The 5 Most Common Dangerous Home Issues

The 5 Most Common Dangerous Home IssuesYou are supposed to feel safe in your own home; however, accidents can happen and there are plenty of hidden dangers that might land someone in the hospital. It is important for you to understand the common household dangers. Knowledge is power and you can take steps to prevent these issues from arising.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

This is one of the most common household dangers that everyone should know. Homes always have a smoke detector; however, carbon monoxide detectors are often overlooked. This is an odorless gas that can actually kill someone if the levels get too high. Make sure that your carbon monoxide detectors are working. This gas commonly arises from the tailpipe of a running car.

Lead Poisoning

Lead can be absorbed through the skin or the mouth. Lead poisoning can lead to serious neurological issues. Newer homes are built without lead paint; however, if you purchase an older home, there might still be lead paint on the walls. Check the paint thoroughly and swap it out if lead is present.

Mold

Mold is a common hazard that grows in homes. Mold can release spores into the air that can irritate people who suffer from asthma and allergies. Make sure that you keep your home clean to avoid mold growth. Mold likes warm, humid climates.

Falls

Injuries due to falls are among the most common accidents that happen in homes. If someone falls in their home, they are at risk of breaking bones or suffering a head injury. Make sure that you keep your outdoor steps clean and stabilize your staircases. This will reduce the risk of falls.

Drowning

Unfortunately, drowning can happen even if someone is safe in their own home. Even if a house doesn’t have a pool, people can still drown in the bathtub. In order to reduce the risk of a drowning event, make sure your pool has a fence around it (if you have one). Also, try to supervise bathing children. This will reduce the risk of a drowning event.

Reducing Household Dangers

Knowing about these dangers ahead of time reduces the chances of them happening. Try to inspect your home thoroughly to make sure that these common hazards are avoided.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

How To Find Hot Markets For Real Estate Investment

How To Find Hot Markets For Real Estate InvestmentReal estate investors who want to build up a strong investment portfolio always keep an eye out for hot markets, which gives them a chance to pick up properties that add to their portfolio value.

A word of caution about hot markets is that if you learn about them after they are already hot, you may have missed much of the run-up that made them hot.

Clever real estate investors try to anticipate markets that will heat up before they do, so they can buy properties in advance of increasing values. Selling properties in a hot market is how they capture profits.

The Hot Markets

Realtor.com® identified seven markets in the United States that are currently hot markets for flipping houses. The average gross profit for house flippers is $62,700. This figure does not include the cost of making the repairs. The gross profit equals about 20% to 33% of the home’s sales price after making the repairs.

An evaluation looking for hot markets for flipping homes considered the percentage of home sales that were investment properties.

The current hot markets, in the order of activity, are:

  1. St. Louis, MO – 18.8% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $189,900.
  2. Birmingham, AL – 17.3% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $190,000.
  3. Miami, FL – 17% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $299,900.
  4. Tampa, FL – 16.2% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $230,000.
  5. Memphis, TN – 16.1% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $206,300.
  6. Las Vegas, NV – 15.7% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $301,800.
  7. Phoenix, AZ – 15.1% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $275,800.

Hot Pockets In Cooler Markets

Another way to find opportunities is to know your local market very well and look for areas that are up and coming. Look for a fixer-upper in a decent area. Also, search in areas that are adjacent to high-priced areas.

Look for soft barriers that can be passed easily, such as a block that is improving, which is next to another block that has already improved. Hard barriers, such as a wide street, a freeway, or a river make it more challenging for an improving neighborhood trend to pass across them.

Summary

Finding a hot market or a hot pocket comes from investigating potential growth areas and watching them. Get a feel for the trends. One strategy is to buy early when the prices are still low, rent the property for a while, and then sell later, once the market heats up.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional.

When’s The Best Time To Buy A House?

When's The Best Time To Buy A HouseIf you happen to want to move to a hot market for home sellers, here is some advice. Go looking for a home to buy when it is freezing outside or the weather is otherwise severe. Buying a home is both about finding one you like and beating out others if the market has buying competition.

Days On Market

To find out the competition for a particular market, check the median number of days that a home is listed on the market before it sells. This is called the “days on market.”

