Outdoor Kitchens: Still on the Way Out?

By Susanne Dwyer

Outdoor kitchens became a must-have amenity for homeowners ostensibly overnight—and fell out of favor almost as quickly.

A recent survey by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), however, proves outdoor kitchens are still in. In fact, the architects cited in the AIA’s Home Design Trends Survey report an uptick in demand for outdoor kitchens in the fourth quarter of 2016.

“Homeowners continue to find new ways to add value to their homes by creating more functional space, which is apparent in the rise in popularity of outdoor kitchens,” said Kermit Baker, chief economist of the AIA, in a statement on the survey. “Kitchens have become a hub for the home—now, homeowners want to bring some of that activity to their outside space.”

Upgrades to indoor kitchens, according to the survey, remain in-demand, as well. The most sought-after add-ons include a charging station and/or computer area, a double island, high-end and/or under-counter appliances, and sensory faucets.

Bathroom improvements are also high on homeowners’ priority lists, with a door-less shower, radiant heated floors and a water-saving toilet the most popular additions.

Source: American Institute of Architects (AIA)

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From: Consumer News and Advice

    

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Navigating the Home-Buying Process: 5 Tips

By Susanne Dwyer

Buying a home for the first time can be complex and daunting, especially in a competitive housing market. A new book, “My First Home: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving the Ultimate American Dream,” aims to help first-time buyers navigate the process.

Below are five tips from author Shashank Shekhar, a blogger, media source and radio and television personality:

  1. Move Quickly
    In this kind of market, if you see a home you like, you’d better be prepared to jump on it. Don’t hem and haw—make the offer.
  1. Understand the Seller’s Needs
    The best deal is not always the most money. The seller might be in escrow on their new home. They need their current residence—the one you’re wanting to buy—to close before they can move, so you need to move from contract to closing quickly. Sometimes, it could be the opposite: The seller wants to stay in the home longer than the typical 30-45 days for closing. In that case, offering rent back to the seller might be a clincher.

It’s your real estate agent’s job to find out the real motivations and needs of the seller and craft your offer accordingly. Sometimes it’s obvious; other times, it’s not.

  1. Get Your Loan Officer to Call the Listing Agent
    When you make an offer, the loan officer should explain to the listing agent that you are well qualified and that the transaction will close on time. Sellers and listing agents feel more comfortable working with loan officers who are proactive in their communication. They also feel more assured that the loan won’t fall through.
  1. Be Aggressive on the Terms and/or Price
    In most cases, you need to be ready to be aggressive with terms like quick closing, no appraisal/loan/inspection contingencies, etc. Be sure to discuss these with your loan officer and real estate agent. You need to be qualified to take such risks with your earnest money deposit—or else, don’t do it!
  1. Hire a Real Estate Agent
    Work with a real estate agent that understands the market. Agents who truly understand market dynamics and are well connected can get their clients’ offers accepted even when it’s not the highest. Work with people actively closing real estate transactions—your nephew’s girlfriend is only a good option if she’s legitimately qualified.

Source: Shashank Shekhar, Arcus Lending

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From: Remax Real Estate Advice

    

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Tips to Assess and Evaluate the Real Estate Market in Your Area

By Susanne Dwyer

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

The real estate industry constantly stays in a dynamic state and undergoes fluctuation throughout the year. Making an assessment, evaluation and forecast of your local real estate market might be a tedious task, due to the ongoing market fluctuations. Here are some essential tips to make a smart analysis of your local real estate market.

Observe the Pricing Trends
A fundamental approach to gain primary knowledge about your local real estate market is by observing the price trends. Acquire an accurate and firsthand knowledge about the current price trends and compare them with the price trends of the past. This will help you analyze the growth and expansion of the market in the recent decades and enable you to make an accurate forecast of the future. Note the varying degrees of prices of residential, commercial and agricultural property located in various areas and sectors within the market. This will help you get an insight into the highs and lows of the markets as well as the opportunities.

Identify the Catalysts
Once you have observed the varying price trends of different areas and the types of property available within your market, you are in a better position to look into the factors that influence the pricing fluctuation in the market. Real estate thrives on certain elements, catalysts, and macro and micro economic factors that steer the growth, development, and expansion of the market. Infrastructural development such as roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and other public facilities tend to bring an instant upsurge of market growth. Aside from that, local regulatory policies, state and regional economy and tax and interest rates, as well as market demographics, play key roles in driving a real estate market.

