Homeowners Can Spend More Than $9,000 a Year on Hidden Homeownership and Maintenance Costs

From property taxes to basic maintenance projects like lawn care, homeowners can spend between $7,000 and $16,000 a year in hidden homeownership costs Continue Reading →

Ranked: 10 Affordable Towns With High-Rated Elementary Schools

Communities with sought-after schools often command a premium for homebuyers. Realtor.com® recently uncovered 10 towns where not only public elementary schools earn high marks, but also home prices make the grade—in affordability.

1. Aurora, Ill. (60503)
Schools: Homestead Elementary School (rating 10/10 on GreatSchools), The Wheatlands Elementary School (8/10), Wolfs Crossing Elementary School (10/10)

The 2017 median household income in Aurora is $114,118 with a 2017 median listing price of $259,900. Aurora is 45 percent more affordable compared to its surrounding metro area, and 47 percent more affordable compared to the U.S. overall.

2. Stone Mountain, Ga. (30087)
School: Wynbrooke Elementary School (9/10)

The 2017 median household income in Stone Mountain is $71,678 with a 2017 median listing price of $218,950. Stone Mountain is 38 percent more affordable compared to its surrounding metro area and compared to the U.S. overall.

3. Hampton, N.J. (08827)
School: Union Township Elementary School (8/10)

The 2017 median household income in Hampton is $118,810 with a 2017 median listing price of $297,000. Hampton is 60 percent more affordable compared to its surrounding metro area, and 37 percent more affordable compared to the U.S. overall.

4. Royersford, Pa. (19468)
Schools: Brooke Elementary School (9/10), Evans Elementary School (8/10), Limerick Elementary School (9/10), Spring-Ford Intermediate School 5th/6th (9/10), Upper Providence Elementary School (9/10)

The 2017 median household income in Royersford is $83,264 with a 2017 median listing price of $246,125. Royersford is 21 percent more affordable compared to its surrounding metro area, and 32 percent more affordable compared to the U.S. overall.

5. Kingwood, Texas (77345)
Schools: Deerwood Elementary School (9/10), Greentree Elementary School (10/10), Hidden Hollow Elementary (9/10), Shadow Forest Elementary School (10/10), Willow Creek Elementary School (10/10).

The 2017 median household income in Kingwood is $123,201 with a 2017 median listing price of $323,750. Kingwood is 46 percent more affordable compared to its surrounding metro area, and 32 percent more affordable compared to the U.S. overall.

6. Rosemount, Minn. (55068)
School: Shannon Park Elementary School (10/10)

The 2017 median household income in Rosemount is $93,743 with a 2017 median listing price of $299,900. Rosemount is 30 percent more affordable compared to its surrounding metro area, and 32 percent more affordable compared to the U.S. overall.

7. Bowie, Md. (20715)
Schools: Whitehall Elementary School (8/10), Yorktown Elementary School (8/10)

The 2017 median household income in Bowie is $107,865 with a 2017 median listing price of $345,350. Bowie is 29 percent more affordable compared to its surrounding metro area, and 27 percent more affordable compared to the U.S. overall.

8. Huntington Woods, Mich. (48070)
School: Burton Elementary School (8/10)

The 2017 median household income in Huntington Woods is $120,265 with a 2017 median listing price of $400,000. Huntington Woods is 15 percent more affordable compared to its surrounding metro area, and 27 percent more affordable compared to the U.S. overall.

9. Stow, Mass. (01775)
School: Center School (8/10)

The 2017 median household income in Stow is $139,622 with a 2017 median listing price of $504,750. Stow is 45 percent more affordable compared to its surrounding metro area, and 23 percent more affordable compared to the U.S. overall.

10. Chandler, Ariz. (85226)
Schools: Kyrene De La Mirada School (9/10), Kyrene De La Paloma School (8/10), Kyrene De Las Brisas School (9/10), Kyrene del Cielo School (10/10), Kyrene Traditional – Sureno Campus (9/10), Paragon Science Academy K-12 (9/10)

The 2017 median household income in Chandler is $80,130 with a 2017 median listing price of $324,155. Chandler is 30 percent more affordable compared to its surrounding metro area, and 20 percent more affordable compared to the U.S. overall.

