Coldwell Banker and Coldwell Banker Previews International Logos

(954) 525-3355
gayle@gayleborden.com

Real Estate
News


Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Whats New in Residential Roofing Styles

Knowing your options for residential roofing materials before repairs are needed also allows you to decide on the best choice for your home and then plan and budget for that new residential roof Check out whatrsquo;s new in residential roofing >

Slate Roofing

Slate roofing is valued for its durability and >

Slate roofs are also very attractive, with a natural look that enhances a homersquo;s overall curb appeal. Donrsquo;t believe the myth that slate roofs are noisy as a roofrsquo;s underlayment and other materials absorb sound and keep a slate roof quiet, even in inclement weather.

Flat Roofing Materials

Flat roofing materials are very durable and easy to maintain and offer a unique look for homes. The PVC or TPO materials used to create flat roofs are watertight and very dense so that the roof isnrsquo;t likely to leak or blow away in a storm

Cool Roofs

A cool or white roof is a reflective coating added over roofing materials. The lighter color of a white roof helps to reflect sunlight and keep a home cooler in summertime.

Not only does cool roof lower your air conditioning bills significantly but it can also reduce wear and tear on the roofing materials underneath it. Overexposure to harsh sunlight and heat often cause asphalt shingles and other roofing tiles to become brittle and crumbly, leading to premature cracking, splitting, and otherwise unnecessary repairs, whereas a cool roof helps avoid that damage.

Metal Roofs

Metal roofs are not new, as metal has been a favorite roofing material for centuries; however, metal is quickly becoming a popular option for homeowners versus standard asphalt shingles. A metal roof is far more durable than asphalt and can last for decades, even outlasting the home itself

The experts and local roofing contractors in Boston note that many homeowners mistakenly assume that a metal roof is heavy and might damage a home, but this is not the case. Metal roofing tiles are lighter than shingles and an excellent option for older homes and structures that have weakened with age.

Synthetic Roofing Materials

Synthetic roofing materials, including plastic, rubber, and other polymers, are increasingly popular with homeowners today due to their low cost, lighter weight, and durability. Synthetic roofing materials are shaped and formed to resemble other materials including wood and slate, and are often highly fire-resistant.

If considering synthetic roofing materials, note the reputation of the manufacturer and any warranty offered. Ensure that your roofing contractor has experience installing synthetic materials, and itrsquo;s even helpful to see a sample of these materials side-by-side with asphalt or slate shingles, to compare their >

Solar Shingles

Todayrsquo;s innovations in solar technology have allowed roofing materials manufacturers to incorporate solar wiring into shingles themselves. Opting for solar shingles allows a homeowner to enjoy solar power in the home without the bulky appearance of full solar panels

Solar shingles can be somewhat costly and itrsquo;s good for homeowners to note the pitch and angle of their homersquo;s roof and how much sunlight the shingles might realistically absorb throughout the day. Remember, too, to check for rebates, tax credits, and other incentives that help to offset the cost of solar shingles when deciding on a new roofing material for your home.

Concrete Roof Tiles

Concrete might not sound like an attractive material for a homersquo;s roof, but concrete is a very versatile substance that can be shaped and formed and then painted, stained, and buffed so that it resembles many other architectural materials. Concrete roof tiles often look just like their more expensive slate counterparts or they might resemble wood roof tiles, while being far less expensive than slate and much more fire-resistant than wood

The downside of concrete roof tiles is that they are often heavy and cumbersome to install. Not every home is a good candidate for concrete roof tiles and their installation might require a specialty contractor, so keep those considerations in mind when shopping for a new residential roof.

Green Roofs

A green roof combines soil, compost, and living plants to create an actual ecosystem on a homersquo;s roof Live plants on a homersquo;s roof adds a protective layer of insulation between the house and outside elements, keeping a home cooler in summertime and warmer in winter.

A green roof also improves surrounding air quality since plants clean the air around them naturally. Some homeowners even grow edible vegetation on their homersquo;s roof, reducing their grocery bills as well as their utility costs. While green roofs have many advantages, they are best suited for sloped roofs, to allow proper water runoff and to prevent water pooling on the homersquo;s roof.

Colored Roofs

No matter the residential roofing material you choose, todayrsquo;s homeowners have more options for color than ever before. Roofs in a red tone offer a rustic charm while a dijon yellow roof can add a splash of subtle color above a white home. Roofs in a slight blue tone are an excellent option for homes painted blue, as the color is often difficult to match and complement.

When choosing a new residential roofing material, consider adding a bit of personality to the house exterior with a splash of color. You will then have a roof that is not only durable and strong but which also enhances your homersquo;s appearance and reflects your own personal >


nbsp;Sean King is a leader in the industry and offers full roof replacements using the best materials. His New England based company, Risk Free Roofing Boston has changed the industry by never asking for deposits, installing roofs in a day and giving quotes in 5 minutes or less. He also warranties his roofs for the entire lifetime of the home.


Full Story >


New Program Allows Short-Term Rental Income to Be Used for Refinances

The new program, from Quicken Loans, uses ldquo;rental income earned through VRBO to be used to qualify for a mortgage refinance,rdquo; the lender said in a news >

Typically, investment property income can help a borrowerrsquo;s debt-to-income ratio, but being able to show income from short-term rentals is a sign of the times. "Vrbo helps homeowners use one of their biggest assets as a source of income.nbsp;Now Quicken Loans can accurately review that income and consider it when calculating the debt-to-income ratio ndash; a major data point considers when qualifying for a mortgage," Jay Farner, CEO of Quicken Loans, said in a >

This evolution makes sense when you consider how closely tied the income generated by these short-term rentals is to ongoing living expenses. ldquo;Rental income and mortgage payments are often intertwined,rdquo; said Inman News. ldquo;A June 2018 market report from Vrbo found that more than 50 percent of short-term rental owners utilizing the platform use income generated from their property to cover at least 75 percent of their mortgage payment.rdquo;
The rental income can come from a primary residence or a second home, and primary residences, vacation homes, and investment properties can all be refinanced under the program.