Assess the Sales and Purchase
Keep a check on sales and purchases to analyze if your locale is currently a buyer’s or seller’s market. Assess the number of houses and other property sold on a regular basis. The DoM, or Days on Market, is an effective tool to analyze demand and evaluate the market’s capacity to deliver. Moreover, this analysis will also help figure the buying trends of the future.

Find Out the Types of Property Available in Your Market
Without sound, realistic and accurate knowledge about the types of property available in the local market, you cannot develop an accurate perspective of your real estate industry. Assess the property as per its type and category, such as residential, commercial or agricultural. (These main categories are further classified into secondary and tertiary classes.)

Compare With Suburbs and Vicinities
It is essential to keep a check on the market state and price trends in the outskirts and adjoining vicinities. Find out the pace of infrastructural development and the eminent landmarks and public service amenities available in the outskirts and if they are likely to influence your market in the future.

Whether you are an established real estate enterprise or are planning to venture into your local real estate industry, you need to hone your business strategy and service designs if you want to excel. Automation is the key, and by incorporating smart software, systems, applications and securing them using remote monitoring services, you can efficiently optimize your performance and get an edge over your competitors in the market.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of RISMedia.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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From: Remax Real Estate Advice

    

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Nancy Wey
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What Are the Best States for Millennials? The Answer May Surprise You

By Susanne Dwyer

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

When you think about the ideal state for millennials to live in, you likely imagine them traipsing around California or New York. But a recent MoneyRates.com study shows the best state for young folks these days is actually…wait for it…North Dakota?

The study looked at eight different aspects to determine the best states for millennials. These criteria are:

  • Job market for young adults (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Young adult proportion of population (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • College tuition affordability (Four-year in-state cost data from the College Board)
  • Residential rental availability (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Residential rental affordability (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Access to high-speed broadband internet (Federal government’s National Broadband Map)
  • Concentration of bars relative to the young adult population (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Concentration of fitness facilities relative to the young adult population (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association)

With these in mind, MoneyRates.com ranked the following 10 states as the best fit for the millennial generation.

1. North Dakota
This may seem like an out-of-the way choice, but it clearly has no problems attracting young adults. North Dakota has the second-highest population of people aged 20 to 24, trailing only Utah. One reason why young people are drawn to the state? The job market. Across most of the nation, unemployment for young adults has remained persistently troublesome, but North Dakota’s unemployment rate for people aged 20 to 24 is just 5.3 percent, compared with 8.1 percent for the typical state. One major knock on North Dakota is if you are a health nut: It has the third-worst concentration of health facilities relative to its young adult population.

2. South Dakota
It probably comes as no surprise that South Dakota would share some characteristics with its neighbor to the north. Of particular interest to millennials looking for work, these similarities include a strong job market for young adults. South Dakota also ranks No. 1 nationally in the affordability of residential rentals, leaving millennials more money to put into their savings accounts.

3. Nebraska
This is another state that might not automatically be thought of as a mecca for young adults, but proportionately, its population of 20- to 24-year-olds is in the top 10 nationally. Nebraska also scored top 10 rankings for young adult employment, residential rental affordability and the proportion of bars relative to the size of the young adult population.

4. Louisiana
Being home to New Orleans makes it easy to think of Louisiana as a party state, but actually it scored only a little better than average in terms of the availability of night life. However, it scored very well for broadband access, rental availability and proportion of young adults in its population. If you move to Louisiana, just make sure you have competitive job skills, because the job market for 20- to-24-year-olds is quite weak.

5. Wyoming
With student loan debt an increasingly troubling issue for millennials, Wyoming offers a very strong attraction: At an average of $5,055 per year, the cost of a four-year public college degree for in-state residents is the lowest in the nation. Wyoming also was among the best five states for rental availability and concentration of bars relative to the size of its young adult population.

6. Iowa
The two greatest strengths for Iowa in this study were that it ranked among the 10 best states in both rental affordability and concentration of bars.

7. Kansas (Tie)
Scores for Kansas were more consistently decent than featuring spectacular ups and downs, though the state did rank particularly well for the availability of high-speed broadband and access to residential rentals.

7. Wisconsin (Tie)
Though it earned a tie with Kansas, Wisconsin reached that position with a very different set of characteristics. For example, unlike Kansas, Wisconsin offers relatively low residential rental availability. However, Wisconsin stands out as a particularly good place to work and play. In terms of work, Wisconsin has the fourth-lowest rate of young adult unemployment in the nation. In terms of play, it has the second-highest concentration of bars relative to the size of the young adult population.

