Buying a Home for the First Time? What You Should Know About Warranties


Home service contracts, or home warranties, are an important consideration in the home-buying process, especially for new homeowners.

“Homes are a major financial investment, and repairs and replacements on appliances and major systems can cost anywhere from $700 to more than $3,500,” explains Tim Meenan, CEO and executive director of the Service Contract Industry Council (SCIC). “While new homeowners face numerous expenses, a home service contract can guard against these unexpected pricey repairs and replacements.”

Generally, a home service contract covers repair or replacement costs of major systems or appliances that fail within the contract period—often one year. This may include coverage of the home’s electrical system, HVAC unit and plumbing system. Typically, the contract can be renewed annually. Most contracts come with a nominal service fee, paid at the time of the incident.

Aside from monetary coverage, the home service contract provider will refer the buyer to a vetted contractor who can perform repair or replacement work—a boon to buyers new to an area.

Most homeowners with home service contracts call upon the contract provider two times or more each year.

The SCIC strongly recommends first-time homebuyers negotiate a home service contract before committing to a home. If you’re new to home-buying, discuss your options with your real estate professional—he or she can offer counsel for your circumstances.

The peace of mind, Meenan says, is worth it.

Source: Service Contract Industry Council (SCIC)
 

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Gated Community Homes Demand Higher Prices


To see gated community homes in NW Tucson, give us a call at (520) 665-3535.

Homes in gated communities command significantly higher prices – almost $30,000 on average – but these neighborhoods’ additional amenities can also reduce sale prices because they bring maintenance costs that outweigh the benefits of the amenities, according to recent research published by the American Real Estate Society (ARES).

“This study provides clear evidence that homes in gated communities sell at a premium relative to comparable homes in non-gated communities,” said ARES Publication Director Ken Johnson, Ph.D., real estate economist at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business and co-developer of the Beracha, Hardin and Johnson Buy vs. Rent Index.

Johnson refers to a study published by ARES in the Journal of Real Estate Research, conducted by professor Evgeny L. Radetskiy, Ph.D., of La Salle University and professors Ronald W. Spahr, Ph.D., and Mark A. Sunderman, Ph.D., of the University of Memphis.

The study examined a sample of 11 gated communities and a sample of matched non-gated properties, using a data set of housing sales in Shelby County, Tennessee. The researchers found that residential properties in gated communities command a noticeable price premium of approximately $30,000, most likely resulting from actual or perceived benefits associated with additional privacy, homeowner associations’ tighter controls on maintenance, home design and the added assurances against crime and other undesirable activities.

However, the study also found the presence of additional amenities – clubhouses, community swimming pools, tennis courts, etc. – within gated communities reduces sale prices by approximately $19,500. Sunderman explains that “additional maintenance costs associated with these amenities often outweigh their benefits, and it appears that while a gate has value, additional neighborhood amenities do not always provide additional value.”

So, what does all this mean to buyers and sellers? “The long-held belief that gates add value is supported by the data, as long as the impact of the amenities is properly factored in,” Johnson says. “This should set buyers’ minds to rest as to whether or not they are actually receiving a boost in value when they purchase inside a gated community.”

Sunderman adds: “From the perspective of both the buyer and the seller, this information should help each to better price property. A good understanding of what adds value and what does not should help create increased marketability of gated homes.”

For more information, visit www.fau.edu.

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Gated Community Homes Demand Higher Prices


Homes in gated communities command significantly higher prices – almost $30,000 on average – but these neighborhoods’ additional amenities can also reduce sale prices because they bring maintenance costs that outweigh the benefits of the amenities, according to recent research published by the American Real Estate Society (ARES).
 
“This study provides clear evidence that homes in gated communities sell at a premium relative to comparable homes in non-gated communities,” said ARES Publication Director Ken Johnson, Ph.D., real estate economist at Florida Atlantic University’s College of Business and co-developer of the Beracha, Hardin and Johnson Buy vs. Rent Index.

Johnson refers to a study published by ARES in the Journal of Real Estate Research, conducted by professor Evgeny L. Radetskiy, Ph.D., of La Salle University and professors Ronald W. Spahr, Ph.D., and Mark A. Sunderman, Ph.D., of the University of Memphis.

The study examined a sample of 11 gated communities and a sample of matched non-gated properties, using a data set of housing sales in Shelby County, Tennessee. The researchers found that residential properties in gated communities command a noticeable price premium of approximately $30,000, most likely resulting from actual or perceived benefits associated with additional privacy, homeowner associations’ tighter controls on maintenance, home design and the added assurances against crime and other undesirable activities.
 
