Live in a Magical Bubble
Steamboat Springs, along with many other ski resort towns, just feels different. Yoursquo;ll see it in its unbridled optimism. People donrsquo;t complain about the weather because snow is welcomed and Colorado is very sunny. Residents are doing the ldquo;snow dancerdquo; during ski season.
Your Kids Will Go to Some of the Best Schools in Colorado
In 2018, BackgroundChecks.org announced that the Steamboat School District placed second in the state, ranked on math and reading scores, dropout rates, funding, and poverty rates.
Your Kids will Learn to Ski or Snowboard on a Black Diamond Run
Your kids can learn to ski with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, the most awarded ski club in North America. Itrsquo;s amazing to see kids three and four years old coming down black diamond runs, and thinking nothing of it.
Yoursquo;ll be Living in a Town Full of Olympians
Steamboat Springs has sent more athletes to the Olympics than any other place in North America. This is a remarkable feat when you consider Steamboatrsquo;s population is estimated to be 12,965.
Yoursquo;ll Enjoy Some of the Best Water and Air Quality in the World
According to the EPA, Steamboat Springsrsquo; water quality is 100 ndash; itrsquo;s the best it can be. And the air quality is 93, compared to the U.S. average of 58. We wanted our kids to be able to grow up in an area with pristine air and water.
Viewing the Milky Way is a Common Occurrence
Along with the elevation and pristine air is the opportunity to see stars the way natured intended. On a clear night, the stars come out in staggering numbers, which you may have only seen in pictures before.
Yoursquo;ll have Access to World >
If you think snow sports are the only thing to do in a mountain town, you havenrsquo;t checked out the bike trails, gold medal fishing, amazing hiking, and adventurous kayaking. In Steamboat, yoursquo;ll be living where most people vacation.
Yoursquo;ll discover Champagne Powderreg;
The term Champagne Powder refers to the super light and dry Rocky Mountain snow that falls in the Steamboat area. Different than snow with a higher water content, yoursquo;ll be able to float on the snow that has its own name.
Yoursquo;ll be Part of Close-Knit Community
Steamboat was originally a ranching community, and then when the mountain opened for skiing, it became a tourist destination. But itrsquo;s western roots and authentic hospitality continues to this day.
Yoursquo;ll be Doing it Your Way
Moving to the mountains is something that many people dream of, but few do. You can take the long road, and say this is something yoursquo;ll do eventually. Or you could dream big and make the move now while your family can enjoy it.
Housing in Steamboat Springs
Steamboat is not cheap, but itrsquo;s not as expensive as other ski towns like Aspen, Telluride, and Vail. You can check out a beautiful 4-bedroom home here to find out what a family home looks like.
Full Story >
Where the Best Places to Raise a Family Meets the Best Real Estate Markets
WalletHub >For the family list, "WalletHub compared more than 180 U.S. cities based on 46 key metrics that consider essential family dynamics, such as the cost of housing, the quality of local school and health-care systems, and the opportunities for fun and recreation," they said.
The real estate list establishes "the best local real-estate markets in the U.S.," by comparing "300 cities of varying sizes across 22 key indicators of housing-market attractiveness and economic strength," they said. "Our data set ranges from median home-price appreciation to home sales turnover rate to job growth."
Evaluating both lists, three cities stand out: Irvine, CA; Seattle, WA; and Boise, ID.
Moving to Irvine
Irvines total 70.74 score for their No. 2 ranking on the Best Cities for Families list includes:
No. 28 for Family Fun
No. 3 for Health and Safety
No. 3 for Education and Child Care
No. 49 for Affordability
No. 4 for Socio-Economics
The citys No. 27 rank on the Best Real Estate Markets list breaks down like this:
A total 67.58 score
No. 40 for Real Estate Market
No. 27 for Affordability and Economic
In their look at the Best Places to Live, Time: Money noted: "Its no wonder people flock toIrvine; it boasts high-paying jobs, stellar public schools and a quick 10-mile drive to the coast. Plus, for 11 years running, the FBI has named this family-oriented Orange County city one of the safest in the country."
They also point out the desirability of Irvines family friendly neighborhoods or villages. "Homes in each surround a neighborhood park, playground and pool, and youd be hard-pressed to find anyone outside the pool on a hot summer day," they said. "On weekends, Irvines bike paths are also busy; more than 350 miles of on- and off-street bike lanes connect all corners of the city."
Irvine ranked 15th on U.S. News World Reports 2018 Best Places to Live in the United States list, which was created to "highlight areas across the country that have the characteristics residents are looking for, including steady job growth and affordability," said Patch. "The top-ranked places are areas where citizens can feel the most fulfilled socially, physically and financially."
That affordability is >less pricey than some other California cities, it may be a rude awakening for those coming from other parts of the country.
Still, if you can afford it, Livability says youll love living in this city that "consistently ranks as one of our Best Places to Live" thanks to "an average temperature of 71 degrees," its focus on technology, "more than 16,000 acres of parks and open spaceand access to three top medical facilities."
Moving to Seattle
Seattles total 63.44 score for their No. 15 ranking on the Best Cities for Families list includes:
No. 47 for Family Fun
No. 37 for Health and Safety
No. 25 for Education and Child Care
No. 27 for Affordability
No. 59 for Socio-Economics
Seattle is No. 8 on the real estate market list with a 72.16 score, including:
No. 3 for Real Estate Market
No. 171 for Affordability and Economic
Looking at that last number and shaking your head? Yes, Seattle is expensive. Thecost of living"isnt as high as it is in that other West Coast tech hub, but it isnt exactly low either," said SmartAsset. "Whats more, as a result of rapid population growth in recent yearsliving costs have been rising quickly. If youre in the market for buying a home, be prepared to face a lot of competition."
But those who live there and love it think there are enough upsides to make the price points worth it. Mostly. Here are some pros and cons of living in Seattle according to SmartAsset:
"Seattle is a city unlike any other," they said. Nestled between the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges, along the shores of the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, its natural beauty causes manywho visit to wish they could stay forever."
Theres no state income tax but there is a high sales tax rate.
"Seattle has the countrys best summers. Theyre warm and dry, with low humidity and lots of sunshine. Its the perfect time of year to enjoy the many natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest, like Olympic National Park or the San Juan islands."
That rain may not be so bad. "Usually when it rains in Seattle, it comes down as a mist. Seattleites dont even bother flipping the hood on the raincoat they probably purchased at REI. The real problem is the gloom. Seattle has more cloudy days than almost any other U.S. city, and its far-northern location means winter days are especially short." If you start to get down when you havent seen the sun for a day, Seattle might really affect you.
The aforementioned population explosion. "In 2000, the population of Seattle was about 560,000. Today, the population has grown to more than 660,000. Thats 100,000 new residents in 15 years, and the growth shows no signs of slowing down, with tech companies like Google, Facebook and especially Amazonplanning on increasing their hiring in the city. That has downsides, like the competitive rental marketand the gridlocked streets, but it also has upsides. For example, as a new arrival, you shouldnt have any problem meeting people who are also getting acquainted with the city."
Lots of local sports team with fervent fans.
Bad traffic but decent public transportation. "If you dont have a car or dont want to drive,Seattles public transportation system should get you where you need to go."
And, of course, some serious coffee. This is the birthplace of Starbucks, after all.
Moving to Boise
Boise scores a total of 63.26 on the Best Cities for Families list for a No. 17 ranking and gets:
No. 17 for Family Fun
No. 18 for Health and Safety
No. 169 for Education and Child Care
No. 8 for Affordability
No. 55 for Socio-Economics
On the Best Real Estate Markets list, it comes in at No. 19, which breaks down as:
A 68.95 score
No. 23 for Real Estate Market
No. 40 for Affordability and Economic
If youre thinking about a move to Boise, its important to note that the city ranks highly on US News Best Places to Live as well as its Best Places to Retire lists.
"Boise is a recreationalists paradise," said US News. "If you value the outdoors and time spent among rivers, mountains, canyons, deserts and lakes -- and all the activities encapsulated therein -- its worth a serious look.
In addition, the city has a "booming" downtown area with ample new construction, "locally sourced food and drink," and ample entertainment options. "Idahos capital sits squa>Local radio personality Jeremy Hobson from Here Now weighed in on whether "Boise is the next Portland" on WBUR, saying: "Boises cultural cachet is growing as tourists and new residents seek out its unique food and music scenes, as well as its low cost-of-living."
Boises lower cost of living is a huge driver for those moving to the city, as is its reputation as a safe city, and changing economic landscape. "People really like to come here, especially from the tech sector. That is changing the look and feel of Boise. For a long time, Boise has been kind of flyover country, and that is changing in a big way."
Full Story >
HOA Board And Manager Authority
To achieve effective communications between homeowners and their homeowner association, it is important to understand the authority that belongs to the property management company, the board members individually and the board as a whole.
For example, the management company may be able to solve a problem quickly while at other times, management may not have the authority without board approval. When that occurs, frustration and conflict may ensue. Can this situation be avoided?
The Management Company and the Board: The management company serves as the agent of the HOAs board of directors. In other words, the management company has limited authority. When that authority is exceeded, the board must provide the additional authority. Similarly, an individual board member including the President does not have the authority to override board policy or governing document authority.
