housing market http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10613/all en-US 7 Famous Houses From Film and TV You Can Buy http://www.wisebread.com/7-famous-houses-from-film-and-tv-you-can-buy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-famous-houses-from-film-and-tv-you-can-buy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home_for_sale_502211716.jpg" alt="Finding famous houses you can buy" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It could be the ultimate in fandom: You've seen the movie, you've had the poster autographed by the star &mdash; now move into the set.</p> <p>When a real home is used for a film or television show, chances are that it will eventually go up for sale. That's when you, the fan, gets the chance to pore over photos in the real estate listing, tour the place, or even purchase it.</p> <p>Hope you've been saving up: With only one exception, the famous houses I found on the market are all asking over a million bucks. On the upside for shoppers, being a movie or TV star doesn't seem to confer a premium to these homes. Some have been on the market a long time and seem reasonably priced for their neighborhoods and features.</p> <h2>1. Twilight</h2> <p>Featured as the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.virani.ca/vlist/property_detail?t=q&amp;code=&amp;vlist=1010000654" target="_blank">Cullen family house</a> in the movie <em>Twilight: New Moon</em>, this 5,000-square-foot contemporary mansion is located in West Vancouver. As of 2010, the asking price was $2.7 million, and it sat on the market for years. Perhaps home shoppers feel a little unease at sleeping in bedrooms once occupied by fictional vampires?</p> <h2>2. Sixteen Candles</h2> <p>Who could forget Molly Ringwald pouting on the staircase while her family ignored her 16th birthday? Those John Hughes movie families always had some nice homes in the northern Chicago suburbs, and the one in which that scene played out is no exception: six bedrooms, five bathrooms, gorgeous (not 1980s original, thank goodness) kitchen. With an <a href="http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/3022-Payne-St-Evanston-IL-60201/3516226_zpid/" target="_blank">asking price of $1.4 million</a>, it likely stands out in its Evanston neighborhood, where the average property value is under $400,000.</p> <h2>3. Boy Meets World</h2> <p>Located not in Philadelphia, where this teen comedy show was set, but in Studio City, California. This 2,500-square-foot Cape Cod is <a href="http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/4196-Colfax-Ave-Studio-City-CA-91604/20027179_zpid/" target="_blank">on the block for $1.5 million</a> &mdash; after a $100,000 price cut.</p> <h2>4. Miracle on 34th Street</h2> <p>Another Hughes mansion, the yellow house featured in the remake of <em>Miracle on 34th Street</em> has been <a href="http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/771-Washington-Rd-Lake-Forest-IL-60045/4857301_zpid/" target="_blank">on and off the market</a> for more than a year. Its most recent asking price was $2.8 million, and Zillow says it's worth $500,000 more. Located in the Chicago suburb of Lake Forest, the five-bedroom, 6,000-square-foot palace has <em>seven and a half bathrooms</em>. If you buy this one, better ask about a full-time cleaning crew.</p> <h2>5. The Bodyguard and City of Angels</h2> <p>Lake Tahoe is known more as a getaway for San Francisco techies than a movie filming location, but this <a href="http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1131-Fallen-Leaf-Rd-South-Lake-Tahoe-CA-96150/18570499_zpid/" target="_blank">$6 million, five-bedroom &quot;cabin&quot;</a> has starred in two. Even some of the <a href="http://hookedonhouses.net/2016/08/09/cabin-bodyguard-city-of-angels-for-sale/" target="_blank">furniture seen in both movies</a> appears in the listing photos.</p> <h2>6. In the Heat of the Night</h2> <p>If you are old enough to remember Carroll O'Connor playing a police chief on this drama series, you might recognize this <a href="http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2130-Monticello-St-SW-Covington-GA-30014/69875079_zpid/" target="_blank">1886 five-bedroom home</a>, which O'Connor's character purchased and lived in during the course of the show. Because of its location in a small Georgia town, the seller is asking only $437,000, a price reduction of more than $60,000.</p> <h2>7. The Godfather</h2> <p>Don Corleone thought this mansion was a good enough location for his daughter's wedding, so this <a href="https://www.6sqft.com/don-corleones-godfather-house-lists-for-3m-in-staten-islands-todt-hill/" target="_blank">Staten Island &quot;mini-mansion&quot;</a> should be good enough for you to lounge in its &quot;man cave&quot; or alongside the backyard pool. The five-bedroom, 6,000-square-foot home has gone through multiple price reductions and was last listed at $2.3 million before being <a href="http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/110-Longfellow-Ave-Staten-Island-NY-10301/32293579_zpid/" target="_blank">taken off the market</a>. Since no sale has been recorded, it's safe to assume the house could still be purchased if you make the right offer.<em> I think you know the kind of offer I'm talking about.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-famous-houses-from-film-and-tv-you-can-buy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dramatic-vacation-spots-for-tv-and-film-fanatics">5 Dramatic Vacation Spots for TV and Film Fanatics</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-for-a-better-netflix-experience">6 Tricks for a Better Netflix Experience</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-beloved-books-of-successful-millionaires">10 Beloved Books of Successful Millionaires</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-subscription-services-every-traveler-needs">3 Subscription Services Every Traveler Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-pay-for-a-redbox-dvd-rental-again">Never Pay for a RedBox DVD Rental Again</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Real Estate and Housing boy meets world celebrities famous houses housing market mansions movies sixteen candles the godfather TV shows twilight Fri, 30 Dec 2016 11:00:11 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1864427 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Most Expensive Zip Codes in the Country http://www.wisebread.com/10-most-expensive-zip-codes-in-the-country <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-most-expensive-zip-codes-in-the-country" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_96061159_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="Beverly Hills is one of the most expensive zip codes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The biggest expense any of us face is housing. Our mortgage payment eats up a sizeable chunk of the monthly paycheck. But of course, it's not just the size of your home, but the location that can make the difference between something affordable, and something only the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-unbelievable-real-estate-tax-shelters-of-the-rich">richest of the rich</a> can afford. Here are the <a href="http://www.propertyshark.com/Real-Estate-Reports/2016/03/09/top-most-expensive-zip-codes-in-the-us/">10 hot spots in the U.S.</a> right now, and no surprise here, they're all in either New York or California.</p> <h2>1. Palo Alto, California 94301</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/stanford_university.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Derived from the Spanish for &quot;tall tree,&quot; Palo Alto was named after a 1,000-year-old redwood tree. Just 35 miles south of San Francisco, and 14 miles north of San Jose, it's in a beautiful location. And the 67,000 residents who live there clearly agree. At over 100 years old, it was the place where early Spanish explorers settled, but is now considered the birthplace of Silicon Valley. It's an exciting mix of tradition and tech. Sounds great, right? Well, it better be, with a median house price of $3.15 million. The average <a href="https://www.incomebyzipcode.com/california/94301">household income in Palo Alto is $185,033</a>.</p> <h2>2. Atherton, California 94027</h2> <p>Another idyllic setting south of San Francisco, Atherton was originally known as Fair Oaks when it was founded in 1866. A quick tour of the area will soon reveal why, with a vast array of native live oaks and white oaks, bays, redwoods, cedars, and pines. It has a population of just under 7,000, and contains 2,500 households. But with a median home price of $5.9 million, it's still well out of the range of all but the 1%. However, <a href="https://www.incomebyzipcode.com/california/94027">average household income in this zip is $425,775.</a></p> <h2>3. Beverly Hills, California 90210</h2> <p>Anyone who remembers the TV series of the same name knows that this is a place of wealth, fashion, and unrealistic standards of beauty. It's also been featured in countless movies, and the renowned Rodeo Drive is right there &mdash; where you can spend a fortune on brands like Cartier, Fendi, Jimmy Choo, Prada, and Rolex. If you want to live close to that kind of luxury retail, you'll have to fork over some serious cash. The median house price for the area is $3.5 million. Average <a href="https://www.incomebyzipcode.com/california/90210">household income for this zip code is $191,087.</a></p> <h2>4. New York City, New York 10013</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/new_york_city.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>New York City is a big place, so let's break this down. The 10013 zip is around the Lower Manhattan and Tribeca area, and includes Columbus Park, the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, and SoHo. It's filled with incredible places to eat and drink, plus art galleries, museums, and some very chic little boutique shops. If you plan on moving there, you'll need plenty of money to make it work. The median house price in this zip code is $3.4 million. Staggeringly, average household <a href="https://www.incomebyzipcode.com/newyork/10013">income here is $220,757.</a></p> <h2>5. Sagaponak, New York 11962</h2> <p>With a population of just 321 people, Sagaponak is not exactly a hotbed of activity. This village, in the town of Southampton in Suffolk, New York, is at the East End of Long Island. If the name sounds new to you, you probably know it better as The Hamptons (which includes this and several other communities). It's picturesque, full of beautiful green grass, lush trees, and it's right there on the coast. But if you want to live there, get ready to shell out a fortune. The median sales price for a home in the 11962 zip code is a staggering $8.5 million. Celebrities including Jimmy Fallon and Billy Joel live there, although surprisingly, the <a href="https://www.incomebyzipcode.com/newyork/11962">average income for the area is $273,472.</a></p> <h2>6. Santa Monica, California 90402</h2> <p>The oceanfront city of Santa Monica includes innumerable attractions, including the Playland Arcade, the Santa Monica Pier, and a whole host of bars, galleries, restaurants and attractions. With its all-year-round perfect climate, it is a magnet for tourists and a welcome place to live. Want to move in? Well, start saving. The median home price here is a cool $3 million, but the <a href="https://www.incomebyzipcode.com/california/90402">average household income is $111,973.</a></p> <h2>7. Bridgehampton, New York 11932</h2> <p>With less than 2,000 residents, the hamlet of Bridgehampton is in the town of Southampton, on Long Island. Another community in The Hamptons, it's just what you'd expect. Spectacular views of the coastline, incredible greenery, and a plethora of activities for those with very deep pockets. If you own a yacht, you'd love it here. But of course, you'd also need to stump up the median house price of $2.96 million. The <a href="https://www.incomebyzipcode.com/newyork/11932">average household income here is $134,393</a>.</p> <h2>8. Newport Beach, California 92662</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/newport_beach.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>&quot;You're on the beach&quot; is a perfect way to describe this beautiful part of California. And, it definitely pushes that angle in all of the promotional materials. You can indulge in sunset cruises, surfing lessons, fishing, swimming, scuba diving, and wine-tasting events on the oceanfront. But all that will cost you. The median home price here is $2.88 million, with the <a href="https://www.incomebyzipcode.com/california/92662">average household income in 92662 being $173,072</a>.</p> <h2>9. New York City, New York 10007</h2> <p>We're back in New York City again &mdash; this time just below the area closer to the top of this list. In this part of the city, you'll see the Woolworth Building, St. Paul's Chapel, and the new One World Trade Center. With endless coffee shops, theatres, restaurants, and art galleries, it's got many of the amenities of the more expensive 10013 zip code, but at an average house price of $2.8 million, it's over half a million dollars more affordable! The average <a href="https://www.incomebyzipcode.com/newyork/10007">household income in this part of New York is $430,777</a></p> <h2>10. Shelter Island Heights, New York 11965</h2> <p>The last location on the list is another hamlet, although this time, it's not in The Hamptons. In fact, it's commonly referred to as &quot;The Un-Hamptons.