Selling Your Home and Looking for The Best Price? Avoid These 9 Things

There are (at least) two sides to every transaction. Normally, this blog covers buying homes, but if you’re buying one, you may be looking to sell one, too. And if so, you probably want to get the best price. U.S. News & World Report just published a list of 9 things that can detract from your selling price. Unfortunately, some of them, like location, are not things you can change. But many of them are. So, if you’re looking to sell a house, it’s worth checking out the list, and modifying the things you can, in order to maximize your price.

Closing Procedures About to Get Easier, Safer

First things first: two forms instead of four. The old Good Faith Estimate, HUD-1 Settlement Statement, and two Truth-in-Lending disclosures are being replaced by a Loan Estimate and a Closing Disclosure, effective October 3rd. Even better, the forms are both standard, and part of every mortgage transaction, so it becomes much easier to compare apples to apples. U.S. News & World Report goes into a lot more detail including impacts on the industry, potential effects on closing time, and some things that you’ll get to see for the first time ever.

Enough about Home, Where Are You Going This Summer?

This blog is mostly about all things home related — from mortgages, to the housing market, to ways to keep your property in shape. But let’s face it: it’s summer! “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” F. Scott was right, life is beginning again. And in case you’re sitting here, already a third of the way in, without a proper plan for escape, here are 15 Summer Destinations That Will Make You Forget All About Home.

Is The Rain Keeping The Housing Market Down?

It might just be that the weather this year is keeping the housing market from being hotter than it already is. It’s not just about whether you can apply a fresh coat before putting your house on the market — it’s about construction. As Sherwin-Williams announced weak earnings, the CEO explained that a lot of it has to do with the rain. With record rainfall in May, June, and July in many states, construction is lagging. As this blog reported, residential permits are up 25% year-over-year; however, actual residential starts are only up 5%. Maybe the market would be even hotter if it weren’t so damp.

Summer Safety Tips

It’s still only July, so we still have quite a few hot days ahead of us. That’s good news for those who enjoy fun in the summer, but we should also take a minute to refresh ourselves on some common dangers and how to avoid them. The National Safety Council provides some good, basic tips that everyone should follow. It may be a little late for their “practice firework safety” advice, but “how to beat the heat” and “water safety for kids” are still particularly apropos. Go out, have fun, get a tan, but stay safe this summer!

Mortgage Rates Still on The Teeter-Totter

Searching for mortgage rates on Google news continues to be a source of amusement, with every other article saying they’re increasing or decreasing. In fact, as the Dayton Business Journal points out, this is the fourth straight week where rate movements have changed direction. This latest change appears to be connected to a drop in U.S. Treasury yields, which, in turn, seems to be connected to publicly traded companies failing to meet earnings expectations. Perhaps they’ll reverse again now that Amazon has announced a surprise profit?

U.S. Housing Market Not Just Back, but Still Booming

This blog has already covered the fact that the U.S. housing market has fully recovered, and is now above previous highs from 8 years ago. Also, it’s been mentioned that conditions are different now, and while predicting the future is dangerous outside of parlour games, it seems unlikely that we’re in a bubble. Yesterday, Matt Phillips published an article on Quartz that not only confirms the previous reasoning about why we’re not in a bubble, but adds some analysis of lumber and wood employment, and the building industry in general, which seem to indicate there’s still room to run.

Order Your Handyman through Amazon!

A few months ago, Amazon rolled out Amazon Home Services in a few select markets. It was only a matter of time before they expanded, and now they have. But not only have they expanded where they’re offering the service — they’ve expanded what they’re offering as well. Which services are available where still varies, but in some markets they’re offering as many as 900 different professional services! So, if DIY isn’t your thing, Amazon is coming to the rescue. With the number of service providers increasing four-fold in the last quarter, it won’t be long before they’re offering everything, everywhere.

19 Things to Do. Immediately.

Just found a great article from back in April that will always be appropriate. Trent Hamm pulled together these 19 money saving tips for The Simple Dollar, and with the possible exception of “Install LED or CFL light bulbs”, which may violate your personal aesthetics, they’re all spot-on. Better still, they’re almost all one-time things, like checking the temperature setting on your hot water heater. His final tip is to create a home maintenance checklist, and if you decide to do that, there are great, seasonal maintenance checklists elsewhere on this blog. Just search for the one you need (e.g., “summer maintenance checklist”).

HMI Not The Only Number That’s Up, But It’s Still Not Enough

This blog reported on Friday that the Housing Market Index beat estimates in July, and is near a record high. The U.S. Commerce Department also released data that both housing starts and building permits are substantially up  year-over-year. However, with Millennials finally entering the race, the pressure on supply is strong. We need about 1.5 million new units of housing per year, in order to balance the supply and demand curves, and at a seasonally adjusted 1.174 million, we’re still about 22% behind where we need to be.