9. Montana
While Montana is a wide open state with a relatively sparse population, the people who live there like to have a good time, because state ranks No. 1 in its concentration of bars relative to the size of its young adult population. For more serious-minded millennials, another attraction of Montana is that it has the third-lowest in-state tuition for four-year public college degrees. In addition, the state was in the top 10 for concentration of fitness facilities.

10. Indiana
The top ranks for Indiana would fall into the general category of ease-of-living for young adults. Indiana was in the top 10 for both affordability and availability of residential rental properties, and it also scored well for access to high-speed broadband.

Source: MoneyRates.com

Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at zoe@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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From: Consumer News and Advice

    

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Nancy Wey
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Incomes Need to Rise at This Pace to Stay on Track With Rents

By Susanne Dwyer

Rent raised? You’ll need a raise.

According to a new analysis by Zillow, the average renter would need his or her income to grow by $168 to keep up with an expected 1 percent rise in rents over the next year. Many renters, however, would need more—in some cases, much more—to keep costs manageable.

Renters in Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston, Sacramento, and Orlando would be in need of the biggest pay bumps, according to the analysis. In Seattle, renters would need an additional $1,248, while in Orlando, renters would need an additional $672.

Renters in San Antonio, Detroit, Las Vegas, Austin and Columbus would be in need of the smallest—$84 in San Antonio and $264 in Columbus.

“For a long time now, renters have faced an affordability crisis when it comes to housing, and renters in some hot markets will still need significant raises just to keep up with rising rents,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “Incomes have a ways to go to bring rental affordability closer to historical levels, but recent gains are being met with slowing rent appreciation—a welcome sign for renters.”

Appreciation is grinding to a halt in many major metropolitan areas—conditions which, combined with growing incomes, make them ideal for renters. These include New York, Chicago, Houston and Miami, according to the analysis.

For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.

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From: Consumer News and Advice

    

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Location, Location: Trading Up Costs $450 More a Month, With Exceptions

By Susanne Dwyer

Zillow_Move_Up_Analysis

There are many benefits to trading up to a home with more square footage, especially for growing families—but with more house comes more cost, and, as a recent analysis by Zillow reveals, it can vary by location.

Trade-up homeowners can expect to spend an average $447 more each month if they move from a home with two bedrooms to one with three, according to Zillow’s Cost of Moving Up Analysis, or 50 percent more tacked on to a monthly mortgage payment.

In several markets, trading up from two bedrooms to three adds less expense to a monthly mortgage payment than the average—in some cases, a lot less. In Cleveland, Ohio, trading up from two bedrooms to three will cost a negligible $74 more each month, while trading up in Philadelphia, Pa., will cost only $77 more. Trade-up homeowners in Indianapolis, Ind., Baltimore, Md., and Kansas City, Mo., will pay below-average costs, as well: $103, $105, and $112, respectively.

Trading up from two bedrooms to three in high-priced markets, however, comes at a steeper cost: above average at $2,224 more each month in San Jose, Calif.; $1,660 more in San Francisco, Calif.; $1,033 more in Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif.; $928 more in San Diego, Calif.; and $601 more in Denver, Colo.

The analysis also calculated the cost of trading up from homes with one bedroom to two, three bedrooms to four, two bedrooms and one bathroom to two bathrooms, three bedrooms and one bathroom to two bathrooms, three bedrooms and two bathrooms to three bathrooms, four bedrooms and two bathrooms to three bathrooms, and four bedrooms and three bathrooms to four bathrooms:

“While deciding whether to move is a personal choice, understanding how certain characteristics like size, location, or number of beds and baths, can impact a home’s price can be hugely important when determining if a particular home is the right fit for you and your family,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “Even though many families may be prepared to spend extra for a larger home, just how much more may come as a surprise, especially for those living in coastal markets.”

Knowing what to expect in terms of trade-up costs could give prospective spellers the push they need to put their homes on the market this spring.

For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.

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From: Consumer News and Advice

    

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Nancy Wey
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Infographic: How Can You Use Home Equity?

By Susanne Dwyer

Home_Equity_InfoGraphic

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

Many homeowners have heard that homeownership is a great investment; however, knowing why and how is a different story. This is especially pertinent when it comes to home equity, which is often a homeowner’s largest financial asset, and can make up over half of their net worth. But how can you use your equity to your advantage?