The Vrbo partnership with Quicken comes on the heels of competitor Airbnbrsquo;s announcement last year that itrsquo;s working with both Quicken and Fannie Mae to ldquo;allow anyone who has rented out property on Airbnb for a year or longer to count some or all of that money as incomerdquo; when applying for a refinance, said MarketWatch.


Full Story >


An Insiders Look at the Reality of Home Staging

But just how do those two contingents break down? The National Association of Realtors NAR 2019 Profile of Home Staging provides some insight. The study separated the study into three categories: Buyersrsquo; Agent Perspective, Sellersrsquo; Agent Perspective, and Buyer Expectations. Wersquo;re taking a closer look at the key points.

Home Staging: Buyersrsquo; Agent Perspective

According to the study, ldquo;40 percent of buyersrsquo; agents cited that home staging had an effect on most buyersrsquo; view of the homerdquo; and ldquo;83 percent of buyersrsquo; agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.rdquo; Buyers agents also noted that, ldquo;Staging the living room was found to be most important for buyers 47 percent, followed by staging the master bedroom 42 percent, and staging the kitchen 35 percent.rdquo;

Home Staging: Sellersrsquo; Agent Perspective

Per the study, ldquo;28 percent of sellersrsquo; agents said they staged all sellersrsquo; homes prior to listing them for sale,rdquo; and ldquo;13 percent noted that they only staged homes that are difficult to sell.rdquo; The living room 93 percent, kitchen 84 percent, master bedroom 78 percent, and the dining room 72 percent were the most commonly staged rooms.

Sellersrsquo; agents offered to do the staging 26 percent of the time, and, ldquo;The median dollar value spent on home staging was 400.rdquo;

Buyer Expectations

Call it the HGTV effect: ldquo;A median of 10 percent of respondents cited that buyers felt homes should look the way they were staged on TV shows,rdquo; while ldquo;38 percent of respondents said that TV shows which displayed the buying process impacted their business.rdquo;

The real effect of staging

Now that we have the buyerrsquo;s agent, sellerrsquo;s agent, and buyerrsquo;s perspective, letrsquo;s look at some real data about staged homes. According to the NAR study, 22 percent of sellersrsquo; agents ldquo;reported an increase of one percent to five percent of the dollar value offered by buyers, in comparison to similar homes,rdquo; and ldquo;17 percent of respondents stated that staging a home increased the dollar value of the home between six and 10 percent. 28 percent of sellersrsquo; agents stated that there were slight decreases in the time on the market when the home is staged, while 25 percent reported that staging a home greatly decreased the amount of time the home was on the market.rdquo;

Of course, time on market and sales prices can range depending on a number of factors, like age of home, location, square footage, and price point. The Real Estate Staging Association has found, overall, that staged homes sell ldquo;73 faster, on average, than their non-staged counterparts,rdquo; said The Mortgage Reports.


Full Story >


What Is Considered an Official Mortgage Application?

Lenders must also determine affordability. When issuing a preapproval letter, itrsquo;s typically after the borrower and the loan officer have had a conversation about monthly payments, down payments and closing costs. This prequalification is the result of a general conversation between the two regarding current credit status, employment, assets and other items. When these items are reviewed and confirmed, itrsquo;s at that point where a preapproval letter can be issued.

Borrowers can also request a Loan Estimate, formerly known as the Good Faith Estimate, which will itemize various potential costs of obtaining a home loan. Costs both from the lender and third parties. But the loan estimate isnrsquo;t considered binding until the mortgage application is considered a valid loan application according to regulations. There are six things that do turn a prequalification or preapproval into an official loan application which will then trigger a host of required disclosures the borrowers need to review, sign and return to the lender. These six items are:

bull; Name
bull; Income
bull; Social Security Number
bull; Property Address
bull; Estimated Value of Selected Property
bull; Mortgage Loan Amount South

When this information is provided to the lender, either over the phone, in person or in writing, the application becomes an official one and the lender then is required to supply an official Loan Estimate to the applicants within three business days. It is this loan estimate that will be used to compare the initial estimate with the final numbers at the settlement table. For example, lender charges cannot vary from the initial estimate to the final settlement statement. Third party charges can have an aggregate variance of 10 percent from the initial estimate. For required services where the borrowers select the provider, which is rare by the way, there is no regulation limiting changes to the final number. If any one of the required six items is missing, the loan application is not an official one and loan disclosures will not be delivered. Most often this is a property address.

Itrsquo;s important to note here that just because one item is missing doesnrsquo;t mean the lender doesnrsquo;t have to provide you with an estimate of closing costs. Your loan officer certainly will upon request. But when a completed loan application withthe minimum six pieces of information are provided, things get official and various loan disclosures will be issued and the clock begins to tick.


Full Story >


The Biggest Hurdles When Renovating Old Homes and Buildings

Developers, home owners, and businesses alike all have a vested interest in purchasing the best properties within their budgets. Especially true in older communities and cities, a variety of high-quality buildings and homes can be found, many of which use more solid building >

Youve probably heard the phrase ldquo;this home has good bones.rdquo; Particularly important when renovating or remodeling an older home, many owners find that the underlying structures allow for great customization and a plethora of new possibilities.

Nevertheless, there are many potential hurdles facing those who want to renovate or change older buildings. Lets take a look at the biggest obstacles here today.

Historical Building Regulations

In many cities and towns, historical societies exist to protect various historical buildings and features in neighborhoods. For those purchasing, or who are planning to purchase an older home or building, the very first thing they should do is verify whether the building has any historical significance.

The consequences of attempting to renovate or remodel an older building can range from public campaign pressure tonbsp;binding legal requirements. In some cases, remodeling an older building ndash; such as one within a designated neighborhood or with certain historical >

Permits

Any major renovation poses a variety of challenges but obtaining the proper permits and permissions can be a nightmare. Especially in the case of older buildings, there may be an enti>

Having the proper understanding of the building in question ndash; and therefore what will be required ndash; may take several trips to your local zoning or building agency. Because of the complexities often faced with renovating older buildings in urban areas, owners may decide to source assistance from qualified compliance officials.nbsp;

Costs

Obviously, a huge roadblock to renovating an older property ndash; or any property, for that matter ndash; is the cost associated with the endeavor. All too often, renovations for older properties can become expensive very quickly, exceeding that of more contemporary projects.

