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Your home is a silent but important witness

for sale sign outside houseJune is National Homeownership Month. In recognition, National Association of Realtors President Elizabeth Mendenhall stated in a June 1st press release that “National Homeownership Month is a time to celebrate and promote the modern American Dream of owning a home. Homeownership changes lives and enhances futures, and many Americans see it as one of their greatest hopes. These individuals are counting on the nation’s 1.3 million Realtors to champion and protect homeownership and help make it more affordable, attainable and sustainable (nar.realtor).”

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Specialty rooms are popular once again

for sale sign outside housePrior to the Great Recession, home owner spending for remodeling and renovations was very strong. Besides remodeling the kitchen and bathrooms, many home owners also created specialty rooms (also known as special function rooms) in their homes. Specialty rooms such as home theatres and media rooms were not just trendy because they were cool to have in the house, but they were also added for resale value. According to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Study’s Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA), post-recession home remodeling spending dropped off by as much as 28 percent between 2007 and 2011. That spending decrease meant that while home owners focused on saving and paying their mortgages, specialty rooms were no longer a necessity.

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The psychology of pricing out your home

for sale sign outside housePricing your home correctly is the foundation of a successful sale. I have often talked about the science and art of pricing a home in various market conditions, but did you know that psychology also plays a role? 

With vast amounts of public data available on the internet, you may be tempted to price your home on your own.

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Building components can be hazardous

for sale sign outside houseIt’s not unusual that new materials are produced to make construction and system installations easier, less expensive, and/or safer. However, once in a while, it’s found that the component may fail or can become dangerous as it ages or if it’s installed improperly. Examples of such materials include FRT plywood, polybutylene pipe, Chinese drywall, and most recently CSST.

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Maintenance-free living is a real possibility

for sale sign outside houseI talk about home maintenance quite a bit. And there is a reason. Maintaining your home is important, not just to keep you comfortable but to also preserve your investment. But many people loath the idea of spending their weekend checking their home’s systems, replacing air filters, mowing the yard, washing the siding, cleaning appliances, ad nauseum. 

They are called chores for a reason. But maybe sometime in the near future we will eliminate the need of regular home maintenance.

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Are home inspections becoming irrelevant?

for sale sign outside houseI have heard an increasing voice of discontent over home inspections. Not just from home sellers and their agents, but from home buyers too! Home sellers often complain about the incorrect flagging of working components as being defective. Listing agents usually gripe that home inspectors scare buyers and interfere with their sale. But many home buyers are also growing dissatisfied with inspections and the property reports they are given. 

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Incentives for Maryland first-time home buyers

for sale sign outside houseMaryland first-time home buyers may soon have another program to help them buy a home. 

Two related bills are making their way through the Maryland General Assembly to create a first-time home buyer savings account. If enacted, Maryland would join a handful of other states that have already enacted such programs to incentivize home buying.

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Kushner Companies working with Maryland AG

  • Published in State

Kushner Companies logoA spokesperson for the real estate business of the Kushner family said the company is working with Maryland Attorney General’s Office.

“We have been working with the Maryland Attorney General’s Office to provide information in response to its request,” said Eric Wachter, a spokesperson for the Kushner Companies said in a written statement. “We are in compliance with all state and local laws.”

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Bitcoin will change future real estate deals

for sale sign outside houseIs a Bitcoin mortgage in your future? Probably not. Mortgages will not be in Bitcoin in the near future.

But that doesn’t mean that the technology that underlies cryptocurrencies won’t be making the real estate transaction cheaper and more efficient.

Brad Finkelstein reported on the difficulties of a Bitcoin mortgage (Virtually No Chance Soon for Any Bitcoin Denominated Mortgages; National Mortgage News, 2014).

Cryptocurrencies have a history of volatility, Bitcoin most recently lost about a third of its value (see: Bitcoin at crossroads after shedding more than $27 billion in value; marketwatch.com; September 14, 2017). Instability of the currency is a major issue for a thirty-year mortgage.

Finkelstein stated that such short-term losses could cause the mortgage holder to “lose their shorts,” and cause the borrower to default. He also pointed out that regulatory hurdles will be difficult to transcend, stating that mortgage rules and closing disclosures are calculated in dollars. Not to mention the difficulty of appraising a home’s value in Bitcoin. Additionally, all parties that are part of the transaction (such as appraisers) need to accept payment in Bitcoin.

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Popularity of vacation homes are waning

for sale sign outside houseAccording to the National Association of Realtors 2017 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey (nar.realtor), last year’s vacation home purchases plunged 21.6 percent!
Last year’s decline in vacation home sales comes at the heels of a huge drop in 2015, and has tumbled about 36 percent since the post-recession high marked in 2014.
Are the statistics telling us it’s it a good time to buy that vacation home you have been thinking about?
Or is it that Americans are rethinking their view about vacations and retirement?

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