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My Own Experience with the Housing Market Crash

The housing market crash has affected countless people throughout our country and it continues to do so. There is some recent evidence that the market may be turning around and that is good news. I have been impacted by the real estate crash in two different ways. We had purchased a home in an “up and coming” area. We made renovations and improvements to the home and felt confident that we would make a profit when the time came to sell. A job opportunity 13 hours away that was too good to pass up forced the sale a little sooner than we had expected. My family was separated for 4 months while the house sat on the market with little or no activity. We finally received a horrible offer that we took because we were tired of living so far apart and many real estate agents will tell you that the first offer is often the best offer. We had to bring $25,000 to closing on a house that we had turned from outdated to like new again, so we lost all the money we had put into renovating it as well. The second way we’ve been affected by the housing market slump is still happening today. We bought a house to “flip” during the time when buying a house to fix up and sell quickly was a popular thing to do. The market had already been slipping by the time we finished the home and when we got it on the market it just wouldn’t sell. We couldn’t afford to lower it to a price that would have probably brought a buyer so we were forced to rent itout. The home has continued to loose value and so we own a home 13 hours away (that we sometimes receive rent for and sometimes don’t) that we might be upside down on for a long time. The good news is that if you’re buying, this is a great time to capitalize on some really good values on homes. The good news if you’re selling is that there are a few things that can be done to help make your home more appealing, even in an unpromising market.

Staging

 

Staging is a relatively new concept in real estate but it is rapidly gaining popularity. Staging has been proven to increase the sale price and also shorten the amount of time the property is on the market. When you stage your home you put your homes best foot forward. The best way to start is to go room to room and clear out all the clutter and all non essential furniture. You’re moving anyway so start by packing up anything that you don’t use or haven’t used in a long time. Removing everything extra will make each room look and feel bigger. Also, remove family pictures so that buyers can picture themselves in the space instead of picturing your family. Also, make sure everything is as clean as possible and make any minor repairs that need to be made such as painting rooms, fixing trim or any other inexpensive updates that will freshen up how your home looks. Go room to room and look at it like you’re seeing it for the first time, as if you’re the potential buyer. Make sure each room is neutrally decorated, clean and free of clutter. Also remember to open all the blinds to let in as much light as possible and turn on all your lights during showings, light makes everything feel warmer and more inviting.

 

Correct Pricing

 

It is really important to price your house correctly when you first put it on the market. Your real estate agent can help you determine the right price. Your house is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it, no matter how much you think you should be able to get for it. It is better to set your best price at the beginning rather than continue to lower it to try to pick up more traffic. Buyers will wonder how low you’ll go since you keep reducing your price.

 

If you are looking to buy, keep in mind that the market has started to rebound and it will go back up eventually, so there is no time like the present. There are many incentives for buyers right now and there is no shortage of properties for them to choose from. There are a few things to keep in mind to help you get the best deal possible.

 

Shop for the Best Interest Rate

 

Interest rates are low right now in an effort to help stimulate the real estate market. Shop around for the best rate, one good website for that is bankrate.com. Get all the facts and make sure you know all the fees involved to be sure that you are looking in the price range that you can afford. Foreclosures can also be a really good value, just be sure you are aware of the exact condition of the home and take note of repairs that need to be made.

 

First- Time Home Buyers Incentives

 

The government is offering an $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers who purchase a home before December 1, 2009. Most states are offering incentives of their own so make sure you look into that as well. Some are helping with down payments and other options may be available as well.

 

If you are selling your home don’t be discouraged, there is a buyer for every home. If you are buying, enjoy looking for the right home for you in an excellent buyers market!

 

Sources:

 

http://www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com/2009/index.html

 

hgtv.com

 

bankrate.com

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Mountain Island Lake NC Real Estate and Homes

Why are people coming to the Mountain Island Lake area properties to build their homes and live their lives? The answer is simple – elegance! This elegance is two fold. The first is found in the homes that are being constructed and the second is in the nature surrounding them. Architectural guidelines assure a continuity of theme throughout with homes in the $300,000 to $1,000,000 range. Deed restrictions and other protocols protect the homeowners by assuring a consistency throughout the area.

