Report: Owners Aren’t Saving Enough for Remodeling

Homeowners significantly underestimate the costs involved when planning a home improvement project, finds a new study from Discover Home Equity Loans, based on a survey of 1,200 Americans.

Eighty-two percent of consumers believe the home they own is a financial asset, the study says. As such, they want to tackle home improvement projects to increase the value of their home even more. More than half—52 percent—of consumers say they plan to take on a home improvement project in the next year. Kitchen and bathroom remodels lead in projects.

But many consumers have failed to save enough. Sixty-four percent of consumers say their home improvement project will cost under $15,000. However, bathroom remodels can cost anywhere from $19,000 upwards to $61,000; significant kitchen remodels can cost upwards to $125,000, according to the study.

Given their low estimates for projects, homeowners are falling short in paying for their projects. Only a quarter say they’ll have enough funds to cover the likely cost of the project, the study showed.

“Home improvement projects can quickly add up and oftentimes cost more than someone anticipates,” says PK Parekh, senior vice president of Discover Home Equity Loans. “Which is why people should be financially prepared and determine which payment method makes the most sense within their own financial situation.”

Homeowners differ on how they’re financing their home improvement projects. Thirty-four percent prefer to use cash for a home improvement project, followed by 23 percent who say they plan to use a credit card. Other owners say they are considering borrowing against the equity in their home, such as through a home equity line of credit (18 percent), home equity loan (13 percent), or cash-out refinance (7 percent).

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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Gen Xers’ Adult Children Influence Their Buying Decisions According to Realtor® Report

WASHINGTON (April 1, 2019) – One in six Gen Xers purchased a multi-generational home, overtaking younger boomers as the generation most likely to do so; with 52 percent of those Gen X buyers indicating that they did so because their adult children have either moved back or never left home.

This is according to the National Association of Realtors®’ 2019 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study, which evaluates the generational differences1 of recent homebuyers and sellers. The report also found that older millennials who bought a multi-generational home, at 9 percent, were most likely to do so in order to take care of aging parents (33 percent), or to spend more time with those parents (30 percent).

“The high cost of rent and lack of affordable housing inventory is sending adult children back to their parents’ homes either out of necessity or an attempt to save money,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “While these multi-generational homes may not be what a majority of Americans expect out of homeownership, this method allows younger potential buyers the opportunity to gain their financial footing and transition into homeownership. In fact, younger millennials are the most likely to move directly out of their parents’ homes into homeownership, circumventing renting altogether.”

Millennials as a whole accounted for 37 percent of all buyers, making them the most active generation of buyers for the sixth consecutive year. 2019 is the first year the report separated younger and older millennials, accounting for 11 and 26 percent of buyers respectively. This separation was deemed necessary as younger millennials now account for a larger buying share than the silent generation (7 percent). Gen X buyers were the second largest group of buyers (24 percent), followed by younger boomers (18 percent) and older boomers (14 percent).

Dividing millennials into younger and older cohorts highlights the disparities between the two age groups, and paints a picture of older millennials that is much closer to Gen Xers and younger boomers. Older millennials have a median household income of $101,200 and purchase homes with a median price of $274,000, comparable to Gen Xers ($111,100 income, $277,800 median home price) and younger boomers ($102,300, $251,100 respectively).

Yun says this is to be expected as millennials continue to age and advance through various stages of their lives and careers. “Older millennials are now entering the prime earning stages of their careers, and the size and costs of homes they purchase reflect this. Their choices are falling more in line with their Gen X and boomer counterparts.”

Younger millennials, meanwhile, are purchasing the least expensive homes and smallest homes ($177,000 and 1,600 square feet), meaning they face the greatest challenge in finding affordable inventory. They also report a median household income of $71,200.

Downsizing to a smaller home is not currently common among any of the generations. Sellers over the age of 54 only downsize by a median of 100 to 200 square feet. Gen Xers and boomers who may have been interested in downsizing could have been hindered by a lack of smaller inventory; or may have been impeded by the increase in multi-generational living these generations are reporting to accommodate the needs of adult children and aging parents.

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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45% of Millennials Expect Their First Home to Be Their ‘Dream Home’

Young adults have waited longer than past generations to jump into homeownership. As they wait, that may have upped their expectations over what their home will look like for when they finally do take the plunge into ownership. Forty-five percent of millennials surveyed say they expect their first home to be their “dream home,” according to a new survey of 2,000 millennials between the ages of 22 and 37, released by Northshore  Fireplace.

But whether millennials will actually be able to afford their dream home from their first purchase may be questionable. Half of millennials surveyed say they have only $2,000 or less saved for a down payment. Millennials believe their first home will cost $218,152 (average). The median cost of an existing home in the U.S. is $249,500, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ housing report, based on February data.

