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4 Reasons Why Bamboo Is Taking Home Decor by Stormdecorative image

Denver, Colorado - City ParkHomeowners are often looking for home improvement options that strike the right balance between affordability, functionality, aesthetics and eco-friendliness. Bamboo has been marketed as something of a panacea—a kind of wonder wood that checks all the boxes. Designers, contractors and consumers have all taken note, as bamboo has made its way into homes as flooring, walls, window treatments, furniture and more. Here are the properties that are making this popular material a go-to green choice for interior design materials.

Affordability
Bamboo is a readily available wood…except for the fact that bamboo isn’t a wood at all, but a grass! Therein lies the secret to bamboo’s ascendant success as a housing material: It grows like a weed because it essentially is one. At a maximum of three feet per day, it is, in fact, the fastest growing plant on Earth.

Versatility
Just the one word “bamboo” doesn’t do justice to the range of looks the material offers. It can vary greatly in shades and textures, making it a versatile option for decorators and designers.

Durability
Whether natural or manmade, few materials can match bamboo’s physical properties pound for pound. Because bamboo grows in wet, tropical climates, it is well-suited to resisting rain and wind. In fact, this unassuming reed beats out hardwood, brick and concrete alike in terms of compressive strength, while rivaling steel in tensile strength.

Sustainability
As a growing number of homeowners look for eco-friendly materials in their decor, perhaps no single factor has contributed to bamboo’s modern vogue in interior design more than its sustainability. As it is a grass rather than a tree, it can grow to a harvestable size (often over 100 feet) in a matter of months. This is in stark contrast to the years of water, fertilizer and pesticide required by other timber woods.

‘Inelastic’ Inventory: It’s Fatedecorative image

Woman, Phone, Mobile PurchaseAffordability is a complex web. Home prices, incomes and mortgage rates all factor in. Land use limitations also play a role—but not as large and unchanging a role as location overall, according to a recent analysis by Freddie Mac.

Home builders often cite compliance costs related to land use and zoning as a factor—expenditures that, over the last 30 years, have pushed home prices into unaffordable terrain. A rollback in regulations, however—which constituents and policymakers have suggested—could be ineffective in markets where home-building is physically impossible, Freddie Mac’s latest Insight shows.

“A thought experiment can illustrate the impact of regulatory relief and the limits on that relief in a city that also is constrained by geography,” says Sean Becketti, chief economist at Freddie Mac. “Imagine that San Francisco’s land use regulations were relaxed significantly. The ensuing reduction in house values would encourage migration to San Francisco, but the city’s geographic constraints guarantee that housing would still be inelastically supplied despite the reduction in regulation.”

Analysts determined that even when applying Kansas City’s relatively loose regulations, home prices in San Francisco would be as much as three times higher than the national median because of its constraints geographically. Builders, in other words, would still have scarce options.

“Inelastic” inventory, the analysts found—even with ideal conditions in land use and zoning, and demand—equals stifled supply.QUESTIONS? VISIT www.MoveToEncinitas.com

Home Sellers Are Making Bank in Today’s MarketImage 1Home sellers are making bank in today’s market, realizing an average profit of 24.1 percent, or $39,900, in 2016, according to a recent study.

Sellers on the West Coast—where home prices have skyrocketed since the recession—saw higher returns. Sellers in Oakland, California took home the highest profits at 78 percent, or $235,000.

Duration is key. The average seller turning a $39,900 profit, the analysis shows, held on to their home for seven years and five months. The average seller in Oakland hung on to their home for seven years and three months.

