Renters and Homeowners: A Cultural Divide

September 16, 2014

in News

Post image for Renters and Homeowners: A Cultural Divide

Turns out Americans view their communities quite differently depending on whether they own or rent their homes. Looking closer at the results of the Atlantic Media/Siemens State of City poll, some key differences emerge between those who pay a mortgage and those who pay rent. More than half of homeowners polled said they feel very safe walking in their neighborhoods at night, compared to just 30 percent of renters. Homeowners also feel a lot more financially secure. Nearly half described their household financial situation as comfortable, as opposed to just 17 percent of renters who feel the same. When asked if they would rate their neighborhood as an excellent place to live, 46 percent of homeowners said yes. Only 27 percent of renters feel the same way about their surroundings. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

Housing Costs After Retirement: Owning A Home Outright Benefits Retirees

September 16, 2014

in News,Tips

Post image for Housing Costs After Retirement: Owning A Home Outright Benefits Retirees

A new report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies reaffirms the common belief that retirees who own their homes outright are considerably better off than those carrying mortgages or paying rent. The report, called “Housing America’s Older Adults,” focuses on the changes needed to supply sufficient affordable housing for the country’s 50-and-over population, which is projected to increase about 20 percent by 2030. The report found that paying off a mortgage dramatically reduces housing costs and provides an equity cushion to help cover other major expenses. Homeowners nearing retirement who have a mortgage with a low fixed-interest rate shouldn’t necessarily pay it off, so long as they have accumulated enough assets in retirement accounts to comfortably cover the monthly expense, said Jacob H. Gold of Jacob Gold & Associates, a wealth management firm in Scottsdale, Arizona. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

Sun And Wind Alter Global Landscape, Leaving Utilities Behind

September 15, 2014

in Green Living,Lennar

Post image for Sun And Wind Alter Global Landscape, Leaving Utilities Behind

One recent day, under a brilliant California sun, saws buzzed as workers put the finishing touches on spacious new homes. They looked like many others going up in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, but with an extra feature: Lennar Corporation was putting solar panels on every house it built. The prices of the panels have plunged 70 percent in the past five years. That huge decline means solar power is starting to make more economic sense, especially in parts of the United States with high electricity prices. At about 100 Lennar subdivisions in California, buyers who move into a new home automatically get solar panels on the roof. Lennar, the nation’s second-largest homebuilder, recently decided to expand that policy to several more states, starting with Colorado. The company typically retains ownership of the panels and signs 20-year deals to sell homeowners the power from their own roofs, at a 20 percent discount from the local utility’s prices. “It’s so simple when we tell a customer, ‘You’re guaranteed to save money,’ ” said David J. Kaiserman, president of Lennar Ventures, the division overseeing the solar plan. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

The 20 Best Cities For Job Seekers This Fall

September 12, 2014

in Markets

Post image for The 20 Best Cities For Job Seekers This Fall

A new survey by employment services firm Manpower Group found that employers in almost all 50 states expect to increase their staff levels next quarter, and most plan to finish the year on a more confident hiring note than they did in 2013. Of the surveyed employers, 19% expect to increase their payrolls and 7% say they’ll decrease their staffing levels. This yields a net increase of 12% that plan to hire – or 15% when seasonally adjusted, which is up 1% from last quarter and 2% from the fourth quarter of 2013. Among the 20 best cities for job seekers this fall: Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Phoenix, San Jose, Fort Myers, Seattle, Orlando, San Diego, San Antonio, Tampa, Atlanta and Charleston. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

Redfin Names The Top Neighborhoods For Highly-Ranked Schools

September 12, 2014

in Markets

Post image for Redfin Names The Top Neighborhoods For Highly-Ranked Schools

To find the best public schools for their children, parents need to do their homework. Fortunately, there are online resources to help them identify which public schools are top of the class, and which aren’t making the grade. The next step is to buy a home in a neighborhood served by those schools. Being within a highly rated public school zone can have a dramatic effect on the value of your home. When accounting for size, on average, people pay $50 more per square foot for homes in top-rated school zones compared with homes in average-rated zones. But if you’re a new parent, are moving to a new city or are a first-time homebuyer, it can be difficult to determine which neighborhoods have the most highly rated public schools, and what it’s going to take to buy a home there. Redfin evaluated cities and highlighted the top three neighborhoods with the most highly rated schools in each. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

