Date Archives: December 2015

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December
21

(Family Features)-Some home maintenance jobs require a significant investment of time and specialized equipment, but there are many projects you can accomplish efficiently with basic tools and the right approach. Follow these tips to get started.   Dollarphotoclub_71333957   Update your toolbox. Take inventory to ensure your collection is complete, and replace damaged or rusted tools. Your toolbox is also a good place to store common repair items such as adhesive.   Get ahead of potential problems. For example, have a plunger on hand to prevent clogged sinks and toilets from causing water damage, and keep gutters and filters clean to prevent structural damage or fire. You can also protect your home and valuables from damage by using adhesive to secure precious items from getting knocked over, and protect floors from traffic damage by securing rugs and felt pads to furniture.   Take a helping hand. Most phones have levels and flashlights that can help with minor jobs, and your phone's calendar can be set with recurring reminders so that you'll never miss a maintenance date. In addition, find creative ways to make tasks easier.   Get organized. Daily home maintenance tasks like cleaning are easier when they are done along the way rather than letting them pile up, creating a bigger job. Store everyday needs in each room, or on each floor. For maximum efficiency, keep cleaning supplies in both the bath and the kitchen, and a broom and vacuum on each floor.   Source: GlueDots.com Published with permission from RISMedia.
December
17

Economic headwinds will be offset in the coming year by a tightening labor market and a renewed decline in gasoline prices, according to Fannie Mae's Economic & Strategic Research Group-a heartening forecast that could bode well for the housing market. The ESR Group expects the economy to grow 2.4 percent in 2016.   2016 housing growth   "After a year of modest improvement, we continue to believe economic growth will close out 2015 at 2.2 percent before gaining momentum early in 2016," says Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan. "Although consumers have been more cautious in recent months, preferring to save rather than spend, we believe they will pick up their spending pace next year amid solid job gains and resulting growth in incomes. The unsustainable third-quarter inventory investment will likely subtract significantly from economic growth in the current quarter as that stockpile unwinds, but the inventory correction should wrap up early in the year. The trade deficit also continues to weigh on growth, driven by a strong dollar and lackluster overseas growth, but recent housing data support our view that residential investment will help fill the void.   "Home sales will likely remain subdued in the near term, but private residential construction spending started the fourth quarter on a strong note and housing demand is looking up as we head into next year," continues Duncan. "The rebound in purchase applications suggests that sales will gain momentum in the first quarter after retreating slightly in the current quarter. For all of 2016, total home sales are projected to rise 3.9 percent. We believe that further easing of mortgage lending standards will combine with a positive household formation outlook to help the housing sector expand."   Source: Fannie Mae Published with permission from RISMedia.
December
11

Purchasing a home for the first time is one of the most exciting and important decisions someone can make. Making a mistake in the process can be devastating. However, most first-time home buyer mistakes are easily avoidable with a little bit of research and guidance from a real estate professional. Here are a few dos and don'ts to help prepare first-time buyers.   dosdonts   Don't assume you are able to buy a home just because you have saved for the down payment. There will be other pre-buying expenses related to purchasing the home that you need to anticipate. Anticipating these costs and investing up front will make the loan process much easier. Make sure you check your credit score as well, because this will determine your interest rates and insurance costs.   Don't make any huge purchases before you close. Lenders will re-check your debt load just before closing. If they see large additions to that load, they may back out on you, even at the last minute. Hold off on getting that new car, new furniture, new appliances, etc., until after you have closed.   Don't underestimate the cost of home improvements. If you decide to purchase a fixer-upper, assume that any updates you plan to do will cost more and take more time than you budget. This may be true for smaller home projects, too, such as remodeling a bathroom or refinishing hardwood floors.   Don't make an emotional purchase. You want to find a house that you love, but don't let attachments to details fog your vision when it comes to making a smart financial investment.   Do take a long term outlook on your purchase. Things like the kind of neighborhood or quality of local schools may not matter to you if you don't have a family. Extra bedrooms might also not seem too important. Your ability to resell your home, though, is. Think through how your home may work if your circumstances change or how easily you might be able to resell it if that is what is necessary.   Do choose the right lender. Look for one with a good reputation who delivers on their promises, especially in regard to the rate they offer and the timeliness of getting the loan in place.   Do work with a REALTOR®. There are a lot of complex avenues to navigate as you purchase a home, and a REALTOR® will be able to offer you guidance and resources to manage it well. Everything from finding the right house, to negotiating the deal, to walking you through closing costs, a REALTOR® is the most helpful asset to your investment. Taking your time to find the right person is important.  Ask around for recommendations and interview a few agents. Find an agent whose schedule works with yours. Look for someone who has a personality you mesh with so the process can be as fun and smooth as possible.   Source: Thrillist Source: Realtor.com
December
5

If you and your family celebrate Hanukkah, this week will involve lighting the menorah. But in all the holiday fun, it's easy to forget that having an open flame in your home is always cause for greater safety measures. Here are some tips for a safer holiday.  
  1. Place your menorah on a sturdy, non-flammable surface: Your menorah, especially when lit, should rest on a stable fixture in your home. You and your family's guests may accidentally bump into a wobbly table and knock it over. Non-flammable surfaces like glass, metal, or marble work best.
  2. Keep the menorah and matches out of children's reach: Make sure that your menorah is positioned in a place where your children can enjoy it, but is out of their reach so they don't hurt themselves. Be sure to store all matches and lighters safely after each candle lighting; kids may find them if left out.
  3. Never leave a lit menorah unattended: All the excitement of the holidays can sometimes lead to carelessness. When burning, the menorah should always be under some sort of supervision.
  4. Place menorah out of reach of pets: Furry friends are eager to join in on the holiday festivities. They could be drawn to the new object in your home and want to investigate, so keep it at a height where they can't get their paws on it.
  5. Use only non-flammable menorahs: This may seem like an obvious tip, but it's worth reiterating. Any ornamental menorahs made by your kids in arts and crafts should be admired, but not used in your Hanukkah ceremony.
  6. Don't walk around with lit candles: Choose the area of your home where your menorah will be lit, then keep it there. Don't carry your menorah from room to room to avoid potentially dropping it.
  7. Decorate with care: The area surrounding your menorah often receives extra decorations. That is absolutely fine, as long the adornments are non-flammable and not likely to tip over and displace the menorah.
  8. Place your menorah in a secluded area of your home: You're already going to put your menorah out of reach of children and pets, but it's equally important to keep the menorah out of your home's general flow of traffic to avoid accidentally knocking it over.
  Following these helpful fire safety tips will ensure that you and your family have a pleasant and safe Hanukkah celebration. Source: blog.century21.com
December
4

Average fixed mortgage rates remain largely unchanged as analyst expectations turned from world events to the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) October minutes, Freddie Mac recently reported. According to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.97 percent with an average 0.6 point; the 15-year FRM averaged 3.18 percent with an average 0.5 point.   steadyrates   "Treasury yields stabilized about 5 basis points below last week's level as the market shrugged off economic data and world events and turned its attention to the minutes of the October FOMC meeting," says Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sean Becketti. "In response, the 30-year mortgage rate ticked down a basis point to 3.97 percent. The FOMC minutes were couched in careful Fed-speak, and early market reaction was mixed, with most analysts reading their own expectations into the minutes."   Additionally, the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.98 percent with an average 0.5 point, and the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.64 percent with an average 0.3 point.   Source: Freddie Mac Published with permission from RISMedia.

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