4 Home Renovation Ideas To Make Your House Feel Brand New

Everyone craves the comforts of a well-designed and cosy home. However, even the most timeless décor can start to feel stale after some time. Whether you are looking to sell your home soon or simply improve it to increase your comfort, a home renovation is always a good idea. 

Depending on the circumstances of your renovation and your financial situation, you can either opt to go all-in or do a few DIY projects. Below are some home renovation ideas to make your house feel brand new. 

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Add New Lighting

Proper lighting brings any room to life. A room that is poorly lit looks cramped and dark, while one that is brightly lit looks more spacious, airy, and welcoming. There are numerous ways in which you can use light to brighten up your rooms. A simple method is to add floor and table lamps to your home. Placing a couple of tall floor lamps strategically in dark corners can make any room come to life. You can then layer these with lamps on side tables to make the room feel warm and cosy. 

If you want to get more adventurous, you can replace some of your outdated ceiling fixtures with some of the contemporary masterpieces currently available in the market. If your house isn’t getting enough light even after adjusting your electric lighting, you should consider renovating it to make your rooms more spacious or get bigger windows. Buddy Loans are an excellent financing option for your home renovation project, even if you have bad credit. 

Swap Out Sofa Pillows

One of the easiest ways to refresh your home is by changing your decorative sofa pillows. Consider mixing up pillows with different patterns, colours and textures, to achieve the modern living room look. 

If you are aiming for a cleaner, minimalist look, select the pillows in contemporary neutral tones. Mix in a few striped and graphic pillows in vibrant colours for a bold and eclectic aesthetic. To increase the cosy factor in your living room, consider adding some velvet or fur pillows. 

Update Your Window Treatments

Many homeowners tend to overlook their window treatments. They have a hard time determining the style that would suit their room best, therefore leaving the windows bare or simply installing blinds for privacy. However, this practice could make you miss out on a whole layer of decoration.

You can dress your windows to suit your taste and style perfectly. From gauzy white sheers, geometric curtain panels to minimalist bamboo shades, there are numerous options to choose from. Ensure that the panels you select match well with the colour of your walls and furniture. 

Add Art

Another great way to spruce up the look of your home is by adding paintings to the rooms. Take out any old pictures you put up before you started redecorating and replace them with unique art pieces that fit your current style. 

If you are inclined to modern art, you can invest in a few prints or lithographs from a local artist who paints in that style. 

Your home should be as comfortable and beautiful as possible. Apply the above tips to improve its look.

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Be a Homeowner and Reap These Benefits Today

To many people, owning a home is a dream. It’s also an asset that they can pass on to their children. Here are more reasons you should be a homeowner today:

Your Children Will Thank You For It

Being a homeowner means that your children will always have a place to go back to. It’s going to be the center of their childhood memories-in fact, it’s a permanent place to create fond memories. That’s why homes have such a strong emotional hold on anyone. It becomes even more important as the children grow up and even as they move out.

A home is a foundation that helps build a child’s personality. The quality of home he or she lives in has a great psychological impact. It’s going to affect the quality of adult they become. Owning your own home eliminates the stress of not having a place you can call your own. And the same goes for the children in your family.

It’s also going to be a place where they can play and study. Having your own home makes it easier to send children to school. And finally, a home is going to protect your children from crimes and violence.

A Home is a Financial Foundation

Having your own home is setting you on a path towards financial freedom. This is an investment in the long term. It builds wealth over time. Even if the structural strength and integrity of the house depreciate, the value of the land it sits on appreciates.

There are many reasons why the value of land appreciates. The first reason is that the population is on a steady rise, and so is the demand for land and housing. In simpler terms, land does get created like other commodities in the market. People are also more capable of buying land with steady employment. And finally, there is low interest rate on land than on other investments.

In addition, you also get tax benefits when you own a home. How does it happen? You will likely get an interest deduction from the property tax portion and interest of your mortgage. It’s highly beneficial because you can offset the initial amount of money you shelled out to buy a home.

And don’t forget that opportunity and every single time you pay your mortgage, say a monthly expense, you own more and more of the home. In other words, you are able to amass equity. Compare this to paying rent which is purely an expense. In addition, your equity increases as the value of the land increases as well.