Due to a variety of concerns >

Environmental Issues

In many jurisdictions, older buildings may enjoy exemptions from modern building codes and environmental regulations. From wiring and plumbing to insulation, many raw materials may create environmental hazards once removed during a remodel.

As such, securing the proper permits and disposal situations for components such as lead pipes and asbestos can be a logistical nightmare. Through agencies such as the EPA, owners can determine what requirements and risks exist when renovating older properties.

These hurdles are not insurmountable but are definitely challenging. Because of this, no purchase of an older home or building should be rushed: it is imperative to do your homework and evaluate the conditions of the property and the requirements needed for renovation. This can help minimize the chances of financial ruin, legal action, wasted time and stress.


Full Story >


How to Determine a Sellers Market

What the Heck is a Sellers Market?

There are no better words in the English dictionary that can make a home owner do their infamous happy dance than these four little words: ldquo;itrsquo;s a sellerrsquo;s marketrdquo;.

Sohellip;.you askhellip;.how do you know if it really is a sellerrsquo;s market and what exactly does that mean?

Irsquo;m going to bring you back to ECON 101 for a moment. Remember when your professor spent two weeks explaining the concept of supply and demand? Well, I hope you took notes.

In a sellerrsquo;s market, there are fewer homes for sale with more buyers out there looking to purchase. nbsp;The factors that lead to more buyers in the market could be: nbsp;sustained low interest rates, high employment rate, legislative changes which make it easier to purchase a property ndash; events and conditions that make buyers think it would be a good time to invest in a home.

In my experience, there are some advantages to the sellers in this kind of market. Typically, home prices will rise, buyers will quickly make offers and sometimes, buyers will compete for a property. This can lead to a bidding war, ultimately driving the price of the home up above expectations

Now on to your next question. How do I, as a potential seller, know when it really is a sellerrsquo;s market?

How to Recognize a Sellers Market

There is a thing called "Absorption Rate" that many REALTORS and economists alike will use to determine whether the market is in a buyers or sellers favor. First, a REALTOR will use the MLS to determine the number of homes closed in your market over a specific period. Next, they will divide the number of homes by the number of months in the period. This gives a per month absorption rate. Lastly, they will divide the rate into the number of current listings. This will yield the months supply of homes. A six months supply is considered a balanced market - when the number of listings roughly equals the number of buyers. Numbers over six represent a buyers market and those below, a sellers market.nbsp;

Absorption Rate=nbsp; Current Listings/ of homes closed in a specific period/number of months in the period nbsp;

How to Price a Home for Sale

After a REALTOR determines the absorption rate for a specific area or neighborhood, they will create a Comparative Market Analysis CMA of the subject property. This report will be based on the recent usually within six months comparable homes sold in the neighborhood or surrounding area usually within one mile radius. This analysis will give the REALTOR an idea of what comparable homes are selling for, and how quickly. Using this information, along with the absorption rate, the agent will be able to come up with a listing price that will guarantee that the home sells quickly for top dollar.nbsp;


Full Story >


3 Ways to Reduce Your Closing Costs

Saving up for a down payment is probably the biggest challenge, especially for first time home buyers, but closing costs also need to be addressed. Here are three ways buyers can reduce or eliminate these costs.

The first way is to have your lender quote you an interest rate that provides a lender credit toward your closing costs. When your lender quotes rates and fees to you, yoursquo;ll get a range of rates from lower to higher. Lower rates will require upfront interest in the form of a discount point. One discount point equals one percent of the amount borrowed. On a 300,000 loan, one point is then 3,000.

For example, if your lender offers 4.25 with no points on a 30 year loan you might also be able to get a 4.00 by paying one point upfront. The lender really doesnrsquo;t care if you pay points or not, itrsquo;s completely your call. You have the option of paying interest upfront in the form of a point or you can pay the interest over the term of the loan without paying a point.

If you take that 4.25 rate one step further, say to 4.50, the lender may offer a one point credit. Your monthly payment goes up by a little, but you also saved on closing costs. On that same 300,000 30 year loan, the 4.50 rate gave you a 3,000 credit at the settlement table. There is some math involved to determine which rate is best in your situation and your loan officer will walk you through the process.

Another way to reduce your closing costs is to have the sellers pay them for you. This involves you and your real estate agent making an offer that asks the sellers to pay for all or some of your fees. Your offer might include verbiage that asks the sellers to pay a certain percentage of the sales price, say 1 or 2 of the sales price or you might ask for a specific amount, such as 3,000.

Different loan programs place certain limits on how much the sellers can pay so yoursquo;ll need to check with your loan officer before making the offer. Most such limits are ra>

Finally, if the sellers decide to decline your request, you can adjust the sales price upward. If the sales price is 300,000 and closing costs are 3,000, you can offer 303,000 while then asking the sellers to pay 3,000 of your costs. The sellers net the same amount at the closing table and you donrsquo;t have to come up with an additional 3,000 for closing costs. One potential issue with this method is making sure the property will appraise at the higher amount, but a one percent increase usually wonrsquo;t cause any problems. And yes, when making a higher offer that also means your loan amount will also go up the difference in monthly payment is ba>

Closing costs will need to be addressed just as a down payment needs to be. Your loan officer will provide you with an initial cost estimate that will generally match up with your final settlement, so yoursquo;ll know what to expect. You can adjust your rate upward, have the sellers pay for them as part of your offer, or increase your offer slightly to include an amount reflecting your expected settlement fees.


Full Story >


Tips For Redecorating While On A Budget

Reuse

Before you start buying new furniture, bedding, and fixtures that will quickly eat through your budget, start by taking an inventory of what you already have. Think about ways that things can be reused. Simple furniture pieces can be painted or even just have the hardware changed out that will change the way a piece looks.

Many types of furniture can serve a different purpose. An unused dining table can become a desk. That old sofa table can be used as a mobile bar if wheels are added. Even a broken dresser can be salvaged and transformed.

Simple Appearances

Bigger is not always better. Sometimes a few simple changes can make a big impact, with minimal expense. Updating paint colors or just adding an accent wall is one way. You can also change out throw rugs and light fixtures. A small thing, like changing lamp shades or the glass covers on your ceiling fans or overhead lighting, can have a big visual impact as well.

