Archive for September, 2021

Top Considerations When Adding a Powder Room To A Home

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 30th, 2021

Top Considerations When Adding a Powder Room To A HomeA lot of potential buyers have a set number of bathrooms they need in their homes. Therefore, one of the possible ways to increase the value of a home is to add more bathrooms. It is possible to add a half bath to some homes. Even a small bathroom on the first floor can make a home significantly more attractive. At the same time, adding a powder room is not necessarily the best renovation project for all homeowners. What do homeowners need to think about before adding a powder room to the home? 

Consider The Space In The Potential Powder Room

Even though powder rooms do not take up a lot of space, homeowners still need to make sure the space is available. A powder room typically has a toilet, a sink, and a small mirror. Most powder rooms are approximately five feet by three feet. Homeowners must make sure they have enough space to add a powder room before they get started on the renovation project. 

Think About Where The Space Is Coming From

Homeowners also have to think about where this space is coming from. Is the space going to eat into a stairwell, impacting its integrity? Is the powder room going to take space from the foyer or the living room? The space has to come from somewhere, and homeowners need to ensure they are comfortable living without it. 

Map Out The Location Of The Pipes 

Of course, powder rooms also need to have a sturdy plumbing supply to power the toilet and the sink. Therefore, homeowners need to make sure there are pipes nearby. The closer the pipes are to the potential powder room location, the less expensive the renovation is going to be. If pipes have to be added to the area, the project will instantly become more expensive, eating into the potential profits on the sale of the home. 

Think Carefully Before Adding A Powder Room

Even though a powder room might be a good decision for some homeowners, it is not necessarily a smart decision for everyone. Everyone has to think carefully about the benefits and drawbacks before getting started. 

 

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Making Repairs And Upgrades To A Home: DIY Or CAP

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 29th, 2021

Making Repairs And Upgrades To A Home: DIY Or CAPThere are many people who are thinking about listing their homes, but they need to make sure they get as much money for their homes as possible. This could mean making a few upgrades and repairs around the home. There are some situations where it might be possible to DIY these projects, but there are other situations where it is better to call a professional, or CAP. When should homeowners take which path? Learn more below.

Painting And Light Work Could Be DIY

First, anything that is simple or easy around the home needs to be a DIY project. For example, if there are a few spots that need to be touched up with a fresh coat of paint, then this could probably be a DIY project. If there are easy plumbing fixes around the house, such as swapping out a toilet flapper, this could probably be a DIY project as well. It might even be easy to swap out some handles or drawer pulls. Ultimately, everyone has a different comfort level, but these are a few examples of easy DIY projects around the home.

CAP For Issues Of Safety, Time, And Money

There are larger projects that should require a professional. For example, anything that has to do with the electrical system needs to be handled by a professional. It is possible for someone to shock or electrocute themselves, which is something that needs to be avoided. Furthermore, any major carpentry projects need to be handled by someone with the right tools and training. Finally, if there is a major leak in the home somewhere, then this is something that requires the attention of a trained plumbing professional. If these projects go wrong, they can go very wrong, so they need to be fixed correctly on the first attempt.

Cosmetic Is DIY, Structural Is CAP

In the end, everyone has their own comfort level, but a great rule of thumb is that anything cosmetic should be DIY, well anything structural should be CAP. Remember that everyone has to put safety first. When in doubt, call a professional for help. That way, everyone can maximize the value of their home when they go to list it.

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Exploring Asbestos Prevention And The Top Green Alternatives

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 28th, 2021

Exploring Asbestos Prevention And The Top Green AlternativesHouses across the country come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are older than others, so they might come with aspects that are a bit outdated. Unfortunately, there are a lot of locations where older homes might still have asbestos in them. While this should be something that comes up on the inspection, buyers need to be aware of these serious issues. If the home was built before 1980, there is a major chance that the building might have asbestos in it. Fortunately, there are alternatives to this type of insulation.

