Thursday, November 20, 2014

5 Real Estate Predictions for 2015

2015Expect the home-purchase market to strengthen along with the economy in 2015, according to Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for November.


“The good news for 2015 is that the U.S. economy appears well-poised to sustain about a 3 percent growth rate in 2015 — only the second year in the past decade with growth at that pace or better,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Governmental fiscal drag has turned into fiscal stimulus; lower energy costs support consumer spending and business investment; further easing of credit conditions for business and real estate lending support commerce and development; and consumers are more upbeat and businesses are more confident, all of which portend faster economic growth in 2015. And with that, the economy will produce more and better-paying jobs, providing the financial wherewithal to support household formations and housing activity.”


Freddie Mac economists have made the following projections in housing for the new year:


  1. Mortgage rates: Interest rates will likely be on the rise next year. In recent weeks, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has dipped below 4 percent. But by next year, Freddie projects mortgage rates to average 4.6 percent and inch up to 5 percent by the end of the year.

  2. Home prices: By the time 2014 wraps up, home appreciation will likely have slowed to 4.5 percent this year from 9.3 percent last year. Appreciation is expected to drop further to an average 3 percent in 2015. “Continued house-price appreciation and rising mortgage rates will dampen affordability for home buyers,” according to Freddie economists. “Historically speaking, that’s moving from ‘very high’ levels of affordability to ‘high’ levels of affordability.”

  3. Housing starts: Homebuilding is expected to ramp up in the new year, projected to rise by 20 percent from this year. That will likely help total home sales to climb by about 5 percent, reaching the best sales pace in eight years.

  4. Single-family originations: Mortgage originations of single-family homes will likely slip by an additional 8 percent, which can be attributed to a steep drop in refinancing volume. Refinancings are expected to make up only 23 percent of originations in 2015; they had been making up more than half in recent years.

  5. Multi-family mortgage originations: Mortgage originations for the multi-family sector have surged about 60 percent between 2011 and 2014. Increases are expected to continue in 2015, projected to rise about 14 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac



5 Real Estate Predictions for 2015

Smaller Homes Mean More First-Time Buyers

SONY DSCThe size of the typical home is shrinking, which may be a sign that a wider array of buyers, including first-timers, are returning to the market. The median size of a single-family home has decreased for the past two consecutive quarters, and it will likely continue to go down as more first-time buyers look to purchase, according to the National Association of Home Builders.


The median size of a single-family home dropped 2.3 percent in the third quarter over the previous quarter, falling from 2,472 square feet to 2,414. That marks the smallest size since the fourth quarter of 2012.


Home sizes were on the rise coming out of the recession, mostly due to a surge in the luxury market, NAHB notes.


“Typical home size falls prior to and during a recession as some home buyers cut back, and then sizes rise as high-end home buyers — who face fewer credit constraints — return to the housing market in relatively greater proportions,” NAHB notes on its blog, Eye on Housing. “This pattern has been exacerbated in the last two years due to market weakness among first-time home buyers.”


But the decline in square footage now indicates that entry-level buyers are on their way back.


The latest drop in the median home size “doesn’t reflect changes in preferences, necessarily. It reflects who’s buying new single-family homes,” Robert Dietz, an economist with NAHB, told The Wall Street Journal.


Indeed, building giant D.R. Horton Inc. posted a 38 percent surge in sales orders in the fourth quarter, attributing most of those gains to its new Express brand homes that are priced at $200,000 or less.


“I do know that bigger houses are not as in-demand as smaller houses unless you’re in a community where you’ve tapped into a niche,” notes Brian Johnston, COO of Mattamy Homes, a Canadian builder that operates in four U.S. states. “We would definitely be seeing more affordable product as the trend line.”


Source: “Single-Family Home Size Leveling Off as Market Recovers,” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing Blog and “Could the Decline in Median New-Home Size Herald Return of Entry-Level Buyers?” The Wall Street Journal



Smaller Homes Mean More First-Time Buyers

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Millennials: How to make your home ownership dreams a reality

20838984_web(BPT) – Owning a home is part of the American Dream, yet standards on income, credit and debt are making it tougher to buy a home than it was 10 years ago. Even though requirements are relaxing, only three out of five borrowers get approved.


While stricter standards make it tougher for young families to qualify for a mortgage, millennials said they understand why these standards exist and think the tougher requirements won’t stand in their way of buying a home, according to a new survey commissioned by loanDepot.


In fact, millennials today are serious about doing what’s required to get a mortgage. The research surveyed 1,000 millennials who don’t own a home and found 35 percent plan to buy within five years. What’s more, millenials are taking steps now to turn their dreams into a reality by getting their credit in order, paying down debt and saving for a down payment.


“Income is a key to opening the doors of homeownership for millennials, and they’re more than committed to it; they’re actively planning for it,” says Anthony Hsieh, chairman and chief executive officer, loanDepot LLC. “Our improving economy is making it practical for millennials who want to own their own homes in a few short years to get ready now. Their strong desire to become homeowners, coupled with the commitment of getting their finances in order, suggests a renewal in first-time buyer demand may be possible if we sustain necessary economic and market conditions.”


With their prospects improving as the economy picks up, millennials are forming households faster and making more money compared to a few years ago. One in three millennials said an increase of 15 percent or less in income will be enough to turn them into homebuyers, a significant proposition for the economy.


Because mortgage lenders use debt-to-income to evaluate a borrowers’ ability to repay a loan, student debt is a growing burden on millennials interested in financing a home. Unlike medical debt, student debt carries an equal weight to credit card debt. Nearly half of those surveyed said it’s unfair to weigh both types of debt equally.


As for the tougher requirements to getting a mortgage, millennials do think the tougher standards guard against risky loans and will help prevent another mortgage crisis. More than half say making it easier to get a mortgage will result in more foreclosures.


If you have student debt and want to buy your first home, here are a few ideas and tips to help you prepare:


* Lower your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). DTI is your total monthly income as compared to your total monthly debt payments. Most lenders will only lend to you if your DTI is at or below 43 percent. So to lower it, try to increase your income by pursuing a promotion or raise, finding a higher-paying job or taking on part-time work. Decrease your required monthly debt payments by refinancing or consolidating student loans and paying down any credit card balances.


* Get your credit score in order. Analyze your credit report before you start the home buying process. Dispute incorrect derogatory information and ensure all three credit-reporting bureaus list all of your positive information. Pay all your bills on time, reduce credit card balances to 30 percent of the credit limit or lower, and don’t open new credit cards if you already have a few.


* Save for a down payment. Make a budget for each month before it starts, with a plan for spending and saving, and stick to it. Stash away extra money from bonuses, overtime or financial gifts on your birthday or holidays. Find a roommate to help pay your rent or move into a less-expensive rental. Do freelance or contract work on the side. Sell unneeded stuff on Craigslist.