&quot; There are less than 1,000 people living here, and under 500 households. It's not exactly a hotspot of frenzied activity though, with hiking, kayaking, and cycling being the most common activities for the locals. A home in Shelter Island Heights will set you back $2.97 million, and the average <a href="https://www.incomebyzipcode.com/newyork/11965">household income here is $140,380</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-most-expensive-zip-codes-in-the-country">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-most-overpriced-us-housing-markets">The 4 Most Overpriced U.S. Housing Markets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-your-dream-home-with-the-perfect-offer-letter">Score Your Dream Home With the Perfect Offer Letter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most">These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/growin-home-how-much-house-do-you-really-need">Growin&#039; Home: How Much House Do You Really Need?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-buying-a-foreclosed-home-ever-a-good-idea">Is Buying a Foreclosed Home Ever a Good Idea?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing expensive zip codes home buying house hunt housing market zip codes Mon, 17 Oct 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 1813140 at http://www.wisebread.com These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_new_house_62152676.jpg" alt="Couple learning features homebuyers want most" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Interested in buying a new home? It's a good idea to be aware of what new homebuyers are looking for. I interviewed Markus Brown, a Realtor in Orange County, California, about what he sees buyers looking for in potential new homes. The following features are currently generating a lot of demand, which may potentially translate to higher home values.</p> <h2>1. An Open Floor Plan</h2> <p>The days of compartmentalized rooms all separated by walls and doors are gone, and the era of <a href="https://www.newhomesource.com/resourcecenter/articles/top-10-features-home-buyers-want">connected living</a> continues to be one of top new home trends. Specifically, buyers &quot;want the kitchen to be open to the family room, which creates the &quot;great room&quot; as it's most typically defined,&quot; says Brown. Homebuyers are also looking for an open floor plan kitchen, as it allows people to flow to and from the heart of the home during gatherings.</p> <h2>2. Hardwood Floors</h2> <p>Forget the wall-to-wall carpet, today's homebuyers are looking for <a href="http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/03/housing-preferences-across-generations-part-i/">hardwood floors</a> on the main floor of the home, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Hardwood flooring looks especially beautiful when flowing throughout an open floor plan.</p> <h2>3. A Modern Kitchen</h2> <p>New homebuyers are looking not just for an updated kitchen, but a <a href="http://www.inman.com/2016/02/16/10-key-design-trends-buyers-want-sellers-need-2016/">modern kitchen design</a> that hits the latest trends. Granite continues to trend, but the pattern in the granite tends to be characterized by more &quot;movement and flow,&quot; according to Brown, as opposed to a busy, speckled look. Quartz aggregates are a popular alternative for countertops. Floor tile has been growing in size, with large rectangular tiles (and fewer grout lines) leading the trends. Keeping hardwood flooring flowing throughout the kitchen and living spaces is also very popular.</p> <p>The trendiest kitchens have a large island that doubles as an eating space, combining cooking and eating/entertaining in one feature. Open shelving has seen a resurgence in interest, but it can be a polarizing feature that some love and some don't.</p> <p>Brown points out that modern backsplash finishes are important, and he has seen a trend toward the &quot;subway tile patterns that were popular in the 20s and 30s.&quot;&nbsp;Pullout shelves and self-closing doors in the kitchen are also a plus.</p> <h2>4. Plenty of Storage</h2> <p>Along with an open floor plan comes a need for ample storage to keep those open spaces clutter free. New homebuyers are looking for pantries, linen closets, and storage areas such as a separate laundry room, mudroom, and cabinetry in the garage to help them stay organized and to keep the clutter out of sight. In fact, the most recent survey by the <a href="http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/03/housing-preferences-across-generations-part-i/">National Association of Home Builders</a> (NAHB) reports that 92% of buyers want a laundry room, making it the most desired feature of a new home.</p> <h2>5. Multi-Generational Living</h2> <p>Many new homebuyers appreciate the possibility to house an older parent or family member, if not full-time, at least part-time with comfortable guest quarters. A guest room on the ground floor with a full bathroom is one of the features that makes multigenerational living more comfortable for everyone.</p> <h2>6. Multi-Functional Space</h2> <p>Something many new homebuyers are looking for is a &quot;homework loft,&quot; &quot;gaming loft,&quot; or some kind of multifunctional space within the home. This could be a desk located on a second floor loft outside the bedrooms, or an area off the living room or kitchen which can be used for various needs. &quot;The loft and great room are mutually dependent in many ways,&quot; says Brown, because along with greater open space comes a need for a place for kids to hang out separately from adults.</p> <h2>7. Indoor-Outdoor Living</h2> <p>Today's homebuyers are looking for ways to incorporate the outdoors into their daily lives. Millennials and younger buyers, in particular, are <a href="http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/03/housing-preferences-across-generations-part-i/">increasingly demanding a patio</a> and multiple outdoor areas. Outdoor living space also increases the functional square footage of a home. Having an outdoor kitchen and entertaining space can be very attractive to new homebuyers. Sliding doors or French doors leading to a large patio that encourages flow between indoors and outdoors are often coveted features.</p> <p>The &quot;California room&quot; or &quot;outdoor living room&quot; is an increasingly popular concept, according to Brown. A California room is a space that seamlessly blends indoor and outdoor living, usually comprised of a covered patio or sunroom, comfortable furnishings, and easy access to both inside and outside.</p> <h2>8. Energy Efficiency and Eco-Conscious Living</h2> <p>Energy efficiency is a feature that is becoming increasingly important. Energy Star rated appliances, windows, and an Energy Star rated whole home were desired by <a href="http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/03/housing-preferences-across-generations-part-i/">over 80%</a> of new homebuyers. Features like a whole house fan, solar &quot;readiness&quot; (infrastructure in place for solar panels), solar water heater, heat pump heater/air conditioner, and &quot;smart&quot; thermostats can all appeal to the eco-conscious buyer. &quot;In certain areas of the country,&quot; notes Brown, &quot;drought-tolerant and low-maintenance landscaping are also important.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings">9 Sneaky Home Money Pits That Sap Your Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-your-dream-home-with-the-perfect-offer-letter">Score Your Dream Home With the Perfect Offer Letter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/34-smart-ways-to-cut-your-electric-bill">34 Smart Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-paying-cash-for-a-house">The Pros and Cons of Paying Cash for a House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing appliances features floor plans homebuyers homeowners housing market interior design modern new house Thu, 29 Sep 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1800745 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons Fall Is a Great Time to House Hunt http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-fall-is-a-great-time-to-house-hunt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-fall-is-a-great-time-to-house-hunt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/autumn_new_hampshire_23913489.jpg" alt="Learning reasons fall is a great time to house hunt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Spring and summer are prime seasons for buying and selling real estate. The weather is milder and more conducive for a move, and if you have kids, summer lets you settle into a new place before the little buggers head back to school. But while May to September are considered the best times of the year to buy a house, they aren't the only times. There's no need to stress or panic if you don't find what you're looking for before the end of summer, especially since fall is also a great time to house hunt. Here are five reasons why.</p> <h2>1. It's Easier to Negotiate With Sellers</h2> <p>Because spring and summer are the busiest seasons for real estate, some homes receive a ton of traffic, resulting in multiple offers from buyers. In some cases, multiple offers drive up the asking price of a property. This is good news for sellers, but not the best news for buyers looking to negotiate the price and get the best deal on a property.</p> <p>The market typically slows down toward the end of summer and beginning of fall. Since there aren't as many people searching for properties around this time, this an excellent time to negotiate the price. Sellers who were unable to sell during the peak season might be willing to accept a lower price, which means you can get more house for your money. And if the seller is really motivated, you might negotiate additional incentives, such as a seller credit at closing that can go toward replacing the carpet, or the seller can pay all or a percentage of your closing costs to reduce your out-of-pocket expense.</p> <h2>2. There's Less Competition</h2> <p>A smaller pool of buyers also means less competition, so you can take your time and look for a property that's right for you and your family. When several buyers compete for the same property, there's a greater chance of the seller accepting another buyer's offer, or you can find yourself caught in the middle of a bidding war. There's the risk of falling in love with a house, only to be disappointed when you discover there are several other (maybe better) offers on the table. And when there's a lot of competition, there's a tendency to rush the buying process; you could end up purchasing a home and experiencing buyer's remorse later on.</p> <h2>3. You'll Experience a Shorter Wait to Benefit From Tax Breaks</h2> <p>One benefit of buying a home is the opportunity to take advantage of tax breaks. Homeowners can write off mortgage interest, private mortgage insurance premiums, and real estate property taxes, plus certain costs associated with getting the mortgage, such as discount points paid to a lender and loan origination fees. Self-employed people also can write off the square footage of a dedicated home office, as well as a percentage of utilities. All these expenses are written off when you file your tax return. The good thing about buying a home in the fall is that you don't have to wait as long to take advantage of these tax savings, which can trigger a bigger refund or a smaller tax bill.</p> <h2>4. Builders May Offer Additional Incentives</h2> <p>If you're thinking about purchasing a new-construction home, fall is one of the best times to house hunt because builders also experience a reduction in new home sales after summer. To spark interest, some builders offer incentives, such as a discount off the base price of certain models, or the builder may offer to pay all of a buyer's closing costs.</p> <h2>5. You'll Get More Attention From Your Realtor</h2> <p>Since the number of people looking for homes decreases in the fall, you can use this situation to your advantage and get more quality time with your realtor. During the spring and summer, your agent might juggle several clients simultaneously. Even if your agent is professional and looking out for your best interest, she isn't a robot. She might be unable to respond to calls or emails as quickly as you would like, and it can be difficult to coordinate your schedules for showings.</p> <p>If you postpone house hunting until the fall, your real estate agent will likely have fewer clients. As a result, your agent can devote more time to your house hunting efforts. This includes searching and finding listings that are perfect for your family, coordinating showings, as well as answering your questions in a timely manner.</p> <p><em>Have you searched for a home in the fall? Did you find it easier than other times of the year? Tell me about your home-searching experience in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-fall-is-a-great-time-to-house-hunt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change">10 Money Moves to Make Before the Leaves Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-buy-a-house-without-a-mortgage">4 Ways to Buy a House Without a Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-buying-a-foreclosed-home-ever-a-good-idea">Is Buying a Foreclosed Home Ever a Good Idea?