Homeowners Concerns: It is not uncommon for an owner to ask the property manager to take certain action to assist that homeowner. However, that manager may not have been granted authority to make decisions on behalf of the board. Its helpful to understand why some owners might prefer for the management company to assume the authority and bypass the boards decision making process:
Mistrust: If a board communicates poorly or has issued unpopular edicts, homeowners will be leery and suspicious of a boards ability to make the correct decision on their behalf.
Past Failures: If there is a history of problematic board decisions, such as failure to allocate reserve money for maintenance, then resistance and distrust are assured.
Buyers Remorse: Some owners buy into a covenant-restricted HOAs without realizing the requirement to abide by the governing documents and rules.
Speed of Decisions: People expect timely results and dont want to wait.
How the board can facilitate communication:
- Adopt policies to handle routine items that the management company can follow without having to go to the board every time a routine approval is needed.
- Hold consistent board meetings. If the meeting schedule is known in advance and when the board makes decisions, the wait becomes more palatable.
- Have a reply sent immediately to the owner after the decision is reached and state the reason for the decision if their request is denied.
- Give members an opportunity to address the board when requested.
- Provide a newsletter and website that keeps members informed of board policies and procedures.
From an owners standpoint, it is a good idea to get involved in the governance of the HOA. Attending board meetings, serving on committees and running for the board are excellent ways to learn how an HOA works.
Some homeowners view the conformity required in homeowners association as a sacrifice of rights. However, most people enjoy the stability, structure and self-governance that are part of every homeowner association. They appreciate the rules that protect and maintain the quality and value of their investment. The key to success is a board of directors that works to promote harmony among the owners and does what it can to make swift and fair decisions.
For more innovative homeowner association management strategies, subscribe to www.Regenesis.net
Full Story >
Quinlan Realty Sets Record Month of Giving Through Broker with Heart Program
Quinlan Realty in Creve Coeur, MO has generously made 12 donations as a brokerage through the Broker with Hearttrade; program.
Agent with Heart Tayler Stanowski has made three generous donations, first to St. Jude Childrenrsquo;s Research Hospital on behalf of her clients, David J. Westrich Jr. and Iona Marcu, next to Shriners Hospitals for Children St. Louis on behalf of her clients Stephanie and Charles Keyser, and lastly to the Buddy Fund, made on behalf of her client, Becky Murch.
Agent with Heart James Connor generously donated to the Buddy Fund on behalf of his client, Jim Masters. Additionally, James made a second donation to Team St. Louis Wrestling Club on behalf of his client, Derrick Swaney.
Quinlan Realtyrsquo;s distinguished Broker with Heart, Craig Carr, generously matched each of Tayler and Jamesrsquo; donations, in addition to making two donations of his own. Friends of Kids with Cancer Inc. will receive a generous donation on behalf of his client, Steven Mitchell, as will St. Louis Childrenrsquo;s Hospital on behalf of his client, Rob Francis.
ldquo;We are truly blown away by the incredible generosity of Quinlan Realty,rdquo; says Mr. John Giaimo, President of PinRaise. ldquo;Craig Carr has truly embraced the Broker with Heart Program and instilled an impeccable sense of giving within his brokerage that is truly inspiring.rdquo; The Broker with Heart program was created in conjunction with PinRaisersquo;s Agent with Heart Program, with the hope of allowing entire brokerages to participate in making a donation to the clientrsquo;s chosen nonprofit after each closing.
ldquo;I would like to personally thank Craig, Tayler and James for their admirable generosity, and for dedicating themselves to truly making a difference within their community. It is especially moving to me that Quinlan Realty is such a new brokerage and is already impacting the city of St. Louis and surrounding areas in such a large, positive way. We are truly grateful to have Quinlan Realty as a partner in helping our program make a difference,rdquo; concludes Mr. Giaimo.
About the Broker with Heart Program: Through the Broker with Heart program, brokerages agree to donate a percentage or fixed dollar amount of their commission from a home sale or purchase to the nonprofit of their clientrsquo;s choice after closing. This provides needed revenue for the nonprofit and makes a real difference in their community. For more information, please visit www.PinRaise.com.
To contact Craig Carr, please call 314-401-9286 or visit www.QuinlanRealty.com.
To contact Tayler Stanowski, please call 314-401-9889 or visit www.QuinlanRealty.com.
To contact James Connor, please call 314-583-4594 or visit www.QuinlanRealty.com.
Full Story >
Generous Real Estate Agents Make August Record Month of Giving Thanks to Pay it Forward Mentality
Las Vegas, NV September 4th, 2018 ndash; PinRaise, the company that connects real estate agents with local clients and nonprofits, announced today that the donations continue, with the help of their esteemed real estate professionals each making donations on behalf of their clients to the nonprofits of their clientsrsquo; choice.
Kellie Bradt of RG Realty Group in Coon Rapids, MN has generously donated to Algalita Marine Research Foundation on behalf of her client, Sanjukta Chaudhuri, as well as a second donation to Walker Methodist Care on behalf of her clients Dnauth Hanuman, Kim Rendahl, and Jeremy and Krystyana Bolz.
Jason Isley of Seven Gables Real Estate in Tustin, CA has made two generous donations. First to the American Heart Association on behalf of his clients Meghan and Jacob Huffman and Dawn Christine Burnett, and the second to the Assistance League of Santa Ana on behalf of his client, Karen Connor Johnson.
Dawn Veronica Curry of Keller Williams in Fredericksburg, VA has made a generous donation to Empowerhouse on behalf of her client, Gary Gough, as well as a second donation to Micah Ecumenical Ministries Inc. on behalf of her client, Emmanual Akagwu.
Peter Lunde of Coach Realtors in Stony Brook, NY has generously donated to the American Brain Tumor Association on behalf of his clients Kristopher and Christina Anselmo.
Dana Roberts of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Irvine, CA has generously donated to the Childrenrsquo;s Hospital of Orange County on behalf of her clients, Brenda and Derek Jacobs.
Quinlan Realty in Creve Coeur, MO has generously made 12 donations as a brokerage through the Broker with Hearttrade; program. Read more about their donations and generosity here.
ldquo;What a way to round out the summer season All of us at PinRaise are incredibly grateful to Agents with Heart Kellie, Jason, Dawn, Peter, Dana and Quinlan Realty for their generosity this past month. Because of agents like them, nonprofits everywhere are able to benefit from much-needed funds. We are so proud of our program and all the good it does, but we would not be able to accomplish any of it if not for our esteemed partners in giving, our dedicated Agents with Heart,rdquo; says Mr. John Giaimo, President of PinRaise. Through the Agent with Heart Program, real estate agents make generous donations to the nonprofit of their clientrsquo;s choice after each close of escrow. The program was created to connect real estate agents to nonprofits with the goal of assisting nonprofits nation-wide.
ldquo;I would personally like to thank Kellie, Jason, Dawn, Peter, Dana and Quinlan Realty for their admirable dedication to paying it forward within their communities. It says quite a lot about a person when they are willing to shave off part of their commission to not only make a donation, but to make it to a nonprofit that their client supports and cares about. I truly appreciate their support in helping us to assist nonprofits everywhere,rdquo; concludes Mr. Giaimo.
About the Agent with Heart Program: Through the Agent with Heart program, real estate agents agree to donate a percentage or fixed dollar amount of their commission from a home sale or purchase to the nonprofit of their clientrsquo;s choice after closing. This provides needed revenue for the nonprofit and makes a real difference in their community. For more information, please visit www.PinRaise.com.
To contact Kellie Bradt, please call 651-269-8435 or visit www.KellieBradt.RealtyGroupMN.com.
To contact Jason Isley, please call 714-478-6750 or visit www.JasonIsley.com.
To contact Dawn Veronica Curry, please call 571-436-8321 or visit www.DawnCurryHomes.com.
To contact Peter Lunde, please call 631-601-7906 or visit www.PeterLundeNorthShoreHomes.com.
To contact Dana Roberts, please call 949-433-6694 or visit www.DanaRobertsRealEstate.com.
To contact Quinlan Realty, please call 314-401-9286 or visit www.QuinlanRealty.com.
Full Story >
Ethics Can Be Taught, But Thats Not All There Is To It
The current issue of California Real Estate, official magazine of the California Association of REALTORSreg; CAR, contains a transcript of an interesting panel discussion titled, "Best Practices, Pet Peeves, and Challenges." "Moderated by C.A.R. CEO Joel Singer, the panelists exchanged ideas about the market and shared their best practices as well as the pet peeves and current challenges."
One of the panelists, a thirteen-year veteran of the business, made this comment: "I think that ethics is a really important thing thats missing overall throughout the industry. Ethics training was the very first thing [I learned when I started]. Now, I feel that people dont get it." That elicited the following response from Joel Singer: "Ethics is something difficult to teach. Either you are ethical or youre not. The one thing that we always say to the legislature, who wants to teach you ethics ever day, is that the problem is if youre unethical, it doesnt make any difference."
This response, I believe, represents a widely-held, if not often articulated, point of view. Sometimes it is summed up in the slogan, "Ethics cant be taught, it must be caught." But this viewpoint conflates two distinct items: 1 Ethics, as a set of rules and principles about behavior; and 2 Being Ethical, as a disposition to act according to those rules and principles. Having made that distinction, one might then express the viewpoint as saying, "Ethics can be taught, but you cant teach someone to be ethical."
