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Getting to Know the Neighbors: 3 Tips for Building Good Relationships

Getting to Know the Neighbors: 3 Tips for Building Good RelationshipsOne of the factors involved in feeling truly comfortable in your community is the relationships that you’ve been able to establish with the locals in your neighborhood, but it can be hard to know how to nurture a good relationship. Whether you’re moving to a new home soon or are wondering how to make some nearby friends, here are some simple tips for ingratiating the ones that live closest to you.

Offer up Your Favorite Dish

It might seem like a bit of a risk, but one of the best ways to get to know your neighbors is to knock on their door and bring along your favorite treat as an offering. Whether it’s your famed banana bread or your best chocolate chip cookies, simply showing up on the doorstep with treats in hand will ensure your neighbors know that you want to get to know them, and they’ll likely be happy to return the favor down the road!

Throw A Little Party

If you don’t want to go through the trouble of taking treats over to all of your neighbors, you may want to consider throwing a party or backyard barbecue at your home for a more effective means of meeting everyone. By putting flyers around the community, you’ll easily interest other neighbors in your newfound presence on the block. As well, if you don’t want to go through all the planning of a big party, you can also make it a potluck style meal so everyone can share their own dish.

Make A Habit Of Neighborhood Walks

It’s certainly the least complicated of all the other options, but short walks through your neighborhood may also produce the most success in getting to know more about your neighbors. If you have a pet or a child, these tend to be automatic conversation starters, but a simple smile or ‘hello’ will also do the trick in making your face familiar. It also means you’ll get to know people over time and will be able to build a solid relationship.

It can often be hard to know how to integrate into a new community, but a simple smile or knock on the door can mean a lot when it comes to building a friendship with your neighbors. If you’re currently on the hunt for a home in a specific neighborhood, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

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How To Host A Successful Open House

How To Host A Successful Open HouseFrom fixing up all the minor repairs to cleaning the house top-to-bottom, there are a lot of small details that go into organizing the perfect open house. However, in the rush to organize everything, there are a number of to-do’s that are easy to forget about. If you’re currently prepping your home and don’t want to miss the important stuff, here are some things you should contemplate before setting the date.

The Outside Look

The first thing potential homebuyers will notice when they arrive at your home is the outside, and that’s why it’s so important not to neglect it. Before organizing your open house, make sure the lawn is mowed, any unsightly hedges are trimmed and that your entrance area and flowerbeds are well maintained. Since potential homebuyers will see the outside before anything else, there’s no sense in losing them for having a disheveled lawn before they’ve even walked through the door.

Effectively Market The Event

Many home sellers want to believe that their house will sell itself, but if no one knows about your open house or bothers to show up, there’s no chance of getting any offers. While your real estate agent should be featuring your home on their website, you may also want to hand out flyers to your neighbors and make a few posts on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to get the word out. There are no assurances when it comes to drumming up interest, but spreading the word with as many people as possible will likely find a few interested parties.

Use The Five Senses

It may not be the most common advice, but engaging potential buyers on a number of different levels can actually enhance the appeal of your home. Playing a little music can be a good way to make them feel comfortable, and you may want to do a little baking beforehand since the sense of smell can have a powerful impact. It may seem a little bit quirky, but there’s nothing to make people feel comfortable and at home like the scent of freshly baked treats and a little music.

There’s plenty of cleaning and organizing when it comes to an open house but it’s also important to look at the big picture when it comes to prepping for your home showing. If you’re nearly ready to put your home on the market, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

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How to Market Your Home to Renters Online

How to Market Your Home to Renters OnlineMany people think that marketing their home is best left to the realtor since they have the expertise and knowledge to succeed at selling. However, there are plenty of ways that you and your realtor can approach the marketing for your home for an even more positive impact. If you’ve made the decision to put your home on the market as a rental, here are a few tips so you can be sure to find the right renters.

Make Use Of Social Media

Sites like Craigslist have long been popular for finding a place to rent, but in the times of social media, there are plenty of other ways to reach people who are looking for apartments or homes. Instead of having to rely on traditional means of marketing, take to Twitter or Facebook to post about your home rental and include a few pictures with a brief description. Not only will this reach all your friends and followers, it will ensure that they can pass the information along too.

Create A Home Website

There are many old-school means of marketing a home to interested parties, but the tricks don’t necessarily change when it comes to finding an ideal renter. If you’re entrusting your home to the reliability of renters, a professional website with a respectable realtor is still one of the best means of attracting the right crowd. With a selection of professional photos and a complimentary description, you should have a few good options in no time.

