Spring Fever: How to Detect If Allergy Hotspots Are Developing in Your Home

Spring Fever: How to Detect If Allergy Hotspots Are Developing in Your HomeThe spring season may be a time of cherry blossoms and longer days, but it’s also common for allergies to ramp up. While you won’t be able to stop the season, there are things you can do to limit the impact of allergies in your home. If you’re wondering what has the greatest impact on your sinus health in the home, here are a few places you’ll want to check out.

Have You Looked Under The Bed?

Many diligent housecleaners will do a sweep under the bed each time, but for those of us who want to avoid pulling everything out, this area can be a very dusty spot. Next time you clean the house, take the time to remove everything out from under the bed that’s been collecting dust, whether there are old boxes, shoes or things you’ve forgotten about. Dust everything off, vacuum the area underneath and you’ll be well on your way to a cleaner air space.

Do You Like The Retro Rug?

Most vintage looks come back for business, and the shag rug is no exception; however, this style of carpet captures a lot of dust and can greatly impact your sinus health. If this is your favorite style of carpet, you’ll want to ensure you vacuum it frequently to pull out all of the dust. In the future, you may also want to opt for a different style of floor covering, as something lightweight and durable will be a better option when it comes to cleaning and taking care of yourself.

Blame It On The Bookshelf

There are few things that will collect dust like a bookshelf lined with old books. Unfortunately, bookshelves and books can be one of the most rarely dusted areas in the house since it’s a more time consuming task to pull out each book and wipe down the shelves. If you don’t want to downsize, you may want to take a damp cloth to your bookshelf every time you clean to give it a once over. Ensure you clean it more carefully at the end of each month to avoid dust buildup.

There are a lot of areas where dust can accumulate in the home and make allergies worse, but by checking under the bed and dusting the books you can avoid its worst ills. If you’re cleaning up to sell your home, contact your trusted real estate professionals for more information.

Selling an Apartment or Condo? How to Use Snapchat to Target First-time Buyers

Selling an Apartment or Condo? How to Use Snapchat to Target First-time BuyersThere are plenty of ways to market your home online, but social media has become one of the best ways to catch the attention of interested homebuyers in the past few years. If you’re currently determining a marketing strategy for your home and are wondering about social media, here are a few ways you can use Snapchat and see your chances for selling increase in an instant.

Focus On The Details

Since Snapchat is all about striking, quick pictures that appear and disappear before your eyes, it’s a great way to highlight the best features of your home so you can pique the interest of a homebuyer. Whether you decide to take a snap of your unique bathroom tile, the expanse of your backyard or your stainless-steel appliances, the instant visual can give interested parties the impetus they need to show up at your open house or stop by for a more in-depth look.

Create Your Own Geofilter

Many users of Snapchat like to use geofilters, which are an illustration or overlay that appears on top of the picture to give the viewer a sense of where they are. In the case that you’re trying to sell your home, you can enlist the help of your agent to create your own geofilter with your home’s address or neighborhood. A geofilter will not only add a touch of uniqueness to your picture, it will allow potential homebuyers to determine if your neighborhood and home are what they’re looking for.

Deal With An Experienced Agent

It’s entirely possible that you already have your own Snapchat account and many followers, but if you don’t, it’s best to enlist the services of a seasoned real estate agent who will be able to use their network to attract interested buyers. The only people who will be able to see your snaps in the event that you’re selling your home will be users linked to your account, so having a real estate agent who can leverage their connections makes it much easier to sell your home to the world.

Social media is a great marketing tool when it comes to putting your home up for sale and attracting buyers, but it’s important to have a following and engage the viewer with the right details. If you’re getting prepared to put your home on the market, contact your trusted real estate professionals for more information.

Predicting a Hefty Tax Refund This Spring? 3 Reasons You Should Use It for Home Renovations

Predicting a Hefty Tax Refund This Spring? 3 Reasons You Should Use It for Home RenovationsThere’s a burden that comes along with having to do your taxes every spring, but it can actually be a great benefit if you’re getting a sizeable refund this year. While many people like the idea of going on a trip or spending the extra funds, here’s why you may want to consider investing it back into your home for a profit you’ll be able to see!

It’s Free Money

Many people will argue that your tax refund is money that’s already owed to you and is part of your income, but it still tends to feel like a bonus since most don’t work their taxes into their budget. While you may have your eye on something you’ve really wanted to buy of late, you may want to consider investing it into your home instead. This can be a simple way of reaping the benefits of a renovation without having to move money around in your monthly budget.

Bumping Up Your Home’s Value

Renovations often come with a very high price tag, but you can see the benefits of renovating by using just a portion of your tax return. Instead of spending the whole amount on renovations that will not increase your home’s value, consider things like an appliance upgrade, a new paint job or resurfacing your kitchen cabinets for changes that will financially benefit you down the road. You may also want to invest in some energy efficient fixes as these will likely draw in the environmentally friendly buyer.