We can teach our teenagers the rules of grammar, but we may not be able to get them to speak grammatically. If we want people to behave a certain way including acting ethically, we need to motivate them to do so.
Can ethics -- the rules and principles of ethics -- be taught? Of course they can. It has been happening for thousands of years in a myriad of cultures. To be sure, the ethics of some cultures may differ from others, but that is a different and essentially un>Can people be motivated to conform to the ethical rules they have been taught? Again, of course. Some more so than others, though, and not always with results that we like. MS-13 members, for example, may conform highly with the behavioral rules they have been taught.
If there is an unacceptably high incidence of ethical misbehavior in the real estate industry, perhaps industry leaders would do well to honestly and thoughtfully address the facts that contribute to that. One thing is for sure: if we keep doing what we have been doing, we should not expect to see different results.
Any program or plan to increase ethical behavior and to lessen unethical behavior among the ranks of REALTORSreg; would have to have at least two components: one would be the effective teaching of those rules and principles embodied in the Realtorreg; Code of Ethics; the other would be supplying motivation to act in accordance with those rules and principles.
The current requirement for familiarizing agents and brokers with the Realtorreg; Code of Ethics is so minimal -- take a 2 1/2 hour course once every two years -- it suggests that even the organization doesnt take it very seriously.
The National Association of REALTORSreg; is rightfully proud of its Code of Ethics, a document first formulated in 1913, and amended at more than 30 different national conventions since then. With 17 articles, supplemented by over 88 Standards of Practice and more than 154 official Case Interpretations, it presents a complex set of documents. At best, a 2 hour >As we have noted before, the very need for a real estate code of ethics is rooted in the same fact that has led other businesses and professions to develop their own unique codes of ethics. It is that, as one gets into the details of conducting the practice of real estate or law, or counseling, etc. people -- even very ethically good people -- find themselves in situations and settings that are distinctly new and different. Even if we are already schooled in the application of ethical principles to the situations of everyday life, we are liable to find ourselves unsure how those principles apply in situations involving matters such as agency, exclusive representation, multiple counter offers, and the like.
Much of the Code deals with matters that may be complicated and that dont have parallels in the everyday world. Even very good, well-intentioned people may be at a loss when confronting them. While it is not a sensible aim to make every Realtorreg; an "expert" in the Code, it does make sense, and is achievable, to make members more conversant with it than can be accomplished with the present requirement.
Many REALTORSreg; do need to learn more about the Code. One way to achieve that might be to have the first year or two years of membership require some ethics training in addition to that which they received in their orientation process. Courses could be made available in a variety of formats, from on-line to provision by the agents own brokerage. The point, of course, would be to better familiarize them at the beginning of their careers.
But what has been said here only treats learning the principles of an ethical code. What about applying them? What about being ethical? Well tackle that topic next.
Full Story >
Rental Scams Target Tenants, Landlords
Earlier this year, a woman in Brantford, Ont. had several people come to her door to view her house, which they said they had arranged to rent. Problem was, the house wasnt for rent and the homeowner knew nothing about it.
In the Ottawa area, landlords who rent to international students were contacted by people who said they wanted to pay a years worth of rent upfront, sending a cheque or money order. But soon after the tenant said their plans had changed and asked the landlords to refund all but two months worth of the money. The initial cheque bounced, and the landlords were out the funds "refunded".
In June, CityNews in Toronto reported that more than two dozen people showed up at the same home in North York to move into a room. The man who was renting the home wasnt the owner of the house. Most of the victims were international students and visitors, says CityNews, who found the home on Facebook or Kijiji and paid money up front for the room. The tv cameras were rolling when a student from Japan arrived and discovered someone was already living in the room he paid 1,200 to rent.
These are just some of the many rent->
The Vancouver Police Department says there are two common scams aimed at tenants. In the first, the scammer poses as the landlord but says they are out of the country, often calling themselves "a business person who travels abroad." But the property they are advertising may be completely fake. The photo shown in the listing may have been lifted from a real estate advertising site or a rental site such as Airbnb. The scammer asks for a deposit through a money transfer and then disappears.
In the second type of scam, the fraudster has access to a property and shows it to the victims. They ask for an immediate deposit and give the victim a move-in date, promising to send the keys soon. But the keys never arrive, and the scammer cant be found. Or, in some cases, the keys do arrive, but several people show up at the property, all believing they have rented it.
If you are looking for a place to rent, here are ways to protect yourself as recommended by the Competition Bureau, the Vancouver Police Department and the RCMP:
Recognize the red flags: If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. If they are asking for a cash deposit, or if they want the money to be wired someplace, dont do it. If they want you to send money outside the country, be wary. They may promise you a "full refund" if you are not happy with the property, but thats unlikely to happen.
If the person will only deal with you via email, its another red flag. If you have a contract, does the name on the emails match the name on the contract?
Some scammers direct would-be tenants to a website that asks you to fill out a form with personal or financial information. Dont fall for pressure tactics, such as "several other people are interested so you must decide right now."
Research the property online. You can copy a photo of the listing and use Google Image Search to see if the same photo has been used to advertise other properties.
Request a lease or rental contract and review it carefully. A landlord who doesnt want a lease is unusual. Most landlords will ask you a lot of questions and demand letters of employment and a credit check to make sure you are going to be a good tenant. They will want to protect themselves from non-paying tenants and will demand a lease. If this doesnt happen and they seem eager to rent to you without one, be suspicious.
Insist on meeting the landlord or property manager in person and inspecting the property. If you are out of town, try to get a trusted friend to visit the address and ensure that it exists and is as advertised. Ask neighbours or other tenants about the owner and the property.
If you have been the victim of a scam, contact your local police department. If you have provided financial information to the scammers, alert Equifax and TransUnion to make sure it has not impacted your credit score. Contact your financial institution as well.
The bottom line is to use common sense and think it through before shelling out any money. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says: "Go with your gut. If it seems fishy, it probably is."
Full Story >
Get Your Fitness In At Home With These Calorie-Burning Cleaning Tasks
"You know what I love about fitness. I love fitness whole pizza in my mouth."
Its an old joke, an eye-rolling joke, but one that still garners a chuckle if only for the inner truth of it all. And heres a nugget that makes it even more >Heres the good news. That cleaning youve been putting off can help you burn some calories so you can enjoy a slice or three or at least reduce your no-gym-going guilt.
"Does housework count as a workout? The answer: Yes Theres a reason they call it housework," said Fitness Magazine. "You can burn serious calories during a marathon cleaning session."
These are the home cleaning tasks - with one home reno and two weekend chores thrown in - to take on this weekend. Note: While youre figuring out which activities to conquer, remember to apply your personal weight to each.
Calorie-burning numbers listed are based on "an average weight of around 150 pounds," said Today. "If youre lighter, in the range of 120, then estimate about 20 fewer calories burned. The same goes for a higher weight: if youre closer to 180 pounds, youll burn about 20 more calories per activity. So, if vacuuming burns 200 calories for the "average" 150-pound person, then the estimate for a lighter person would be roughly 160 calories, while the heavier person would be in the range of around 240 calories for the same activity."
Vacuuming:"Depending on the size of your home, vacuuming could make a significant dent in your 10,000 recommended steps a day," said Shape. "In the process, you could burn 119 calories per 30 minutes.
Mopping: Your floors probably need it, and the best news is that this task will burn about 150 calories in an hour
Cleaning the bathroom: Honestly, we hope you dont have an hours worth of cleaning to do in one bathroom, but you could easily spend that time cleaning up to three bathrooms and burn off 180 caloriesenough to enjoy a treat after dinner
Scrubbing the tub:Maybe its only the tub that needs serious attention. This unpleasant activity sounds a lot better when you consider how many calories you can burn. Fifteen minutes of heavy soap scum busting can burn more than 90 calories and give you a great arm workout.
Gardening: Its time to get out into the yard and clean up the flower beds or prepare the space for cooler weather to come. All that bending, kneeling, and leaning means you can burn about 250 calories in one hour.
Get the windows sparkling clean: "Wash the inside and outside of your windows for 30 minutes to burn off 100 calories," said Health.
Painting the walls: Ready to bring some new color into your home this weekend? Paint for one hour and burn about 270 calories.
Grocery shopping: This may make you rethink having your groceries delivered or using the markets pre-order/load them up in the trunk service. A one-hour grocery store trip can burn 350 calories
Full Story >
5 Fall Home Maintenance Items To Check Off Now Before The Cold Kicks In
Summer is on its way out - even if it doesnt feel like it - and fall is on the horizon. That means its time to start thinking about how to get your home ready for winter. "Summer hasnt quite wound down yet, but fall isnt as far away as it seems," said Forbes."Doing a round of simple fall maintenance chores now can save you time, money, andstress when the cold weather comes."
Here are five fall home maintenance activities to start thinking about this weekend.
Clean your gutters
Depending on your climate, you may have to get up in those gutters more than once to clear out leaves and other gunk and keep your home safe from flooding and damage. Giving them a look before the leaves fall will help ensure there is room for all that foliage. Once they fall, making sure to clean them out before the first freeze can limit clogs and keep dangerous ice dams away.