Millennials: How to make your home ownership dreams a reality

The importance of maintaining family traditions through the holidays

20801433_web(BPT) – Holiday celebrations are a time for family, food, and fun. Part of what makes each holiday a special occasion are the family traditions that are celebrated and passed down each year.


Research shows traditions are important to families because they build strong relationships between generations. Because these customs are so cherished, children often remember these special experiences from the holiday season more than the toys or gifts they receive. Additionally, traditions can teach children about important values like family and community.


Here are a few reasons why traditions matter and how they create lasting memories:


* Traditions bring people together – There’s nothing like preparing a holiday recipe that’s been handed down from one generation to the next. It’s a wonderful time to reminisce about how the recipe brings back fond memories of holidays past while at the same time creating new memories as you prepare and enjoy the dish with the help of family and friends.


“Traditions are an important part of celebrating the holidays,” says Marnely Rodriguez-Murray, of the food blog Cooking with Books. “Many of them revolve around special-occasion food – and those familiar tastes and smells have the ability to bring families of all shapes and sizes together.”


* Traditions can evolve over time – As families change, so do traditions. Embrace these changes by creating new traditions or refining old ones. You can help make the holidays more special and memorable by giving others a chance to make suggestions for starting new and improving existing traditions.


“Millions of family traditions include sharing Hickory Farms gifts filled with signature sausages and cheeses before a holiday meal, when entertaining or while unwrapping gifts,” said Rodriguez-Murray. “This year, start a new one by secretly dropping a piece of their new Signature Chocolate Collection into someone’s hot cocoa when they aren’t looking. They’ll be both surprised and delighted.”


Available at www.hickoryfarms.com and at Hickory Farms Holiday Market locations nationwide, these products can become a new family holiday tradition.


* Traditions are just plain fun – Traditions produce long-lasting memories for everyone, like the annual family Thanksgiving football game or everyone opening their matching pajamas on Christmas Eve, because they have the ability to make people laugh and smile. What’s more, these joyful traditions give family members something additional to look forward to each and every year. The repetition of these moments over time builds anticipation as each holiday season returns, enhancing the excitement, joy and fun for all.


Make this holiday season special by creating and preserving family traditions that will last a lifetime.



The importance of maintaining family traditions through the holidays

Rush to Buy Homes During the Holidays?

SONY DSCHome owners may be doubtful that the months of November and December will bring about a home sale. After all, aren’t potential buyers sidetracked with the holidays and likelier to postpone their house hunt due to bad weather and shorter days?


But sometimes the “off-peak” time to sell can actually be the perfect moment for sellers. Several studies show that, on average, homes listed in November and December are more likely to sell, sell more quickly, and more closely approach the asking price, according to an article at Forbes.com.


A 2011 study conducted by realtor.com® found that 60 percent of real estate professionals advise their sellers to list a home during the holidays because they believe it’s an opportune time to sell. Nearly 80 percent of the real estate professionals surveyed said that more serious buyers emerge during the holidays, and 61 percent say less competition from other properties makes it an ideal time to sell.


Thanksgiving is particularly good, the article notes. Buyers may have held out through the busy summer months hoping to find a better deal, but now they may be searching with increased urgency. Some buyers may be motivated to close before the end of the year for tax purposes. They can purchase a home late in the year to deduct home purchase costs on their taxes, such as points, interest, and property taxes. Also, certain sellers who sold their homes during the summer season may be facing a capital gains tax. They may be highly motivated to buy in November to avoid paying capital gains tax (since closing on the purchase of another house is required within 180 days).


Source: “Why November Is the Best Month to Sell Your Home,” Forbes.com/Trulia



Rush to Buy Homes During the Holidays?

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Commercial Development Opportunity Near Easton

2275 STELZER BROCHURE JPG PAGE 1Located on busy road amidst commercial development. 3.75 acres available. Utilities on site. 960 sq. ft. house located on property with full basement and 2 car attached garage. Could be rehabbed for office space. Current  zoning is residential. Could be rezoned for commercial use.


  • Near busy Stelzer and Agler Road intersection

  • 9 miles to Easton

  • 2 miles to I-270

  • 75 miles to I-670

  • 2 miles to I-71

  • 7 miles to I-70

  • 4 miles to Port Columbus International

 



Commercial Development Opportunity Near Easton

Friday, October 31, 2014

November Enjoy Magazine

NOVEMBER 2014 COVER PAGE


Download the November issue of Enjoy Magazine. Enjoy articles about food, fitness, nutrition, happenings, travel, music, lifetyles, recipes and more!



November Enjoy Magazine

October Real Estate Market Trends

HOUSING TRENDS JPG


Get the latest market trends and news for your area. Gain knowledge to help you make good housing decisions. 



October Real Estate Market Trends

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

6 backyard projects you can't skip this fall

20433901_web(BPT) – When it comes to caring for your yard, maintenance is crucial – especially during the fall when it needs to recover from the wear and tear of summer and prepare for winter’s harsh conditions. Knowing what your lawn and garden needs from season to season not only makes it easier for you to stay organized with your list of backyard to-do’s, but it also allows you to identify and treat any problems before they become bigger issues down the road.


Get your lawn and garden back in shape and ready for the coming season by completing these fall backyard projects.


1. Patch and seed – Extreme summer weather conditions like heat, excess rainfall and drought can lead to diseased or dead patches of grass throughout your yard. If you notice an affected area while inspecting your lawn, treat the problem area immediately and then reseed it. This will nourish grass, plus help it establish strong roots needed for growth in the spring.


2. Plant bulbs – Give your spring garden a head start by planting bulbs 5 to 8 inches deep, depending on the size, with the pointy end up. You can also plant bulbs in clusters. However, since bulbs can be hard to tell apart, be sure to keep the labels intact until they are planted.


3. Remove leaves and small debris – Leaves, small twigs and light dirt can quickly accumulate in your yard during the fall and if not removed, can cause soil compaction and make your yard look messy. For a quick cleanup solution, use a leaf blower to easily move debris from your lawn, driveway or patio. Opt for a blower like Troy-Bilt’s new Jet leaf blower that achieves a perfect balance of speed and volume with its mixed-flow fan design, helping you clear your yard efficiently and effectively. Jet also has an optimal weight balance, so the blower is stable and easy to control. When removing leaves, make sure they are dry and wind is at a bare minimum to ensure an easy removal process.


4. CompostFall isn’t too late to start a compost pile as it takes six months to one year to develop into rich soil you can use in your garden. Keep in mind, compost decomposition slows down during the cooler months, which is why it is important to retain heat needed for decomposition by refraining from turning your compost pile.


5. Prune – Pruning is considered the best preventive maintenance for your trees and shrubs, particularly in the fall and late dormant season. Look to prune diseased or dying branches, but be sure not to remove unreasonably large branches. This leaves exposed stubs that can potentially cause health problems.