If you have always had the desire to be a part of a waterfront community, Mountain Island Lake area real estate is the right choice for your and your family. There are docks and boathouses reaching down to the shoreline. This lake is approved for all recreational activities including boating, jet skiing, water skiing, swimming and tubing among others. There are also lots of fish just waiting for you to wet a line! The water traffic is rated low to moderate so your peaceful moments on the back deck will be undisturbed. You can have a home constructed by one of the area’s custom builders or contact a Mountain Island Lake area Realtor to discuss your plans.

 

There are 62 miles of shoreline with Mountain Island Lake area homes awaiting your arrival. Almost half the area is designated parkland so you are sure to keep the privacy and natural setting during your home ownership. Wildlife abounds with deer, turkey, raccoons and all our feathered friends. This is great exploration territory for the young and old alike. The lake is man-made, created in 1924, and is 3,281 acres in size with a 58 foot maximum depth. The waters are clear and kept at a constant level. Mountain Island Lake area real estate agents will tell you that these properties are excellent homes for young families, empty nesters and retirees alike.

 

The waters of the Catawba River feed the Mountain Island Lake area. This river has a length of 220 miles and is managed by a series of dams throughout North and South Carolina. The Mountain Island Lake area is one of three lakes in the area including Lake Norman and Lake Wylie. Mountain Island Lake is the smallest most intimate of the three. If you would like to make an investment in your future and pass a legacy to your children or grandchildren contact a Mountain Island Lake area real estate agent and set out for your new home on the water!

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Davidson NC Real Estate and Homes

Davidson College opened its doors in 1837 and began leasing to businesses that are now Davidson, NC properties. At that time, there were no Davidson, North Carolina homes for sale as the location was not yet officially a town. It was not until 1879 that the town incorporated as Davidson College and later changed its name to simply Davidson in 1891. Around this college was built a population of Davidson, NC homes. Then social and economic changes began to take place in the area when a cotton mill entered the area providing jobs and attracting more residents.

A Davidson, North Carolina real estate agent of the time would have seen an influx of people looking for the promise of economic stability. People moved into the town from farms to find work as the farming industry saw a steady decline in prices of crops. As people moved into the area, Davidson, NC listings would have included homes near the cotton mill. Workers soon discovered that the small town could not compete with nearby Cornelius and Mooresville in the industry. Davidson, North Carolina real estate reached a peak and stood still for a period of time as the town experienced very little growth after its initial spurt of prosperity.

 

Today, a Davidson, North Carolina Realtor would experience a different scenario. As Davidson College is still the central attraction of Davidson and its most valuable asset, values of Davidson, NC homes have greatly improved. Many college students who attend school there decide to remain in Davidson due to its relative closeness to many of the major cities of North Carolina such as Charlotte. This has increased the population of Davidson and created a boom in the Davidson, North Carolina real estate market. With this type of growth, the town is experiencing much change.

 

Deeply rooted in its historical ideals, the town of Davidson has a population of only about 7,000 residents. The small town atmosphere is hugely attractive to some and may be a turn-off to others. Of the approximately 2,400 Davidson, NC homes, many have been passed down to family member from previous generations. Some may find these residents to be of an “old school” mentality and resistant to change. Others, however, may find a bit of charm in the close communities built around the family homesteads. However you see it, one undisputed fact is that the town of Davidson, NC is rich in Southern Heritage.

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Matthews NC Real Estate and Homes

Matthews, North Carolina has a population of 22,000 and Matthews properties are located a short ten miles from downtown Charlotte. The pleasant suburb has a median household income of $67,000 living in primarily low-density single-family homes. This translates into ample opportunities for homeowners to landscape their Matthews properties with the lovely variety of native flora available in this area. The residential sections are committed to beautification and improvement of the surroundings in Matthews, North Carolina.

