Category Archives: Homeownership

Express Yourself: Choosing Paint Colors You’ll Love Living With

The ABCs of Interior Paint Colors

There’s a lot riding on your paint choices, for today and for tomorrow. You don’t want to be that seller who wonders why their bronze-colored sponge-painted living room isn’t attracting more buyers. Turn off HGTV and focus. Trendy painting techniques can be fun, but they also create a lot of work for you if you decide to repaint. That doesn’t mean there’s no room for them, just use them sparingly.

Instead, we’re going to focus on creating a timeless palette that not only makes sense in your space, but that will eventually make potential buyers walk in the door and say, “Wow.” Color conveys a deep stream of meaning, it can influence such varying perceptions as:

Scale of the room. In general, dark colors tend to shrink spaces, where light colors open them up. The more light you can get into your house, the better for your mental health and the more positively people will see the room.

Emotions associated with your home. Believe it or not, there is something to that whole “colors affect emotions” thing. In fact, they can even influence your behavior, something marketers have known for a while. If you want people to linger, you have to choose colors that won’t make them anxious or claustrophobic.

How the room is to be used. Again, if you can influence emotion with color, you can also sort of non-verbally indicate the room’s role in the home. Want to turn a nondescript dining room into a formal dining room with minimal effort? Deep, rich colors for the win.

The colors you choose to use inside your home say a lot about your space, how you think you’re going to use it and, frankly, tell a bit of a story about you or your family unit. This is probably why people who move from apartments into their first homes are often so eager to jump right into a painting frenzy.

Choosing Paint Colors You Won’t Regret

With your fancy new color wheel in hand, you can pick color schemes that are:

Monochromatic. These are the easiest of all. Start with a single color, say, blue, then just follow the color wheel to the center and choose various saturations of the same color to make your palette. Typically, a middling hue is used for the wall color, a darker color as accent and a lighter color (or just white) as trim paint. It’s a classic look for any color on the wheel.

Complementary. Choose a color you like, then zip directly across the wheel to find its complement. Some of these work better than others. For example, red and green are great for the holiday season, but might be a bit much indoors. Now, if you’re painting the outside of your WWI-era cottage, that’s a whole different bag of pigment.

Analogous. One of the most subtle, but elegant configurations, analogous colors are colors that are literally right next to one another on the color wheel. These colors are similar, but different enough that it’s obvious. Blue, blue-green and green make a great combo for a relaxing spa-style bathroom, but I’ve even seen some wild stuff done with analogous shades of purple that really kind of took my breath away. Choose one as your primary and use the other two to support it.

Triadic. For the bold and adventurous, triadic color schemes can create very personal spaces. Although these colors harmonize, in theory, they can be potential sales killers later, so if you go with a triadic color-scheme, don’t be offended if your future Realtor suggests a paint job. Start at the main color you want in the space, then choose the two colors that are equal distance away from it. For example, a triadic purple color scheme would include green and orange. Again, one color should dominate and the others support.

Tetradic. Much like the triadic color scheme, tetradic color schemes can be really loud if done incorrectly, so do so with caution. Instead of there being three colors spaced equally around the color wheel, this scheme uses four. So, if your main color was blue, you’d also use yellow-green, orange, and red-violet. Definitely not for every home or for the faint of heart.

To be honest, most people choose one color and then a different color (often white, black or deep brown) as a trim color. And this works, too. It does. As long as you know what that color is going to look like when it’s dry. This is an important caution, because what the paint looks like at the store, what it looks like when you pour it in the tray, even what it looks like when you paint it on the wall — that’s not what it’ll look like dry.

Try Your Paint Before You Buy

Oh, my, but there is a way to try the paint on before you buy it. It’s not a secret, it’s not easy, there’s no refund if you don’t like it, but you’ll have saved yourself a lot of effort and sadness if you use this one simple trick.

When you’re at the paint counter with your paint chip, and you’re really excited about your paint color, ask the person behind the counter to mix up two samples. One of the color you want from the chip, and another of the color that’s just below it. That second color is a slightly less saturated version of the one you chose, so it’s very similar, but you’ll notice a difference in any well-lit room.

If you’re looking at ultra light colors, do the opposite. Choose the color that’s slightly more saturated. Those ghostly paints have a bad habit of all looking white at the end of the process, instead of having a hint of pink or blue or whatever, unless they’re placed in just the right color scheme.

Over the weekend, paint a fairly large area of the room you want to do with both paints. A two-foot-by-two-foot space is good, a four-foot-by-four-foot space is even better. This gives you a really good feel for what that paint is going to look like in your space with your lighting. The lighting in the paint or home improvement store is never a great one to pick paint by.

Harmony Throughout the Home

One last very important point to note that might have been better mentioned sooner is how your color choices should also harmonize with existing materials that are expensive or difficult to remove, like carpets, tile, countertops, tubs and the like.

Let’s say you bought a super cool, mostly restored ranch style house from the 1950s. There’s a lot going on there, but it’s mostly pastel. You’ve got one bathroom that’s pastel green, another that’s pastel blue. This is not the place to break out the burgundies. One of two things will have to happen, either you have to find a way to bridge from pastels to the richer color families, or you need to pick a different color.

