Tag Archives: homeownership


7 Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts for a Home

It’s the season of love, and what better way to celebrate than with gifts? We’re not talking the boring chocolates and flowers type of thing. No, no, no! Home is where the heart is, so why not focus on a gift for a home?

We’ve come up with a shopping guide that includes unique – and quirky – gifts to get for someone you love, especially if that someone is yourself!

Mistaken Lyrics Coasters

One of our favorite past times is singing the wrong lyrics to songs. Why not spread the joy alongside house guests with these Mistaken Lyric Coasters?

Mistaken Lyrics Coasters

Automatic Pan Stirrer with Timer

Take “Suzy/Sam Homemaker” to the next level with this Automatic Pan Stirrer with Timer. Never worry about continuously stirring the sauce and free up your hands to prep other items for your recipe. Or, go ahead and get back to your Netflix binge while the sauce cooks. (We won’t be held liable for any burnt sauces, though.)

Automatic Pan Stirrer with Timer

Florida Botanical Embroidery

Nothing says “I love Florida” more than Florida-themed embroidery. This botanical creation shows others the pride you or your loved one has for the State of Florida. And, it gives the opportunity to explain that not everyone in Florida is like “Florida Man.”

Florida Botanical Embroidery

The Worst Case

First-aid kits? No, you need The Worst Case kit. (Well, keep the first-aid kit too!) This carefully crafted survival kit is everything someone would need if there were ever a zombie apocalypse, an opportunity to be on Survivor, or you find yourself up THAT creek without a paddle.

The Worst Case Survival Pack

The Burrito Blanket

Ever wanted to be wrapped like a burrito and left alone on the couch for a few hours? Well, now you can! Take Taco Tuesday to the next level in a Burrito Blanket. With micro-fiber fleece, this blanket will keep you or your loved one warm and cozy!

The Burrito Blanket

Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic Park Oil Painting

Because who doesn’t want a shirtless oil painting of Jeff Goldblum contemplating life while surrounded by dinosaurs?

Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic Park Oil Painting

Swarovski Crystal Master Yoda

Yeah, Baby Yoda is cute and all. But, have you seen a Swarovski Crystal Master Yoda figurine? Step up you or your loved one’s Star Wars collection with this classy Jedi Master.

Swarovski Crystal Master Yoda

 

 

 

 


Different Generations See the Value in Homeownership

“During an online chat with other real estate professionals last week, the question of the true value of homeownership was raised. My son, Bill, and I each chimed in unaware of the other’s response. It was interesting how the different generations valued homeownership for slightly different reasons. Below, are both responses.

Bill’s Response:

I want to weigh in as a 20-something who recently purchased a home for the first time.

While the financial reasons (wealth-building, not wanting to throw away rent payments every month, that owning is actually cheaper than renting in many markets right now) certainly had an impact on our decision, I think there are too many that are quick to dismiss the non-financial reasons that my peers and I discuss more often than people think.

There’s a very good reason why my wife and I host more parties than my friends who live in apartments (space). There’s a reason why we get more compliments about our house than our renting friends (freedom to choose our own stuff). We have the greatest dog in the world, while I hear “I can’t wait to get a house because I’ve always wanted my own puppy but I can’t right now”.

Bill

As a “young” buyer, do I want to make a smart decision? Of course. Do I want to understand the numbers and feel confident with the purchase? Sure. But that’s not what I woke up dreaming about 2 years ago. I woke up dreaming about the house that my wife and I can raise a family in; the house where we’re going to have barbecues with all our neighbors.

We woke up talking about the house that finally allowed my wife to get the dog she’s wanted since she was a kid (and that I fell in love with). We started picking out bedroom colors for our future babies.

You want advice for helping more young buyers? Ask them what their dreams are. What are their goals? What do they wake up talking to their partner about? Help them realize this and you only have to show them that the financials make sense (we’re not looking to make a quick buck on the house we’re living in).

Isn’t this what real estate is about anyway? Helping people realize their dreams? That’s what it was always about in my house growing up (thanks Steve). That’s what my wife grew up thinking. That’s what my friends (all in the first time home buyer range) think. Why not talk to them about this?