Check your chimney
Make sure everything is in order before the first fire of the season. "Creosote buildup causes chimney fires," said Family Handyman. "You should have your chimney professionally inspected or cleaned after every 70 fires. If you burn wet wood which you shouldnt, have it inspected or cleaned every 50 fires. Dont remember the last time you had it cleaned by a pro? A quick way to tell if your chimney needs cleaning is to run the point of your fireplace poker along the inside of your chimney liner. If you find a 1/8-in. layer or more of buildup, call a chimney sweep."
Check your roof
Storms, wind, and other weather conditions over the past year could have done damage that youre not aware of. You definitely dont want to wait until the first heavy snow to find out you have a leak. If youre not comfortable on a ladder or just want a professional eye, a pro roofer will typically charge you under 100 to check it out.
Seal it up
There are three important reasons to make sure your home is air tight: 1 Keeping moisture out; 2 Keeping critters out; 3 Keeping warm air in. "Fall is when critters often enter our homes to build a nest and ride out the cold weather," said Forbes. "So walk around the exterior looking for ways small animals can enter your house and seal them off. A mouse can wriggle through an opening as small as a dime, so look carefully for those small holes."
Sealing up holes and cracks can also make your home more efficient so it takes less effort and money to keep warm in the winter. All you need in most cases is weather stripping and caulking.
Disconnect garden hoses from faucets
As soon as the weather dips, its time to disconnect those hoses. This simple task can potentially save you a lot of heartache later. "Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets," said HouseLogic. "Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in theplumbingpipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesnt sneak up and cause damage." Be sure to also "Turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets. That way, youll guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet."
Full Story >
How to Keep Your Jewelry Safe While You Sell Your Home
Its an unfortunate fact that thieves often target homes on the real estate market. Sometimes these thieves are serial offenders, but they can also be prospective buyers or real estate agents gone rogue.
To minimize temptation, store your valuables, especially fine jewelry, in a safe and secure place whenever you have potential buyers or agents in your home. Avoid leaving valuables unsecured in easy-to-access areas. Weve outlined several ways to avoid mistakes and keep your valuables safe before and while you sell your home.
Before Listing Your Home
Protecting your belongings starts before your home even goes on the market. Complete these simple tasks ahead of time to ensure that you can protect yourself and recover any losses if something goes wrong.
1. Make sure you have a detailed receipt or appraisal for each piece of jewelry. A detailed receipt will have information about each items metal and diamonds or precious gemstones. It should also have the price you paid or a current estimate of the pieces value. These documents will be very useful in the event something does happen to your valuables.
2. As you begin the process of listing your home and staging your house for pictures or virtual tours, take jewelry boxes off the counters and remove jewelry cabinets or armoires from view. Criminals often case homes using the listing photos, so dont leave any signs of fine jewelry in these promotional images.
3. Were focusing on your precious jewelry and valuables, but you can also apply these tips to any item someone may be tempted to steal.
While Your Home is on the Market
Now that youve appraised your jewelry and removed it from sight, lets talk about how to protect your belongings while strangers visit your home.
Lock it up -- Most real estate experts will tell you that the best way to keep any item safe is to lock it up. Its not as simple as "out of sight, out of mind"; you dont know who might open drawers or cabinets during an open house. Find a secure place that you can store your valuables, such as a safe or a locking drawer. If you dont have a safe or secure place to lock away your jewelry, consider renting a safety deposit box while your home is on the market.
Find a friend -- Your friends and neighbors will be sad to see you go, but you might be able to ask them for one last favor. Ask a trusted friend to babysit your valuables temporarily. Explain that youd like to keep them out of the house while strangers are present, and be willing to reward them with homemade treats or a bottle of wine for their generosity. But before you ask, make sure theyre a good candidate for the job. Do they have small children who get into everything, or do they have contractors or other strangers in their home? No matter what, secure your pieces in a locked box before you take them over.
Take it with you -- This wont work for everyone, as some agents bring prospective buyers over when youre out of the house. But if you require your agent to give you notice whenever they schedule a visit, this option may be the perfect fit for you. Keep your valuables ready to lock up and take with you before the appointment begins. This option may be the most difficult in todays housing market, since many buyers want to see your home on short notice.
Whichever solution you choose, make sure to put your pieces into soft velvet pouches, jewelry boxes, or small plastic bags. This storage technique will keep each item separate and safe from scratching, tangling, or other damage. Check your homeowners policy to make sure your policy covers valuables. Your diamonds may be covered against chipping, cracking and loss from the mounting by your jeweler, but loss and theft of the entire ring may not be covered. If you need additional coverage, its best to know as soon as possible.
Selling a home can be a stressful time, but these steps will save you from worrying about your valuables. With some creativity and planning, you can rest assured knowing that prospective buyers wont be tempted to take anything thats not theirs.
Dan Decker is the charismatic, romantic, and knowledgeable Customer Care Manager for Robbins Brothers. He has been with the company for nearly 20 years and enjoys helping customers fulfill their engagement dreams. When hes not working, its all about quality time spent with his daughter and lovely wife of 20 years.
Full Story >
There Are Tax Benefits With Home Ownership
Homeownership has always been the "great American dream". And Congress -- with one exception -- did not take it away when it passed the tax reform bill last December.
To foster and encourage this dream, Congress has consistently enacted -- or preserved -- tax legislation which favors homeowners. Indeed, much has been written that our tax laws discriminate against renters, by giving unfair and unequal tax benefits to those who own homes.
Every four years, some candidate for high political office tries to focus our attention on equalizing the tax laws, and repealing the homeowner benefits, but these arguments have consistently fallen on deaf ears.
For those of us who own homes, here is a list of the itemized tax deductions available to the average homeowner. Every year, you are permitted to deduct the following expenses:
Taxes. Real property taxes, both state and local, can be deducted. The one exception referenced above: tax filers can deduct on Schedule A any combination of state and local property taxes and income or sales taxes but only up to a total of 10,000. Interestingly, married couples who file their own separate tax return can only deduct up to 5000.
However, it should be noted that real estate taxes are only deductible in the year they are actually paid to the government. Thus, if in year 2018, your lender held in escrow moneys for taxes due in 2019, you cannot take a deduction for these taxes when you file your 2018 tax return.
.Mortgage lenders are required to send an annual statement to borrowers by the end of January of each year, reflecting the amount of mortgage interest and real estate taxes the homeowner paid during the previous year.
Mortgage Interest. Interest on mortgage loans on a first or second home is fully deductible, subject to the following limitations: acquisition loans up to 1 million, and home equity loans up to 100,000. If you are married, but file separately, these limits are split in half. But note that for new loans taken out after December 14, 2017, the limit on deductible mortgage debt is reduced to 750,000. Loans in existence prior to that date are grandfathered.
You must understand the concept of an acquisition loan. To qualify for such a loan, you must buy, construct or substantially improve your home. If you refinance for more than the outstanding indebtedness, the excess amount does not qualify as an acquisition loan unless you use all of the excess to improve your home. However, any other excess may qualify as a home equity loan.
Let us look at this example: Several years ago, you purchased your house for 150,000 and obtained a mortgage in the amount of 100,000. Last year, your mortgage indebtedness had been reduced to 95,000, but your house was worth 300,000.
Because rates were low last year, you refinanced and were able to get a new mortgage of 175,000. Your acquisition indebtedness is 95,000. The additional 80,000 that you took out of your equity does not qualify as acquisition indebtedness, but since it is under 100,000, it qualifies as a home equity loan.
Several years ago, the Internal Revenue Service ruled that one does not have to take out a separate home equity loan to qualify for this aspect of the tax deduction. However, if you had borrowed 200,000, you would only be able to deduct interest on 195,000 of your loan -- the 95,000 acquisition indebtedness, plus the 100,000 home equity.
One more caveat: the proceeds of a second mortgage -- or a home equity loan -- are still deductible but only if the money is used to substantially improve the property.
The remaining interest is treated as personal interest, and is not deductible.
Points. Because mortgage rates are still considerably low, not too many borrowers are paying points. When you obtain a mortgage loan, in order to get a lower rate mortgage, you would pay one or more points. Whether referred to as "loan origination fees," "premium charges," or "discounts," these are still points. Each point is one percent of the amount borrowed; if you obtain a loan of 170,000, each point will cost you 1,700. And the interest rate on your loan will be lowered.
The IRS has also ruled that even if points are paid by sellers, they are still deductible by the homebuyer. Points paid to a lender when you refinance your current mortgage are not fully deductible in the year they are paid; you have to allocate the amount over the life of the loan. For example, you paid 1700 in points for a 30 year loan. Each year you are permitted to deduct only 56.66 1700 divided by 30; however, when you pay off this new loan, any remaining portion of the points you have not deducted are then deductible in full.
Needless to say, if you have any questions about these tax benefits, discuss them with your financial and legal advisors.
Full Story >
Five Tips For The Best Granite Countertops
The interior design industry has been trying for years to break homeowners addiction to granite counters. Theyve introduced stainless, concrete, glass, quartz, wood, marble and other ideas to wean people away, but the alternative surfaces just dont have the luxury look that granite does.
If youre getting granite countertops for the first time, here are five things you need to know:
Choose the right stone. Granite is a general term that describes a type of granular igneous rock formed by cooled magma and indigenous minerals. Depending on where the granite is quarried, it can be stunning with streaks of gray, pink, red, green, blue or gold. The rarity of the vein of granite can drive up the price considerably, as well as the thickness and the type of fabrication you choose.