6. Weed – Though a year-round yard task, it’s extremely important to pull as many weeds as possible in the fall. As cooler temperatures set in, weeds start to store food in their roots for the winter. Prevent weed regrowth by pulling or digging weeds out of the ground with a weeding blade or use a homemade weed control solution, such as a combination of vinegar, water and dish soap.


For more lawn and garden tips, backyard project ideas and information about the Jet leaf blower, visit troybilt.com.




6 backyard projects you can't skip this fall

New-Home Sales Inch to 6-Year High

19576338_webFor the third consecutive month, sales of newly built single-family homes edged up, “demonstrating steady growth in the housing market,” says Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. However, housing analysts caution that the sector remains fragile.


New-home sales inched up slightly by 0.2 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 467,000 units—the highest level since June 2008, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Census Bureau. The median price of new homes in September was $259,000, a 4 percent drop year-over-year.


“We expect the housing market recovery to remain relatively gradual over the coming months,” Gennadiy Goldberg, an economist at TD Securities in New York, told Reuters.


In September, the inventory of new homes rose to 207,000—a 5.3-month supply at the current sales pace. Most economists consider 6 months a healthy balance between supply and demand. The slow-growing inventory of new homes points to builders gaining confidence in the market, says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.


Regionally, new-home sales rose the most in the Midwest, posting a 12.3 percent gain month-over-month, followed by a 2 percent rise in the South. Sales stayed flat in the Northeast and fell 8.9 percent in the West.


The government revised August’s reported new-home sales figures, reflecting the fact that sales actually posted a sharp decline last month, as opposed to what had been originally reported. August’s sales numbers were revised down to 466,000 units from the originally reported 504,000 units.


Source: National Association of Home Builders and “U.S. Home Sales at Six-Year High; Recovery Still Fragile,” Reuters



New-Home Sales Inch to 6-Year High

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 2014 Real Estate Newsletter

2104 OCTOBER NEWSLETTER JPG


Get the latest real estate news, stats,


homes for sale, recipes and more!


Download here. 



October 2014 Real Estate Newsletter

From make-do to all new - updates to create your dream kitchen

new kitchen(BPT) – Homeowners have spent more on kitchen remodeling than any other home improvement category in the last 10 years, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies – and there’s good reason. An updated kitchen does more than boost the value of your home; whether you make just a few changes or completely renovate the entire space, a kitchen that feels new is always refreshing. From basic cooking to frequent entertaining, your dream kitchen should look good and function well.


Since the kitchen is ever-evolving, so are the products available. Skip the fads and include ideas that are aesthetically pleasing and withstand the test of time. Here are a few updates that will turn your current space into the one you’ve been dreaming about.


Think sinks


When remodeling a kitchen, homeowners often overlook the sink, but it’s one element that can make a valuable style statement. While shopping for a new sink and faucet, search for the highest quality materials, like stainless steel, that are just as beautiful as they are practical.


If you’re looking for a dramatic focal point – as well as a sink that can accommodate all your pots, baking sheets and glasses – try an apron-front design. This style has been modernized, accessorized and streamlined to suit the needs of today’s homeowners. Moen also offers a stainless steel version that gives this classic a contemporary twist.


With a great number of faucets on the market, there’s a design for everyone. The timeless feel of a traditional kitchen is still the most popular. If you want the perfect mix of fashion and function, try the new Brookshire kitchen faucet from Moen, which features decorative touches and classic styling with a pullout design for at-your-fingertips water delivery. It’s equipped with the Reflex system for pulldown and pullout faucets, which offers self-retraction of the spray wand, as well as an exceptional range of motion, generous reach and secure docking retraction.


Be smart with appliances


Unlike a rug or lamp, kitchen appliances are not simple to return, so be smart when upgrading these items. Before making a purchase, it’s best to work with a professional for guidance, and weigh all factors, such as who uses the kitchen, how many people are cooking at one time and how often your family cooks.


If you’re an aspiring chef, consider a gas range that allows you to control the flame with precision. If you’re a busy mom, electric versions allow you to heat food and boil water faster. It’s also important to consider finishes – if the rest of your fixtures are brushed nickel, you may want to opt for a stainless steel range, refrigerator and dishwasher for a coordinated look.


Remember, even if a feature sounds interesting, it doesn’t mean you need it. It’s best to purchase what suits your needs and lifestyle. By making smart choices, and not splurging on unnecessary features, you’ll have the budget to spend money where it matters most for you.


Add an island


Add beauty, function and value to the heart of the home with an island. Many homeowners choose to build an island within their kitchen as a place for family and friends to gather and socialize. A multi-level design with stools on one side can provide casual seating for guests, leaving the other side available for you to prepare food or serve appetizers.


If you like to cook and entertain, you may also want a design that includes a bar/prep sink and beverage faucet – this will aid in prep and provide fresh drinking water. The SIP beverage faucet from Moen offers a coordinating style for every decorating taste. Enjoy cold, filtered water on demand, and the high-arc rotating spout allows for extra convenience when filling pitchers, coffee makers and more. For more information on Moen products, visit www.moen.com or call 800-BUY-MOEN.



From make-do to all new - updates to create your dream kitchen

Driveways to mailboxes: Oft-overlooked items that drive curb appeal

18851646_wide(BPT) – Selling or staying, it makes no difference – everyone wants a home that looks great from the curb. Curb appeal comes together when all the elements of a home’s facade are in good shape and working together. Driveways that are cracked or pitted with potholes, dingy front doors and other seemingly minor complaints like a shabby, scuffed mailbox, can all significantly detract from a home’s overall curb appeal.


Here is a handful of projects – many of them quick fixes – that can greatly enhance a home’s appearance.


* Repair or resurface your driveway.


For many homes, the driveway is one of the largest visual elements of the home’s overall curb appeal, ranking right up there with siding, the roof and the lawn. If winter was rough on your driveway, it’s time to think of making repairs. Concrete can crack and crumble, and asphalt develops potholes. Both can be repaired quickly and easily.


For any driveway repair, make sure the area to be repaired has been cleaned of debris and loose materials.  Cleaning with a hose or pressuring washing can improve the entire surface. For asphalt driveways, Sakrete U.S. Cold Patch is a ready-to-use recycled asphalt product that permanently patches potholes, cracks and other defects without the oily mess or bad smell of a conventional blacktop patch. Simply pour the product into the pothole and tamp it down. It is not oily or sticky, so you can even use your car to do the job – just drive tires over the patch to compress it.


Concrete driveways can develop different types of cracks:  very small and shallow resembling a dry river bed; cracks between 1/8 and 1/4 inch wide; and cracks wider and deeper than 1/4 inch. Your choice of repair method will depend on how you want the finished product to look and how much time you have to make the repair.


