Buyers explore longer commutes

Posted by at 12:50 pm

  Stopping short of saying it’s a “major” trend, extreme commuting – or at least extended commuting – is becoming an established feature of the American workplace. About 21 percent of workers commute more than 60 minutes each way to their jobs. More than half of these drive the whole distance alone. Extreme commuters – defined as people who spend 90 minutes or longer getting to work each way – are still rare, making up only about 3 percent of the work force. But the numbers are rising. By coincidence, many companies today are bringing telecommuting workers back to the office, demanding more collaboration and contact with customers. U.S. workers who performed all or some of their work at home fell from 24 to 22 percent between 2015 and 2016. With soaring prices, many commuters say they are willing to sacrifice...
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Millennial concerns constrain home ownership

Posted by at 11:59 am

If you’re 35 or younger and you own your own home in America, you are somewhat of a rarity – a lot of your peers haven’t gotten there yet. Only about 35 percent of young adults in the U.S. are homeowners, an all-time low. In fact, a recent U.S. Census report found that a full third of America’s young adults still live at home with one or both parents – more than the amount who cohabitate with a partner or live alone. There are many reasons America’s young adults are struggling. Along with facing the highest home prices in history, Millennials are shouldering some serious student loans – borrowers who graduated in 2016 will pay back an average of $37,000. Many took out those loans at the height of the crisis – at some pretty high interest rates. Terms as...
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August 10th, 2017

Odds are there is no housing bubble

Posted by at 4:04 pm

In the post-crisis era, it can be hard to believe there’s no negative outcome lurking behind today’s soaring housing prices. But new analysis of data from 14 developed countries shows there’s minimal risk of a dramatic decline in home prices any time soon, despite current fears of a “bubble-bursting” correction. The research comes as housing prices set new records nationwide, surpassing their 2006 peaks in almost all areas of the country. The median house price jumped 6.5 percent in June to an all-time high of $263,800 – the 64th straight month of year-over-year price increases. But the study showed sustained increases in real house prices have been the norm since 1950, rather than the exception. While there is always a chance of a correction, odds are it won’t happen. Simple models put the chance of a 20 percent (or more)...
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Home insurers can “non-renew” for too many claims

Posted by at 8:44 am

If you have a home mortgage loan, then your lender is going to require you to carry homeowner’s insurance. It may be the biggest purchase you’ve ever made, but the lender has a lot invested in that home too – and wants its investment protected. But be warned. Insurance is not a maintenance plan – home insurance coverage is designed for sudden and unexpected large losses. Homeowners who file more than one claim unrelated to weather in less than three years can expect to be “non-renewed.” Non-renewal is not cancellation. Insurance companies cannot cancel a policy that has been in force for more than 60 days except for failure to pay the premium, fraud, or serious misrepresentation in the application. But like any business, an insurer “reserves the right to refuse service to anyone,” so long as they provide you with...
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July 17th, 2017

Adding up the costs when selling

Posted by at 4:30 pm

The price of selling a home is about $15,190, according to a recent study.by Zillow. The price? But isn’t selling about making money? Sellers often forget there is also going to be money going out – staging, painting, landscaping and cleaning. Then there are the big chunks – the real estate agent’s fee and the closing costs. Since 63 percent of today’s sellers have never sold before, the “price of selling” can be a big surprise! Let’s start at the top. Most real estate agents’ fees are paid through a commission. Usually about 6 percent of the purchase price, the commission is subtracted from the proceeds of the home sale. The problem is thinking of the commission as something you are losing. A good agent builds the commission into the price of the home, and adjusts accordingly. The amount collected...
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July 13th, 2017

Spec construction poised for comeback?

Posted by at 10:10 am

With the rising price of existing starter homes, one segment of the new construction marketplace may be poised to take off at a pace not seen since the days following World War II. By the end of the 1940s, America had essentially ceased building homes – diverting usable materials to support the war effort. The demand for affordable homes created by the returning soldiers fueled the new “spec” home industry. “Spec” is another name for “speculative” construction, building new homes for sale with no particular buyer in mind. In the 1950s and 1960s, many builders turned out thousands of simple, mass-produced homes at an affordable cost. Most sold and the builders turned a tidy profit. Insert Millennials into the equation in place of GIs. Today, there are at least 30 million potential buyers younger than 36 looking to settle down. And it’s not...
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Plan for a smooth move

Posted by at 2:30 pm

You’ve signed the closing docs, and the deal is done. Now it’s time for the big move. With or without movers, pacing and planning are the keys to a safe and successful transition. It begins What about the days before the move? You might want to consider deep cleaning the new house. The walls, floors, counters and baseboards will never be this exposed again. Run a load or two through the dishwasher and washing machine. Dust high sills and don’t forget the refrigerator. A bug bomb is a good idea. Even if you can’t see them, they might be there. You can accomplish this only one time and still have time to clear any noxious fumes before children or pets show up. Plan ahead If you always have a “moving plan” in the back of your mind, it can lessen the...
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June 15th, 2017

Universal appeal

Posted by at 1:16 pm

Everyone likes the idea of building a home exactly to specifications – often without thinking of the future – and future buyers. Here’s the news. The house is probably going to outlast you. And most people don’t end up living in the same home forever. Unless you pan to retire (and die) in your current home, a universal approach to remodels and maintenance makes good fiscal sense. The old concept of universal design was synonymous with “senior accessible” or “handicapped friendly.” And it is all of that. But it can be so much more. It’s about thinking ahead, considering angles. Seeing problems with access and usage before they happen. How many folks do you know who moved into homes without taking time to consider clearances, heights and angles? Big plans for furnishings, add-ons and creature comforts can be spoiled by narrow doorways or...
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Report: Sacramento is hot!

Posted by at 12:08 pm

Sacramento, home of one of the newest branches of Bay Equity Home Loans, was lauded as one of California’s hottest housing markets in the May 25, 2017 issue of The Wall Street Journal. Though it’s the state capital, Sacramento had taken a bit longer to emerge from the Housing Crisis slump while the rest of the state surged. Led by an aggressive downtown renewal plan, many of Sacramento’s most desirable neighborhoods are cropping up in the urban core – a shift from its past developments featuring gated suburban communities. Among the standout downtown projects are Downtown Commons, a vacant mall converted into a two-level outdoor mixed-use entertainment and shopping complex. Condominiums with city and river views, as well as room service and concierge, are breaking new ground in luxury living. Other features include new artist lofts, warehouses renovated for unique retail and office...
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Self-Managed Homeowners Associations

Posted by at 2:32 pm

With the skyrocketing price of homes today, many homeowner association neighborhoods are looking to save where they can. Some have found they can maintain desired aesthetic standards at a lower cost with self-management, where neighbors agree to share administrative duties instead of paying a professional management company. This can mean a huge savings for the growing number of HOA communities. HOAs maintain standards for landscaping and cleaning of common areas, and enforce rules for upkeep on the membership’s homes. HOAs often protect property values by not allowing neighborhood problems to fester. Majority Rules Some self-managed HOAs are governed strictly by the majority rule. In America, the one-voice, one-vote concept is quite popular, especially considering some recent election results! In such “pure” democracies, community spirit is often enhanced. In an increasingly stratified society where folks often just stay in their own homes...
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