Ultimately, you have more control in house-related expenses. A big comparison is that rent is often volatile and can change depending on your landlord. But if you own the home, you know the terms and conditions of the mortgage. This gives you more stability as to how much you’re going to spend on a monthly basis.

A home is also a prime real estate subject that you can sell for liquid asset. You can use the money to pay off loans, start projects, start a new business, or have the lifestyle you’ve always wanted. You do this by yourself by studying the market and looking at various real estate websites. However, it’s recommended to choose prudently and call in a real estate agent or broker who can help you with the process.

Positive Perks

You have more control as to the location of the home you want to own. Remember, not all lands and real estate property appreciates over time. Some might actually depreciate depending on the location.

For example, locations that have a high crime rate and are infamous are more likely going to cause the value of the real estate to depreciate. That’s why you have to do your research before your purchase a home.

Look for a bustling and developing local business fora. Are there new and upcoming shops on the way? What developments are being built?

You also want to look at the facilities and amenities available, because those boost the value of the real estate property in question. Take note of the availability of parks, gyms, grocery stores, and other establishments. You also want to take into consideration how far or close it is to work or to school.

And one of the best parts about owning a home is that you have free decorative rein. That means you can paint it in the colors that you want-or that you can paint at all. Remember that you are not always allowed to renovate in rented places.

You can also have your own yard, and you can do whatever you want to it. You can build a garden, build a garage, or even a studio. You have the freedom to do renovations, build a pool, and invite people over. It’s really one of the dreams that can come true if you own your own house.

The benefits of being a homeowner are numerous. Your children are going to thank you for it, and it’s a reliable financial move. Finally, you can enjoy some positive perks. So, be a homeowner today.

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7 Signs You Should Sell Your House and Move to a New One

The process of selling your house and relocating can be overwhelming. You need to be physically and mentally prepare for what lies ahead.

According to a 2020 Federal Reserve report, nearly nine out of ten adults are happy with their housing situation. If your home is not satisfying your needs, however, you may need to sell it and move to a new one. Once you’re ready to move forward, you’ll be happy to know that you have plenty of options to sell your residential property.

How will you know when to sell your house?

Here are six signs that say you are ready to say goodbye to your home:

  1. A Different House Would Better Satisfy Your Needs

You may need a new (and possibly bigger) home if your family is growing. You may also need a new house if you’re about to retire and want to downsize to a smaller residential property. Whatever the case may be, you should strongly consider selling your home if your current setup isn’t accommodating you.

  1. Your Area is a Seller’s Market

Real estate experts suggest selling your house if you satisfy any of the following conditions:

  • There’s a lot of selling and buying transactions happening in your neighborhood or community
  • The length of time houses are staying on market is going down
  • The prices of residential properties in your area are rising

You may also notice that houses similar to yours are fetching high prices. If you’d like to check this, you could use a real estate selling app to get a glimpse of the prevailing housing market.

If you’ve confirmed that you can sell your house at a pretty good price, you have the choice of walking away from your home with some serious cash.

  1. You Have the Financial Capability to Relocate

When you sell your home, you need to pay for the relevant costs. Some of these expenses include real estate commissions, relocation expenses and possible requests from buyers to pay some of their closing costs. If you plan to purchase your next home and apply for a mortgage, you’ll need to have ample cash to make the down payment requirements.

If you’re short on funds or foresee problems paying real estate-related expenses (even after you’ve successfully sold your house), you’re better off waiting and saving up money before you list your property on the market.

  1. You’re Emotionally Ready to Sell Your House

Remember that selling your home is an emotional issue, as well. Before you put the “For Sale” sign in front of your house, take a few minutes to answer the following questions:

  • Are you prepared to move out and leave the place where you, your spouse and your kids have made lots of wonderful memories?
  • Are you ready for honest and hardball negotiations over what property buyers are willing to pay for your house?
  • Are you prepared to hear the reasons prospective buyers believe your house isn’t perfect?
  • Are you willing to put in the work necessary to prep your property for house hunters?
  1. You Consider Your Home as “High Maintenance”

Maintaining a home can get costly. You have to take into account repairs and scheduled services, such as exterior house cleaning, septic service, snow removal and landscaping.