In a separate study by Porch.com, a home improvement website, millennial buyers were the most likely compared to other generations to pay more for must-have amenities. Many of the amenities they most sought out related to convenience or comfort, such as a private backyard or patio (they are willing to pay $7,009 more for a home with one); a swimming pool (they’d pay $6,346 more for one); central air conditioning and heating ($6,194); and solar panels ($5,469), according to the survey.

Some millennials may be willing to wait until they can afford their dream home. Their top fears delaying ownership: the burden of paying a mortgage (41 percent); unforeseen maintenance issues with the home (35 percent); being locked into one location by buying (17 percent); and the upkeep of the home (7 percent).

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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The 3 Most Important Rooms to Stage

Staging not only results in a quicker sale but also tends to increase the home’s value too, according to the newly released 2019 Profile of Home Staging report conducted by the National Association of REALTORS®. One quarter of buyers’ agents say that staging a home increased the dollar value of a home between 1 to 5 percent compared to similar homes on the market that weren’t staged. Seventeen percent of agents said that staging increased the home’s dollar value between six to 10 percent.

Which rooms are the most important to focus on in the house?

Staging the living room was found to be the most important for buyers (47 percent), followed by staging the master bedroom (42 percent) and staging the kitchen (35 percent). The least important area to stage? The guest bedroom, according to buyer agents. Only 8 percent of buyer agents said it was “very important” to stage a guest bedroom in the home.

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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Pending Home Sales Jump 4.6 Percent in January

WASHINGTON (February 27, 2019) – Pending home sales rebounded strongly in January, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All four major regions saw growth last month, including the largest surge in the South.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* www.nar.realtor/pending-home-sales, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, increased 4.6 percent to 103.2 in January, up from 98.7 in December. Year-over-year contract signings, however, declined 2.3 percent, making this the thirteenth straight month of annual decreases.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, had expected an increase in January home sales. “A change in Federal Reserve policy and the reopening of the government were very beneficial to the market,” he said.

Of the four major regions, three areas experienced a decline compared to one year ago, while the Northeast enjoyed a slight growth spurt. See and share this infographic. Yun also said higher rates discouraged many would-be buyers in 2018. “Homebuyers are now returning and taking advantage of lower interest rates, while a boost in inventory is also providing more choices for consumers.”

Additionally, Yun noted year-over-year increases in active listings from data at realtor.com® to illustrate the potential rise in inventory. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo., Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif., Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, and Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn., saw the largest increase in active listings in January compared to a year ago.

Yun says positive pending home sales figures in January will likely continue. “Income is rising faster than home prices in many areas and mortgage rates look to remain steady. Furthermore, job creation will help lift home buying.”

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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9 No-Sweat Hacks to Deep Clean the Cruddiest Things

Ahhh! Sparkling floors, gleaming windows, and zero dust bunnies. A thorough cleaning can make your abode feel brand new. But that immaculate house comes with a price — sore biceps.

Instead of skimping on your annual deep clean because you’re zonked, use these brilliant hacks for nine of the most pain-in-the-butt tasks. You’ll get the same pristine results with half the time and energy.

#1 Break Out the Drill on Your Bathtub

Cleaning a grungy tub can be back-breaking work. But here’s a genius idea that’ll save you time and sweat: Use your drill. Simply attach a scrubby (or a foam ball polishing attachment if you happen to have one) and use it to do the scrubbing for you. Look in the automotive section for the attachment, which is made specially for tackling grime without scratching surfaces.

#2 Soak Stove Burners in Ammonia

Your stove burners take the bulk of the greasy, gunky mess during cooking, so do them a favor and give them a good cleaning. Don’t worry: No scrubbing involved. To clear the crud, combine your stove burners and 1/4 cup ammonia in a plastic bag and let sit overnight. They should come clean with a light sponge the next day.

#3 Run Floor Vents Through the Dishwasher

Scour as you might, removing all the accumulated dirt and dust from your floor and ceiling vents can be a spring cleaner’s nightmare. If yours are made of aluminum or steel, there’s a shortcut to spic-and-span: Just run them through the dishwasher on a water-only cycle.

#4 Iron Out Bad Carpet Stains

Don’t spend an hour scrubbing out that nasty, set-in carpet splotch. Iron it out instead. Spritz a solution of one part vinegar, three parts water on the stain, and lay a clean cotton cloth on top. Turn your iron to its highest steam setting and run it over the stain for about 10 seconds to transfer the stain to the cloth and off your carpet.

#5 Tie a Bag of Vinegar Around Your Showerhead

Mineral build-up on your showerhead can cause low water pressure and wonky water streams. But it’s easy to clean them without removing them. Using a rubber band, attach a bag of vinegar to your showerhead, making sure all the holes are submerged in the vinegar, and soak it overnight. Voilà. Good as new.