When you shop for granite, dont choose from a sample. Youre basically buying the whole slab so thats how you should shop. Look only at whole slabs, as the fabricators will use as much as possible to match sections and to minimize waste. Sometimes its possible to buy two or more slabs from the same lot. They are sliced just like pieces of toast so they can accommodate large kitchens. If theyre put back to back, they form butterfly or mirror images of each other.
The beauty of granite is the movement of color and the pattern of streaks and dapples, so choose wisely. A strong graphic pattern will be highly energizing, while a softer color and pattern will be calming.
Hold the Dumb End of the Tape. Granite is sold by the square foot. You can get an idea of the number of square feet you need by multiplying length by width for each section of the kitchen, such as countertops, backsplash, and an island. Then add the square feet of each section together.
But thats not all there is to measuring. Theres an edge allowance, seam allowance, sinks and other things to consider. You can tell your salesperson how many square feet you think youll need, and he or she can direct you to slabs and lots that are large enough to fulfill your order. Once you choose, the salesperson will "hold" the slab with a deposit, until the fabricator can come out to measure exactly.
Meanwhile, your cabinets should be installed before the fabricator comes out. Most appliances fit under the countertops, but if youre installing a new sink or cooktop, the fabricator will need those measurements, too. Let the fabricator take the measurements. That way the fit is guaranteed.
Be aware of slab thickness. Not all granite slabs are sliced the same, so expect to pay more for a three-inch thickness than a one-inch thickness. If you choose a thick granite, make sure your cabinets can support that much weight.
Next, youll choose an edge that is bullnose, ogee or beveled, or raw-edged. The finish can also change the look of the granite. Polished granite is glossy and reflective. Honed granite is a smooth matte finish. Leather is a textured finish.
Ask for as few seams as possible. If youre doing a large area like a kitchen, you want to use as few seams as possible so that the flow of the granite pattern and color is less interrupted. A seamless slab in a kitchen looks beautiful and holds more value than seamed pieces because its like a work of art. Ask the fabricator if any parts of the job can be done without a seam. Sometimes its very possible, depending on the design of your kitchen.
To save money, you can choose granite tiles, which is like a tile, so there will be no seams, but they add little value to your home. You can also order from scraps the dealer may have leftover from other jobs, but theyre only be suitable for small jobs where you dont have to match another granite, such as a powder bath or laundry.
Granite requires care. Granite is fairly heat-resistant and easy to clean, but you should keep in mind that its also porous. It can crack, chip, stain and show scratches.
Dont put hot pans directly on the surface; use a trivet or hot pad. Use only granite-safe cleansers. Dont use bleach, ammonia products, scouring pads, or anything acidic such as lemon or vinegar to clean. Dont use dish soap to clean as it can leave a dulling film on the surface. Spills of wine, juice and tomato sauce should be cleaned up quickly.
Some finishes such as polish act as more of a seal, but you can also purchase granite sealers at your local market. Just wipe it on once a year or so to keep your countertops looking their best.
If youre wondering whether your countertop needs sealing, spill some clean water or the surface and cover it with a paper towel. If it leaves a stain, it will go away eventually, but youll know its time for sealant.
Full Story >
5 Reasons To Visit Magnolia That Arent To Meet Chip And Joanna Gaines
As of late 2017, Magnolia Market at the Silos, Chip and Joanna Gaines Waco store and popular tourist destination, was averaging more than 30,000 visitors a week. To put that in context, its "Bigger thanthe Alamo," said the Waco Tribune. Those weekly numbers convert to "about 1.6 million people" yearly, according to the Waco Convention and Visitors bureau. Those include four chartered buses that have carried tourists from New York to Waco over the past year."
Judging by the crush of people at the retail destination on this Friday afternoon, those numbers will reach even higher this year. And thats not including all those folks who are waiting nearly an hour and a half to eat at the couples popular nearby restaurant, Magnolia Table.
If youre considering heading for Magnolia, you should know thats its highly unlikely youll run into Chip or Jojo. The couple ra>For the design ideas
Design inspiration is everywhere at Magnolia Market and Magnolia Table. Who would have thought paint brushes could create such an eye-catching display or that layering a bunch of different clocks could be the answer to your wall dcor? Look beyond the products and youll get all kinds of ideas for how to Gainesify your space.
For the family fun
You may not equate shopping with family fun, and, yes, the inside of the store itself is a major "Dont touch that" zone, but the grounds are surprisingly kid-friendly. Beside the store there is a large faux grass lawn with balls, hula hoops, cornhole games, and bean bag chairs. There are also swings and a huge covered area to escape the sun.
For the food
There are food trucks that park along the perimeter of Magnolia Market every day, so before or after your shopping, you can grab a meal or snack. And youll definitely want to hit Silos Baking Co. for cupcakes.
But, Magnolia Table, the Gaines restaurant that opened in March, is a must-visit. Yes, the wait was long. But it was worth every minute and those minutes were spent on the generous covered patio sipping tea, BTW. Having previously eaten at the historic Elite Caf the restaurant that previously stood on this site and which "can trace its founding back 97 years," and which famously served "a young soldier named Elvis Presleywhile stationed at Fort Hood," according to the Waco Tribune, we didnt know what to expect. Frankly, it would have been enough to just gaze at the completely renovated space, the result of which is a farmhouse chic bonanza.
But, the food was actuallydelicious. The shared Bacon Eggs deviled eggs, brown sugar bacon, and jalapeno jam was outstanding, as was everything else we ordered. One guest remarked that the Gaines Brothers Burger was the "best hamburger shes ever had in her life," and another ordered the Simple Salad, which is anything but. It was so large and so packed with goodies that she still hasnt finished it. Breakfast is served here all day long, so do yourself a favor and order Jos Buttermilk Biscuits with strawberry butter and the crispy, Housemade Tater Tots with anything else you get.
For the gifts
Youll be the best daughter, niece, cousin, neighbor, or friend ever if you return from your jaunt with a gift in hand for your fellow Fixer Upper lover. While the store is packed with options, were partial to a few of the logo-emblazoned items.
If youre hitting Magnolia Table, be sure to pop in to the takeaway store, and head straight for the caramels. If you eat in the restaurant, they bring these goodies with your check. Buttery, gooey, salty, savory and sweet, theyre a fitting end to a fantastic meal, and, despite how full you are from your Tater Tots/Avocado Toast/Burger/Bacon Eggs, youll likely find yourself eating every bite and then licking the wrapper or maybe that was just us. You wont find these caramels anywhere else, including at the Silos, so buy a bunch before you leave. Just dont tell any of your friends about them. That way, when you eat all of them on the plane/in the car on the way home, they wont know theyre missing anything.
For the pictures
Just think of what a trip to the Silos will do for your Instagram Theres a whole lot to shoot here, and they also have their own Instagram spot and hashtag milestomagnolia. Tip: Magnolia Market is not open on Sundays, but if you happen to be in town, its a great day to get some pics sans the crowd.
Full Story >
Home Buyer Assumptions Are Expensive
Based on what John and Lee privacy protected learned about real estate from friends and online searches, these first-time buyers believed that location is less important than price.
Do they know what theyre talking about?
John and Lee currently rent a spacious apartment in the city where they both work. They thoroughly enjoy their urban, walkable neighborhood and its proximity to work and to all that matters to them.
Ready to move onto the next phase of their lives, the couple recently decided its time to invest in real estate. They are attracted to a less-pricy real estate market in the smaller, more-rural center across the state line because they feel theyll get more house for their money there.
List price can dominate decision making for buyers, but is it always a clear indicator of where value lies? List price is the pricemdash;based on each sellers own criteriamdash;that sellers indicate they may consider selling for as part of their public offering.
The couples decision to move to a cheaper real estate market is based on key assumptions theyve made, not on a drive to dramatically change their life> 1. Square footage is their immediate focus since the couple plans to start a family once they are homeowners and assume theyll need more space.
2. Commute time or expense is not a big concern to them, even though living in a community across the state line will force them to battle often-unpredictable bridge trafficmdash;Lee each week day and John several days a week.
3. Older, more established neighborhoods appeal to this couple, even though neither of these long-time renters have any hands-on experience with living in or maintaining an older property, or paying others to do so.
4. Interest rates have been low for so long, these eager buyersmdash;John a self-employed entrepreneur and Lee a teachermdash;assume that theyll get the mortgage they need once they find the right property.
5. The couple is confident they can "figure out real estate" by asking friends and checking things out online. They assume that theyll always act in their own best interest.
Based on your own experience, do you have any concerns about their assumptions and > Could anything go wrong for them? What should their first step be?
John and Lee made assumptions that are common buyer limitations. Watch enough real estate TV shows, follow enough buyers on social media, and check out enough online listings and you can feel like a real estate expert. If it were that easy, no one would ever buy the wrong house or choose a poor location. Nor would anyone arrange a poorly-suited mortgage or fail to arrange necessary financing.
The big question for buyers to consider before they begin the buying process is, "What cant we afford to learn in hindsight?" Hindsight, or looking backward to second guess yourself, is 20:20; however, the knowledge gained always arrives too late to act on.
