Category: Blog

REPOST: America’s Hottest Real Estate Market Is Cooling Off

The ever-increasing living costs, worsening traffic congestion, and slowing job growth are driving home buyers away from some of America’s biggest real estate hot spots, including the Bay Area. The Epoch Times has the full story:

 

The Silicon Valley area as seen from Monument Peak in near Milpitas, Calif., in this file photo. According to a poll by the Bay Area Council, a growing number of residents said they would like to leave the Bay area.(Yuval Helfman/Shutterstock)

The Silicon Valley area as seen from Monument Peak in near Milpitas, Calif., in this file photo. According to a poll by the Bay Area Council, a growing number of residents said they would like to leave the Bay area.(Yuval Helfman/Shutterstock)

 

San Francisco, which had the greatest home value pick up in recent years, had the weakest real estate market out of the top 100 metropolitan areas in the first quarter of this year, with annual prices falling for the first time since 2011.

Single-family house prices in the San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco area fell 2.5 percent, according to a report by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Meanwhile, home values in the United States rose 6 percent from a year earlier.

Although mortgage rates had risen late last year, there was no slowdown in house price appreciation across the country during the fourth quarter, said FHFA Deputy Chief Economist Andy Leventis in a video.

“Throughout the first quarter of this year, mortgages rates remained at the slightly higher levels, but once again price appreciation remained quite strong,” he said.

Among the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, value increase was the highest in Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Michigan, with home prices rising nearly 14 percent year-on-year.

And the three states that had the highest annual appreciation were District of Columbia, Colorado, and Idaho.

The FHFA index only takes into account purchases financed with mortgage loans that conform to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac standards. Hence the FHFA index may not represent all homebuyers.

 

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Clever and space-smart ideas for tiny homes

Small and tiny living spaces have become a trend nowadays not only for the economic practicality that they offer but also for the uniquely comfortable experience that these home owners can enjoy. Downsizing your home isn’t that easy unless you know the basics especially when it comes to providing your stuff proper storage spaces. However, many have proven that it’s possible to build your new tiny home and still have even more than enough space than an ordinary house.

 

 

Image source: countryliving.com

Image source: countryliving.com

 

If you don’t know where to start, these clever and space-smart ideas for tiny homes will help you build the most practical and unique house without sacrificing your comfort.

 

  • Closet-stairs combination

One of the features of a tiny home is the smart combination of closet and stairs. Utilizing the space under the stairs and turning it into a closet or drawers for your other stuff can be stylish if you combine different shapes and a variety of colorful knob designs.

 

  • Storage cubes and unlimited drawers

Kitchen, bedroom or even tiny living room spaces can be cleverly converted to provide practical and stylish storage units. Colorful drawers, cubes and dividers will do the trick.

 

  • The magic of curtain rods

If you want to maximize your kitchen space, curtain rods are all you need. The secret is this simple home device’s functionality and organization. For instance, it can help you to stack cans on their side instead of putting them on top of another. Plus, this set up enables you to take them out easily.

 

  • Vertical kitchen storage

The kitchen is always at the heart of any food-loving owner’s home. It’s important to have the right tools and equipment but how can it be possible for a tiny house? Simple. Make it practical by going vertical. Vertical storage tricks make it easy to organize kitchen tools and it won’t take up so much space.

 

 

Image source: fabfurnish.com

Image source: fabfurnish.com

 

While these hacks can make a huge difference, it is still in the innovativeness of the overall housing design that homeowners can feel more empowered. The rising urban population means that space in cities is getting scarcer, hence the need for residential units that can efficiently use spaces. Such trend is increasingly common amongst real estate developers, especially in congested cities such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, and even New York. It’s one of the many ways in which the real estate industry is able to innovate, and therefore, make it more appealing to both buyers and investors.