How To Make Your Home A Perfect Nesting Place

September 12, 2014

in Tips

Post image for How To Make Your Home A Perfect Nesting Place

Making a painless transition from summer to fall is all about planning. The better we prepare our homes for the coming months of rain and cold, the less we mind it. “A hub nest for autumn and winter is a place where you do not feel anxious, and where everything is fit for purpose,” says London-based designer Caz Knight, of Weller Interior Design.The maxim “There is no such thing as bad weather, there is only inappropriate clothing” applies just as much to the home. Textures, color, lighting and just the right amount of clutter can winter-proof any room. There’s little comfort in minimalism when the skies turn gray, and this season’s home design trends – large patterns, bold colors and layered carpets – work particularly well to ward off any hint of seasonal affective disorder. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

Foodie Cities: Real Estate For The Restaurant Set

September 12, 2014

in Markets

Post image for Foodie Cities: Real Estate For The Restaurant Set

The foodie movement has reshaped residential real estate. Americans’ passion for both cooking and cuisine has spurred demand for kitchens with top-notch appliances, specialty prep areas and climate-controlled wine cellars. Many of the newest downtown residential developments are centered on the local food scene, near vibrant green markets and top-rated restaurants run by celebrity chefs. Some developers are launching rental buildings with high-end culinary amenities, aimed at younger residents who grew up with the foodie movement. Real-estate agents say the foodie angle can be a key selling point for a luxury property. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

The Surprising Thing Gen Z Wants To Do With Its Money

September 11, 2014

in News

Post image for The Surprising Thing Gen Z Wants To Do With Its Money

Generation Z – also known as post-millennials, born after the 1990s Internet bubble – seems to prize home ownership like no generation since their great-grandparents. An astounding 97% of post-millennials believe they will one day own a home; 82% say it is the most important part of the American dream, according to a survey of teens age 13 to 17 by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. More than half would give up social media for a year and do double the homework if it guaranteed they’d be able to buy a house. Where millennials hardened and vowed never to repeat the errors of their parents, post-millennials sought the comfort of family and togetherness, says Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens. “Many of these Gen Z teens were 7 to 11 years old when the recession hit,” Chris said. “At that age, children equate home with stability.” And the dream appears firmly grounded in reality. Chris observed that today’s teens have more information than any previous generation at their age and show early signs of financial awareness. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

Housing Markets With The Largest Increases In Asking Prices

September 10, 2014

in Markets,News

Post image for Housing Markets With The Largest Increases In Asking Prices

Nationally, the month-over-month increase in asking home prices rose to 1.0% in August, up a bit from 0.7% in July. Asking prices rose 7.8% year-over-year, slower than one year ago, in August 2013, when asking prices were up 9.9% year-over-year. At the local level, asking prices rose year-over-year in 96 of the 100 largest U.S. metros. Seven of the 10 U.S. metros with the largest year-over-year price increases are in the South, including the top four: Miami, Birmingham, Lakeland-Winter Haven, and West Palm Beach. In the accelerating markets of Birmingham, West Palm Beach, and Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, the year-over-year price gain in August 2013 was less than 5% and is now more than 13%. Foreclosures have shaped where and when home prices have recovered. Foreclosed homes tend to depress neighboring home values and sell at a discount. But once most of the foreclosures in a market are sold, then overall inventory tightens – especially at the low end – giving home prices a boost. Now, even judicial states are seeing the light at the end of the foreclosure tunnel and are getting their own price boost. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }

5 Credit Score Must-Knows For Millennials

September 10, 2014

in Tips

Post image for 5 Credit Score Must-Knows For Millennials

According to a recent survey by the Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore Solutions, 18- to 34-year-olds know less than other demographic groups about who’s looking at their credit scores, who collects the information on which scores are based, and what factors drive credit score calculations. “Millennials are less knowledgeable about credit scores simply because they have had less experience in the financial services marketplace” than older consumers, says Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America. In order to help you avoid any pitfalls, Bankrate.com has put together a primer on credit scores and credit reports. Here’s what you absolutely must know. “The most important thing (millennials) can do to keep their scores high is to make all their credit card and other loan payments on time,” Brobeck says. [Read this article]

{ 0 comments }