It never really ends. You move into a house and after a while, you realize there is always something you could be doing to improve your environment, make your home look more appealing, or just change things up. Even if you don’t have much of a budget, however, think of small things you can do that make a difference, both in how you live in your home as well as how it looks. Apartment Therapy’s Brigitt Earley asked a consortium of Realtors, contractors and designers to offer up the easiest and least expensive home upgrades — things that can be attacked on the average weekend.
Painting your front door is a no-brainer. But consensus tells us from this particular study that painting it black or charcoal gray adds around $6300 to its value when sold. Even if it sounds like a grim color for a front door greeting, the neutral palate seems to appeal to would-be buyers.“Adding a smart thermostat to your home is a project that will offer homeowners a projected 23 percent savings on their heating and cooling,” says one Realtor.
Since heating and cooling account for about 40 percent of your home’s utility costs, depending on the size of your home, it could pay for itself within the first year.Another Realtor in the study says to focus on the simplest visual upgrades like cleaning and painting, both of which can make a big difference. If you can’t paint an entire room, focus on door frames and baseboards to give the room a shot in the arm.
Hardware exists all over your home — from doorknobs to cabinet handles and pulls. Swapping them out can instantly make your home’s interior look better. Designers agree it’s not important to do the matchy-matchy, either, perhaps apart from matching like items. “Source unique pieces. Mixing it up adds a lot more visual interest to your home.
Faucets, window coverings, outlet covers, and even sprucing up your mailbox can add to the visual appeal of your home. In the meantime, it can make living there feel even more special. It’s important to think of a home as an entity that needs constant attention, updating, and maintenance, just as humans do.
Source: Apartment Therapy, TBWS
We at McGlone Mortgage Group are wishing you a heart-warming Valentines's Day! Below is a recipe to get you and everyone around you feeling happy and healthy.
- (2) Heaping cups of patience
- (1) Heartful of Love
- A dash of laughter
- 1 Headful of understanding
Sprinkle generously with kindness. Add plenty of faith and mix well. Spread over a period of a lifetime and serve to everyone you meet.
Finding a home, like finding the right partner, is not for the faint of heart.
For most of us, looking for the “perfect” home can be an emotional roller coaster. Like hunting online for the perfect partner in life, it’s hard to know what you’re getting even after studying the dozens of photos in any particular listing and reading all the copy contained there. A person (or a house) can look and sound so incredibly appealing on the surface, but you know better than to let the seduction of a good-looking landscape or gorgeous fireplace make you want to tie the knot without a proper courtship.
Truth be told, very seldom does everything about your proposed mate match your wish list. Things you love at first may later get on your nerves, like the bad girl/bad boy who had such a great gift of gab at first but fell flat in other ways. The key here is getting a sense of your own tolerance levels. What’s most important to you in a home? And what are the deal-breakers? If you stick to those parameters and keep these terms clearly defined, the chances are good that you’ll make smart choices.
Like dating, house-hunting takes time, during which you’ll determine the differences between your critical must-haves, the not-so-important-but-I-kind-of-want-it feeling, and the no-way-not-going-to-happen-in-this-lifetime determination. This process (like dating) can be seriously draining. There are those painful first date drills (“So, where are you from?” ; “What do you do for a living?” ; “What do you like to do in your spare time?”), which is not so different from getting in your car dozens of times to look at open houses on weekends or driving around with a Realtor who may not have your entire wishlist in mind simply because you can’t seem to articulate it until you see it.
While we try not to judge a book by its cover, like posting our profiles on a dating site, the photos we use won’t reveal how we look in the morning before we press the button on the Nespresso machine. Even the descriptions can be misleading. An “efficient” kitchen may turn out to be apartment-sized, but the photo of it was taken using a fish-eye lens. And “close to restaurants, shops, and transportation” may mean light rail cars lumber by in front of the house. Convenient, yes. But can you live with it permanently? Oftentimes we get excited about the trappings: a beautifully renovated listing with a huge backyard seems like a dream come true — until we ask what all the open space is going to be used for behind the house and the Realtor tells us a Wal-Mart is going in there. Kind of like a guy who looks like a Ken doll but asks to go dutch at Starbucks on the first date.
Then there is that “all the good ones are taken” feeling. At first, you have hope that you can find the right house because you’ve salivated over what other people somehow found all those “sold” listings look better than anything out there right now.
A good exercise is to make a list of the things you like about your current home or perhaps the one you loved growing up in. There may be features of it that you know you have to have — things like the security of a gated entry, close to places you love to walk to, a fun night scene. Oh sure — the beginning of any new adventure is exciting — decorating and organizing a new place can give you butterflies and have you watching Fixer Upper ad nauseam. But if you’ve chosen a location that is too isolated, thinking you could live with the tradeoffs of commuting (and friends and family not visiting because you are so far away), that giddy feeling can fade fast.
The gist here is that finding a home, like finding the right partner, is not for the faint of heart. It takes some savvy detective work, dedication, and a bit of risk-taking. Unfortunately, in many of today’s real estate markets you won’t have the opportunity to tour a home over and over again, seeing it at different times of the day and determining whether the initial attraction is deepening or fading away.
In that case, you just have to trust your gut, try to live with a short courtship and put a ring on it — kind of like all those World War II couples who fell in love at first sight and got married on furlough but ended up spending decades together. Timing is indeed everything.
They’ve done it again!T
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently announced the maximum conforming loan limits for 2019. After not increasing the limits for 10 years, this will be the third increase in three years! Economists speculate that with home prices still on the rise there was a need for the increase for the third straight year. The increase from $453,100 to $484,350 in 2019 is a 6.9% increase from last year’s.
Additionally, loan limits will also increase in “high cost areas” where 115% of the local median home value exceeds the baseline loan limit.
The new loan limits are as follow:
Maximum Loan Amount for 2019
|Units||Contiguous States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico||
Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin Islands
(also in designated high cost areas)
A more detailed county breakdown can be found here:
For a more details and how this increase can assist you in buying or refinance a home, call your Loan Originator today!
Product requirements effective 1/1/19 • Product availability & requirements subject to change.
There has been a positive change in recent months in the housing market. Homeowners are experiencing an increase in the amount of equity they have in their homes. According to a new CoreLogic report*†, there has been an increase in home equity of over 12% since last year, amounting to over $980 billion in value nationally.
There has been a 20% decrease in negative equity (when a homeowner owes more on their mortgage than their house is worth) over the last year. While negative equity has been on the decline since 2012, this recent dip has pushed the percent of underwater homeowners to less than 10%. This combined with increased property values has resulted in homeowners across the country seeing an average increase in their home equity of $16,200.
What do these numbers mean for you?
Having positive equity allows you to take advantage of the equity you already have in your home. The more equity you have, the more you can leverage. To access your equity, you can apply for a cash-out refinance.** Cash-out refinances are a great way to achieve your financial goals.
Here are just a few ways you can use the money from a cash-out refinance:
- Make home improvements
- Buy an investment property or second home
- Pay off debts like credit card balances or student loans
- Increase your savings or invest in the market***
- Send a child to college
Contact your Loan Originator to review your refinance options.
*CoreLogic Homeowner Equity Insights - Q2 2018
†Information referenced in the report includes properties with mortgages only.
**Option may not be available in all states
***Please consult your financial advisor