The 5-Year Home Sale Rule

While some things get more valuable with age, it’s not always the case in real estates.

You probably have heard about the five-year rule, which states that new homeowners should generally stay put for at least five years before selling their property or risk losing money.

The reason for this rule is that closing costs and real estate commissions required to buy and sell will consume somewhere around 7-15 percent of the cost of the house. Your home will have to appreciate up to the costs of buying and selling just to break even. If you want to make money, then the value must exceed those fees.

Because real estate usually appreciates slowly and values aren’t an exact science, the longer you keep the house, the more money you stand to make. Markets are hard to predict. Historically 2 percent per year appreciation is an okay market, and 3-4 percent is a hot market.

When contemplating buying a home, it’s important to factor in closing costs. This is especially true for people who don’t plan on staying longer than a couple of years. Closing costs are expensive, and you’ll want to get that money back when you sell your home.

If you move out before you sell, you’ll continue to pay taxes and your mortgage, plus keep the water and electricity on for real estate showings—expenses that erode your profits.  For folks who need to move before they’ve built up an enough equity to cover the fees, renting out their home can be a good option. Generally, homeowners can cover their mortgage payments with rental income.

 After all is said and done, buying and selling a house is a costly endeavor. This is why it’s so important for homebuyers to consider where they want to be in the next 5-10 years before they lock themselves into a mortgage. If you don’t plan on being in the house for more than five years, then you should seriously consider renting or, if you’re in a strong market, renting your property and letting the value tick up while you move to a new location.

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Interior Design 2018 Trends

What makes 2018 interior design trends so exciting is the variety of materials that have grown in popularity. Whether you prioritize function, comfort or luxury, you’ll likely discover a new favorite material to experiment with. So, if you’re trying to rethink an entire room, pick out your dream sofa or simply upgrade your decor, look to the latest material trends for some inspiration:


If sofas are on your shopping list, remember velvet!  Luxe and elevated, velvet is the most fashionable material for sofas now. Appearance and texture are a major part of its appeal, but it’s the superior softness of velvet that’s especially well-suited to lounge seating. Velvet in rich blues and playful pops of mustard yellow and blush pink is what the buzz is today. In addition to bold colors, eye-catching curved frames are also being paired with this exquisitely soft material.

Naturality remains in fashion

While velvet is fast on its way to becoming a new living room staple, natural fibers like rattan and raffia are trending choices for both indoor and outdoor seating. While materials aren’t new themselves; what is new is the way they’re being incorporated into contemporary designs. Rattan weaves seem to be showing up everywhere, from armchairs with effortlessly cool mid-century profiles to sofas with bold, modern frames.

Eye pleasing Concrete

This year, concrete is making its mark on patios, decks and outdoor living spaces. Its durability and simple beauty make it an obvious choice for outdoor furniture, from tables and stools to planters and fire pits.To take this tried-and-true material in a fresh direction bring it indoors. Lamps with concrete bases and end tables with concrete tops will lend a bit of industrial-chic to living rooms, family rooms and bedrooms.


For 2018, brass is the new go-to metallic. Subtler than gold or silver, brass is versatile while still retaining a hint of glam. A brass pendant light with vintage-influenced styling will undoubtedly dazzle, but this metallic is very easy to coordinate. Brass is also seen it in more unlikely places, like a sofa lofted on brass legs, or desks that mix brass with wood.


Personal is what it should always be

Concerned that a trend might not be here to stay? While that’s always a real possibility, it doesn’t mean that an of-the-moment look can’t provide your home with lasting value. If a particular material speaks to you, keep exploring it and see where it takes your personal style.

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Determining the right price for a home

How to find out if the asking price of a home you want to buy is fare? Here are some ways to find out if a home is really worth that much:

 Ask your realtor for an overview of market conditions.The current trends in housing market can greatly impact a home’s value. If it’s a seller’s market, you may decide that the house you want to buy is overpriced. Getting a home in an area with a buyer’s market can land you a better deal.

 Your Realtor should provide Comparable Sales. Look for information about other homes sold in the area that are similar to the one you’re thinking of buying. Reviewing the listing prices and what the homes actually sold for will help you determine if you’re getting a fair deal.  

Amenities. The amenities can make a major difference in a home’s value. It’s obvious to expect that a house with more up-to-date amenities will be priced higher.  Just because a home has more amenities, however, doesn’t mean that it’ll be worth your investment to pay more. Odd amenities or ones that you likely won’t use may be inflating the home’s value, which does little good for you. It’s best to review the specific amenities and try to determine how much they’re adding to the home’s price before submitting your offer.

Knowing what a home should be worth can help you make the smartest decision when it comes to buying. By hiring an experienced Realtor, you might save yourself a lot of money on your real estate investment.

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When it comes to gutters-What to choose?

