Are New Homes Recovering?

Since the economy started its slow climb out of the Great Recession, one of the biggest lead weights that the housing sector has been carrying is lack of inventory. Many homeowners were under water on their house value and decided to stay put in their current home longer than normal. Those potential “move-up” home buyers were not freeing up inventory for first timers. At the same time builders were having unprecedented difficulty securing the kind of financing necessary to add to housing inventory with large-scale new home developments. Those two circumstances left first-time home buyers unable to move out of […]

When Lovebirds Nest

With Valentine’s Day drawing near, and the spring real estate market just around the corner, it’s the time of year when Lovebirds think about nesting. Buying a home together should be an easy process, as long as you enter into it with some idea of what will happen and the unfamiliar terminology you will encounter along the way. So, here’s a quick guide to make the experience easier. Whenever two people will appear on a title or deed, they most likely will need to qualify separately to be on the mortgage, or Deed of Trust. It’s important that the Lovebirds […]

Are You Ready for the Silver Tsunami?

Zillow analysts have reported that between 2017 and 2027, over 900,000 baby boomer-owned homes will go on the market every year, and that will increase to 1.17 million units of housing inventory from 2027 to 2037. That means approximately 20 million properties, (or 27 percent of currently owner-occupied houses) will flood the market, as the elder generation passes on or gives up their homes. Arizona and Florida, the two states that have the most retired residents, will experience the highest inventory jumps, expected to top 30 percent. Zillow’s Jeff Tucker explains, “In many parts of the country, the Silver Tsunami […]

Estate Planning: the Basics

Estate planning in its simplest terms is passing your assets to your heirs as quickly and tax-free as possible. Assets can be transferred via wills, ownership, by contract (beneficiary arrangements), and trusts. The best way to ensure that you have everything covered is to meet with an attorney. Regardless of the complexity of your financial situation, your attorney will most likely start you with a basic estate plan. The basic estate plan typically includes the drafting of your will, powers of attorney for health care and finances, as well as living wills. Wills – I have encountered many excuses for […]

What Are You Drinking?

Over the last few years it’s become perfectly clear that homeowners cannot take the basic utilities that provide services to their house for granted. Whether it’s the sanitary sewer or septic lines, gray water drains, or the water service that comes into your home, we’ve seen spectacular failures in public systems that have had major effects on quality of life, health, and property value. 1) Flint, Michigan is only the most publicized water system failure. There have been and probably will be many more around the country. Since most consumers only pay attention to water quality when there is a […]

Holidays Don’t Need to be Bank-Breaking

For many of us, autumn is filled with outdoor activities, spending time with extended family, and the start of an expensive holiday season. Before you hit the mall on Black Friday or make your online purchases on Cyber Monday, consider these tips for getting the most out of your holidays while minimizing your expenses. 1) Setting a budget – Before the holidays begin, consider creating a list of everyone for whom you would like to buy a gift and then assign a dollar amount as a target for each person. Make sure that the total value of all of those […]

Millennials and Online Fraud

For many years now, pre-millennial Americans such as myself have been hearing how computer savvy the members of the millennial generation are, how they have grown up with a mouse or a smart phone in their mitts, and what an advantage this gives them in the world that is rapidly evolving into existence. Well, maybe not. According to consumer complaint data recently released by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), millennials are 25% more likely to complain to authorities that they have lost money to fraud than consumers aged 40 and over. “The FTC’s latest Consumer Protection Data Spotlight shows that […]

Low Mortgage Rates May Spike Home Prices in 2020

If you’re one of the home buyers on the fence, thinking that you’d wait until the market starts to move sideways or even start heading downward, you might want to have another look at that strategy. A new report from CoreLogic says that annual growth in home prices will increase by an average of 5.4% before July of 2020. This represents a significant change in a market where price appreciation has been spotty and sluggish. What might cause this change? Low interest rates. In early June, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index for home prices, one of the most widely quoted […]

Is Real Estate Still a Good Investment?

If you had asked an educated investor that question ten years ago, they would most likely have looked at you as if you needed therapy. Of course real estate was an essential investment! Stock markets historically go through periods of bubble and bust. Real estate holdings gave stability to many portfolios because the boom and bust cycle tended to be much less dramatic. The Great Recession shook a lot of people’s confidence in that core belief. It was with great interest that I read a report at the end of June from CoreLogic that more than 11% of home purchasers […]

Baltimore at a Crossroads

With the recent resignation, in disgrace, of Mayor Catherine Pugh, Baltimore finds itself at a  crucial inflection point in its history.   The last three elected leaders of the city have left office either as a result of criminal corruption or ineffectual incompetence. During the same period, the leadership of the police department has become a revolving door for the same reasons: one of our recent police chiefs is currently in jail for income tax evasion. The resulting rise in the city’s murder rate can only be seen as a direct result of the poor choices made by those selected […]