What You Need to Earn to Live in the Cheapest and Priciest Metros

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:

Ever wonder how much bacon you need to bring in to live comfortably in some of our country’s largest metros? HSH.com recently revealed the salaries needed to live in a median-priced home in 50 of the hottest areas of the U.S., and the numbers may surprise you. While the national average of median home prices cost $255,600, requiring a salary of just over $56,000, the salary difference between the least expensive and the most expensive is nearly $200,000 (!!).

5 Least Expensive Metros

  • Pittsburgh: $35,329.29
  • Cleveland: $36,553.26
  • Indianapolis: $37,429.34
  • Oklahoma City: $37,854.04
  • Memphis: $37,964.05

5 Most Expensive Metros

  • San Jose: $221,363.63
  • San Francisco: $181,341.49
  • San Diego: $116,875.11
  • Los Angeles: $101,531.66
  • New York City: $99,136.79

It’s no real surprise that four of the five priciest metros are all in the state of California. Get the full results from HSH.com and see how realtor.com broke down what is occuring in the “Best Places” housing markets.

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.

The post What You Need to Earn to Live in the Cheapest and Priciest Metros appeared first on RISMedia.

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

4 Real Estate Deal-Breakers and How to Fix Them Efficiently

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 sales process can be stressful and seemingly complicated. Even a relatively smooth process can take ample negotiations and may require weeks to pass before you can close on the transaction. Some deals are increasingly complicated, and major roadblocks may develop that threaten the entire project. These are a few of the more significant factors that buyers and sellers may run into during the real estate sales process that could potentially prevent the deal from going through as planned.

Unpleasant Decor
Unpleasant decor is something that buyers notice immediately, and some will only make an offer on the home contingent to some decorative updates being completed before closing. For example, some buyers may detest bold paint colors on the walls or may feel that the decor in the kitchens and bathrooms is too outdated; however, sellers may believe that the home is priced appropriately for the as-is condition and that they should not make concessions because of decor. Both real estate agents need to review sales comps in the area to determine if other homes selling in this price range have similar decor or if they have recently been upgraded. The agents should make the buyer and seller aware of realistic expectations based on market conditions, and one or both parties may need to make concessions based on a sales price and property condition that is justified by the market.

Major Repair Issues
Home repair issues may be known by both parties before a property inspection is complete, but the inspection report can potentially reveal more issues that have not been discussed. Many buyers may try to negotiate to have repair work completed before closing. You may consider taking a course on renovations (like Rules of Renovation) and other significant home improvement projects before you agree to take on any huge projects as a buyer or a seller. These courses can help you to better estimate the cost and time it will take to complete the work that is needed.

A Low Appraised Value
Many buyers will apply for a home loan to pay for their purchase. Mortgage lenders typically offer a loan amount that is a percentage of the sales price or appraised value, and they will take the lesser of these two figures into consideration. This means that an appraised value that comes in lower than the sales price could reduce the loan amount to an uncomfortable amount for the buyer. More than that, the buyer may not want to pay more money for a house than it is worth. The feasible options are for the seller to lower the sales price or to work with the appraiser to increase the appraised value.

Title Issues
It is customary to review the title history on a property before finalizing a purchase, and this is a required step for anyone who is applying for a mortgage loan. This process essentially determines if the seller clearly holds title to the property or what obstacles need to be cleared before the seller can convey title to the buyer at closing. Some issues are minor and can easily be dealt with prior to closing by the title company and the seller. In some cases, however, a real estate lawyer needs to be contacted to resolve the matter.

Many real estate deals will close without a hitch, but many others will develop one or several of these issues. Many issues can be overcome when the buyer and seller work together and when enough time and patience is given to resolve the issues. You may also have to use third-party services, such as a title company or real estate lawyer, to address the issue properly.

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

The post 4 Real Estate Deal-Breakers and How to Fix Them Efficiently appeared first on RISMedia.

From: Remax Real Estate Advice

    

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

Nancy Wey
281-455-2893

Live in a Loud Area? Here’s How to Reduce Sound Inside Your Home

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:

Have you ever wished you lived on a remote island somewhere? A tranquil, calm and—most importantly—quiet place just for yourself? If so, you’re certainly not alone.

Depending on where you live, whether in an urban city or in the suburbs, overpopulation remains an issue, and dealing with noise pollution has become a real responsibility.