Splurge On Professional Pictures

There’s a reason that professional photography is expensive, but when it comes to marketing your home online, a good picture is one of the best tools you have in finding your audience. Because a professional photographer knows all the small stuff about lighting and accentuating your home’s best features, they’ll be able to provide you with the kind of images that are sure to capture attention. In addition, a professional photograph can go a long way towards getting the rental price you’re asking for.

There was a time when renters walked the neighborhood to find the best rental options, but with so much of the search having gone online, there are other ways to market your home to potential candidates. If you’re planning on purchasing a second home and are putting your own up for rent, you may want to contact one of our local real estate professionals for more information.

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3 Things to Consider Before Renting to Students

3 Things to Consider Before Renting to StudentsWhether you have a second property that you’re going to move into or you’re planning on being away from your dwelling place for a while, you may be considering putting your home on the market in order to boost your financial outlook. While students comprise one demographic that is always entering the rental market to scoop up available properties, here are some things you may want to consider before deciding on a younger renter.

Will Your Home Be Rented Consistently?

Many students will require a place to rent out since most of them don’t have the money savings or stable income to purchase a home, but if you’re doing this to make ends meet on your properties, renting to student may not be the best way. While some students may plan on hanging out over the summer, there are those who will be heading home in order to live with their parents and save money for the Autumn semester. A contract’s a contract, but a renter can always flee the coop if it’s inconvenient.

Will They Take Good Care Of Your Home?

From furniture to family mementos, most people’s home is pretty personal to them, and that’s why it can be of supreme importance to have a renter that will respect your home and take good care of it in your absence. While there are plenty of responsible students in the world, you should ensure before settling on anyone that it’s someone you really trust who won’t damage your house or wake up the neighbors every Saturday evening.

What Rental Price Are You Looking For?

If you’re trying to make financial ends meet with your property, you’ll probably want to charge the maximum amount you can while still having a renter in your home. The risk with students is that they may not be able to pay the dollar amount you’re looking for so that you can effectively maximize your investment. While this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re taking the financial brunt, it’s important to get the monthly amount that your living space can garner on the market.

There can be a number of downfalls when it comes to renting to students, but there’s also the possibility that you’ll have a responsible renter who will stick around for more than a couple seasons. If you’re currently on the market for a second home, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 20, 2016

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week January 18 2016Mortgage rates fell after Federal Reserve policymakers decided not to raise the Fed’s target federal funds rate. The Federal Open Market Committee cited ongoing concerns over global financial and economic developments and slow jobs growth as factors in its decision not to raise rates. Fed Chair Janet Yellen emphasized the committee’s decision-making process is not predetermined and said that ongoing review of current and developing news is significant to monetary policy decisions.

Last week’s economic news also included the NAHB Housing Market Index, the monthly inflation rate and retail sales along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

Home Builder Confidence Rises in June

According to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Home builder confidence rose one point to a June reading of 60. May’s reading was 58 and analysts expected a reading of 59. June’s reading broke a four-month streak of unchanged readings. Sub-readings used to calculate the Housing Market Index were one point higher at 64 for current market conditions. Builders had higher confidence in market conditions for the next six months. June’s reading was five points higher at 70. June’s reading for buyer traffic remained below the benchmark of 50 at 47. The NAHB gauge of buyer traffic in new homes hasn’t hit 50 since the peak of the housing bubble.

National inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index was lower in May at 0.20 percent as compared to April’s reading of 0.40 percent; analysts expected a reading of 0.30 percent. Core inflation held steady at 0.20 percent; the core reading excludes volatile food and energy sectors, but energy prices, fuel prices and food are major components of household budgets.

The Federal Reserve has set an annual inflation rate of 2.00 percent as a benchmark reading for its consideration or raising the federal funds rate. Readings have remained consistently lower in recent years, which contributed to the Fed’s decision not to raise interest rates.

Mortgage Rates Fall as Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates for fixed and adjustable mortgages last week. 30-year fixed rate mortgages dropped f six basis points to an average of 3.54 percent. Rates for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage averaged

2.81 percent, which was also six basis points lower. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was eight basis points lower at 2.740 percent. Lower mortgage rates are welcomed by first-time and moderate income homebuyers as home prices continue to rise.

New jobless claims rose to 277,000 as compared to an expected reading of 270,000 new claims and the prior week’s reading of 264,000 new claims. Analysts attributed the jump in new claims to seasonal influences including new claims filed by school workers eligible for benefits when classes aren’t in session.

What’s Ahead

Next week’s scheduled economic reports include reports on new and existing home sales along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims. A monthly reading of consumer sentiment will also be released.

