time: 22:53:22 11/09/2018 view: 1855
World War II saw propaganda like no other war before or since. Our government had a particular plan for creating an environment in which servicemen could return home and resume happy lives. Women filled roles that had previously or would have been held by men. From secretaries to Rosie the Riveters, women went to work to support the war effort.
The propaganda created for that effort ensured women would return home after the war. As a result, the job market would be open for returning servicemen. Our culture still realized men as the breadwinners and women as the homemakers. Thus, women willingly complied.
To further fuel the plan of successful servicemen, the G.I. Bill of 1944 was passed. This afforded servicemen, both veterans and active, what we know today as V.A. loans. This can be a lifesaver for someone returning from war, especially if they have a young family waiting at home.
If you’re eligible for the VA home loan program, and have never used the program, then you have basic and bonus VA entitlement.
The $36,000 figure many see on their Certificate of Eligibility (COE) refers to a portion of entitlement known as “basic”. This is the VA’s maximum guarantee for loans up to $144,000. In addition, there is an optional entitlement to use for loans over $144,000. “Bonus” entitlement is up to an additional $68,250, and in certain locales, even more. Remember, this amount is only used for VA loans between $144,000 and the conforming limit, which is generally $417,000. In certain high-cost areas the conforming limit is higher, and the amount of bonus entitlement is higher as well.
Basic entitlement and bonus entitlement together are enough for a VA loan of $417,000 or more!
When added to basic entitlement, bonus entitlement provides eligible veterans enough VA backing for a loan of up to $417,000, or more in high-cost areas. In general, the maximum loan amount for loans over $144,000 is four times the amount of full entitlement. Ie:
In some high-cost locales, such as California or New York, this calculation can be higher to give eligible veterans the potential to purchase a home in those areas.
Low interest rates.
Currently, your best rate offered on a VA loan is 3.75 percent for 30 years or 4.875 percent for 15 years. Home buyers can expect extremely competitive interest rates on a VA loan.
Some loans are honored with no money down and up to a $417,000 cap. This is unheard of for the common man.
Relaxed qualification standards.
As exemplified above, no money down is unheard of for the average individual. Furthermore, low income can be detrimental to someone applying for a home loan. Not so with VA loans. Lenders understand that a serviceman or woman will always have work.
No PMI required.
Private mortgage insurance is required by law. However, veterans or active servicemen and women, when approved for a VA loan are exempt from this requirement. This affords the borrower thousands of dollars in savings over the course of the loan.
No prepayment penalties.
Some mortgages have a prepayment penalty clause. If you pay off the loan early, you are required to pay a fee or percentage of the loan. Our veterans don’t have to worry about that.
VA loans are for active service men or women and veterans only. You have to have served for two years consecutively, at any time. Moreover, during times of war, you are required to have served a minimum 90 days. Of course, you cannot be dishonorably discharged. Failing to meet any of these specifications will disqualify you from a VA loan.
You should know the VA doesn’t loan this money. Instead, the government guarantees the loans provided by private lenders. VA loans are the best deal on the market if you qualify. Needless to say, they’ve earned it. The least we can do for those fighting for our country is to give them a leg up at home. They deserve more than the average Joe. After all, they are our G.I. Joe's!
time: 21:10:40 11/09/2018 view: 1893
Thermostat systems were implemented in the 1950’s. However, new technology affords the homeowner more control over that system, even while they are away. By adjusting the temperature while you are at the office or on vacation, you can conserve energy and reduce your power bills.
According to homeowners who have installed such systems, you can expect to save 10-12 percent on heating and up to 15 percent on cooling expenses. Consequently, you would save approximately $140 a year. As these smart technology thermostats are in the $100-$200 range you can pay for it your first year of usage as well as increase the value of your home for resale.
By programming your lights to turn on and off by themselves you can not only save money, but also add security. We’ve moved passed motion detectors and now have the ability to schedule when our lights turn on and off. If you get home from work at 6:15 p.m. but it gets dark at 5:45 p.m., you can have the lights turn on just before you arrive for additional security.
