Archive for December, 2021

Running out of Kitchen Space? 5 Storage Hacks That Will Help You Do More with Less

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 29th, 2021

Running out of Kitchen Space? 5 Storage Hacks That Will Help You Do More with LessWith all of the things that you need to fit into the kitchen, being economical with how you use your space can be a very important part of making it work. If you’re looking for some new ideas for how to use your space to maximum capacity, here are some hacks that might just make a marked difference!

Make Use of Magnets

Using magnets to hold up some kitchen essentials will not only be effective and functional, it will make for a quirky, modern space with personality. Whether you decide on a magnetized knife block for the side of the fridge or purchase some magnetized spices for easy access, this is a simple trick for storage that goes beyond the fridge.

Cue The Cutting Board Cover

One of the biggest problems with a small kitchen is the minimal counter space, but this is an easy problem to solve with a cutting board made to fit over your sink. Instead of having to move around items to make room on your counter, you’ll always have a convenient place to do your chopping that will be handy when you need it.

Maximize Your Ceiling Space

Pots and pans can take up a lot of cabinet space, but the purchase of an overhead rack can easily free up some of your shelves for a different use. By hanging pots, pans and even kitchen utensils from a rack, you’ll have a neat modern look that will add a twist on the traditional kitchen.

Arrange Your Drawers With Inserts

Everyone is familiar with the kinds of kitchen drawers that are in shambles, full of bottomless utensils that are hard to find when they’re needed. By purchasing a drawer insert, you will be able to organize your utensils according to type and utilize all of the drawer space that’s available.

Reconsider The Wine Rack

It’s generally the case that a wine rack is filled with wine bottles, but to add a funky and useful twist to your old rack, consider keeping all kinds of bottles in it. By adding in water bottles, soda, and even certain perishables, you can save room on your shelves and create a statement piece!

It can often seem impossible to make room for everything in a small kitchen, but there are lots of hacks that will free up more space for the items that are required. If you’re currently perusing kitchens on the real estate market, you may want to contact your local real estate professional for more information.

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Tankless Water Heaters: The Pros and Cons of Going Tankless In Your Home

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 28th, 2021

Tankless Water Heaters: The Pros and Cons of Going Tankless In Your HomeLarge water heaters are unsightly appliances that home-sellers would rather hide. Although it’s not always possible to banish these structures, it is possible to replace them with a version that is not as overbearing. Tankless water heaters have the potential to make one home stand out amongst the competition, but they do have some disadvantages along with the benefits.

Pro: Tankless Water Heaters Use Less Energy

Traditional water heaters continuously heat water that is just sitting in the tank, and this requires energy. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, do not heat the water until someone needs it. Therefore, they are more energy-efficient and cost less to operate.

Pro: Tankless Water Heaters Last Longer

Traditional water heaters will need to be replaced after about a decade, but tankless water heaters can last much longer. If someone is planning on purchasing a home with a new tankless water heater, he or she would not have to think about replacing it for about 20 years.

Pro: Tankless Water Heaters Are More Space Efficient

The typical traditional water heater is 24 inches wide and 60 inches tall. Tankless heaters save a lot of space because they are generally only 20 inches wide and 28 inches tall. They open up a lot of space, and this impresses buyers greatly.

Con: There Is Less Available Hot Water with Tankless Heaters

Although a tankless heater can provide a home with hot water only when it is needed, the amount is limited to a few gallons at a time. This will mean that more than one occupant in the home cannot take a shower at the same time. They will definitely not be able to do this while they run the dishwasher or the washing machine.

Con: Tankless Water Heaters Are Typically More Expensive

Tankless water heaters cost around $1,000 while the traditional version only has a price tag equal to $300 or $400. While this higher up-front purchase cost is a con, if you consider that a tankless water heater should last longer than a traditional heater you may end up saving a bit over time.

If you are thinking about purchasing a home or are selling the one you currently own, contact your local real estate agent for more information. While they might not be the best source of information about water heaters, these professionals are the best way to ensure you get a great deal on a home.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 27, 2021

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 27th, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - December 27, 2021Last week’s scheduled economic reporting included readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes along with weekly data on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

Home Sales Increase in November

Sales of new and previously-owned homes rose in November. The Commerce Department reported sales of new homes rose to 744,000 sales on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. October sales of new homes were revised to a year-over-year reading of 662,000 new homes sold, which was the lowest reading since the worst stage of the pandemic in April 2020.  Analysts expected a year-over-year reading of 766,000 new homes sold for November. The median price of new homes sold in October reached a record high of $416,900.The number of homes for sale fell by 8.50 percent between October and November and represented a 6.50 month supply of new homes for sale.

Sales of previously-owned homes also rose in November with 6.46 million sales on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. November’s reading fell short of the expected reading of 6.50 million sales of previously-owned homes but surpassed October’s reading of 6.34 million sales.