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most">These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-house-hunting-red-flags-you-cant-ignore">12 House-Hunting Red Flags You Can&#039;t Ignore</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing autumn competition fall house hunting house shopping housing market incentives realtors seasons tax breaks Mon, 12 Sep 2016 16:24:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1789670 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_pink_wallpaper_65405345.jpg" alt="Woman finding dumb ways to scare off homebuyers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When the time comes to put your home on the market, you will go from being a homeowner to a home seller. Make no mistake, the two are very different, and if you don't want to scare away the buyers, you will need to make a few sacrifices. However, if you avoid the following dumb mistakes, and keep your eyes on the prize, your home will be sold before long. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect" target="_blank">10 Hidden Housing Costs New Homeowners Don't Expect</a>)</p> <h2>1. Family Photos and Kids' Drawings Everywhere</h2> <p>It may seem odd to think this is a way to scare people off, but look at it this way: When anyone comes to look around the home you're selling, they are trying to picture themselves, and their family, living there. It's very difficult to do that when the home is clearly one that belongs to another family, with personal evidence of that in every room. If you have framed photos covering every wall, drawings over the fridge and up the staircase, and other shrines to your beloved family and friends, you need to take most of them down. Don't worry; it's not forever. In fact, if you do it, it will take you less time to sell your house, and put them up in your new home.</p> <h2>2. Unusual Smells and Stains</h2> <p>No home can stay new-looking forever. Homebuyers expect the house to be lived in, but what they don't want are odd smells and ugly stains. You may not notice them as you have lived with them for years, but you need to look at your home through fresh eyes. Do a walk-through, and examine every wall, ceiling, and floor in every room. Stains can easily be covered with paint, or shampooed out of carpets. If it's very stubborn, you may have to replace the carpet or rug. Smells, well, the cause needs to be tracked down. If it's mold in the corner of the basement, get it treated. If it's something rotten in the garage, dump it. Your home should look clean and smell fresh. Don't try and mask smells with air fresheners, as they will only make it worse (the sweet smell of vanilla and mold is not a nice combination).</p> <h2>3. Your House Is Stuck in the Past</h2> <p>It's one thing to keep your home in great condition. It's quite another to keep it in the exact same condition that it was in when you first acquired it. If you bought the home 20 years ago, it should not look that way, inside or out. Ideally, you will have performed upgrades over the years to modernize the look and feel of the place. New paint, new carpet or flooring, new appliances, updated cabinets, perhaps even a few additions or a finished basement, can all help with the appeal. Very few people want to move into a home that looks and feels dated. It is a sign that they will have a lot of work to do, and money to spend, to bring the home roaring into the present.</p> <h2>4. It's Dirty and Messy</h2> <p>One of the simplest ways to make a used car sell for more money is to detail it, inside and out. It can literally add thousands to the value. The same is true of your home. If the kitchen is dirty, and the sink is full of dishes, you are sending the wrong message. You are also putting a barrier in front of that potential buyer, and it's your job to remove them. You don't want them to have to imagine how it would look when it's clean and tidy. Show them. Every room should be clean, organized, and free of clutter.</p> <h2>5. You Have&hellip; Wallpaper!</h2> <p>What's wrong with wallpaper? Well, the chances are, it took you a long time to find the wallpaper you really liked. You scoured the pattern books, you mulled it over for days, and when you finally took the plunge, it was no easy task to put up. In fact, most people opt for a professional to do it. So, what are the odds that your perfect wallpaper is also the perfect match for someone who wants to buy your house? Exactly. When they see wallpaper, they see a chore. They see hours of steaming, scouring, scraping, and sweating. Removing wallpaper is about as pleasant as scrubbing the bathroom floor, only it takes 10 times as long. So, get rid of it. Scrape it off now, and put neutral paint in its place. It will vastly improve your chances of getting a buyer.</p> <h2>6. You Follow the Buyer Around</h2> <p>The easiest way to make the buyer feel really awkward, uncomfortable, and pressured, is to be the tour guide for your home. You know the feeling yourself, especially if you've tried to look at a car on the lot and the salesperson is breathing down your neck. This is a huge purchase, and buyers want time and space to look at everything without a chaperon. So, if you can, make sure you're not at home when the buyers come. If you have to be there, confine yourself to just one room, and leave that room when the buyers enter. Go out into the garden or yard, or even the garage.</p> <h2>7. Anything Broken</h2> <p>A door that won't close properly. An appliance that doesn't work well. A piece of tile that has come away from the wall. A cracked window. The list is endless, but whatever it is that's broken in your home, fix it before you put it on the market. Big things, like the roof or siding, that's a no-brainer. But it's the little things that you may have simply gotten used to that can be really off-putting to potential buyers. If they have to jiggle the handle in just the right way to get into the garage, that's not good. If they have to step over the broken piece of concrete in the backyard, they're going to remember that in a negative way. Do a thorough check of the home, and get everything fixed. You do not want to send a signal that you did not do a good job of maintaining your house.</p> <h2>8. Setting the Asking Price Way Too High</h2> <p>It may be a seller's market, but don't take that beyond the limits. If you start at the maximum price you could hope to get, you're excluding a vast number of buyers from ever taking a tour. They may have a maximum amount they want to spend, and your high starting price means they cannot afford to get into a bidding war. Remember, the Internet has given buyers a wealth of information about homes for sale, or recently sold, in your neighborhood. They can do their own comps, and quickly come to the conclusion that you are asking way too much. Now of course, you also don't want to ask too little for the home, because it's possible only one buyer will bite, and you may be stuck with that asking price. So do your homework. See what homes of the same size, age, and condition have sold for in your area, and price accordingly.</p> <h2>9. Poor Landscaping</h2> <p>There is something called curb appeal, and it's literally judging a book by its cover. Your home may be something out of <em>Architectural Digest</em> on the inside, but if it looks like the Addams Family did the yard work, you are not going to inspire people to come and look around. This is the first impression, and it has to count. This also applies to the backyard, too. If it's a bunch of weeds, rocks, rusted cars, and an eyesore called an &quot;above ground pool,&quot; you have your work cut out. People want to see a well loved landscape, front and back, that has green grass, healthy trees, flowering plants, and clean rocks. If it's anything less than that, you may never get the buyer through the front door.</p> <h2>10. Bizarre or Eccentric Features</h2> <p>You may have thought that decorating an entire wall of the den with hubcaps was cool, but potential homebuyers probably won't like it. Anything that is exclusive to the point of being weird or strange is not going to help you sell the home. Maybe the kids wanted a room that was like a forest, complete with lots of fake trees and a dark green carpet. Or perhaps the gray Batcave was something that you just had to have. All well and good when it's your own place, but you cannot expect buyers to share your passions. If you have something that is truly original, it may be time to take it out and go neutral. And in the case of this guy, who <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoInb9JGamA">built a roller coaster</a> through his house to try and sell it, well&hellip;that's not recommended!</p> <p><em>What's the scariest thing you've ever seen at an open house?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most">These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-lessons-from-the-tiny-house-movement">Big Lessons From the Tiny House Movement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in">6 &quot;Tourist Towns&quot; That Are Actually Great to Live In</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-sold-my-house-in-48-hours">How I Sold My House in 48 Hours</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing cleaning decorations dumb mistakes housing market landscaping moving pricing selling home Tue, 26 Jul 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Paul Michael 1757121 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things You Need to Know When Renting-to-Own a Home http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-need-to-know-when-renting-to-own-a-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-you-need-to-know-when-renting-to-own-a-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house_hand_coins_88170549_0.jpg" alt="What you need to know about renting-to-own a home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your credit scores are too low. Or maybe you've run up too much credit card debt. Whatever the reason, you can't qualify for the mortgage loan you need to buy a home. But there is hope: You can enter into a rent-to-own agreement and begin living in a home today &mdash; one that you might eventually be able to buy.</p> <p>Just be careful: David Reiss, professor of law and research director for the Center for Urban Business at Brooklyn Law School, said that consumers need to be careful when entering rent-to-own arrangements. Often, these agreements end up with tenants losing money that they didn't need to spend.</p> <p>&quot;Potential homebuyers should be very careful with rent-to-own opportunities,&quot; Reiss said. &quot;They have a long history of burning buyers. Does the law in your state provide any protection to a rent-to-own buyer who falls behind on payments? Could you end up losing everything that you had paid toward the purchase if you lose your job?&quot;</p> <p>These worries, and others, are why you need to do your research before signing a rent-to-own agreement. And it's why you need to know these five key facts before agreeing to any rent-to-own contract.</p> <h2>1. How Do Monthly Rent and Final Selling Price Relate?</h2> <p>In a rent-to-own arrangement, you might pay a bit more in rent each month to the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-buy-a-house-yet" target="_blank">owner of a home</a>. These extra dollars go toward reducing a final sales price for the home that you and the owner agree upon before you start renting.</p> <p>Then, after a set number of years pass &mdash; usually anywhere from one to five &mdash; you'll have the option to purchase the home, with the sales price lowered by however much extra money you paid along with your monthly rent checks. Not all companies that offer rent-to-own homes work this way. Some don't ask for more money from tenants each month, and don't apply any rental money toward lowering the eventual sales price of the home.</p> <p>This latter option might be the better choice for you if you're not certain that you'll be able to qualify for a mortgage even after the rental period ends.</p> <p>&quot;A pitfall is if the tenant buyer signs into the program but will never be approved for financing, thus never purchases the house,&quot; said John Matthews, president of operations of Chicago Lease to Own. &quot;That is how the scammers out there have used rent-to-own to hurt people. They sell it to those who should never have been in the program and take their portion of the rent every month used 'for the purchase of their home' knowing that the tenant will never qualify to buy the home.&quot;</p> <p>Make sure you know &mdash; and are comfortable with &mdash; the home's final sales price and monthly rent payments before you agree to a rent-to-own arrangement. And if you don&rsquo;t want to pay extra in rent each month for a home that you might never end up buying? A rent-to-own agreement might not be for you.</p> <h2>2. What Is the Timeline?</h2> <p>To start the rent-to-own process, you and the owner of a home sign a contract listing what the home's final sales price will be after the rental period ends. The contract will also list how long you will rent the home before you have to decide whether to buy the property. The document will state, too, how much you'll pay in rent each month, and how much of that money will go toward lowering the home's final sales price.</p> <p>These are all key facts to learn before you rent-to-own. You don't want too little of your monthly rent going toward a home's final sales price. If it does, you'll barely make a dent in that final sales price.