Whether sound comes from loud neighbors, lumber trucks, domestic animals or construction workers, we live in a noisy world which can affect us where we need it least—in our homes. These days, we barely even notice the sounds of everyday occurrences such as lawnmowers and nearby roads, but if you think back to pre-industrial times, this amount of external stimulation would have made our distant ancestors nervous wrecks.

Take a moment to consider what you deal with every day regarding external noise. Perhaps it might be time to take action through these easy steps to protect you and your loved ones from unnecessary stress, or even poor sleep.

Close Up Your Gaps
The old advice rings just as true today as it did when you first heard it: “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” Ensuring as tight an envelope as possible is imperative to reducing the external noise in your neighborhood from invading your privacy and comfort, and this means closing all possible gaps.

Starting with the obviously visible holes and cracks, grab some flexible polyurethane or latex caulk to make your walls and window gaps airtight. Even the slightest of open areas around windows will allow sound to infiltrate. Be as thorough as possible in closing them all up. Perhaps you have an issue with exposure around the openings for pipes and wires where they enter the house—if so, use expanding foam or putty to tighten up your house.

Invest in High-Quality Windows
High-quality windows are one of the most important elements for a soundproof home. Opting for models with seriously thick glass will be your saving grace, and that’s why many noise-conscious individuals choose storm windows with sturdy frames and decent weather stripping.

Some things to watch out for: the larger the airspace between your original window and the storm window, the better (i.e., three to four inches). DIY-ers with double-hung and gliding windows tend to gravitate toward storm windows, as they allow the easiest installation; however, there are various options to make window installation an easier job, regardless of the category of your existing windows.

Shape Up Your Insulation
Not only for the sake of your heating and electricity bills, good quality insulation in your home will significantly reduce the internal disturbance from external noise pollution. Attics and walls are usually most vulnerable to noise infiltration due to under-insulation—start there first! Once again, quality, as opposed to speed, is of the essence with this procedure, as only meticulously installed fiberglass batt and blown-in insulation will ensure your sound pollution from the environment remains low.

Of course, installing insulation can still be a bit of a procedure, but there are plenty of guides online to help you perform a world-class job at a fraction of the price.

Homeowners with DIY abilities often choose to install insulation between floor joists, and as long as you pay particular attention to safety such as dust masks, safety goggles, gloves and protective clothing, you should be good to go.

Consider Your Own Noise Contribution
In the process of fixing up your house to protect it from future external sound infiltration, you will require the use of power tools. Spare a thought for your neighbors and choose your weapons wisely. We sometimes can be so accustomed to tolerating a noisy environment ourselves that we become oblivious to our own contribution to noise pollution.

The additions to your home can be a labor-intensive process, and power tools will certainly make your renovations much faster and easier. Chris Knuffman, reciprocating business line manager at Quincy Compressor, explains how you can be efficient while keeping home improvement noise to a minimum.

“Pneumatic tools powered by compressed air help complete tough and noisy jobs faster and more efficiently than manual options,” explains Knuffman. “Robust air compressors properly sized for such tools offer quicker recovery and are quieter work site solutions, delivering lower decibels and less fatigue than misapplied models.”

External noise has more of an effect on your quality of life than you think, and taking these simple steps will surely make a considerable difference to your comfort and sense of security in your own home. As the jobs are relatively easy within the world of active DIY-ers, the trick is ensuring you are as meticulous as possible with each alteration, as sound certainly does travel.

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

The post Live in a Loud Area? Here’s How to Reduce Sound Inside Your Home appeared first on RISMedia.

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

Driving the Smart Home Surge

By Susanne Dwyer

More homeowners are adopting automation, according to a recent survey by CEDIA, a trade association, and HomeAdvisor, relying on professionals in a “smart home surge.” Seventy-five percent of the professionals surveyed, in fact, say they have received more smart home inquiries in recent months, and requests for maintenance once per month or more.

“This report shows that when it comes to smart home technologies, homeowners are migrating away from DIY to more of a ‘do it for me’ mindset,” says Dan DiClerico, smart home strategist at HomeAdvisor.

Smart home devices permeate every part of the home, including doors and windows, landscaping and security, the survey shows. Most professionals report including smart home technology in a larger renovation.

Over 1,400 smart home professionals were surveyed for the report.

Source: HomeAdvisor

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

The post Driving the Smart Home Surge appeared first on RISMedia.