#6 Make Your Leaf Blower Multi-Task

Forget the broom and rags when you’re cleaning out the garage. Whip out your leaf blower and let it blow all the dust, debris, and dead bugs (yuck!) away from the floor and shelving. Just be sure to put away light-weight things could accidentally get blown out with the trash.

#7 Get Rid of Crayon Marks with Goo Gone

Removing evidence of your toddler’s overactive imagination from your gorgeous white walls can be a struggle, but a little bit of Goo Gone (traditionally used to clean sticker residue) will remove the crayon and your headache. Spray it on the drawing, wait a moment, and wipe it off cleanly — without exhausting your arms.

#8 Boil Your Range Filter

There’s no need to scrub the grease and grime off your range filters. Use a bit of baking soda and your largest pot instead. Set the water to boil, slowly add 1/2 cup of baking soda, and submerge your filters for about five minutes. (Make sure to dump the water somewhere safe. Grease in the drain is even worse than grimy filters.)

#9 Sprinkle Your Mattress With Baking Soda

Your mattress needs a springtime refresh, too, but you sure can’t toss it in the washing machine. Cleaning gurus recommend dragging your mattress outside, beating it, and letting the sunshine help freshen it, then dragging it back in. But who has the muscle for that? This is much easier: Use a kitchen strainer to sprinkle baking soda over its surface and let sit for an hour or longer. Longer is better. Then use your vacuum’s upholstery attachment to suck up the odor-absorbing soda.

“Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.”

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Lower Mortgage Rates May Sprout Early Spring Buying Season

Mortgage rates inched lower for the third consecutive week. Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater says the lower rates bode well for the spring home buying season, typically the busiest time of the year for home shopping.

“Mortgage rates … [are] continuing the general downward trend that began late last year,” Khater says. “Wages are growing on par with home prices for the first time in years, and with more inventory available, spring home sales should help the market begin to recover from the malaise of the last few months.” The National Association of REALTORS® reported this week that more houses were on the market in January, rising to 1.59 million nationwide and at a 3.9-month supply at the current sales pace.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for mortgage rates for the week ending Feb. 21:

• 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.35 percent ,with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 4.37 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.40 percent.

• 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.78 percent, with an average 0.4 point, falling from last week’s 3.81 percent average. A year ago at this time, 15-year rates averaged 3.85 percent.

• 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.84 percent, with an average 0.3 percent.

Source:  Freddie Mac

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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Millennials Are Undeterred by Fixer Uppers

Young adult home buyers aren’t afraid to buy a home in need of some major TLC. Sixty-seven percent of millennial home shoppers who participated in a recent Clever Real Estate survey of 1,000 U.S. residents in the market for a home said they would put in an offer on a property in need of major repairs. See:   https://listwithclever.com/real-estate-blog/millennial-home-buyer-report/

Millennial home buyers are taking a long-term view when buying, the Clever Real Estate survey found. They also tend to value safe neighborhoods and good schools over walkability and short commutes.

Young adults also tend to have a fondness for real estate. Eighty-four percent of millennials believe that buying a home remains a core component of the American dream, according to the survey. Furthermore, a 2018 survey from Bank of America found that most millennials prioritize homeownership (72%) over other major life events, like getting married (50%) and having children (44%).

The chief reasons cited by millennials want to buy a home are that they need more space, they feel owning is more affordable than renting, and they believe owning a home is a good investment, the Clever Real Estate survey found.

The number one barrier to buying is coming up with the down payment, the survey found. This is followed by qualifying for a mortgage and high home prices.

“This is where millennial-centric issues like student debt and rising rent prices really factor into the equation,” Clever Real Estate notes in its study. “While Gen Y-ers are, on the whole, earning more than previous generations did at their age, millennial-specific issues like higher costs of living and poor credit are making it difficult for them to break into the market.”

“Copyright National Association of REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.”

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There’s A New Indoor Playground Opening Soon!

With a targeted opening date in late January, a new iPlay Experience indoor playground for all year use will be open to the public.  Located at 8524 W Gage Boulevard in Kennewick, this 10,000 square foot space includes slides, tubes, climbing structures, as well as art and sand tables.  The emphasis will be on recreation, education, and socialization  of children.

Alex Tasama, the owner of the business, believes it can be a place for all children with differing abilities would be able to play and be creative year round.  Birthday parties and other parties can be held there and hot food such as pizza is offered along with desserts and beverages.  The building can accommodate at least 100 people at one time,   and up to 15 employees will be hired.

For more information on iPlay Experience, check out their Facebook page.

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