Weather you’re putting gutters on your home for the first time, or replacing your existing gutters, you may be surprised by just how many options there are. The experts say the cost to install gutters and related components like downspouts can vary widely, with installation rates ranging from a minimum of $3 to more than $17 per linear foot.
While gutters protect the sides of the house from mud—preventing erosion, reducing water damage to the foundation, and keeping visitors from getting wet—guttering can demand more maintenance and cleaning, distract from the profile or design of a home, and be a big expense when constructing or remodeling.
The four top gutter material options are aluminum, vinyl, copper and stainless steel.
Copper is a great choice, because over time it develops a special lining that protects from rust and other potentially harmful elements like algae and fungi growth, and therefore maintenance expenses will be significantly reduced. Copper gutters can last well over 100 years due to their remarkable durability.
Aluminum gutters, while relatively weather resistant compared to vinyl—and very lightweight. are less durable than steel or copper. Aluminum gutters need to be maintained to avoid corrosion and dents, so cleaning them and caulking them regularly is important. Since aluminum expands and contracts with the temperature, they’re prone to cracks, which need to be repaired in order to avoid leaks.
When it comes to affordability, vinyl tops the list because it’s lightweight and easy to install. Additional benefits include the fact that its color won’t fade, chip or crack over time. While it’s a top choice for many, vinyl can get brittle and snap in cold extremes, so it may not be the best option for homes in cold climates.

Steel ranks second when it comes to affordability; however, it’s important to note that it can rust in certain climates. Not only is it sturdy, but also it can hold a lot of weight, so sagging is less common.

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Home Sales are Leveling Off

Home prices and sales are at their speediest yet, but there are indicators of tempering.
In May, Nationwide listings were at a median $297,000, which is 2 percent higher than in April and 8 percent higher than in May 2017. Annual growth, however, lost steam; in February, home prices were up 10 percent year-over-year.
The average home sold in 55 days—a record—and there were 6 percent less listings than there were a year ago.
As per Javier Vivas, director of Economic Research at “The pace of U.S. home sales has officially reached a seasonal and historical high, but we’re also beginning to see slight signs of deceleration. As more and more new listings come onto the market, inventory declines are starting to lose momentum. However, total listing volume remains highly dependent on new construction, much of which is still out of the price range of first-time buyers—the largest segment of buyers” .

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Reasons to Use a Realtor


Real estate is a big deal. For most Americans, a home is the most expensive purchase they’ll make in their lifetime. It’s a serious transaction with significant financial and emotional ramifications for the parties involved, and having proper representation is critical.


Realtor® representation during a real estate transaction is important for both buyers and sellers. Here are six of the chief reasons:

Fiduciary responsibility. When you work with a Realtor®, their fiduciary responsibility is to you. That means you have an expert who is looking out for your best financial interests, an expert who’s contractually bound to do everything in their power to protect you. That’s big — the value of that commitment cannot be overstated.

Complex, ever-changing real estate regulations. Buying or selling a home is not like purchasing a plane ticket. Every home is different, and laws change every year and vary from state to state. Generally speaking, people purchase a new home every 7-10 years, and a lot can — and usually does — change between transactions. Realtors® are immersed in real estate, and they must stay current with all the updates in regulations, laws, contracts and practices. Once you retain your Realtor®, they put that knowledge to work for you.

Help finding the right home, beyond square footage and baths. Browsing online is a terrific way to start a home search — in fact, almost 90 percent of people start their home search online. But when it’s time to buy, knowing all the pros and cons of a property can help you make the right decision. Realtors® live and breathe real estate, and they can share information about a home that you wouldn’t otherwise know.  Your Realtor® can go beyond the aesthetics and tell you important details about homes you’re considering.

Pricing and selling a home. There are lots of sites where you can view price estimates for your home before you list it for sale, but you take a risk using them. In some markets, online estimates can be off by as much as 35 percent, and they often rely on tax records and data that can be as old as 6-12 months. Realtors® know the local market, have access to the freshest sale data, and can price your house in line with the market to maximize your earnings. In 2012, sellers using an agent got $40,100 more: The median sale price for the 88 percent of sellers who worked with an agent was $215,000, versus a median sale price of $174,900 for the 9 percent of sellers who didn’t use an agent.

Contracts and negotiations. Finding the right home is the fun part. Then the real work begins.: Today’s contracts can be 10 pages long — not counting addendums and riders. Realtors® can help you navigate these complex documents and craft an attractive offer that makes sense for you. Plus, when it comes to negotiation, your Realtor® is your advocate and can bring an objective voice to a very subjective situation.

Following a code of ethics. When you work with a Realtor®, you’re partnering with a professional who operates according to a strict code of ethics. In place for over 100 years, the Realtor® Code of Ethics ensures that consumers who work with a Realtor® are treated professionally and ethically in all transaction-related matters.