Spring Is Selling Time

Many people put off renovations due to the cost involved, but spring is the optimal time to put your home on the market, which means a sizeable return can instantly benefit you. Instead of weighing your options and waiting until the busy real estate season is over, invest in some relatively quick fixes that will upgrade the look of your home. By getting these things done before the spring is over, you may have a much better chance at selling success at the price you’re looking for.

There are very few people that look forward to tax time, but getting a sizeable return can be a good reason to do some renovations and put your home on the market for the spring. If you’re currently getting prepared to put your home up for sale, contact your local real estate professionals for more information.

Going on a Nice Vacation? Protect Your Home and Valuables With These 3 Key Tips

Going on a Nice Vacation? Protect Your Home and Valuables With These 3 Key TipsIt’s always exciting to pack up and get away from your home for the sake of escape, but going on vacation also means leaving your home behind. While a good neighborhood can go a long way towards making sure your home stays safe in your absence, here are some additional tips for how to ensure you’ll be coming back from your trip without incident.

Take Care Of Your Property

Thieves will often assume that an unkempt yard and home maintenance issues are a sign of a homeowner that doesn’t care, and this will often attract them to a property. Instead of giving potential trespassers the wrong idea, ensure that your yard is well kept in your absence with no overgrown bushes, maintenance issues or items left out. It’s also important to make sure that no newspaper or mail is piling up at the door, as this can be a surefire signal to thieves that you’re away.

Talk To Your Neighbors

There’s no way even the best neighbors will be able to observe everything that may happen with your home, but having ones who will stop by and make sure things are OK is ideal. Whether your neighbors need to feed the cat or water the plants, have them check for any unlocked windows or other signs that something is afoot. One of the best guards against theft is a neighborhood watch program, so by utilizing this defense you can easily ensure the safety of your home when you’re out of town.

Invest In A Security System

Few things will provide the peace of mind that a security system does, so if you haven’t already invested in one, it might be time to start doing the research. There are many great options for security nowadays that are technologically advanced and will keep your mind at ease. There are even options for viewing your home that will enable you to check it on your mobile phone, and this can be a great means of keeping your house safe even from a distance!

Leaving your home behind to go on vacation can be nerve-wracking for the new homeowner, but by keeping your property maintained and enlisting your neighbors to check on it you can keep it safe and secure. If you’ll be preparing to buy a new home in the future, contact your trusted eal estate professionals for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 27, 2017

Last week’s economic news included releases on new and pre-owned home sales and weekly readings on average mortgage rates and new unemployment claims.

Pre-owned Home Sales Fall, Due to Dwindling Inventory

5.48 million pre-owned homes were sold on a seasonally adjusted annual basis. Analysts expected 5.45 million sales based on January’s reading of 5.69 million sales. Lagging supplies of listed homes continue to cause home prices to rise as buyers compete for fewer available homes. First time buyers represented only 32 percent of sales as compared to the normal reading of 40 percent. First-buyers represent new demand for homes and they are important to sales of existing homes that allow current homeowners to move up to larger homes.

The available supply of pre-owned homes was 6.40 percent lower in February than for February 2016. Real estate pros reported that as of February 2017. There was a 3.80 months’ supply of available homes as compared to the normal range of six-month supply.  

Regional Results for Existing Home Sales

Existing home sales declined in three out of four regions tracked by the National Association of Realtors®. Sales of previously owned homes fell by 13.80 percent in the Northeastern region; the Midwestern region posted a 7.00 percent decline in sales. The Western region reported a 3.20 percent decrease in sales. The Southern region posted a 1.30 percent increase in existing home sales.  

Sales of new homes rose in February; 592,000 homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis as compared to expectations of 571,000 sales and 558,000 new home sales in January. Sales were 6.1 percent higher than for January and were 12.80 percent higher year-over-year. February’s reading was the highest in seven months

Analysts said that the national median price of a new home was $296,000 in February, this was 3.90 percent lower than January’s reading and 4.90 percent lower year-over-year.   

Mortgage Rates Fall, New Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell by seven basis points to 4.23 percent. The rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage was six basis points lower at 3.4 percent. The rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was four basis points lower at 3.24 percent on average. Discount points for fixed rate mortgages averaged 0.50 percent; discount points for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage averaged 0.40 percent. Lower mortgage rates stood in contrast to the Fed’s decision to raise the federal funds rate last week.

New jobless claims jumped last week with a reading of 258,000 new claims as compared to the prior week’s reading of 243,000 new claims and expectations of 240,000 new claims. While week-to-week readings for jobless claims are notoriously volatile, the four-week rolling average of new jobless claims was higher by 5000 new claims at 246,000 new claims.