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4 Financial Benefits of Home Ownership

4 Financial Benefits of Home OwnershipHome ownership may be one of the most familiar goals of adulthood, but there’s more than one reason why so many people flock towards this type of investment and leave the rental market behind. If you’re trying to decide if you should make the big plunge towards buying, here are some benefits of saving up for a down payment and finding the right place to settle in.

It’s More Economical

Many people eschew home ownership simply because it can be hard to wrangle together the funds for a down payment. However, while a monthly rental is money you’ll never see again, the money you put down on a mortgage is being invested back into your home, making for a solid investment you can capitalize on later.

Instant Tax Deductions

The interest that you pay on your mortgage payment can be one of the most tumultuous aspects of purchasing a home, but you may not know that you actually have the ability to deduct many associated costs on your taxes. From origination fees to property taxes, there are plenty of costs that go along with your home that can be claimed for a refund when tax time comes!

Paying A Lower Price

The real estate market fluctuates every day, but one thing is for the certain: the median price of a home is on the rise. While low inflation rates may not be ideal if you’re selling, they can mean a better deal if you’re delving into the market for the first time. Just remember, it’s important to buy a home you can afford as anything that goes beyond your budget is not a solid investment.

A Built-In Savings Account

It may be important to have liquid assets outside of the equity you have in your home, but many people struggle to pay off their home and save money at the same time. While saving outside of your monthly mortgage payment is still important, putting money down on a home is an act of investing, and it’s one you’ll likely make a solid profit on when you decide to sell.

There can be many financial benefits to renting in the short term, but purchasing a home is a more solid financial decision when it comes right down to it. If you’re considering a home and would like to know more about your options, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

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Fed Monetary Policy: No Rate Increase in June

According to its post-meeting statement issued Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve voted not to increase its target federal funds rate. The target federal funds rate will remain at 0.250 to 0.50 percent.

Based on review of current and anticipated financial and economic events, the Committee cited slowing job growth and momentum of inflation-based compensation as reasons supporting its decision. While the national unemployment rate recently fell to 4.70 percent, FOMC members saw room for growth in employment. Unemployment rates are calculated based on active workforce members and do not include those who are under-employed or who have left the workforce. Global influences on the Fed’s monetary policy include uncertainties about China’s economy and the possibility that the United Kingdom may exit the European Union.

Housing markets and household spending improved, but the Fed cited lagging business investment and dismal jobs growth as concerns that led to a unanimous decision not to raise the federal funds rate.

Analysts characterized FOMC members as being “dovish” as compared to previous meetings. Only one member expected a single rate increase this year at the April meeting, but six members expected only one rate increase at June’s meeting.

In a post-statement press conference, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that while a rate increase is possible at FOMC’s July meeting, she noted that there is no post-meeting press conference scheduled, which would make it more difficult for the Fed to explain its decision. Analysts also said that a rate increase is unlikely in September in advance of national elections in November.

Inflation remains below the Fed’s goal of two percent and is expected to do so for the short to medium term.

Fed Chair Cites Changing Economic Conditions, Forecasts Incremental Rate Hikes

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said during her post-meeting press conference that current economic conditions indicate that gradual rate hikes are needed to ensure ongoing economic growth. Rate hikes, when and if they occur, would increase very slowly and are expected to remain “accommodative.”

Clair Yellen said that each FOMC meeting is “live,” which means that meeting agendas and actions can flex according to current developments that influence monetary policy. The FOMC has repeatedly said that its decision-making is primarily based on members’ constant evaluation of developments affecting domestic and global economies.

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3 Must-do Home Inspections Before Putting Your Home on the Market

3 Must-do Home Inspections Before Putting Your Home on the MarketAlmost everyone who has made the leap to home ownership has heard the stories about what a home inspection can reveal, but many are not aware of the primary issues left out in the cold when it comes to the inspection. Whether you’re surveying your home on your own or will be arranging an inspection shortly, here are the most common things that are missed when it comes to the final review.

A Weathered Roof

One of the most important parts of a home is the roof, which keeps everything contained within safe, but outside of the minor details that are obvious from the ground, there aren’t a lot of home inspectors that take more than a quick look at its condition.

As this can have a huge impact on your home offer come inspection time, it may be worth calling in a licensed roof inspector so you can determine any problems beforehand and get them patched up before they adversely affect the price you’re offered.

Secure The Siding

Many things in the home are expertly outlined in the home inspection report so inspectors will spend the time to check them out, but siding is another item that often flies by the wayside. While damaged siding may not be clearly obvious, if there are any issues with it, it can cause significant problems for your home down the road. Instead of leaving this up to chance, you may want to request that your home inspector check these items out for your (and the buyer’s) benefit.