Sorry for the rant everyone. Figured I had a spot for the voice of the young buyer to be heard by the industry’s elite and I couldn’t pass that up. Thanks for reading.

My Response:

Do I think that homeownership is right for everyone? No, I don’t.

Do I think people who can’t afford a house should buy one anyway? No, I don’t.

However, I do believe for the majority of families that homeownership is important. Instead of giving you the links to the numerous studies I have that delineate the benefits of homeownership, I’ll give you one anecdotal story – my own.

view

Guess where I got the seed money to start my real estate company? My home.

Guess where I got the money for Bill’s college education? My home.

Guess where my younger son, Steven, moved to when he couldn’t find gainful employment after college? My home.

Guess where my older son, Bill, and his wife (and cat & dog) moved to when Sandy ravaged their house? My home.

Guess where I got the down payment for a winter getaway in South Beach for my wife and me? My home.

The home I struggled to buy over 20 years ago has financed my business, put two sons through college and enabled me to buy a winter escape in Florida. And during that whole time, it also allowed me to provide my family shelter during their times of need.

Do I firmly believe in the value of homeownership? Yes, I do!!”

By: Steve Harney, KCM Crew with KCM Blog


Trulia: Owning Costs 44% Less than Renting

Home price gains may be outpacing increases in rent, but the cost of being a homeowner is still much less than that of a renter, according to Trulia’s Winter 2013 Rent vs. Buy report.

After factoring all cost components including transaction costs, taxes, and opportunity costs, Trulia found buying a home is 44 percent cheaper than renting, down slightly from 46 percent a year ago.

“Although buying a home is still cheaper than renting, the gap is closing,” said Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist. “In 2013, home prices should rise faster than rents, and mortgage rates are likely to rise in the next year as the economy improves. By next year, buying could be more expensive than renting in some housing markets, even for people with the best credit.”

In the last year, asking home prices showed a 7 percent gain compared to a 3.2 percent increase in rents during the same time period, according to data from the real estate site.

Trulia explained low mortgage rates have kept the cost of owning down; for the analysis, a 3.5 percent mortgage rate was assumed.

The San Francisco-based company also revealed that out of the 100 largest metros analyzed, buying was more affordable than renting in all metros.

In some metros, the cost of buying was much less than the national average. The buy-rent gap was the largest in Detroit, where buying costs 70 percent less than renting. For the next four metros in top five, the cost of owning was 63 percent less than renting; the four metros were Dayton and Cleveland in Ohio; Warren, Michigan; and Gary, Indiana.

Although owning was found to be less expensive in all metros, owners in San Francisco averaged the smallest savings at 19 percent, a steep decrease from the 35 percent savings seen in 2012.

If one were to receive a mortgage rate of 4.5 percent, Trulia noted the cost of buying would be just 9 percent cheaper in San Francisco. However, a rate of 4.5 percent would still make buying more affordable than renting in all metros analyzed.

“People who didn’t buy a home last year may have missed the bottom of the market, but they haven’t completely missed the boat,” Kolko added. “Even buyers who can’t get today’s lowest mortgage rates will still find that buying makes more financial sense than renting in nearly all local markets – so long as they can get a mortgage in the first place.”

Other metros where owning may not be as enticing to borrowers based on savings were Honolulu, where the cost of owning is 23 percent cheaper, followed by San Jose (-24 percent), New York (-26 percent) and Albany (-30 percent).

By: Esther Cho, DSNews


Homeowners 'Springing' into Action, According to Report

Recent data show homeowners are getting ahead of the curve and listing their properties earlier than in previous years as the spring selling season approaches.

A report by Realtor.com shows listing inventories increased by 1.15 percent month-over-month in February, and houses stayed on the market for an average of 98 days, down 9.26 percent from January. Month-over-month list prices also increased to $189,900.

“As we enter the busiest time of the year for home buyers and sellers, our latest housing trend data shows just how competitive the market is with a significant national housing recovery well underway,” Steve Berkowitz, CEOof Move, Inc., said in a statement.