The top 10 markets:

City Median Years Owned Dollar Gain on Sale Annual Dollar Gain on Sale Percent Gain on Sale
Oakland, CA 7 years,
3 months
$235,000 $33,913 78.0%
Portland, OR 9 years,
1 month
$145,026 $16,714 64.7%
San Jose, CA 9 years,
8 months
$271,150 $30,562 56.5%
Denver, CO 7 years,
7 months
$119,500 $18,162 56.0%
Los Angeles, CA 9 years,
8 months
$200,000 $23,200 53.7%
Sacramento, CA 6 years,
11 months
$82,500 $12,000 53.6%
Seattle, WA 9 years,
2 months
$185,000 $20,840 53.1%
Philadelphia, PA 7 years,
11 months
$40,225 $4,194 51.7%
New Orleans, LA 8 years,
7 months
$81,000 $10,475 51.5%
Boston, MA 7 years,
10 months
$182,500 $25,036 49.6%


“The housing market can change a lot in 10 years, and you see that reflected in this top 10 list,” says economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions people will make in their lifetime, and it really paid off for sellers in these cities. Every city on this list has been growing extremely fast over the past decade, with the majority passing peak home value hit during the housing bubble.”

The ability to amass wealth over the long term makes real estate the No. 1 investment for most Americans, despite proven results from stocks and other vehicles.

“It’s extremely difficult to time the market, but if you’re a longtime homeowner in one of these cities, you could potentially see a great return on your investment,” Gudell says.

Think Twice Before Storing Your Credit Card InformationrulerImage 2The convenience of saving your credit card information on your favorite sites is appealing – no more scrambling for your card, no more entering all that information – especially when it comes to purchases made on your mobile device.

Due to increasing incidence of data theft, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) encourages consumers to take into account the risks involved in storing their credit card information online.

This is an important consideration due to the increasing volume and variety of data theft over the past several years. The theft of personal information from medical insurance companies, restaurants and retailers has understandably made consumers wary about how their information is handled.

The BBB offers the following suggestions for protecting your financial information:

You can say no. In most cases, merchants will ask if you’d like them to keep your number on file. You have the right to say no. If a merchant isn’t clear about their policy, ask about it.

Remove your credit card information. Some online merchants automatically store your credit card info without asking, so after you’ve made a purchase, log into your account and find the option to remove your payment information from a company’s files.

Stay safe when you’re out and about. Avoid making any transactions over a public Wi-Fi network that does not require a password. Hackers can set up a fake network with a name similar to that of the location where free Wi-Fi is offered. If you connect to it, they can get into your files and steal your information. Ask for the name of the location’s Wi-Fi network before connecting.

Use credit, not debit. Whether you use a debit or credit card, you are protected from any liability due to fraud. Debit cards, however, allow cybercriminals to empty your bank account after a data breach.

Keep a close watch on credit and bank statements. Be vigilant about scanning your statements for unusual or unauthorized charges. If anything looks suspicious, call your financial institution right away.

Hope you found this helpful. If you’re interested in information about the real estate market, please contact me.

QUESTIONS? VISIT www.MoveToEncinitas.com

 

Affording a mortgage payment is possible for many prospective

e homeowners. Why then, by all accounts, is unaffordability plaguing the market?

Researchers at Freddie Mac offered several answers to that question in its latest Insight, the first one being perception. Homebuyers struggling to find reasonably-priced listings perceive the housing market in general as unaffordable — a reasonable conclusion, if their only options to date have been out-of-reach stock.

Secondly, the high likelihood for competition (i.e., bidding wars) is off-putting, both for first-time homebuyers and for sellers re-entering the market. The latter’s hesitation is notably tamping down already tight inventory.

“Thanks to very low mortgage rates, monthly mortgage payments are affordable for the average household despite currently high house prices,” says Sean Becketti, chief economist at Freddie Mac. “Nevertheless, hurdles to homeownership arise from the difficulty of finding a house. The supply of homes for sale is very tight, especially starter homes, and underwriting requirements are more rigorous than they were in the past.”

Would-be homeowners are also not confident about their prospects because their incomes have stayed relatively flat compared to home prices. Incomes have grown by an average 2.4 percent annually since 2012; home prices, however, have grown an average 6 percent.

“Many potential first-time borrowers are stymied by variable employment and income histories and the challenge of accruing a down payment while simultaneously paying down their student loans,” Becketti says. “In fact, a high level of household debt, particularly student debt, poses perhaps the largest obstacle to first-time homebuyers.”