“When searching for a new home, finding something affordable in a good school district with family-friendly features, such as large backyards, tops the list of homebuyer priorities,” says Javier Vivas, manager of Economic Research for realtor.com. “These markets offer strong public schools and affordable homes, making them a great fit for homebuyers with elementary school-age children.”

The ranking was determined by identifying ZIP codes within the top metropolitan areas in the U.S. that contained at least one public school ranked eight out of 10 or higher by GreatSchools, then calculating affordability by factoring in the ZIP code’s median income and median-priced home with monthly mortgage payment and other cost data.

For more information, please visit www.realtor.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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$152,000 :: 700 GRAEFIELD COURT, Birmingham MI, 48009

Property Photo

2 beds, 1 bath
Home size: 906 sq ft
Lot Size: 0 sq ft
Added: 03/31/17, Last Updated: 07/29/17
Property Type: Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op
MLS Number: 21277466
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Tract: WILLIAMSBURG OF BIRMINGHAM OCC
Status: Sold

SUBJECT TO PROBATE COURT APPROVAL (APPROXIMATELY 30 DAYS)

Listed with Oakland County Real Estate LLC


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$152,000 :: 700 GRAEFIELD COURT, Birmingham MI, 48009

Property Photo

2 beds, 1 bath
Home size: 906 sq ft
Lot Size: 0 sq ft
Added: 03/31/17, Last Updated: 07/29/17
Property Type: Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op
MLS Number: 21277466
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Tract: WILLIAMSBURG OF BIRMINGHAM OCC
Status: Sold

SUBJECT TO PROBATE COURT APPROVAL (APPROXIMATELY 30 DAYS)

Listed with Oakland County Real Estate LLC


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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Study: How Have Borrowers Made Out Since the December Rate Hike?

Borrowers on the whole were able to accommodate the interest rate hike initiated by the Federal Reserve in December, with most successfully continuing to manage their monthly payments after the rate went up, according to a recent analysis by credit reporting agency TransUnion. Of the 63 million borrowers assessed in the analysis—borrowers whose monthly payments are affected by the market rate—just one million became delinquent three months following the rise.

Researchers followed borrowers’ payment behavior through March 2017 using TransUnion’s aggregate excess payment (AEP) algorithm, which takes into account credit card and mortgage payments, among others. Roughly 10.5 million of the borrowers evaluated were determined to be at a higher risk for failing to adapt to the rate rise. Their prediction ended up bearing out only for a fraction.

“We’re pleased to see that only 10 percent of those consumers we had considered at elevated risk of payment shock from a rate increase exhibited delinquency over the study period,” says Ezra Becker, senior vice president of Research and Consulting at TransUnion. “Most consumers appeared able to reallocate their available cash, or make small changes to their spending habits, to effectively absorb the December rate increase.”

Seventy percent of the one million borrowers who became delinquent also carried higher balances in March than they did prior to the hike.

“Minimum payments are as much a function of balances as they are of rate,” Becker says. “Increased balances can lead to liquidity constraints regardless of how rates move. Consumers should always be careful to manage their credit usage within the limits of their income.”

Source: TransUnion

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$799,900 :: 2009 HAZEL Street, Birmingham MI, 48009

Property Photo

3 beds, 0 baths
Home size: 3,576 sq ft
Lot Size: 0 sq ft
Added: 07/28/17, Last Updated: 07/28/17
Property Type: Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op
MLS Number: 217066516
Community: Birmingham
Tract: ETON STREET STATION II CONDO
Status: Active