The luxury of the latest smart technology in light control is: the ability to program the system to brighten or dim your lights according to your schedule. Want to wake up slowly and not be shocked into your day with too much light -- too soon? No problem. Prefer to have dim lighting in the evening so that you may fall asleep sooner? Done. As a matter of fact, all of these options lessen usage and increase savings. As a result, you can expect to conserve around 12% on your electrical bill or up to $264 dollars a year.
Green living, the wave of the future, or at least we hope so. Solar panels have been around for decades. Yet, most people can’t afford to implement them. That is slowly changing. With global warming, we can no longer skirt this smart technology. New plans afford the consumer more cost-effective ways in which to purchase solar panels for their home.
Adding solar power technology to a home affords a homeowner both savings on power as well as, a major increase in resale value. Solar panels can save you approximately $1,500 a year in electrical bills. Furthermore, you can expect around a $15,000 increase on your resale as a result of having them installed.
You can pay up to $10,000 to install solar powers on our home. However, there are government sponsored programs, including federal tax credits that can save you up to 30 percent on implementation -- if not more. Additionally, there are systems that allow you to turn off panels in an emergency or use only a portion of the panels if you are yielding an above average power source. Such benefits won’t be around forever. The sooner you can jump on this bandwagon the better for you and the climate.
One of the more stressful moments for a parent is having their kid locked out of the house. There are new options on the market for door locks. Some have a dial pad attached while others can be removed. (Think of the lock boxes invented for realtors.) While most homeowners appreciate a built-in lock pad so their children can simply punch in a code, the latest lock boxes offer incredible conveniences with the latest technological advancements. Apps for facial identity are being promoted.
In addition, Bluetooth tracking is being implemented. Chips come with the lock box so that you can attach them to your keys. This allows the key to be tracked. The homeowner is notified via an app that the keys have been removed or returned. Imagine leaving your car key for an auto technician to pick-up and retrieve your vehicle while you are away. Now, know that key is trackable at all times. Pretty impressive isn’t it?
You can even open or lock the device from your phone, anywhere at any time. This is convenient for both family members and contractors. It is especially beneficial for air b-n-b owners who don’t want to run out to the property to let every renter in. Additionally, there is a new kickstarter lock box that has solar power panels so that your lock box never runs out of power and is always accessible.
These little devices have been around since 1892. But now they are even better. A home buyer will pay more for a home that they feel is safer and more secure than the average place. But historically, they have been more of an annoyance than an appreciated home addition. Consequently, the latest smart technology for smoke detectors includes carbon monoxide detection as well as fire.
As a result, you can expect to save around 5 percent on insurance premiums. Moreover, they can be programmed to your mobile device or tablet to let you know if there is an issue while you are away. These new technologically advanced smoke detectors are in the one hundred dollar range. Quite the bargain as they also save lives.
I tried to select new technological advancement that would add value to your home and improve your quality of life. Welcome to the 21st century!
time: 01:24:10 11/09/2018 view: 2184
If you are going to buy your dream home, shouldn’t it be in a beautiful place? Of course, perspective is everything. Some of us want 70 degrees year round while others prefer all four seasons. History and culture matter to some, while nature matters to others. Too populous can turn one person off, while another will thrive in it. Ultimately, we all have our idea of ideal. In this article I tried to combine aesthetic beauty with various types of communities. Hopefully, there is something for the artist, the nature lover, the intellectual and the idealist. These are my top five picks for most beautiful places to live in the United States.
Grand Isle, Vermont
This little gem is a rather well-kept secret. It is a ferry ride from Plattsburgh, New York and an approximately thirty minute drive from Burlington, Vermont. It is a small island with 2,067 inhabitants. Thus, it is the ultimate in serenity. Home to a stunning state park with the second largest campground in the state, Grand Isle works hard to maintain its picturesque landscape. As you can imagine the sunsets over the water are incredible. Moreover, no one is in a hurry. Simply put, if you are strolling through the streets of this lovely island there is no reason to be unhappy.