Add covers to pillows and duvets to bedspreads. But what is a duvet? Think of the duvet like a pillow case for bedspreads. You can put an existing bedspread inside the duvet and create an enti>

Thrifty Shopping

If you still plan to make some purchases, consider used pieces. Second-hand or thrift stores are often great places to buy deacute;cor items without spending a fortune. Wholesale, liquidation, and salvage places can also help save some money. Remember to consider possible alternate uses for items as well.

Keep your eyes open for things that people are trying to sell, too. Visit yard sales and flea markets. You can find a wide variety of items that people are selling for low prices. Swap meets are also good places to locate what you might need, while giving you the opportunity to get rid of something that no longer suits your tastes or needs.

Artwork

An alternative to pricey reprints, or even more expensive originals, is to create your own artwork to display. Try your skill at painting or decoupage. Frame your childrsquo;s latest art piece. You can even find free artwork to print and use at home. Spruce up some old wooden frames. Things like foiling and sponging can help you turn drab frames into decorative displays.

One at a Time

The most important thing to remember is to take it one step at a time. Try not to redecorate every room at the same time. You may need to divide your budget into chunks for each room that you want to redecorate. If you go room by room, you may find that you have some money left over that can be used for other rooms. By going one room at a time, you can avoid getting overwhelmed because you have taken on too much at once.

There are numerous options for redecorating on a budget, regardless of how small that budget might be. In your redecorating efforts, you can make huge changes just as easily as you can make small ones, both impacting the final result of a room. In the end, your home can be a display of the things you enjoy in an atmosphere that best suits you.


Full Story >


How to Scam-Proof Your Roof

Wersquo;re talking about those who show up at your door unannounced with an offer to check out your roof or repair/replace it for a price that seems too good to be true, and then run off with your money without fixing anythingmdash;or doing a shoddy job.

ldquo;Some of the most unbelievable home improvement rip-offs come from scam-artists disguised as roofers,rdquo; said Mosby Building Arts. ldquo;Reputable roofing contractors have to deal with an unfairly tarnished reputation because consumers are too often taken in by unlicensed pretenders.rdquo;

We tapped several top roofers to get their advice on what to watch out for and how to protect yourself from costly scams.

Ignore unsolicited offers

ldquo;Even if you really are in need of a new roof, do not work with a roofer who knocked on your door uninvited,rdquo; said Mosby Building Arts. ldquo;Reputable roofers only engage when you have made the first call to request their services.rdquo;

Donrsquo;t sign anything

ldquo;Some roofers, especially the storm chasers, like to use high-pressure tactics to get you to sign a contract,rdquo; said Excel Roofing. ldquo;They may even hand you a document and claim it gives them permission to inspect your roof and contact your insurance company. Bottom line is this: donrsquo;t sign it. Donrsquo;t sign anything a roofer hands you unless you are 110 sure you want this person and his or her company to roof your home.rdquo;

Do your research

ldquo;You want to do your homework before you waste your time talking to a roofing contractor who wonrsquo;t make the cut in the end,rdquo; said Peak Roofing Contractors. ldquo;There are many places you can do research these days including countless sites on the internet. When you look at reviews, remember that you canrsquo;t please all the people all the time so reviews should be looked at in their totality. It may be even more important to see how a company responds to a bad review. Donrsquo;t forget to ask your friends and neighbors about their experiences with local companies and check the Better Business Bureau. When you visit a companyrsquo;s website, make sure they have a local address and talk in detail about the service you need.rdquo;

Never, ever give a roofer any money upfront

ldquo;You donrsquo;t get your paycheck until after yoursquo;ve punched the clock, so why pay a roofer before any work gets done? A roofer has no incentive to follow through with the work once the cash is already in his pocket,rdquo; said Absolute Roofers. ldquo;Make sure you sign a contract first, stating that hersquo;ll get paid once the work is done. If he still tries to get you to pay up front, itrsquo;s time to tell him to hit the highway.rdquo;
Asking the right questions can help you narrow down roofers and choose the best one. A few things to ask, according to Tadlock Roofing, are:

bull; Is the company properly licensed for the job?
bull; Does the company carry liability insurance and workersrsquo; compensation insurance?
bull; Are there more than three testimonials or references you can check?


Full Story >


Do Energy-Efficient Windows Really Save You Money?

An energy audit of your home is often the best option for evaluating your homersquo;s insulation and the efficiency of your major appliances, and your local utility companies can often arrange such an audit for you. However, note some vital information about new thermal windows and other energy-saving features in the home so that you can make the best decision for your house and your utilities budget

What Are Thermal Windows?

Simply put, thermal windows are windows that have energy-efficient properties. These windows are often made of multiple panes versus a single pane, or they are manufactured with specialty glass designed to offer more insulating features than standard window glass.

Double-glazed and triple-glazed windows are made with two or three panes of glass, attached with a layer of argon gas between them. Argon gas offers excellent insulating properties, keeping heat or cold out of the home while not allowing your own heating and cooling to escape from inside the home
Low-E glass is covered with a thin coating that transmits light but blocks heat. Low-E glass is an excellent option for homes in tropical environments as it allows lots of light into a home but not uncomfortable heat.
Energy-efficient windows often have frames made with dense and durable materials that donrsquo;t conduct heat or cold, also improving their overall insulating materials. Vinyl and PVC are popular choices for frames, adding to the energy efficiency of those windows.

How Much Do Energy Efficiency Windows Save?

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that most homeowners save an average of 126 to 465 per year by choosing thermal or energy savings windows. While this may not seem like much savings, note that upgraded windows also help to create a more comfortable interior environment. When windows are old and outdated and allow drafts into the home, or donrsquo;t block outside heat and humidity, your homersquo;s interior might always feel chilly or hot and stuffy no matter how often you cycle on the furnace or air conditioner.

New windows also improve a homersquo;s overall curb appeal, potentially even increasing your property values. Scratched, nicked, chipped, or otherwise damaged windows often look yellowed and streaky. Upgraded windows look clean and streak-free from both inside and outside the home

Choosing new windows also allows you to opt for an updated window >

Why Do Older Windows Get Drafty?

