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  • How Long is That Remodel Going to Take?

    Renovations can take weeks — and sometimes months. That means endless days of subcontractors traipsing through your home, noisy tools, and major dust. Even some minor projects can disrupt your daily routine. Before you begin to remodel, know what’s in store for you and your family.

    We’ve highlighted nine common remodeling projects that homeowners are likely to undertake — projects that require professional contractors and that take at least one week to complete. Read the rest of this entry »

    Spoken by Maggie Dokic | Discussion: Comments Off

    Given Fewer Choices, Homebuyers Sign Fewer Contracts in December 2014

    Despite interest rates being at their lowest level of 2014, pending home sales cooled across the country in December.

    The number of homes under contract fell 3.7% in December from November. However, year-over-year pending home sales were up 11.7%, data from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® show. Read the rest of this entry »

    Spoken by Maggie Dokic | Discussion: Comments Off

    Are You Ready for Glow-in-the-Dark Trees?

    glow-in-dark-tree_7d5a4f367a1ee7af65491e5ad868567e_3x2_jpg_600x400_q85We’re big proponents of trees as energy savers — they create shade and wind breaks for your home. So how would you like a tree that actually illuminates your landscaping at night for free?

    Glow-in-the-dark trees are more than a glimmer now that a California biologist, Antony Evans, and his colleagues have inserted genes from bioluminescent bacteria into plants. They’ve found that the bioengineered flora grows and glows. It’s the first step to growing glowing trees that can light streets and your front yard, and save energy. Read the rest of this entry »

    Spoken by Maggie Dokic | Discussion: Comments Off

    If You Were Selling Today, Would You Have the Home That Buyers Want?

    what-homebuyers-want-privacy-fence_e12587cf60198fa0c282d6372d3fdc05_3x2_jpg_600x400_q85Two new surveys about what homebuyers want have me feeling pretty smug about my own home choices. Maybe you’ll feel the same.

    Privacy from neighbors remains at the top of the most-wanted list (important to 86% of buyers), according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS’® “2013 Community Preference Survey.” Privacy is no doubt the best feature of my mid-century ranch home, since I can only see one neighbor’s house and it’s a couple hundred feet down my driveway. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Home Prices Rose 5.8% in 2014

    For 2014, the national median existing home price hit its highest level since 2007: $208,500. The median price also represents a 5.8% increase from 2013 ($197,100), data from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® show.

    Meanwhile, the number of home sales for the year declined 3.1%. But despite low levels of properties for sale in many markets, the number of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops that sold in December 2014 rose 2.4% from November and were up 3.5% compared with December 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

    Spoken by Maggie Dokic | Discussion: Comments Off

    Flood Insurance Rates Going Up? Here’s What to Do

    flood-insurance-rates-going-up_a6c613185c7b88e5a8b34959d9fef490_3x2_jpg_300x200_q85If you live where floods happen, you may see an increase on your next flood insurance bill. Here’s why rates are changing, plus tips to help you figure out if you’re affected.

    (On March 21, 2014, President Obama signed into law a bill to provide relief from high flood insurance rates. Read about it here.)

    Why Are Rates Going Up?

    Two reasons:

    1. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is updating its flood maps to be more accurate, which could change your flood risk designation. If your risk is higher, your premiums will go up. If it’s lower, your premiums could go down.
    2. Last year, a new law took effect that requires the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to phase out subsidies for some older properties to reflect the full risk of flooding.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Spoken by Maggie Dokic | Discussion: Comments Off

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    These articles are not intended to give legal or tax advice, and you should consult your attorney or financial advisor for additional information.

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