Portland cement-based Sakete Top n Bond can be used to repair all three types of cracks, and will provide a finished look that most closely resembles the existing concrete driveway. For tiny cracks, simple coat the entire area with a thin layer of the patching material. Top n Bond easily fills cracks wider an deeper than 1/4 inch. You can also use it to repair areas where one slab of the driveway has sunk lower than the slab next to it. If appearance is less important, an even easier option for repairing cracks 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide is to use a tube product, like Sakrete Concrete & Mortar Repair, and apply it with a caulk gun.


Repairing damaged asphalt or concrete driveways not only improves its appearance, it can help extend its life, too.


* Put the shine on your mailbox


It sits at the end of your driveway and often plays a key role in helping guests find your house. But do you give your mailbox the attention – and the credit – it’s due? Little things can mean a lot when it comes to creating curb appeal. While a mailbox that looks good might not get much attention, one that’s ugly or shabby is sure to draw the kind of attention you don’t want.


If you live in a community that restricts what type of mailbox you can have, simply give your rusted, stained mailbox and the post it sits on a fresh coat of paint in its original color. If your community has no standards for mailboxes, you can swap out an ordinary looking box with something that compliments your exterior design. Does your home have a brick facade? Consider a mailbox set in or on a brick pillar. If your house features fieldstone accents, consider carrying that over to the mailbox with a small, stone-trimmed planting bed at its base.


* Lavish your front door with some TLC


The door is the point where your exterior design meets your interior décor. It’s also an element that significantly impacts how visitors view your home. Give yours a fresh coat of paint or stain, and don’t forget the trim around the door.


Next, consider lighting. Is the area around the door well lit? Good lighting is key not only for safety at night but also to enhance the appeal of the area. Consider sconces beside the door or an attractive overhead fixture if your door has an awning, porch or overhang. Ground lights can accent the effect, either illuminating the pathway that leads to the door or lighting up the door itself.


Finally, take a look at the door hardware. Is the handle or knob looking rusted and shabby? Replacing worn or dated door hardware is an easy, cost-effective way to improve the overall look of your entryway.


Anyone hoping to sell their home during warmer months can greatly enhance curb appeal by investing in these seemingly minor design elements. If you plan to stay in your house, boosting the curb appeal will make you feel even better about coming home every day to a fresh, appealing house.



Driveways to mailboxes: Oft-overlooked items that drive curb appeal

Fannie, Freddie to Loosen Up on Lending

MORTGAGE CALCULATORSThe regulator of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is reportedly working on a deal with the financing entities that will loosen up lending standards and make mortgages more affordable for those with less-than-perfect credit. The move is expected to expand home buyers’ access to financing, as tight credit the last few years has kept many sidelined.


The new rules reportedly will include a lower minimum down payment requirement (from 5 percent to 3 percent), in order for lenders to qualify to sell a loan to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That would bring down payment in sync with the Federal Housing Administration, which insures loans made to lower-income borrowers and first-time buyers. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guarantee about 59 percent of all mortgages written.


The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie and Freddie, reportedly will include more safety measures to help lenders protect themselves from making bad loans. Lenders have faced numerous high-dollar settlements after issuing loans that later defaulted. The new agreement would give greater confidence to lenders so they won’t be penalized years after a loan is made, The Wall Street Journal reports.


The potential agreement “would allow credit to flow more freely to lower- and middle-income households,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, told The Wall Street Journal. “That’s vital to getting the housing recovery moving forward.”


During the financial crisis, the financing giants faced steep losses as home loans defaulted. The spike was blamed on poor underwriting by lenders in ensuring that borrowers could afford their mortgages. In response, the companies, which were seized by the government in 2008, have had banks tighten their credit standards, which some critics say has gone too far and prevented many home buyers from qualifying for a home loan.


The Urban Institute has estimated that 1.2 million more mortgages would have been issued in 2012 alone if lending standards that were commonly used in 2001 were still in place.


“Understandably, after the [financial] crisis the pendulum of mortgage credit standards swung to a far extreme” Paul Leonard, California director of the Center for Responsible Lending, told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s now working its way back to a more moderate position.”


The FHFA is expected to formally announce the plans later this week.


Source: “Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Reach Deal to Ease Mortgage Lending,” Los Angeles Times  and “Mortgage Giants Set to Loosen Lending,” The Wall Street Journal 



Fannie, Freddie to Loosen Up on Lending

Monday, October 20, 2014

Microwave Peanut Butter Fudge







1 lb. of Powder Sugar

1 stick of Butter1 cup of Peanut Butter½ cup of Milk Put the powder sugar in a bowl and make a little hole in center on top and put all the ingredients in it. Microwave for 1 minute then take out and stir. Then microwave another minute, take out and stir. Repeat until smooth then, pour on a buttered surface or wax paper lined dish. Chill for 1 hour. Cut and Eat!

Be Fire Smart

October is National Safety Month

Learn 6 Safety Steps to Take Now





Download the Brochure

Lynd's Apple Picking Schedule

2014 Picking Schedule for Lynd Fruit Farm

9090 Morse Rd SW, Pataskala, OH 43062 is our mailing address, but please note the following!  The intersection of Morse Rd. and S.R. 310 is the area where customers should look for signage indicating where the apple picking for the day is taking place.  Some days we are picking east of S.R. 310 on Morse Rd. and other days we'll be west of S.R. 310 on Morse Rd.  Look for directional signage at the intersection for the variety you plan to pick!
U-Pick apple pricing: Honeycrisp & Pixie Crunch, $30 per twenty pound bag, $20 per ten pound bag; all other varieties are $20 per twenty pound bagand $12 per ten pound bag.  We sell by the bag, not by weight so be sure to fill your bag!
The orchard is open the following dates from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., weather permitting.

Please note the following dates are our best estimate. For the most recent updates check our home page under "Hot Topics at the Farm" or call our u-pick hotline, (740)927-1333 (recorded message).


October 24,25,26.........Fuji, Stayman Winesap
October 31, Nov.1,2.....Goldrush, Fuji

November 7,8,9...........Goldrush

The Terrific Tomato



Tomatoes - when eaten fresh off the vine - contain the most balanced nutrient array of vitamins and minerals of any fruit or vegetable on the planet. These are perfect for late summer salads!!! Heirloom Tomatoes are a summer's treat that are rich in vitamins C, K, A, and B-complex, as well as potassium, chromium, biotin, and beta carotene. This amazing array of nutrition makes heirloom tomatoes excellent for helping to nourish the adrenal glands, reduce stress damage, build the immune system, lower blood pressure, protect against skin damage, improve cardiovascular health, and strengthen bones. Heirloom tomatoes are also an excellent source of lycopene, a super-antioxidant, which is known to help prevent breast, pancreatic, intestinal, bladder, cervical, colorectal, lung, skin, endometrial, and prostate cancers. Heirloom tomatoes also are known to aid in the digestion of dense proteins, assist in dissolving gallstones, and purify the blood making them highly beneficial for your digestive tract and lymphatic system. Heirloom Tomatoes are often sweet and savory and at this time of year they can be found abundantly at your local farmers markets.