In addition to considering the benefits of upgraded, thermal residential windows, itrsquo;s also good to note the disadvantages of keeping old windows in your home First note that window glass tends to become thin and brittle over time. This thin glass does a poor job of keeping heat and cold outside the home

A house will also shift and settle on its foundation so that its framework is no longer perfectly level and even. In turn, window frames pull away from the structure itself, leading to cracks and leaks that allow in cold drafts in wintertime and overly hot, humid air in summertime

New double-glazed or triple-glazed windows are without outside nicks, scratches, and other damage, and are strong and thick against exterior temperatures. New thermal windows also typically install with their own frames, closing up those leaks and cutting off resultant, bothersome drafts.

5 Tips for Keeping Your Home Energy-Efficient

Selecting new thermal windows for a home is an excellent means of adding to your overall comfort inside your home and for lowering your utility bills. However, new windows are not your only option for increasing energy efficiency in your home and saving money on your heating and cooling costs. Note five tips for creating a more energy-efficient home environment:

bull; Add window attachments designed for energy efficiency in particular. For example, solar shades are thin enough to allow sunlight into the home while still blocking uncomfortable outside heat. The thermal window experts at EnerPro Window Replacement of Denver note that these window attachments even reduce glare on computer and television screens while blocking unwanted heat
bull; Poorly-fitting doors allow drafts into the home while also letting out your heating and air conditioning. A carpenter can note if your homersquo;s entryway doors are uneven with gaps around its frame and can usually tighten or otherwise rehang the doors to seal up those gaps. Draft guards at the bottom of entryway doors also block lots of outside heat and cold.
bull; Weatherstripping is an easy and affordable means of blocking drafts around movable parts in the home, including doors and windows. A line of weatherstripping over a window sash and around a doorframe will close up gaps and reduce drafts and the loss of heating and cooling in the home.
bull; Water heaters cycle on when the water in the tank reaches a certain temperature. If your homersquo;s water heater is in the basement or a chilly utility room, consider installing an insulating blanket around the tank. This will keep the water warmer and reduce the number of times the heater cycles on.
bull; Ensure that your homersquo;s attic or crawlspace is properly insulated and the roof vents are in good condition and never obstructed. As heat rises in summertime, it tends to get caught in homes with poor insulation and low-quality vents, creating a hot and stuffy home interior. High-quality insulation in the attic or crawlspace also keeps out wintertime cold, especially vital in snowy areas when a homersquo;s roof is often covered with cold snow and ice

Consider all these tips when yoursquo;re in the market for energy-efficient windows. By adding weatherstripping and checking your homersquo;s insulation, along with choosing upgraded windows, yoursquo;re sure to see a reduction in your utility costs and enjoy a more comfortable home environment as well

nbsp;


nbsp;Luis Rios is the owner of EnerPro Window Replacements of Denver and his company as been installing energy efficient windows and doors for over a decade. For new home owners, energy efficient windows and doors are a huge selling point, especially in colder climates and giving his customer the best energy efficient products has saved his customers money on their electricity bills while increasing their home values.


Full Story >


Why Is Everyone Moving to Austin?

Migration to Austin has skyrocketed over the last decade; according to MagnifyMoney, ldquo;60 of the cityrsquo;s current residents moved here since 2010.rdquo; That increase in population has put pressure on housing, resulting in diminishing inventory and skyrocketing home prices. Yet, still they come. At a rate of nearly 150 people per day

So what makes Austin so ideal? Wersquo;re breaking it down.

The jobs

Austin has the fastest job growth in the nation 40 since 2006,rdquo; according to MagnifyMoney, along with ldquo;>

The city has been called ldquo;the next Silicon Valleyrdquo; and is even referred to as ldquo;Silicon Hillsrdquo; thanks to the many tech and tech->

bull; Facebook
bull; Apple
bull; Google
bull; eBay
bull; Hewlett-Packard
bull; Dell
bull; IBM
bull; Cisco Systems
bull; 3M
bull; Intel
bull; Samsung

Itrsquo;s weird

The cityrsquo;s motto, ldquo;Keep Austin weird,rdquo; originated as a promotion for the Austin Independent Business Alliancersquo;s small local businesses in the city, and stuck. Today, itrsquo;s representative of a culture that remains a little hippy, a little creative, a little more evolved, and decidedly more liberal than much of the rest of the state of Texas.

Itrsquo;s welcoming

ldquo;The creative, collaborative hub still feels like a small town,rdquo; said Culture Trip. ldquo;Street art, local fashion and jewelry designers, art galleries, and studio walks ndash; Austin is a community that values art and working together. In fact, Austin was ranked the number one place in the U.S. to start a business by CNBC in 2016. Though nearly every chain imaginable is available, Austin runs on small businesses, meaning itrsquo;s possible to eat, shop, and explore for months before stopping by a chain store or restaurant. Food, fitness, and clothing brands join forces most weekends with ample flea markets, farmerrsquo;s markets, and pop-ups to attend.rdquo;

An abundance of events and activities

There is always something to do here, from hanging out in Zilker Park to checking out the live music scene. Events like SXSW in March, the Austin Food amp; Wine Festival in late April, and Austin City Limits in October draw more attentionmdash;and more visitors who then become residentsmdash;to the city.

Great restaurants

ldquo;This ever-expanding city is the epicenter of oak-smoked barbecue and the greasy foothold of Tex-Mex fare,rdquo; said Eater. ldquo;While longtime restaurants keep a close eye on the surprisingly abundant bounty the hot climate provides, new restaurants just keep coming due to Austins >

Plenty of housing

ldquo;There are two things that drive population growthmdash;jobs and affordable housing,rdquo; said Medium. ldquo;Austin has bothhellip;and although housing prices and property values in the city proper continue to rise, cheap land and little regulations in surrounding areas make it easy for developers to build large scale projects quickly. For the past few years, Austinrsquo;s home sales hit a record high according to the Austin Board of Realtors, with little signs of stopping.rdquo;

Home values

Despite the aggressive rise in home prices over the last decade-plusmdash;up 54 since 2006mdash;homebuyers still enjoy appreciation in their homes thanks to the popularity of the city. According to Zillow, Austinrsquo;s current median home value is 365,600. ldquo;Values have gone up 7.6 over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 3.6 within the next year.rdquo;


