It Costs to be a Renter in Today’s Market

It Costs To Be A Renter In Today’s Market

In most major cities in the U.S. when it comes to home affordability, buying a home instead of renting is usually the less expensive route. For years individuals have put off homeownership in order to save more money, but with rent prices steadily rising month after month, it may be time to rethink your money saving strategy.

According to ATTOM Data Solutions’ 2017 Rental Affordability report, in 66% of the housing market buying is more affordable than renting when looking at monthly payments alone. However, homeownership comes with other costs such as a sizable down payment and other fees, but when thinking of long term investments, owning your home can produce the higher savings.

When deciding to own a home, there are a number of factors you must consider such as the amount of time you plan on staying in your home and if you’re financially stable enough to take on a mortgage. However, if you find yourself throwing money into a property you’ve been renting long term, it’s important to keep in mind you are still technically paying a mortgage, just not your own.

If you are at a point in your life where you can realistically jump on the real estate train but you have made a decision to forego homeownership, now may be the time to opt in. Rates are rising, but they’re still relatively low by historical standards. Also, as you may already know, in many housing markets inventory is low and may continue shrinking. This means, there will be even fewer homes to choose from this time next year than there are now. So, if you’re on the fence about whether you should renew your lease or begin searching for a new home of your own, weigh your options and decide which choice makes the most financial sense for you. Check out our calculator Am I better off renting? to help make your decision!


Spring Cleaning Tips For The Home Garden

If the presence of birds chirping and sunnier days are any indication, many can expect an early spring this year. This can only mean one thing, it’s time to start getting things cleaned up and in order for the new season. That’s right, its spring cleaning time!

Although maintaining your home garden is really a year-round chore, spring time is when you really have to kick things into high gear. Spring brings new life and new blooms. Following the below tips will make sure your garden is in tip-top shape and ready to welcome in the new season!

1. Set up a compost station
Composting your garden is one of the best things you can do for your garden’s overall health. If you’ve never composted before, the beginning of spring is the best time to start. The best compost is your own organic creation from food and yard waste. All you need is space, natural air, fresh materials and a large bin to hold everything. Your garden will thank you, trust us!

2. Purchase new seeds
This is the fun part. Before the regular season really gets going, you should spend time browsing and deciding which seeds you want to plant this year. Purchasing them early will give you time to start growing your seedlings indoors in preparation for your outside garden.

3. Nurture your soil
Winters can be harsh, that’s why it’s important to make sure your soil gets the appropriate TLC to ensure a viable living situation for your spring time growth. Breaking up the soil after a frozen winter is your best bet for making your life easier once consistently warm weather hits.

4. Set up shop
Getting all of your gardening tools ready will help you stay accountable when gardening time comes around. Whether it’s a corner of your garage, section of your patio or in a shed, give yourself ample space to store essentials.

5. Pruning time
Don’t allow disease to ruin your garden. Prune all trees, plant and shrubs before the warm weather brings new growth.
Have your own springtime gardening tips that work for you? Connect with us on social (is media supposed to be here?) and tell us in the comments!


Take Our 15 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge

Day 1: Put the dishwasher to good use

I know what you’re thinking, “I already use my dishwasher almost every day.” Yes, most of us use our dishwasher to wash dirty dishes regularly, but this appliance can be used for much more. Fill it up with things that don’t typically get as much care, like glass light fixtures, plastic toys, toothbrush holders, etc.

Day 2: Fluff up the mattresses

Most of us probably make a point to clean our bedding (sheets, pillowcases, blankets) pretty regularly, but how often do we spend time cleaning what’s beneath the sheets. Vacuum, spot clean, and spray a disinfectant on all of the mattresses in the house.

Day 3: Get rid of cabinet grime

This is especially important in the kitchen where dust, mixed with grease can create buildup. Give all the cabinets in your home a good wipe down.

Day 4: Clean the machines

The appliances we use to clean our things also need a cleaning of their own. Run a disinfectant cleaning cycle with an appropriate cleaning agent in your dishwasher and washing machines. Then make sure to wipe them down and remove any buildup. Also, give your vacuum a little TLC by replacing the bag and cleaning the nozzles and dust cup.