6 Design Trends You will See More Of

Private space
Baby boomers, empty nesters, and Gen Yers are showing a preference for homes that have more private outdoor spaces, straying from the traditional “public” backyard, according to surveys. One way some builders are fulfilling this desire is by positioning the home’s architecture strategically around the outdoor space to enclose it more and allow it to be more open to the interior living spaces. They also are creating more covered outdoor spaces.

The “Super Kitchen” 
Besides being a place for cooking, the kitchen is also the entertainment/conversation area in a home. Open-kitchen layouts have continued to grow in popularity, putting kitchens more front-and-center and visibly exposed to other areas of the house. Kitchen islands are offering extra seating and prep space while larger pantries are offering greater storage. “As the hub, it becomes a consumer’s dream to design these elements together with function, practicality, and flair,” the designers say.
Bigger Media Hubs 
More home owners are looking for a place for their large flat-screen television. Larger television sizes are prompting more builders to realize the need for greater wall space to hang the televisions and larger entertainment rooms to accommodate more seating.

Larger Garage Spaces 
If home owners had their way, garages wouldn’t be just for parking the cars. More home owners want spaces for hobbies and storage, and builders are taking notice by creating larger garages for multi-use purposes.

Home Offices 
An office and den space is becoming a bigger desire among home buyers, and the location of it in the home is becoming increasingly important. Placing the home office off the entry is no longer considered the most practical location for it, but builders are experimenting with moving it closer to the “living” area, such as off the kitchen or the family room.

Two Homes in One 
As multigenerational living gains popularity, builders are responding by carving out more separate spaces for several generations to live together. For example, some builders are offering semi-independent suites with separate entries, bathrooms, and kitchenettes.

Source: “14 New-Home Design Trends for 2014,” BUILDER Online

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Foreclosures Back to Pre-Crisis Levels

1388610_30715085A new sign that the foreclosure crisis may largely be in the rearview mirror, new filings in the third quarter of this year were down 16 percent from a year ago — bringing overall foreclosure activity down to its level before the housing crisis, according to RealtyTrac’s Foreclosure Market Report. What’s more, default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions in September dropped 9 percent from the previous month and were down 19 percent from a year ago. That’s the lowest level since July 2006.


“September foreclosure activity was back to pre-housing-bubble levels nationwide, in large part thanks to a continued slide in bank repossessions,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “However, a recent rise in scheduled foreclosure auctions in many markets across the country shows lenders are continuing to clean house of lingering delinquent loans. This rise in scheduled auctions foreshadows a corresponding rise in bank repossessions and auction sales to third-party buyers in the coming months.”


While foreclosure filings fell last month, they were up slightly by 0.42 percent in the third quarter from the previous quarter. It’s a small percentage, but it does mark the first quarterly increase since the third quarter of 2011, according to RealtyTrac. The uptick was largely attributed to a 2 percent increase in default notices and a 7 percent quarterly increase in scheduled foreclosure auctions.


That proves the foreclosure crisis isn’t over in every market quite yet. Default notices in the third quarter rose from a year ago in 10 states, including Indiana (up 59%); Oklahoma (49%); Massachusetts (38%); New Jersey (19%); Iowa (12%); and New York (2%).


Lenders are taking longer to process foreclosures, too. The foreclosure process took an average of 615 days in the third quarter, up 13 percent from a year ago. That’s the longest average time to complete a foreclosure since RealtyTrac began tracking such data in 2007. The states with the longest foreclosure wait times are New Jersey (1,064 days); Florida (951 days); Hawaii (937 days); New York (902 days); and Illinois (889 days).


The five states with the highest foreclosure rates in the third quarter were:


  • Florida

  • Maryland

  • New Jersey

  • Nevada

  • Illinois

Source: RealtyTrac



Foreclosures Back to Pre-Crisis Levels

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Home Owners Redefine the Luxury Bathroom

SONY DSC ©Teresa Butler 2014. All rights reserved.


Luxury bathrooms are undergoing a makeover in recent years, according to a new survey about trends in new construction by the Home Innovation Research Labs, which surveyed about 1,400 home builders earlier this year.


“Since the recession, there has been a lot of trade-offs,” says Ed Hudson, director of HIRL’s market-research division, a subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders.


What’s out? Whirlpool bathtubs and stand-alone bidets, down 9.4 percent and 34.9 percent, respectively, since 2008.


What’s in? His-and-hers shower stalls and chrome lavatory sink faucets, up 12.9 percent and 25 percent, respectively. A standard bathtub has also increased in popularity by 9.5 percent since 2008.


In some cases, buyers are toning down guest bathrooms and placing more emphasis on the master suite, says Scott Hobbs, president of Hobbs Inc., a custom home builder in New Canaan, Conn. But they’re making the bathroom less showy and more contemporary since the recession, adds Leo Birov, founder of Heritage Luxury Builders in Northfield, Ill.


“Everything looks more transitional now,” Birov told The Wall Street Journal. Popular features he sees include heated floors, steam showers, and computerized controls.


In general, new homes today are less ornate than they were in the housing boom, says April Saxe, a real estate professional with Houlihan Lawrence, which sells multimillion-dollar homes in New York. “The [whirlpool] tub has certainly been on the way out,” she told The Wall Street Journal. Instead, buyers are looking to use the space for a soaking tub or a shower stall.


Source: “Homeowners Jettison Whirlpool Tubs,” The Wall Street Journal 



Home Owners Redefine the Luxury Bathroom

Monday, October 06, 2014

September Real Estate Trends

Get the latest real estate stats, trends and real estate news for your area:


http://teresabutler.housingtrendsenewsletter.com/HOUSING TRENDS JPG



September Real Estate Trends

Thursday, October 02, 2014

October Enjoy Magazine

 


OCTOBER 2014 COVER PAGE


Download the October issue of Enjoy Magazine.


Enjoy articles about food, fitness, nutrition, happenings, travel,


music, lifetyles, recipes and more!


 



October Enjoy Magazine

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

10 WAYS TO PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR THE HEATING SEASON


Fall has arrived! In many areas around the country, that means that the heating season is right around the corner! It’s important to be sure that our heating systems and our homes are properly prepped for the heating season, and here’s how:





  1. ​​Inspect windows and doors. Window should have properly fitted storm windows. Windows should open and closely easily. Weep holes should be functional and not blocked with debris. (Clean with pipe cleaners). Is the weatherstripping around your window perimeters in working condition? Exterior doors?


  2. Seal leaks around windows, doors, pipes, recessed lighting, and electrical outlets. Seal door leaks with weather-stripping or a door sweep; seal window leaks with caulking. You can add gaskets to outlets on outside walls. We had one of our inspectors try it and here were his results.