Buying a house, condominium unit, recreational property, or even vacant land is complicated by the fact that each real estate property is unique, so comparison shopping is tricky at best, especially for uninitiated buyers.
Everything may go smoothly for John and Lee during the buying process or it may seem to. However, if they are wrong about any one or more of their 5 assumptions above, they may not discover the full impact of these failings until long after they move in or when they want to sell and use the expected profit to up-grade to their next home.
Real estate professionals will tell you that each of these common buyer assumptions raise many questions and concerns that should be resolved before buyers sign on the dotted line.
Heres Five Key Real Estate Realities tied to the Five Buyer Assumptions:
1. Square footage: Buyers may gain more square footage in lower-priced real estate markets, but those properties will usually not increase in value as quickly as more prized locations, if they do at all. For instance, market value is also strongly tied to local schools and amenities, so proximity to top-notch schools will drive real estate appreciation, even for owners who do not have school-aged children.
Assumptions that big houses are better are distracting. Space-efficient design and layout can make smaller homes more cost-effective and more pleasant to live in.
2. Commuting: Commuting is expensive in terms of time, money, stress, and lost time with family, friends, and favorite past-times. Location, in the form of proximity to work and play, adds value to real estate properties through walkability, reduced transportation costs, and improved life balance. Buying into a different life> 3. Condition: Modernized properties carry more value because they are more comfortable and economical to live in and maintain, and they can look more appealing.
4. Mortgages: Rural properties can be harder to finance than similar urban homes. Self-employed individuals may discover that qualifying for a mortgage is more difficult than it is for those with standard employment histories.
5. Real Estate Knowledge: Learning the hard way can be expensive in real estate. What we dont know that we dont know or fully understand can result in missed opportunity, over-paying, or being taken advantage ofmdash;if not being subject to out-right fraud. Real estate professionals can explainmdash;>Buyers can benefit from starting their home search by discussing, with real estate professionals who work in their preferred location, buyers often-unconscious real estate assumptions and conclusions about their online research. These professionals can help buyers weigh alternatives and effectively expand their search area, as necessary, after the professional fully understands buyer needs. Professionals can also explain how market value, not list price, is the key factor when buying.
With professional ingenuity and support, buyers can transform assumptions into knowledge and the potential for hindsight disappointments into forward-thinking strategies aimed at investment in financial and real estate security.
Additional Resources by PJ Wade
- Live It Up in a Smaller Space
- Much More to Mortgages Than Interest Rates
- Home Buyers: Seven Insights Into Confident DecisionMaking
Full Story >
Ask the HOA Expert: Qualifications To Run For The Board
Question: We have an unmarried resident couple and only the woman is a legal owner. Does her partner qualify to run for the board or serve on a committee? And if they are legally married but he is not an owner, does that change things?
Answer: In most HOAs, only owners are allowed to serve on the board. You need to read your governing documents to see if that is the case in yours. On the other hand, committee members can be unmarried partners, renters and non-residents.
Question: The board is thinking about circulating a survey to evaluate the manager companys effectiveness. Any suggestions?
Answer: Since the majority of owners are disconnected from the day to day HOA business and have little understanding of the managers scope of work, most would not have an informed basis for evaluating the managers effectiveness. An input form might be more effective. List the various tasks the HOA is responsible to perform in general categories like General Maintenance, Landscaping, Pool, Janitorial, Communications, Newsletters, Rules Enforcement, Financial Reporting etc. and ask for specific recommendations for improvement. If the suggestions are directly >Question: Can we publish the complete list of what each HOA employee makes or is this a breach of privacy?
Answer: Disclosing this kind of information could create animosity between employees or prompt interference from members who feel someone is paid too much or too little. It is something the board should keep confidential. It is appropriate, however, to disclose the total amount of wages/salaries paid in the annual budget.
Question: During a week of 100 degree weather recently, I asked permission from the board to install a window air conditioner. I was denied. I read the governing documents and rules and window A/C units are not mentioned. My son has a compromised immunize system. His doctor has recommended carefully controlled temperatures not too hot and not too cold. I can control the cold part but need A/C to control excessive heat. Shouldnt I be able to get an exception due to health reasons? I dont want to have to pay his doctor to write a letter to the board.
Answer: The board should make a reasonable accommodation for this purpose. You should ask your doctor to provide a letter at no charge explaining the need for it so the board has the ammunition it needs to make an exception to the rule.
For more innovative homeowner association management strategies, subscribe to www.Regenesis.net.
Full Story >
Clever And Creative Ideas For Kids Study Areas
The school year has started, and that probably means your kids are doing their homework: sprawled on the bed, on the couch in front of the TV, on the floor, or at the dining room table. It probably also means their stuff is everywhere and the distractions are making it hard from them to properly concentrate. You can address the mess, and give them a dedicated space to study, even if your place doesnt have a separate home office option.
No matter where you create your study area, make sure you stick it well. Having everything they need on hand will help keep them on task and eliminate excuses for getting up. That means notebooks, pens and pencils, a pencil eraser, a calculator, and also a comfy, supportive chair, and task lighting if the existing lighting isnt bright enough.
Borrow the bedside
With a bed, dresser, and two nightstands, it may seem like theres no place in your childs room for a desk. There may be if you ditch one of those nightstands. A small desk placed next to the bed can double as a place to keep her phone and bedside lamp, and the less matchy-matchy look will invite some eclectic >
Overhaul the hallway
"American standards call for a minimum 36-in.-wide hallway in most circumstances," said Houzz. So, if your home is blessed with an extra-wide one, you may have a study area in the making. Find a long, narrow desk so it doesnt impede passage.
Create a cool nook
Maybe you just think you dont have a proper spot for a study area. What about the space next to your fireplace? You know, the one thats meant to house your TV. The TV you put over the fireplace. You can easily and inexpensively turn that nook into a chic study space that will look like it was meant to be used that way. Check out all these desktop options for under 100 at IKEA.
Make smart space decisions
We love this built-in desk just adjacent to the kitchen, especially with the lively pop of yellow. Your floorplan may not be able to accommodate this, but you can get creative with a modern secretary desk that looks sleek, gives you some needed storage, and has a drop-down desk that folds away when not in use.
Clean out the closet
A hall closet or unneeded closet in an extra bedroom can beautifully transform into a great study area, and the best part is that it all disappears when you close the doors.
Tailor the table
Having your child hunkered down at the dining room for homework time may not be ideal, but it also may be your only or best option. You can help him stay organized and minimize the chaos with creative storage solutions. A banquette offers hidden storage that could be a great answer for all the supplies your child needs for daily homework and studying. If thats not a reality, a fully-stocked bin they can take out of a pantry or cabinet and return when they are done is an easy answer for quick cleanups.
Full Story >
REALTOR Duty To Cooperate Is A Narrow One
Real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of REALTORSreg; are, for the most part, rightfully proud of NARs Code of Ethics. They have all agreed to abide by it, and when a fellow Realtorreg; appears to be acting contrary to the Code, most react with consternation.
Article 3 of the Code enjoins REALTORSreg; to "cooperate with other brokers"; and, in days when "coming soon" but not yet on the MLS is widely employed, and semi-exclusive marketing clubs have become common, I think its a fair guess to say that a lot of REALTORSreg; feel that Article 3 is being widely violated. Phone calls go unreturned. Offers languish in some netherworld of non-response. Listings stipulate a veritable obstacle course of requirements that must be met before an offer will be considered. The list goes on and on. If this is cooperation, can you imagine what adversarial >It would be a mistake, however, to think that behavior which may range from arrogant to rude and boorish necessarily constitutes a violation of Article 3. REALTORSreg; forget sometimes what the Code of Ethics is and is not meant to do.
The Code is not a comprehensive set of rules for living. It does not supplant the Ten Commandments, or the strictures of any other >The Code, for example, prohibits false advertising or making false statements about a competitor; but it doesnt prohibit making false statements in general. You can cheat on your spouse without violating the Realtorreg; Code of Ethics; although you may have some answering to do with respect to certain other rules of behavior.
Article 3 does not require that REALTORSreg; play well with others or even that they act civilly. What it does say, in full, is this:
REALTORSreg; shall cooperate with other brokers except when cooperation is not in the clients best interest. The obligation to cooperate does not include the obligation to share commissions, fees, or to otherwise compensate another broker.
The specific sense of "cooperate" here is that the Realtorreg; will -- except when it is not in the interest of the principal -- share with other REALTORSreg; information about the property, its availability, and terms on which it is offered for sale. If compensation to other brokers is offered, those terms are to be spelled out.
Like other Code of Ethics articles, the implications of Article 3 are fleshed out in a series of Standards of Practice. They all have to do with various disclosures and information about a listing. Regrettably, perhaps, none of them requires good manners or a helpful demeanor.
Full Story >
Understanding the quot;Tax Freequot; Exchange
But real estate investors -- large and small -- still have to pay capital gains tax when they sell their investments. And since most investors depreciated their properties over a number of years, the capital gains tax can be quite large.
There is a way of deferring payment of this tax, and it is known as a Like-Kind Exchange under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code. And although Congress repealed this tax benefit for exchanges of personal property ndash; such as art work or airplanes ndash; it did not change anything for real estate exchanges.