LUXURIOUS BIRMINGHAM RAIL DISTRICT TOWNHOUSE. THREE FLOORS OF SOPHISTICATED CITY LIVING WITH HIGH END FINISHES THROUGHOUT. DETROIT HOME MAGAZINE 2013 DESIGN AWARD WINNER. GOURMET CHEF’S KITCHEN, BERLONI CABINETS, VIKING PROFESSIONAL SERIES GAS COOKTOP & OVEN, SUB-ZERO REFRIGERATOR & FREEZER DRAWERS, BOSCH APPLIANCES, 10′ QUARTZ ISLAND WITH COUNTER TOP SEATING. SPACIOUS, SUNLIGHT ROOMS. COMPLETELY OPEN KITCHEN, DINING & LIVING ROOMS GREAT FOR ENTERTAINING. DINING ROOM BUFFET WITH BEVERAGE FRIDGE. VAULTED CEILINGS. MASTER SUITE DUAL WALK-IN CLOSETS WITH CUSTOM BUILT-INS. HANS GROHE & TOTO BATHROOM FIXTURES, BUILT-IN HEATED TOWEL RACK. THIRD FLOOR LOFT SPACE, CURRENTLY USED AS A MEDIA ENTERTAINMENT AREA, COULD BE ADDITIONAL BEDROOM. LAUNDRY ON MASTER BEDROOM LEVEL. PRIVATE BALCONY. SKYLIGHTS. TWO CAR ATTACHED GARAGE. BIRMINGHAM SCHOOLS. 1ST FL MULTI USE W/ PRIV ENTRANCE. SHORT WALK TO DOWNTOWN. CLOSE PROXIMITY TO THE SOMERSET COLLECTION.

Listed with Max Broock, REALTORS®-Birmingham


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$379,900 :: 411 S OLD WOODWARD AVE, Birmingham MI, 48009

1 bed, 1 bath
Home size: 793 sq ft
Lot Size: 0 sq ft
Added: 07/27/17, Last Updated: 07/27/17
Property Type: Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op
MLS Number: 21347446
Community: Birmingham (63192)
Tract: BIRMINGHAM PLACE OCCPN 1605
Status: Active

Luxury high rise living in the heart of Birmingham. Largest one bedroom in the building. Completely updated. Kitchen has granite countertops , glass backsplash, island and beautiful cabinetry. Updated full bathroom with oversized rain shower. Hardwood floors through out. Balcony with an amazing view. Master closet has been professionally done. Full service building. 24 hour concierge, valet parking, secure underground parking, covered guest parking. Walk to shops and restaurants. Exclude the sound bar and both T.V. mounts.

Listed with Real Estate One-Commerce


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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Japandi Style: Embracing Minimalist Beauty and Nature in Home Decor

Japandi1

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

It’s been known that those who long for simplicity in living space look towards Japanese culture and design for inspiration, but there are also those who admire Scandinavian functionality above all. Seemingly opposite, these two trends somehow merged together and today we have a beautiful blend of over-exaggerated and strict design trends. Where functionality meets aesthetics, we welcome and embrace Japandi, a wonderful combination of strict Japanese minimalism and beautiful Scandinavian design.

Even though there are elements of Scandinavian extravagance and elegance, Japanese minimalism is predominant in Japandi style. Scandinavian trend prides itself with minimalism as well, but there are a lot more colors and details that draw attention than in traditional Japanese style. You should focus on using only the things that really matter in your home, and get rid of anything that creates unnecessary clutter. It’s about perfect balance and pastel color palettes, with statement accent walls, details and materials. You should turn to nature and find inspiration there—cotton, linen, wool, stone, wood, and plenty of greenery are the main characteristics of this style.

Image Credit: Grovemade via Unsplash

Beauty in Details
If you have a lot of decorative bits and pieces that create a lot of clutter in your home, you should change that. This doesn’t mean that your home should have bare walls and floors, but when you’re picking decorations, you need to do so with care. Popular, trendy patterned designs of rugs, curtains, throw pillows and tablecloths are not the right choice. If you need to add a little something to break the strict minimalism in colors, choose items with simpler, earthy tones and delicate patterns. If, however, your furniture is textured and decorated already, you should tone everything down with plain and elegant details.

Image Credit: kaboompics via Pixabay

Dreamy Living Room
Japandi is a great way to make your living room warm and textured, yet still quite simple. You should focus on your furniture and minimize use of any accessories. Think raw forms, bold lines and sleek, modern-style furniture—wooden sofas with cotton and linen throw pillows, bulky, heavy armchairs, and modern coffee tables. Pick which pieces you’d like to be more noticeable and unique—coffee tables, shelves or sofas, and have fun looking for them. Use natural materials for cushions, curtains and sofa covers and try to get matching ones. Bring in some plants in terracotta flower pots and there you have it—a perfect minimalist living room.

