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Pros and Cons of Bypassing an Appraisal

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 20, 2018 - 12:00am

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced last year special rules for when a property does not need a traditional in-person appraisal, but so far, few...

Categories: Real Estate

Despite Higher Prices, Home Flippers Find Opportunities

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 20, 2018 - 12:00am

There may be few options for investors among distressed properties, but that’s not holding them back.

Categories: Real Estate

The Link Between Real Estate, Life Expectancy

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 20, 2018 - 12:00am

Developers, architects, and city planners were challenged at a recent meeting of the Urban Land Institute to help build healthier communities and...

Categories: Real Estate

Will Exurbs and Suburbs Merge?

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 20, 2018 - 12:00am

Home buyers looking to escape city living can find similar neighborhood attributes in the areas outside major metros.

Categories: Real Estate

Amazon Experience Centers Look to Transform Smart-Home Shopping

RisMedia Consumer News - May 18, 2018 - 11:01pm

Amazon is making moves yet again. As a way to market its smart-home business segment without having to invest in conventional store locations, the online marketplace giant has partnered with Lennar Corporation to provide connectivity demos of Alexa-enabled products—everything from video doorbells and smart shades to lighting and scheduled deliveries—within the homebuilder’s model homes, calling these showrooms Amazon Experience Centers.

“Amazon’s ability to bring a home to life with Alexa smart-home experiences, entertainment and services—coupled with their obsession with customer experience—is a natural extension of our Everything’s Included approach to home-building,” said David Kaiserman, president of Lennar Ventures, in statement. “We picked Amazon because of our shared commitment to customers, their Amazon experts across the country, and their ability to connect customers with thousands of service providers through Amazon Home Services.”

These Centers are already open to the public in certain Lennar communities, including in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Within these model homes, prospective buyers can test-control thermostats, lights, shades, locks, televisions and more using Amazon’s trademark smart speaker, Echo, and Alexa AI.

“We wanted customers to experience a real home environment that showcases the convenience of the Alexa smart-home experience, great entertainment available with Prime and Home Services,” said Nish Lathia, general manager of Amazon Services, in a statement. “We are excited to extend our relationship with Lennar with the launch of Amazon Experience Centers. As one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, Lennar offers the potential to enable this experience within easy driving distance of millions of customers.”

Along with its smart speaker offerings, Amazon is also promoting Prime and Home Services, creating an intelligent home environment that is being touted as a money- and time-saver. For example, with Amazon’s Dash series, homeowners would be able to simply press a button to reorder any essentials, such as household items, favorite snack foods, pet supplies and more.

No doubt Lennar will see increased traffic to its model homes because of the partnership, but is this just Amazon’s next step in a larger campaign to fully entrench itself in the real estate industry? Its recent progressions pointing to—yes—talks of a robot give a glimpse into Amazon’s planned future for AI-run households.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Amazon Experience Centers Look to Transform Smart-Home Shopping appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

CFPB Chief: ‘Not Trying to Burn the Building Down’

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 16, 2018 - 12:00am

At the 2018 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, NAR members gained insights into financial consumer protection, net neutrality...

Categories: Real Estate

Did Buyers Just Miss Their Final Chance for Low Rates?

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 16, 2018 - 12:00am

Homebuyer demand has managed to mostly shake off the effects of higher rates so far this year, but will the latest round of hikes make buyers...

Categories: Real Estate

Report: Abandoned Homes Still a Drag in Some Cities

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 16, 2018 - 12:00am

Vacancies have grown more widespread in former industrial epicenters and the nation’s “legacy” cities, according to a new report...

Categories: Real Estate

What Makes Homeowners Tackle a Remodel

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 16, 2018 - 12:00am

A new survey reveals why homeowners are sprucing up their home. Their reasons are starting to change.

Categories: Real Estate

Retirees Preferring Dog Parks Over Golf

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 16, 2018 - 12:00am

Golf and pickle ball courts may be less of a lure for retirees. Instead, they prefer a dog park nearby.