In a hot seller’s market, the median number of listing days may be very low. The national average days on market (DOM) is 62 days in America.

The top ten cities where homes sell the fastest with the lowest DOM as reported by Realtor.com® are:

  1. San Francisco, CA – DOM 28
  2. Spokane, WA – DOM 31
  3. Boston, MA – DOM 32
  4. Colorado Springs, CO – DOM 32
  5. Lafayette, IN – DOM 34
  6. Columbus, OH – DOM 34
  7. Sacramento, CA – DOM 34
  8. Santa Cruz, CA – DOM 34
  9. Midland, TX – DOM 36
  10. Odessa, TX – DOM 36

Time Of Year

Most homebuyers look for a home during spring and summer. That is when the buying competition is normally stronger. June is the worst month to buy a home if you want to get a discount.

If you can wait until fall or winter, you may see more price reductions. The best time to make a low offer may be during the short window of time between Christmas and New Year’s when virtually no one is looking to buy a home.

Use bad weather for an advantage. Go looking for a home in the dead of winter, when the roads are barely passable, and you may be the only buyer interested. Another advantage that comes from viewing a home during severe weather is that you get to see how much trouble the weather will be if you own it.

Tax Time

One very successful real estate investor buys homes right before tax time because that is when sellers are worried about paying taxes and might be more flexible on the price.

Estate Sales

It is possible to get a nice deal on a house when a family is liquidating assets.

Divorce

A seller may be motivated by having to sell a house as part of a divorce settlement.

Summary

The main factors, if you want to get a discounted price for buying a home, are not to be in a rush to buy one and take your time finding a home that is for sale by a motivated seller. Always ask, “Why are you selling your home?” when negotiating with a seller.

If you are interested in buying a new home or in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

Ways to Stay Safe During the Holidays

Ways to Stay Safe During the HolidaysThe arrival of fall, with cooler temperatures followed by a season of holiday celebrations, means getting cozy at home, spending more time cooking and enjoying friends and family in front of a blazing fire, and lighting up your home for a series of holidays. Sadly, though, it is also a time that carries a higher risk of property losses due to fire and accidental injuries.

Here are some guidelines about how to reduce those risks and stay safe this winter:

Keep The Kitchen Safe

Serious burns and kitchen fires can dampen any holiday celebration. Statistics show that Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays can be especially prone to accidental kitchen fires and injury. If you have guests helping out, or children in the kitchen, be especially watchful. Don’t overload circuits and never let electrical cords dangle over counters. Supervise young helpers, and know what to do in case of a stove-top grease fire or a sparking appliance.

Check The Fireplace

There’s nothing as cozy as a roaring fire on a chilly winter evening. But follow the rules for fireplace safety: Have a proper screen, don’t throw paper into the fire, and check the damper and chimney spark arrestor. Whether you have a traditional fireplace or a gas-fueled metal firebox, perform a pre-season check to assure that everything is operating properly before lighting that first fire.

Candle Safety

Candles are a huge risk during the holiday season, from Halloween on through New Years. As pretty as they are, wax candles should never be left to burn unattended, indoors or out. If you want to line your sidewalk with jack-o-lanterns or create a glowing pathway for winter guests, consider battery-operated candles for safety. Indoors, keep candles away from draperies, drafts and flammable decorations, and don’t ever place candles on a Christmas tree or among pine boughs on a mantel or dining room table. It’s simply too dangerous.

Trees And Home Decorations

If lighting up the home for the holidays is a tradition for your family, check the UL label for both indoor and outdoor lighting and never overload a circuit. Use care when stringing lights, and turn them off when you’re not at home. Check ornament labels — look for flame retardant and non-flammable certification. Always turn lights off at night or when you’re not at home.

General Safety Precautions

Autumn is also the prime time to test your home’s smoke alarms. It’s smart to stage a family fire drill. Go over your escape plan in case of fire, and be sure to inform guests about what to do in case of emergency. In addition, if you don’t already have a carbon monoxide detector, why not consider installing one this fall?

Staying safe is a family responsibility, one that you should take seriously!