The town is equally dedicated to the “greening” of Matthews real estate. There are Community Gardens where residents volunteer to plant and tend 100 to 150 square feet of soil with flowers and vegetables. This practice is a new endeavor with a long history dating back through time in communities around the globe. This is representative of the community spirit of the residents in Matthews homes. One specific residence among Matthews homes is the Reid House. This property is unique in that it is one of the very few Victorian Queen Anne homes in the whole county. With its gingerbread porch woodwork, rounded turret and 12-foot ceilings, this restored beauty will be a stop on your visit with a Matthews Realtor.

 

Along with these gardens, the Arbor Day Foundation has named the town “Tree Town USA” for nine years running. This honor is bestowed to cities that dedicate funds and efforts toward the planting and maintaining of all trees within its borders. Originally a cotton farming community, almost all the native trees were cut in preparation for growing fields of cotton. This resulted in Matthews real estate being given the inglorious historic name of Stumptown. In reparation for the past practices the town is on a quest to repopulate the flora. Matthews, NC real estate reflects these efforts as you travel about town.

 

When considering Matthews homes for sale, be aware of the numerous employment opportunities located in the town of Matthews, NC. The headquarters for Family Dollar and Harris Teeter grocers are among the Matthews listings of business and industry. Also, Charlotte is right down the road if you do not mind a 15-minute commute. The school system is part of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg system and is rated among the highest quality in the state of North Carolina. This lovely town has a unique sense of community that will welcome you and embrace you if you choose to make Matthews, North Carolina your next relocation destination.

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Albemarle NC Real Estate and Homes

Albemarle is located in Stanly County, North Carolina and hosts the county seat. It has a population of about 16,000 people, spread over an area of slightly less than 16 square miles creating a density of approximately 1,000 people per square mile. Originally settled by tribes of Mound Builders, the area is rich in archeological history dating back 10,000 years or more. More recent history shows that the current population of Albemarle consists of many descendants of German, Dutch and Scotch-Irish heritage. Of its many assets, Albemarle, NC properties boast a number of natural and recreational sites.

One such recreation site included in the Albemarle listings of recreational resources is the first public park created in the town. Built in the late 1930’s, Rock Creek Park is located on Highway 52 South. Since that time, the park has expanded its facilities to include an athletic field, three tennis courts, two bocce courts, a walking trail and picnic area. In addition, the park serves as host to a Challenge program consisting of an obstacle course complete with rappelling tower for the adventurous minded. The Rock Creek Park is conveniently located near many Albemarle homes and is an added feature for Albemarle, NC homes for sale in the area.

 

Other significant Albemarle, North Carolina real estate includes the Albemarle Soccer Complex, Morehead Park, Ingram Park, Montgomery Park and the City Lake Park. The 100-acre lake within this park provides a variety of recreational and gathering opportunities. Fishing is permitted in the lake and tackle can be checked out at the park office. In addition, a number of meeting places are available with reservations for weddings, family reunions, picnics and other special events. And for water enthusiasts, the lake amenities include two boat docks. The park has approximately 75 acres of land for public use.

 

As is the case with many towns in this North Carolina area, the early economic development of Albemarle was widely based on agriculture. When the country began to industrialize, the textile industry provided jobs for residents of the town. The manufacture of textiles is still very much a part of the local economy, but the Albemarle of today is much more diverse with a multitude of manufacturers operating plants in the town. Within Albemarle you will find the production and manufacturing of carpet, cable, knitting fabrics, manufactured homes and metal components among others. Retail stores also employ a number of workers in the town.