Where Is Asbestos Found In The Home?

There are a number of locations where asbestos might be hiding in the home. For example, asbestos is commonly found in the floors, in the pipes, in popcorn ceilings, and even in the roof. It was used throughout the 20th century because it is thin and strong; however, it can easily be inhaled in the lungs, where it can cause severe lung damage. In some cases, it might even cause mesothelioma, which is a severe respiratory condition that usually has a poor prognosis.

What To Do About Asbestos In The Home

If there is asbestos in the home, or if there are concerns, a home inspector needs to come and take a look at the situation. He or she will be able to recommend the best course of action. If the asbestos is not removed correctly, the fibers could be tossed into the air, where they might harm other people. In many cases, the asbestos needs to be removed by a contractor who has specific training to remove it safely. The most important thing for homeowners to remember is that they need to work with a licensed professional.

Exploring Potential Green Alternatives To Asbestos Insulation

Now, there are new construction practices that use alternatives to asbestos. For example, lcynene, cellulose, and cotton fiber could be used as green alternatives to asbestos. They are a healthy alternative and they could help homeowners reduce their energy expenses. Homeowners need to work with professionals who can help them save money and protect their health when it comes to the insulation in their homes. There are multiple green options available.

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

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

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - September 27, 2021Last week’s economic news included reporting on housing markets, housing starts, and building permits issued. Data on new and existing home sales were published along with weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

NAHB: Builder Confidence Ticks Up as Demand for Homes Holds Steady

The National Association of Home Builders reported a one-point gain in its Housing Market Index for September with an index reading of 76. Analysts expected no change based on August’s reading of 75. Component readings for the HMI were mixed; the index reading for builder confidence in current market conditions rose one point to 82. Builder confidence in housing market conditions over the next six months was unchanged at 81 and builder confidence in buyer traffic in new single-family housing developments rose two points to an index reading of 61.

Builders continue to face headwinds as materials costs and home prices continue to rise. Home prices present a challenge to would-be buyers who don’t want to pay inflated prices or cannot qualify for mortgages based on rapidly rising home prices. Persistent shortages of homes kept homebuilders busy, but shortages of building materials forced builders to pace construction according to materials availability.

Housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.62 million starts in August; analysts expected a pace of 1.55 million starts, which was unchanged from July’s housing starts. Building permits were issued at a seasonally-adjusted annual pace of 1.73 million permits, which surpassed the expected reading of 1.62 million permits issued and July’s reading of 1.63 million permits issued.

Existing Home Sales Fall in August as New Home Sales Rise

The National Association of Realtors® reported fewer sales of previously-owned homes in August. 5.88 million homes were sold on a seasonally adjusted annual basis as compared to July’s reading of 6.00 million pre-owned homes sold. Slim supplies of previously-owned homes for sale, rising home prices, and competition with cash buyers sidelined buyers who preferred to wait for less challenging housing market conditions.

Limited options in available pre-owned homes boosted new home sales in August. 740,000 new homes were sold on a seasonally adjusted annual basis as compared to the expected reading of 720,000 new homes sold and July’s reading of 729,000 new homes sold.

Mortgage Rates Mixed, Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported mixed readings for mortgage rates last week as average rates for fixed-rate mortgages rose and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by two points and averaged 2.88 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by three basis points to 2.15 percent. The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell by eight basis points to 2.43 percent. Discount points averaged  0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.

New jobless claims rose to 351,000 initial claims filed from the previous week’s reading of 335,000 initial claims filed. 2.85 million continuing jobless claims were filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 2.71 million continuing claims filed.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from S&P  Case-Shiller on home price growth, pending home sales, and construction spending. The University of Michigan will release its monthly Consumer Sentiment Index and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be published.