Japandi3

Image Credit: (Left) Dane Deaner via StockSnap; (Right) Sylwia Pietruszka via StockSnap

Perfect Bedroom
A wonderful way to create an oasis of peace and serenity in your bedroom is to decorate it in Japandi style, as the perfect blend of calming zen and Scandinavian cold gives the best decor. As a result, your bedroom will be cool and have a calming effect, a trait you’ll appreciate after a long and stressful day. You can keep your wooden statement bed, but tone down the other pieces in the room—wardrobe, chairs and nightstands. (On the other hand, a bulky wardrobe will look great when paired with a minimal, yet bold bed.) Cold pastels and warm wood are a great combo, and when you pair it with recessed lighting, you get the perfect bedroom.

Japandi4

Image Credit: (Left) Cheryl Winn-Boujnida via Unsplash; (Right) milivanily via Pixabay

Paradise Bathroom
The bathroom is a place where you should feel at peace, so it’s important to focus on design and decor, too. A simple and effective way to achieve harmony in your bathroom is to look to nature for inspiration once again. Wood and stone are perfect, since they look rustic and sophisticated at the same time. If getting wood is too complicated and costly, faux wood panels combined with a large statement wooden mirror work wonderfully with stone basins and bathtubs, or even simple stone or wood vinyl wallpapers. Bring a couple of pots with plants and a nice moss mat and it will look just right.

Japandi5

Image Credit: quinntheislander via Pixabay

Bring Japandi to Your Home
Embracing minimalism means that your old furniture should be replaced with something sleek, elegant and functional, and you’ll need to be clearing out all unnecessary clutter in order to get more space. If you were hoping to follow the trend but not really throw your furniture away, you can always get a storage unit and move it there until you need it again. You won’t have to spend a fortune to do so, since there are many affordable lock-up storage solutions.

For some, Japandi is a way of life. Not only is this design easy to achieve, but its subtle decor statements, raw forms and beautifully balanced mixtures of natural wood and bold colors allow you to create clutter-free spaces. Japandi is a wonderful way to turn your home into your own personal paradise.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Reduce Your Stress as a Landlord With These 5 Tips

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

When you become a landlord, stress levels can get very high. There may be tenants who vandalize property, are habitually late with the rent, or just disappear without notice. In general, though, the good tenants outnumber the bad ones, and you’ll able to manage your property profitably. You can cut your stress by finding ways to reduce or eliminate issues. Here are some tips for making your property management experiences go smoothly.

1. Use the Internet to Collect Rent
Collecting rent from difficult tenants is one of the most stressful aspects of the business. Automating the process can make this much easier. Whether you buy an online solution pre-made or hire a developer to create it, set up a payment system that accepts credit or debit cards, or even automatic bank transfers. You can use any one of the digital payment processing services online.

This is more convenient for both you and your tenants, and provides a transaction history for bookkeeping purposes. Your solution should also have reporting features so you can see at a glance what’s happening.

2. Outsource Maintenance
Anything beyond a few units can be a headache in maintenance, including painting and cleaning up after sloppy tenants. Hiring a crew to take care of this involves all the problems of recruiting and training employees, managing payroll and benefits, and other concerns. Hiring even a minimum-wage employee can cost you over $9,000 before they’re up to speed.

If you don’t want those additional stresses and don’t really need full-time help, outsource these routine maintenance tasks to another company. It may cost a little more than doing it yourself, but you’ll have more free time and less anxiety.

3. Keep an Emergency Fund
Whether you opt for employees or contractors or want to do it all yourself, you’re still going to pay for repairs and upkeep. Some routine maintenance you can budget for, but events such as careless tenants, storms, litigation, or burst pipes are something else. If your insurance policy won’t cover it, or units are not inhabitable, you’re losing money. It’s best to set aside what you can from the very beginning so that one major setback doesn’t cripple your cash flow.