Homeownership — stripped down to just the mortgage payment — is affordable, the researchers concluded, but challenged by barriers that play a hefty role in the home-buying process. Perception, after all, is reality.

Source: Freddie Mac 

What’s Feeding the Affordability Perception?
Image 1Affording a mortgage payment is possible for many prospective homeowners. Why then, by all accounts, is unaffordability plaguing the market?

Researchers at Freddie Mac offered several answers to that question in its latest Insight, the first one being perception. Homebuyers struggling to find reasonably-priced listings perceive the housing market in general as unaffordable — a reasonable conclusion, if their only options to date have been out-of-reach stock.

Secondly, the high likelihood for competition (i.e., bidding wars) is off-putting, both for first-time homebuyers and for sellers re-entering the market. The latter’s hesitation is notably tamping down already tight inventory.

“Thanks to very low mortgage rates, monthly mortgage payments are affordable for the average household despite currently high house prices,” says Sean Becketti, chief economist at Freddie Mac. “Nevertheless, hurdles to homeownership arise from the difficulty of finding a house. The supply of homes for sale is very tight, especially starter homes, and underwriting requirements are more rigorous than they were in the past.”

Would-be homeowners are also not confident about their prospects because their incomes have stayed relatively flat compared to home prices. Incomes have grown by an average 2.4 percent annually since 2012; home prices, however, have grown an average 6 percent.

“Many potential first-time borrowers are stymied by variable employment and income histories and the challenge of accruing a down payment while simultaneously paying down their student loans,” Becketti says. “In fact, a high level of household debt, particularly student debt, poses perhaps the largest obstacle to first-time homebuyers.”

Homeownership — stripped down to just the mortgage payment — is affordable, the researchers concluded, but challenged by barriers that play a hefty role in the home-buying process. Perception, after all, is reality.

Source: Freddie Mac 
8 Odd Things to Wash in the Dishwasher
ruler
Image 2Move over dinner plates! The dishwasher can actually be used to wash a myriad of strange items. Whether you find the list below helpful or just plain odd, please use caution and don’t mix your eatery into the same load as something super greasy—like an old hubcap.

Rubber boots and flip flops. Want to wash your favorite rubber footwear? Pop them in the dishwasher upside down.

Kitchen sponges. Toss them into the silverware tray for a speedy sanitize!

House keys. Ever wonder how filthy your house keys get over the years? So long as none of your keys have electric starters, pop the whole ring into the silverware tray.

Grill rack. Is your grill rack covered in grease? Place it on the top tray and set the heat to high to get it gleaming again.

Hubcaps. Crazy but true! Just add a cup of white vinegar to your detergent and hit start.

Nail clippers. Pop these in the silverware tray and they’re good as new.

Tools. Get your favorite tools gleaming with a quick cycle in the washer.

Contact lens cases. The dishwasher is a great place to sanitize them every few weeks.
QUESTIONS? VISIT www.MoveToEncinitas.com

Summer is the season for grilling. However, an average of 8,900 home fires involving grills, hibachis, or barbecues occur each year in the United States. In 2014, 16,600 patients went to emergency rooms due to injuries involving grills, and 1,600 children under age five suffered thermal burns, caused by touching a hot surface. Safety aside, grilling-related fires cause about $118 million in property damage each year. 

Clearly, it’s important to keep safety in the forefront when enjoying all that your grill has to offer. 

Here are a few common sense reminders on keeping your family and your home safe:

Keep the grill well away from your home and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
Remove grease or fat buildup from the grill and in trays below the grill.
Never leave your grill unattended, and keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill at all times.
Always make sure the lid of a gas grill is open before lighting.
If using starter fluid for a charcoal grill, use only charcoal starter fluid, and never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquid to the fire. Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
If your charcoal grill has an electric starter, use an extension cord.
When finished grilling, let the coals cool completely, then dispose in a metal container.
Tips compliments of www.insurance.pa.gov and the National Fire Protection Association.