HVAC Issues

The HVAC system in your home is responsible for heating, cooling and general ventilation, but many inspectors evade taking a closer look at these systems because they don’t want to put it through the extremities of hot and cold in case it causes damage. As there may also be notes in the home inspection report that alleviate the inspector of this responsibility, you may want to make calls on your own end for a specialist to test out the functionality of your system.

There are many pieces of the puzzle when it comes to an effective home inspection, but some of the most important parts of your home may not be included in the paperwork. If you’re planning on putting your home on the market soon and are looking for an experienced agent, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – June 13, 2016

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - June 13, 2016Last week’s economic news was highlighted by Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech in Philadelphia. Although Chair Yellen alluded to future Fed rate hikes, she did not specify when Fed policymakers would next raise the target federal funds rate. 

Increases in the fed funds rate typically signal increases in consumer credit and home mortgage rates. Last week’s speech was seen as a precursor to the Federal Open Market Committee statement that will occur at the conclusion of next week’s FOMC meeting. 

Chair Yellen is also scheduled to give a press conference after the FOMC statement next Wednesday.

Mortgage rates and new jobless claims also fell last week.

Fed Chair Speech: Fed Rate Increases Likely, but Subject to Economic Developments

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that remarks would be “largely favorable” although economic developments were “mixed.” Chair Yellen cited economic progress toward the Fed’s dual goal of achieving maximum employment and price stability. Labor benchmarks included national unemployment below five percent, rising household income and indications of rising wages were cited as positive signs for economic expansion.

Slowing job growth and inflation staying below the Fed’s goal of 2.00 percent were cited as signs that the U.S. economic recovery is underway, but Chair Yellen also said signs of slower job creation along with uncertainties in global economic conditions and oil prices prevented short-term predictions about how the economy would perform.

Fed Chair Yellen also repeated her usual caution that Fed policy is not set in stone, but instead is subject to FOMC members’ ongoing review of economic developments and related readings.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Lower

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was six basis points lower at 3.60 percent; the rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.87 percent, which was five basis points lower than the previous week. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was six points lower at 2.82 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for all three loan types tracked by Freddie Mac.

New jobless claims were also lower at 264,000 new claims filed against expectations of 270,000 new claims and 268,000 new claims filed in the prior week.

What’s Ahead This Week

This week’s scheduled economic news includes the Fed’s post-meeting FOMC statement and press conference, reports on the consumer price index and core CPI, housing starts and the NAHB Housing Market Index. Reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be released according to their weekly schedule.

Economic indicators such as price inflation, rising mortgage rates and housing data impact housing markets and consumers’ ability or willingness to buy homes.  

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4 Home Decor Websites to Inspire You

4 Home Décor Websites to Inspire YouFrom DIY projects to the aisles of IKEA, there are plenty of ways for those looking to dress up their home to come up with unique and fun decorating options. However, with the instant accessibility of the Internet, there’s no reason you can’t search the world over for other’s people great ideas. If you’re looking for new tips and tricks, here are some websites that may inspire your own miniature renovation.

Limitless Art At Lumas

Finding the perfect portrait for your living room or bedroom wall has long been one of the last struggles of home decorating, but with Lumas.com you don’t have to conduct a search of the very best portraits. Instead of waiting for the ideal piece, just search this website created by two art collectors for items by new artists, signed images and economical options that will provide a wide variety of great wall coverings.

DIY Designs From Pop Sugar

With a lot of great images and ideas for what you can do all over your home, Pop Sugar – formerly known as Casa Sugar – is ideal for getting a smattering of instant ideas on how to change up your favorite living spaces. From things to do for your studio apartment to ways your furniture can compliment your astrological sign, there are few limits to the kind of advice you’ll find.

Vintage Offerings At Rubylane

As one of the largest websites of its kind, Rubylane provides one of the most extensive collections of vintage and antique items available anywhere. With so many web searches that offer up pages and pages of the goods you’re looking for, there’s no reason you can’t locate whatever unique item will kick up your room a few notches on this popular design site.

Small Sized Design With Small Furnish

With so many people looking to deck out their studio apartments and small houses, decor and DIY ideas for smaller spaces are becoming more popular, and no website can capitalize on this need quite like Small Furnish. Featuring everything from items for your laundry room to wall mounted laptop stations, this website will give you great small-scale ideas with an arty design ethos in mind.

It can be hard to know where to begin with decorating your home, but there are plenty of online options that will give you great ideas for how you can upgrade. If you’re currently on the market and are considering options for your next home, you may want to contact one of our real estate professionals for more information.

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