If you are looking for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property this winter, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

Real Estate Tips for a First-Time Home Seller

Real Estate Tips for a First-Time Home SellerMany homeowners don’t think about what it takes to successfully sell a home until they make the decision to purchase a new home. It makes sense to consider the best ways to improve your home sales appeal early if you think you might consider selling at any time in the future.

Some reasons for buying a new house are to accommodate a growing family or a transfer to a new job. No matter the reason you want to buy a new home, it is important that you take the right steps to ensure you sell your home on terms that meet your needs.

Not only do you want to get a good price for your home, but you also want to sell your home sooner rather than later. Read this article for real estate tips that will help you as a first-time home seller.

Price Your Home Accurately

It is essential that you price your home accurately. To do this, you should use a reputable, trusted real estate listing agent. The home selling process will be far more straightforward for you if you choose a real estate agent who is actively engaged in real estate on a daily basis and knows your neighborhood well.

Your agent will take a look at the comparable sales of homes in the area and create an estimate of value, which is called a comparative market analysis. You can compare this estimate to the estimates from different real estate websites as well.

However, your listing agent will likely provide you with the most accurate estimate of value because they will use their education and experience to take into consideration the nuances of your local market and your particular home that will impact the sales price.

Home Staging

If you want to boost the value and buyer appeal of your home, you should do some home staging. In general, homes are most appealing to buyers with half of the furniture removed. Believe it or not, you want potential buyers to walk into your and wonder if anyone is actually living in the home.

The purpose of home staging is to boost the appeal and selling power. One of the best and most cost effective upgrades you can do during the home staging process is painting the walls. A fresh coat of paint will make any home look better.

List Your Home

The season that you choose to list your home is an important decision. The sales success can depend on the weather, time of year, local community, school schedules, and the state of the real estate market. Your real estate listing agent should have a solid plan to broadcast their new listing in the best light possible on its first day being listed and follow that with an energetic promotional agenda.

Talk with them to learn more about their customary marketing plan before agreeing to list your home for sale. This gives your agent a chance to demonstrate their marketing expertise and you will know that you have the best representation for your home when it goes on the market.

If you are interested in purchasing a new home or refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

Four Key Injury Prevention Tips On Moving Day

Four Key Injury Prevention Tips On Moving DayIt’s more likely that someone will incur an injury on moving day than on an ordinary day. The reason is that people are moving in ways that they don’t normally move, loads can be heavy, and accidents do happen. However, most injuries on moving day can be prevented by taking a few simple precautions.

Use A Dolly

Instead of trying to move more than one box by hand, use a dolly or a hand truck. This inexpensive tool can safely move multiple boxes without you having to lift anything at all. Keep in mind that all the boxes should be of equal size; don’t attempt to stack uneven boxes because they may shift and fall, causing an injury.

Take Breaks

Moving day is stressful because there is often a time constraint involved. Everything has to be moved into the truck by a certain time in order to remain on schedule. However, this is the kind of pressure that can lead to injuries. Being overtired leads to carelessness and that’s when accidents occur. Take multiple 10-minute rest breaks throughout the day so your body and mind have a chance to recuperate.

Don’t Overload Boxes

One of the most common moving day injuries happens when someone tries to lift a box that ends up being excessively heavy. Be mindful of the weigh of each box as you pack it. It’s better to keep the weight reasonable and stuff the box with filler than to overload boxes. You don’t have to weigh each box, but just give it a gentle lift to monitor how heavy it’s getting as you pack it.

Send Smaller Kids Packing

If you have smaller kids, the best option is to send them to the parents’ house, or to a babysitter’s until everything is in the truck. Smaller kids may run around and trip you up, distract your attention or otherwise get injured.

Even the backyard is not a great idea, because they may wander near the truck out of curiosity. For their safety and yours, consider having someone care for them for the day off the premises.

Finally, if you do feel a twinge in your back or get overly exerted, stop what you’re doing and sit or lay down for a few minutes. Don’t try to “push through” the pain; it’s not worth it. Moving day injuries can be minimized or prevented when you take these simple steps.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

6 Smart Ways Hardware Can Upgrade Your New Home

6 Smart Ways Hardware Can Upgrade Your New HomeDecorating and putting the finishing touches on your new home is definitely one of the most fun parts of moving. It’s satisfying to fill your new home with furnishings and décor choices that reflect your personality and lifestyle.

