Real Estate Category
According to the National Association of REALTORS®, existing home sales surpassed both May sales and expectations for June. Sales of previously owned homes increased by 2.60 percent in June and reached a seasonally adjusted annual level of 5.04 million sales. June’s reading was the third consecutive monthly increase in sales of existing homes and was the highest reading for existing home sales in eight months. Existing home sales remain 2.30 percent below the June 2013 reading of 5.16 million sales of existing homes.
Analysts projected sales of 5 million existing homes for June against May’s initial reading of 4.89 million sales of previously owned homes; the May reading was later revised to 4.91 million sales. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS® said that market conditions are becoming “more balanced,” and noted that inventories of existing homes are at their highest level in over a year and that price gains have slowed to much more welcoming levels in many parts of the country.
Housing Market Headwinds Declining
After a particularly harsh winter and lagging labor reports, analysts forecasted lower annual sales of existing homes for 2014 than for 2013. Labor markets are stronger according to recent labor market reports and a declining national unemployment rate. Steady work is an important factor for families considering a home purchase; as labor markets improve, more would-be homeowners are expected to become active buyers.
Housing markets are not without challenges. In recent unrelated reports, the Federal Reserve has noted higher than anticipated inflation may cause the Fed to raise its target Federal Funds rate in the next several months. Gas and food prices, important components of consumers’ household budgets continue to rise and could slow save toward a home for some families. Steve Brown, president of the National Association of REALTORS®, said that first-time and moderate income buyers continue to deal with affordability due to increased FHA costs and tight mortgage credit. Relief may be in sight as a slower pace of home price growth suggests that more buyers may be able to afford homes.
FHFA House Price Index Reports Gain in May Home Sales
FHFA released its May index of home sales connected with mortgages owned or backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The index posted a month-to-month gain of 0.40 percent in May and a year-over-year gain of 5.90 percent year-over-year. FHFA said that increased sales were driven by a 9/60 percent increase in sales in the Pacific region and that average home prices remain 6.50 percent below April 2007.
Distressed real estate is real estate in need of serious repairs. These properties are often called “handyman specials.” If you have the skill or the money to complete the repairs, you can often find great deals. Here are some dos and don’ts of buying distressed real estate.
DO Get A Home Inspection
Distressed homes need repairs. Some of these repairs, like broken floor tile, are easy to see. Others, like water damage in the attic, can be easily hidden. The only way to know for sure what you’re buying is to have the property inspected by a professional home inspector.
DO Pay Attention To The Home’s Market Value
You don’t want to buy a home and spend your hard-earned money for repairs only to find out the home is worth less than you paid for it. Have your agent complete a comparative market analysis so you know what the home is worth.
DO Have An Estimate For Repairs
There’s no point buying a distressed home if you can’t afford the cost of the home and the repairs. Get an estimate from at least three contractors before you buy. Knowing the cost of repairs beforehand will help you make the best decision.
DON’T Think About Potential Profit
You’ve probably heard countless stories about people who bought distressed properties and sold them for outrageous profits. However, the reality is that most distressed homes are sold for a small profit or no profit.
DON’T Buy A Home Just Because The Price Is Low
When you buy distressed homes, you have to consider more than just the asking price. Add together the cost of repairs, insurance, and what you can realistically expect to make from the sale. This will tell you if the home really is a good investment for you.
DON’T Buy If You Don’t Have The Money
No matter how good a deal you find on distressed homes, they aren’t worth it if they will stretch your budget too far. The last thing you want to deal with is damage to your credit score and the risk of foreclosure in the event you can’t pay for the home.
Looking for a great deal on distressed real estate? Contact your trusted real estate professional today.
Growing a home garden creates beauty, oxygen and even food for our families to enjoy. If you’re looking to get more from your home garden, here are four easy ways to improve a green thumb.
A Good Foundation For Your Garden
Good soil is the foundation of a healthy garden. By using quality soil, you can give your garden the best start possible. Adding a variety of organic matter to soil will give plants a happy home to grow in.
Add two to three inches of organic matter to your garden bed at the beginning of each season. Compost, dried leaves, grass clipping and dry manure are all good organic materials to use in your garden.
Manures provides nitrogen, which is a great contributor to soil aeration and composting efforts. Being so far along in the decomposing process, the nutrients in manure are readily available for plants.
Fresh manure, however, is more likely to leach out of the soil into groundwater and streams (where the nutrients it provides can become pollutants).
Design Fundamentals To Achieve Harmony And Flow
Although landscaping your home garden is a matter of personal taste and preference, there are some fundamental principles for creating a good garden.
Balance and proportion establish the basic structure of a garden. Order is obtained through symmetry, repetition of plants, and colors or thoughtful contrast. This will create a garden space that is both balanced and proportioned.
Harmony and unity is achieved when different aspects of your garden work together as a whole. Strong focal points and a limited color palette can help with the overall look of your garden.
Prevent the eye from making sudden stops with good flow and transition in your garden. Gradual changes in height and color create the illusion of a larger space, and will make for a full and finished look in your garden.
Variety Is Important And Maintenance A Must
Have a good combination in your garden of annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees and food producing plants. Plants that require little maintenance and come back each year will take some of the pressure off when it comes to seasonal changes and garden preparation.
With more time to focus on bedding plants and vegetable gardens, you’ll yield a bigger reward for your gardening efforts. Water features and other structural focal points work in much the same way; they provide your outdoor space with added beauty and appeal that is easy to maintain throughout the year.
Don’t Be Bothered By Pests And Bugs
Although people have differing opinions on pests, at home a greener garden is always a healthier garden. Harsh pest control products can hurt wildlife and pollute groundwater.
