Whether you own a home or are looking to buy or sell one, here are some useful tips, ideas and advice. When you are ready to make a move our team members are here for you.

Homebuyers’ Advice

Is it Time to Build Your Luxury Home?

The April 2021 market report from the National Association of REALTORS had a seeming contradiction. It was the third month in a row that existing home sales declined, yet home prices hit an all-time high of $329,100.

Typically, when home sales fall, prices dip as well, signaling a developing softness in the market. But thanks to a perfect storm of circumstances, buyer demand is stronger than ever, despite rising mortgage rates and less affordability. Housing supply is down over 28% with the unsold inventory at a two-month supply, down from a 3.3-month supply from the previous year. Properties lasted 18 days on the market, from 29 days the year before, and 83% of homes sold in less than a month.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, the new home building also fell in April. Many ports closed, hampering the transportation of materials. Lumber, steel, resin (PVC) and other shortages have driven construction costs up by 12 percent year-over-year, causing many builders to pause building projects.

Yet, it’s a good time to build your luxury dream home. You may pay more to build this year, but the conditions that are hampering the market will result in higher value for your property. Forbes.com quotes real estate experts who say that home prices will continue to rise. Also, if you build now, you can include features that will appeal strongly to the post-pandemic buyer of the future, such as expanded outdoor areas, office spaces and smart home/touchless technology and air filtrations systems, suggests ThePinnacleList.com.

Homeowners’ Advice

How to Care for Your Jetted Tubs

If your new home came with a jetted tub in the master bath or you plan to replace the tub with one with jets, here are a few tips to making every bath you take luxurious. Jetted tubs require special care, so before you take that first relaxing dip, read the manufacturer’s guidelines on cleaning frequency and whether or not you can use bath salts and oils that are guaranteed for use in jetted tubs.  

Because the bathwater is recirculated, the water pump can become damaged by bath salts, oils, and bubble baths, and even some kinds of soaps. Skin deposits, grease, oils, mold, bacteria, and algae must be cleaned out of the piping so that build-up doesn’t clog the pipes. Clean the tub with a non-abrasive cleanser designed for hydrotherapy baths and rinse thoroughly. Fill the tub with warm water, add a cup of bleach, and run the jets for 10 minutes. Drain the water and rinse the inside, then fill the tub again.  Run the jets for another few minutes to clear away any remaining bleach, then drain the tub.

To clean the jets, use a bio-cleaner for jetted tubs, or if you prefer to go “green,” use 2 cups of white distilled vinegar with 1 cup of salt, running the jets for about 15 minutes.  Drain the tub, then rinse the surface and jets.

Always wear gloves and use bath and cleaning products that are safe for jetted tubs and you.

Homeowners’ Advice

Luxury Down Bedding Primer

Few textiles for the bed offer the luxury and comfort of down. It’s lightweight, warm and fluffy, with unique breathability. Explains the Down Association of Canada, down wicks away moisture, allowing water vapor to pass through the down. This keeps you warm without clamminess or heaviness, and you can sleep in cooler air while staying warm.

Down is part of the plumage grown by waterfowl for warmth. It clusters under and around the flight and body feathers, on the breast and under the wings. The geese and duck molt or shed the down just as they shed their larger feathers. As they preen their feathers, they loosen down and feathers. The farmer collects the loose down for “dry-harvesting,” a painless process much like brushing a dog to get rid of loose fur.

A top-quality down product should have at least 90% down to no more than 10% feathers. The advantage is more “loft” which means the fibers buoyantly trap air for warmth while remaining fluffy and uncompressed. Look for lightness and bounce and avoid products with sharp feather quills or “down fiber,” a down dust that offers no value.  For comforters, choose a high thread-count, baffle box construction that compartmentalizes the down to keep it from shifting.

You can buy comforters and pillows ready-made, so look for clear, concise labeling so you know exactly what you’re buying. You can also have duvets, feather beds and other products custom made for you at bulk down manufacturers.

Financial Advice

Freddie Mac’s Home Possible Loans

With as little as 3% down payment required, Freddie Mac’s  Home Possible Mortgage loans are ideal for low to moderate-income borrowers with few savings, first-time homebuyers, borrowers with shallow credit histories or retirees on a limited budget.

The benefits to borrowers are more flexible sources of funds for the down payment that can include gifts, grants, employer assistance, secondary borrowing, the borrower’s money, and other approved sources. Because the down payment is lower than the benchmark 20% down, you’ll pay private mortgage insurance. This protects the lender should you default, and the cost is based on your loan-to-value ratio and credit scores. Expect to pay $40 to $80 per month for every $100,000 you borrow. However, Home Possible mortgages have reduced mortgage insurance for loan-to-value ratios greater than 90 percent.

Other benefits include flexible property options, including condos and 1-4 unit homes, caps on credit fees, mortgage flexibility including 15-to 30-year fixed rate loans and some adjustable rate products, income flexibility and refinance options.

Required credit scores depend on the type of loan product you want and whether or not you’re buying a single unit or up to four units in the same building, but you should have a credit score of at least a minimum of 660 to 680 for single occupancy.

If you’re hesitant about getting into a low-down payment loan, don’t be. These loans are only available through your lender if they meet Freddie Mac’s underwriting standards. Freddie Mac wants you to build wealth and security through homeownership.

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