You may want to sell your home and move to a less expensive residential property if you are sick and tired of watching your payments drain your bank account.

  1. The Neighborhood is No Longer Appealing for You

You or your neighborhood has changed, and you’re no longer satisfied in your current community. There are plenty of reasons for this kind of mismatch. Your family, for instance, may be tired of the restrictions imposed by the neighborhood association.

Another possible reason is that you’re tired of the long commute to work. You may be burning outbecause of the number of hours you spend traveling to the office every day.

If these are your reasons, you may benefit from selling your home and moving to an area that will make you happier.

  1. The Renovations You’ll Do Won’t Add Much Value

Some homeowners remodel their houses to capitalize on a resale. Before you dip into your savings to pay for a renovation, find out if this move will add value to your residential property.

If you are unsure what kind of remodeling you need to do to increase the value of your home, get in touch with a real estate agent. This professional should know what upgrades will be worth spending on – and which ones you should avoid.

If you’re saying yes to one or more of these signs, selling your home could turn out to be a beneficial experience for you. At the end of the day, selling your house and moving on is a personal decision. Do what you think will help you and your family live happily for many years to come.

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5 Things You’ll Need To Check After Flooding

5 Things You’ll Need To Check After Flooding


The United States has a history of dramatic flooding. Natural disasters are often the underlying cause behind the changes in our American landscapes. Hurricanes and storms can work together to trigger flash flooding in some of the most vulnerable states. If you live in the Midwest and Southeast of the US, you may be familiar with the risks of changing water levels. Louisiana, Oklahoma, Florida, and Tennessee are some of the most exposed states. Floods are responsible for around $6 billion in damage every year. Therefore, if your home has been through flooding, you want to take rapid actions to reclaim your peace of mind. 

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#1. Emergency water removal 

The top priority to avoid lasting flood damage is to proceed to safe and quick water removal. Whether your basement has been flooded by heavy rain or you’re dealing with a burst water pipe, you need to reach out to a professional team to help you get rid of the water. Indeed, effective water removal requires not only specialist tools and equipment but also complete water management. The last thing you want is to throw the water out of one window to have it come back through another way! That’s where expert teams make a huge difference. 

#2. The crawl space

Sometimes, you don’t see the signs of flooding. Perhaps, the house feels damp or musty, but you can’t identify where the water hides. Did you know that many homeowners encounter expensive repair costs because they didn’t realize their house was flooded? This can happen when water stays in areas you don’t get to check frequently, such as the crawl space underneath your home or the unused basement. Typically, stagnant water can affect the temperature in your home, so you can use this to locate the hidden flood! 

#3. Your insulation

There was a lot of water, but thankfully it’s all gone rapidly. Here’s a question for you: Where did the water go? Stagnant water doesn’t evaporate mysteriously. If a significant puddle has disappeared, you want to check into your structural elements. Some insulation systems can absorb water, which means that they retain the moisture inside your walls. This will gradually affect the temperature inside the house, rendering the insulation ineffective. Additionally, the humidity can also lead to structural damage as it is slowly released over time. 

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#4. Structural damage

As mentioned, structural damage tends to occur when the foundation or walls are severed affected. In essence, it means your home structure is compromised. Even if the water goes away, you want to make sure you’ve got a team of experts to check your property structure and solidity. Typically signs of a compromised structure can be cracks along the exterior walls or the ceiling and sinking of the foundation. 

#5. The cause of the flooding

Flooding can happen for a variety of reasons. Hurricane, heavy rains, and storms are some of the most frequently quotes explanations for sudden flooding. However, a poor plumbing system, compact soil, and porous structure can also lead to water inside your home. Ideally, you want to understand the cause and determine whether you can prevent future flooding from happening. 

Nobody wants to deal with home flooding. However, more often than not, floods are not as devastating as they sound. If you act quickly and surround yourself with trustworthy specialists, you can protect your home from dramatic damages. 