  3. Consider sealing more “hidden” air leaks like at your duct work. Seal ductwork joints with high-quality foil tape or mastic paste (despite the name, avoid duct tape). But don’t go overboard sealing the home in general. Your home still needs to “breathe.” Make sure your home retains heat but also provides enough fresh air to maintain good indoor air quality.

  4. Consider purchasing a properly sized cover for your air conditioning condensing unit. If not already, very soon you’ll be turning off that cool air device and you’ll want it covered to keep out winter’s ice and migrating debris.

  5. Inspect your fireplace. Working doors and screen? How about the damper? If you have a gas log, make sure the damper is restricted from closing completely. You must not allow this damper to close entirely as Carbon Monoxide (CO) gas from your pilot light must be able to escape up the chimney at all times. How long has it been since you had the fireplace chimney cleaned? Consider every 3 years.

  6. Change filters. Change the filter in a forced hot-air system monthly during the heating season to help keep the system at peak efficiency. Most homeowners can change the filters themselves.

  7. Have your heating system professionally serviced. Getting your system professionally serviced now reduces the likelihood of needing emergency service come January. As a general rule, oil systems should be cleaned and serviced annually, while gas systems should be serviced every other year.

  8. Make sure your home is adequately insulated. Read more about proper insulation and ventilation here.

  9. If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, now is a great time to get one installed. Be all set (pun intended!) and ready to go when winter comes.

  10. ​Upgrade where necessary. Lastly, if your home and systems are older, it may be time to consider new windows or a new heating system in order to really be prepared for the heating system this year.



10 WAYS TO PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR THE HEATING SEASON

Do You Have the Home That Buyers Want?



Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.


Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®





Do You Have the Home That Buyers Want?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Builders Haven't Felt This Confident Since 2005

SONY DSCBuilder confidence in the new-home market rose to its highest reading in nearly 9 years, according to the latest reading from the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. September marked the fourth consecutive month that builder confidence has been on the rise.


“Since early summer, builders in many markets across the nation have been reporting that buyer interest and traffic have picked up, which is a positive sign that the housing market is moving in the right direction,” says NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly.


For the new-home market, builder confidence rose to a level of 59 in September, according to the index. Any reading above 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as “good” than “poor.” The seasonally adjusted index measures builder perceptions of the single-family new-home market on home sales and sales expectations for the next six months, as well as builders’ perceptions of buyer traffic. All three of the index components in September posted gains, with current sales conditions and traffic of prospective buyers rising to 63 and 47, respectively. Expectations for future sales also rose two points to 67.


Builder confidence also rose across every region, with the Midwest posting the largest gain in September, followed by the South.


While builder confidence is up overall, builders are noting that one segment of buyers is notably missing from the market.


“While a firming job market is helping to unleash pent-up demand for new homes and contributing to a gradual, upward trend in builder confidence, we are still not seeing much activity from first-time home buyers,” says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Other factors impeding the pace of the housing recovery include persistently tight credit conditions for consumers and rising costs for materials, lots, and labor.”


Source: National Association of Home Builders



Builders Haven't Felt This Confident Since 2005

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

6 Design Trends You'll See More Of

HOME KITCHENWhat home-design trends will likely catch on in new construction? Builder Online recently spoke to Mollie Carmichael, principal at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, and Nick Lehnert, executive director at architecture firm KTGY, about the design trends that are gaining popularity in the new-home market this year:


Private space


Baby boomers, empty nesters, and Gen Yers are showing a preference for homes that have more private outdoor spaces, straying from the traditional “public” backyard, according to surveys. One way some builders are fulfilling this desire is by positioning the home’s architecture strategically around the outdoor space to enclose it more and allow it to be more open to the interior living spaces. They also are creating more covered outdoor spaces.


The “Super Kitchen”


Besides being a place for cooking, the kitchen is also the entertainment/conversation area in a home. Open-kitchen layouts have continued to grow in popularity, putting kitchens more front-and-center and visibly exposed to other areas of the house. Kitchen islands are offering extra seating and prep space while larger pantries are offering greater storage. “As the hub, it becomes a consumer’s dream to design these elements together with function, practicality, and flair,” the designers say.


Bigger Media Hubs


More home owners are looking for a place for their large flat-screen television. Larger television sizes are prompting more builders to realize the need for greater wall space to hang the televisions and larger entertainment rooms to accommodate more seating.


Larger Garage Spaces


If home owners had their way, garages wouldn’t be just for parking the cars. More home owners want spaces for hobbies and storage, and builders are taking notice by creating larger garages for multi-use purposes.


Home Offices


An office and den space is becoming a bigger desire among home buyers, and the location of it in the home is becoming increasingly important. Placing the home office off the entry is no longer considered the most practical location for it, but builders are experimenting with moving it closer to the “living” area, such as off the kitchen or the family room.


Two Homes in One


As multigenerational living gains popularity, builders are responding by carving out more separate spaces for several generations to live together. For example, some builders are offering semi-independent suites with separate entries, bathrooms, and kitchenettes.


Source: “14 New-Home Design Trends for 2014,” BUILDER Online



6 Design Trends You'll See More Of

Top School Districts Lift Home Prices

Homes within highly rated school districts tend to have a higher median sales price, sell for a greater percentage over the list price, and sell faster, according to a new study by the real estate brokerage Redfin.


Highly rated public schools were found to have homes with a median sales price of $474,900 compared to $290,000 in an average-rated school zone. Redfin researchers also found that homes in top school districts are more likely to sell for 30 percent above the list price versus 23 percent. They tend to sell faster too: A median of 25 days on the market versus 21 days.


school busHomes in top-level school districts can be more difficult to come by, the study shows. For every 100 homes in a neighborhood, on average, only 5.8 were on the market in the past year compared with 6.5 for the greater metro area.


Redfin analyzed test score data from GreatSchools ratings, provided by Onboard Infomatics, in 22 major metro areas to determine the neighborhoods that have the most highly rated public schools. Redfin also included data on median sales price, and the percentage of homes that sold above the asking price.


The following metros have some of the top rating averages from GreatSchools, and listed below them are the top three neighborhoods containing the most highly rated schools within each metro. (For the full list of 22 metros and the top schools identified, visit Redfin’s research blog.)


  • Orange County, Calif. metro area

Turtle Rock, El Camino Real, Northwood


  • Austin, Texas metro area

Steiner Ranch, Circle C Ranch, East Oak Hill


  • Long Island, N.Y. metro area

South Wantagh, North Syosset, North Baldwin


  • Seattle, Wash. metro area

Queen Anne, Ballard, Factoria


  • Phoenix, Ariz. metro area

Desert Ridge, Hillcrest Ranch, Ahwtukee


  • San Jose, Calif. metro area

Monta Vista, Blossom Hill, North Los Altos


  • Houston, Texas metro area

Shadow Creek Ranch, Kingwood, Sugar Creek


Source: Redfin



Top School Districts Lift Home Prices

Why It Pays to Be a Home Owner

SOLD HOUSEHome owners are building net worth at a pace that is up to quadruple that of a renter.


