Talking Real Estate - June 2018

BUYERS’ ADVICE

Five Safe Strategies for Homebuying

With home prices and interest rates rising, you may be wondering if now is the best time to buy a home. The answer is always yes but there are ways to buy wisely and safely.

Save for a down payment. The more money you can put down, the better borrowing terms you’ll get on your mortgage. Establish a firm budget. Limit credit card spending and pay down your debts. Put your next raise into savings.

Choose wisely. Your home should improve your lifestyle, but not cripple you with debt. It should serve your household’s needs for at least five to ten years, so consider location, neighborhood, commute times, size, number of bedrooms, amenities and condition.

Buy within your means. Your payment, including interest and taxes, should be no more than 28-30 percent of your gross income or 40-42 percent of your income including existing debt. As your income improves, you’ll be able to meet other life goals, such as growing your family, starting a business, or buying more property.

Buy for the long term. The longer you own your home, the more equity, or ownership, you have and the less you owe the bank. Think of equity like savings you’ll get back when you sell or rent the property some day.

Take care of your property. Keeping your home repaired and updated is the best thing you can do to protect your investment. A home in top condition always sells for more money than homes in less desirable condition.

It always a good idea to consult your financial advisor.

SELLERS’ ADVICE

Portable Gardens for Curb Appeal

To make your home more attractive to homebuyers, you could plant fresh flowers or you could put plants in containers and take your garden with you when you sell your home!  

Containers can accent your home’s personality – like washtubs for a farmhouse look or colorful fired pottery for a bohemian vibe. They’re the perfect solution for styling a porch, entry or walkway.

Follow these easy tips to make sure your potted gardens thrive:

Pick the right container. A confined space means substituting what the plants would get if they were in the ground. You need to have enough space for plants to grow and proper drainage holes so your plants don’t become sodden.

Use fresh potting soil. Good potting soil doesn’t clump and allows roots to spread. It contains nutrients to give plants a good head start.

Group plants according to sun and water requirements. A mix of cascading plants, tall leafy plants and various flowers make a beautiful composition. You can even mix in edibles like vegetables and herbs, but make sure all the plants in one container require the same amount of sun and water.

Water frequently. Container gardens dry out quickly, especially smaller pots. Check that the container is draining properly and you don’t have to worry about overwatering. Water daily in warm weather.

Bigger is better. Larger containers hold more soil, allow plants to grow larger, offer more room for variety and require less frequent watering.

MORTGAGE ADVICE

Should You Wait for Lower Prices and Interest Rates?

Home prices have been rising for over seven years, and mortgage interest rates for five years. Should you wait to buy a home? The numbers say no.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the median existing home price is more than $250,000, the highest it’s ever been. If you wait to buy a home, you’re losing the opportunity to build equity, or ownership, in a home of your own.

If you’re worried that homes are priced too high and you’re afraid of losing money, consider this: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for housing were 50.88% higher in 2018 versus 2000, for an average increase of 2.31 percent a year. The average inflation rate for the same period was 2.07 percent. Home ownership beat inflation by 0.24 percent. 

Mortgage interest rates hit all time highs in October 1981, when a benchmark 30-year fixed rate was 18.45 percent (with 2.3 points paid by the borrower), according to Freddie Mac. The lowest took place November 2012 at 3.35 percent with 0.7 points. At about 4.5 percent for a conforming fixed-rate for those with good credit, mortgage interest rates are tantalizingly low.

The best time to buy a home is when you want to, not when you think the market timing is best. Unless you have a crystal ball, you don’t know if prices and interest rates will recede, plateau and or rise. Look at homebuying for the long term, and you’ll be glad you didn’t wait.

As always consult your financial professional for interest rate information and advice.

HOMEOWNERS’ ADVICE

How to Decorate Your Kitchen with White Hues

Kitchens decorated with mostly white hues never seem to go out of style but there’s a fine line between white that’s serene and beautiful and white that’s stark and clinical. If you love the color white, here are some tips to make your kitchen modern and sophisticated:

  1. Include a little grey. Choosing a light grey to accompany white in your kitchen will still give your white color some dimension. It’s like a shadow that helps define the white.
  2. Go monochromatic. Monochromatic doesn’t mean using all the same hue. If you look at paint colors, tiles, countertops and appliances, there are hundreds of whites. Each white has an undertone, typically blue or yellow. Choose the shade you like best and make sure all the colors you use are in the same family.
  3. Break it up. White can bring the drama if you have an element like stainless or black matte appliances instead of white. Or choose a backsplash in a color that you can repeat in a fabric like curtains or placemats.
  4. Bring the outdoors in. A great view of side or backyard landscaping can bring a lot of color indoors. And what looks lovelier with the color white than nature’s woods and greens?
  5. Pop your white colors with art. Your only “color” in a white hued kitchen might be a contemporary painting with splashes of red, orange or blue. Accessorize with dishes or enameled cookware to complement other color accents.
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