However, the study also found the presence of additional amenities – clubhouses, community swimming pools, tennis courts, etc. – within gated communities reduces sale prices by approximately $19,500. Sunderman explains that “additional maintenance costs associated with these amenities often outweigh their benefits, and it appears that while a gate has value, additional neighborhood amenities do not always provide additional value.”

So, what does all this mean to buyers and sellers? “The long-held belief that gates add value is supported by the data, as long as the impact of the amenities is properly factored in,” Johnson says. “This should set buyers’ minds to rest as to whether or not they are actually receiving a boost in value when they purchase inside a gated community.”

Sunderman adds: “From the perspective of both the buyer and the seller, this information should help each to better price property. A good understanding of what adds value and what does not should help create increased marketability of gated homes.”

For more information, visit www.fau.edu.

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Entry-Level Home Prices Continue to Climb


The bottom third of the housing market has grown increasingly competitive, with fewer price cuts on listed homes and faster growing home values than more expensive homes, according to the May Zillow® Real Estate Market Reports.

Home values for the most expensive homes on the market, which at one point in February 2014 were growing at an average of 7 percent annually, have stabilized. Those homes have been gaining value at about 4 percent each year since the beginning of 2015.

Home values at the bottom of the market continue to grow at about 8 percent a year.

The stark differences between the top and bottom of the housing market shed light on the two very different experiences home buyers will face in most markets this summer. Buyers looking for the most expensive homes will find slashed prices, more options and less competition. It's a much different story for entry-level buyers, who will be up against rising prices, low inventory and tough competition, with homes selling over asking price in many of the nation's hottest housing markets.

Over the past 18 months, the percent of listings with a price cut among the most expensive third of homes has slightly increased, while the percent of listings with a price cut among entry-level homes have decreased. Since the beginning of 2015, top-tier homes have had the most price cuts – another sign that top-tier buyers are having an easier time shopping for homes in the current market.

The rental market is also stabilizing at the high end. A recent Zillow analysis found that rents aren't rising as quickly for apartments in more expensive zip codes.

"The top of the market is starting to stabilize, and people are beginning to take notice," says Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. "Buyers looking for entry-level homes are having bidding wars in many markets, while it's not uncommon for high priced homes to stay on the market a few months longer. The housing market is much more forgiving for current homeowners looking to move into a bigger, more expensive home. These buyers can be a bit more selective, and may even get a good deal."

Buyers looking for a home at the top of the market will have more to choose from than those looking for a home in the bottom third of the market, which are often sought after by first-time homebuyers. The number of homes for sale at the top of the market has remained flat over the past year, while inventory in the bottom-third is down almost 9 percent. Some markets are worse than others; in Portland, there are almost 40 percent fewer entry-level homes for sale than a year ago.

For more information, visit www.zillow.com

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3 Upgrades Every Homeowner Should Make


Buyers often ask about seller maintenance, updates and upgrades that have been made and improvements that add value.

(Family Features)—Improving your home can grow the value of your investment—if the right upgrades are made. No matter which kind of home you own, these home improvements top the list.

1. Power Backup – Natural disasters are on the rise, and expected to become more impactful in the future. Installing a standby generator system is one upgrade that will pay dividends in peace of mind. Look for a system that has automatic “power management” technology—this will power all of your home’s appliances efficiently and safely.

2. Smart Home Automation – The smart home is here to stay, and more and more homebuyers are looking for properties outfitted with the latest in home automation. Whether it’s an app that flicks on the lights or a thermostat that self-adjusts, integrating this technology can save you from inconvenience, more money and more time.

3. Security – You can’t put a price on safety. From keypad and silent alarms to cameras and motion detectors, a home security system is well worth the expense. Consult a home security expert in your area to determine which system will be most beneficial for your home.

These three upgrades are ideal for any homeowner. Keep these in mind the next time you invest in improving your home—they will be well worth it!

Source: Briggs & Stratton

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Need Roof Work? 5 Tips to Avoid Scams


With so many scams to separate consumers from their hard earned dollars, here is some news you can use to help protect your home and your pocket.
Replacing or repairing a roof is a costly undertaking—one that for many homeowners has been marred by disreputable roofing contractors. To avoid roofing scams, follow these tips, courtesy of the Insurance Institute for Home & Business Safety (IBHS):

1. Research roofing contractors diligently before hiring one. Consult the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and search for reviews and ratings online. Avoid contractors who have generated complaints, lawsuits, etc.