One of the most overlooked aspects of decorating is the hardware. However, hardware changes can dramatically transform your home in unexpected ways. Here are some ideas to use.

Install A New Door Knocker

If your new home has a door knocker, replace it with a new one. If it doesn’t already have one, it’s easy to install a door knocker using a simple household tool box.

Install A Peephole

Your front door will be more secure with a peephole installed. Modern peepholes give a broad range of vision that will allow you to see to the far right and left of the front door. Be sure to install it low enough that older kids can look out of it easily, too.

Replace Doorknobs

If your new home is actually just new to you, it may have old and worn doorknobs. New doorknobs will make the actual door look brand new, too. Consider decorative doorknobs, which are a step above the standard brass doorknobs we’re all familiar with. If you aren’t comfortable replacing doorknobs, consider hiring a handyman or locksmith to do it for you.

Upgrade Wall Outlet Covers

Wall outlets are in every room, yet few homeowners think to upgrade them. You can find decorative wall outlet covers in various patterns, colors and images in hardware stores and online. If the idea of switching out all your wall outlet covers is overwhelming, consider just a few in special places, like your child’s bedroom or in the kitchen.

Upgrade Lighting Pull Cords

Those ceiling light pull cords leave a lot to be desired. Most of them are utilitarian but definitely not decorative. Consider adding an attractive fob to the end of each lighting fixture pull. Your local hardware lighting section will have many to choose from, and they’re very easy to install with not tools at all.

Replace Kitchen Cabinet Handles

Your new kitchen cabinets will get a facelift when you replace the old handles with new ones. Be sure to also get matching drawer pulls for the best overall effect.

Now you can see that changing out or adding new hardware can make such a big difference in the way your new home looks and feels. Just one afternoon of doing this easy project will make your new home look amazing for years to come.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in listing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted real estate agent.

Young Home Buyers Are A Growing Trend

Young Home Buyers Are A Growing TrendA new group of young American adults is emerging as home buyers. These are the young adults who were born after 1995 and are part of the demographic group named Generation Z (Gen Z). In 2019, there are 31.5 million Gen Z members who are adult age. This will increase to 44.5 million adults in this demographic group by 2032 as all the younger members become adults.

Right now, there are around 14 million adults in the Gen Z category who are using credit for the first time.

Not Too Young To Buy A Home

Transunion reports that most Gen Z members are getting credit cards, which is the easiest form of credit available to them. However, they are also applying for mortgage financing in record numbers. The year-over-year increase in home loans among this demographic group is up 112%.

Planning For The Future

In a study conducted by Bank of America, the majority of Gen Z consumers, who are between 18 and 23 years old, are already saving for the down payment needed to buy a home. A huge number of them, 59%, report that they plan to purchase a home during the next five years.

Most dream of owning a home before they are 30 years old. They want to buy modestly-sized and lower-priced homes. They have a high interest in homes that are energy-efficient, homes that use smart technology, and those with renewable energy systems.

Smart Homes And Smart Financial Planning

Many of this generation are still living with their parents to save money for a home purchase, which they would otherwise have to pay in rent. Having lived through the Great Recession in 2008, they are, in general, more pragmatic than previous generations. They take home ownership very seriously.

Manifestation Of The American Dream

Over 71%, of those desiring to buy a home, are already designing it in great detail by selecting things they find on the Internet, which appeal to them. They use social media systems like Pinterest and others to get interesting decorative ideas. They share their home decor ideas with friends.

Conclusion

REALTORS® who work with this new group of home buyers will likely find them more motivated to buy a home than previous generations. They are usually more dedicated with their serious financial planning efforts in how to go about achieving their dreams.

The Generation Z consumers know what they want. They are willing to make sacrifices to get it. The majority want a home and are making plans about how to pay for it.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss your financing options.

Are Tiny Homes Here To Stay?

Are Tiny Homes Here To StayThe average size of an American home has been increasing since the 1970s. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) reports that, in 1973, the median size for a new home in the United States was 1,660 square feet.