Categories: Real Estate

Voice Activated: Do You Talk to Your Tech?

RisMedia Consumer News - May 15, 2018 - 2:58pm

How many of us are talking to our tech on a regular basis?

Ken Olmstead at the Pew Research Center recently highlighted the fact that nearly half of U.S. adults (46 percent) say they use voice-controlled assistants and applications to interact with smartphones and other devices.

Just over half (55 percent) say “a major reason” they use voice assistants is to permit hands-free interaction with devices.

The Pew study affirmed that voice assistant technology is being widely used to remotely control connected systems, including “smart home” lighting and heating devices. In fact, more than a quarter (26 percent) surveyed use voice assistants to connect remotely to those apps and devices.

So where are the newest voice control technologies being integrated in 2018?

Kohler, the global designer of kitchen and bath products, has introduced Konnect. This new platform allows consumers to conveniently personalize their experience with a growing number of the company’s products through voice control.

Claiming to have delivered the first voice-activated product line for the kitchen and bath, Konnect offers support through Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit.

Say the word and adjust the company’s lighted mirror, order up a soak with their voice-activated bathtub faucet, pick your spritz with their voice-command shower systems—and, yes, even apply a number of controls to the toilet!

Kristen Hicks at SeniorAdvisor.com says voice-activation improvements like these are helping countless homeowners age in place, by turning lights on and off, keeping grocery and to-do lists, reminding folks to take meds, changing interior temperature settings, using voice-activated technology to be sure doors are locked, and, most importantly, calling for help in an emergency. Hicks says while many home alert systems require reaching a phone or a button, a voice command can be issued without having to move.

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

The post Voice Activated: Do You Talk to Your Tech? appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Use Blog Comments to Boost Your Web Traffic

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 15, 2018 - 12:00am

One of the most overlooked and underrated ways to promote your blog or website is within the comment section of other websites and blogs, notes a...

Categories: Real Estate

The Strategic Move Behind a $1 List Price

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 15, 2018 - 12:00am

For years, a real estate professional in Edmond, Okla., had told his sellers that even if they priced their home for just a dollar, the market...

Categories: Real Estate

Old Dog Finds New Home in Coldwell Banker Ad

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 15, 2018 - 12:00am

The real estate brand champions both the work of its agents and the joy of adopting shelter pets in its latest advertisement.

Categories: Real Estate

Startup Turns Buyer Bids Into All-Cash Offers

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 15, 2018 - 12:00am

In a competitive market, some buyers are increasingly losing out to people closing deals with all cash. A startup wants to level that playing...

Categories: Real Estate

Negotiating Home Fixtures: Who Gets What?

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 15, 2018 - 12:00am

Make sure buyers don’t fall in love with a specific item in the house only find out the seller is taking it with them.

Categories: Real Estate

The Recession’s Lingering Impact on Buyers

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 15, 2018 - 12:00am

The recovery has rolled on for more than eight years and builders say a new breed of home shopper has emerged.

Categories: Real Estate

Common Home-Buying Mistakes People Make at Every Age

RisMedia - May 14, 2018 - 2:51pm

(TNS)—No matter the age or life stage, everyone makes mistakes when it comes to home-buying.

Whether it’s picking the wrong location or buying more house than you can afford, the mistakes are often universal, says Ilyce Glink, author of “100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask.”

“When you’re in your 20s, your life isn’t the same as when you’re retired, and yet you’re both going to make timing mistakes,” Glink says. “You may make location mistakes. You may not think about what you need for every stage of your life, so you buy the wrong size home or make a bad money decision.”

Even so, certain age groups are more susceptible to particular missteps than others. Here are common mistakes homeowners make at each age, and a few ways to avoid them.

20s: Getting the Wrong Type of Mortgage
People in their 20s are just starting their careers and usually have less money saved than older homebuyers. For these folks, paying less for a mortgage is not just a priority, but a necessity.

This can be a bad thing if buyers get into an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) thinking they will earn more money down the road, says Michael Corbett, host of Extra’s “Mansions and Millionaires” and author of “Find It, Fix It, Flip It.”