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Fort Mill SC and Charlotte NC Real Estate and Homes

Nestled in the northern-most reaches of South Carolina, the municipality of Fort Mill, South Carolina has a population of 9,400 in a township of 35,000. Fort Mill, SC properties have witnessed significant events in the history of the country. The last meeting of the Confederate Government Cabinet was held here in 1865. Also, Fort Mill’s Confederate Park is the site for the only monuments honoring slaves who fought in the Civil War. Also, Fort Mill, South Carolina real estate has provided residence for WWI flying ace, Elliott White Springs who is a South Carolina Hall of Famer.

When on the hunt for Fort Mill, SC homes for sale consider that the educational system of the area is rated among the highest in the state. There are numerous family activities in the community including three parks with recreational equipment and festivals to attend. The climate is friendly year-round with an average in the 90’s for the summers and in the 50’s for the winter. The average median income is $42,400 making the Fort Mill, SC homes for sales very affordable. The town is also in the process of annexation that will provide many new opportunities in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

 

If sports are your fancy, the Charlotte Knights, a AAA Chicago White Sox farm team, make Fort Mill their home. Other Fort Mill, SC listings will place you near the town’s famous Greenways. The Anne Springs Close Greenway is an amazing 2,300 acres of protected forests, sparkling lakes and gently rolling hills. Full of the diversity of trees and wildflowers, furry animals and birds, this retreat is a jewel for the town. You will spend countless days making memories with your family in these wondrous surroundings. These dedicated natural zones add privacy and attractiveness to the Fort Mill, SC homes and properties.

 

With historic growth that was spurred by the textile industry of the late 1800’s, Fort Mill, South Carolina continues to experience growth due to it proximity to metropolitan areas of Charlotte, NC. If the hustle and bustle of urban life is not for you, contact a Fort Mill, SC Realtor to experience the quality of small town living. Fort Mill, SC listings are excellent destinations for those who must work in the city but choose to live in a peaceful and safe environment. Historic homes abound, as do modern stylish constructions sure to fit every taste.

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Selling a House in a Buyer’s Market: Getting the Best Price for One’s Home

In today’s housing market, selling a home for a decent price isn’t easy. Since the housing bubble burst, prices for homes, both new and existing, have been in a tailspin. In fact, according to a report released by Demographia, from July 2014 to January 2015, the national median house value decreased by twenty-nine percent; and “this loss, over a 2.5 year period, is comparable to the Great Depression house value loss of twenty-seven percent over a four year period.”

As things stand, the outlook for the near future is far from promising since economists foresee still more homeowners facing foreclosure as the result of toxic loans, resulting in a continued decline in property values. So, the question is, what can homeowners do to help ensure they receive top dollar for their homes when there are so many bottom-dollar houses for sale?

Price It Right

According to David Hemenway, a realtor in Cottage Grove, Oregon, who’s been in the business since 1968, starting too high is the worst thing a seller can do (Max) And why is this the case? Hemenway says it’s because the greatest opportunity to sell one’s house is “immediately after it goes on the market,” since that’s when the majority of serious buyers will see it (Max). Moreover, even if sellers lower the price to reflect the market, they will have fewer people coming through than if they had priced it right to begin with (Max).

Use Elbow Grease

Scrub the house until it glistens. Wash windows inside and out, remove pet and coffee stains from carpets, wax floors, scour bathrooms, dust ceiling fans and baseboards, clean electrical plates, scrub appliances, and polish mirrors and doorknobs. In other words, sellers should complete all those tedious chores they’ve been putting off until another day, either that, or hire a cleaning service. The important thing is that a clean house makes a far better impression than a pigsty.

Clear Out Clutter

Clutter makes a house look smaller, as well as dingy. So, take one room at a time and purge it of clutter. This doesn’t mean a seller has to throw away that hideous lava lamp he’s been saving for sentimental purposes, but he should at least put it in storage. Remember, when potential buyers enter a home, they want to envision themselves living there, which is next to impossible if the rooms are filled with stuff to remind them it’s someone else’s home.


