Builders are slowly switching focus from the $500,000-plus luxury market to more moderate price points, particularly when it comes to single-family move-up homes. And the shift is influencing the types of materials and upgrades becoming popular in new homes, according to Home Innovation’s 2017 Builder Practices Survey. It turns out that high-end materials aren't limited to construction of luxury real estate.
Source: “New Survey Predicts Market Shifts,” BUILDER (Aug. 4, 2017)
Lure potential buyers with a simple and clean palette. Shades of white and off-white are the top colors for a quick home sale, Jody Finglas of Finglas Painting in Ossining, N.Y., told USA Today.
Watch Out: The All-White Room Trap
“White is the foundation that anchors the home,” adds Friley Saucier, a broker-associate with Sotheby's International Realty in Naples, Fla. “This is absolutely what is most requested when I’m working with home buyers.”
Finglas says less is more. “We’re seeing a lot of requests for lighter, brighter colors,” he notes.
When working with a white backdrop, the trick is to add in color through the furnishings and accessories, Finglas says. He says selecting the right shade of white paint isn’t easy. “A white kitchen can mean 40 different colors,” Finglas says.
Homeowners should still bring home paint swatches, says Dwayne Bergmann of Dwayne Bergmann Interiors in Fort Myers, Fla.
“Whites can have a more blueish hue or more of a brown or even pinkish hue depending on the exact lighting,” Bergmann says. “Even a pure white is going to look different.”
Source: “Best Paint Color for a Quick Home Sale? White,” USA Today (July 12, 2017)
Help your clients give the illusion of a perfectly manicured yard with these easy steps for sprucing up greenery from HouseLogic.
Create accents with rocks. They don’t require the same level of care, water, and sunlight that grass and plants do. Rocks are good tools for forming pathways, adding design elements, or creating dry creek beds. Spots in the yard that collect water can be kept under control with rocks, which aid water runoff.
Use colorful objects instead of flowers. Benches, birdbaths, pots, and chairs can all be used to add color to your landscape without planting flowers, which require regular maintenance. Try adding a couple of yellow ceramic flower pots—without the flowers—for decoration.
Have a rain garden. Turn that mushy chunk of yard into a rain garden—a small wetland area that looks a lot better than soggy grass. Comprised of gravel, sand, and native plants, these rainfall gathering spaces are almost maintenance-free: no mowing, watering or major weeding needed. Rain gardens help reduce stormwater runoff into the sewer system and instead utilize the water for plant life.
Build a platform deck. Without steps or railings, a platform deck is an easy yard booster. Ipe, cedar, redwood, and other composites make for long-lasting, low-maintenance hardwoods, according to Tomi Landis, president of Landis Garden Design in Washington, D.C. Landis also challenges how homeowners use their decks. “Will you be using it in the morning while having coffee?” Landis says. “If so, it should be oriented to the east. If it’s mainly for dining out in the evening and having cocktails, it should be facing west.”
Plant tall grass. Tall grasses grow quickly and don’t need much maintenance. These include switchgrass, bluestem, muhly, and fountaingrass. The taller grasses soak up water, serve as an organic privacy shade, and can even be used as mulch.
Source: "Super Simple Ideas for People Who Hate Yard Work," HouseLogic
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine
Vinyl can get a bad rap. Often it’s confused with linoleum and conjures up memories of outdated, cheap 1980s flooring rolled out in sheets. But lately, vinyl is showing itself as anything but “cheap” looking. It can be laid out in planks, tiles, and sheets and it’s getting some trendy looks.
The vinyl flooring industry is booming as new designs resemble the look of real hardwoods, but without the high maintenance. Vinyl is known for being scratch-proof and even waterproof, which is making them especially appealing in the kitchen and bathroom. Plus, vinyl is known for being more pet-friendly and that’s increasingly important nowadays. (Consider, 61 percent of households own a pet or plan to soon, according to an NAR pet study. As such, pet-friendly flooring is proving to be a growing motivator in home remodeling decisions).
Vinyl flooring options are now available in styles that mimic current wood styles, in everything from oak, pine and walnut to even hand-scraped options.
You have several color choices with vinyl too, from gray to espresso and white.
And vinyl isn’t just for resembling the look of hardwoods. You can also get vinyl that resembles tile, marble, and cement too.
The installation of vinyl is also getting more trendy. You can install it in a herringbone pattern on the floor or diagonal. Wide plank vinyl is one of the trendiest and some designers even say it can make your room look larger too.
Read more about “2017 Vinyl Flooring Trends” at FlooringInc.com.
The three largest credit-reporting agencies will begin cleaning up credit reports in July, which could help lift the credit scores of about 12 million consumers.
In a survey by the Federal Trade Commission, one in four people say they spot errors in their credit reports, most commonly concerning tax liens and civil judgments. Up to half of tax lien data on a credit report is inaccurate or incomplete, says Eric J. Ellman, senior vice president for public policy and legal affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association. Civil judgments—which means a court has ruled a person owes money—also tend to be ripe with errors or omissions on a credit report, experts say. Consumers can dispute the errors, but the process can be cumbersome.
Beginning July 1, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion will automatically exclude tax lien and civil judgment records from credit reports if they are missing a person’s name, address, Social Security number, or date of birth. Claims that do contain this key information, however, will remain on credit reports.
Six percent of Americans with a credit score—or 12 million— likely will see their score go up once the new policy takes effect. About 11 million could see an increase of about 20 points. “A lot of people who have liens or judgments against them already have crummy credit to begin with,” says Keith Gumbinger, vice president at HSH.com, a mortgage resource website. “A 10- or 20-point increase isn’t going to make a difference for a lot of borrowers.”
But borrowers who are on the cusp of qualifying for a home loan may stand to benefit the most. For example, Gumbinger says, a would-be buyer with a credit score of 570 who receives a 10-point uptick may be able to qualify for an FHA loan. FHA loans require a minimum 580 credit score.
Source: “Have a Bad Credit Score? It Could Soon Get Better – But Is it Enough to Buy a Home?” realtor.com® (June 22, 2017)