How Student Loans Affect Your Credit Score

July 7, 2014

in Tips

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College-bound students and their parents need not despair. Student loans – when handled correctly and responsibly – can actually serve as a major asset in building a student’s credit history and credit score. They can result in a graduate being able to qualify for his or her first apartment, first car loan and, very often, first unsecured credit card. Paying off student loans is an effective way (and often, the only way) for young people to boost their credit scores. In other words, there is a silver lining to student debt. As with most other loans, you can give your credit score the biggest boost by making your student loan payments on time. At the end of the day, your credit score benefits the most from on-time, regular student loan repayments. After spending four years stressing out about your GPA, your credit score shouldn’t become your newest three-digit obsession. That said, you should know what it is, and take steps toward improving it if it needs a boost. [Read this article]

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Atlanta: Porches With Style

July 7, 2014

in Lennar,Markets

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There are few elements of architecture as infused with Southern style as the porch. And not just a little covered entranceway: A true Southern porch has room for more than a few rockers, a table or two, potted plants and maybe a swing. It’s the ideal spot for catching a summer night’s breeze while waving to the neighbors going by. And it serves a practical purpose as well. Buyers and homeowners alike are drawn not just to front porches, but ones that are in the back of the house, screened-in, wrapping around or spanning two stories. With the South’s long stretches of mild weather, these outdoor areas easily become living spaces that are usable most of the year. Ginny Bryant, director of sales and marketing for Lennar Homes, says the company’s new-home buyers in farther-out regions of Cherokee, west Cobb and Forsyth are crazy for porches. “I think a lot of it has to do with the larger home sites,” said Bryant. “For instance, the west Cobb market is a bit more rural with larger sites than east Cobb, and buyers there prefer a nice front porch that is truly functional, not just a few feet of covered space to give an architectural look.” [Read this article]

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5 Factors That Influence Your Home’s Resale Value

July 7, 2014

in Tips

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While home sellers hope to get top dollar for their property – and some have an inflated idea of what to expect – establishing a home’s value can be a complex, multifaceted process. Do home renovations really pay off? And which is more valuable: a three-bedroom or a four-bedroom with the same square footage? We talked to real estate insiders to find out. “Buyers increasingly value community in the community where they’re buying,” says Amy Anderson, an agent with Davidson Realty, Inc. in St. Augustine, Florida. “They come to me not looking for a house for four years, but focusing much more on the community, the activities and the school district.” As Americans scale back their dependence on automobiles, some homebuyers seek out communities that don’t require cars to get around. Layout is a key factor because an open-concept design can look much more spacious than a boxy space of the same size. The number of bedrooms also influences a home’s value, so think twice before putting up a wall and subdividing one room into two. [Read this article]

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Post image for Lennar Is Celebrating Our 60th Birthday With A National Home Sales Event, This Weekend

You are cordially invited to join Lennar this weekend, July 12th and 13th, during our “60th Birthday Celebration” National Home Sales Event. As we celebrate our 60th Birthday this year, all of us at Lennar are excited to make YOUR new dream home wishes come true. Visit us online at Lennar.com or visit any Lennar Welcome Home Center to learn more about special savings opportunities on a variety of new homes. Everyone’s invited to our Everything’s Included Home party! We can’t wait to show you the new home you’ve always wanted, with thousands of dollars in extras included at no extra charge, to provide you the best possible value. The celebration is this Saturday and Sunday in every Lennar location…across the nation! [Click here for more information]

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More Would-Be Home Sellers Say Prices Are Attractive

June 30, 2014

in News

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Here’s a data nugget that portends well for the housing market: This month the largest share of homeowners in eight years said prices had increased, making sales more attractive. Echoing that finding, few consumers said in June that they would lose money if they put their home on the market and sold it, the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters reported. These findings are important because they signal that one major roadblock for the housing market’s rebound – a low number of properties available for sale – is easing. Rather than select from a meager number of housing options, some families have preferred to sit on the sidelines of the market, even when home prices and mortgage rates were at ultra-low levels in 2013. But prices have now strengthened enough that more families are becoming willing and able to put their homes on the market. [Read this article]