</p> <h2>3. What's an &quot;Option Premium&quot;</h2> <p>After you and the homeowner sign the contract, you'll pay what is known as an option premium. This premium is what gives you the right to purchase the home after the rental period ends. Be aware that this premium is nonrefundable, even if you don't decide to buy the house after your rental period comes to a close. You can expect to pay about 5% of the home's final sales price for your option premium.</p> <h2>4. What Happens to Your Extra Money If You Don't Buy?</h2> <p>If you don't end up buying the home after the rent-to-own period ends, you'll most likely lose the extra money that you paid each month to your landlord. Most landlords will include a provision in their rent-to-own contracts stating that tenants lose the extra rent they send in every month if they pass on their option of purchasing the home.</p> <p>If you're not certain that you will end up buying the home &mdash; and after five years or so of renting a home you might decide that the property or neighborhood is not the right one for you &mdash; be wary of entering a rent-to-own arrangement. You might be throwing away all those extra dollars each month.</p> <h2>5. How Strong Is the Local Real Estate Market?</h2> <p>It pays, too, to study the market in which your rent-to-own home sits. Are housing prices rising in value each year? Or is the market a sluggish one? This is important information to know. What if the home in which you are living loses value during the five years you are renting it? Will you still want to pay that higher final sales price that you negotiated with your landlord?</p> <p>If you signed a contract, you won't have any recourse but to pay more than what the home is worth or to walk away from the deal, meaning that you threw away all that extra rental money you sent your landlord every month.</p> <p>Renters need to be careful, too, when negotiating a home's future sales price. A landlord might ask for a price that is unrealistically high for a specific market.</p> <p>&quot;The landlord will greatly inflate the purchase price of the home when the tenant can buy it,&quot; said Mark Ferguson, founder of Invest Four More in Greeley, Colorado. &quot;The home may be worth $120,000 today, but in a year or two, the price for the tenant will be $140,000 or more. The landlord will justify this because prices always go up. Landlords won't tell you that the average appreciation of homes is 3% to 6% a year, and their price is 20% or 30% higher a year.&quot;</p> <p>It pays to meet with a real estate agent or to study the local housing market on your own. You can never guarantee that a home won't fall in value, but by doing your homework, you can at least increase your odds of renting a property that has a chance to increase in value during the rental period.</p> <p><em>Have you bought a home via rent-to-own? What was the process like for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-need-to-know-when-renting-to-own-a-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-buy-a-house-without-a-mortgage">4 Ways to Buy a House Without a Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-real-estate-cuts-your-taxes">10 Surprising Ways Real Estate Cuts Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-yourself-these-5-questions-before-buying-a-home">Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before Buying a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-a-30-year-mortgage-is-a-smart-financial-choice">Here&#039;s Why a 30-Year Mortgage Is a Smart Financial Choice</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-a-first-time-home-buyer-needs-to-buy-a-house">Everything a First-Time Home Buyer Needs to Buy a House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing financing housing market landlords mortgages new homeowners rent to own scams Tue, 12 Jul 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 1741716 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 "Tourist Towns" That Are Actually Great to Live In http://www.wisebread.com/6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_bike_beach_93011895.jpg" alt="Man living in tourist town that&#039;s actually fun to live in" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's not uncommon to vacation somewhere spectacular and instantly become overwhelmed by the feeling that you never, ever want to leave. But, unless you're rich, relocating to Hawaii, Southern California, or Martha's Vineyard is probably not a very viable option.</p> <p>Alas, not every tourist town is overrun with millionaires and glitz. In fact, some destination enclaves are well-equipped with not just superior scenery, but also job opportunity and housing priced within reach. Read on for our roundup of tourist towns that you just might be able to afford to call home.</p> <h2>1. Virginia Beach, Virginia</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/virginia_beach_4432781.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Best known for its vibrant boardwalks and sandy beaches, Virginia Beach is also flush with many of the qualifiers that make a community a great place to call home: Good schools, low crime, very low tax rates, and a slowly, but steadily improving post-recession economic climate, to name a few. And let's not forget those warm summers and mild winters.</p> <p>The area is also riding high on a ranking by U.S. News &amp; World Report as one of the <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/08/19/americas-10-best-places-to-grow-up.html">best places to grow up</a>. In the wake of the Great Recession, Virginia Beach's housing market is slowly rebounding. Right now the median home sales price falls around $235,000. Yet as the city's population grows, employment opportunities remain plentiful. The agribusiness, military, and tourism sectors are thriving, while active industrial and office space development continue to lure in new industries.</p> <h2>2. Flagstaff, Arizona</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/flagstaff_arizona_scene_80790977.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Full of Old West flavor, Flagstaff is a friendly Arizona mountain town with 288 days of sunshine, a mild climate (by southwest USA standards, anyway), and easy access to top-of-the-line camping, rock climbing, hiking, and skiing. Bonus: Grand Canyon National Park is just 90 minutes away.</p> <p>What you may not know is that Flagstaff is also a <a href="http://www.chooseflagstaff.com/doing-business-here/city-profile/">quaint college </a>town with an affordable rental market, thanks to nearly 25,000 students who call Flagstaff home. Homeownership, on the other hand, can be a bit more pricey &mdash; but not altogether out of reach. The median price of a home in greater Flagstaff currently hovers around $319,000. Overall, the <a href="http://www.flagstaffchamber.com/economic-development/cost-of-living/">cost of living</a> in Flagstaff is slightly above the national average. With an average household income of $70,000, Flagstaff is also a hub for bioscience, tech, and manufacturing. Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff Medical Center, and the medical device manufacturer W.L. Gore &amp; Associates are the top employers here.</p> <h2>3. Palm Beach, Florida</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/palm_beach_florida_86138281.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Six million visitors descend on Palm Beach every year for its beaches, boating, world-class shopping, and more than 160 golf courses, including some of the most acclaimed greens in the U.S.</p> <p>But did you know that this Florida resort region also has a blossoming technology industry, with app developers and web innovators carving out a new innovation hub? Or that Palm Beach County school district has eighth-highest graduation rate in the nation? Or that wages here are higher than most other parts of Florida? And, in addition to some of the world's most tantalizingly beautiful multimillion dollar waterfront homes, Palm Beach has <a href="http://realtime.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2016/03/23/top-10-palm-beach-countys-busiest-new-home-developments-have-nothing-for-middle-class-families/">middle class housing options</a> &mdash; they are not plentiful, but they do exist. The median price of an existing house sold in Palm Beach County is currently about $295,000.</p> <h2>4. Coeur d'Alene, Idaho</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/brewster_massachusetts_23888034066_553f4fc369_z.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Situated on a gorgeous natural lake by the same name, this Idaho Panhandle city boasts more than 100 miles of shoreline as well as a renowned parkway that's perfect for cycling, jogging, or walking. An enviable vacation destination, affordable housing, and favorable corporate tax laws also make Coeur d'Alene a great place to live.</p> <p>The median home price in Coeur d'Alene hovers around $188,000 and the cost of living is nearly 7% below the national average. There's also ample opportunity for jobs. The mining, health care, tourism, and food service industries all have a notable presence here, which has helped earn the city slot number 14 on Forbes list of best places for business and careers.</p> <h2>5. Brewster, Massachusetts</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/brewster_massachusetts_windmill_50072494.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Great schools, low unemployment, moderate housing prices, and easy access to museums, state parks, and beaches make Brewster one of the most livable small towns in Cape Cod. Bustling during the summer season, Brewster and the rest of the Cape fall quiet in autumn through spring, offering residents peace, quiet, and beautiful natural landscapes without the crowds.</p> <p>This region full of artists, small business owners, mariners, and outdoorsmen has a median home price of about $396,000 &mdash; and climbing. Yet while there are cheaper Cape towns, Brewster is worth the extra chunk of change for families and those who prize access to educational institutions and low crime.</p> <h2>6. Tampa, Florida</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/tampa_florida_beach_69509291.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Prized for its favorable weather, shoreline beauty, lively night life, and casual lifestyle, Tampa is a modern paradise that's all-too-often overlooked as place to set a welcome mat outside the front door. Tampa real estate is tens of thousands of dollars below the national average, with a median home price of less than $170,000. What's more, Tampa is <a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2016/04/15/tampa-bay-region-ranks-second-in-job-growth-first.html">experiencing rapid job growth</a>. Other considerations: Tampa has the <a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2016/01/25/tampa-metro-cost-of-living-lowest-in-florida.html">lowest cost of living in Florida</a>, and there is no state income tax.</p> <p><em>Have you considered relocating to one of these &mdash; or other &mdash; &quot;tourist&quot; towns?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%20-Tourist%20Towns-%20That%20Are%20Actually%20Great%20to%20Live%20In.jpg&amp;description=6%20%26quot%3BTourist%20Towns%26quot%3B%20That%20Are%20Actually%20Great%20to%20Live%20In" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20-Tourist%20Towns-%20That%20Are%20Actually%20Great%20to%20Live%20In.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-should-always-hire-a-moving-company">6 Reasons You Should Always Hire a Moving Company</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-affordable-cities-to-start-a-family">The 7 Best Affordable Cities to Start a Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-world-cities-you-can-afford">5 Incredible World Cities You Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Travel housing market job market moving relocating tourism tourist towns us cities Wed, 06 Jul 2016 09:30:26 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1745833 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Things You Need to Know About a Home Appraisal http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-need-to-know-about-a-home-appraisal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-things-you-need-to-know-about-a-home-appraisal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_home_appraisal_63336927.jpg" alt="Couple learning about home appraisals" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The first time you purchase a home, you may worry whether you are paying too much. Fortunately, assuming you are applying for a mortgage, there is a value check built into the purchase process: the home appraisal.</p> <p>Basically, the bank will send an expert to evaluate the home you want in the context of nearby recent sales, and tell you whether it's worth the contract price. If the appraiser says it's not, the bank won't finance your purchase at that price. Either the sale is off, or you'll have to renegotiate the price or add more cash to the deal.