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5 Things You Need to Know When Building a New Home

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Do you wish to live in your own house? Building a new house is an exciting experience. However, it can be overwhelming. Although builders are experienced in their job, you need to participate in every aspect of the home building process to make sure you end up with your dream home.

You need to make significant decisions regarding the house’s structure and designs since building a new home is not a passive exercise. Failure to make these decisions may force your builder to make them for you. Therefore, your needs and preferences may not be considered.

Additionally, failure to make significant decisions can also alter your budget. The following are some factors you should consider when building a new home.

Know your Budget

Before you begin building a new home, you need to know your budget. This will help you determine whether you can afford your desired home. Most house plans provide a cost-to-build tool, giving you an accurate estimation of the construction cost based on the area you prefer to build.

These numbers include tax benefits, construction costs, down payment funds, and other related costs. Instead of building another house in another area, you can opt for a Knock Down Rebuild (KDR) from a reputable builder.

Check your Builder’s reputation 

Although there are many builders available, they defer in terms of competency and experience. Therefore, you must research and determine the most reputable builders. You can search for their information online, or you can also get referrals from friends and family members. Work quality and punctuality should be your primary focus.

Build the Home with Resale in Mind

Regardless of how you love the home under construction, you may have to sell it in the future. Therefore, it is essential to be mindful of its resale value. Avoid adding a lot of upgrades that may overprice the home for the neighbourhood.

You should also avoid adding excessive extraordinary designs or features. The features you choose to install should also be appealing to others.

Think Green

Ensure you research features and designs that maximise your home’s energy efficiency. Your builder and architect should ensure that your windows are south–facing for you to maximise the amount of sunshine.

You should also ensure that the laundry, bathrooms, and garages are located on your home’s south side to maximise heat loss. It would help if you took your time to choose the best HVAC systems and energy-efficient appliances.

Remember to Make the Punch List

A punch list is a list created after finishing the construction process. It entails what should be repaired or what still needs to be done on the new construction. Your contractor or builder can help you create this list. It would help if you also took note when you visit the building. This can help you to detect some errors or what you think should be improved.

Conclusion

Possessing a home is a significant achievement in a person’s life. Although the building process is a fun activity, it requires the owner to participate in every aspect of the construction process. This ensures that their needs and preferences are considered.

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How Financial Independence is Possible through BRRRR

If you’re interested in getting into real estate investment, you will hear about the Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, and Repeat (BRRRR) method. When done correctly, this method will allow you to make most, if not all, of the money that you invested on the property back in a short time.

This investment strategy can be used on fourplexes if you can afford it, allowing lower regular expenses on a property compared to one to three-unit properties. When someone moves out of the dwelling and your property has a vacancy, your income will not go down to zero like it would with a single-family home. Instead, you will still have income coming in from your other two units while you look for a new tenant.

What is the BRRRR Investment Method?

The BRRRR method is a real estate investment strategy that many real estate investors recommend. However, several steps are necessary to make your entrance into the real estate investment world as smooth as possible. With that in mind, this is what you need to know about each step:

  1. Buy

The first step is to purchase a property that needs some upgrades and repairs. The property purchase can be made either by paying in cash, using a private home loan, or using a government-backed loan. However, to improve your investment’s potential return, you must conduct a fair amount of research when buying a property. Ensuring that you get the best deal possible in the property you’re trying to rehab.

  1. Rehab

When you find a property and purchase it, you will begin the rehab process, which, if done right, will address any potential upgrades and repairs on the property. Also, it would be best if you got the home looked at by an inspector who will recommend repairs and upgrades to things like:

  1. Replacing drywall that is damaged
  2. Bathrooms that need an upgrade
  3. Roofing repairs
  4. Installing new carpet or paint
  5. Landscaping overgrowth affects the property’s appeal
  6. Replacing kitchen appliances that are not working properly
  7. It can build bedrooms or units for single-family residences, duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes.

Once the repairs and upgrades get completed, they will increase the property’s value.

  1. Rent

After the property goes through the rehab process, you will begin to look for renters. This step requires that you screen potential tenants by making sure that they will afford their monthly payments. Finding the right renter will take some work, although you must make sure that you’re not too demanding since no one is perfect.