Bridging these color gaps usually requires making small steps in the right direction until you’re at your destination, so you’re going to be putting in a lot of effort to make those two choices work. But gutting both bathrooms isn’t really an option, either. So, choose a color that makes sense for the room. A cool gray is often a great companion to these colors, depending on the countertops.

But you don’t just want to think of harmony in terms of one room, you want to sort of make the whole house feel like it was painted with intention and a plan, so that as you move between spaces, some elements from one room travel with you to the next. There needs to be some kind of continuity, be it color, tone, design elements or a mix of these to pull the whole house together.

If your house opens into a back garden or outdoor kitchen, moving those elements outside or the outside elements in also makes a lot of sense. The main point: avoid jarring changes between rooms because it is jarring — to you, your family members, your visitors and one of these days, a potential buyer.

You Don’t Have to Go It Alone

I know, you opened this article hoping for some quick and dirty paint advice that ended with you choosing Seafoam Green because it’s soothing to puppies and instead ended up with a mini education in interior design. Even though there’s a lot of info here, it’s really not as complicated as it sounds. But if the thought of designing a plan for your whole home at once is too overwhelming, help is just around the corner.

Call Regina Singh for more info.

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Buying a Home? Do You Know the Lingo? Call me #RealEstateGuru

You need a Real Estate Guru – allow me to assist.

Buying a Home? Do You Know the Lingo? | Keeping Current Matters Buying a home can be intimidating if you are not familiar with the terms used during the process. To start you on your path with confidence, we have compiled a list of some of the most common terms used when buying a home. Freddie Mac has compiled a more exhaustive glossary of terms in their “My Home” section of their website. Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – This is a broader measure of your cost for borrowing money. The APR includes the interest rate, points, broker fees and certain other credit charges a borrower is required to pay. Because these costs are rolled in, the APR is usually higher than your interest rate. Appraisal – A professional analysis used to estimate the value of the property. This includes examples of sales of similar properties. This is a necessary step in getting your financing secured as it validates the home’s worth to you and your lender. Closing Costs – The costs to complete the real estate transaction. These costs are in addition to the price of the home and are paid at closing. They include points, taxes, title insurance, financing costs, items that must be prepaid or escrowed and other costs. Ask your lender for a complete list of closing cost items. Credit Score – A number ranging from 350-800, that is based on an analysis of your credit history. Your credit score plays a significant role when securing a mortgage as it helps lenders determine the likelihood that you’ll repay future debts. The higher your score, the better, but many buyers believe they need at least a 780 score to qualify when, in actuality, over 55% of approved loans had a score below 750. Discount Points – A point equals 1% of your loan (1 point on a $200,000 loan = $2,000). You can pay points to buy down your mortgage interest rate. It’s essentially an upfront interest payment to lock in a lower rate for your mortgage. Down Payment – This is a portion of the cost of your home that you pay upfront to secure the purchase of the property. Down payments are typically 3 to 20% of the purchase price of the home. There are zero-down programs available through VA loans for Veterans, as well as USDA loans for rural areas of the country. Eighty percent of first-time buyers put less than 20% down last month. Escrow – The holding of money or documents by a neutral third party before closing. It can also be an account held by the lender (or servicer) into which a homeowner pays money for taxes and insurance. Fixed-Rate Mortgages – A mortgage with an interest rate that does not change for the entire term of the loan. Fixed-rate mortgages are typically 15 or 30 years. Home Inspection – A professional inspection of a home to determine the condition of the property. The inspection should include an evaluation of the plumbing, heating and cooling systems, roof, wiring, foundation and pest infestation. Mortgage Rate – The interest rate you pay to borrow money to buy your house. The lower the rate, the better. Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have hovered between 4 and 4.25% for most of 2017. Pre-Approval Letter – A letter from a mortgage lender indicating that you qualify for a mortgage of a specific amount. It also shows a home seller that you’re a serious buyer. Having a pre-approval letter in hand while shopping for homes can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets. Primary Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – If you make a down payment lower than 20% on your conventional loan, your lender will require PMI, typically at a rate of .51%. PMI serves as an added insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage and can be cancelled from your payment once you reach 20% equity in your home. For more information on how PMI can impact your monthly housing cost, click here. Real Estate Professional – An individual who provides services in buying and selling homes. Real estate professionals are there to help you through the confusing paperwork, to help you find your dream home, to negotiate any of the details that come up, and to help make sure that you know exactly what’s going on in the housing market. Real estate professionals can refer you to local lenders or mortgage brokers along with other specialists that you will need throughout the home-buying process.

The best way to ensure that your home-buying process is a confident one is to find a real estate professional who will guide you through every aspect of the transaction with ‘the heart of a teacher,’ and who puts your family’s needs first.

Using a home equity line of credit to go green

For clients who’ve closed on a home and want to make energy-efficient updates — or clients looking to make similar upgrades prior to selling — a home equity line of credit could be a great option to help pay for a wide range of home improvements.