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Millennial-Driven Housing Boom Coming

June 30, 2014

in News

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The Millennials who for years have been holed-up in their childhood homes, won’t be there forever. They really do want to move out, according to a study by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, and by 2025 could form 24 million new households. Some 11 million recent grads were living with a parent in 2012, according to Pew. The homeownership rate for those under age 35 was 36% in the first three months of 2014, down from a high of 43% in 2005, according to the Census. Three main factors have been holding them back, said the Harvard study: A weak job market for recent graduates. Student loans. And tight lending standards. But as the economy turns around, the obstacles have begun to fall. “When the job market recovers and their income recovers, they are going make their mark on this housing market,” said Christopher Herbert, research director at the Harvard division, in a panel discussion following the release of the Harvard report. Instead of a mass exodus from their parents’ homes, the authors said Millenials’ might just trickle out, mirroring what Herbert called the economy’s “steady, slow recovery.” [Read this article]

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Rise In Home Prices Is Slowing, And That’s A Good Thing

June 30, 2014

in News

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The latest readings on United States home prices are the latest confirmation of a slowdown in that area: Prices are still rising in most cities, but much more slowly than they were a few months ago. And that’s news we should cheer. Just two years ago, buying a home looked to be a screaming bargain across most of the country. But the gains in home prices since then have made it a much closer call. This housing recovery seems healthier and more sustainable than the bubble of the early 2000s. Then, even as home prices soared beyond any traditional level relative to income, home buyers responded by taking on more risk and buying anyway, speculating on further home price gains. This time, they seem to be looking at high valuations and not getting caught up in the excitement, instead drawing the line and paying no more than they can afford. [Read this article]

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10 Best Places For Families To Live

June 30, 2014

in Markets

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To help families find affordable homes in great school districts, ZipRealty has released its second annual ranking of the Best Places for Families to Live. The rankings take into account the availability of highly ranked schools, based on ZipRealty’s School Score, and the affordability of local real estate, which factors the median price per square foot within the school district. School Score ratings measure the performance of each school district, including elementary, middle and high schools on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. Also considered are areas where 10 home sales closed within the school district during 2013. The list of the Top 10 Best Places for Families to Live is topped by Minneapolis, and also includes Charlotte, Dallas, Portland, Austin, Seattle and Orange County, California. [Read this article]

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What Temperature Should You Keep Your Home In The Summer?

June 30, 2014

in Green Living,Tips

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There are no hard and fast rules for how hot or cool a home should actually be. Energy and comfort experts agree that the ideal cost-saving temperature for most thermostats is about 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter. Your willingness to dress for the weather and personal comfort threshold do play a part in where your thermostat ultimately lands, but these are great places to start when you’re hunting for a setting that saves you money and keeps your indoor temperature just right. Depending on who you ask, moving your thermostat as little as one degree higher for air conditioning or one degree lower for heating can save about two percent on your energy costs in an eight-hour period. It might not sound like much, but if you raise your home from a frosty 72 degrees to a still-cool 76 degrees every night for one summer, you’ll save eight percent off your summer energy bills. [Read this article]

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There Are More 23-Year-Olds Than Any Other Age (And They’re Going To Save The World)

June 30, 2014

in News

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By now we’re all familiar with the plight of the millennial generation, those born after 1980. They owe the bulk of America’s $1 trillion in student debt. They have little or no savings. A third still live at home with their parents. Those with jobs are often underemployed and underpaid. Millennials do have one big thing going for them: numbers. At 4.3 million, 23-year-olds are now the single largest age group in the U.S. This is good news for twenty-somethings, who will benefit from their overall size through the economic growth they’ll create. It’s even better news for the economy, which will need every penny of taxes they pay and consumer demand they generate to offset the impact of 70 million baby boomers entering retirement. Today’s 23-year-olds are starting their work lives in a weaker economy than the one the boomers entered. Yet they are better off than older millennials who graduated from college in the worst of the recession. [Read this article]

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