</p> <p>Appraisal day can cause anxiety for both buyers and sellers, but understanding these key things about the process can make it less nerve-wracking:</p> <h2>1. Appraisers Aren't Making This Up as They Go</h2> <p>Appraisers are required to be licensed or certified, and they generally go through a standard evaluation process, filling in spaces on a <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/12/home-appraisals.asp">template from Fannie Mae</a>. Aspects of the home that affect the valuation include: square footage, number of bathrooms, number of bedrooms, and needed repairs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-appraisal-facts-that-could-save-you-big-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Appraisal Facts That Could Save You Big Money</a>)</p> <h2>2. Your Home Isn't the Only One the Appraiser Looks At</h2> <p>Besides the condition and features of your home, the other important factor for valuation is the selling price of other homes in the area. The appraiser will search recent sales for homes as similar to yours as possible, and use their selling prices to estimate an appropriate selling price for yours.</p> <h2>3. The Buyer Pays for the Appraisal</h2> <p>Although the appraisal is really for the lender's benefit, and the lender orders it, the lender will typically send the appraisal bill, usually several hundred dollars, to the buyer.</p> <h2>4. The Appraisal Doesn't Substitute for a Home Inspection</h2> <p>An appraiser is looking over your house to <a href="http://homeguides.sfgate.com/appraiser-say-house-not-good-condition-62802.html">gauge its general condition</a> on a scale of 1 to 6, with the bottom half of the scale indicating that serious repairs are needed. An inspector will meticulously test every system of your home, making sure the furnace works, the water pressure is good, etc. Just because an appraiser said the house is in good condition does not mean you can skip the inspection report.</p> <h2>5. Appraisals Aren't Just for Home Sales</h2> <p>Any time you take a loan on a property, the lender will likely need an appraisal. So you may have to pay for one when you refinance your mortgage or take out a home equity line of credit.</p> <h2>6. Sometimes the Appraiser Doesn't Need to Enter the Home</h2> <p>Although less common than they were before the housing crash, <a href="http://www.forsytheappraisals.com/2015/august/292-what-do-you-get-with-a-drive-by-appraisal">drive-by appraisals</a>, where the appraiser evaluates the house by looking at the exterior and using comparable recent sales, still happen. If you had a recent appraisal, and you are refinancing, the bank might be okay with a drive-by, which will probably cost you less.</p> <h2>7. You Don't Have to Be Present for the Appraisal</h2> <p>Buyers typically don't attend a home appraisal, but it's fine for the seller to be in the home during the appraisal. In fact, it could be helpful because the appraiser may have questions for the homeowner. It might be useful for the agent to be present as well, and it's often recommended that owners provide written information, such as a list of improvements and repairs they've done.</p> <h2>8. You Are Entitled to a Copy of the Report &mdash; Read It Carefully</h2> <p>The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau requires lenders to provide homeowners with a copy of the appraisal report at no additional cost. When you get it, check it carefully for errors, especially if the appraisal came in lower than you expected. You can appeal if the appraiser missed something important, or if you feel the comparison sales they chose were inappropriate &mdash; for instance, if one of the comparisons was in terrible condition or much smaller than your house.</p> <h2>9. You Can Hire an Appraiser Before You Sell Your Home</h2> <p>There are two reasons you might consider hiring your own appraiser: You want to know how much your house is worth before listing it, or you are deciding whether to undertake repairs or improvements before listing it.</p> <p>Usually, it's the agent's job to help you set a selling price. If you doubt your agent's estimate, or if you're getting conflicting estimates from different agents, you could hire an appraiser to settle it. However, there are cons to this practice as well as pros. Don't expect the buyer's lender to use your pre-appraisal &mdash; they'll still want their own.</p> <p>As far as assessing the value upgrades might add to your home, an appraiser can be really valuable in saving you from investing dollars in the property that you won't get back. However, a knowledgeable real estate agent should have ideas about this as well.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been dissatisfied with an appraiser's report?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-need-to-know-about-a-home-appraisal">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-your-home-isnt-selling">7 Reasons Your Home Isn&#039;t Selling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-estate-appraisals-ten-things-most-people-just-dont-understand-about-them">Real Estate Appraisals - Ten things most people just don&#039;t understand about them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most">These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-buying-a-foreclosed-home-ever-a-good-idea">Is Buying a Foreclosed Home Ever a Good Idea?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-rules-you-need-to-know-about-investing-in-real-estate">The Only 5 Rules You Need to Know About Investing in Real Estate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing appraisal home value housing market new homeowner selling a house Tue, 07 Jun 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1725697 at http://www.wisebread.com The Only 5 Rules You Need to Know About Investing in Real Estate http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-rules-you-need-to-know-about-investing-in-real-estate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-only-5-rules-you-need-to-know-about-investing-in-real-estate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000074853063.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The numbers are impressive: The median existing home price for homes across the United States stood at $232,500 in April, according to the National Association of Realtors. That's up 6.3% from the same month one year earlier, and marks the 50th consecutive month in which median housing prices have increased from one year to the next.</p> <p>This steady rate of appreciation might inspire you to invest in residential real estate. After all, the performance of the housing market during the last four years has been far steadier than that of the stock market. But be careful: Sure, investing in real estate can be profitable &mdash; but it can also be risky. Investors who don't do their homework before sinking their dollars into homes could lose a bundle of money.</p> <p>Here are five rules you must know before <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-estate-investing-is-cheaper-and-easier-than-you-think" target="_blank">investing in real estate</a>.</p> <h2>1. Don't Let Your Emotions Betray You</h2> <p>Jamal Asskoumi, owner of the online real estate agency CastleSmart, says that too many inexperienced investors make the mistake of falling in love with a property for the way it looks. They then invest in it without running the numbers to make sure that the home has real potential to increase in value enough to make it a sound investment.</p> <p>Falling in love with a property can also cause investors to spend too much on it upfront, making it nearly impossible for them to make a profit after their purchase.</p> <p>&quot;Unlike stocks that are numbers on a screen, property must be liked and appreciated before it can be invested in, and this is the downfall of many investors,&quot; Asskoumi said. &quot;When visiting a property, investors sometimes become attached and feel as though they have to have it, regardless of the price. They end up paying more than what is necessary and lose on the investment.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Have Enough Money to Cover Both Known and Unknown Losses</h2> <p>Investing in real estate isn't cheap. You are buying a home, after all. But the real trouble spot for investors are the unexpected costs: If you rent out your investment, you never know what damage your tenants might cause. Fixing that damage could cost thousands of dollars.</p> <p>You also have to be prepared for possible losses. Housing values can go down as well as up. You need the financial cushion to handle these fluctuations, said Rocky Lalvani, a financial coach and founder of the Richer Soul financial blog.</p> <p>You also need the money to cover possible monthly losses until your property does appreciate enough in value for you to sell it and earn a big profit. Maybe your mortgage on the property you bought is $2,000 a month but you can only rent the home for $1,800 a month. You'll essentially be losing $200 a month while you wait for your investment to appreciate.</p> <p>&quot;Be prepared for losses; it's a cost of business,&quot; Lalvani said. &quot;Real estate may lose money in the short term while your asset is building over the long term.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Don't Rent to Just Anyone</h2> <p>Finding good tenants is one of the biggest challenges in investing in real estate. The wrong tenants could damage your property, stop paying their monthly rent, and force you to evict them, a process that is long and costly.</p> <p>That's why it's so important to do your research before renting out your home. Run the credit of potential tenants to determine if they've struggled to pay their bills before. Run criminal background checks, too, on potential tenants.</p> <p>Above all, never simply buy into the promises that potential tenants make to you.</p> <p>&quot;Tenants will literally lie about anything and everything,&quot; said Eric Bowlin, a real estate investor and founder of the real estate investing blog EricBowlin.com. &quot;Assume everyone has no job, no income, and a long eviction record, until otherwise proven.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Invest in the Right Neighborhood</h2> <p>You want to invest in an area in which homes are most likely to increase in value. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that any home, even if located in a desirable neighborhood, will be worth more 10 years from now than it is today.</p> <p>But investing in the right neighborhood can at least increase the odds.</p> <p>Study what homes are selling for in any neighborhood in which you want to invest. Study, too, the average monthly rents that homes and apartments in a neighborhood fetch.</p> <p>A neighborhood that is dotted with new restaurants and shops might be a good investment. So might be one that is gaining the reputation as being an up-and-coming area. Be careful, though: It's easy to spend too much upfront in these hotter neighborhoods.</p> <p>Paul Ullman, founder and chief investment officer of Asset Based Lending in Hoboken, New Jersey, says that the key is to look at the strength of nearby schools and to target areas that have positive job growth. It helps, too, to know the neighborhood in which you are going to invest.</p> <p>&quot;Ideally, invest close to home, at least initially,&quot; Ullman said.</p> <h2>5. Know Your Limits</h2> <p>Before investing in real estate, be honest about what you can and can't do. If you're not particularly handy, you might not be able to repair that leaking dishwasher on your own, for instance, and might need a plumber to resolve the problem. That will add to the costs of your real estate investment.</p> <p>You might also want to avoid 2:00 a.m. calls from tenants complaining that the heat in their apartment isn't working. To avoid these calls, you can hire a professional property management company to take over the daily operations of your real estate investment. Hiring such a company, though, costs money, and will eat into your profits.</p> <p>&quot;I always tell people who are interested in getting into investment real estate to consider how comfortable they are with doing any kind of repairs or construction to a house or rental property,&quot; said Todd Barton with the Atlanta office of Renters Warehouse. &quot;You'll have to budget in the costs of contractors or professional property managers. Be honest with yourself upfront so that you don't get into a situation where you are overwhelmed with projects and mounting debts.&quot;</p> <p><em>Have you taken the plunge and invested in real estate? What other rules should new investors stick to?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-rules-you-need-to-know-about-investing-in-real-estate">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-tips-for-getting-your-security-deposit-back">20 Tips for Getting Your Security Deposit Back</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sell-your-home-to-pay-down-debt">Should You Sell Your Home to Pay Down Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/so-you-want-to-be-a-landlord-part-i">So You Want to be a Landlord? Part I</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-worry-about-missing-the-bottom-in-houses">Don&#039;t worry about missing the bottom in houses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Real Estate and Housing appreciation housing market landlord neighborhoods property management renting residential real estate risks tenants Thu, 26 May 2016 09:30:22 +0000 Dan Rafter 1717920 at http://www.wisebread.com How I Sold My House in 48 Hours http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-sold-my-house-in-48-hours <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-i-sold-my-house-in-48-hours" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000020578615.jpg" alt="Learning how to sell your house in 48 hours" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Selling your home can be a huge undertaking, and one that I was putting off for quite a while. Did I really want to sell my home? What if I didn't get my full asking price? I know I am not the only homeowner to worry about these issues right before they list their home for sale.