You may be solving one problem, but using chemical pesticides contributes to another. There are many ways keep pests under control without chemical products.
With so many easy to make homemade pesticides to discover, gardeners can ditch the chemical alternative without sacrificing quality. There are also plants such as marigolds that can be incorporated into your garden that deter pests.
A garden is a labor of love that creates a welcoming outdoor space that your family can enjoy. Call your local real estate professional for more information on creating or finding your perfect home garden.
Burglaries are a concern for many North Americans. Although some communities report more break ins than others, everyone should be aware of their home’s safety and security. Protecting yourself and your home from thieves can contribute to a better quality of life.
Know And Connect With Your Neighbors
There is much to be said about knowing your neighbors. By establishing connections with the residents around you, you’ll be better equipped to spot suspicious people. When neighbors look out for other members the community, they give thieves less opportunity to case homes unnoticed.
You may consider getting your neighbors together to exchange contact information, or even form a community watch program.
Protect Your Privacy By Locking Up
Thieves often gain entry to homes through an unlocked door or garage. Make sure that when you leave your home you lock up behind you. Give yourself an extra moment or two to walk through the house and make sure that everything is properly shut and locked.
You may also consider reinforcing ground level windows and doors with additional safety locks. Wrought iron bars can mean better security for ground level windows out of street view, as they are popular targets for burglars and thieves.
Always Know Who’s Knocking
Installing a peephole on the front door works wonders for a person’s peace of mind. It’s important to know who is at your doorstep so you don’t open your door to an intruder. Burglars have been known to knock on a target’s door to see if they’re home. This also gives thieves important information, such as whether you have pets, deadbolts or security systems.
Be wary of suspicious visitors that come knocking at your door, and write down their description in case you end up needing it later.
Security Systems To Protect Your Home
Monitored security systems are a great way to feel good about your home security. There are many products available at a variety of different price points. These systems are easily installed by a professional, and are monitored by a security company. The monthly cost of the service will be offset by savings on your home insurance, and is well worth the protection the systems provide.
Stop Break Ins While You’re On Vacation
If you’re planning on going out of town, keep your plans on a need to know basis. Don’t let people know you’re away on your answering machine greeting or with auto respond email. These may be suitable for the workplace, but they are not safe for your personal messaging systems.
Have a neighbor gather your mail and take out your garbage to keep your home looking lived in while you’re away. You may also consider lighting and electronic timers to give the illusion that someone is home.
Spare Yourself From Burglaries
Spare keys can save the day, but can also tempt thieves. If you have a spare key hidden, make sure it’s hidden well in the back of the house. If you do use it, don’t return it to its hiding spot right away, and change its place from time to time. A better idea may be to leave a spare key with a neighbor or with a friend.
Security is an important component to a good quality of life. By taking simple steps to improve the security of your home, you can feel safe knowing that your house is protected from thieves.
Call your trusted local real estate agent to learn more about home security, or to find the safest neighborhoods in your area.
Building a tree house is a time honored tradition for many families. One of the benefits of having a yard is the ability to build a tree fort for your children.
If you’re planning to build a fun fort for your kids, here are seven steps to help you create the ultimate tree house.
The Ultimate Plan For The Perfect Playhouse
The best projects are often the most thought out. Sit down with your children and lay the plans for their tree house. Let them contribute their thoughts and ideas so they feel a part of the planning process.
Although you won’t need an engineering degree to build a quality tree fort, it’s important to calculate all the measurements and specifications of the build.
A Solid Foundation For Your Tree House
Prepare the location for your future tree house by trimming away any precarious branches or boughs on the tree you plan to build on. Ensure that your tree house will be well supported, and reinforce any questionable spots.
If your tree fort is being built from the ground up, make sure you’re working with a level foundation.
Have The Right Tools For The Job
Make sure you have all the tools you’ll need to construct your tree house. Power tools and construction equipment can be borrowed from friends and neighbors or rented from your local hardware store.
When the time comes to gather your building supplies, be creative and consider re-purposed supplies. These materials are less expensive and add character and charm. You can find recycled and salvaged items at various recycled construction supply companies and through online classifieds like Craigslist.
Construct Your Tree House With Confidence
When you’re constructing your tree house, make sure it’s structurally sound. Watch tutorials online – you’d be amazed at the things you can learn from watching YouTube videos!
Make sure to measure twice and cut once. Using the proper cutting tool for each cut will help you achieve cleaner, more precise cuts. Also make sure to obtain any permits that may be required for the project.
A Personalized Theme Encourages Creativity
Choose a theme that relates to your child. If they love fairies, use that as the inspiration for your design. Pirate forts and superhero lairs are perfect places to spark imaginative play and creativity.
Incorporate cannons, cupboards and ropes with pulleys to create a unique and fun space for your children to play.
A Colorful Paint Job Brightens The House
When the walls are up and the building is done, it will be time to choose paint colors. Bright colors are a great way to brighten and liven up an outdoor space.
You could even consider creating a mural. Choose something in fitting with the theme. This is something that you and your child can do together, or that you can do on your own as an added surprise.
Perfecting Your Child’s Play Space
Once your tree house is built, it’s time to get it ready for play. Decorate the space with fun decor, and functional items. Throw pillows and rugs can add color and personality to a child’s play space. Window coverings can be made from scrap fabric or flat bed sheets.
Creating a tree fort for your child is a memorable experience and a labor or love. A unique space that sparks imagination and nurtures creativity is a wonderful gift to give a child.
Call your trusted local real estate agent today to find the perfect yard for your ultimate tree house.