Day 5: Strip your closets

Sometimes the best way to clean up unwanted clutter in drawers and closet spaces is to start throwing things away. If you find clothes you haven’t worn in over a year, donate them!

Day 6: Sweep the broom

Or nix it altogether. Your broom can get filthy and without proper cleaning, you may be spreading more mess and germs. Clean your brooms or replace them with new ones.

Day 7: Down and grout

Grout stains are unsightly and a pain to clean. Spend a day getting those hard to reach spaces spick and span. Grab your soap, bleach, water or whatever works best for you, mix it up and start scrubbing.

Day 8: Comfort your comforters

Comforters and pillows don’t have to be cleaned often, but they still need to be cleaned.

Day 9: Declutter the clutter

Throw out old magazines, makeup brushes, plastic cups etc.

Day 10: Attack the oven

Crumbs and tough stuck on food can be a pain to remove from the oven, but a good oven cleaner, or even a little baking soda and vinegar, can make the process so much easier.

Day 11: Ventilate the ventilation

Dirty vents can blow dust and germs throughout your home. Clean them out and keep them clear.

Day 12: Clear the fridge

Many refrigerators have shelves that can be popped in and out of place. If they’re small enough, they are perfect for the dishwasher. Make sure all spillage is wiped up and old unwanted food that’s been sitting on the back shelf is thrown out.

Day 13: Make your sink shine

Lemons can be used to clean the exterior of your sink, and running lemon rinds through the garbage disposal can help with unwanted smells

Day 14: Don’t forget the walls

Cleaning your walls and trims is usually not at the top of a cleaning to-do list, but these surface areas could use a good spring cleaning. Also, wipe down all of the doors in your home and disinfect the knobs.

Day 15: Pet cleaning day

Throw all pet blankets and toys in the wash and rub down all of their living surfaces (kennels, cages, beds, aquariums).


New Found Optimism In The Housing Market Among Americans

After months and months of declined confidence in the housing market, Americans are shifting their opinions. Data collected by Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index shows an improved assurance after a 5 month decline.

“Three months after the presidential election, measures of consumer optimism regarding personal financial prospects and the economy are at or near the highest levels we’ve seen in the nearly seven-year history of the National Housing Survey,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae.

It seems the new presidential administration has sparked consumer optimism in the economy, and their personal financial visions. This increase in housing optimism could spark an acceleration in housing action. However, it’s important to mention that even though consumers believe it’s an optimal time to sell their homes, they aren’t too thrilled about their prospects in purchasing a new home.

The American people’s belief that home prices would increase over the next year rose by seven percentage points while the percentage of those who believe it’s a good time to purchase a home decreased by three percentage points. The number of individuals who believe mortgages will stay the same remained unchanged.


Housing In 2017 Under New Administration

Over a month into the Trump presidency, we are already seeing the impact the new administration is having on the housing industry. In fact, in a matter of hours after being inaugurated, President Trump issued an executive order that immediately suspended a fee reduction that was set to go into effect on FHA loans. This reduction would have cut the fees by .25 percentage points of the total amount borrowed.

Reactions to this new order have been mixed across the board with some advisors believing the suspension will take money away from low income homeowners while others believe the action will protect taxpayers if we were to experience another housing crash.

Regardless of who takes office, rate volatility has always been present at the start of a new administration, and the expectation is no different for Trump’s presidency. Uncertainty about the president’s plans for tax reform and financial regulations is the main cause of rate volatility at the beginning of a presidential term. As President Trump begins to make his financial regulatory plans clear, we will begin to see which way the ball rolls as far as mortgage rates go.

Barring a recession, home prices are expected to steadily rise, but as building and construction increases to keep up with demand from new homebuyers, prices will eventually plateau. We are already beginning to see price increases due to housing demand in response to the Trump administration’s push to reform the Dodd-Frank Act which would make it easier for homebuyers to borrow.

It’s important to keep in mind that although the president and his administration do have a major impact on the housing market, there are many other factors that have influence as well.