Also, an appraisal must be done on your property once the tenant moves in. You will, of course, have to notify the tenant when the appraiser is visiting their property. Moreover, it will also be beneficial to you if the unit is looking clean and organized by the time the appraiser shows up.

  1. Refinance

Once a tenant has lived in the property for several months and you have built an acceptable amount of rental history, you will be able to start the refinancing process. This process will require that you find a lender who will offer a cash-out refinance since most real estate investors recommend it. After the refinancing on the property, the money you borrow must be equal to the appraised value for the BRRRR strategy to work.

  1. Repeat

After you finish the process, you will take everything you learned and the cash you have taken out, and you will be able to start the process all over again. You can also even build a system that implements all the lessons you learned in your previous BRRRR cycle. Moreover, implementing past experiences will enable you to make the process easier and better for future tenants.

Government-Backed Loans

One obstacle with using the BRRRR method is that it requires that you fund not only the purchase of the property itself but the repair and upgrade costs. These costs can be high, and unless you’re an amazing saver, it might be a bit too much to afford. Thankfully, there are government-guaranteed loans that can cover the cost of rehabbing a property while also offer several benefits; these programs are:

203k FHA Loans

An FHA 203k loan allows you to buy a home and finance the repairs with the same benefits offered by FHA home loans. These benefits include:

  • Low 3.5% down payments
  • If the down payment is not affordable, you can get the money as a gift from a friend or family member.
  • The seller can also cover closing costs.
  • FICO scores of 580 also qualify, with some lenders going even lower.

However, FHA 203k loans can also cover repairs and upgrades to properties purchased and used for the BRRRR process. These upgrades and repairs are:

  • Remove all health and safety hazards.
  • Add units or bedrooms to a property with a limit of up to four units.
  • Update property accessibility for disabled residents.
  • Replace appliances that might be malfunctioning.
  • Change carpets, paint, and landscaping.

VA Rehab Loan

The VA Rehab Loan is the VA’s response to the 203k FHA loan. However, this loan is for veterans, active-duty service-members, and surviving spouses of deceased military members. Moreover, the loan offers some of the best benefits available like:

  • Zero down payments
  • Low monthly costs
  • Low-interest rates
  • No mortgage premiums
  • No prepayment penalties

Eligibility requirements for the VA Rehab loan are no different from the requirements for the regular VA home loan. Nevertheless, rehab loans meant to finance the repairs and upgrades to a property; including:

  • Repair doors, windows, roofing, and gutters.
  • Improve Insulation
  • Treat and get rid of mold and lead paint.
  • Upgrade the property to meet accessibility requirements for disabled veterans.

Both the FHA 203k and the VA Rehab loans are lent out by qualified lenders and guaranteed by the United States government. Meaning that the lenders get covered if a borrower must default on a loan, which in turn allows the lender to be a little less stringent about an applicant’s credit score.

Summary

There are several benefits to using the BRRRR investment method. These include the potential for a high return on investment, a fast way to build equity, and the potential for lower overall costs and risks once you start owning and renting out several properties. However, the initial costs might be slightly high, although government-backed loans are sure to reduce those costs significantly.

Phil Georgiades is the CLS for VA Home Loan Centers, a government-sponsored brokerage specializing in VA Home Loans. He has been practicing real estate in a professional setting for 22 years. To apply for an FHA home loan, call us at (877) 432-5626.

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Home Renovation Tips You Need to Know About Right Now

Renovating and updating your property is certainly something you need to plan for, and there are a lot of steps you can take that will help you with this. Make sure you take steps to help you improve your home renovation and revamp ideas, and use these ideas to take things further. There are a lot of factors you need to consider when you are trying to make your property better, and this is definitely something to focus on.

There are a lot of ideas you need to use to help you improve your property, and there are so many factors that you can use to help with this. Home improvements are a wonderful way of being able to take your property to the next level, and this is definitely going to help you make your home look better. These are a few of the best home renovation ideas you need to know about and implement this year. 

