August 29th, 2016

Cave dwelling: Not just for men anymore

Posted by at 1:24 pm

Almost any real estate agent will advise sellers to tone down the personal touches to improve resale value, but the so-called “man cave” might be an exception. But it might be a mistake to make it just for the fellows. A huge percentage of buyers are couples, so plan a cave that can also easily function as a ladies’ lair or kids’ cavern. Presented correctly, a special space custom made for playing games, watching sports – or just general leisure activities – can be a game-changer for potential buyers. And of course, creating a multi-purpose space the whole family can enjoy is a pleasant experience for homeowners, even if they decide not to sell. Cave and castle With interest rates low, but housing prices high, millions of American homeowners are opting for cash-out refinances, and spending a record amount on fix-ups. Kitchen and...
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August 11th, 2016

Take steps to address walkability

Posted by at 2:04 pm

  “Walkability” is a growing point of interest for home buyers around the country, but can often be over-valued, and sometimes misunderstood. The gold standard for walkability is the one supplied by the company Walk Score. Their proprietary algorithms score areas from 0 to 100 based on the number of walking routes to destinations such as grocery stores, schools, parks, restaurants, and retail. Anything scoring under 24 is labeled “car dependent” and anything over 90 is dubbed a “walkers paradise.” It’s a general reflection of how easy it is to get around without a car. In essence, the score takes into account room to walk, ease of crossing streets and traffic control. Predictably, it’s the real estate industry – and its clientele – that get the most use out of Walk Score. Walk Score estimates some 20 million home shoppers...
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August 1st, 2016

Low rates rallying refinances

Posted by at 2:35 pm

  With today’s mortgage rates still hovering near all-time lows, many American homeowners are considering refinancing their home mortgage loans. Homeowners often refinance when interest rates drop below that of their current mortgage to cut the amount of interest paid over the life of the loan. The rate you know Let’s say you have a 30-year-fixed loan with a balance of $200,000 and an interest rate of 6 percent: Principal and interest total $1,119 a month. If you can get a hypothetical annual percentage rate of 4.2 percent, your new monthly payment goes down to $978, and you will save $73,585 in interest payments over the life of the loan. You’ll need to calculate what’s called the break-even point – how long it will take for your savings to be greater than your closing costs. Refinancing typically costs anywhere between...
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