Repair, Repair, Repair

Mend or replace tattered screens; replace cracked bathroom grout; repair loose cabinet knobs and drawer pulls; fix leaking faucets; replace burned out light bulbs; patch holes, including nail holes, in the walls (preferably before painting); repair broken steps (inside and out); and replace or remove torn and/or faded wallpaper. In other words, if something is worn out, damaged, or broken, fix it; and if it cannot be fixed, replace it.

Paint the Walls

It is amazing what a coat of paint will do for the interior and exterior of a house. It makes everything look new and fresh. Even if the paint job is recent, however, if the walls are colors that may not appeal to everyone, paint them a neutral color, preferably within the cream or beige family. Stark white is, well, too stark, whereas soft creams and beiges make rooms look more spacious. Plus, it’s much easier for potential buyers to picture their things against a neutral canvas than against one that’s chartreuse, burgundy, or cobalt.

Create Curb Appeal

Take a long, unbiased look at the outside of the house. Does the grass need mowing? Are the flowerbeds more weeds than flowers? Are toys strewn hither, thither, and yond? Have the neighbors’ cats and dogs used the lawn as a litter box? If the answer is “yes,” then cut the grass, pick up the toys, weed the flowerbeds, and scare away the neighbors’ pets.

Another way to enhance curb appeal is by practicing the teachings of the ancient art of Feng Shui; for example, place large attractive flowerpots containing healthy, colorful plants on each side of the main entranceway. Paint the front door a dramatic, vibrant color, for example, deep red, dark charcoal, or rich chocolate.

Turn on the Lights

When showing the home, open the drapes, blinds, and curtains, but also turn on the lights. The more light the better because light makes rooms look larger, as well as airy. Remember, no one wants to live in the dark, well, that is unless he or she is a vampire, so sellers should light up a house for potential buyers.

Selling a home in today’s market is not easy, but it is possible. It’s also possible to sell it for what it’s worth. It simply takes a little foresight and preparation on the part of the seller.

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Advantages to Renting an Apartment

Cost Factor of Renting an Apartment

Apartments often cost less to rent than owning a home. Saving money on housing will enable saving for other things, such as vacations, cars or amassing funds for children’s private schools or college education.

Aside from the often lower price of rent, having an apartment can save money in other ways. For instance, if something major goes wrong in a rented apartment, such as a broken appliance or faulty plumbing, it’s usually the landlord’s responsibility to pay for and fix.

 Less to Worry About

In an apartment, tenants are often only responsible for what happens within their walls. For instance, household cleaning, cooking and so on. But homeowners have much more to worry about. There may be lawns to mow, driveways to maintain, falling limbs from trees to worry about. Having less to do around the home means more time for the things that are more fun in life.

Aside from having less to maintain when living in an apartment, not having to worry about a yard or driveway also helps keep costs down, as gravel and landscaping can be pricey.

The Ability to Get to Know an Area

If a person has recently moved to a new area, renting an apartment is a smart idea. This allows renters time to see if the area is actually where they want to be, and also to have time to find out more about the town. For example, what are the good and bad areas of town, what kind of jobs and services are available in the area, and what the location is like in relation to schools, parks and stores.

In some cases, a family will find out that a town is not for them, and it’s easier to get out of an apartment than to have to sell a house and move. Renting is also a good option for those who must move often, such as military families or people who have jobs that require frequent relocations. On the flip side, it’s also easier to rent an apartment on short notice than to buy a home when making sudden moves.

For some, renting an apartment is a better option than buying a house. It can be less expensive, require less worry, and enable people to become familiar with an area before committing to buy a home there.

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Pros and Cons of Renters Insurance Coverage: An Assessment of Whether Renters Property Insurance is Necessary

Although renters insurance coverage may not be the most exciting purchase, it is of fundamental importance as it will help protect the legitimate financial interests of the tenant. Insurance for renters not only protects physical possessions, it also provides valuable liability coverage. Landlord insurance only protects the physical structure and foundations of the building.