Photo

Safety Should be a Key Focus

Safety should definitely be a focus when it comes to improving your home and making positive renovation changes. There is so much to think about when you’re trying to improve and upgrade a property, and this is something that you need to make the most of right now. Come up with ideas that will allow you to improve upon this, and there are a lot of things that you can do to enhance the safety of the home right now. Ensuring safety in a new home or a freshly renovated home is really important, and this is definitely something that you need to try to make the most of moving forward. 

Be More Cost-Effective 

Working on being more cost-effective in the home can have such a positive impact, and there are a lot of factors to think about here. For one thing, you need to look at how you can be more energy efficient, and there is a lot to keep in mind here, but you should also consider work that is going to enhance the efficiency and cost-effective nature of the home. For instance, if you head to https://www.insulatekansascity.com/crawl-space-insulation/ you’ll be able to check out the best ways of using insulation and your crawl space to make your home more cost-effective and efficient. 

Which Projects do You Need to Outsource?

Some projects you will be able to take care of yourself, but others are going to require you to outsource them to experts. And this is a really important step because the last thing you want to do is to pay for work you can do yourself. But, you also want to make sure you bring in experts for the important and difficult jobs that need to be done; this is essential for ensuring quality and preventing future problems. 

There is a lot that you need to think about when it comes to making the right decisions here, and this is something that plays a big part in improving your home. You have loads of different options to choose from when you want to make positive upgrades and changes to the property. These are some of the things you have to make sure you get right when you are looking to make home improvements as much as possible.

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The Very Basics of Making a Millennial’s Home

The modern-day millennials are trapped in the middle of limbo. They are trapped under a pile of debt, yet the older generations think both so highly and so lowly of them. According to a recent study, millennials are already coming of age when it comes to spending large amounts of money. Companies are rethinking the way they market themselves. Millennials are up and coming to becomingthe biggest spendersin the market. Because they have a different worldview, old businesses reliant on traditional enthusiasm by the older generations are slowly dying out thanks to millennials.

As it stands, aside from Generation Z, Millennials have the lowest homeownership rate in the world. Aside from the lower wages, they are experiencing relative to the older generations at the same age, the impracticability of owning a home is more pronounced. You must really want to have a house for your own if you want to add real estate to your portfolio. A typical millennial nowadays would only go for a lease holding a property rather than buying it.According to studies, millennials are extremely underpaid, overworked, and not wanting to have children. They do not need a large property of their own if all they are thinking about is how to survive.

For those fortunate to buy their own home, millennials have a checklist of requirements that they need their house to be. What are the basics of millennial homeownership?

Low-maintenance

Their house must be low-maintenance. One of the most endearing qualities of millennials is that they are resourceful and thrifty. The world we live in now is hectic-no one stops to take a breath. What millennials look for in a home above all else is that it must be low-maintenance. They need it to be low maintenance for them to put their time and effort in someplace more critical. As a result, it is imperative to invest in a new or what is sometimes termed a “manufactured home,” however, it is worth noting that no home can be sufficiently protected from pests like ants and mice that can burrow their way into the home. It is important for millennials to have companies that have comprehensive services, to “kill two birds with one stone.” Companies like Pest Authority and many others work with the modern millennial in mind. A lot of millennials are working two jobs just to put food on the table. For them to maintain their house might take up too much of their precious time. A low-maintenance house is a must-have for millennial real estate hunters.

Unique

Their house must also be unique. A lot of millennials nowadays grew up in a McMansion suburb. McMansion suburbs are houses that are pre-built and are currently guided by Homeowners’ Association design. There is not a lot of room to be unique in the suburban environment millennials lived in. Most of the houses constructed in the decades of the 2000s are pre-made and are almost identical to their neighbors’. It is no wonder that most look to a house design that is unique in their own right. Instead of having a similar plot of house and lot, millennials go for those classically eccentric and different. Front doors with classical and unique designs will attract many millennial eyes. Windows withalternative window film and net curtainsare unique yet functional.

Spacious

If there’s one thing millennials love, any area millennials spend a lot of time must at least be spacious. Space is a recurring theme for those who are hunting for their forever home. The same must also be true as a major design characteristic of a millennial home. A spacious home is ideal for entertaining friends and family inside. With a ton of space, anyone can do any activity with their loved ones. Millennials, as a group, love socializing.

