Welcome Home, Mutants: The X-Men Mansion Storms the Market

The X-Mansion, mutant haven of the X-Men universe, is on the market for a mind-bending $75,850,000. Billed as “the exclusive real estate partner” of the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse, the newest installment in the X-Men film series, Coldwell Banker Real Estate has teamed with 20th Century Fox to mock-list the imaginary estate. The listing is part of a marketing effort that includes […]

From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

6 Essential Things to Look for in a New Home

Investing in real estate is one of the most financially sound things you can do, but buying a new home might feel intimidating when it is your first time. It is understandable that you’d want to make the best decision possible. Here are six things to look for that can help with your decision. Efficient […]

From: Consumer News and Advice

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

These Neighborhood Amenities Can Kill Your Property Value

In real estate, the phrase “cash is king” is oft overused. However, if you’re struggling to sell a house in a bad ‘hood, then you already know that in reality, location is king. Purchasing a home in a great area, or an area that is up-and-coming, can help maximize the value of your home investment. So what can […]

From: Consumer News and Advice

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

DIY Garden Beds the Whole Family Can Help With

By Susanne Dwyer

garden_bed

What’s a surefire way to get kids to eat their vegetables? Heap their plates with homegrown bounty plucked right from the backyard. Gardening as a family gives children an appreciation for the work behind the food on the table, an understanding of basic ecology, and a chance to help parents outside. Meanwhile, for us adults, backyard beautification boosts property values and brings buyers for those of us thinking about selling.

But, as parents are already well aware, kids don’t exactly warm to activities requiring them to stand idly by while an adult does most of the work. Complex projects that demand sawing, drilling and hauling can be boring for budding gardeners who want nothing more than to get their hands dirty. The projects below are simple and fun so that they hold little ones’ interest and give them the satisfaction of building a well-placed garden bed, while you reap the benefits on your valuation.

The Basics of Garden Beds

Technically, a bed can be anywhere you’d like: surrounding the perimeter of your house or tucked into an upcycled dresser drawer. Most modern gardeners opt for raised beds—where compost and soil is surrounded by a boundary wall made from a variety of different materials. This eliminates the need for tilling and turning soil, a tiring and toilsome task.

Raised beds also score points for good drainage, a necessity for healthy plant growth. Since paths are separated from the growing area, the soil is less likely to become compacted, so plants are healthy and vibrant—and boost your curbside appeal, instead of dragging it down.

When planning your bed, take into consideration the types of plants you’d like to grow—large edibles like squashes and pumpkins won’t fare well jammed into tight spaces. That being said, a lot can be grown in a few inches, especially if you fill your beds with nutrient-rich garden soil. If you’re smart with your placement and planning here, it can really pay off, while a drooping, dry bed can undermine your landscaping efforts.

The Projects

Now that we’ve covered the basics of bed-building, it’s time for some inspiration. Here are a few fun and quirky projects that will pique the interest of even the most apathetic child.

  • Stack Cinder Blocks: A very industrial approach to backyard ecology, stacked cinder blocks allow you to create a relatively fortified garden bed in a short amount of time. The gaps in the centers of the blocks also provide an extra spot for makeshift container gardening—the perfect spot for a frothy groundcover like sweet alyssum, or DIY strawberry pots. If you’d like to remove your garden at the end of the growing season, line the bottom of the bed with landscaping fabric before laying your blocks.
  • Build a Raised Pallet Bed: Perhaps one of the simplest beds you could ask for, an industrial pallet makes an easy, small bed for plants with shallow root systems. Again, line the bottom the with landscaping fabric and staple it to the wood to keep the soil in place. Fill the interior with soil and you have a planned bed for companion planting. I’ve also seen these turned on their sides to make a hip vertical bed. Usually you can find pallets at small hardware stores and garden centers, who will gladly hand over a few extras.
  • Use Recycled Tires: Consider it upcycled container gardening at its finest. With no stone to haul or boards to drill, this project is the ultimate no-sweat bed for the little one short on attention (or the family short on time). Spray-painted in fun, kid-friendly colors, these add an eclectic and environmental touch to your landscaping. If you’re wondering where to get used tires, many retailers will be happy to part with a few cast-offs if you ask.
  • Edge with Painted Stones: One way to capture a child’s interest is to allow them to put their own unique stamp on the project. Stone borders allow gardens to fit neatly into even the tiniest, oddball spaces—but this project lets your little one embrace their own inner Picasso as well. Give them some weather-resistant acrylic paint and you’ll have great landscaping and a family keepsake that can endure throughout the years.