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Open Floorplans Getting Closed Off

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Open floorplans have been in high demand in recent years, with buyers showing preferences for open kitchens and dining areas tucked into great rooms. But could that be changing?

Home owners are finding that when entertaining they prefer to have a separate kitchen space so their guests don’t have to see the food being prepared or look at the dirty dishes afterwards. The separate kitchen and dining space also helps to remove one popular sticking point for home buyers: How to fit their existing dining room table into an open floorplan?  For some homeowners preference for separate kitchens is more nostalgic. They desire it because it reminds them of their childhood home.

Some listing ads are even highlighting homes with a separate dining room, viewing it as a selling point. Some architects also are responding to the increase in demand with what they’re dubbing “hybrid kitchens,” using pocket doors that can be opened or closed to give home owners the option of an open or closed kitchen.

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Is it worth remodeling?

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Every homeowner is periodically considering different remodeling ideas, and every homeowner wants to know if the money spent will be ever recovered.

The 2016 report, which compares changes in home improvement costs – both nationally and regionally — with real estate professionals’ perceptions of what those projects will contribute to a home’s price at resale, reflects that better times are yielding higher returns.

Trend highlights:

  • Attic insulation project tops the list at an average cost of $1,268, which increases the home’s retail value by an average of $1,482 – a whopping $116.90 return for every $100 invested.

  • Manufactured stone veneer again came in second with a 92.9% return, followed by the midscale garage door replacement at 91.5%, a steel entry door replacement (last year’s No. 1) at 91.1% and the upscale garage door replacement at 90.1%.

  • Replacement jobs such as door, window and siding projects — averaged a return of 61.5% while remodeling projects scored 57.3%.

  • Curb appeal projects reign supreme – 12 of the 15 highest scoring projects were for work done on the exterior of the home.

  • As a general rule, the simpler and lower-cost the project, the bigger its cost-value ratio; four of the five projects that cost less than $5,000 for a pro to do were ranked in the top five for cost recouped.

  • The upscale project which had the biggest percentage gain was the fiberglass entry door, up 21.2%; then came the two-story addition, an 8.1% higher recoupment than in 2015, followed by the master suite (up 6.5%) and the major kitchen remodel (up 4.2%) – see page 40 for the entire list.

  • The five projects with the worst returns are mid-range bathroom addition, upscale bathroom addition, upscale master suite, upscale bathroom remodel and composite deck addition.

  • This year’s 64.4% deserves an asterisk because the 2016 report eliminates eight projects from last year, including some with the weakest returns, while adding two projects, one of which – attic insulation – topped the list. But if you look at the 17 projects we’ve tracked since 2005, the results are similar.

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America is Rebuilding and Remodelling

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Americans are starting to ramp up spending on backyard decks, spa-like bathrooms and other vanity improvements after doing just enough to maintain their homes in the wake of the recession. The amount people spend on home remodeling and repair is anticipated to hit $325 billion this year, a level that hasn’t been reached since 2007, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Conditions Ripe for Remodeling

There are two big reasons for the recent surge in home improvement: rising sales of previously owned homes and increasing prices. Research has shown that a lot of remodeling happens around the time of sale, either before the sale or within a couple years after the sale. Sellers make improvements in hopes of getting a higher price, while recent buyers renovate what they don’t like in their new homes.

How to Prioritize Your Renovation

Much of the remodeling activity has been focused on necessary projects, such as roofing or siding. Seven out of 10 remodelers say postponed projects, which are often maintenance projects, were driving growth in the industry this year, according to a survey from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, or NARI.

But industry experts are starting to see a shift. Kitchens are the top growth category, followed by heating and air conditioning, roofing and bathrooms, and there is also a surge in bathroom renovations. We’re seeing homeowners moving back to discretionary spending projects, really for the first time in the last few years. Home office remodels and sun-room additions are among the worst makeovers for the money. Replacing your front door is the best.

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Retirees Buying Larger Homes

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According to a recent Merrill Lynch retirement study, retirees are choosing not to move to a smaller home. While some retirees are interested in renovating, and others are looking to relocate, a shocking two-thirds (65 percent) believe they are living in the best home of their lives.

During the next decade, the number of age 65+ households in the U.S. will increase by nearly 11 million, while growth in the number of households across all other age groups will be less than 2 million. This tremendous growth among older households is driven by powerful demographic forces, including the massive baby boomer generation now moving into their retirement years and increasing longevity leading to longer retirements.

Perhaps the most interesting finding is that retirees are opting for larger homes, instead of the traditional late-life down-size. The study found that halfof retirees didn’t downsize in their last move – and, in fact, 30 percent moved into larger homes. Retirees’ top reasons for upsizing were to have a home large and comfortable enough for family members to visit or even live with them. According to this study, today one out of six retirees has a “boomerang” child who has moved back in with them. Retirees who did downsize cite greater freedom from the financial and maintenance burdens of a larger home among their top reasons.

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