Over the past 45 years or so, this increased by more than 1,000 square feet. The median size of a new home is now 2,687 square feet.

The Problem With Big Houses

At first, a big house is appealing until one tries to clean it or pay the utility bills. Many baby boomers, who are now nearing retirement age, are downsizing, especially if their children have all moved away.

Moreover, Millennials are the first generation of Americans to experience a reduced standard of living when compared to their parents.

Many millennials see big houses as wasteful, environmentally destructive, and not sustainable. Also, with the challenge of paying off massive student debt, these young adults are delaying buying a home or may remain renters for their rest of their lives, foregoing the chance to have their own home.

One solution for the problems with big houses is to make homes smaller.

The Tiny House Movement

There are strong motivators for the social trend called “The Tiny House Movement.” Many want a smaller space to live in, which they can more easily maintain and afford. Tiny houses are no more than 400 square feet. That is like living in a compact studio apartment.

TheTinyLife says that tiny houses are being built all over the country. They come in almost any style imaginable. The median price for a quality tiny house is about $40,000, although do-it-yourself types can build one for a lot less.

Some are built on a trailer bed that makes them portable. Others are built to function properly in off-grid locations using solar power. There are even tiny houses that have been printed using 3-D printing technology.

Tiny houses can be luxurious, or they can be built to provide inexpensive solutions for housing that helps the homeless.

The Denver Tiny House Community

Denver is trying an experiment with a group of tiny houses called The Beloved Community Village. This is a group of private one-room units that share a communal kitchen and bathrooms. They started with 11 units and plan to expand to 20.

The challenges they experienced were not necessarily construction related. They needed to change the zoning and occupant density rules to allow the development.

Summary

People make a conscious choice to simplify their lifestyle for the freedom that a minimalistic philosophy brings. It is quite possible to live well while also living with less. Tiny houses may even be part of the solution for the approximately half a million homeless people living on the streets in America as the successful tiny house community village in Denver is now demonstrating.

If you are interested in a new home or in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.

How To Maximize The Resale Value Of Your Home

How To Maximize The Resale Value Of Your HomeThere are a few things to consider, when selling a home, that will help you maximize your potential for a better sales price. Seasoned real estate professionals are one of your best resources for these tips.

The Buyer’s First Impression Is Emotional

The first goal is to improve the buyer’s first impression when they see photos or a video of the home, do a drive-by, or make an appointment to view the home. Work with a real estate agent on staging the home and pay particular attention to curb appeal.

Staging means that a home has no clutter. Remove any personal items (family photos, toys, pets, etc.). Make closets less than one-third full. Make sure the home is immaculately clean. Use nice decor and minimal furniture.

Logical Backup For The Buyer’s Emotions

Once a buyer has a positive emotional reaction to the home, then to cement the deal at a good price, offer logical backup to support the emotional reaction. Create a handout that lists the amenities and positive attributes of living in the neighborhood, such as good schools. If possible, sell the neighborhood and the community along with the home.

Answer a buyer’s, often unspoken, question of “Why should I live in this area?”

Like-New Condition

Homes that are in perfect condition usually sell for a premium price and may attract multiple purchase offers. Make any repairs that are necessary to ensure all the systems in the home are in working order.

Another confidence builder for a buyer is when the seller reimburses the fees for the inspections needed, from the escrow closing. Let the buyer choose the inspection companies from a pre-approved list that is acceptable for the seller.

Kitchen and master bathroom upgrades usually have a positive impact on the sales price. New appliances can be included in the sale and covered by a home warranty.

Go Green

Homes that are energy efficient and have an alternative energy system, such as solar, are usually more desirable. This is especially true in parts of the country where the monthly utility bills are very high. Add information about the savings on the monthly utility bills, when compared to other homes that are not green, to the home’s selling brochure.

Summary

Top-selling real estate agents know that homes with these characteristics usually command the best prices, receive more offers, and spend less time for sale on the market. Another benefit is that agents get excited about listing high quality homes. They typically feature them prominently in their listings from the agency, on their website, and in all other marketing efforts.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional.