Archive for October, 2014

Real Estate News

Builder confidence in the new-home market rose to its highest reading in nearly 9 years, according to the latest reading from the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. September marked the fourth consecutive month that builder confidence has been on the rise. “Since early summer, builders in many markets across the nation have been reporting that buyer interest and traffic have picked up, which is a positive sign that the housing market is moving in the right direction,” says NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly. For the new-home market, builder confidence rose to a level of 59 in September, according to the index. Any reading above 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as “good” than “poor.” The seasonally adjusted index measures builder perceptions of the single-family new-home market on home sales and sales expectations for the next six months, as well as builders’ perceptions of buyer traffic. All three of the index components in September posted gains, with current sales conditions and traffic of prospective buyers rising to 63 and 47, respectively. Expectations for future sales also rose two points to 67. Source: National Association of Home Builders

Some home buyers are making an unusual request: They’re asking to spend the night at a home before they make an offer on it. HGTV’s “Sleep On It,” which follows potential buyers as they stay overnight in two homes with the sellers’ approval before deciding which one to buy, hasn’t seemed to spark a national trend. But it has prompted such proposals to surface more often, real estate professionals say. The sleep-overs can help buyers gain a better perspective on what it actually would feel like to live at the home, whether the kitchen is the right size, the noisy neighbors are too distracting, or the water pressure just isn’t right. Corlie Ohl, a real estate professional at Citi Habitats in New York City, recalls a client who requested to take a shower in an $865,000 apartment he was considering purchasing. He wanted to make sure the place had adequate water pressure. “It’s the strangest request I’ve ever experienced in my life for someone who wanted to purchase an apartment,” Ohl says. “The seller said, ‘Yeah, I guess, as long as he brings his own towel.” Contracts are a good idea for any buyer sleep-overs to protect both parties from liabilities, such as loss of personal belongings, say real estate professionals. A couple in Boulder, Colo., were staying at a condo when they decided to check out the condo’s parking area at night. But, “as they exited the elevator, they were abruptly confronted by two police officers, weapons drawn,” says real estate professional Bob Gordon. The neighbors had thought they were burglars. But the incident prompted the couple to put in an offer immediately on the home, “knowing the neighbors would be concerned enough to call police,” Gordon says.
Source: US News and World Report

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Fall To Do List

As the weather cools down, our thoughts turn to visions of … leaf piles, broken gutters, and stopped-up chimneys. Or rather, how to deal with such household chores before the winter sets in. Here are 10 jobs that should top your priority list this fall.

1. Change batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s a great idea to do this on the day Daylight Savings Time ends. Check the expiration on your fire extinguisher and review your escape plan with your family as well.

2. Inspect your fireplace. Have the chimney cleaned professionally, clear out any leftover ashes from last year from disposal chute if you have one, fix cracked glass doors.

3. Get the garage into shape. Gather up summer items such as lawn chairs, umbrellas, garden tools, and beach toys, pack them securely and store them neatly. Move snow shovels, snow sports equipment, and other winter tools to the front of your storage areas so they are easily accessible.

4. Ready the garden for winter. If you’re in colder climes, decide if you’ll be feeding the birds, and get your feeders cleaned and filled. Empty hoses and pack them away. If your winter weather is more temperate, you may want to prepare for winter planting of garlic, leeks, onions, lettuce, and potatoes.

5. Clear the deck. Clean, repair, cover and store your patio furniture and barbecue to prevent weather damage.

6. Get to the gutters. Clean and inspect them. Make sure your downspouts are clear and that you replace any broken extensions so that water is properly diverted away from your homes foundation.

7. Prepare the furnace. Check that it’s working properly before you really need it — you don’t want to be waiting for the repair service when the temperature’s dropped into the single digits. Better yet, get a professional cleaning and inspection.

8. Set up humidifiers. If you don’t have a central humidifier, pull out your portables and get ready to use them once you turn the heat on. Dry air not only harms your lungs and skin; it can also damage wood furniture, which can become brittle and crack.

9. Consider an exterior paint job. Fall is a great time of year to freshen your home’s exterior paint, with lower temperatures and low humidity.

10. Install a programmable thermostat. It doesn’t have to be as fancy [or expensive] as the Nest. Preset temperatures for different times of day and save yourself some money on heating bills — plus ensure you’ve got a cozy home to return to.