Keep in mind that the exchange process is not a "tax free" device, although people refer to it as a "tax-free exchange." It is also called a "Starker exchange" or a "deferred exchange." It will not >
The rules are complex, but here is a general overview of the process.
Section 1031 permits a delay non-recognition of gain only if the following conditions are met:
First, the property transferred called ">
Second, there must be an exchange; the IRS wants to ensure that a transaction that is called an exchange is not really a sale and a subsequent purchase.
Third, the replacement property must be of "like kind." The courts have given a very broad definition to this concept. As a general rule, all real estate is considered "like kind" with all other real estate. Thus, a condominium unit can be swapped for an office building, a single family home for raw land, or a farm for commercial or industrial property.
Once you meet these tests, it is important that you determine the tax consequences. If you do a like-kind exchange, your profit will be deferred until you sell the replacement property. However, the cost basis of the new property in most cases will be the basis of the old property. Discuss this with your accountant to determine whether the savings by using the like-kind exchange will make up for the lower cost basis on your new property.
The traditional, >
Congress did not like this open-ended interpretation, and in 1984, two major limitations were imposed on the Starker non-simultaneous exchange.
First, the replacement property must be identified before the 45th day after the day on which the original >
Second, the replacement property must be purchased no later than 180 days after the taxpayer transfers his original property, or the due date with any extension of the taxpayers return of the tax imposed for the year in which the transfer is made. These are very important time limitations, which should be noted on your calendar when you first enter into a 1031 exchange.
In 1989, Congress added two additional technical restrictions. First, property located in the United States cannot be exchanged for property outside the United States.
Second, if property received in a like-kind exchange between >
In May of 1991, the Internal Revenue Service adopted final regulations which clarified many of the issues. Here are some of the major highlights:
1. Identification of the replacement property within 45 days. According to the IRS, the taxpayer may identify more than one property as replacement property. However, the maximum number of replacement properties that the taxpayer may identify is either three properties of any fair market value, or any number of properties as long as their aggregate fair market value does not exceed 200 of the aggregate fair market value of all of the >
2. Who is the neutral party? Conceptually, the >
3. Interest on the exchange proceeds. One of the underlying concepts of a successful 1031 exchange is the absolute requirement that not one penny of the sales proceeds be available to the seller of the >
Generally, the sales proceeds are placed in escrow with a neutral third party. Since these proceeds may not be used for the purchase of the replacement property for up to 180 days, the amount of interest earned can be significant.
The IRS permits the taxpayer to earn interest -- referred to as "growth factor" -- on these escrowed funds. Any such interest to the taxpayer has to be reported as earned income. Once the replacement property is obtained by the exchanger, the interest can either be used for the purchase of that property, or paid directly to the exchanger.
The rules are quite complex, and you must seek both legal and tax accounting advice before you enter into any like-kind exchange transaction.
Full Story >
How To Identify And Avoid Dangerous Hazards In Your Home
Its safe to say that none of us is purposely making our homes a hazard. And, no matter how hard we try, accidents still happen. But there is nothing more important than protecting ourselves, our families, and our investment.
"The home is supposed to be where you and your family are safe and protected but every year accident and emergency units deal with serious injuries and sometimes fatal accidents that occur in the home," said StaySafe. "It is not just children and the elderly that can come to harm in the home with things like chemicals and choke hazards. Accidents in the home claim 18,000 lives each year in America alone, "accounting for 21 million medical visits annually. Many of these accidents are preventable."
These tips will uncover key areas where dangers typically lie and the simple maintenance involved in avoiding them.
Thousands of fires are started in the home every year because of deferred maintenance >
A third of all fatalities in the home are due to falls. A great number of them are >
The thought of a young child being strangled due to hanging cords from window blinds is horrifying. But it happens. According to USA Today, "Injuries and death from window blind cords send two kids to emergency department each day." Eliminate the worry without having to give up the blinds by choosing a cordless version. They give you the look and room-darkening features you want with some added safety measures.
Whens the last time you changed your fire alarm batteries? If you cant remember, youre obviously overdue. "Installnbsp;fire alarmsnbsp;on all levels of your home, and check and change the batteries at least annually," said safewise. "Consider investing in a smart smoke detector likenbsp;Nest Protect. This alarm uses Wi-Fi to provide real-time updates and remote monitoring right on your smartphone or other mobile device."
A dirty oven
Most ovens today have a self-cleaning feature. While its not enti>
"A dirty oven can cause fires while cooking, allowing charred food or grease to ignite," said Home Security. "Clean your oven regularly and always attend food while cooking in the oven.
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide is called the silent killer because "its presence is not known until symptoms of the exposure are experienced," said Poison Control. "It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and potentially dangerous gas. You cant see it or smell it."
Its typical for smoke detectors to be in homes, but despite the fact that a carbon monoxide detector can save lives, they are often left to the homeowner to purchase and install. "Each year in the United States, more than 200 accidental deaths are caused by carbon monoxide CO poisoning. It is considered the leading cause of death from poisoning in the United States."nbsp;Compare the most recommended units on The Spruce.
Full Story >
How Much Do Home Alarm Systems Affect Resale?
Home alarm systems can be particularly hard to calculate into resale value or return on investment ROI because their job is to prevent loss rather than achieve gains. You purchase a home alarm system with the hope that you never need to use it.
The reality is that a burglary is reported to police every 14.5 seconds. But robbery isnt the only thing that alarms can save you from. Smart alarms can detect smoke and hazards.
More than ever, homeowners want to feel safe in their homes. A built-in alarm system may be just what it takes to get your house off the market.
1. Alarm Systems Arent as Expensive as They Used to Be
According to HomeAdvisors survey, most homeowners invest between 330-1,040 when purchasing and installing home alarm systems. However, with the advent of smart, connected technology, home security is more affordable than ever.
Products like the Nest Cam Outdoor monitor your home in 1080p high definition video that you can access from your smartphone 24/7. This monitor also has a two-way audio feature, meaning you can use your voice to scare off intruders or give live instructions to a delivery service. Smart products allow you to monitor your home yourself, which cuts down the cost of hiring a security company to do the monitoring for you.
Smart products send security alerts right to your phone, allowing you to act fast and take control. Monthly security subscriptions on smart products are usually a fraction of the cost of subscribing to a traditional security service.
2. Add Resale Value
Owning a safe and secure home is appealing to every home buyer, from frequent travelers to families. That means pre-installed cameras, smoke detectors, and smart locks can be huge selling points. The more convenient and easy-to-use the security, the better.
One of the most desired security features for homeowners is motion sensor lighting over the driveway. Not only does it scare away late-night intruders, it also helps homeowners navigate in the dark. Buyers want added safety and convenience in their everyday lives, and the right security system can provide both.
3. Home Security Lowers Neighborhood Crime
In 2016, Rutgers University >
Burglars are less likely to break into homes that are protected with home security, and that fact carries over when applied to entire neighborhoods. Safe neighborhoods are highly desirable to homeowners and can help your home sell faster and at a higher price.
4. Alarm Systems Can Reduce Your Homeowners Insurance
If you financed your home with a mortgage, you are most likely required to have home insurance. While the price of home insurance varies, most companies offer discounts to homes with security systems.
With a home monitoring system installed, you can save up to 20 on home insurance. Those savings can amount to hundreds of dollars per year or the cost of the security system all together.
5. They Save Money in the Long Run
Burglaries can cost you, not only in the possessions stolen from your home, but also in the damage that many homes incur during a burglary.
Most burglars enter homes through the front or back door or first-floor windows, usually breaking them in the process. The cost of fixing a broken window or kicked-in door can be even more expensive than the valuables taken.
It was found that when burglars enter homes with security systems, they are much more likely to leave quickly, taking fewer items with them.
While security systems arent foolproof, they do offer the benefit of safety and security. Whether youre installing a system for yourself or for future homeowners, the peace of mind it offers is the ultimate ROI.
Written By: Katy Caballeros
Full Story >
How to Say Goodbye to Renting and Hello to Home Ownership
Focus on the Down Payment
In order to leave the land of rent, you are going to need a down payment mdash; plain and simple. While it is common to put down 20 percent, some lenders now allow a much smaller amount, and first-time home buyer programs may go as low as 3 percent. While a smaller down payment may sound enticing, a 5 percent down payment on a 200K home is still 10,000 mdash; not exactly a small sum. If saving money does not come naturally for you, donrsquo;t worry. With some >
Avoid Identity Theft
Unfortunately, the chances of becoming a victim of identity theft increase when you are buying and moving into a new home. The stacks of documents that are part of buying a home and that are filled with your personal information may accidentally fall into the wrong hands, and once you move, mail may not be routed correctly and thieves may steal your mail and your identity from your old mailbox. Prevent this situation from happening by purchasing an identity theft protection program; find a trusted company that will help safeguard your personal data. In addition to letting you know when a bank pulls your credit report and asking if you have authorized this inquiry, certain services will monitor your financial activity and alert you if anything is amiss.