Full Story >


Market Conditions Video

    • Combines market statistics with animated charts to deliver exclusive market insights
    • Localized to your market by MLS area, zip code, city, county, and more
    • Automatically updates each month with new metrics

nbsp;

See Premium Features
Try it for 2 weeks no credit card required

Full Story >


5 Things That Can Do Double Duty When Cleaning Your House

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers

Dirty baseboards. Scuff marks on sneakers. Crayon or pen on painted walls. Shower scum. What do they all have in common? They can be cleaned with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Theyrsquo;re good in a pinch and also as a regular addition to your cleaning regime, so do like we do and buy them in bulk

Dryer Sheets

The sheet that keeps static cling away from your clothes while theyrsquo;re drying can also be useful in a few other areas of your home. Have company coming over and just realized yoursquo;re out of Swiffer Dusters? Run that Bounce over your surfaces, instead. The bonus: If you have scented dryer sheets, theyrsquo;ll leave a fresh smell behind. You can also use them to wipe window casings, baseboards, and doors that tend to collect dust and dirt in the grooves.

Sponges and Dishwashing Gloves

Forget those pots and pans. Sponges and dishwashing gloves can also help clean dog hair off of upholstered surfaces. This tip could come in very handy for a last-minute cleanup when you donrsquo;t have time to vacuum. For regular cleaning of dog hair on a stubborn surface like a low-pile rug, try a dog brush. The short, stuff bristles make it easy to gather the hair.

White Vinegar

Itrsquo;s not just for salad dressing Vinegar is a multi-purpose cleaning agent, and one you can feel good about if yoursquo;re looking to stay away from harsh chemicals and commercial cleaners.

ldquo;If you could invent a green-cleaning lsquo;wonderrsquo; product, it would probably end up being a lot like white vinegar,rdquo; said The Spruce. ldquo;Safe, readily available, and really cheap, there are perhaps hundreds of uses for vinegar. There are at least two great uses for vinegar in your automatic dishwasher. First, it can be used as a cheap, effective rinsing agent to get your glasses, plates, and other dishes sparkling clean. Second, it can help to clean the dishwasher itself: Once a year or so more if you have hard water, pour a cup of white vinegar into an empty dishwasher, then run it for a short cycle to get rid of the lime and soap build-up that can prevent your dishwasher from working at peak efficiency.rdquo;

White vinegar is also great for cleaning tile and caulk, ldquo;windows, hardwood floors, carpet stains, fireplace bricks and irons, CDs and DVDs, shower curtains, upholstery, mattresses, wood furniture when combined with olive oil, and glassware. If its in your house, you can probably clean it with vinegar.rdquo;

Lemon

Pick up a few extra lemons at the market because yoursquo;ll get more use out of them than just as a squeeze in your water. ldquo;High in citric acid, lemon juice is one of the best natural cleaners due to its low pH and antibacterial properties,rdquo; said Networx.

These are just a few of the ways you can use lemon to clean your place:

bull; Spray on chrome faucets
bull; Rub on cutting boards
bull; Squeeze on an old toothbrush to scrub grout
bull; Add two tablespoons to a bowl of water to steam clean your microwave
bull; Place half lemon on a saucer to make your refrigerator smell fresh
bull; Spray a mixture of lemon juice and water onto windows to get them streak-free and clean
bull; Use half a cut lemon to remove hard water stains from glass shower doors

Lemon can also breathe new life into tarnished brass. ldquo;Its no secret we think this citrus fruit is one of the hardest-working cleaners when it comes to stains and smells, but it can also banish tarnish on brass,rdquo; said Good Housekeeping. ldquo;Sprinkle problem spots with salt, then run a lemon juice-soaked sponge on top, and rinse it off with water.rdquo;


Full Story >


Dealing with Bully Offers in a Hot Market

Canadian real estate markets have generally cooled down during the last year, but there are always popular neighborhoods where bidding wars between buyers end up frustrating potential homeowners.

Recently the Ontario Real Estate Association OREA called on the provincial government to outlaw the practice of ldquo;bully offersrdquo;, also known as ldquo;pre-emptive offersrdquo; on real estate listings. In a hot market itrsquo;s common for sellers to delay all offer presentations to a specific time and date, as a way to increase interest in the property, create multiple offers and push up the price of the home.

A bully offer is when someone makes an offer ahead of the predetermined presentation date. Generally, the offer is for a limited time only so the seller does not get to compare it to whatever offers may come in on the set date.

get themselves into trouble if they donrsquo;t handle them correctly.

Last year, the Real Estate Council of Ontario RECO, which regulates salespeople in the province, fined an agent 10,000 in a bully offer case. The agent listed a property with a note stating that there would be a delayed offer presentation, and that all offers had to be registered with the agent by Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. The note said the seller reserved the right to consider pre-emptive offers.

On Feb. 19, a buyerrsquo;s representative contacted the listing salesperson to book a viewing appointment. Later the representative left a voicemail with the listing salesperson for more information about the property but did not get a return phone call.

The listing salesperson showed the property to another of his clients and prepared a bully offer. The offer was accepted and the other sales reps who had booked appointments were informed that the property had been sold and all viewings were cancelled.

RECO fined the agent for violating the industryrsquo;s Code of Ethics by failing to notify all the buyers who had expressed an interest in the property that an offer had come in, and that the offer was from his own client. He was also fined for not returning the voicemail message within a reasonable amount of time and for failing to tell the buyerrsquo;s representative that a written offer had been received for the property when they made the appointment to view the property.