In the past 15 years, the net worth of the typical home owner has ranged between 31 and 46 times that of the net worth of the typical renter, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, which is based on 2013 data.


On average, home owners had nearly $200,000 in net worth compared to the average $5,000 net worth of renters, according to the survey.


“Home owner equity is a substantial component of home owner wealth,” Danielle Hale, research economist at the National Association of REALTORS®, writes on the association’s Economists’ Outlook blog.


Source: “Net Worth of Home Owners vs. Renters,” National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Outlook Blog



Why It Pays to Be a Home Owner

10 Hot Spots for Seniors by 2019

RETIREMENTOn the verge of retirement, where will those aged 55 and over choose to live? Realtor.com® recently analyzed Nielsen Demographics data to find the metro markets that will see the largest percentage of growth in residents aged 55 and over within the next five years.


Those 10 markets are:


  1. Williston, N.D.

  2. Gillette, Wyo.

  3. Summit Park, Utah

  4. Dickinson, N.D.

  5. Austin-Round Rock, Texas

  6. Junction City, Kan.

  7. Juneau, Alaska

  8. Andrews, Texas

  9. Elko, Nev.

  10. Raleigh, N.C.

Source: “Top 10 Metro Areas Where Seniors Are on the Rise,” seniorhousingnet.com (Sept. 5, 2014)



10 Hot Spots for Seniors by 2019

Monday, September 15, 2014

September Real Estate Newsletter

Click to download the latest Newsletter2014 SEPTEMBER NEWSLETTER JPG



September Real Estate Newsletter

Fall projects to make your home sensational

20003730_web(BPT) – There still is time to complete your unfinished outdoor projects. Sixty percent of homeowners will accomplish a home improvement project this year, according to survey data from the Zillow Digs Summer Home Improvement Trend and Spending Survey.


Follow these tips to make your home’s exterior shine.


* Smooth over concrete surfaces. In order to prevent trips or falls, now is a good time to fix and patch those cracks in the driveway or garage.  Be sure to fix them now before they get larger and you could incur larger repair costs. It will also help prevent any future accidents. Small cracks can be fixed with concrete caulk while large cracks require a patch. Make sure to clean out the crack before applying either of these substances.


* Repaint the deck. Improving your deck, patio or porch is the seventh most popular home improvement project according to RE/MAX and it’s easy to see why. When you picture yourself outside, you probably picture yourself sitting on the deck. So, make your deck stand out with a fresh coat of paint. “Decorating outside of your home is now all the rage,” says Matthew Mead, author of Backyard Style. “Your deck needn’t be brown and sullen. Infuse your backyard space by selecting whatever color you want and spray the floor of your deck with the Wagner Flexio 890. Your deck will be the toast of the neighborhood.”


* Give your old patio furniture a new look. If you’re going to reinvent your deck, why stop there? Why not refresh your patio furniture to complement your deck’s new color, too? “Revive any outdoor furniture with an easy spray using the Wagner Flexio 890,” says Mead. “With a simple coat of paint you can transform tables, chairs, and anything wicker in any hue or shade you desire. In my new book Backyard Style, I show how to take simple flea-market finds and, with some paint and very little effort, transform them into show-stopping decorative accessories.”


* Caulk around windows and any exterior joints, including doors. Many people think of this as a preventative project for winter, but a fresh application of caulk will protect cool air conditioning from escaping when you need it most.


* Make your home’s exterior sparkle. If your home suffered any damage during the winter, now is the perfect time for repairs that will make your home look great again. Walk around your home and look for damaged or missing siding. Replace these pieces and then use a pressure washer to clean and wash away excess dirt and grime. Using a special detergent appropriate for cleaning your home will give you better results. Once you’re done with the siding, don’t forget to grab the window cleaner and make those windows sparkle.


Each of these projects can return between 67 and 112 percent of their value to your home, according to DiGiorgi Roofing and Siding, not to mention the added joy you’ll receive from these home improvements. So get out there and get to work. The sooner you finish your project, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy the rest of the year in style.




Fall projects to make your home sensational

Make a grand entrance: simple ideas to refresh your entryway

18662454_thumb(BPT) – Most people enter their home through the garage or backdoor, forgetting how the front entrance looks to neighbors and guests. Your front door is often the first thing others notice about your home. That’s why it’s key to make a positive first impression.


How to create an inviting entrance


Transform your home’s curb appeal with a new front door. With so many new entry door systems to choose from, ranging from single doors, to double-door options, to those accented with decorative glass, or transoms and sidelights, it’s easy to find one that fits your budget and your style. Pella offers stylish wood, fiberglass or steel options. Choose from ENERGY STAR-qualified design options to create a distinctive look, whether you’re building a new home, remodeling, or simply replacing an old door.


Pick a standout color for your front door


Sticking with your door? A fresh coat of paint will do wonders. Try a bold color to brighten a neutral color scheme. Pick a color that coordinates with your home’s exterior, but dare to be bold with color contrast to add eye appeal.


Update your hardware


Why stop with a fresh coat of paint? Refresh old doors with new hardware. Choose handles and door knockers that complement your home’s exterior design. Pella offers hardware in a variety of finishes, to instantly upgrade exterior doors.


Replace broken or damaged items


Replace broken light fixtures, burned out bulbs and worn out weather-stripping on exterior doors. Pitch that faded wreath, worn out mat, and dead plants, and instead, add a bright new welcome mat and eye-catching seasonal decorations.


Clean up, accent with contrast


Use a little elbow grease and ammonia-free, vinegar-based glass cleaner to wash the windows. Wipe down window and door frames and sweep sills with a dry paint brush or vacuum to remove dirt. See pella.com/news for tips on cleaning windows and doors.


Fill flower boxes or containers with boldly-colored plants to accent your front door. If you’ve painted your door red, plant red and white or red and purple flowers to create a designer look. Or if you’re keen on green doors, try purple or orange flowers for contrast.


Illuminate your walkway


Make it easy for others to see the way to your front door at night. Transform and illuminate walkways with easy-to-install solar lights. Stake them in the ground positioned so solar cells get enough southern exposure for sunlight to recharge nightlights during the day.


Trim bushes, create great container gardens


Landscaping should accent your home, not dominate it. Keep bushes below the bottom sill of your windows to improve your view. Trim or replace overgrown shrubs and trees. Keep plant material trimmed several feet away from your home to minimize damage from wind or insects, and help eliminate a place for prowlers to lurk. Keep your porch and steps clear of clutter and create container gardens to accent your entry. Fill decorative containers with plants that accent your home’s color scheme, front door and landscape design.


Visit Pella Windows and Doors on Pinterest and Houzz for more design inspiration and Pella.com/news to connect with your local Pella representative for ideas on how to transform the look and comfort of your home inside and out.