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

Understanding Energy Costs

By Susanne Dwyer

I was recently contacted by the Consumer Energy Alliance, which provides consumers with unbiased information on U.S. and global energy issues. Its affiliates represent sectors from the energy industry, academia, small businesses, conservation groups to travel-related industries.

The CEA recently released a sweeping study of energy consumption across the country, and analyzed various regions, states, even major municipalities promoting ideas to enhance efficiency and preserve an uninterrupted flow of energy based on expected future population shifts.

To the end consumer, the report paints a fascinating picture of who is paying what for their energy, and why it costs so much, or, in some regions, so little.

According to the CEA study, the average mid-continent family currently enjoys some of the lowest electricity costs in the nation. While these low costs are attributable to the region’s access to natural resources and booming energy production, the report suggests that could end in only a few years unless new infrastructure and pipeline
projects are hastily approved.

This planning is especially important, as some of the nation’s poorest communities like Camden, Ark.; Opelousas, La.; Deming, N.M.; Commerce, Okla.; and San Benito, Texas, dot the mid-continent region. The average household income in these communities is $24,857—55.43 percent less than the national average, the CEA report states.

Even small increases in energy prices could have a devastating effect on families in the mid-continent region where median household incomes are $10,000 to $25,000 less than the national average. In this region, the CEA reported that low-income households pay roughly 22 percent of after-tax income on residential utility bills and gasoline.

While most mid-continent families currently pay, on average, a rate roughly 9 percent lower than the national average of 12.90 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), it is also home to states like Texas, where the average monthly bill is 17 percent higher than the national average.

In addition, the study found:

  • The bottom 20 percent of earners spend almost 10 percent of their income solely on electricity—more than seven times what the top 20 percent pays.
  • Of those low-income earners that spend 10 percent of their income on power bills, half are African-American families.
  • The average household in the U.S. currently pays 13 cents per KwH using, on average, 901 KwH per month totaling $116 in electricity bills. That represents almost one-fifth (4.78 percent) of the average income of the poorest mid-continent families.

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

The post Understanding Energy Costs appeared first on RISMedia.

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

The Best States for Single Parents

By Susanne Dwyer

Parents raising children solo have unique needs. A recent study by GOBankingRates identifies the states with the most favorable conditions for meeting those needs, including an ideal median income:

  1. New Jersey
    Median Household Income: $72,093
    State Support: Expanded Medicaid, earned-income tax credit and paid family leave program
  1. Rhode Island
    Median Household Income: $56,852
    State Support: Expanded Medicaid, earned-income tax credit and paid family leave program
  1. Michigan
    State Support: Expanded Medicaid and earned-income tax credit
    Bonus: The average grocery cost and home list price in Michigan are among the lowest in the nation.
  1. Washington
    State Support: Expanded Medicaid, earned-income tax credit and paid family leave program (effective 2019)
    Bonus: There is no state income tax in Washington.
  1. Illinois
    State Support: Expanded Medicaid and earned-income tax credit
    Bonus: Illinois has the fourth-lowest employee contribution amount for employer-sponsored family health coverage.

Source: GOBankingRates

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

The post The Best States for Single Parents appeared first on RISMedia.

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

5 Reasons Why Your HVAC Systems Aren’t Working Right

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 wind is howling outside, and you’re curled up under four blankets. “It’s freezing in here!” you mutter as you push the up button on the thermostat yet again.

At times like this, you know your HVAC system isn’t working right, but you have no idea why. Here’s a little insight into what might be going on, and when it’s time to call an HVAC technician in for a little help.

Clogged Filters
If it seems like you’re turning the heat up, up, up or the air conditioning down, down, down but nothing seems to be happening, a clogged filter could be your culprit. Lack of proper air flow caused by clogged filters is the No. 1 cause of inefficient HVAC systems.

To keep clogged filters from becoming an issue, check your filter once a month and plan on replacing it once every 90 days. If you have pets in your home, you may need to replace the filter a little more often.

Worn Parts
Just like everything else, the parts of your heating system can wear out. Things like belts and motors can become worn and cause your system to work poorly. This problem can be hard to diagnose without a qualified HVAC tech to come in and check things out.

If your system seems like it’s just not working the way it used to, it’s probably time to call in the pros. The upfront cost might seem a little high, but if your system continues to work highly efficiently to heat and cool your home, you’ll save money in the long run.

Leaks in the System
Leaks in your HVAC system can be easy to diagnose but a little harder to fix. Still, it’s great information to give your tech before he gets started.