Contrary to popular belief, not all young people are glued to their phones and their gadgets. Older generations spend too much time around that criticism to a fault. Millennials love interacting with people and sharing their lives with them.

Convenient

An average millennial’s home must be convenient. Ease of access is vital for any budding millennial house hunter. Its ease of access to public transportation, for example, can spell the difference between paying the mortgage or not. The amount of money people can save by being close to every thinkable human need is important if one wants to survive. Any walking distance to any daily activity is a win for the house buyer. Convenience is a premium most millennials are willing to pay for a house. The cost you save just by being near work, for example, can not be understated. The closer you are to the center of commerce, the more premium you must pay to live in the estate.

Smart Home

Lastly, the house must be a smart home. Smart homes are all the rage for those with enough money to make it true. While extra expensive, smart homes are the pinnacle of human ingenuity in the modern ages. Smart homes reliant on modern technology that makes all areas of the house connected.

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Buy Your Dream Home for Little to No Money Down with these Government Loans

For many Americans, part of what it means to grow up is buying a home and raising a family. However, as the supply of homes continues to dwindle and the demand grows, it is much harder to buy a home. With increased prices and competition, buying your dream home is much more expensive today than it was for our parents and grandparents.

Currently, the median home price is $269,039 in the United States, which is too high for most Americans who do not have the $53,807 necessary to pay for the 20% down payment on the property. That high down payment is too much for most Americans whose median household income is $62,843.

Thankfully, three government mortgage loans can reduce or remove those initial costs that drive most potential buyers away. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) administer these home loans. However, each one of these loans has its benefits and requirements meant to target specific applicants.

FHA Home Loans

Home loans administered by the FHA are perfect for first time home buyers because they have come of the most lenient qualification requirements and some great benefits like:

  • 3.5% down payment requirement.
  • Lower monthly mortgage payments.
  • Lower closing costs.
  • A credit score of at least 580, although some lenders will accept even lower credit scores with a higher down payment.

These loans will even accept an applicant who has gone through some financial struggles in the past. Applicants who have a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in their record must have a two-year gap between their application date and discharge date. Chapter 13 bankruptcy recipients, on the other hand, must have court approval and a 12-month record of making payments on time.

One limitation that FHA loan borrowers have to work with is loan limits. These loan limits vary depending on the County. However, most of the United States County’s loan limits are $356,362 for a single-family home, $456,275 for a duplex, $551,500 for a triplex, and $685,400 for a fourplex.

USDA Home Loans

These home loans help lower-income families who wouldn’t qualify for a home loan otherwise to buy a home in an eligible rural community. To be eligible for this type of home loan, the applicant must be an American citizen and have a stable income either at or below the County’s low-income limit.

USDA home loans can only purchase a modest single-family home with no extra amenities and not used for any business purposes whatsoever. The house that is purchased must also be considered the applicant’s primary residence.

After meeting all eligibility requirements, the applicant will take advantage of some USDA home loans’ great benefits. These include:

  • $0 down payment requirement.
  • Competitive interest rates.
  • A credit score of 640.
  • Low mortgage insurance payments.

County loan limits also exist for USDA home loans, which for most counties are at $285,000 for a single-family home. Counties with a higher cost of living usually have higher loan limits.

VA Home Loans

Loans guaranteed by the VA are for Veterans, Active Duty Service Members, and eligible spouses. People who work in real estate considered these loans as the best Government guaranteed home loans available. These loans have helped more than 22 million Veterans become homeowners due to their outstanding benefits offered by VA home loans, which include:

  • No down payment requirement.
  • Lower interest rates.
  • Lower monthly mortgage payments.
  • No prepayment penalties.
  • No mortgage insurance premiums.

In addition to these great benefits, as of January 1st, 2020, VA loans have completely removed loan limits for first-time buyers. As a result, borrowers can now purchase a home anywhere in the country without worrying about abiding by different county limits. The only limitation is how much the borrower can afford to borrow.