Check Your Credit Report
When you start the pre-approval process for a loan and then move on to the Big Kahuna of applying for an actual mortgage, your credit report will be pulled numerous times. Your credit score will then be used to determine if you are approved for a loan, and what type of interest rate you will get. Please do not wait until you have the down payment saved and you are champing at the bit to go look at houses to check your FICO score mdash; check your credit as early in the process as you can. If you have a credit card that has been issued through your bank, give them a call and see if they can run your report for you for free; in the cases of some credit cards, they also offer a free monthly FICO score check. Read through the report and check for any errors; this includes credit lines you never opened and delinquent payments that you know were made on time. Dispute any mistakes that you find and look for ways to boost your credit score, like paying down credit card bills and setting up automatic bill pay so you are never late with your payments.
Full Story >
Ready For Staging: 4 Repairs You Need Before Selling Your Home
Update the Exterior
The first thing that you will want to do is make sure that the homes exterior is in good condition. This may involve landscaping work such as removing trees or shrubs that are dead or dying. It may also involve inspecting the roof, siding or other exterior components that may need to be repaired or updated to make the house easier to sell. At the very least, a fresh coat of paint should be applied before putting the house on the open market.
Check the Air Conditioning
If you have a central air conditioning unit in your home, make sure that it works properly. This means that it should start easily and produce an even amount of cool air throughout the house.
Ideally, you will have it inspected once a year by someone like Doctor Fix-It. However, inspecting it and making repairs prior to selling your home should be considered mandatory. It may also be a good idea to check the furnace and clean the ducts before you show the home to buyers.
Make Sure the Floors Are Adequate
Whether your home has wood floors or carpet, make sure that they are in good condition. If necessary, wax and clean the wood or put down new carpet in areas where it may be frayed or dirty. If you are going to replace your carpet, make sure that it is the same color and >
Check the Plumbing and Electrical Systems
Buyers arent going to want to put an offer on a home that has poor water pressure. They are also unlikely to want to make an offer on a home that has dangerous electrical wiring. If the fixes to either system are >
Selling your home can be a great way to help you downsize or lock in profits. However, if the process is not done right, it could reduce the sale price of the home or result in the home staying on the market longer than you anticipated that it would.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.
Full Story >
What Kinds Of Mortgages Are Available?
Once you have signed a contract for the purchase of your new home or condominium or cooperative apartment, and assuming you do not have all of the cash in your bank account, you will need to obtain a mortgage loan.
There are many different loans on the market - and many different loan programs from which to choose. You should contact at least three different lenders, and ask them to give you a list of the loans which they can offer you. Take careful notes, and remember one important thing: do not give any lender any money until you are absolutely certain this is the lender - and this is the loan - you want to obtain.
The three basic loan programs are as follows:
1. Conventional: this type of loan in generally available from a bank, a mortgage broker, or a credit union. Within the category of conventional loans, there are various options available, such as a fixed 30 year loan, or an adjustable rate loan called an ARM.
ARMs adjust on a periodic basis, although in most cases they will run for a period of thirty 30 years. Generally speaking, the shorter the term of the adjustment such as a one year ARM the lower the initial interest rate will be. However, when the adjustment period comes around, the interest rate for the next adjustment will either go up or down, depending on the economy at the time of the adjustment. When interest rates are falling, an ARM seems like a good deal. However, when interest rates are rising as they are now doing, the consumer who obtains a one-year ARM is almost guaranteed to see the interest rate hike as high as 2 percentage points at the end of the first year.
This is not a complex issue, and all lenders have or should have a written explanation of the way their particular ARM works. Read it carefully and seek assistance from your financial and legal advisors if you have any questions.
2. VA Loans: This type of loan is generally available from mortgage brokers, It is called a VA loan, since only military veterans can obtain such loans. They are guaranteed by the Veterans Administration. There are certain conditions which you must meet if you want a VA loan, and you should make sure that your potential lender provides you with all the details, up front.
3. FHA loans: This loan is insured by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA will guarantee the lender against a default by the borrower, but the borrower will have to pay an insurance premium for this coverage. Once again, there are conditions which must be met before such loans can be obtained, and you should discuss all these terms with the potential lender.
It is not possible in a short article to fully discuss all the various mortgage loans on the market. Furthermore, creative lenders are always coming up with new programs in an effort to be competitive. However, not all these loans are in your best interest.
You should shop around, and dont accept the first loan that is offered. While the real estate agent and often the seller may give you loan information - and the name of potential lenders - only you can make the final decision as to what is best for you. After all, remember that the life of the loan may be as long as 30 years and thats a long time to be stuck with an uncomfortable loan.
Full Story >
How To Get Free Money Or Make Easy Money For Your Down Payment
Want to buy a house but short on cash to get the deal done? Its a common problem that is keeping countless potential buyers on the sidelines. "Money issues often stand in the way of homeownership," said Bankrate. "Anbsp;survey by rental service Apartment Listnbsp;found that 80 percent of millennial renters want to buy a home, but most say they cant afford to."
A recent story in Apartment Therapy titled "How I Saved 40K in 5 Years for a Down Payment" piqued our interest. Their tip: Get a side hustle and sock all that money away. Those are some Impressive saving skills, but if youre saying to yourself, "I dont even want to wait five months, let alone five years", we have some tips that can help. None of them are quite as hardcore as working a second job late into the night but if youre just that committed, more power to ya. Instead, were focusing on ways to get free money or make easy money.
Get down payment assistance
Many people dont think about looking for down payment help beyond asking their parents, anyway. And many of those who do think about it dont realize they might be eligible. Yes, many grants and other programs are specifically for low income borrowers, but others have surprising income caps that could spell the difference between buying now and having to wait a while.
"Grants and loans help you cover the upfront costs of purchasing a home," said NerdWallet. In Nevada, for example, prospective homeowners can qualify for a grant of up to 5 of their mortgage to put toward a down payment and closing costs. District of Columbia residents can qualify for a down payment assistance loan of up to 3.5 of their mortgage. The loan needs to be repaid only if you sell, refinance or vacate the property within the first five years. Help isnt reserved for low-income borrowers. Nevadas grant program is available to those with an annual income below 98,500. The D.C. program caps income eligibility at just over 132,000."
Move your money around
You may be aware of intro offers on credit cards that allow you to do a balance transfer to a lower or zero interest rate. While these are great options to take advantage of if you are trying to pay off an existing balance at a higher interest rate, be sure to check with a lender before you take on any new credit; if youre looking to buy a house soon, this could ding your credit and make it harder to get a loan.
Credit cards arent the only place you can take advantage of great offers to save - or make - some money. Open a Chase Total Checking account and you could get a 200 bonus; a new savings account with them could add another 150 if you meet the requirements for both. Discover has a similar offer.
Sell your stuff
You might be shocked to learn how much you can make just by selling the stuff you already own - and probably dont want to take with you to your new place anyway. Garage sales can yield a couple hundred dollars, depending on the crowd and the goods. Craigs List is a great place to list items you dont want to let go of for a couple bucks at the crack of dawn on a Saturday. Everything from gold and other jewelry to silverware and old phones can be listed online. Furniture, art, and designer clothing can fetch more money at a consignment shop.
Seeing great deals out there for cable/satellite and Internet that are far better than what youre getting? Packages that offer super low prices to everyone but existing customers are frustrating. Dont be afraid to look around, even if youre planning a move in the next few months. Providers typically have a moving package that will allow you to transfer your service to your new address for free.
If you called your existing provider and youre getting stonewalled, call again and ask for the loyalty department. Our recent call to DISH resulted in a 70 monthly savings and upgraded equipment at no cost. This was a far better deal 65 a month better, and no 100 new equipment fee than we were offered by customer service.
Ask your boss for a flexible schedule
Working from home one day a week can save on gas, tolls, and even daycare if youre in a situation where your young child could behave while youre working alongside her and your daycare will work with you on price for using them four days per week instead of five. Some employers will also allow you to work more flexible hours on a daily basis so you could leave in time to pick your child up from school and forgo after-school care. Letting them know youre saving for a house may help elicit the cooperation you need.
Collect plastic bottles
If you drink bottled water and are accustomed to putting all the bottles in your recycling bin, collect them and sell them back to make a little extra cash. Will it be life-changing money? No. But it may be enough to enjoy a meal out here and there during your super-saving mode, or pay for a few knickknacks after you move. "The number of bottles that recycling centers will pay per bottle depends on the type of plastic, as well as how many you have," said Small Business. "Michigan pays 10 cents a bottle whereas most other states pay anywhere from a few pennies to 5 cents for each bottle. Check with the recycling center that you intend to use for its rules. Some prefer that you keep caps on the bottles or if they dont accept them at all."
Negotiate your closing costs into the deal
This isnt exactly free money because you end up paying for the closing costs anyway albeit over 30 years, but if youre a little short on cash getting in, adding the closing costs into the mortgage could get you where you want to go faster. Even better: If the seller will pay the closing costs This could save you thousands of dollars upfront.
Research alternative mortgages
It could be that a different kind of loan than the traditional 30-year mortgage or FHA loan could greatly cut down on your down payment and also save you money monthly. USDA loans for homes located in certain rural areas may require no down payment. VA loans offered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs "help active-duty military members, veterans and surviving spouses buy homes" with zero down payment, said Bankrate. HUDs Neighbor Next Door program "is designed to encourage renewal of revitalization areas by providing an opportunity for law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and teachers to purchase homes in these communities," according to the HUD site. "HUD provides a substantial incentive in the form of a 50 discount off the list price of eligible properties."
Full Story >
Copyright© 2004 Realty Times®. All Rights Reserved