Rising numbers of mortgage applications indicated that demand for homes remains high, but mortgage rates are expected to rise in 2022. Given rising home prices, the additional challenge of higher mortgage rates will negatively impact affordability for some prospective home buyers.

Mortgage Rates Fall, Jobless Claims Data Mixed

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by seven basis points to 3.05 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.30 percent and were four basis points lower than for the previous week. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 2.37 percent and eight basis points lower. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims held steady at 205,000 new claims filed last week. Analysts expected a reading of 206,000 first-time claims filed. Continuing jobless claims fell to 1.86 million ongoing claims from the previous week’s reading of 1.87 million continuing jobless claims filed.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index rose to an index reading of 70.6 and exceeded the expected reading of 70.4, which matched November’s reading.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices and data on pending home sales. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

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Smart Ways To Create Equity Within Your Home

Posted in Homeowner Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 23rd, 2021

Smart Ways To Use The Equity In Your HomeHome equity is the difference between what your home can sell for and what you owe on it. Generally, the longer you own your home, the more equity you build.

This is money you can use before you sell your home through a home equity loan. Just keep in mind that a home equity loan is secured with your home. If you can’t make the payments, you can lose your home.

Use Your Home Equity In Smart Ways:

  1. Remodel Your Home – If you’ve wanted to add on a family room or modernize your kitchen, consider using your home’s equity to fund the project. Home improvements usually increase your home’s marketability and value.
  2. Make Needed Major Repairs – Your home’s equity can be a funding source for major repairs like plumbing problems and re-roofs. Once again, this is an improvement for your home that will help keep its value up.
  3. Buy Another Property – Real estate is still a safe investment. You can use your home equity to buy a second property when home values are down. When the market recovers, you can sell the investment property for a profit. This also works if you have to move out of town and are still trying to sell your home. If you can afford the payments, use your home’s equity to purchase your new home until the current one sells.
  4. Pay For Unexpected Medical Expenses Or Job Loss – You never know when a medical emergency or job loss will leave you in debt. A home equity loan can give you the money you need to get through this difficult time.

It’s easy to build equity in your home when you find the right deal. Let me help you find your perfect home and negotiate a great price and terms for you. Contact your mortgage professional today.

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Buying or Selling a Home This Winter? Keep These Tax Tips in Mind!

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 22nd, 2021

Buying or Selling a Home This Winter? Keep These Tax Tips in Mind!With all of the expense that can go into buying and selling a home, it’s good to be aware of what you can claim and how a home can benefit you come tax time. When the New Year rolls around and you’re sitting down to the task of completing your taxes, here are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind.

Gaining from Capital Gains

In the event that you’ve made money off the sale of your home through a capital gain, it’s possible that you may be able to exclude this amount from your tax filing. If you’ve lived in the home you just sold for at least two of the five years before the sale date, not having to report this amount on your taxes may come as a financial win.

Reporting Your Gain

If you have not lived in your home for two of the five years, you will have to report the sale of your home and the capital gain when you file your taxes. This is necessary whether or not you decide to claim the amount. If this happens to be the case for you, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on ‘Net Investment Income Tax’ before filing your return so you can ensure your claim’s accuracy.

A Two-Year Claim For Capital Gain

While there is definitely a great financial benefit in not having to report your gain in all situations, it’s important to be aware that you can only exclude any gain you’ve received from a home sale every 2 years. So, if it happens to be the case that you’ve moved more than once in the last few years, you will have to report any amount that you’ve made from these home sales.

Selling Your Home At A Loss

The boon of a capital gain is certainly ideal if you’ve made some money on your home, but if you’ve sold your home for less than you paid, you won’t be able to claim this. While the end result may be a bit disheartening, this amount cannot be deducted off of your tax return.

Beyond the benefits of buying or selling your home, there are ways that your tax filing can be more pleasant next year if you know some of these tips. If you think you may be perusing the real estate market in the near future, you may want to contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 21, 2021

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 21st, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - December 21, 2021Last week’s economic reports included readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets and the monthly post-meeting statement from Federal Reserve policymakers. Fed Chair Jerome Powell also gave a press conference. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also published.

Builder Confidence in Housing Markets Rises by One Point in December

Homebuilder confidence in current national housing market conditions rose one point to an index reading of 84 in December and met analysts’ expectations. December’s reading was the highest since February. Component readings for the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index were lower in December. Builder confidence in current markets dropped to 90 from 92; builder confidence in housing market conditions in the next six months dropped by one point to 84 and builder confidence in buyer traffic in new housing developments fell three points to an index reading of 70.