VA loan limits still exist for applicants with more than one active VA loan. However, those loan limits have increased to $548,250 in 2021 for most of the country, formerly at $510,400 in 2020 and $434,350 in 2019.

Conclusion

Therefore, if you’ve ever thought about living in the United States, it might benefit you to look into all the advantages offered by Government guaranteed home loans. As a result, it is possible to buy a home in the County for little to no money paid upfront.

Phil Georgiades is the CLS for VA Home Loan Centers, a brokerage specializing in VA home loans. He has been practicing real estate for 22 years. To learn more about programs available to you or apply for a VA mortgage loan, call us at (877) 432-5626.

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Best Places to Purchase a Vacation Home

There are plenty of financial and even mental benefits to investing in a vacation home. For one, owning a vacation property can help build long-term wealth and be a great addition to your retirement plans. For another, it gives you and your family a place to retreat to when life gets to be too much. If you have enough funds to buy a vacation home in the U.S. but don’t know where to start looking, here are some excellent cities and towns to explore depending on the kind of scenery you love the most.

Mountains, forests, and lakes

Living near picturesque woods is more than just about taking Instagram-worthy pictures; forest-bathing also has many health benefits. If the sight of majestic mountains gives you a sense of peace and rest, here are some cities that are worth looking into.

Mammoth Lakes, California, is a favorite for outdoorsy types for its cross-country and Nordic skiing, signature skyline, high valleys, and fly fishing. If you and your family love beautiful wildlife and the great outdoors, buying a home in this region may give you what you love everywhere you look.

Another is Silverthorne, Colorado, which can give Aspen or Vail a run for their money. Known for the location’s exciting river rapids, giant peaks, trendy stores, and craft brew culture, it’s the perfect place that can help fulfill your mountain dreams and fantasies.

Another mountain town in Colorado that is a go-to place for people who love forest-bathing is Durango, known for its trendy steakhouses and old west structures. If you love mountain climbing, a famous trail has a peak that exceeds 14,000 feet in elevation. It’s a great way for you and your family to immerse yourself in nature when you want to get away from it all.

Across the pond is the Lake District in England, which is also known for its mountain forests, stunning lakes, and for being the place where England’s most famous poets retreated to. The most romantic old English castles also inundate the district, so you and your family will feel like you were transported into a fairy tale every time you visit.

Beaches

If you and your family love the ocean and want to live near it, here are some towns with beaches that you can explore some properties in.

Fort Bragg, California is a Pacific coast community that’s a few hours north of San Francisco. Glass Beach is an iconic tourist spot that features colored “stones” that are worn down old bottles, appliances, and headlights thrown off from nearby cliffs.

Keywest, Florida is a city known for its 19th-century wooden architecture, bustling nightlife, and various water sports. Ernest Hemingway also famously lived in the area, with his old home being a popular tourist attraction for literature lovers. It’s a great place to live for families who love the sunshine and high-energy towns.

Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, is perfect for people who love warmer weather. It offers longer and hotter summers that are made tolerable thanks to waters found in pretty much every direction. This town features almost 70 miles of picturesque beaches, and homeowners have enough space to mark their boundaries while enjoying the undisturbed ocean views.

Small town atmosphere

For those who love the look and atmosphere of a small town, Ellijay, Georgia, might be worth taking a closer inspection. It’s also known for its gorgeous mountains and woods since it’s located in the North Georgia mountains, but people who reside in the area can do so much more than hike and bike. This small town features iconic and family-friendly events like the Georgia Apple Blossom Festival.

Whittier, North Carolina, is also a location that is known for its forest and mountains since it provides views of the Nantahala National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains. Still, it is home to only 5,600 people as of August 2019.

It’s also a go-to place for hipster artsy types who need an escape from big cities because it’s only about an hour’s drive of Asheville, which is beloved for its historic architecture, vibrant arts scene, and the River Arts District. If you’re someone who loves being surrounded by good art and excellent music, this town may be for you.

Ask for Help

At the end of the day, you don’t need to do this house search alone. Enlist the help of a reputable real estate agent who can help you find the vacation home of your dreams.

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