Monday, April 25, 2016
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
revealed that one million borrowers regained equity in their homes in 2015. The outlook for 2016 remains positive as well, as an additional 850,000 properties would regain equity if home prices rose another 5% this year.
95% of homes valued over $200,000 now have a positive equity
87% of homes valued under $200,000 have entered a positive
The 11.5% growth in home equity in Q4 marked the 13 consecutive quarter of double digit
is a map showing the percentage of homes with a mortgage, in each state, that
have positive equity.
Anand Nallathambi, , believes this is great news for theHe went on to say:Of the 91.5% of homeowners with positive equity in the US, (defined as more than 20%). This means that nearly three out of four homeowners with a mortgage could use the equity in their current home to purchase a new home .The map below shows the percentage of homes with a mortgage, in each state, with significant equity.
If you are one of the many homeowners who is unsure of how much equity you have in your home and are curious about your ability to move, meet with a local real estate professional who can help evaluate your situation.
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Whether your home is a house in the suburbs or a high rise in the city, taking advantage of the outdoors is a great way to expand your livable space. If you are working with a large backyard, your possibilities may be endless, but even the tiniest balcony can be transformed into a functional area. There is nothing quite like enjoying a delicious meal al fresco, so here are a few tips to consider when designing an outdoor dining space.
Determine Your Function
Depending on the square footage of your outdoor area, consider what you will be using it for. Are you creating a dining space on a cramped balcony, or do you have a sprawling back yard with room for several areas? Smaller spaces can be tricky, so try to find furniture that can double as storage, like a bench with space beneath or a table with drawers or an extra shelf. For larger spaces, consider separating areas with rugs or using potted plants to establish borders between the dining and lounging spaces.
If dining will be one of the main uses of your outdoor space, be sure to consider proximity to the kitchen or grill. Having a clear path between the cooking area and the dining area will make serving much easier and help prevent trips, drops and spills.
Find Your Color Scheme
Consider what your focal point will be to help determine your color scheme. If your outdoor space overlooks the ocean or a beautiful landscape, then choosing neutral materials will create fewer distractions from the view. Alternatively, if you’re working with an urban setting, bring in a bit of color with potted plants and vibrant seat cushions or pillows. Ultimately, your space should be a reflection of your own style, but should also complement the surroundings.
Know Your Environment
With many different materials to choose from, selecting the right outdoor furniture can be tough, but considering your environment is a great place to begin narrowing down the list. If your space gets a lot of direct sunlight, metal furniture may not be your best choice as it can get hot and uncomfortable to touch. Additionally, if you are near the ocean, salt water in the air can be harsh on metal surfaces and require additional treatment and cleaning to maintain.
If you live in an area that experiences all the major seasons, you will want to consider if you will need to store your furniture for the winter. Plastic, resin, or wicker patio furniture can be a bit lighter weight than other materials and easier to put away for the off season.
Know Your Surroundings
Is your outdoor space small and intimate or large and sprawling? For smaller spaces, less can be much more. Be careful not to force a small space into something it can’t handle, like cramming an eight-seat table into a 4-seat space. Bistro tables can be an excellent fit for city balconies and smaller patios as they don’t take up too much space and can be easily moved around. Forcing too much furniture into a small space will make it feel even smaller and may deter you from enjoying it.
For larger spaces, be careful not to overdo it! Ask yourself what you are most likely to use the space for before you plan a 50-person dinner party. Large spaces are often best utilized by sectioning into several areas. For example, an outdoor dining space, a lounge area, room for the kids to play, and a pool can coexist in a very comfortable way by sectioning each area as if it were a room inside your home. Create obvious walkways between each area, and utilize area rugs, planters or potted plants to give the illusion of borders for each area. If you need a bit of privacy, a trellis covered in vines is the perfect divider to create a more intimate outdoor dining area.
Know Your Audience
Is your outdoor dining space for you and your spouse, or do you have a large family or entertain frequently? If you pride yourself as the host with the most, make sure your outdoor dining layout allows for a smooth cooking and entertaining experience. If your grill is the primary cooking space, make sure it is safely separated from the crowd, but also close enough that you can cook and entertain at the same time. If you plan to mostly cook inside, try to plan the dining space in close proximity to the indoor kitchen to avoid long trips back and forth and easy access to the refrigerator.
Have Fun with It
There are a million different ways to design an outdoor space and it really just boils down to your own personal style. Inspiration is often just a few clicks away, or you can view hundreds of patio dining sets at PatioLiving.com.
By Aaron Lewis
Sunday, January 17, 2016
You packed everything perfectly, including that dining room chandelier, the big-screen TV, the vintage ’70s “Dukes of Hazzard” T-shirt collection. You even got your dog’s medical records from the vet. But something’s keeping you awake at night as your move draws nigh. You know you forgot something.
Don’t worry, keep packing. We assembled this handy checklist of things people often forget to do—or don’t even realize they should take care of—so you can make sure you’re covered and can move and settle down in your new digs with ease.
1 month before: Cancel recurring chargesTaking care of a gym membership or other subscription services may fall by the wayside during the madness leading up to moving day. Worse, those recurring charges will keep mounting on your credit card while you’re in the throes of unpacking. Get a jump on canceling these at least a month before your last expected day of use, especially since many gyms require a 30-day notice.
Can’t get out of your contract or transfer your gym membership to a facility by your new home? Sell it through online classifieds such as GymTransfer (yes, most gyms allow this!). Don’t forget to unload any prepaid class cards, too.
On the flip side, important recurring charges on your credit card—such as mail-order medications—might be canceled if your address change hasn’t caught up with billing information. So compile a list of charges and make the effort to call these companies and give them a heads up to avoid disruption in service.
2 weeks before: Call your car insurance companyThe Department of Motor Vehicles advises people in the process of moving to closely manage their car insurance during the transition, as states have varying levels of required coverage. Even if you’re staying in the same city, rates can differ from neighborhood to neighborhood. So call your insurer well before the move to find out the parameters and deadlines for updating coverage at your new address.
2 weeks before: Change your address earlyMost people know the U.S. Postal Service offers an online form to quickly change an address for all of your mail, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute to fill it out.
“To make sure mail arrives at your new home in time for your life there, complete the form about two weeks before your move,” says Desmond Lim, founder of QuikForce, an on-demand website that links people with professional movers. That way “you should see the first of your forwarded mail by the time of move-in.”
1 week before: Organize your financesImportant financial tasks are often forgotten in the whirlwind of moving, says consumer finance expert Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix operations for Freedom Financial Network. Since losing track of bills among piles of boxes is all too easy, Gallegos recommends setting up systems before a move that can easily transition from old home to new. For monthly bills such as phone, rent, or mortgage, it can really help to set them up for autopay, which you can typically do through your bank or the billing company.
“This can help ensure on-time payment during a hectic time,” he says. Whatever system you choose, decide which household member will be responsible for paying which bills. And as moving often incurs unexpected costs, be sure that you’ll have enough money in designated accounts at time of payment.