Consumer Real Estate News

    • The Biggest Mistake New Homebuyers Make

      14 December 2018

      As a first-time homebuyer, you’re dealing with a whole new world, with a lot to learn and a complicated set of rules to navigate. And no matter how prepared you are, there will undoubtedly be mishaps along the way. In fact, many new homebuyers often make one common mistake.

      As real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran recently told CNBC, the biggest mistake first-time homebuyers make is neglecting to save enough money for closing costs (a mistake Corcoran herself made when buying her first home). While you’ve worked hard to come up with the necessary down payment, forgetting to factor in closing costs can leave you short on funds when it comes time to seal the deal.

      How much do you need to factor in for closing costs? That depends on where you live and the type of loan you’ve chosen, so talk to your real estate agent. A good rule of thumb, however, is to anticipate adding on an additional 2 - 5 percent of the total cost of the home to the final price.

      What are closing costs? Fees due at closing cover a variety of costs, such as property taxes, homeowners insurance, prepaid loan interest and title insurance, as well as the inspection, application, attorney, appraisal and courier fee, as well as the fee for pulling your credit report.

      How can you prepare for closing costs? Your lender will provide an estimate of your closing fees with your Loan Estimate within three business days of receiving your loan application. Keep in mind that this is just an estimate; you will receive a revised Loan Estimate should your closing fees change along the way.

      Also keep in mind that many closing fees are negotiable, and some are unnecessary, so be sure to shop around for a lender that provides the best option. You may also be able to negotiate with the seller about who pays for the closing costs, depending on their situation. Ask your real estate agent whether this may be an option in your case.

      When it comes to closing costs, the most important factor is awareness. So now that you’re informed, you’ll arrive at the closing table prepared.

      This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional or legal advice.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Looking for Love? Consider These Cities

      14 December 2018

      While Cupid’s arrow can strike anywhere, a recent analysis says that true love has a greater chance of occurring in some cities over others.

      A recent study from WalletHub compared more than 180 U.S. cities across 34 key indicators of “dating-friendliness” in order to let singles know which metros score the highest for finding a love connection. The dataset ranges from share of single population to number of online dating opportunities to nightlife options per capita. Here are the cities that ranked in the Top 10:

      Best Cities for Singles

      1. Atlanta, Ga.

      2. Denver, Colo.

      3. San Francisco, Calif.

      4. Portland, Ore.

      5. Los Angeles, Calif.

      6. Seattle, Wash.

      7. Chicago, Ill.

      8. San Diego, Calif.

      9. Minneapolis, Minn.

      10. Portland, Maine

      Don’t see your city among the winners? Not to worry. According to the report, every city has something to offer when it comes to finding true love. Consider some of these other pro-romance findings:

      - Detroit has the highest share of single people, 73.77 percent, which is two times higher than in Fremont, Calif., the city with the lowest at 37.71 percent.    

      - Garden Grove, Calif., has the lowest average restaurant meal cost, $12.78, which is 9.4 times lower than in Dover, Del., the city with the highest at $120.00.

      - Indianapolis has the lowest average price for a bottle of wine, $3.68, which is 3.9 times lower than in Seattle, the city with the highest at $14.19.    

      - Port St. Lucie, Fla., has the lowest average price for a movie ticket, $6.63, which is 2.3 times lower than in Atlanta, the city with the highest at $14.93.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Great Things to Do With Your Tax Return

      14 December 2018

      For some of us, tax time brings a little windfall of "extra" money. Before you head straight to the mall, consider an alternate way to use your cash.

      Support local business. If treating yourself with your tax return is non-negotiable for you, tweak the way you treat yourself. Instead of heading to the mall or shopping online, support your local economy by shopping at local shops, or commission a local artist for a one-of-a-kind creation.

      Throw a fundraising party. Donating your tax return to a charity of your choice is a wonderful idea, but if you want to make your dollar go even further, use it to throw a fundraising event. Pay local musicians and food vendors to show up, charge a ticket fee, and publicize what you're raising money for.

      Save it. Putting your tax return in your retirement fund or stocking it away for college tuition is a smart way to make sure you have needed funds down the line. Do this every year and retirement will be a lot easier.

      Invest it. If you're an investment fan, get in the habit of investing your tax return to see your return grow over time.

      Spend it on memories. Using your tax return to plan a romantic getaway, a solo expedition or a family reunion is a wonderful thing to do with your cash. While the sizzle of new items fades, warm memories and exciting experiences last forever.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Care for Your House Plants When Moving

      13 December 2018

      There are so many valuables and fragile items to carefully pack up when moving that the last thing you may be thinking about are your house plants. However, if you’d like your treasured greens to make the journey safely and thrive in your new home, it’s critical to properly prepare them for transport. Here are five steps to take from Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook:

      - First, if you’re moving far away, be sure to contact your new state’s department of agriculture, as there may be restrictions. Certain plants might be considered a threat to a particular crop; however, if your plant is strictly an indoor plant, this shouldn’t be an issue.

      - Before you pack your plant for the move, replace the old soil with new, sterile soil to ensure you’re not transporting any pests. Two to three days before leaving, give the soil a good watering so that the roots remain damp while you’re en route.

      - Protect plants from heat, cold and sunlight that is intensified through car windows by wrapping them in cones of craft paper, a technique referred to as “sleeving.” Make the width the same height as the plant and wrap it around, leaving the cone wider at the top; then tape or staple the paper sleeve together. Slip the plant with its pot from the top of the cone so all the plant leaves and stems get pushed upwards.

      - When packing plants in the car, avoid placing them in the trunk. The best place is on the floor of the back seat where there is less chance of them tipping over.

      - When you arrive at your new home, prioritize tending to your plants. Take them out of their sleeves and water them as soon as possible. Keep in mind, they’ve been through a shock and will need a few weeks to recover, so don’t worry if they lose leaves or wilt - this is a defensive reaction that should be temporary. After a few weeks, they should adapt and recover to their new home nicely.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Healthy Eating Hacks for the Holidays

      13 December 2018

      The holidays can be great fun with friends and family, but in terms of healthy eating, the season can be a real disaster.

      Natalie Menza-Crowe, RD, Director of Health and Wellness at ShopRite, shares some of her best tips for bringing an extra serving of healthy to holiday celebrations.

      Make-ahead meals can save the day when you've already booked out your oven for other main dishes such as turkey or a roast. Try a go-to idea like a cooked-grains casserole featuring rice or quinoa. Best of all, each dish can be stored in the freezer until you're ready to defrost and serve them.

      Appetizers are a great way to get the party started, but no need to stress about them while you're trying to finish all of your other dishes. You can make your favorite homemade dips a day or two in advance, and store until you need them. To make your dips extra healthy, use low-fat yogurt in place of sour cream or mayonnaise and serve with cut-up veggies.

      Use pre-cut veggies, or chop your own, to save time. If your menu includes cooked dishes made with fresh seasonal vegetables, the smaller you chop your vegetables, the less time it will take for them to cook.

      Put your slow cooker to work. You can make all sorts of "traditional" holiday meals, such as sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes or even green bean casseroles, in a slow cooker, and they'll come out delicious every time.


      Published with permission from RISMedia.