Regional readings for builder confidence were mixed. The Northeast reported a 10 point gain in confidence from 69 to 79; the Midwestern region reported builder confidence fell by one point to 74. The South reported a two-point gain to 89 and the West posted a one-point decline in builder confidence in current housing market conditions to an index reading of 87.

Builder confidence was boosted by high demand for homes coupled with low inventories of available homes. Home prices rose rapidly in 2021, but predictions of higher mortgage rates and affordability concerns could slow the pace of buyer demand and builder confidence in 2022.

Federal Reserve Policymakers Hold Benchmark Rate Range Steady

The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve issued its post-meeting statement and said it would hold its target interest rate range at 0.00 to 0.25 percent. The Committee committed to using its “full range of tools” to support the U.S. economy and promote the Fed’s dual mandate of achieving maximum employment and price stability. The FOMC statement indicated that economic indicators were stronger, job gains were solid and unemployment has fallen significantly.

The pandemic continues to fuel supply and demand disruptions and inflation. The Committee cautioned that emerging variants of the coronavirus could cause increased risk to the economy and it would make necessary adjustments to economic policy based on changing economic and public health conditions.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell gave a press conference after the FOMC meeting and said that inflation was expected to exceed the Fed’s target growth rate of two percent weel into next year. While wages have risen, Mr. Powell said that wage growth was not a major contributor to inflation.  Job gains averaged 378,000 jobs per month and the unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent in November. Chair Powell said that labor force participation was negatively impacted by an aging workforce, retirements, and factors related to the pandemic including caregiving and concerns about emerging variants of the virus.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Show Mixed Readings

Freddie Mac reported mixed movement for average mortgage rates as the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose two basis points to 3.12 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by four basis points on average to 2.34 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages was unchanged at 2.45 percent.

Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.70 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.

First-time jobless claims rose by 206,000 initial claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 188,000 initial jobless claims filed. Continuing jobless claims fell to 1.85 million claims from the prior week’s reading of two million ongoing claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings on sales of new and previously-owned homes, inflation, and consumer sentiment. 

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3 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Plumbing

Posted in Around The Home by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 16th, 2021

Get The Most Out Of Your PlumbingEveryone wants their pipes to last as long as possible, but there are a couple of simple problems that might be sucking the life out of your plumbing. Long-term stress is the enemy when it comes to your water system.

The three most common enemies are high water pressure, mineral-laden hard water, and grease. Avoid these three mistakes, and your water system will last years longer.

Take The Pressure Off Your Pipes

You might enjoy high water pressure when you’re taking a shower, but your pipes aren’t enjoying it at all. Over time, this high pressure stresses your plumbing system and can lead to leaks.

Is your high-pressure shower worth an expensive plumbing leak? To test your water pressure, you’ll have to hire a professional. Proper pressure should be somewhere between forty and eighty pounds per square inch.

To have a plumber reduce your water pressure should cost no more than about three or four hundred dollars. That sounds expensive, but it’s a lot cheaper than a leak.

Soft Water Is Good Water

If your water has a lot of minerals dissolved it, then it’s known as hard water. If you don’t already have a water softener you should consider it, because over time, those minerals will build up in your plumbing.

Eventually this will lead to a leak, so nip the problem in the bud, and look into getting a water softener. A good water softener should cost around five hundred dollars.

Hard water also makes soaps and detergents less effective. Soft water will get your clothes, your dishes, and even your hair cleaner.

Cease The Grease

Don’t ever pour cooking grease down the drain. It might be liquid when you pour it, but after a while, it will cool and solidify in your pipes. This won’t break the plumbing and cause a leak, but it will clog it all up.

The water that goes down afterward won’t do anything to wash away the sticky grease. You don’t want your pipes backing up, trust me. That is one messy problem.

Instead pour your grease into containers and throw it away in the garbage. Even better, go ahead and save it in the pantry and cook with it later.

Indoor plumbing is one of the most convenient technologies we have. So don’t take it for granted. Take care of your plumbing, and get the most out of it.

Avoid excessive water pressure, get a water softener, and don’t pour any grease down the drain. A little care now will go a long way. No one wants to deal with a plumbing leak. They’re expensive and a huge hassle.

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Owning A Home With Boat And RV Parking: The Benefits

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 15th, 2021

Owning A Home With Boat And RV Parking: The BenefitsEveryone is looking for something slightly different in a home. Even though the location is still the most important factor, some people have specific criteria they require. For example, those who love the water might be looking for a house with parking for boats and RVs.

What are a few benefits of purchasing a house with room for these extra vehicles? 

Reduced Storage Expenses

The first benefit of owning a home with a boat for RV parking is reduced storage expenses. Owning a boat means you have to take care of it, and some people have to pay for space at the dock or the marina. If a house already has parking for a boat, owners do not have to worry about paying extra dock or parking fees. All they have to do is park the boat at their house. 