</p> <p>You can imagine my surprise when my home had six viewings and three offers in less than 48 hours, even one offer at $2,000 over asking price without any cash back. It was easy to accept this offer, allowing me to sell my home in just two days.</p> <p>I didn't become a home-selling expert over the weekend, but there were five clear strategies I used that helped me sell my house faster.</p> <h2>Timing Is Important</h2> <p>My neighbor had a nicer and bigger floor plan than ours, but it took him several months to sell his house. Why did his house take so long to sell, even though we lived in the same desirable location and his house was equally as nice? He listed his house for sale right before Thanksgiving.</p> <p>Even if there are individuals who want to buy a home in the winter, their schedules (and agent's schedules) are most likely full due to all of the holiday busyness. At the end of the year, finances are tight and stress levels are already high.</p> <p>I listed my house in the middle of February, so still technically winter, but in my area, it already felt like spring. Also, many people had already filed their taxes and knew what their estimated refund was going to be. If you can list your home in spring, during or after of tax season, I think you will have a higher success rate of views and offers than any other season. Realtor.com agrees: &quot;Spring marks the beginning of the busiest home-selling and <a href="http://www.realtor.com/advice/is-spring-best-time-to-sell-a-house/">home-buying season</a> in most areas...with home buying peaking in June.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-your-home-isnt-selling?ref=seealso">7 Reasons Your Home Isn't Selling</a>)</p> <h2>Cut the Clutter</h2> <p>Since I have two young girls, I knew that I was going to have a hard time keeping the house ultra clean for showings. Since I was moving anyway, I decided to use the decluttering as preliminary packing. I ended up packing 10 boxes of items that I knew I would not need in the next month. As a result, I was able to keep the house tidy &mdash; even my biggest problem area, the office &mdash; and I had a jump start on packing when my house did sell.</p> <p>Potential homebuyers do not want to feel claustrophobic when they enter your home. They want to be able to envision the space as their own. So cut out all of the clutter in your office, on your kitchen and bathroom counters, and on the floor. Take down all of your personal photos and remove a piece of furniture from each room to make the space appear larger if you need to.</p> <h2>Neutralize the Decor</h2> <p>You might love the Italian decor in your kitchen, but a lot of buyers do not. When in doubt, go neutral. A brightly colored or odd-colored wall or set of cabinets is a quick turnoff to potential buyers. When I was looking for my new home, I can't tell you how many houses I quickly said no to because of a bright green wall or a full-sized mural. Considering that these houses sat on the market for several months, I know I am not the only buyer who felt that way.</p> <p>Yes, a wall color or cabinet color is a simple fix for potential buyers, but it would be even more beneficial for <em>you </em>to just fix the color. If one of your rooms is heavily themed, consider packing those items away before you list. It is not that your beach-themed bathroom is horrible, but it is hard to imagine a different decor style once a certain spot is heavily decorated in a certain theme.</p> <h2>Don't Forget to Use Your Nose</h2> <p>Have you ever walked into someone's home right after they made a smelly meal or maybe even got a good whiff of your own house when the garbage can was overflowing? The wrong smell can be overwhelming and leave a negative imprint on potential buyers. On the other hand, good smells can leave home shoppers with a positive outlook.</p> <p>I picked up three of the same vanilla candle and burned one in the kitchen and one in each bathroom. The smell was nice but not overwhelming. I suggest sticking with a warm vanilla scent or to bake a dessert before a showing. I know this might sound weird, but one house we looked at baked banana bread before we came. When we left the house, I think my husband, myself, and our agent thought even more highly of the house just because it smelled so good.</p> <p>You want appeal to as many senses as possible when showing your house. People might not credit the home's smell when they consider its positives, but the house will stick with them positively on a subconscious level because it appealed to their nose and eyes.</p> <h2>Light It Up</h2> <p>Finally, before taking photos or showing your home, open up all of the blinds and turn on all of the lights. Again, this appeals to potential buyers' senses. Looking at a dark house makes the space feel gloomier, dirtier, and just leaves a negative impression.</p> <p>Selling your house can be a lengthy process, but hopefully these five tricks will boost your showings and offers. Remember, exposure is extremely important too, so be sure your agent is listing your home on all of the popular realtor websites, their social media accounts, and even posting a virtual tour on YouTube. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-important-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-housing-market-in-2016?ref=seealso">6 Important Things You Need to Know About the Housing Market in 2016</a>)</p> <p><em>Have you had success with selling your home fast? What do you think was the driving factor for the fast sale?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-sold-my-house-in-48-hours">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-stage-your-home-without-hiring-a-pro">8 Ways to Stage Your Home Without Hiring a Pro</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most">These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-buying-a-foreclosed-home-ever-a-good-idea">Is Buying a Foreclosed Home Ever a Good Idea?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-tips-for-getting-your-security-deposit-back">20 Tips for Getting Your Security Deposit Back</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing cleaning decorating tips housing market quick sale selling your house showing your house Mon, 11 Apr 2016 09:30:22 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1685085 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Buying a Foreclosed Home Ever a Good Idea? http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-buying-a-foreclosed-home-ever-a-good-idea <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-a-buying-a-foreclosed-home-ever-a-good-idea" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home_sold_sign_000007866517.jpg" alt="Learning if buying a foreclosed home is ever a good idea" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Foreclosures are falling across the country. Real estate site RealtyTrac reports that the number of homes in foreclosure dropped 3% in 2015 compared to the previous year. But while foreclosure activity is dropping in most major cities, there are some metropolises where foreclosed properties still account for too large of a percentage of homes on the market.</p> <p>Here's the question for home buyers: Do high-foreclosure markets actually represent an opportunity? Do these cities give buyers a chance to get into city neighborhoods that they otherwise might not be able to afford?</p> <p>Yes, they do. But buyers have to be careful: Purchasing a home that is in foreclosure can lead to big problems.</p> <h2>Foreclosure Numbers</h2> <p>RealtyTrac said that at the end of 2015, 1.08 million U.S. properties had foreclosure filings on them. These filings include default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions. This figure is down 3% from the end of 2014.</p> <p>Even more impressive, it's down nearly 62% from 2010. That year saw 2.87 million U.S. properties with foreclosure filings on them &mdash; an all-time high.</p> <p>But five U.S. cities in particular are still struggling with too many foreclosures. RealtyTrac reported that as of the end of 2015, 3.43% of the housing units in the Atlantic City, NJ housing market had foreclosure filings. That's the highest percent of any the major U.S. markets that RealtyTrac charts.</p> <p>Other cities in the top five, according to RealtyTrac, are Trenton, NJ, with 2.14% of its housing stock having foreclosure filings; the Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area of Florida with a foreclosure rate of 2.03%; Jacksonville, FL, at 2.02%; and Miami, FL, at 1.98%.</p> <h2>Opportunities for Investors</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-terrible-things-foreclosure-does-to-your-credit">Foreclosures are bad news</a> for neighborhoods. That's because they tend to bring down the sales prices of the homes surrounding them, even those residences not in foreclosure.</p> <p>Say a neighborhood has several foreclosure homes that are selling for less than market value. This makes life difficult for other sellers. Sellers listing their homes at $200,000 will struggle to get that listing price if their neighborhood also features eight similar homes that are in foreclosure and all selling near $150,000.</p> <p>The buyers, looking for bargains, will make offers on those homes first. Other sellers can either lower their asking prices to compete more effectively with the foreclosures, or wait out the wave of local foreclosures in the hopes of nabbing a sales price closer to their actual list price.</p> <p>But while foreclosures might be a burden for sellers, they do present opportunities for buyers. A lower-priced foreclosure could help buyers find homes in neighborhoods that they otherwise couldn't afford.</p> <p>But buying foreclosures can also come with big headaches, mostly because these homes are often in terrible condition.</p> <h2>Foreclosure Traps to Avoid</h2> <p>You'll find the lowest prices for foreclosed homes by buying them at auction. But the auction process is also the riskiest way to buy foreclosures. That's because you won't have the chance to inspect a foreclosed home beforehand.</p> <p>Once you get your &quot;bargain&quot; home, you might find that it needs costly repairs that can quickly eat up the savings you thought you'd enjoy. A foreclosed home purchased through auction might also have liens filed against it, such as liens for outstanding tax payments. You might be on the hook for those unpaid taxes, and need to reach a settlement with the IRS.</p> <p>A safer choice is to buy homes that are owned by a bank. These properties, often referred to as REO or real-estate owned homes, have already been through the foreclosure process, with banks having taken them over. Banks will often sell these homes at prices below market value to get rid of them.</p> <p>The best news for buyers is that banks are required to pay off any liens filed against these properties. Buyers can also hire home inspectors to tour the homes before they buy them. These inspectors can help buyers determine how much they'll need to spend in repairs. Buyers can then calculate whether a particular foreclosure is a bargain or a potential money pit.</p> <p>A foreclosed home can present a savvy investment opportunity under the right circumstances. Do your homework, and you might just come away with a diamond in the rough.</p> <p><em>Have you ever purchased a home out of foreclosure?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-buying-a-foreclosed-home-ever-a-good-idea">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-happens-at-a-foreclosure-auction">What Happens at a Foreclosure Auction?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-housing-market-is-finally-rebounding">The Housing Market Is Finally Rebounding</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/renting-is-cheaper">Renting is cheaper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most">These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-into-a-good-school-district-for-less">How to Get Into a Good School District for Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing bank owned buying a house foreclosure housing market money pits Fri, 18 Mar 2016 11:30:08 +0000 Dan Rafter 1673870 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Sell Your Home to Pay Down Debt? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sell-your-home-to-pay-down-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-sell-your-home-to-pay-down-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/balacing_mortgage_debt_000042650836.jpg" alt="Wondering if you should sell your home to pay down debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've made one of the biggest financial mistakes of all by running up thousands of dollars of credit card debt. And because of the cards' high interest rates, the debt continues to grow every month that you don't pay it off.</p> <p>But there might be a solution &mdash; if you own a home. You can sell that property, take the proceeds from the sale, and pay off your credit card debt. It's a drastic solution. But if you have no other options for paying off your credit card debt quickly, selling your home might be a sound choice.