4. Find a Property Manager
You could also pass on your landlord troubles to someone else by hiring a reputable property management company or professional. Those with special training and significant experience may be more suited to handling maintenance, budgets, and bad tenants than you are. They will definitely cost you, but they’ll eliminate all the difficulties of being a landlord while you sit back and take the profits.

5. Screen Your Tenants
Better tenants means fewer missed rent payments, less property damage, and longer tenant retention. Getting good tenants requires screening each applicant to weed out those who may represent a high risk. Screening requires verifying employment, conducting background checks, checking credit scores, calling references, and anything else you consider a good indicator.

You have to careful in how you turn prospective renters down to avoid discrimination charges. Make it clear to them why they were rejected. You also don’t want to be too fussy. If you reject one applicant after another you’ll wind up missing out on rent. No tenant at all for months on end is going to cost you more than a bad tenant. Tenant screening is another time-consuming task that you could delegate to a professional service to manage for you.

Being a landlord can be profitable and rewarding if you are thoughtful in spending your time and money.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of RISMedia.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Reduce Your Stress as a Landlord With These 5 Tips appeared first on RISMedia.

Continue Reading →

Reduce Your Stress as a Landlord With These 5 Tips

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

When you become a landlord, stress levels can get very high. There may be tenants who vandalize property, are habitually late with the rent, or just disappear without notice. In general, though, the good tenants outnumber the bad ones, and you’ll able to manage your property profitably. You can cut your stress by finding ways to reduce or eliminate issues. Here are some tips for making your property management experiences go smoothly.

1. Use the Internet to Collect Rent
Collecting rent from difficult tenants is one of the most stressful aspects of the business. Automating the process can make this much easier. Whether you buy an online solution pre-made or hire a developer to create it, set up a payment system that accepts credit or debit cards, or even automatic bank transfers. You can use any one of the digital payment processing services online.

This is more convenient for both you and your tenants, and provides a transaction history for bookkeeping purposes. Your solution should also have reporting features so you can see at a glance what’s happening.

2. Outsource Maintenance
Anything beyond a few units can be a headache in maintenance, including painting and cleaning up after sloppy tenants. Hiring a crew to take care of this involves all the problems of recruiting and training employees, managing payroll and benefits, and other concerns. Hiring even a minimum-wage employee can cost you over $9,000 before they’re up to speed.

If you don’t want those additional stresses and don’t really need full-time help, outsource these routine maintenance tasks to another company. It may cost a little more than doing it yourself, but you’ll have more free time and less anxiety.

3. Keep an Emergency Fund
Whether you opt for employees or contractors or want to do it all yourself, you’re still going to pay for repairs and upkeep. Some routine maintenance you can budget for, but events such as careless tenants, storms, litigation, or burst pipes are something else. If your insurance policy won’t cover it, or units are not inhabitable, you’re losing money. It’s best to set aside what you can from the very beginning so that one major setback doesn’t cripple your cash flow.

4. Find a Property Manager
You could also pass on your landlord troubles to someone else by hiring a reputable property management company or professional. Those with special training and significant experience may be more suited to handling maintenance, budgets, and bad tenants than you are. They will definitely cost you, but they’ll eliminate all the difficulties of being a landlord while you sit back and take the profits.

5. Screen Your Tenants
Better tenants means fewer missed rent payments, less property damage, and longer tenant retention. Getting good tenants requires screening each applicant to weed out those who may represent a high risk. Screening requires verifying employment, conducting background checks, checking credit scores, calling references, and anything else you consider a good indicator.

You have to careful in how you turn prospective renters down to avoid discrimination charges. Make it clear to them why they were rejected. You also don’t want to be too fussy. If you reject one applicant after another you’ll wind up missing out on rent. No tenant at all for months on end is going to cost you more than a bad tenant. Tenant screening is another time-consuming task that you could delegate to a professional service to manage for you.

Being a landlord can be profitable and rewarding if you are thoughtful in spending your time and money.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of RISMedia.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Reduce Your Stress as a Landlord With These 5 Tips appeared first on RISMedia.

Continue Reading →