Energy-efficient upgrades in particular are a great way to both add value and reduce expenses in the long term. Installing insulated windows or updating heating and air conditioning systems are relatively simple projects that can help clients lower their utility costs — but clients may also want to consider integrating these smaller updates into larger upgrades like a kitchen or bathroom remodel. Of course, these projects can get expensive, which is why a home equity line of credit (HELOC) could be a good resource for your clients. In fact, home improvements and remodeling have traditionally been among the most common reasons homeowners take out a HELOC.

There are a number of benefits to using a HELOC to pay for planned upgrades:

  • Flexibility. Once someone opens a HELOC, they may draw out funds as needed up to a predetermined credit limit.
  • Convenience. Most financial institutions provide checks that can be used to pay directly from the client’s HELOC for services used (for example, a contractor) and purchases made (for materials, appliances, etc.). Or, they can use secure online banking to transfer funds from a HELOC to their checking account to pay for home improvements.
  • Low interest rates. Typically, the interest rates on a HELOC are much lower than on most credit cards.
  • Possible tax advantages. Tell clients to check with their financial advisor to learn more about what kinds of tax advantages they may qualify for with a HELOC.

The Bank of America Real Estate Center can help clients figure out how much they may be able to borrow for a HELOC. Once they go to the site and type in their home’s street address, they’ll instantly see an estimated range of what their home is worth. Generally, they’re allowed to borrow a portion of their home’s equity (defined as the appraised home value less what is owed).

 

Build Family Wealth with #Homeownership #Equity #ReginaSingh

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Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate 3.22% per year on average and to grow by 17.3% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey. So, what does this mean for homeowners and their equity position? As an example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home in January. If we look at only the projected increase in the price of that home, how much equity will they earn over the next 5 years?

Since the experts predict that home prices will increase by 4.4% this year alone, the young homeowners will have gained $11,000 in equity in just one year. Over a five-year period, their equity will increase by nearly $43,000! This figure does not even take into account their monthly principal mortgage payments. In many cases, home equity is one of the largest portions of a family’s overall net worth.

Bottom Line

Not only is homeownership something to be proud of, but it also offers you and your family the ability to build equity you can borrow against in the future. If you are ready and willing to buy, find out if you are able to today!

The Fed Just Raised Interest Rates. 3 Ways That Will Impact You.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen Testifies To Senate Committee On Dept's Semiannual Monetary Policy ReportAs the Fed actively tried to boost the housing market following the crisis, the rate on a 30-year fix mortgage fell its all-time low in November 2012, at just 3.31%. But as the Fed raises its key interest rate, the cost of a home loan is moving higher as well. As of last week, the average interest on a 30-year mortgage was 4.21%, and in the next two weeks, it could rise to 4.5%, forecasts Matthew Pointon, a property economist for Capital Economics. By the end of 2018, look for mortgage rates as high as 5.5%, he wrote in a recent note to clients. Meanwhile, home prices are expected to rise 4.6% in 2017, according to a Zillow survey of economists. This means new home buyers could be hit by a double whammy of higher home prices AND higher borrowing rates.

“When you combine higher mortgage rates with increasing home values, mortgage affordability starts to suffer, and buyers will have to spend more and more on their monthly payments,” Zillow Chief Economist Svenja Gudell noted in a recent press release.

Read more.

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Call me for more information. Regina@ReginaSingh.com

How Long are Families Staying in Their Homes?

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The National Association of Realtors (NAR) keeps historical data on many aspects of homeownership. One of the data points that has changed dramatically is the median tenure of a family in a home. As the graph below shows, for over twenty years (1985-2008), the median tenure averaged exactly six years. However, since 2008, that average is almost nine years – an increase of almost 50%.

Why the dramatic increase?

The reasons for this change are plentiful! The fall in home prices during the housing crisis left many homeowners in a negative equity situation (where their home was worth less than the mortgage on the property). Also, the uncertainty of the economy made some homeowners much more fiscally conservative about making a move. With home prices rising dramatically over the last several years, 93.7% of homes with a mortgage are now in a positive equity situation with 79.1% of them having at least 20% equity, according to CoreLogic.With the economy coming back and wages starting to increase, many homeowners are in a much better financial situation than they were just a few short years ago. One other reason for the increase was brought to light during a recent presentation by Lawrence Yun, the Chief Economist of NAR, at the Realtor’s Summit in San Diego, CA. Yun pointed to the fact that historically, young homeowners who were either looking for more space to accommodate their growing family or looking for a better school district were more likely to move more often (every 5 years). The homeownership rate among young families, however, has still not caught up to previous generations resulting in the jump we have seen in median tenure!

What does this mean for housing?

Many believe that a large portion of homeowners are not in a house that is best for their current family circumstances. They could be baby boomers living in an empty, four-bedroom colonial, or a millennial couple planning to start a family that currently lives in a one-bedroom condo. These homeowners are ready to make a move. Since the lack of housing inventory is a major challenge in the current housing market, this could be great news.