May 25th, 2018

Shopping heats up for summer home season

Posted by at 7:42 pm

Just when you thought the housing market couldn’t get any hotter, it’s a buying frenzy as the summer season begins. Most buyers are beset with confidence in the job market, and many also carry the ticking biological desire to start families. Even with all the talk about rising prices, rising interest rates and reduced tax benefits in 2018, demand is not cooling. If anything, it appears the potential homebuyer is just becoming more rugged and resilient! According to a March survey, 40 percent of home shoppers have been looking for seven months or more, while 34 percent have been searching for four to six months. The numbers show that there is only enough inventory on the market to last 3.4 months. In a statement, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, reported: “supply is woefully low, and...
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May 8th, 2018

Home water wells for more liquidity

Posted by at 10:10 pm

Well, well, well. Drilling a home water well could give you more liquidity – in your pocketbook. Cost to install a well depends on many factors, including where you live, but in most regions, it runs less than $5,000. After initial installation, any water you pump from the ground is free! Many urban homeowners use wells exclusively for outdoor watering, and in areas with shortages – and consequent bans on non-essential watering – a ready supply of well water can do wonders for lawn-lovers and gardening gastronomes. Water wells can also be used for drinking water, but these should be separated from any septic system by at least 100 feet. The well should be located on a level surface or uphill so that contaminants do not accumulate. If you plan to drink the water, you need to have it periodically...
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April 23rd, 2018

Artificial Intelligence and Real Estate Roles

Posted by at 10:14 pm

Some real estate agents may avoid technology out of concern it could lead to their eventual demise. There’s no need to fear the future. Computers don’t have much in the way of personality, but are amazing at crunching numbers. Their efficiency is undeniable. Home shoppers don’t have a lot of time, and appreciate a real estate agent who is plugged in, allowing them to peruse neighborhoods in their precious spare time. That’s why web designers and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts have an increasing role in real estate. All the technology has some firms dropping office space altogether and going “virtual.” Computer analyzed data saves a lot of time in marketing, too. A well-maintained database can quickly find everyone within a specific area who has the basic means and motivation to buy a listed home by reviewing recent purchases and...
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April 10th, 2018

Tax Helpers for Last-Minute Filers

Posted by at 6:23 pm

With tax time just a week away, there’s about a one-in-five chance you are one of the 40 million American taxpayers who haven’t yet filed. Never fear! Just like last 2017, 2018 contains some calendar quirks that give you a little extra time. Tax Day is April 17 in 2018 instead of April 15. Why? April 15 falls on a Sunday, and the Washington, D.C. holiday Emancipation Day is celebrated Monday, April 16, so the Internal Revenue Service’s main offices get that day off, too. That means everyone gets two extra days. If more time isn’t enough, The IRS has tax help, publications and information at www.irs.gov to help last-minute filers, including instructions on how to request an automatic six-month filing extension. Here’s another helper: You may not be aware, but the IRS website also provides free copies of your past returns. That’s great...
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March 26th, 2018

Infrastructure builds the future of real estate

Posted by at 11:58 am

As the population grows, so too does the need for infrastructure improvements – more roads, more pipelines, more electricity and more water distribution channels – but who pays the price? Look at the Monopoly board. Players buy up properties, then add houses and hotels. In the game, the two utilities, Water Works and the Electric Company, do not  increase in value, no matter what happens on the rest of the board. That’s not a realistic representation – no increase in size or value of infrastructure would likely cause chaos. But beyond serving homes, infrastructure also pumps the lifeblood of America, the movement of goods along roads, highways, railroads and runways. The nation’s framework is extensive, but is aging. Existing infrastructure was built using engineering safety standards based on extreme loads seen in the past centuries. Historic flooding, hurricanes, and wildfires of 2017 showed...
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March 16th, 2018

Under lock and key

Posted by at 12:36 pm

Your new home doesn’t have to be a prison, but it needs to be secure! One of the most important reasons for having your own place is having a safe place for your own “stuff.” More than 2 million burglaries are reported each year in the U.S., or about one every 15 seconds. Don’t become one of these alarming statistics! The most expensive solutions, in this case, are the best. Studies show that homes with a professionally installed home security system and monitoring are far less likely to be targeted by burglars. According to security firm ADT, facial recognition locks will be standard security by 2025 – just like the movies. But the costs of these high-tech systems can be prohibitive. For those of us with less disposable cash, there are plenty of affordable actions that are nearly as effective. It’s quite...
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March 1st, 2018

Tax Refunds Can Help Bring You Home

Posted by at 12:34 pm

Are you one of the many millions receiving a refund on your 2017 tax return? Like many Americans, you may be tempted to use the refund on a mini spending spree. Easy to understand – who doesn’t like a new wardrobe, fancy dinners, or the latest electronics upgrade? But if you’re thinking about buying that first home, resist that urge to splurge! Here’s a few ways to use that small spring windfall to unleash a torrent of future wealth through home ownership: Build down-payment savings: Whether it’s a few hundred or several thousand dollars, think about depositing your refund into a down-payment savings account. The more you can put toward that initial payment, the less you have to borrow, and the lower your monthly payments. Tax refunds are relatively small for most people, so saving two or three years’ worth...
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February 23rd, 2018

A more multi-generational mindset

Posted by at 2:41 pm

Multi-generational living – defined as two or more adult generations or grandparents and grandchildren living together – has seen steep declines in the Western world – especially the U.S. Before World War II, American seniors often moved back in with adult children in their later years, or even with adult nieces or nephews. Think Aunt Bee on the Andy Griffith show. Similarly, single adult children often remained at home until they were married and could get their financial feet on the ground. Researchers say 50 percent of U.S. homes were multi-generational prior to 1900. But around 1945, American ideals began shifting. The growing Social Security program gave senior citizens more freedom to choose privacy and independence. The suburban lifestyle was more suitable for two married adults and their minor children. If you weren’t on your own by age 18, you...
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February 8th, 2018

All the dirt on rinsing recyclables

Posted by at 8:02 pm

Are you scraping and rinsing and otherwise scrubbing to get the last of the peanut butter out of the jar, just so it’s fit for the recycling bin? Doing the same for your applesauce, yogurt, pet food and chili? Technology still hasn’t developed packaging (with the possible exception of Go-gurt) that allows you to actually EAT all the remaining food product. So, isn’t expecting you to wash out bottles, tubs and cans a little bit like adding insult to injury? How much recycling prep is enough? And how clean is clean? And what about water waste? True environmentalists know a kitchen sink can use up to 5 gallons of usable water a minute. Isn’t that worse than putting a dirty peanut butter jar in the landfill? These are all good questions, but let’s start with the simplest answer: It depends...
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February 5th, 2018

Interactive sites help Millennials make moves

Posted by at 2:34 pm

Trying to appeal to the potential homebuyer in today’s Millennial? Better promise them more than great customer service – they prefer solutions over promises. During their initial home search, chances are they won’t return your call or call a customer service department. As with every problem or need, they’ll first turn to Google. Millennials feel better about your business when you make it easy to do things online, by themselves, on their schedule. Millennial home shoppers are not only tech-savvy, they’re tech-bred. They use mobile devices for everything – from planning vacations to researching stocks to checking the Twitter status of celebs. It’s not a stretch to say these folks probably couldn’t conduct home buying or other personal financial management without the aid of a digital device, even if they wanted to. Already the largest and fastest-growing cohort among home-buyers, they’ll soon be claiming complete...
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