Get in Early on Emerging Neighborhoods

By Suzanne De Vita

Buying in a hot housing market while prices are reasonable is a sure ticket to wealth. Analysts at GOBankingRates recently spotlighted 20 up-and-comers. The top 10 are:

1. Jungle Terrace – St. Petersburg, Fla.
Median List Price (as of July 2017): $239,900
Price Change Year-Over-Year: +44.5 percent

2. Beacon Hill – Seattle, Wash.
Median List Price: $569,995
Price Change Y-O-Y: +31.2 percent

3. Point Breeze – Philadelphia, Pa.
Median List Price: $295,000
Price Change Y-O-Y: +40.5 percent

4. Heather Gardens – Denver, Colo.
Median List Price: $278,750
Price Change Y-O-Y: +27.3 percent

5. Pinehurst – Seattle, Wash.
Median List Price: $350,000
Price Change Y-O-Y: +24.8 percent

6. Hazelwood – Portland, Ore.
Median List Price: $324,450
Price Change Y-O-Y: +22.4 percent

7. Twin Lakes – Las Vegas, Nev.
Median List Price: $182,450
Price Change Y-O-Y: +41 percent

8. Fairgrounds – Indianapolis, Ind.
Median List Price: $179,900
Price Change Y-O-Y: +29 percent

9. Bayside West – Tampa, Fla.
Median List Price: $229,900
Price Change Y-O-Y: +32 percent

10. Highland Hills – San Antonio, Texas
Median List Price: $135,000
Price Change Y-O-Y: +35.3 percent

Source: GOBankingRates

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From: Consumer News and Advice

    

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The Latest and Greatest Fall Home Trends

By Susanne Dwyer

As the days shorten and autumn arrives, it’s time to start considering holiday gift items, or even a couple of household goodies you might just want to keep for yourself.

Take, for example, the remotely controllable slow cooker from WeMo, which lets you check on your meal in progress without actually having to be in the kitchen. Quickly and easily adjust your device’s temperature and cook time via the WeMo smartphone app, or just turn it on or off completely while you’re away. Plus, its six-quart oval stoneware cooking chamber is removable and dishwasher-safe.

Forget fall foliage and Indian corn—add some festive color to any of your home’s doorways with a natural or faux berry fall wreath. Many retail and online home stores and garden centers are offering stemmed bittersweet wreaths gleaming with russet red and persimmon, instead of autumn’s more understated browns and oranges.

Or, add rustic charm to any abode with small-scale set of burnished-bronze Anthropologie Airen antlers (Anthropologie.com, $21). Their hefty aluminum build is sturdy enough for holding purses and scarves by the door, or can just as easily be displayed in the living or bedroom as cruelty-free, cabin-inspired wall art.

Match them up with a pair of Pier 1 Imports antler-shaped candle stands ($28 each). Substitute in lieu of a traditional cornucopia to open up the visual space, while giving any tabletop or nook a more dramatic feel.

If you’re not ready to panel an entire room, or looking to add a few natural woody accents, try Target.com for one or more sets of decorative Weathered brand wood panels. Their eye-catching geometric design is described as the perfect home decor for the minimalist household.

Or if you want the easy-to-apply—and remove—effect of wood, JCPenny.com offers extremely authentic-looking and American-made Beachwood Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper. Use it to freshen up a backsplash, as intriguing shelf-backing, to accent small areas, or on an entire wall.

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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!

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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.

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From: Consumer News and Advice

    

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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

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From: Consumer News and Advice

    

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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.

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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
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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

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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

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

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From: Consumer News and Advice

    

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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

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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
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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!

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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

What to Buy (and Not Buy) in September

By Susanne Dwyer

The perfect storm of Labor Day, back-to-school and end-of-summer clearance sales make September ideal for bargain-hunters. From consumer watchdog DealNews.com, here’s the scoop on what’s best to buy in September—and what purchases to put on the back burner:

Summer Apparel – No surprise here—retailers ranging from big-box outlets to designers blow out summer styles in September. Pro tip: Buy for your family now and stow it for next year.

Grills/Patio Furniture – Like summer apparel, leftover grill and patio furniture inventory goes on sale in September. Look for items stacked at the front of hardware and home stores for the best bargains.

Big-Screen TVs – The best big-screen buys in September are on mid-size models (the perfect size for apartments or dorm rooms), but larger sizes are often marked down, as well.

Mattresses – Historically, the best times to purchase a new mattress were in April or May—but Labor Day sales are becoming another contender. Pro tip: Double-down on a deal by using coupons on top of sale prices.

Laptops – Seventy-five percent of laptops are discounted considerably for back-to-school season. Big-box electronics providers are your best bet for the best deals.

Previous Generation iPhones
– There are appreciable savings to be had on older iPhones in September, when the new model typically rolls out. Rock-bottom bargains on these devices can be found on online auction sites, like eBay.

Textbooks – Both buyers and sellers of textbooks can expect deals in September, when need is highest.

DealNews.com advises shoppers to hold off on buying washers, dryers and other large appliances, as well as some electronics, in September. While the month brings decent sales on these items, Black Friday sales in November have historically yielded better savings.

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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