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Blog Archives: November 2013

Ensure Your Fireplace Is Up To Snuff

November 29, 2013
When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing quite as cozy as curling up on the sofa with a good book in front of a roaring fire. A fireplace provides a warm and inviting atmosphere. However, if it isn’t properly maintained, your living room could be filled with a cloud of soot, or worse, fire. A fireplace not only creates a snug setting, but most are actually functional and can help heat your home. Harness the heat and generate the ambiance of a softly-lit living space by following the tips below to ensure that yours is properly maintained and ...

Savoring The Good Things In Life

November 27, 2013
“There’s always something to be thankful for. If you can’t pay your bills, you can be thankful you’re not one of your creditors.” – Author Unknown Thanksgiving Day 2013 may have come and gone, but during this season of thanks, it’s always nice to spend some time reflecting on what we’re thankful for. What Am I Grateful For? Most of us are so busy reaching our goals, making plans for the future, pushing and struggling to rise to wherever we feel our position in life should be, that we very rarely take the time to look back at where we ...

Get The Low Down On Pending And Existing Home Sales This Month

November 26, 2013
The National Association of REALTORS reported Monday that pending home sales dropped by -0.60 percent in October, after falling at a revised rate of -4.60 percent in September. According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, 17 percent of real estate agents reported delays in loan closings due to the government shutdown in early October. Lenders were unable to verify borrower income through the IRS, which was closed during the shutdown. October was the fifth consecutive month with fewer pending home sales reported. Homeowners who owe ...

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 25, 2013

November 25, 2013
Last week’s scheduled economic news was varied, but mortgage rates fell and jobless claims were significantly lower than expected. The minutes for last month’s FOMC meeting were released, and confirmed the Federal Reserve’s intention to leave its quantitative easing program unchanged, at least for the near term. The National Association of Homebuilders-Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for November indicated that builder confidence, while still positive, dipped by one point to a reading of 54 as compared to an anticipated reading of 55, and ...

Thanksgiving Decorating Ideas For Your Home

November 22, 2013
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and if you’re opening up your home for a get-together with family and friends, that usually means you’ll be decorating. If you’ve racked your mind for ideas and none of them sounds just right, here are a few decorating tips that might help you along your way. Fall Leaves Decorations don’t have to be expensive: just look outside the door of your home. Brightly colored fall leaves, either randomly placed on the table or bunched in small arrangements, can brighten up a table beautifully. Turkey N ...

4 Tips On Hosting A Cozy Open House

November 21, 2013
The weather is getting a little too crisp for outdoor barbecues and camping. When Mother Nature goes into hibernation, then it’s time to move the party indoors. Whether you’re looking to show off your new digs or have just listed your home on the market, winter is the perfect time to host an open house. You want this to be a fun event that is as stress-free as possible. So plan ahead and don’t go too crazy. With a little furniture rearranging and a casual menu, you can plan a special evening that everyone will enjoy. Below are a few party ...

3 Common First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes That Can Cost Thousands

November 20, 2013
Buying real estate for the first time is a very exciting step in life. It is likely to be one of the biggest financial commitments that you make as well, so it’s very important to navigate the purchasing process wisely. Many first-time home buyers make rookie mistakes that bring on negative consequences and a lot of frustration. Outlined below are common errors home buyers make, so you can learn from their missteps and avoid them yourself. 1. Buying More Than What You Can Truly Afford Just because the bank says that you qualify for a ...

Housing Market Index Shows Builder Confidence Remains Above 50

November 19, 2013
On Monday, the National Association of Home Builders released its Housing Market Index for November. This month’s HMI reading was 54, against expectations of a reading of 55. October’s reading was also 54 after being downwardly revised. Readings over 50 generally indicate that a majority of builders surveyed are confident in current housing market conditions, but the current pause came after two months of decline in home builder confidence. While the short term index readings are lower than in past months, the HMI is currently 20 percent ...

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 18, 2013

November 18, 2013
The Veterans’ Day holiday last Monday contributed to a quiet week for economic news. On Wednesday, the reading for the federal budget deficit for October fell from September’s reading of -$120 billion to -$92 billion. Freddie Mac Released Its Primary Mortgage Market Survey,  Weekly Jobless Claims Were Released Thursday The average mortgage rates increased across the board, but remain below historical levels. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose by 9 basis points from 4.16 percent to 4.35 percent with discount points decreasing ...

5 Great Questions To Ask At An Open House

November 16, 2013
An open house gives you a great opportunity to look more closely at real estate you might be interested in buying. It also affords you the chance to chat with the owner or real estate agent so you can bring up any issues or hesitations you have with the home. Knowing what to ask can be difficult, so below are examples of questions to ask at the next open house you attend. Why Is The House On The Market? If you ask why the seller is moving, you could learn valuable information to help determine your offer or possibly whether or not you want ...