There was nothing illegal about this transaction but it was bound to leave a bad taste in the mouths of all the would-be buyers.

ldquo;If a home listing includes an offer date, thatrsquo;s the date on which all offers should be considered; an offer made before that dateOuml; should not be allowed,rdquo; says OREA president Karen Cox. ldquo;This will ensure that all interested buyers of a particular home get a fair shot at making an offer. For sellers, it means they will have a chance to work with their Realtors to carefully and thoughtfully consider all offers without feeling like they are in a pressure cooker.rdquo;

OREA is also urging the elimination of escalation clauses, which can be used to top any better offer with a previously stipulated amount.

ldquo;A clause that allows a buyer to automatically bump all other offers out of the running in a multiple offer situation makes for a very uneven playing field,rdquo; says Cox. ldquo;Further, for an escalation clause to kick in, a Realtor must reveal private financial information, such as the highest offer on a home, to the buyer using the clause, which violates the Realtor Code of Ethics. Eliminating contradictory rules like this will strengthen consumer confidence in the provincersquo;s real estate market.rdquo;

So why would a buyer make a bully offer, and why would a seller accept one?

ldquo;Buyers sometimes do not want to get into the hassle of bidding and out-bidding other potential buyers during the sale of a property,rdquo; writes salesperson Hani Faraj of Re/Max Little Oak Realty in Vancouver on his blog. ldquo;Sometimes, once theyrsquo;ve settled on the decision to buy a house, they want to close the deal without any fight. A bully offer assures a clean slate from any competition or fight.rdquo;

In a 2013 blog, Toronto broker David Fleming of Bosley Real Estate says, ldquo;I have submitted several bully offers in the past few years that have been accepted, and all of them were at prices lower than what we would have offered on offer night. Thatrsquo;s the whole point, in my opinion. You get to test the waters, see what the sellerrsquo;s expectations are, and maybe yoursquo;ll get lucky.rdquo;

But Fleming says in his experience, less than 10 per cent of bully offers are successful.

ldquo;Irsquo;ve also been on the receiving end of several bully offers, as a listing agent, and I have never encouraged my sellers to accept them. Each and every time Irsquo;ve received a bully offer, Irsquo;ve always sold the house at a higher price on offer night. And more often than not, the agent who submitted the bully offer has come back with something higher on offer night.rdquo;

Faraj says bully offers sometimes seem attractive because they generally offer a good price and no conditions. An anxious seller may believe the price offered is the best they will get. He says sellers should consult with their Realtors and make sure they understand the valuation of the property.

ldquo;If the idea of receiving and dealing with bully offers gives you too much stress, inform your Realtor that you do not accept any such offers,rdquo; he says.


Full Story >


Ask the HOA Expert: Welcome to the HOA Board

What does it mean to be on the board? You have made a commitment that you will serve the HOArsquo;s interests to the best of your ability, be fair on matters that come before the board, will do your best to preserve and enhance the values of the common areas and that you will spend money in a prudent manner. Being a director also means that you have fiduciary duties which require making reasonable investigation into matters dealt with and acting in a businesslike, prudent manner when making decisions.

Who is going to teach you? Hopefully, you have several veterans on the board who will help you. Ideally, you will have the property manager who works closely with the board and is willing to offer guidance. Continuity is one of a boardrsquo;s greatest challenges. Ask questions. How have issues been handled in the past?. Current boards should carefully consider plans laid by previous boards and not change them impulsively. Take time to become familiar with your association grounds and facilities. Review the HOArsquo;s governing documents, the rules and regulations, and any other board policies to develop a familiarity with them. Keep a set handy for when specific questions arise.
Make a commitment to attend all board meetings and prepare in advance by studying the agenda and >

Budget time offers an opportunity to help build a sound financial future for the community. The two basic parts of the budget are Operating deals with routine maintenance and day to day expenses and Reserves long range, major repairs and replacements. As a member of the board, you will be asked to predict future financial needs by using both past budget history and new information accumulated for future repairs.

How much does the job pay? While no money is paid, there are many personal rewards to be had for a job well done. Dealing with people requires patience and flexibility. Remember that while disagreement is not always avoidable, you were elected to make decisions. Consider carefully those decisions put before you and do your best. If you serve as a committed member, it will be one of the more rewarding experiences that you will have.

For more innovative homeowner association management strategies, subscribe to www.Regenesis.net.


Full Story >


What Exactly is a Manual Underwrite?

Today, loans are preapproved with an Automated Underwriting System, or AUS. When someone fills out an online application, the digital file is downloaded by the lender, reviewed and then entered into the AUS. This process is a rapid one, as the ldquo;findingsrdquo; of the submission are returned within a matter of moments. This speeds up the loan approval process tremendously. Prior to the advent of automated underwriting systems, the loan file was documented prior to submitting for an approval. With an automated system, the process is reversed. The loan is submitted for evaluation and documented afterward.

Note, the result of a submission isnrsquo;t a loan approval. Instead, itrsquo;s provides the lender with guidance on how to properly document the loan in order for the loan to be eligible for sale in the secondary market. Itrsquo;s the lender that approves the loan, not the AUS.

Most findings run down a basic checklist of items needed and theyrsquo;re fairly standard. Most recent pay check stubs covering 30 days, W2 forms from the last two years, tax returns and other pieces of documentation are listed.

The lender reviews the list, includes the items mentioned in the findings, and then sends the loan to the underwriter for a final review. This final review makes sure that whatever is asked for by the findings matches up with what is included in the file. Once that determination has been made, loan papers are prepared for delivery to the settlement agent.

But sometimes therersquo;s a hitch. Sometimes the findings come back with a term listed as ldquo;refer/eligible.rdquo; A submission returned with a response means the lender must make the determination without the benefit of an automated approval. A loan with a refer attached does not mean the loan has been turned down, but there is something that is holding up an automated approval. The lender can review and approve the loan internally and still be able to sell the loan in the secondary market. That is, as long as the items causing the loan to receive such a status have been resolved.

A common reason for a refer status is having a bankruptcy listed in the credit history. For example, there is an FHA loan submitted and a Chapter 13 discharge is showing up in the findings less than two years old. A refer/eligible will be the result because the discharge was less than two years old. Another reason is a thin credit file. A thin credit file is a credit report with very few, if any, open credit accounts.

When a lender receives a refer/eligible, the task is to find other positive aspects of the loan file that compensate for whatever is causing the application to be returned without a preapproval. An extended job history is a compensating factor. Having cash reserves left over after the loan closes is another. Maybe there is another source of regular income that doesnrsquo;t have a long enough history of being received.

Borrowers donrsquo;t have to figure out on their own how to correct a refer/eligible, the loan officer will be able to provide a list of what is needed. Once the items causing the refer/eligible are included in the file, the loan can then be returned to the underwriter for a final review and ultimate approval.