</p> <p>&quot;If there is no light at the end of the tunnel, or game plan to pay it off, the best solution might be to sell your home and rent,&quot; said Peter Grabel, managing director of Luxury Mortgage Corp. in Stamford, Connecticut. &quot;Over the last decade, we've learned that real estate doesn't always go up in value. Taxes go up, and there can be endless maintenance costs connected with ownership. For folks in this position, selling might be an attractive solution.&quot;</p> <p>But before you decide to place your home on the market, realize that selling off real estate won't work for every person who is struggling with debt. In many cases, owners won't even make enough money from a sale to eliminate all of their high-interest-rate debt.</p> <h2>When Selling Makes Sense</h2> <p>For this plan to work, you must have enough equity in your home. If you owe $150,000 on your mortgage loan and your home is worth $220,000 in today's market, you could, in theory, expect to earn about $70,000 when you sell your home.</p> <p>Fortunately, more homeowners today are probably in position to earn solid profits when selling their homes, said Joe Parsons, senior loan officer with PFS Funding in Dublin, California.</p> <p>&quot;As the housing market recovers from the crisis of 2008 and its aftermath, many homeowners discover that they have equity where before they had none,&quot; Parsons said. &quot;Those who are carrying large amounts of consumer debt may find that they can sell their homes and become renters, using that windfall equity to retire the consumer debt.&quot;</p> <h2>Some Rental Markets May Be Too Pricey</h2> <p>While this might be appropriate for some homeowners, it won't be a good choice for many others, Parsons said. Once owners sell their homes, they are at the mercy of the rental market. Apartment rents are soaring across the country, especially in large metropolitan areas. This can make renting an expensive proposition.</p> <p>&quot;In many areas, owning a home, even at today's prices, is less expensive than renting an equivalent property, even without considering the large tax advantages that come with owning,&quot; Parsons said. &quot;Rents will increase in the future.&quot;</p> <p>Selling a home is expensive, too, and involves a long list of fees, most of which the sellers pay out of the proceeds of the sale. The largest of these is the commission that owners have to pay to their real estate agent, one that is typically 6% of a home's final sales price.</p> <p>Parsons gives this example: If you owe $270,000 on your mortgage and you sell your home for $300,000, you might generate less than $15,000 cash on the sale after paying out commissions.</p> <h2>Other Debt Reduction Options</h2> <p>Greg Cook, mortgage consultant with First Time Home Buyers Network, said that he has worked with customers who did face enough consumer debt that they were considering selling their home. Cook said that he advised these customers to take other measures before giving up their homes.</p> <p>&quot;My advice to them has always been to 'stop the bleeding' as soon as possible,&quot; Cook said.</p> <p>That's why Cook has recommended debt-management programs offered by reputable credit counseling agencies as a way for struggling homeowners to get their debts under control. In such programs, consumers work with an agency that creates a repayment plan for them, allowing them to repay all or part of their debt in monthly payments that they can actually afford.</p> <p>Cook said that it often makes financial sense even for consumers <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-consolidating-your-debt-and-saving-money">struggling with debt</a> to hold onto their homes. That's because if these owners want to one day return to the housing market, they will most likely be doing so at a time in which housing prices, and possibly interest rates, have increased.</p> <p>If consumers do sell their homes to pay off their debt, they then need to take a close look at their bad financial habits to make sure that they don't run up their credit-card debt again, Cook said.</p> <p>&quot;Assuming they used all their equity to pay off the consumer debt, the next step is to initiate a long-term savings plan so they will have the funds required to buy a home in the future,&quot; Cook said.</p> <p>While selling a home should be a last-resort plan, Cook said he has seen this move work out for some consumers. He points to clients who last year sold their home and used $78,000 to wipe out all of their consumer debt. These owners, Cook said, had been drowning in debt.</p> <p>The clients were also military veterans. They were then able, using a VA loan, to buy a new home with no money down once they eliminated their debts.</p> <p>&quot;They, however, are an exception,&quot; Cook said. &quot;Most families end up not being homeowners again for a long time.&quot;</p> <p><em>Have you ever sold a home to get out from under consumer debt?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sell-your-home-to-pay-down-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-rules-you-need-to-know-about-investing-in-real-estate">The Only 5 Rules You Need to Know About Investing in Real Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-into-a-good-school-district-for-less">How to Get Into a Good School District for Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing debt equity housing market renting selling your home Wed, 16 Mar 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Dan Rafter 1673867 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Reasons Your Home Isn't Selling http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-your-home-isnt-selling <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-reasons-your-home-isnt-selling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_for_sale_sign_000057009602.jpg" alt="Man learning why his house isn&#039;t selling" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Waiting for your house to sell can be one of the most stressful times of your life. You may not be able to move until you sell, or maybe you're making extra mortgage payments each month until you get your house off the market.</p> <p>So why is it taking so long for your house to sell?</p> <h2>1. Your House Is Overpriced</h2> <p>Just like any other item, price is critical when selling a house. You might think that a potential buyer would simply make an offer at a lower price, but that doesn't always happen. Buyers tend to be attracted to houses that are priced competitively. Your home may not even show in many prospective buyers' MLS searches if it's priced too high. Don't scare away these potential buyers if you can avoid it.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Check the local price listings for your competition. Look at houses of similar age and square footage that are for sale. Does your price make your house seem like a good deal compared with others on the market? If not, you may need to lower your price to bring in offers.</p> <h2>2. Your House Is a Fixer-Upper</h2> <p>You might think that buyers can see the potential of a house that just needs a little bit of work, but most are looking for a house that is move-in ready and doesn't need any major repairs. And even a home that only needs minor repairs may still look like a bad deal to some buyers, turning them off based on appearance alone.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Unless you are willing to sell at a substantially discounted price, take care of obvious repairs such as replacing a bad roof, dealing with peeling exterior paint, and replacing damaged windows. Depending on the market in your area, you might not get any offers until your house is in good repair.</p> <h2>3. Pet Problems</h2> <p>Some people are much more sensitive to pet odors than others. If you have pets in your house, you have probably adapted to some smells that would be repulsive to people not used to being around pets. Bad smells can trigger a strong reaction and send potential buyers fleeing in disgust. If you have dogs around barking when people are looking at your house, this can be distracting and drive potential buyers away before they can really appreciate your house.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Keep litter boxes extra clean and use air freshener. Get a carpet shampooer and some pet odor remover shampoo to remove the source of odors. Have a friend or neighbor stop by and tell you if they smell any pet odors. Try to find somewhere else for dogs to go during showings and open houses.</p> <h2>4. Your House Is FSBO</h2> <p>FSBO means &quot;For Sale by Owner.&quot; If you can sell your house yourself without using a real estate agent, you can pocket the commission. This can be a significant amount of money since a typical commission is 6% or 7% of the sale price. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-youre-better-off-without-a-real-estate-agent?ref=seealso">5 Times You're Better Off Without a Real Estate Agent</a>)</p> <p>However, selling your house own your own means that your property will not be listed in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is how real estate agents search for properties for sale to show their clients. Most real estate agents are not interested in showing FSBO properties since the won't get a commission unless they negotiate with the seller.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Try listing your house with a real estate agent if selling it yourself isn't working.</p> <h2>5. Your Stuff</h2> <p>You probably like your stuff. You picked it out. You bought it. You kept it all these years. As much as you like your stuff, other people don't appreciate it. Having too much of your stuff around makes it hard for potential buyers to imagine their own stuff in the house you are trying to sell. Also, too much stuff makes your house seem smaller, and therefore less valuable to buyers.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Consider packing up and storing some of your clutter and furniture while your house is for sale.</p> <h2>6. Cold Real Estate Market</h2> <p>The reason your house is taking a long time to sell could be a problem with the housing market in your area, not with your house. There may be more sellers than buyers.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Have your real estate agent check the &quot;Days on Market&quot; or DOM for houses similar to yours that are for sale or have sold recently. If the market really is cold and houses are taking forever to sell, reconsider trying to sell your house in a bad market.</p> <h2>7. Your House Is Outdated</h2> <p>It can be hard to sell a house if the kitchen and bathrooms have not been remodeled in decades or the carpet is worn out. Buyers worry about the expense of taking on remodeling and replacing old appliances.</p> <h3>What to Do</h3> <p>Consider doing some lower-cost updates to make your house seem more modern, especially if you have the skills to do most of the work yourself. Simple changes, such as a fresh coat of paint or new knobs on kitchen fixtures, can do wonders.</p> <p>If you don't want to upgrade your house to get it to sell, another approach is to offer some cash back to the buyer at closing for updates. This cuts into your proceeds, but may be necessary to get your house sold.</p> <p><em>What have you done to overcome issues and get your house sold?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-your-home-isnt-selling">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-need-to-know-about-a-home-appraisal">9 Things You Need to Know About a Home Appraisal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most">These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-buying-a-foreclosed-home-ever-a-good-idea">Is Buying a Foreclosed Home Ever a Good Idea?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-rules-you-need-to-know-about-investing-in-real-estate">The Only 5 Rules You Need to Know About Investing in Real Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-fall-is-a-great-time-to-house-hunt">5 Reasons Fall Is a Great Time to House Hunt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing fixer upper for sale by owner housing market not selling selling a house Tue, 01 Mar 2016 11:30:06 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1662693 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Important Things You Need to Know About the Housing Market in 2016 http://www.wisebread.com/6-important-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-housing-market-in-2016 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-important-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-housing-market-in-2016" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/housing_market_000074855705.jpg" alt="Learning important changes coming to housing market in 2016" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Buying a home is still part of the American dream.</p> <p>According to a survey from Trulia, 75% of Americans dream of owning a home, up 1% from 2015. This dream is even more pressing among Millennials because 80% of those surveyed would like to buy a home &mdash; and 31% would like to do so by 2018.</p> <p>Whether you're looking to buy a home this year or already own one, there are important factors that will affect your investment. Here are the six important things you need to know about the housing market in 2016.</p> <h2>1. Mortgage Rates Are Staying Low (For Now!)