Americans' Spending Increases

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Americans are spending more money again, a good sign for the economy. Durable goods purchases increased approximately 2% last month compared to July. Car sales also jumped, which is a positive sign as many people don’t make large purchases when they are not confident in their personal finances. Overall consumer spending jumped 0.5% last month, marking one of the highest gains seen this year. More here

Simple Tips To Increase Curb Appeal

You may not be living in the home you’re trying to sell, but you still have to be sure you are presenting adequate curb appeal to attract quality buyers. Your overgrown shrubs or lack of grass and color may be scaring away more potential buyers than you know. A few things you can do to increase your curb appeal and ultimately sell your home more quickly are: Trim overgrown shrubs and make sure all of your flower beds have fresh mulch. Clean out gutters and wash off siding and porches. Rake or blow off dead leaves from your property and pick up any sticks that may have fallen. Lastly, keep your garden simple, so potential buyers aren’t scared off by the thought of too much maintenance. More here

Year High

New single-family home sales significantly increased last month to the highest level in over six years. The housing market continues its impressive rebound. New home sales increased 18.0% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 504,000 units. The chief economist at Mesirow Financial, Diane Swonk said, “this is welcome news in an otherwise mixed outlook.  We are still a long way from the housing market recovering from the bust.” More here

New Apps May Aid Home Remodeling Projects

According to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, home improvements and remodeling costs have increased in the United States. $130 billion was spent last year on home remodeling; that’s the highest amount seen since 2007. Remodeling can be overwhelming at times, but experts have created new apps that can help make the process more enjoyable. The new apps help connect homeowners with  interior designers, contractors and architects that can make  projects easier while also saving money. A few apps you may want to check out are Sweeten, Like That Décor and Houzz. More here

Housing Market Confidence Improves

Recent data suggests that housing market confidence remains high. Approximately 50% of Americans believe that home prices will rise over the coming year while only 8% believe home prices will fall. Bankrate.com’s chief financial analyst, Greg McBride said, “when home prices fall, everyone gets a little queasy – homeowners and renters alike. The expectation of continued home price increases underscores an expectation for continued improvement in the job market, household finances and the overall economy.” The Financial Security Index from Bankrate.com was 100.4 this month, showing improvement from last year. More here

Jumbo Loans May be Easier Than Ever To Obtain

Many deep-pocketed borrowers are paying lower rates on jumbo loans when compared to the average borrower. Jumbo loan borrowers have been experiencing interest rates that are at an all time low, and now many lenders are waiving mortgage insurance, lowering credit standards, and requiring minimal down payments as low as 10%. In some cases, the lessened requirements are justified by jumbo borrowers’ lower default rate. More here

End Of Season Tips For Cleaning Patio Furniture

Fall is here, and many people will soon begin packing up outdoor furniture until next year. If some pieces appear damaged, don’t immediately assume they are ready for the trash. A few things you can do to save money and preserve your outdoor furniture for future seasons are: Brighten your light colored lawn chairs with bleach, liquid detergent, and warm water. This solution will help get rid of the dingy look caused by sun and rain damage. If your picnic table is looking old and grungy, you can scrub it with ammonia, vinegar and water to make it look new again. For patio umbrellas covered in mildew, you can mix liquid bleach and dish-washing detergent, apply the solution and then scrub with a soft-bristle brush to remove mildew stains. Rinse off the umbrella with a hose and allow to dry.  Remember to check washing instructions before applying the bleach. More here

Millennials Bring Hope To Housing Market

With many millennials carrying around large student loan debt and lending rules getting tighter, the number of millennial homeowners is disappointing. Although, in the near future, experts expect the millennial generation will boost the housing market to record levels. Today there are approximately 13.3 million millennial homeowners; that number is expected to increase to 21.6 million by the year 2018. Over the next five years, the same group is expected to spend $2 trillion on rent costs and home purchases, this is more than any other generation in history. 60% of millennials plan to own a home in the future while three-quarters think home-ownership is an important long-term goal. More here

Tips To Maintain Brick Siding

Generally, brick siding on a home requires less maintenance than a wood-sided home, although brick still necessitates minimal yearly maintenance to keep the brick working efficiently and looking good. A few things one should do to maintain a brick home are: Yearly cleaning, use mild detergent and a brush to scrub off mildew and other unwanted stains on your home. Using a pressure washer may cause damage to your home, so try to avoid using harsh water treatments. After washing the home with the detergent and brush, gently rinse the brick to get rid of extra suds. You can also use an acid wash brick cleaner for hard to clean water spots. Protect your brick sided home with a siloxane-based or silane-based sealer, this will help protect your brick home from moisture related problems. You should also inspect your home for broken, bowing, or loose bricks. If water has gotten underneath the bricks, they will need to be repaired. More here

Mortgage Applications Increase Significantly

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Application Survey for last week, mortgage applications increased substantially, jumping 7.9% from the previous week. This large increase made up for the 7.2% decrease during the week of September 5th. The Market Composite Index rose 7.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Refinance Index jumped 10%, and the Purchase Index increased 5%. The MBA’s Chief Economist, Mike Fratantoni said, “application volume rebounded coming out of the Labor Day holiday, even as rates increased to their highest level in the last few months.” More here