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Tuesday, January 12, 2016   /   by Jackie Spiro

When Is It A Good Time To Rent? NOT Now!

People often ask whether or not now is a good time to buy a home. No one ever asks when a good time to rent is. However, we want to make certain that everyone understands that today is NOT a good time to rent.
The Census Bureau recently released their third quarter median rent numbers. Here is a graph showing rent increases from 1988 until today:

A recent Wall Street Journal article reports that rents rose “faster last year than at any time since 2007, a boon for landlords but one that has stoked concerns about housing affordability for renters.”
 The article also cited results from a recent Reis Inc report which revealed that average effective rents rose 4.6% in 2015, the biggest gain since before the recession. Over the past 15 years, rents have risen at a rate of 2.7% annually.
Where are rents headed?
Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at realtor.com recently warned that:

“Low rental vacancies and a lack of! ...

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Thursday, October 8, 2015   /   by Jackie Spiro

Buying or Selling a Home? Reduce Your Stress by doing these 7 Things

Research has shown that buying or selling a home can be one of life’s most stressful events — right up there with filing for bankruptcy or getting a divorce. Preparation is the key to reducing anxiety. Here are a few tips:
1. Choose your agent carefullyAn experienced pro will be prepared for every twist in the road, minimizing stress for you.
2. Home buyers: List before lookingCreate and prioritize a list of “wants” and “needs” of home features before you begin touring properties. Waiting to think about what you’re truly looking for in a home until the showing will put you on the spot, creating anxiety.
3. Home buyers: Get mortgage preapprovalHaving your finances ready eliminates white-knuckled waiting periods, or unpleasant surprises from lenders after you’ve found your dream home.
4. Don’t take things personallyIt’s not you, it’s them. Or the market. Or the lender. Try not to take it personally if buyers value ; ...

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Friday, October 2, 2015   /   by Jackie Spiro

New Homeowners Waste Money on this 6 Things

OK, we’ve said it time and again, but it bears repeating: Buying a home is a very big expense—and once you’ve kicked off all that spending, it’s easy to find yourself caught up in rampant lifestyle inflation. After all, you’ve got an enormous, shiny new house just waiting to be filled with all sorts of nice stuff, right?
Well, take some quick advice: Don’t keep spending.
Homeownership comes with its fair share of unique costs—property taxes and urgent repairs and energy bills, oh my. There’s no need to add to their cost by shelling out for unnecessary expenses. Here are six major cash outlays that buyers can avoid.
Too much house
This one requires some thought before you actually nail the deal: How much house do you really need? Just because you’re pre-approved for a hefty purchase price doesn’t mean you should go as big as you can.
Not sure where to trim? Consider having l; ...

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Monday, August 31, 2015   /   by Jackie Spiro

Home Maintenance just got easier with these 4 Tips

Caring for and maintaining your home is an important responsibility. Regular upkeep can prevent costly problems from arising, make mechanical systems last longer, and have a positive impact on your home's value. Maintenance will cost you time and money, but it can protect your home's value and ensure the comfort and safety of your family.
4 tips to help you plan for home maintenance costs:

Set aside time and money. Once you move into your new home, you'll need to ensure you plan for the time and money needed to maintain your property, such as lawn care, annual deck cleanings, and duct cleaning.

Plan ahead for major purchases and home improvements. If you know your roof, for example, will need replacement in a few years, be sure to make this part of your savings plan now.

Take periodic inventory of your home's appliances, roof, decks, etc. Take note of when warranties end, the age of certain features, and when manufacturers recommend replacement.

Make sure yo; ...

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Saturday, August 29, 2015   /   by Jackie Spiro

Make your Move Easier with this 10 Shortcuts

Near or far, there’s no short of challenges when it comes to moving. Between organizing an entire household, changing addresses and getting quotes from movers, relocating to a new home can be more hectic than happy. And the biggest stressor of all? Packing.
To help alleviate some of that stress, we’ve compiled a list of clever shortcuts that will ease the burden of packing before (and unpacking after) a move.
1. Find Freebies – Forget buying boxes. Pick up free ones through Freecycle.org or the “free stuff” section on Craigslist, both of which list items by location. If you can, seek out boxes of varying sizes. And skip the supermarket cartons–they may contain food residue.
2. Pack to Unpack – The hardest part about packing is figuring out where to start. When boxing up your belongings, start in the kitchen, which typically houses the most items that are not everyday essentials. When you arrive at yoa ...

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