Erin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener and aspiring homeowner. She currently resides in Austin, Texas where she writes full time for Modernize.com, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Blog.rismedia.com. Check the blog daily for top real estate tips and trends.

From: Consumer News and Advice

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

Radian Introduces Newly Enhanced Consumer-Focused Website for Homebuyers

By Susanne Dwyer

Radian Guaranty Inc. recently announced the relaunch of its consumer-focused website, www.achievethedream.com. The newly enriched website, prepares and arms homebuyers with the tools and in-depth knowledge they’ll need to inform one of the most important financial decisions they’ll make – buying a home.

“We developed the original achievethedream.com because we heard from loan officers across the country that home buyers are entering the real estate market without the necessary knowledge to capitalize on their buying opportunities,” says Brien McMahon, chief franchise officer, Radian. “In order to meet increasing online demand and actively support educated decisions about home buying we redeveloped achievethedream.com. With its amplified content, we’re confident our new website serves as a unique and helpful information hub to aid consumers in making smarter home buying decisions, and can provide valuable information for real estate agents as well.”

With newly enhanced interactive tools, achievethedream.com arms prospective home buyers with the knowledge they need to navigate the often complicated process of purchasing a home. Included in the range of content provided, the new site features:

  • Interactive guides that compute the projected opportunity cost of renting versus buying, how long it is expected to take to save for a down payment, expected monthly payments, as well as tools to project home equity and appreciation.
  • Informative editorial that takes consumers from the beginning of their home buying process, including how to find a trustworthy real estate agent, all the way to what to expect at closing.
  • A plain English explanation of what to expect during the financing process, including explanations of the various loan options, a mortgage application document checklist, and a guide to understanding credit.

In addition to these invaluable tools and resources, the new achievethedream.com provides visitors with a free credit score and credit consultation through iQual’s ApprovalGuard program.

Commented Jeff Mandel, President and CEO of iQual Corporation, provider of the ApprovalGUARD Service: “We are excited to be part of Radian’s new Achieve the Dream platform. Purchasing a new home, establishing good credit and securing financing are all complicated and stressful. We, at ApprovalGUARD, fully support Radian’s efforts to provide educational tools and resources to help simplify the home buying process and promote every American’s dream of homeownership.”

Adds Zoe Devaney, senior vice president, marketing and customer experience, Radian, “Buying a home is one of the most important decisions many of us make in our lifetimes. With the easy to navigate achievethedream.com we’re putting the power of information in the hands of consumers so they can gain confidence in how the process works even before they start looking for a house.”

For more information, visit www.radian.biz.

From: Consumer News and Advice

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

First-Time Homebuyers: How to Save Money with an In-Law Apartment, Duplex or Guest House

By Susanne Dwyer

lease_agreement

Buying your first home is exciting, but the price tag can cause major trepidation for even the most prepared homebuyer. Investing in a multi-unit property with a mother-in-law apartment or other rental unit can bring in additional income to help cover your mortgage and alleviate that financial anxiety.

Take the time to explore the benefits of investing in a multi-unit property and consider whether

or not you are prepared to take on the responsibility.

Benefits of Multi-Unit Property

As people continue to live longer and healthcare costs continue to rise, demand for multi-generational housing is growing. The Wall Street Journal notes that more homeowners are able to build and rent these units on their properties thanks to lobbying efforts by groups like the AARP, which have helped loosen local regulations. If you’re looking to purchase your first home, take advantage of these efforts and start reaping the benefits.