Make a grand entrance: simple ideas to refresh your entryway

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Home improvements that make your home more valuable

20094139_web(BPT) – More and more homeowners are embarking upon home improvement projects, spending nearly $200 billion a year on home renovations, according to the National Association of Home Builders. If you’re looking to make some home improvements without breaking the bank, spend smartly and invest time and money now into the projects that will pay back later.


Curb appeal


When it comes to first impressions, house hunters first notice curb appeal, or lack thereof. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, curb appeal is important to 71 percent of homebuyers. So beautify the outdoor space to attract possible buyers by focusing on small exterior improvements that’ll pay off big like planting seasonal shrubs, painting the front door, refreshing a rusty mailbox or replacing old porch lighting with updated fixtures. These minor details will make a major and lasting statement. At the very least, you should clean the yard of any debris, trim trees and spread mulch in planting beds.


Take outdoor renovations to the next level by transforming the look of your home completely with a fresh coat of paint. Be mindful of your home’s location when selecting paint colors. Bold or bright colors might be the norm in Florida but wouldn’t look right in a region like the Pacific Northwest where neutral earth tones are popular.


You can also increase the value of your home by giving your siding material an overhaul. Remodeling magazine suggests replacing aluminum and vinyl siding with a durable fiber-cement mixture, which will recoup about 88 percent of its cost upon resale. It resists fire, rotting, moisture and termites – all potential hazards that could otherwise end up costing thousands.


“Let your insurance agent know whenever you complete a renovation project to make sure any new upgrades to your home are properly covered under your existing policy. If not, your agent can work with you to make sure you get the coverage you need,” says Erie Insurance Vice President and Product Manager Joe Vahey. “In addition, some home improvement upgrades may entitle you to discounts, especially if renovations make the home safer or more secure.” For example, Erie Insurance offers discounts for installing smoke alarms or a central station alarm. Erie also provides a discount for installing sprinkler systems in your home.


Bed, bath and beyond


As house hunters head indoors, there are a few things that are likely to increase a sale. Most tend to look at kitchens and baths first. Experts recommend timeless fixtures instead of trendy ones since they hold their own over time and appeal to buyers who favor both contemporary and classic looks. Don’t waste your money on fancy fixtures and features – they rarely make or break a sale.


Most people seem to think that a huge kitchen overhaul is necessary to snag interested buyers. However, Remodeling Magazine reports that you’ll actually recoup 8.5 percent more of the costs of a minor kitchen renovation compared to a major kitchen renovation. So instead of redoing the kitchen completely, accomplish a few minor DIY kitchen updates like changing out faucets and lighting fixtures, painting cabinets, adding new hardware to drawers and cabinets, and replacing old appliances with newer (and often more energy-efficient) models.


Experts also say that adding an attic bedroom and finishing the basement are two of the largest renovations that give you the best return on your investment, allowing you to recoup more than 84 percent and nearly 78 percent of the cost, respectively.


Before jumping into complicated or expensive DIY projects, take a moment to assess which ones are worth your time and money. Test your knowledge of which home improvement projects give you the most bang for your buck at www.eriesense.com.


No matter what updates you end up doing, it’s always a good idea to regularly assess the value of your home. This will assure you’re asking for an appropriate return on investment when you finally decide to put it on the market.




Home improvements that make your home more valuable

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Home Owners Have Big Interior Design Plans

Only 2 percent of more than 1,700 home owners in the U.S. and Canada surveyed recently by the remodeling website Houzz say they have achieved their design vision for their homes. On average, most home owners say they’re only halfway there with the home’s décor.SONY DSC


Forty-four percent of the home owners surveyed say they would like to do a complete overall of the décor of their homes, while 36 percent say they just want to refresh their existing décor.


What’s guiding their décor decisions? Personal style and comfort, the survey finds, while basing decisions on current design trends is a low influencer.


Younger home owners tended to say more often than older home owners that they wanted to get more “bold and dramatic” with their décor choices, such as incorporating wallpaper and brighter color schemes.


Among some of the survey’s findings:


  • White paint is the most popular wall covering.

  • Artwork is sprucing up more wall décor. One-in-five of home owners say they use art prints and original art to decorate their home’s walls.

  • Accent walls remain popular but are most likely to be reserved for the study/home office, followed by a kids’ room or the master bedroom.

  • Solids are the most popular fabric choice, followed by classics like stripes and florals. However, home owners under the age of 45 are more than twice as likely to use Chevron patterns than home owners over the age of 45.

  • Hardwoods are the most desired flooring throughout a home, but 38 percent of home owners also said they planned to add carpet in the master bedroom.

  • Nearly two-thirds of home owners are creating living rooms in the master bedroom by adding seating, a fireplace, or even a mini-fridge, the survey found.

  • Dining rooms are getting more use and attention. Nearly three quarters of home owners surveyed say they use their dining room on a weekly basis. They most want to decorate the dining rooms with rectangle tables in dark wood or glass tables, with seating available for up to six people.

Source: 2014 Houzz Decorating Trends Survey



Home Owners Have Big Interior Design Plans

Is Your Greatest Fear Losing Your Phone?

CELL PHONEYour phone has likely become an extension of who you are, and if you ever lose it or have it stolen, you might suffer from Smartphone-Loss Anxiety Disorder, a new term coined by researchers.Researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, say the anxiety is real and the loss of your phone stems from feeling disconnected from the depth of data “assets” that many have entrusted to their phones.


“These assets may include personal and business contacts, private pictures and videos, meeting and lecture notes and the like, banking details, utility statements, company spreadsheets and much more,” researches Zhiling Tu, Yufei Yuan, and Norm Archer write in their paper. “All such assets are potentially sensitive to abuse by third parties.”


Losing your personal and business data can trigger anxiety. But researchers say coping with this anxiety must start before you ever lose your device. They suggest smartphone users get acquainted with security measures to protect against theft or loss. Therefore, the blow of losing your phone may not be as great if it ever does happen.


But researchers found that few participants in their study are aware of “countermeasures” such as remote device locks or “time bomb” data deletion settings that effectively can wipe out everything on the phone before someone manages to break into it.


Too many people, the researchers say, are in denial about ever losing their phone that they fail to investigate phone security measures to protect their information.


In an article published by the International Journal of Mobile Communications, researchers urge an awareness campaign to encourage users to take more steps to secure their phones and protect their data. Read more: 4 Ways to Keep Your Phone Safe From Hackers.


Source: “The Anxiety Disorder Lurking in Your Pocket,” Forbes.com 



Is Your Greatest Fear Losing Your Phone?

West Columbus 2-Story for Sale



West Columbus 2-Story for Sale

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

September Enjoy Magazine

Read articles about  happenings, recipes, movies, fitness & nutrition, travel, lifestyles, music and more.


SEPTEMBER 2014 COVER PAGE



September Enjoy Magazine