2. Confirm all credentials before hiring a contractor. A reputable roofing professional will be licensed, insured and bonded, and will be able to provide locally-based references. Request to review their license number, federal tax identification number, and certificate of insurance—a qualified professional will provide them. Fact-check this information with the appropriate authorities.

3. Get detailed estimates (in writing!) from contractors you’re considering hiring—more than one is best.

4. Do not enter into an agreement with a roofing contractor who solicits business at your doorstep, particularly after a storm. This could be a sign of an imposter.

5. Exercise caution when dealing with contracts. Be sure to read and re-read all documents, or have a third party review them with you, before signing them. Do not sign a contract with missing information—a fraudster may fill these blanks with inaccurate information. Do not feel pressured to sign a contract on the spot.

Most importantly, never pay upfront in full for roofing work. Scammers will make off with the money, never to be seen again.

Source: IBHS

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New Regulations Protect Students and Taxpayers from Predatory Institutions


The Department of Education recently proposed regulations to further protect student borrowers and taxpayers against predatory practices by postsecondary institutions. The regulations clarify, simplify, and strengthen existing regulations that grant students loan forgiveness if they were defrauded or deceived by an institution. The proposed regulations would also hold financially risky institutions accountable for their behavior and ban schools’ use of legal clauses to sidestep accountability.

This new regulatory effort builds on the Obama Administration’s commitment to protect taxpayers’ and students’ investments and ensure that all Direct Loan borrowers can engage in a process that is efficient, transparent and fair when applying for a loan discharge based on the misconduct of the institution.

“We won’t sit idly by while dodgy schools leave students with piles of debt and taxpayers holding the bag,” says U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “All students who are defrauded deserve an efficient, transparent, and fair path to the relief they are owed, and the schools should be held responsible for their actions.”

The proposed regulations would streamline relief for student borrowers who have been wronged and create a process for group-wide loan discharges when whole groups of students have been subject to the misconduct. They also establish triggers that would require institutions to put up funds if they engage in misconduct or exhibit signs of financial risk.

Additionally, the proposed regulations require financially risky schools and proprietary schools in which students have poor loan outcomes to provide clear, plain-language warnings to prospective and current students, and the public. The rules also make it simpler for eligible students to receive closed-school discharge.

Finally, in a major step to protect student borrowers and prevent schools from shirking responsibility for the injury they cause, the proposed regulations would prohibit the use of so-called mandatory pre-dispute arbitration clauses and class action waivers that deny students their day in court if they are wronged. Under these regulations, schools would no longer be able to use their enrollment agreements, or other pre-dispute arbitration agreements or clauses in other documents, in order to force students to go it alone by signing away their right to pursue relief as a group, or to impose gag rules that silence students from speaking out.

“These regulations would prevent institutions from using these clauses as a shield to skirt accountability to their students, to the Department and to taxpayers,” says U.S.Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell.“By allowing students to bring lawsuits against a school for alleged wrongdoing,the regulations remove the veil of secrecy, create increased transparency, and give borrowers full access to legal redress.”

Last September, the Department began a negotiated rulemaking process to clarify how Direct Loan borrowers who believe they have been wronged by their institutions can seek relief and to strengthen provisions to hold colleges accountable for their actions. Current provisions in federal law and regulations allow borrowers to seek discharge of their Direct Loans if their college’s acts give rise to a state law cause of action.

The third and final session of negotiated rulemaking was held in March, but the committee did not come to a consensus on a draft of the rule. The Department took the committee’s feedback into account when drafting this proposed regulation.

The proposed rule publishes in the Federal Register on June 16, and the public comment period ends Aug. 1. The Department will publish a final regulation by Nov. 1.

The proposed regulations build on years of work by the Obama Administration to protect students and taxpayers from fraudulent or failing institutions of higher education. Those efforts include the landmark Gainful Employment regulations ending Federal student aid eligibility for career colleges that are not paying off for their students, establishing tougher regulations targeting misleading claims by colleges and incentives that drove sales people to enroll students through dubious promises, requiring States to step up their oversight through the state authorization regulation, creating a new Enforcement Unit to protect students and taxpayers from unscrupulous colleges, and calling for improved accreditation practices that focus on student outcomes.

Source: www.ed.gov

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Posted in Affordability, Fine Homes, Housing Market, Predatory, Regulation, Regulations, students | Leave a comment