Reliable Income

Scour your local Craigslist listings and you’ll find dozens of people looking specifically for mother-in-law apartments. Renters like the privacy and homey feel of an accessory dwelling over renting a room in an apartment complex. Thanks to this demand, savvy buyers know they can rely on a steady stream of income from a rental unit. Many homeowners use this money source as a way to save for retirement or pay down their mortgage.

Great Resell

Because multi-unit dwellings are such a hot real estate item, you likely will not have trouble reselling the property when you’re ready. According to the New York Times, 15 percent of buyers were willing to pay more for a house with an accessory dwelling. These potential buyers are looking for additional space for a variety of reasons: a tenant, a relative — multi-generational households are especially popular with immigrant families — or a detached home office for freelance or telecommuting jobs.

Tax Benefits

Taxes will take some of your rental revenues, but rental properties can actually bring you additional tax benefits. Expenses that you can deduct from your taxes include repairs, maintenance, insurance, supplies and travel. Consult a tax professional for details on the best way to get tax benefits from your rental property.

Questions to Ask Yourself before You Buy

Before you jump into a new job as property manager, there are some important things you need to consider first. Ask yourself these critical questions before buying a home with a rental unit.

Can you afford the price and time commitments for purchase?

With the increased appeal of and competition for these properties comes an increased price tag. According to Zillow, fully permitted units are often priced about 60 percent higher than single dwelling homes. This is great news for re-sale value, but not necessarily when you’re looking to buy. And due to the demand, you are likely going to have to wait longer than expected to score a home with a rental unit. If you are looking to purchase a home quickly, one with a rental unit may not be available on your timeline.

Are you ready to be a property manager?

Being a property manager goes beyond collecting a rent check each month: it’s a 24/7 job. You need to maintain your unit and ensure your renter is happy with their living situation. In fact, tenants have basic rights you must guarantee as a landlord. Check with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for specific requirements in your state.

You should also expect to invest roughly 10 percent of the money you are making off the rental back into the unit, according to Robert Griswold, author of “Property Management for Dummies.” You will need to make occasional repairs and regular updates on the property, he says, and you could alienate good tenants if you don’t keep up with regular maintenance work. Make sure you are prepared to handle the time and effort it takes to be a successful property manager before purchasing a home with a rental unit.

Is the rental legal?

Depending on state rental laws and city requirements, an in-law apartment sometimes cannot legally be rented out because it violates zoning ordinances. Perform your due diligence when looking into purchasing a home with a rental unit. Check with your local building department for the certificate of occupancy, and contact your city’s planning and zoning office to find out the local zoning requirements.

Though enforcement by municipalities is often lax, you may need a business license to rent your unit. According to Apartment Management Magazine, not being in compliance can affect everything from your insurance to your ability to evict a tenant.

Does it meet municipality code?

Even if you are allowed to rent out the unit according to zoning regulations, the rental unit you’re eyeing may not meet your municipality’s rental housing codes. You can find these rules through your city’s code enforcement officer. Check with the planning office to guarantee the right building permits were filed before buying, as it can be very expensive to reconcile code violations after you buy.

Hire an inspector who can comb through the rental to find problems before you purchase. You can request that the seller fix these problems before you buy the house.

Owning a first home is exciting. While the cost of home ownership can be daunting, you can free yourself from some of that monthly mortgage stress by buying a home with a rental unit. Just make sure you’re prepared for the property manager duties.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for real estate tips and trends.

From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

Home Security Tips for Condo Owners

While living in a condo or apartment building may have certain security advantages over a traditional house, there are still several important home security tips that owners and renters should keep top of mind. Weiser, manufacturers of innovative, high quality and secure door locksets, recommend simple, common sense security when it comes to keeping your […]

From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

How to Buy or Sell Like a Pro

The housing market predictions are in and 2016 is set to be an active real estate year with a 3 percent increase in total home sales over 2015. Hoping to ease the home buying and selling process during this busy real estate timeframe? Below, Mike Clear, vice president of operations for American Home Shield offer some tips […]

From: Consumer News and Advice

    

Remember I am just a phone call away to help with all of your real estate needs!

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893