What’s Ahead

This week’s economic news includes Case-Shiller Housing Market Index and pending home sales. Also scheduled are readings on inflation and consumer confidence.  Weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims will also be released.

Student Loans vs. Down Payments: 3 Ways You Can Manage Both and Buy a New Home

Student Loans vs. Down Payments: 3 Ways You Can Manage Both and Buy a New HomeThe idea of paying off your student loans and buying a home at the same time can seem like an impossible feat given the impact on your Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio. However, there are ways it’s possible to have enough funds and good enough credit to make your dream of home ownership come true a little more quickly. If you’re currently considering how to manage both, here are some options you might want to consider.

Decrease Your Debt

Lenders will be looking at your DTI ratio in order to determine whether or not you’re a solid financial bet, so before throwing yourself into the market, it can be a good idea to minimize your debt load. While this doesn’t mean paying off all of your student loans, try putting more down over a period of a few months so you have additional wiggle room. By making a budget plan that you can stick to, you’ll slowly eat away at the principal and have a little more room to invest when the time comes.

Add Another Income

You’re probably working pretty hard in your post-student life to make ends meet and pay off debt, but one of the best ways to pay off two loans is to bump up your income. Whether you decide to find something part-time on the weekend or hone one of your skills for freelance profit, a little bit of extra money each month can make a huge dent in the amount you owe in no time at all.

Consider A Starter Home

It’s entirely possible that you’ve got your eye on your ideal home, but if you’re dealing with student debt there’s a pretty good chance that the monthly payment will be unattainable. Instead of choosing a home that’s out of your league, make your dream of ownership come true by picking something that will be affordable month to month. While it might not be exactly the house you’re dreaming of, you’ll still be putting equity into something so you’ll have money to invest down the road.

It’s certainly not an easy feat to take on student loans and mortgage debt at the same time, but by improving your income and paying down as much as possible before investing, you may be able to do both at once.

DIY Home Improvement: A Much Better Bedroom in Just a Few Hours

DIY Home Improvement: A Much Better Bedroom in Just a Few HoursTaking on the task of renovating your home can seem like an awful lot of work, but there are ways to do this that require a lot less energy and just a little bit of money. Whether you’re looking for an instant home revamp or are readying your home to sell, here are some ideas for how you can improve your bedroom in no time.

Make It Clutter Free

It might sound too simple, but just clearing away the extraneous stuff that can accrue in your bedroom will instantly improve the look of your space. Instead of doing it over time, set aside an afternoon to go through the excess and clean up extra receipts, junk left in the corner and any unpacked boxes. Cleaning up the stuff that’s been lingering may seem like a small step, but it will give way for what comes next.

A Coat Of Paint

While adding a coat of paint may seem like a lot of work for little reward, there are few things that will improve the appearance of a room like a shiny coat of paint. It may be tempting to go for a bright shade, but choose a neutral tone that will age well and can be complimented with bright accents from pillows or a colorful throw. Getting out the paint may seem like a big job at first, but it’s one of the best ways to upgrade the look of your bedroom.

Find A Unique Piece

It’s one thing to have a great coat of paint and a clutter-free space, but having a unique piece of furniture or a lighting fixture that you can call your own will add that special touch to your space. While there are plenty of options to go with, you may want to choose a vintage item like a claw-footed night table or an embellished chandelier that will instantly dress up a lackadaisical room. Instead of going with something expensive, choose something that you can dress up or re-paint for a modern effect.

It’s often the case that renovating your home or your bedroom can seem like an expensive project, but there are ways it can be done that are both economical and will add instant spark. If you’re currently renovating your home and are planning to put it on the market in the future, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

Spring Is Real Estate’s ‘Rush Hour’ — Here’s How to Tell If You’re Prepared

Spring Is Real Estate's 'Rush Hour' -- Here's How to Tell If You're PreparedThe most popular time of year to buy a home is in the spring, and this means that if you’re preparing yourself for getting into the real estate market, you may be experiencing a time crunch. If you’re wondering if you’ll be ready to put your home up for sale in time to take advantage of the season, here are few things you’ll want to think about.

Have You Cleaned Up And De-cluttered?

Spring is not only an optimal time to put your home up for sale, it’s also an ideal time for spring-cleaning! Instead of leaving all of the de-cluttering and clearing away to the time when you know you’ll be moving, get prepared by going through your stuff and discarding anything that you don’t want to move. This will not only make the packing up procedure more streamlined, it will also make the basic cleaning duties like vacuuming a dusting a little easier to carry out.

Are You Prepared To Move?

A home can sit on the market for a few weeks or months, and it can also sell on the first day, so you’ll want to have a game plan for moving beforehand. If you don’t yet have a place to stay, determine a plan for yourself and your family so that you can start looking for a home to invest in or at least rental property. You don’t want to lose out on a good offer by not being prepared, so make sure you know where you’re going before getting into the market.

