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Posts Tagged: Real Estate

Fed holds Steady on Interest Rates in May Meeting

5222018Steady as she goes. That's the headline out of the most recent meeting of the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee, which ended earlier this month with little surprise or fanfare. The FOMC, the chief policymaking body of the Fed that holds sway over much of the global economy, elected not to raise its key interest rate, the federal funds rate. The committee also reaffirmed its expectation to continue on its previously planned course toward more incremental rate hikes for the rest of the year.

Lack of housing supply causing market to heat up

As part of the aftershocks of the housing crisis, many potential homeowners became more financially conservative and held off on purchasing homes. This created a domino effect where homebuilding fell sharply when faced with limited demand. 

"Falling percentages for construction of new homes have left supply greatly diminished."

Since the recovery of the market, financing has become much more readily available and buyers have once again been been looking to settle down and purchase homes of their own. Yet following their return, many have encountered slim prospects: Falling double-digit percentages for construction of new homes as late as October 2015 have left supply greatly diminished. 

Home improvement loans could help "maxed out" homeowners

For homeowners with large amounts of debt, finding the resources to make needed renovations can be difficult. Luckily, home improvement loans can offer relief to borrowers looking to invest in their home and or make costly repairs.

Certain mortgage products like The Department of Housing and Urban Development's FHA loan offer the ability to put financing from the loan towards home improvement costs—while also offering low interest rates and down payments to those who qualify. FHA Title I loans are available to owner-occupants and investors offering up to $25,000 towards repairing or improving their property. This includes up to $15,000 which can be obtained regardless of home value and no security required on loans of $7,500 or less.

To obtain the loan, the borrower needs to own the property or hold a long-term lease to it. From there, qualifications are relatively lenient and total debt (including present mortgage debts) may not exceed 45 percent of monthly income. Title I loans may be used for any improvements that "will make your home basically more livable and useful.

Buyers and agents embracing new technology to find homes

New research published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) suggests that, in spite of rapidly evolving technology, the relationship between buyers and real estate agents remains strong.

"Consumers have the ability to do more home buying research online and be more connected during the home search process than ever before, but research proves they are still seeing the value a Realtor brings to the transaction, from the initial search to well after the closing," said NAR president Chris Polychron. "Agents bring great value to buyers from every generation, demographic and location as well as in every financial and familial situation. So while consumers have more technological tools available at their fingertips, realtors are now more than ever a part of the home buying and selling equation."

Home improvement projects with the best return on investment

When looking to improve the value of your home, certain home improvement projects offer greater return on investment (ROI) than others. Here is a guide to some of the best way to make the most of home improvement loans and maximize the value you get back:

  • Replacing your front door. As a simple, low-impact project, the ROI for replacing a front door is one of the highest nearly 98 percent. It improves curb appeal, can lead to energy efficiency savings and is one of the lowest-cost home improvement projects possible.
  • Update home siding. Another project with a big impact on curb appeal, old, worn out siding can take almost 10 percent off the value of your home. Fiber cement siding offers the highest ROI—nearly 84 percent—but midrange vinyl and foam-backed vinyl can offer similar value. 

4 tips for gardening with limited space

If you're trying to sell a small house in an urban area, you're probably looking into ways to improve its curb appeal to draw prospective buyers in and close the deal faster. One of the best ways to make a home stand out in the city is to add a nice garden. However, many small homes in the city don't have enough space to set up a traditional garden.

Here are some ways you can make a garden work in a small space:

  • Set up window gardens. The classic gardening option for small urban areas, window gardens are relatively easy to set up and maintain and add pops of color that contribute to curb appeal. Pieces of old gutters can be used as window boxes to reuse materials.

Let your garden grow: 4 tips to boost your home's curb appeal by gardening

When it comes to curb appeal, there's no better way to catch the eye than with a well-kept garden on your front lawn. Strategic gardening will make your house look better to both prospective buyers and your own neighbors and guests. Here are a few tips to help you maximize the curb appeal your garden has to offer:

4 ways to get the home you want in a tight market

The housing market is tighter than it has been in years, with home prices rising and houses getting snapped up off the market as soon as they're put up for sale. This is good news for people who have been waiting for an opportunity to sell their homes for the amount they originally bought them for before the housing crisis. However, it also means that as a buyer, you'll be competing with a flood of other offers for the homes you want.

Here are a few strategies to make it more likely you'll be able to lock down your dream home:

Millennials are moving out of their parents' homes

In the wake of the Great Recession, more young adults began to move back home with their parents. There were many reasons for this, including a sluggish economy and high unemployment, and many millennials had just graduated college with high levels of student debt and needed to focus on paying it off. 

This had an effect on the number of young people who were looking to live independently and form their own households. According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, in 2007 71 percent of young adults lived on their own. This year, only 67 percent do.

Cost of renting leads millennials to consider buying

In recent years, new job opportunities, falling crime rates and a desire to live in an urban environment have given millennials plenty of reasons to move to U.S. cities. But this population shift has come at a cost — literally.

Rising demand for urban apartments has outstripped supply and is causing rents to rise at a rapid clip. Nationally, the typical worker between the ages of 22-34 paid 30 percent of his or her income for rent in the first quarter of 2015, which is generally considered to be the maximum that anyone should spend on rent. This is significantly higher than it was in 1979, when typical young renters paid 23 percent of their income.