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Locked in a Bidding War? 3 Tactics That Will Ensure That You Reign Supreme with a Winning Bid

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 24th, 2021

Locked in a Bidding War? 3 Tactics That Will Ensure That You Reign Supreme with a Winning BidBidding wars can be ugly, nasty things – but with the right tactics, you can come out a winner without having to double your offer. Welcome to basic training – today, you’ll learn how to navigate the obstacle course that is a real estate bidding war and come out on top. Put these three strategies to use and you’ll easily win the home of your dreams.

Offer To Pay The Deposit In Cash

It’s not usually wise to make a down payment in cash, but paying cash for the deposit is a brilliant strategy that will put you first in line for your new house. One major reason why homes don’t sell is because the buyer didn’t get approved for financing – and that inconveniences the seller. Paying your deposit it cash proves your reliability to the seller, and it means the seller gets paid faster.

Add A Personal Touch With A Letter

Want to get a completely unfair advantage over other buyers in your neighborhood? Make your offer personal by writing the sellers a heartfelt letter. Marketing professionals know that emotional experiences are highly persuasive, and a personalized hand-written letter shows that you care.

For maximum effect, do a quick Google search on the sellers and look for common threads. Do the sellers have a child in college? Talk to them about your college-aged son or daughter and what program they’re taking – it may sound cliché, but a little bit of bonding really does go a long way.

“Escalate” The Situation With An Escalation Clause

When most buyers write up their formal offer, they simply name a price and that’s it. But you can set yourself apart from other potential buyers by including an escalation clause in your offer.

An escalation clause is a piece of a real estate contract that increases your offer in the event that you get outbid. An escalation clause usually lists your original offer, the amount by which you’re willing to beat other bids if you get outbid, and the maximum amount you’re willing to offer in the event that there are multiple offers. Escalation clauses are usually best used when you know that there will be a one-day review of all offers or when you’re anticipating multiple offers – otherwise it may compromise later negotiations.

Bidding wars aren’t ideal, but they are a reality of the real estate market – especially in competitive areas where it’s the norm to see multiple offers on a house. But with these tactics, you can outgun competing bidders and come out with the house you’ve always wanted. Contact your trusted real estate professional to learn more about navigating a bidding war and making a winning offer.

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Four Tips on Selling a Home With Pets

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

Four Tips on Selling a Home With PetsThere are more residential homes with pets in the U.S. than in any other country. However, that also means that the home also takes on the characteristics of the pet, including the smells, and that can make things a bit difficult when it comes time to sell that home. Homeowners with pets will have to work at removing any signs the pet has left behind. Here are four tips on how to do that.

Get Rid of the Obvious Evidence

As much as homeowners love their pets, when it comes time to sell a home any sign of the pet has to be removed. Don’t forget where the pet left their marks as well. Cats, for example, love to rub against specific locations to leave a scent. Fur and oil end up leaving a mark on the walls over time. Homeowners should look for and expect to make any sign of the pet’s presence disappear for a successful sale. This can be challenging if the you are still living in the home. The best way to approach removing the scent is to wait until you have moved out and deodorize and clean at that time.

Deodorize, Deodorize, Deodorize

Pets produce a distinct smell over time, but pet owners usually don’t notice it. Have a friend or neighbor come over after every cleaning to check if the pet smells are still there. People who do not own pets will notice pet smells immediately. The more sensitive the nose, the better. Homeowners should keep deodorizing the home until every pet smell is sufficiently purged. Then, bake some cookies on open house day.

Deep Cleaning

Anything with fabric, like carpets, will need to be deep cleaned. People with allergies will pick up on an animal’s fur right away. Animals also have a habit of leaving stains. Ideally, the house carpet should be replaced before a sale, but that’s not always practical. So, plan on a thorough professional carpet cleaning. Hard surfaces and walls should be fully washed and sanitized as well.

Don’t Forget the Backyard

If your pet likes to roam, the backyard needs help too. You should redo the landscaping and erase any sign of the pet’s presence. Dogs are the big culprit in this category. Fresh lawn and new flowers help a lot, and new bark is a great ground cover at low cost.

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An Overview Of A Smart Fridge: What To Know

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

An Overview Of A Smart Fridge: What To KnowToday, technology has come a long way, and this includes refrigerators. There are many people who have smartphones, home connected devices, and smart TVs. Now, there are smart refrigerators as well.

While a smart refrigerator is still a relatively new addition to the market, this gives users more control over their fridges and how they work. For example, it is now possible for homeowners to use a smart fridge to send and receive information using an electronic screen on the exterior of the refrigerator. How does this technology work and why is it so important?

What Can Homeowners Do With The Screen On A Fridge?

There is a lot that homeowners can do with the information on their refrigerators. For example, they might be able to put digital notes on the fridge. That way, they do not have to worry about forgetting something important. Homeowners can also use this screen to watch TV when they are in the kitchen. This could save someone the trouble of having to put a TV in the kitchen. Then, homeowners can use their refrigerators to listen to music as well. Their refrigerators can also send an alert when the homeowner is running out of something or when there is low ice. Homeowners might be able to do all of this without opening the door.

Major Appliance Companies Are Now Offering Smart Fridges

Today, there are numerous major appliance companies that are offering smart fridges. For example, GE offers an app that lets people know when the door is open, when the water filter has to be replaced, or when the ice maker is empty. LG offers a smart fridge that allows people to order groceries and turn on music. Samsung also has a Family Hub fridge that allows people to look up recipes and write notes before sending them to someone’s phone. Homeowners can also use this feature to create a new shopping list. All of this has the potential to change the way homeowners interact with their refrigerators moving forward. There are a lot of local stores that carry the latest in smart refrigerators, which could make a major difference when it comes to the daily routine in the kitchen.

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Popcorn Ceilings and the Trend to Remove Them

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 21st, 2021

Popcorn Ceilings and the Trend to Remove ThemDuring the 1970s, home building picked up on the idea of a cheap but effective way to reduce sound travel from one floor to the next: popcorn ceilings. Essentially, after the drywall was installed, a finisher would come in with a plaster mix and spray on the ceiling drywall for a bit of a lumpy effect. The disparate clumps and bumps not only created a texture to an otherwise flat-looking ceiling, they also helped break up sound waves. After being spray-painted in white, the ceiling texture essentially blended with the rest of the room to produce a finished look. Popcorn ceilings were such a common approach, entire home subdivisions had cookie-cutter ceiling work done by teams on new homes.

A Bad Memory From the Past

Today, popcorn ceilings are like sheet vinyl on flooring, relics of the 1970s decade and almost a trigger for a negative gut reaction from anyone who lived in that time period, particularly as a kid. Worse, prior to 1978, some of the material used to create the popcorn ceiling also included asbestos under the idea that it would improve safety and increase fire resistance ( disregarding the fact that asbestos is extremely hazardous to breathe once airborne).

Leverage for a Buyer, Vulnerability for a Seller

No surprise, anyone in modern times coming into a used home as a new buyer and owner will likely want to have the popcorn ceiling texture completely removed and redone. In some cases, during a buyer’s market, some prospects will actually want the seller to pay for the work to sell the home quickly.

Sellers should expect, at a minimum, that the issue will be used to argue for a lower price, at least in a normal market or where there is competition to secure a buyer. Only during a seller’s market will the presence of the popcorn ceiling pretty much be a non-issue for a quick sale.

While it might seem tempting to just have the owner scrape the ceilings and repaint them, it’s best to have a professional take care of the removal in a clean process. Especially if the home is older than 1978, the work could be hazardous and require specific steps for proper mitigation.

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 20, 2021

Posted in Financial Reports by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 20th, 2021

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - September 20, 2021Last week’s scheduled economic reporting included readings on consumer prices, retail sales, and the University of  Michigan’s preliminary Consumer Sentiment Index. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.