Do You Know The Market Conditions?

Spring is certainly the most popular time to buy, but if your home isn’t priced right for the conditions of the market, it may linger longer than you’d expect. If you’re selling on your own, you may want to take a look at the MLS listings to determine what similar homes in similar areas are selling for. It can also be a great idea to utilize the services of a local real estate agent who will have background knowledge of the market and be able to do the tough negotiating for you.

With spring being the best time to sell, it’s important to de-clutter your house ahead of time and be aware of the market conditions you’ll be dealing with. If you’re about to put your home up for sale, contact your trusted real estate professionals for more information.

Hosting an Open House? Try These 3 Mood-boosting Aromatherapy Scents

Hosting an Open House? Try These 3 Mood-boosting Aromatherapy ScentsFrom making sure the exterior looks impeccable to touching up the paint, there are a lot of things that go into the kind of open house that will draw in potential buyers. You may not know, though, that the senses can have a significant impact on how people will perceive your home, and scent can be highly powerful. Instead of leaving your home sale up to a clutter free space and an elegant exterior, try out the following aromatherapy scents to make an even better impression.

The Calming Influence Of Lemon

There’s a reason that lemon is one of the most common scents when it comes to cleaning products, and it’s no different when it comes to harnessing the power of aromatherapy. Instead of cleaning the tabletops with a lemon-scented cleaner, however, test out a lemon scent as a way to naturally calm the system. Not only does it assist in boosting circulation, it will also serve as a calming influence if your buyers happen to be anxious or having an off day.

Greater Retention With Rosemary

Most people are familiar with the herb of rosemary when it comes to cooking or baking, but its lively scent can also have a positive impact when it comes to your open house. Because rosemary can improve memory retention and wake up the body, it can be perfect for helping viewers remember a lot of the little details of your home. It can also help to improve fatigue and aches, which can help home buyers feel at ease in your space.

A Peppermint Energy Boost

The scent of peppermint may be more common around the holiday season, but a small dose of it can actually have a positive impact on a person’s overall well-being. Since peppermint is an instantly invigorating scent, it can work to boost energy and help with a person’s ability to reason. For someone who’s an interested buyer, it may very well help them see the benefits of your home and come to a conclusion more quickly.

There are many ways to make your home appeal to home buyers, but adding an aromatherapy scent can go a long way in engaging the senses and truly enriching a viewer’s experience of your home. If you’re currently looking for staging tips and are getting prepared to put your home on the market, contact your local real estate professional for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – March 20, 2017

Last week’s economic readings included reports on inflation and core inflation, the National Association of Home Builders Association Housing Market Index and Federal Reserve FOMC statement and press conference by Fed Chair Janet Yellen. The Commerce Department released reports on housing starts and building permits issued.

Home Builder Confidence, Housing Starts Rise

The National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for March rose by six points to an index reading of 71. Builders said that subsequent readings may ease as builders continue to face shortages of lots and labor. The President said that he would work to reduce regulations affecting builders, which likely contributed to March’s increased confidence reading.  Housing industry leaders continue to monitor builder confidence as it could signal increased development and building. Home sales figures have been held back due to lack of available homes and industry leaders repeatedly say that building new homes is the only way to release the bottleneck in single-family home sales.

High demand for homes has created rapid escalation in home prices in high-demand metro areas; this sidelines first-time and moderate income buyers.

Housing starts rose in February according to the Commerce Department. 1.288 million starts were reported on a seasonally adjusted annual basis; January’s reading was 1.288 housing starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. Building permits issued were lower in February with 1.213 million permits issued as compared to 1.293 million permits issued in January.

Mortgage Rates, Federal Funds Rate Higher

Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of average mortgage rates was completed prior to the Fed’s decision to raise its federal funds rate, mortgage rates were higher. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose nine basis points to 4.30 percent. The average rate for a 15-year mortgage fixed rate mortgage was eight basis points higher at 3.50 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable mortgage rose five basis points to 3.28 percent.

After it’s meeting concluded Wednesday, The Federal Open Market Committee, which sets monetary policy for the Federal Reserve announced its decision to raise the target federal funds range from 0.50 to 0.75 percent to 0.75 to 1.00 percent. The post-meeting statement cited stronger economic conditions that advanced the Fed’s dual mandate of achieving maximum employment and stable pricing. Inflation was noted to be nearing the Fed’s mid to long range goal of 2.00 percent annually and the national unemployment rate has held steady in the past several months.

 Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a press conference that the federal funds rate may be raised two more times in 2017, but the FOMC statement and Chair Yellen said that FOMC members base monetary policy decisions on current information relating to domestic and global economic developments.

Inflation grew by 0.10 percent in February as compared to January’s growth rate of 0.60 percent. The core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors. Rose by 0.20 percent as expected and was lower than January’s reading of 0.30 percent growth.