San Francisco, California
There is no other city like it. Bohemian is a description that fits well. From the Golden Gate bridge to the view from Twin Peaks, this town will take your breath away. Furthermore, Victorian homes snuggled in tightly between rolling hills and glorious greenery make for great eye candy. Furthermore, San Fran is a town with cable cars to take you where you need to go when your feet wear out.
Rich in culture, the Grateful Dead found their home here when they were known as the Warlocks. In addition, the hippie revolution of 1967 held court here. Last but not least, it is one of the few places that you can walk down the street and find a young writer with a typewriter displaying a sign that reads: Poet for hire”. Need I say more?
Charleston, South Carolina
Laced with cobblestone streets, Charleston is romantic to say the least. The South Carolina Aquarium is housed there. The harbor affords boating, fishing and the best seafood on the southeast coast. Additionally, Tourism is a main source of income for Charleston. There are tours for history, ghosts, food and more to entertain you. Ultimately, if you like homemade biscuits and a sweet southern drawl ... this could be your favorite.
Are you already scratching your head? Maybe you thought, "Washington is cold and boring!" Boy, do I have a surprise for you. Sequim is a town nestled at the base of Olympic Mountains and along the Dungeness River. Rainfall averages 14 inches per year which is light for the Northwest. Thus, the ground is rich. As a result, Sequim boasts thirty lavender farms.
But, it gets better. The population is a mere 6,606 people. Moreover, the open air market has some of the best fruit and produce to be found in the country. Each July the lavender festival brings visitors who love to pick lavender by hand. Additionally, the temperatures are surprisingly moderate. The low is 45 degrees and the average is 72 degrees. Did I mention Washington doesn’t have any state income tax? You’re welcome!
Ka’anapali, Maui, Hawaii
Ka’anapali has a 3-mile beach and is just south of Wahikuli State Park. Back in Ka’anapali you have whale watching, nightly cliff diving ceremonies from atop the volcanic ocean cliff — Black Rock and golden-white beaches. Museums, art galleries and historic sites are nearby. Not to mention, the sunsets are to die for.
Maui is intertwined with waterfalls throughout the island. There is always something to explore. A pineapple winery and lavender farm are fun weekend adventures on the southeast side of the island. The one thing to remember about this island is … curvy roads. It takes thrice as long to get where you want to go. So live where you work. It will keep things simple.
I hope you found a town of interest here. At the very least you can visit and explore. We live in a picturesque country with many beautiful communities. Feel free to comment your own preference below. We are always on the hunt for fun locales.
time: 19:11:02 11/08/2018 view: 1496
Feel like taking a dip in the waters of rental property investing? There is plenty you should know before diving in. If you buy a rental property be sure to shop wisely. Demand is a priority. Is the pool of renters deep? But property value matters too. Is the housing market too hot? And does the rental market increase annually? The top five rental properties here have proven pleasant in all regards.
5 Portland, Oregon
If we were just looking at rental increase percentage and income, Portland would have landed higher on the list. However, the housing market there could drown a new swimmer. The average house price is $424,000 while the average salary is $55,562. In addition, the median rent settles in at $2,000 a month. That isn’t exactly a relaxing day by the pool for potential renters. The rental increase is 6.1% annually. Understandably, you may be more successful turning a profit if you don’t have to limit your choice tenants or lower your monthly rental rate.
4 Phoenix, Arizona
The median home price in Phoenix is currently $239,000. The average rental rate is $1,450 a month. There is certainly room for profit here. The rental increase is 4.7% annually. That is certainly swimmable. The biggest drawback in my book is the largest employers are the State and Walmart. This just threw your pool of renters into the deep end. The salaries in this area average $53,909 a year. Yet, the median household income is a mere $58,075. Your better options lie ahead.