Full Story >


Great Exterior Tips for Selling Properties

Make Minor Repairs

One of the easiest and affordable things that you could do to improve the overall curb appeal of your home would be to make minor repairs to your property. If you have some past due maintenance needs or other repairs, making these repairs before you list your home for sale would be a great option. Any past due maintenance and repair needs will look like red flags to a potential buyer and making these repairs yourself could go a long way.

Clean Up Landscaping

When you are looking to improve the exterior of your home, one of the most important things that you need to do is clean up your landscaping. One of the biggest turnoffs that can occur when someone sees a new home is a landscaping plan that looks messy and disheveled. Not only will it look like a big project, but it would also hurt the overall curb appeal of the property. Because of this, you should spend cleaning up your landscaping all over the home before listing it for sale.

Pressure Wash

Nobody wants to move into a property that looks dirty and messy. Because of this, you should do everything you can to make the exterior of your home look as clean as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to use a pressure washer to clean all of your siding and walkways. This will help to make your entire home look fresh and clean and will give great curb appeal. When using a pressure washer, you need to make sure that you use the right setting for your type of exterior walls.

Pool Installation

Depending on where you live, one of the best things that you could do to your home would be to install a pool. A new pool will not only help to improve your outdoor living space, but it will give a great place to entertain. If you have a pool already, you may want to have it repaired and give it a face-lift. Both of these options will help to improve the overall appearance. When hiring swimming pool contractors, residents will be able to receive some additional ideas that could be used to make the pool look more attractive.

Structural Repairs

If you are selling your home, all of the potential buyers will likely want to have a home inspection completed. Because of this, you should look out for things inside and outside of your own could be alarming to buyers. For the exterior of the home, one of the biggest things that you should look for are structural concerns. If there are any structural issues that you see, you should hire a professional to examine them. This could help to prevent your home sale from falling apart during the inspection process.

Lighting

If you have lighting on the exterior of your property, you should make sure that it is functional and turned on. This will help to ensure that your lighting system is working right. If you have a visitor at night, it will also give a great curb appeal improvement to any buyer.

When you are looking to improve the landscaping and overall exterior of your home, you should consider the individual needs of your property. A local real estate professional should be able to provide you with a fair assessment of your property to get you a better sense of what needs to be done.


Full Story >


Preparing to Buy Your New Home 5 Things You Must Know

Location Location Location

Be sure to look into the local school district. If you have children, it goes without saying that the quality of the school is key to your childs educational experience. The school evaluation, however, also includes the quality of the grounds and facilities. This is a major structure in the neighborhood and its condition can affect the surrounding property values. For childless homeowners, the school districts are still a factor. Because the school quality influences home buying decisions, it has a direct effect on resale and property value.

nbsp;Proximity is not just about schools. Consider how close you need to be from modern conveniences like the grocery store, freeway entrance, the mall or a local watering hole. For prospective homeowners that prefer a rural life>

Financial Commitment

Purchasing a home is one of the largest decisions that most people make. It was once expected that nearly every individual buy a home, but today, that isnt necessarily financially feasible. Real estate is a long-term investment and your timeline must be considered. If you are moving within a few years, you might want to rent. Although real estate is a great investment, it is not a short-term investment. Having your money tied to property might affect your liquidity when you need to move.

If you are moving into an unfamiliar area, you might not want to buy immediately. Taking the time to look round, gives you the opportunity to learn about neighborhoods and community points of interest that will drive your property decisions.

Running the Well Dry

Most spend every penny to get into a new house, especially first-time buyers, but this is not the best practice. Be sure to have a contingency fund for all of the unexpected costs. Although the home warranty covers most of the house, most operate on a pre-payment reimbursement plan. But warranty aside, other costs will arise. For example, most power companies require a deposit. If you have money set aside in your home fund right from the beginning, you can add to it as you go for post-warranty work.

Loving Your Space

Your new home is more than indoor living. Your surrounding outdoor space will provide hours of entertainment for your friends and family. Landscaping the front yard for curb appeal is important. If you are not the hands-on type, you might want to consider a home with a functional landscape. Regardless, the front yard adds aesthetic value to the homes appeal.

But lets be real, the backyard is where the entertaining happens. If the home you are considering needs more zip, consider installing a pool or hot tub to guarantee hours of family fun. Try looking upnbsp;some great pool ideas that will fit your backyard. Also, having a barbeque area with dedicated conversation space, a kid play area, or a fun space for the dogs are all things to consider when looking at the perimeter areas of a home.

Untapped Potential

Visualizing beyond today is also key. If the area has undeveloped or underdeveloped land in the surrounding areas, research the community master plan or land ownership. It would be unfortunate to buy a beautiful home and have an industrial area built too close. This also goes the other way. Taking a risk on an older property with older buildings that are ripe for repurposing might be a smart investment too.

Whatever you decide when looking for your new home, be sure to think about what works for you. This is your investment. Are you ready to invest in your future?


Full Story >




Copyright©2019 Realty Times®.All Rights Reserved
Search in English Search in Spanish Search in French Search in German Search in Italian Search in Portuguese Search in Russian
Fort Lauderdale Real Estate Listings, Real Estate Newsletter Fort Lauderdale Properties, My Saved Properties Gayle Borden Group Awards, Gayle Borden Group Honors About Coldwell Banker, Coldwell Banker Real Estate Gayle Borden Client Testimonials, Gayle Borden Reviews Mortgage Tools, Mortgage Calculator Fort Lauderdale Directory, Fort Lauderdale Resources, Local Numbers Interesting Links Fort Lauderdale Home Sales, Gayle Borden Sales
Facebook Twitter Linkedin instagram
Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Whats New in Residential Roofi...
Knowing your options for residential roofing materials before repairs are needed also allows...

New Program Allows Short-Term ...
The new program, from Quicken Loans, uses ldquo;rental income earned through VRBO to be used...

Copyright ©2019 - Realty Times®
All Rights Reserved.

U.S. Home Prices Jump as Supply Pinch Plays Out
Wall Street Journal: Sign the housing market has momentum heading into the spring selling...

Have you seen these street markings in Fort Lauderdale?
The City of Fort Lauderdale has recently begun using distinct green street markings in select...