Spice Up Your Home This Holiday Season

November 15, 2013
    If you have a flair for home decoration projects, you’re in luck. These days, there is a huge availability of resources to fuel your imagination — no big budget necessary! DIY Is The New Black There are many home decor and DIY magazines and websites out there, but one of the most popular ways to find fresh and unique ideas is Pinterest. Not only does it provide inspiration, but it’s easy to browse and search for projects. If you would like to repurpose or recycle existing furniture and other home goods, not only will that help ...

San Francisco Home Prices Increase 10.6%

November 15, 2013
Now that the baton is in grasp of the final quarter of our annual relay, it’s a good time to look back and reflect. This year has been spectacular for residential real estate. Robust gains in sales and prices were felt throughout San Francisco’s 10 Residential Districts, with median single family home prices cresting the $1 million mark in both April and May. Homes have also been selling at a fast clip, with an average of 37 days on the market. While consumers have felt empowered by lower interest rates, sellers are starting to regain their ...

4 Ways A Real Estate Agent Can Help During The New Construction Process

November 14, 2013
You’ve found the perfect new development and think your children would love swimming in the community pool and riding bikes on the wide streets. The new construction’s sales agent gave you a price and made a strong pitch urging you to buy immediately. The question is, should you sign on the dotted line or bring in a real estate agent to handle the contract and negotiations? The first thing you need to realize is that the new construction sales agent represents the developer and has their investment in mind. A real estate agent is someone ...

How To Be Energy Efficient This Fall

November 13, 2013
Summer is over and Fall is here, temperatures are beginning to drop, and you’re dreading having to turn the heat on for the first time. Firing up the furnace can burn a hole in your pocket, but there’s something you can do about it. Consider these tips to help lower your heating bill. Replace Your Air Filters Get new air filters for your central heating and cooling. The filters get clogged and it takes more and more energy to keep your house warm. Be sure to clear out any dust bunnies or cobwebs from behind the filter. Use a vacuum if ...

When Should You Shred Your Financial Documents?

November 12, 2013
How do you know what happens to your documents when you put a piece of paper in the trash? It can be difficult to know who is seeing it and what they are doing with it. It isn’t very common to burn trash anymore; therefore, you can be sure that your paper garbage or recycling is likely to pass through several hands on its way to a landfill or recycling center. Step–By–Step, Your Documents Can Get Pilfered Every step that occurs once the trash leaves your control has a risk that someone will find personal information they can use to cause ...

4 Quick Tips To Clean Out That Closet This Fall

November 08, 2013
Your living spaces are the most important rooms in your home. They’re where you read bedtime stories, have family dinners and make memories. However, most of these rooms wouldn’t be as inviting or function well without their valuable out-of-sight storage spaces — their closets. Imagine clothes thrown across bedrooms and toys scattered all over the living room. Closets are essential to keeping your home organized, clean and livable. So set aside one weekend this month to tackle your mini storerooms and turn them into orderly spaces with the ...

Creative Ways To Recycle Everyday Household Items

November 07, 2013
Every week the trash truck comes to pick up our garbage and unwanted items, which are promptly taken to landfills. Instead of filling landfills and buying new items to stuff our homes, we can help the earth and recycle everyday household items. Below are a few fun and creative ideas for recycling things around your home that you might be ready to toss. Coffee Table Into Bench If you just purchased a new coffee table, don’t give away the old one — repurpose it. Find a space in your home where you could use some additional seating, like at ...

Be Proactive And Inspect Your Home Foundation

November 06, 2013
You probably had someone check your foundation when you bought the house, but have you looked twice at it since? These problems don’t happen overnight. They start small and they grow. By the time an issue comes to your attention, it might be too late. Learn to recognize the problems while they’re still small and cheap. Your wallet will thank you later. Floor Level You might be able to tell if your floor is level just by walking on it. Some people have a knack for recognizing this problem. If you suspect your floor of being a bit off ...

4 Staging Tips For Your Vacant Land For Sale

November 05, 2013
In some ways, selling vacant land is no different from selling a home. You still have to prepare it for sale, and you still need to make it look as good as possible. This process of cleaning and beautifying is called staging. Here are a few tips for staging your land. De-Clutter. Your buyer wants to actually see your vacant land, and clutter only blocks their vision. Remove fallen tree branches, trash, and junk such as car parts and damaged buildings. Cut back large brush. Clear paths so potential buyers can easily walk around the ...

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – November 4, 2013

November 04, 2013
Last week’s economic news came from a variety of sources. Most significant was the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement after its meeting ended Wednesday. The statement indicated that the Fed saw moderate economic growth. FOMC did not taper its purchase of MBS and Treasury securities. The FOMC statement announced the committee’s intention to closely monitor economic and financial developments “in the coming months,” which suggested that the FOMC is taking a wait-and-see position on reducing its $85 billion monthly asset ...

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