REPOST: HomeAdvisor Study Reveals Spike in Home Improvement Spending

Homeowner equity has considerably grown since the bottom of the housing cycle, encouraging more Americans to spend higher on home improvements and consequently, boosting real estate activities. The Huffington Post has the full story:

 

This year, homeowners are opening their pocketbooks wider when it comes to home improvement. According to HomeAdvisor’s 2017 True Cost Report, homeowners tackled more home improvement projects from February 2016 through February 2017 than in the 12 months prior. And, they spent almost 60 percent more for a typical household in a single year.

 

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Various conditions are fueling the surge in home improvement. Primarily, homeowner equity has doubled since the bottom of the housing cycle — in turn making homeowners feel wealthier and more confident, giving homeowners easy access to home improvement loans and allowing millions of previously upside-down mortgage holders to sell their homes.

 

As a result, more Americans are improving their current homes or moving into new homes. And the increase in real estate activity is triggering home improvement activity on both the seller and buyer sides of the equation (i.e., the seller, who is getting the house spruced up to show, and the new owner, who wants to add their own personality to the newly purchased home).

 

From a regional standpoint, homeowners in the West and Northeast are spending the most on home improvement. And, because they’re accruing some of the highest equity, they are also taking out the most home equity loans to complete projects.

 

From a generational standpoint, baby boomers are doing more home projects — and spending more money, both in aggregate and on a per-household basis — than any other group of homeowners. The millennial generation is trailing close behind.

 

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Home improvement ideas: Smart garage upgrades

When it comes to spicing up the house, the ones which get the most attention are usually the bedroom, the kitchen, or the living room. Peppering them up is important and all, but the garage needs some loving as well. Despite being entrusted with the very important job of holding the family’s much needed tools and beloved cars, they mostly go unnoticed, ending up as a clutter of abysmal proportions. So when it comes to sprucing up the garage, not only does it need to look neat, but everything needs to be smart and functional as well.

 

One great way to free up space on the floor is to install a ceiling storage system. All the person needs to do is assemble the flanges, mount them on the ceiling joists, and slide in storage bins of the right size. Since the objects stored will be placed way up high, heavy materials should not be placed within the bins. Christmas ornaments and camping gear however are just perfect.

 

 25-garage-design-ideas-25

Image source: wonderfulengineering.com

 

Most garages are used as workspaces, but one of the most common problems that homeowners face is that there is nowhere to put the workbench. So why not create one that is mounted to the wall and can be folded when not in use?

 

While inside the garage, car doors are prone to banging on the wall if they are opened carelessly. Those can leave some pretty nasty scratches. To prevent them completely, pool noodles will do just the trick. Wooden bumpers can also prevent bikes from getting knocked down or parking too far in.

 

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Image source: impressiveinteriordesign.com

 

In residential real estate business, the garage constitutes one of the fundamental facilities of any ‘good’ property. Majority of Americans own a car or two and having a space for their vehicle is definitely a must. Furthermore, those who take their garage’s design seriously often get the best deal for their property. Interestingly, some of the world’s most successful companies started off as garage-based businesses (read: Amazon.com, Apple, and Disney).

REPOST: 7 Home Improvement & Remodeling Ideas that Increase Home Value

Reinventing the house is one of the best ways to increase your property’s value. After all, buyers would always want to buy a new home that fits with their aesthetic appetite. Read more from this blog on Money Crashers:

 

Kitchen

With the real estate market still in a slump, more and more people have decided not to sell their home. Instead, they have chosen to stay put, until things get better. I count myself in this group; I had my own home on the market for two years. My house sold, and the sale fell through, on two separate occasions. As a result, I’ve resolved to stay put until the real estate market improves.

 

However, now that I’ve decided to stay in this home instead of moving, I plan to make several home improvements to make my home more comfortable (e.g. building a sunroom to combat the dreary Michigan winters, and building a backyard deck).

 

Many home improvement projects don’t add value to your home, especially in a down market. In fact, some improvements can even detract from the asking price when you decide to sell. On the other hand, some projects can add significant value to your home.

 

So which home improvement projects should you invest in, and which projects should you avoid? Below are some helpful tips for home improvement projects that increase the value of your home, and home improvement projects to avoid altogether.

 

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