Consumer Price Growth Slows in August

The Consumer Price Index reported that consumer prices grew by  0.30 percent in August as compared to July’s consumer price growth pace of 0.50 percent. Core consumer prices, which exclude volatile food and fuel sectors, also slowed in August to a pace of 0.10 percent as compared to July’s reading of 0.30 percent growth. Used-car prices fell for the first time in six months but remained 32 percent higher year-over-year. Inventories of new and used cars were lower due to supply chain problems caused by the pandemic.

August’s Consumer Price Index rose by 5.30 percent year-over-year;  the Core Consumer Price Index grew by 4.00 percent year-over-year in August, which was unchanged from July’s year-over-year consumer price growth. Analysts expressed mixed opinions about how quickly inflation will slow, but Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that the Fed expects inflation to slow to the Fed’s targeted pace of 2.00 percent within the next year. Federal Reserve policymakers expect materials and labor shortages to ease as the post-pandemic recovery continues.

Retail Sales Rise in August

Retail sales rose by 0.70 percent in August and surpassed negative projections and July’s reading of -1.80 percent. Analysts said that inflation accounted for some of the increased sales, but said that consumers were spending despite the spreading  Delta variant of the Coronavirus. Retail sales rose by 1.80 percent when automotive sales were excluded. Shortages of new and used cars dragged down the pace of retail sales.

Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims

Freddie Mac reported little change in mortgage rates last week. Rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged two basis points lower at 2.86 percent; Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped by seven basis points to 2.12 percent on average. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages rose by nine basis points to an average of 2.51 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages fell to 0.10 percent on average.

Initial jobless claims rose to 332,000 first-time claims filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 312,000 initial claims filed. Continuing claims fell with 2.67 million ongoing jobless claims filed as compared to the prior week’s reading of 2.85 million ongoing claims filed.

The University of Michigan released its preliminary Consumer Sentiment Index for September and reported a one-point increase in September’s index reading of 71.0. Analysts forecasted a reading of 72.0 based on the August reading of 70.3.

What’s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders,

The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee will release its post-meeting statement and Fed Chair Jerome Powell will give a press conference. Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits will be released along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.

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How To Find The Right Home Insurance Coverage For You And Your Family

Posted in Mortgage,Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on September 17th, 2021

How To Find The Right Home Insurance Coverage For You And Your FamilyThose who are taking out a loan for a home will probably be required by the lender to purchase home insurance. Even those who don’t need a loan will still need to make sure that they protect their property accordingly with a comprehensive home insurance policy. This is important for making sure homeowners have the money to replace their belongings and repair their property in the event of a disaster. At the same time, homeowners do not want to spend more than they must for a home insurance policy.

How can homeowners find the right home insurance policy to protect themselves?

Think About The Disasters In The Area

First, homeowners need to make sure the home insurance policy protects them against the right risks. If homeowners live in an area that is prone to floods or earthquakes, they need to find a policy that will protect them against these risks. If homeowners live in an area that gets a lot of hurricanes, they should make sure their home insurance policy protects them against hurricane damages. Not all policies include these as standard coverage, so homeowners should make sure they do not have to purchase a rider.

Make Sure There Is Money To Rebuild Your Home

Remember that the cost to rebuild a home could be more or less than the original purchase price. Lenders will want to make sure that all homeowners have a policy that gives them enough money to rebuild. Otherwise, the lender might not finance the mortgage. The local construction costs and the square footage of the structure will all play a role in the cost to rebuild. It might be prudent to work with a real estate agent to estimate this cost. The type of exterior, the style of the house, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and other properties on the premises will all play a role in the cost to rebuild a home.

Other Factors To Consider

Homeowners also need to think about whether their home is up to code. When the home is rebuilt, it needs to match new codes, which could increase the price. Homeowners also need to make sure their home insurance policy will cover valuable belongings in the home as well, such as furniture and electronics.

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