To diagnose a leak in the system, start with the obvious. Look for liquid coming from anywhere other than the condenser pipe (that’s the part where the water normally leaks from).

Check your filter for ice. Leaking refrigerant will cause your filter to freeze the moisture it catches, turning the filter into a popsicle.

If a pipe is leaking at a junction, a seal could be dry-rotted or corroded. Be sure to pass on the information to your HVAC technician before he or she comes out so he or she can be better prepared to help you.

Electrical Issues
Even if you have a gas or oil-powered HVAC unit, it still has electrical components. If these components are not working correctly, they can cause your system to waste fuel, not work correctly, or not work at all.

The biggest problem seen on the electrical side is with the ignition system. If your unit clicks a lot before it ignites or continues to click without igniting, this is a problem with the electrical igniter.

Age of the Unit
Even with regular maintenance and care, older units are going to start to fail. According to ENERGY STAR, replacing a unit that is 10-15 years old can save you up to 20 percent on your heating and air conditioning costs.

If you are unsure how old your unit is, you can use the serial number to figure out when your unit was made.

Leaks, clogged filters, and the age of your unit can all cause problems with your HVAC unit. Having a qualified technician come out and repair or replace your unit will save you money on your fuel bills and reduce your impact on the environment.

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

The post 5 Reasons Why Your HVAC Systems Aren’t Working Right appeared first on RISMedia.

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

WalletHub: 10 Best Housing Markets

By Susanne Dwyer

What makes for an attractive housing market? Analysts at WalletHub recently identified several indicators of desirability, using a 100-point scoring system in 300 markets to rank the top 10 in the nation:

  1. Frisco, Texas
  2. McKinney, Texas
  3. Allen, Texas
  4. Cary, N.C.
  5. Richardson, Texas
  6. Seattle, Wash.
  7. Bellevue, Wash.
  8. Carrollton, Texas
  9. Nashville, Tenn.
  10. Denver, Colo.

The indicators applied in the ranking included average days on market, median home price appreciation, the share of homes selling for a gain, and the share of underwater homes.

Five of the top 10 markets are in Texas, which also dominates as the state home to four of the top five in the ranking. No. 1 Frisco boasts the second-lowest home maintenance costs of the 300 markets evaluated, while No. 3 Allen has the third-lowest and No. 4 Cary has the fourth-lowest. No. 6 Seattle is tied for first for the lowest average days on market, while No. 7 Bellevue has the fourth-lowest foreclosure rate.

View the complete ranking and methodology.

Source: WalletHub

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

The post WalletHub: 10 Best Housing Markets appeared first on RISMedia.

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

Research: Gardening Knows No Borders

By Susanne Dwyer

Homeowners the world over get down and dirty in the garden, according to recently released findings by market researcher GfK, with outdoor grooming most common Down Under. Forty-five percent of Australians spend time in the garden daily or weekly—the most of the 17 countries surveyed. Gardening is also popular in China, Mexico, the U.S. and Germany, where one-third or more of those surveyed get out in the yard daily or weekly.

Green-thumbing is a chore in some countries, however, especially in Argentina, Japan, Russia, Spain and South Korea, where most of those surveyed do not garden at all.

Twenty-four percent of survey respondents across all the countries surveyed garden at least once per week, while 7 percent garden “every day” or “most days.” Thirty-six percent of those aged 60 or older garden daily or weekly—on par with the 35 percent of those in their 30s who do the same.

Unsurprisingly, homeowners are twice as likely to garden daily or weekly than renters.

Source: GfK

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

The post Research: Gardening Knows No Borders appeared first on RISMedia.

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

14 Times Pop Culture Predicted Future Technology

By Susanne Dwyer

Pop_Culture_Tech_IG

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

When the film-makers of yesteryear contemplated the future, it didn’t look like a very happy place—and not much has changed. You don’t need to look much further than the dystopian dramas that Hollywood is so fond of producing. But while sci-fi movies rarely predicted the nature of society, they did happen to predict a few items of futuristic technology. Did you know that 3D printing, the Roomba and Siri were all predicted by movies and television shows decades before they existed?

So the next time you scoff at a Hollywood blockbuster for being too far-fetched, take a minute to ask yourself if your grandfather would have believed that he would see a flying car in his lifetime. In the meantime, check out this visual guide which explores the 14 times pop culture accurately predicted the future!

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

The post 14 Times Pop Culture Predicted Future Technology appeared first on RISMedia.

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