Advantages of Renters Insurance Coverage

  • Liability coverage. Insurance for renters provides coverage against personal liability in the event that the tenant’s guest should suffer an injury. The policy will also cover any fees should medical expenses be incurred whilst at the property.
  • Replacement coverage policies. Whilst more expensive than its actual cash value (ACV) policy alternative, it will pay the insured a sufficient sum of money (less the deductible) to replace an item at today’s prices.
  • Unlivable property. Should the property become unlivable due to fire, vandalism or any of the reasons specified in the contract, the renters property insurance will pay for a comparably priced place to live for up to 12 months or until a repair, rebuild or relocation has taken place.
  • Deductibles. Increasing the deductible reduces the monthly premium. However, it could also make it difficult to replace an item unless adequate personal savings are set aside.
  • Discounts. Some providers of renters content insurance offer discounts for over-55’s and the retired. This is because they are often at home more and represent a lower risk.
  • Annual subscription. It may also be possible to save money by paying annually rather than on a monthly basis. It is cheaper for the insurer to manage and administrate.

Disadvantages of Renters Insurance Coverage

  • Expense. It is yet another household expense that reduces the amount of disposable income. However, this does have to be considered in the context of what it would cost to replace household goods or cover liability in the worst case scenario.
  • Flooding and earthquakes. Whilst renters property insurance protects against 17 types of risk, it doesn’t provide coverage against flooding or earthquakes. If that person lives in a high risk area, it will be necessary to take out an additional policy.
  • Actual cash value (ACV) policies. Should a claim be necessary, the insured will only receive a payment equivalent to today’s cash value. This can cause a problem when replacing older electrical goods, especially if the deductible is relatively high. The replacement cash value (RCV) option is more expensive.
  • High value items. The terms of the policy may not cover a very valuable item and this may mean that it is necessary to pay extra or take out a separate policy.

Is Renters Home Insurance Essential?

Renters insurance coverage provides a tenant with valuable financial help in the event of personal property damage or liability to a third party. This sort of coverage will not be provided by a landlord. Not all people can afford to pay further premiums, but it is possible to reduce this cost. This could be achieved by trawling the market for the most competitive prices, paying annually, increasing the deductible and/or opting for the actual cash value (ACV) item replacement option.

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Best Website to Find a Rental Home

Craigslist

Almost everyone has heard of Craigslist, and it definitely has its pros and cons. Some people shy away from Craigslist because they are fearful that the advertisements are bogus. It is important to bring along a friend when checking out the location in person to protect yourself. However, there are some major benefits to craigslist as a source to check out rental properties: 

  1. Photos – most people provide 4 photos for users to look at before bothering to even inquire about the home
  2. Direct communication with owner – either through email or occasionally by phone, users can typically chat with the owner as opposed to a real estate agent/intermediary
  3. Bargaining – Most advertisements on craigslist are a bit above what the owner will rent the property for. Users can typically bargain with the owner to reduce the listed price.
  4. Access to more selections – When dealing with a real estate agent, renters only gain access to the few houses those agents may have for rent. Not to mention the fact that renters are typically not the priority for real estate agents, who have more to gain financially by dealer with sellers/buyers. Craigslist offers a wide variety of possibilities in one easy-to-access, free location.

Tips:

  • As mentioned, always bring a friend with you. Just because Craigslist has some great postings does not mean it does not have some potentially dangerous postings. Be careful who you trust and whose house you step into.
  • Remember that real estate agents and property managers do post on Craigslist too. If you see a bunch of listings that say the same thing (often listing offers that seem completely too good to be true), be especially wary.
  • If you are look for a specific neighborhood or a specific feature, use the top of the Craigslist page, where you can search for keywords, etc.

Other helpful sites:

Rentals.com and Rentalhomesplus.com are easy to access and very easy to use as far as narrowing the search by amenities, price range, etc. However, be aware that many advertisements are not removed quickly when the homes/apartments are already rented. There are also many location-specific sites to use; however, some request money and most are run by real estate agencies with only a few options.