3 Las Vegas, Nevada
The ultimate victim of the housing crisis in 2008, Vegas has definitely come back. One plus for this town is Nevada has zero state income taxes. The population is growing exponentially. With this said, the top employers are hotels. The tourist industry fuels Las Vegas. But tips are down 3% over the last year. Our average salary is $48,009 and our median household income is $58,432. The home value/rent increase ratio is solid. The average home price is $268,000 and the annual rent increase is wading out at 7.8%. These numbers are impressive. However, Las Vegas is in the desert. While many people like to visit in the right months, not as many want to live here full-time. There are warmer waters elsewhere and less sunblock required.
2 Charlotte, North Carolina
Now this is a beautiful town! Who wouldn't want to buy a rental property here? Green rolling hills, pleasant temperatures and four seasons. Charlotte is home to Bank of America and Lowe’s. The average salary is $45,610 and the median household income is $59,274. In addition, the average home price is a mere $231,000 while the annual rent increase is 7.3%. The median rent rate is $1,425. These numbers, combined with the climate and healthy employment options create the perfect environment for an evening of cocktails and jacuzzis. Who really needs a swimming pool anyway?
1 Minneapolis/St.Paul, Minnesota
The twin cities have a lot to offer a potential landlord. The biggest employer there is the United Health Group. The average salary is $49,140 while the median household income is at $73,231. But the 'diving board into the pool' is the home price/rent increase ratio. The median home value is $255,000. Meanwhile, the annual rent increase floats around 7.6 %. Furthermore, the average monthly rent is $1,725. These numbers combined afford you a sunny day in the pool of rental property potential.
If you would like to increase your odds of success as a rental property investor, consider these five locales. You certainly won’t drown in any of these towns. In fact, you are likely to learn the butterfly stroke. Don’t forget your sun visor!
time: 01:45:37 11/06/2018 view: 2454
It depends predominately on the market. If the housing market in that area is strong then it is also competitive. Research the market and see how long homes are staying listed prior to selling. If they are moving in 30 to 45 days, then you need to act more aggressively. The finicky kitten approach isn’t likely to work under these circumstances. Blink and you might miss out on the home of your dreams.
Often, the first question a buyer will ask is, “how much wiggle room is there?” But when someone puts their house on the market, 99% of the time, they want to move it quickly. As a result, the seller will have it listed in an appropriate price range. Because home loans won’t be honored if they are more than the house is worth, you take little risk in over-paying. The housing crisis of 2008 was a result of bad banking practices. As fines ensued, it is unlikely we will see a repeat of such behavior.
However, reviewing the latest tax assessment of the home will give you a tangible valuable of the home. As you are required to do a home inspection anyway, you will learn the true value of the property. (Be sure you find a good inspector who has a lot of experience.) If there are major issues that need to be addressed and the home is listed at market value, then offer a lower price. The lower price needs to reflect the expense of the maintenance required and not a gouging on the buyer’s part. But, if the home is priced according to market value and clears inspection, then pay attention to that housing market.
If the market is flooded and homes are averaging four to six months to sell, then you have leverage. In such situations home owners need to be more aggressive to obtain the sale. In contrast, if the housing market is hot and listings are moving in thirty days or less, you need to be the aggressor. There are certain areas, often in cities that remain “hot markets” long term. In such a scenario, the buyer may want to offer more than the asking price. It isn’t unheard of to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 over the list price for a home under such circumstances.
You can risk it, play hardball and possibly win. But, it isn’t likely. More often than not a buyer loses. Finding your dream home and watching it slip through your fingers is beyond disappointing. Know your budgets and your needs going in. Then act accordingly. Paying what a home is worth doesn’t make you a sucker. Remember, a home appreciates in value while a car depreciates.
If you pay the asking price on a home it doesn’t mean you have over-paid. Value doesn’t always equate to getting the most you can for the least possible amount. Sometimes value means getting what you are paying for and being happy with it.