</h2> <p>The Fed's December 2015 interest rate hike had many consumers worried that rock-bottom mortgage rates would finally come to an end. However, the economic events of the first two weeks of 2016 show that low mortgage rates will stick around for a bit longer.</p> <p>Given the lackluster performance of the stock market, many investors are buying bonds and driving down the yields of these investment vehicles. This is great news for those looking for a home loan, because the interest rates on 30-year mortgage loans are highly correlated with the yield of the U.S. Treasury 10-year bond. According to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage average in the U.S. was <a href="https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/MORTGAGE30US">3.97% on January 7, 2016</a>, down from 4.1% in December 31, 2015.</p> <h2>2. HARP Refinance Deadline Receives Extension</h2> <p>Many experts expect mortgage interest rates to increase further down the road. Those mortgage holders that haven't been able to refinance to a lower rate yet should think about doing so this year &mdash; especially homeowners that are underwater on their mortgages.</p> <p>As of January 2015, about 700,000 borrowers who owed more than their homes were worth were <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/24/your-money/700000-homeowners-could-still-benefit-from-us-harp-refinancing-program.html?_r=0">still eligible to refinance</a> their loans through the HARP program from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). HARP was originally set to expire at the end of 2015, but it was extended for an additional year, until the end of 2016.</p> <p>Nearly 3.3 million Americans have benefited from a HARP refinance to lower their monthly payments on their mortgages. The five basic requirements to qualify for a HARP refinance are:</p> <ul> <li>Loan was originated on or before May 31, 2009.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Property is a primary residence, one-unit second home, or one- to four-unit investment property.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Loan is owned by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Current loan-to-value ratio must be greater than 80%.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Borrower is current on the mortgage, with no over-30-day late payments in the last six months and no more than one in the past 12 months.</li> </ul> <p>There are still close to 430,000 HARP-eligible loans out there and you can check the <a href="http://harp.gov/Default.aspx?Page=363">eligibility of loans</a> by zip code.</p> <h2>3. Home Prices Are Rising Less Than in Previous Years</h2> <p>One of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-necessities-that-will-be-cheaper-in-2016">necessities that will be cheaper in 2016</a> is the single-family home. In 2016, the national average price for a single-family home is expected to be 3% higher than last year, a much slower rate of growth than 2015's 5% increase.</p> <p>However, some markets will experience bigger price bumps, such as Sacramento, California with an expected 15% increase, and other markets will experience smaller price bumps, such as Houston, Texas with an expected 1.1% increase.</p> <h2>4. Rent Prices Are Increasing Faster</h2> <p>On the other hand, rent prices are expected to increase sharply. In the third quarter of 2015, U.S. home buyers were spending <a href="http://www.zillow.com/research/q3-2015-mortgage-rent-affordability-11197/">15% of their monthly income</a> on the mortgage payment of a typical home, while U.S. renters were spending 30% of their monthly income on the rent payment of a median-valued property.</p> <p>Higher rent prices will continue to be norm in 2016. According to a survey of more than 500 large U.S. property managers, <a href="http://www.rent.com/blog/2015-rental-market-report/">rental inventory</a> is at the lowest level in over 20 years.</p> <p>A smaller inventory of available units for rent enables landlords to demand higher prices from renters. Of the surveyed property managers, 55% reported to be &quot;less likely to offer concessions or lower rents to fill vacancies&quot; and 68% of them expected to continue raising their rental rates in 2016 by an average of 8%.</p> <h2>5. New FHA Loan Limits Take Effect</h2> <p>On December 9, 2015, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced its new schedule of <a href="http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2015/HUDNo_15-156">loan limits for 2016</a>. FHA home loans allow homebuyers to access financing with a minimum 3.5% down payment of the market value of the property, among other requirements.</p> <p>Given the changes to median house prices in certain metropolitan areas, in 2016 the maximum FHA loan limit is higher in <a href="http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=limitsincreasedcy15_cy16.pdf">188 counties</a>. However, the maximum nationwide FHA loan limit remains at $625,500 (here is a <a href="http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/lender/origination/mortgage_limits">list of areas</a> that are at the ceiling or that are considered &quot;high cost.&quot;)</p> <p>On the other hand, in 2016 the minimum FHA loan limit doesn't decrease for any areas in the country.</p> <h2>6. Fannie Mae Loosens Some Requirements</h2> <p>The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), better known as Fannie Mae, is giving Americans a break in 2016. Through its new <a href="https://www.fanniemae.com/singlefamily/homeready">HomeReady mortgage program</a>, Fannie Mae aims to broaden access to home financing to credit-worthy low-to-moderate income borrowers.</p> <p>Some of the <a href="https://www.fanniemae.com/content/fact_sheet/homeready-overview.pdf">loosened requirements</a> from Fannie Mae include:</p> <ul> <li>Borrower isn't required to be a first-time homebuyer;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Down payment can be as low as 3% of property's market value;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Gifts, grants, and cash-on-hand are acceptable funds to cover downpayment and closing costs;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Nontraditional credit is allowed;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Income from non-borrower household members can be counted as part of the debt-to-income ratio of the borrower; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Underwriting process includes additional flexibilities.</li> </ul> <p>To learn more details about the HomeReady program, call 1-800-7FANNIE (1-800-732-6643) or visit <a href="http://www.fanniemae.com">FannieMae.com</a>.</p> <p><em>Do you expect 2016 to be better for the housing market &mdash; and your plans of owning a home?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-important-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-housing-market-in-2016">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-terrible-things-foreclosure-does-to-your-credit">3 Terrible Things Foreclosure Does to Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/renting-is-cheaper">Renting is cheaper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-live-rent-free">5 Simple Ways to Live Rent-Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-if-you-cant-afford-your-mortgage-payment">Here&#039;s What to Do If You Can&#039;t Afford Your Mortgage Payment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra">What&#039;s Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing fannie mae FHA HARP housing market loans mortgage rates rent Thu, 21 Jan 2016 14:00:03 +0000 Damian Davila 1642416 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before Buying a Home http://www.wisebread.com/ask-yourself-these-5-questions-before-buying-a-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-yourself-these-5-questions-before-buying-a-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_new_house_000064268645.jpg" alt="Asking yourself 5 questions before buying a home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Buying a home is a major financial decision. The National Association of Realtors reported that in November 2015, the median sales price of existing homes hit $220,300, or 6.3% higher than in the same month one year earlier.</p> <p>As housing prices continue to climb, you need to make sure you're ready to make such a major investment. Here are five questions to ask to make sure that you are financially prepared for owning a home.</p> <h2>1. How Much Money Do You Spend and Earn Each Month?</h2> <p>Real estate professionals say that your total monthly housing expenses, including your estimated new mortgage payment, should never equal more than 28% of your gross monthly income. To know if you can afford your new home's mortgage payment, you'll have to first list what you're already spending each month on such items as car loans, student loans, groceries, and entertainment. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home">4 Easy Ways to Start Saving for a Down Payment on a Home</a>)</p> <p>&quot;Do I really know my current income and all expenses?&quot; asked Glenn Phillips, chief executive officer with Pelham, Alabama's Lake Homes Realty. &quot;If you know this for each month, you'll have a realistic understanding of how much money is available for both the purchase and monthly expenses of owning a home.&quot;</p> <p>Those monthly expenses are important, and can add up. And Phillips reminds homeowners that they'll need to budget money each month for additional expenses such as homeowners insurance, water, sewer, garbage pick-up, and of course, home maintenance.</p> <h2>2. How Handy Are You?</h2> <p>If you're handy enough to handle minor &mdash; or some major &mdash; home repairs and renovations on your own, you might be able to land a home in a desirable neighborhood for a cheaper price. Homes that need updates and renovations usually sell for less, which can be a positive for the handy homebuyer with a limited budget.</p> <p>But be careful: Home renovations might cost more than you think. If you're not able to do at least some of these renovations on your own, you might end up paying far more to update your home than you planned.</p> <p>&quot;Should I buy a home that needs no remodeling and is ready to move in at a higher price, rather than buying the same size home &mdash; but one that needs updating at perhaps a lower price?&quot; asked John Bodrozic, co-founder of digital home management site HomeZada. &quot;If I buy a home that needs some remodeling, how many projects are desired, and what is a realistic budget and time frame to get these projects done?&quot;</p> <h2>3. Can You Afford the Monthly Maintenance?</h2> <p>Having enough money to cover your mortgage, utility bills, property taxes, and homeowners insurance is one thing, but do you have enough dollars to cover the monthly upkeep involved with owning a home?</p> <p>A lot can go wrong with a home &mdash; even a new one. Your water heater might burst. Your roof might start leaking. Even smaller projects like maintaining your yard and landscaping can drain your dollars. It's important that new homeowners have enough financial slush in their accounts to handle the monthly cost of keeping a home running, said Melanie McShane, a real estate broker with Arcadia, California's BrokerInTrust Real Estate.</p> <p>&quot;Buying a home is just the beginning,&quot; McShane said. &quot;Once it is yours, you need to maintain and improve it. Replacing a roof or an AC unit are costly fixes. It is imperative that people have a small savings for the upkeep of the home.&quot;</p> <h2>4. How Strong Is Your Credit?</h2> <p>Your three-digit FICO credit score is an important number. Mortgage lenders will look at it to determine how likely you are to repay your mortgage loan. If your score is low &mdash; say under 640 &mdash; your lender will consider you a risk, and will charge you higher interest rates. If your score is in the excellent range &mdash; usually over 740 &mdash; your lenders will charge you far lower rates, making paying for a home more affordable.</p> <p>Remember that a lower credit score can make the entire process of buying a home more costly.</p> <p>&quot;Your credit is extremely important,&quot; said Michelle Richards, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Gold Coast Realty in Hoboken, New Jersey. &quot;The lower your credit score, the higher the down payment you'll need.&quot;</p> <h2>5. How Long Will You Live in Your Home?</h2> <p>If you don't plan on living in an area for at least five years, buying a home might not be a sound financial decision. Your home's value might not appreciate enough in such a short period of time to allow you to sell it for a high enough cost to cover your selling fees and make a profit, said Bill Golden, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Atlanta Cityside.</p> <p>&quot;Except in rare cases when you'd be buying into a rapidly appreciating market, or you're renovating a total fixer-upper, if you don't plan on staying more than a minimum of two to three years, it probably makes more sense for you to rent,&quot; Golden said. &quot;If you know that your job is going to move you again in two years, buying a home might not be the best solution for you.&quot;</p> <p><em>What questions did you ask before buying your home?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-yourself-these-5-questions-before-buying-a-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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