February 2015

Found 13 blog entries for February 2015.

No Longer the Trend


If you live in the suburbs, you just may be out of style. At least that's what a new report from Portland, Oregon-based City Observatory said. People typically move out to the suburbs for a few key reasons: more house for the money; the possibility of better public schools; a more family-focused environment; a yard for the dog. The tradeoff is more time spent commuting and less time at home. For many, it's worth it. But that might be changing. "Downtown is coming back. Just look at Charlotte, Oklahoma City and Milwaukee—classic examples of U.S. cities where the well-to-do chose to live in the suburbs," said Bloomberg. "Now they are among the most vibrant U.S. city centers.”

 Compelling data

While the conversation is

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...But the Housing Market Recovery Continues to Lose Strength


 The S&P Case/Shiller index of home prices in 20 major U.S. cities released on Tuesday of this week showed prices rose 4.5% in 2014 compared to a 13.4% increase in 2013.

On a month-to-month basis, home prices in most big cities rose only modestly from November to December. But an index of prices nationwide was lower, extending a slowdown that's been going on for months. "The housing recovery is faltering," said David M. Blitzer, director of indexes at S&P Dow Jones. "While prices and sales of existing homes are close to normal, construction and new home sales remain weak.” Blitzer added that new homes are being built at a rate of 1 million homes per year, a level normally only

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House Hunting Tips for Veterans

Veterans Affairs home loans offer huge benefits for qualified buyers, from no down payment and no mortgage insurance to more flexible and forgiving qualifying requirements. But a VA loan is also a specialized loan program aimed at helping veterans and military members purchase homes that are safe, sound, and sanitary. That means some properties will be a better fit for VA financing than others.

 Here are three key tips for VA buyers preparing to start the house hunt.

 Get a VA-savvy agent

One of the most critical steps VA home buyers can take is to contact an agent who has experience with VA loans.

Agents familiar with VA financing recognize the unique needs of veterans and military families. They

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Helping Buyers See Your House as Theirs

Staging your home is paramount in the process of preparing your home for sale. It is the art of featuring your home's best features. It is the genius of giving prospective buyers the ability to see your home as theirs. Staging is what happens after all the repairs are made. By properly staging your home, you minimize the amount of time your house spends on the market and maximize the sale price. Trying to sell your home without staging it is like trying to land a job by showing up to the interview in your pajamas.

 Here are 10 staging tips to help put your home's best foot forward when preparing home for sale.

 Curb Appeal 

When home shopping, people often decide whether or not they are interested by

538 Views, 3 Comments

Wait for it...Patience is Key

 Now that we’ve settled into 2015, we are starting to get the first reading on how the year is shaping up for home buyers and sellers. One thing is clear: “Patience” may be the most important word of the year.

Last year ended with a lot of momentum, as the economy improved dramatically and more than 1 million jobs were created from November through January. This in turn fueled the demand for more housing. So it makes sense that people were flocking to real estate sites in January. According to data from comScore, unique visitors to real estate websites increased 24% from January 2014. Traffic to realtor.com was up even more.

Of course, most in the industry had expected as much, having forecast strong

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591 Wade Court, Rochester Hills, MI

Magnificent fully furnished 4 bed, 2.5 bath Colonial home is located within the prestigious Country Club Village of Rochester Hills.

This house is a great find, with not only a great location, but also a beautiful house fully decorated and furnished. The house feels very light and airy with all of the natural sunlight that shines through. It is also a cozy home, to sit by the fireplace on those cold nights with family and friends. This home is great for entertaining with granite counter tops, hardwood floors and having company stay with second floor loft.



The wonderfully spacious master bedroom includes a large walk-in-closet, and vaulted ceiling. The master bath comes with a relaxing

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Hedge Funds vs. Traditional Buyers

When the housing market collapsed at the end of 2008, an odd thing happened—Wall Street investors suddenly became single- family-home buyers. But the end is near. Hedge funds are losing their interest in houses, opening the door back up to traditional buyers. Investors understood the old adage, buy low and sell high. With money pouring in from around the globe, investors formed REITs and hedge funds targeting America’s housing stock. Cash sales are on the decline, however, and that’s good news for home buyers. At their peak in 2011, cash sales accounted for more than 46% of all home sales nationwide.

With low interest rates and easing credit restrictions, buyers are taking advantage of off-peak prices

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Month Over Month

The data released on Wednesday of this week on new home construction show a mixed bag: Groundbreakings are slightly down month over month, but compared to this time last year, they’re way up—signifying a recovery in the housing market.

That must be good news in the long run, right? Maybe not. Jonathan Smoke, the chief economist for Realtor.com, says the data shows a “glass-half-full picture.” That’s because the 2% month-over-month drop reflected in single-family units—which make up most of the market—won’t help the already tight supply of homes available.

“If supply is a problem—and it is—this level of growth is not going to alleviate the pressures building from increased demand,” Smoke said.

“At this level of

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Giving Homebuilders the Winter Blues

Record snowfall on the East Coast is giving homebuilders the blues. New homebuilder confidence is down about two points, and the builders’ trade association is citing weather as the main reason. “Overall builder sentiment remains fairly solid, with this slight downturn largely attributable to the unusually high snow levels across much of the nation,” said Tom Woods, of the National Association of Home Builders.

The Housing Market Index measures homebuilders perceptions of current and future home sales. It asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers—people visiting their model homes—and scores their responses. Any number above 50 indicates a positive forecast. The HMI is currently at 55, down from 57

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Coffee Anyone?

Deciding where to buy a home can be one of the most difficult decisions you can make. If you have a built-in reason to choose one area over another (it's close to your work; it's where you grew up and you're emotionally tied to it; there's a rumor about a professional football team coming soon), it can be easier. But for the rest of us, a multitude of factors can make the choice challenging at best.

So how do you know where to buy if you are value minded? Here are a couple schools of thought.

Go where the rich go.

A recent story in CNN Money noted that "The United States is the top destination for those worth more than $30 million buying residential property valued at a million or more, according to a report from

702 Views, 19 Comments