“Younger buyers might get an adjustable-rate mortgage because the rate is really low; it’s like a teaser rate, and they think, ‘I’m going to get it because I’m improving in my job situation or I’ll pay off my student loan’—but if that doesn’t happen then, when interest rates go up in five to seven years, they’re going to see their mortgage rates double or even triple,” Corbett says.

If the rates on ARMs increase dramatically, there’s a chance the borrower will no longer be able to afford their mortgage payment, which could put the house in jeopardy. Before leaping into an ARM with just a dream of a house and a hope for a bigger paycheck, consider other cost-saving alternatives.

Along with popular programs like FHA loans and VA loans, there are other lesser-known initiatives geared to homebuyers on a fixed income. The HUD-sponsored Good Neighbor Next Door program, for example, offers home-buying assistance for law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teachers.

Along with federal money, there are also state-sponsored grants for first-time homebuyers, which you can typically find on your state’s website.

30s: Not Thinking About the Future
Homebuyers in their 30s blunder by not considering a future family when they’re standing in the middle of downtown condo with gorgeous views and access to a rooftop pool. While snagging the ultimate bachelor or bachelorette pad might seem alluring, it can also cost you money down the road, Corbett says.

“What happens is they end up having to sell—maybe not at an appropriate time—the bachelor pad and get into another house,” says Corbett. “Now they’re doing it under duress instead of planning ahead the first time, so there’s a lot of money lost there.”

If you plan on having a family, it’s important to consider that when you’re home shopping, even if you’re currently single. Glink says to ask yourself these questions before buying a home:

  • Who do I imagine living with in the future?
  • Where do I imagine living?
  • How do I imagine living?

Those answers should be an integral part of what you look for in a home. For example, if you think you might want kids or even a dog, you’ll probably want to choose a home with a backyard versus one near a great nightlife.

40s-50s: Overestimating Your Budget
In your 40s and 50s, you tend to have more money, which can lead to overestimating your budget and buying a house you can’t afford. One way to avoid this is to figure out your lifestyle comfort level, Glink says.

“Just because you can afford a $500,000 home doesn’t mean you should buy one,” says Glink. “If you’re married and both you and your spouse are working, figure out whether or not you can afford the mortgage payment if one of you gets laid off.”

Figuring out your budget is a critical step for buyers of all ages. Even experienced homebuyers can make the mistake of spending at their limit, which can mean making sacrifices that they weren’t prepared to make. Use Bankrate’s home affordability calculator to determine how much you should spend.

The takeaway for buyers in their 40s and 50s is to leave room in the budget for things they aren’t willing to give up—for example, private school for the kids.

60s and up: Falling in Love With That Vacation Home
Many homeowners in their 60s are retired or getting ready to retire. Among the many decisions retirees make is where to live. While some choose to stay where they are, many plan on moving to warmer climates, or even another country.

A costly mistake retirees make, Glink says, is going on vacation, falling in love with the place and moving immediately. Relocating and buying a home is an expensive process, so retirees should be sure they familiarize themselves with a new place before buying.

“Too many retirees make the mistake of going on vacation, and they think, ‘Oh my god, this is great,’ and they go home immediately and they sell their house,” says Glink. “They get there and they hate it. They didn’t spend enough time there.”

Before buying a new house in your vacation paradise, be sure to visit the area in every climate. For example, Florida is great in the winter, but many people might not be comfortable in the humid summer months. The same goes for Northern areas—what’s blissful in one season can be awful in another.

©2018 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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

The post Common Home-Buying Mistakes People Make at Every Age appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Homeownership Is Becoming Much Pricier

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 14, 2018 - 12:00am

Rapid home price gains in the first quarter, mixed with higher mortgage rates, are basically eliminating any meaningful gains home buyers may be...

Categories: Real Estate

Best Tip to First-Time Buyers: Act Fast

NAR Daily News Magazine - May 14, 2018 - 12:00am

Those who are serious about buying can’t afford to linger.

Categories: Real Estate