Added Security

It is also far safer to park a boat at the house instead of off-site somewhere else. Unfortunately, boats at docks and marinas can get vandalized. Homeowners can tailor their house’s boat parking to meet their needs. For example, they may want to put an extra lock, added security cameras, and a cover on the boat while it is parked. It is also easier to protect the boat against the elements if it is parked at the house. 

More Convenient

Of course, it is also far more convenient to park the boat or RV at the house. If the boat or RV is stored off-site, it will take a while to drive to that location, get the RV or boat ready to go, and then head to the final destination. It is always easier to simply walk outside and get the vehicle ready to go instead of having to add an extra trip. 

Consider A Home With RV And Boat Parking

These are just a few of the many benefits of purchasing a house that comes with boat and RV parking. Even though this might not be for everyone, those who are looking for a bit of adventure in their lives may want to consider a house that already has parking built-in. It can save a lot of time and money during the next trip.

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Goodbye, Curtains: Try These Fun and Fashionable Ways to Dress up Your Windows

Posted in Around The Home,Mortgage by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 14th, 2021

Goodbye, Curtains: Try These Fun and Fashionable Ways to Dress up Your WindowsWindows can add a lot to the look of your home, and this means that dressing them up properly is an important key for aesthetic appeal. While draggy, neutral-colored curtains can be one of the less exciting aspects of decorating your home, here are a few ways you can adorn the most basic of home fixtures and turn your windows into something truly unique.

A Reconstituted Valance

A short curtain can be a nice, less fussy way to adorn your windows, but if you have a kitchen space in need of warming up, try a piece of wood or metal painted with a color or texture of your choice. Whether it’s covered in words or you stick with a neutral paint color, it can easily add texture and character while letting a lot more light in.

Stylish and Singular Shades

If you want something that will cover the window without getting in the way, you may want to opt for window shades that you can pull down or pull up at your leisure. While this might sound like a pretty tame option, shades are available in a variety of shapes, colors and motifs that are sure to add spark to your room.

Frosted Glass Find

If you want to forego having blinds altogether but you have large windows that need to be covered, you may want to try installing frosted glass in order to maximize the available light. Not only can this be a means of maintaining your privacy at any hour of the day, it will also leave your room feeling airy, well-lit and open well into the evening.

Parade Of Plants

It may seem like a strange solution to the traditional curtain, but a row of plants placed on the window ledge can add a lot to your frames while limiting the need for curtains. While this trick will work especially well for kitchen windows and other areas where you can use smaller plants, you can always try mixing it up to create a different effect.

The idea of long, white curtains isn’t necessarily something that will work for every room, but there are plenty of ways you can dress up your window frames without having to reach for a piece of fabric. If you’re looking for new design tips because you’re considering a move in your future, contact your trusted real estate professional for more information.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – December 13, 2021

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 13th, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - December 12, 2021Last week’s economic reporting included readings on job openings and quits, month-to-month and year-over-year readings on inflation,  and the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment survey for December. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released

Job Openings Increase as Quits Decrease as Inflation Remains High

The U.S. Labor Department reported that workers quit their jobs at record levels in October as job openings rose to 11 million openings as compared to expectations of 10.6 million job vacancies, which matched September’s reading for job openings. Fewer people quit jobs in October as 4.2 million workers left their jobs as compared to 4.4 million quits reported in September. The Labor Department said that many quits were driven by workers leaving for better jobs and career opportunities.

Analysts said that if job quits continue at their current pace through the end of 2021, new records for job quits will be established.

The Consumer Price Index, which measures U.S. inflation, rose by 0.80 percent from October to November. Analysts expected a monthly increase of 0.70 percent based on October’s month-to-month reading of 0.90 percent. The year-over-year inflation rate rose to 6.80 percent in November and surpassed October’s reading of 6.20 percent and the expected reading of 6.70 percent.

Mortgage Rates Lower, Jobless Claims Mixed

Freddie Mac reported slightly lower mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by one basis point to 3.01 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.38 percent and one basis point lower than for the previous week. Mortgage rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged four basis points lower at  2.45 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.30 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Initial jobless claims fell to 184,000 first-time claims filed as compared to 227,000 claims filed during the previous week. Analysts expected 211,000 initial jobless claims to be filed last week. Continuing jobless claims rose to 1.99 million ongoing claims filed.  Analysts expected 1.95 million continuing claims filings based on the prior week’s reading of 1.96 million ongoing jobless claims filed.

The University of Michigan reported rising consumer confidence in economic conditions for December with an index reading of 70.4. Analysts expected a reading of 68.0 based n November’s index reading of 67.4. Index readings above 50 indicate that most consumers are confident about current economic conditions.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets, The post-meeting statement from the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee will be released and Fed Chair Jerome Powell will hold a press conference. The Commerce Department will release readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.

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