Seeing as April is Financial Literacy Month, now is a great time to brush up on your home equity know-how.

A recent article from the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, “An Introduction to Housing Wealth: What Is Home Equity and How Can It Be Used?,” offers great insight into home equity and the myriad ways you can use it.

According to the three-part article, home equity can be both tapped and used in a variety of ways. The way you should use your equity will depend on several variables, including your age, wealth, financial and family goals, and work or retirement situation. Your home equity is, plainly speaking, the value of your home minus your mortgage balance. So how can you grow your home equity? Paying off some or all of your mortgage debt, or any other debt you have on the house, will increase the equity in your home; however, this is not the only way for your home equity to grow.

Another way to bump your equity is for the value of your home to rise. Whether it’s from market fluctuation or improvements made on your end, when your home value grows, so can your equity.

The following infographic, provided by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, offers great insight into home equity and how you can tap into it.

For more information on how you can use your home equity, read the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association’s article here.

Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at zoe@rismedia.com.

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From: Home Spun Wisdom

    

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Finally, a True Picture of Asian American Homeownership

By Susanne Dwyer

2016 was a momentous year for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. The Census Bureau—which had, up until July, grouped Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) into a “Other” category—agreed to include a separate category for AAPI in its research.

The importance of that change is highlighted in the Asian Real Estate Association of America’s (AREAA) recently released 2016 State of Asia America Report, which includes, for the first time, accurate data about AAPI homeownership. AREAA campaigned for the change as part of its No Other initiative, making a case for the separate category with the help of government leaders and partners in the real estate industry.

In 2016, the AAPI homeownership rate was 55.6 percent—considerably below the 59 percent recorded in 2015, when AAPI were labeled “Other.” The contrast underscores just how crucial the new category is to assessing the needs of the AAPI community. The AAPI homeownership rate also lagged behind the national rate, which was 63.5 percent.

“With this new data, researchers will be able to analyze the barriers to housing facing the AAPI community and preventing it from achieving high levels of homeownership,” the report states.

The AAPI community represents an immense opportunity in real estate. The AAPI population is more than 21 million strong—a figure expected to double by 2050—and will have a purchasing power of over $1 trillion by 2018. Twenty-seven states now have an AAPI population larger than 100,000, with Los Angeles County, Calif., Honolulu County, Hawaii, and Santa Clara County, Calif., the counties with the highest AAPI concentrations. By 2024, 1.8 million more Asian households will be formed.

AAPI also boast the highest employment rate of any race or ethnic group, at 61.3 percent—with the highest average earnings, to boot.

All of these indicators make for a group that is able, ready and willing to participate in the real estate market. Asians submitted the second-highest conventional purchase loan applications (and contributed to the second-highest conventional purchase loan originations) in 2015. Fifty-two percent of all Asian real estate capital was invested in the U.S. in 2016, with China the biggest purchaser of U.S. homes, as well as the biggest spender, with an $831,000 average home price.

“Real estate professionals who take time to learn more about the unique needs and challenges of the AAPI community position themselves to provide better service and offer more value to customers,” stated Geoff Lewis, president of RE/MAX, LLC, which presented the report.

Homeownership in the AAPI community, however, is not without challenges. Twenty percent of AAPI homeowners report experiencing discrimination while homebuying—in fact, Asian homebuyers who contact real estate agents about listings report learning about 15 percent less homes and being shown 19 percent less homes than whites. A study by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) confirms those findings, reporting one in five in the AAPI community experiences discrimination while home-buying or renting.

Student loan debt is another potential roadblock. AAPI are the fastest-growing group of college students, projected to grow 35 percent over the next 10 years. As more AAPI undertake postsecondary education, the burden of student debt, especially when it comes to saving for a down payment, will become heavier, dragging down household formation.

“The student debt crisis and its impact on homeownership will have a profound impact on the younger generation of would-be homebuyers,” states the report. “As more and more AAPI go to on to pursue higher education…the stringent underwriting requirements related to debt-to-income ratio will keep many from achieving the American Dream for years to come as they work to pay off their student loans.”

The category change is a major step forward toward addressing these and other issues, now with the possibility of implementing truly effective solutions based on reliable data.

“As more research disaggregates data for the AAPI community, a clearer picture will be painted for policymakers to understand the issues affecting us,” AREAA National Chair Vicky Silvano said in RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine. “I am proud to have been a part of this movement.”

For more information, please visit www.areaa.org.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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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