“Looking ahead, we can expect the amount of inventory to increase this spring along with higher list prices as sellers become more comfortable with the market conditions,” Berkowitz added.

This recent spate of news indicates to some that a growing number of “move-up” homebuyers are less reluctant about venturing into the market and are taking early advantage of the recent uptick in housing prices. This positive swing coupled with the consistent, gradual downward trend of annual inventory levels, which decreased by 15.97 percent over the last two years, are giving sellers more motivation to strike while the iron is warming.

Nationally, the median list price also rose by 1.55 percent during the month of February and 1.01 percent annually, while the median age of inventory dropped in nearly all of the 146 markets Realtor.com tracks.

California markets showed the biggest decreases with year-over-year declines in for-sale inventories. Declines averaged 48 percent in Sacramento, Stockton, Oakland, San Jose, Orange County, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Riverside, and Ventura.

Cities in coastal areas stayed on the market longer according to the report, with Seattle and Denver posting record low inventory median ages.

By: Ashley R. Harris, DSNews


Survey Shows Americans Are Increasingly Confident about Homeownership

Brookfield Real Estate and Relocation Affiliates Inc., owner of the Prudential Real Estate franchise network, recently released the quarterly Prudential Real Estate Outlook Survey showing that Americans’ confidence in homeownership and real estate continues climbing from the first quarter and a year earlier.

Signs of growing confidence are widespread, according to the national survey. For instance:

69 percent believe that real estate is a good investment despite the market volatility of the past few years, up 6 percentage points from the first-quarter 2012 survey and 17 percentage points from first quarter 2011.

72 percent expressed confidence that the real estate market and property values will improve during the next two years, including a 6-point jump among those “very confident” or “confident” vs. the first quarter 2012, and a 14-point gain in this subset over first quarter 2011.

Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents have a favorable perception of the U.S. housing market, up from 60 percent in first quarter 2012 and 52 percent in first quarter 2011).

“The American Dream is clearly on the mend,” says Earl Lee, president, Prudential Real Estate. “Americans are feeling better about homeownership and the ongoing recovery taking place in residential real estate. Many are increasingly optimistic about their personal circumstances and, with housing affordability near all-time highs, they want to act on the opportunity.”

Factors driving homeownership

Homeownership remains the central component to the American Dream, as 78 percent of respondents said owning a home was still “very important” – the same percentage reported in the first-quarter 2012 study. A full 98 percent said homeownership was at least somewhat important.

In addition, with interest rates at historically low levels, 96 percent of respondents at least “somewhat agree” that now is a great time to buy a home – the same percentage reported in the first-quarter 2012 study.

More than the financial reasons to buy a home, respondents placed higher priority on the emotional reasons for homeownership. “Control over living space,” “more space for family,” “safer neighborhood” and “good place to raise a family” rated higher than “a good investment,” “financial security” and “tax benefits.”

“Normalcy is returning to the U.S. real estate market and more people are buying homes for traditional reasons – to raise a family, feel secure and build a future,” says Lee. “Every last emotion is rolled up into owning a home – it’s where life happens – so it’s no surprise that the emotional side outweighs financial reasons for owning a home among respondents.”

Caution remains

The survey also shows that consumers remain cautious about the real estate market and process, as a full 30 percent “strongly agree” that the housing crisis reminds them to be more careful about buying or selling a home; up two percentage points from the first-quarter 2012 survey. In addition:

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents indicated that financing or getting a mortgage is more challenging than it was before the market crisis, which is up from 58% in the first-quarter 2012 survey.

Among those considering a real estate transaction, 39 percent expressed concern they won’t be able to sell their current home, up 11 points from the first-quarter 2012 survey and 10 points from first quarter 2011.

Given the dynamics and challenges of today’s real estate market, nearly three out of four (74 percent) respondents think it is more important than ever to work with a good real estate agent for the best success in buying or selling a home (up from 71 percent in first-quarter 2012 and 67 percent in first quarter 2011).

“Real estate markets are improving around the country and consumers face many choices,” concludes Lee. “Consumers should seek out a real estate professional who can help them make the best choices to suit their needs.”

Source: RIS Media