Right now, there are more people 65 and up in the United States than there have been at any other time in our nation's history. Currently, that figure stands at 15.1 percent. Granted, not all people in their mid-60s are retired. (According to stats from 2017, 19 percent of the 65-plus crowd are still working). Nonetheless, many people who have the chance to retire or who get older and decide it's time to cross items off their bucket list, start taking more vacations -- and many are diving into the investment of purchasing a vacation home. And that can be a very good thing. Taking a vacation has been shown to lower stress, improve your cardiovascular system, and even strengthen your marriage. If you're a retiree in the market for a vacation home, here are some tips and advice to consider.
Many of us idealize retirement as a time of globetrotting and time-sharing on beaches as soft as powdered sugar, free of all worries about money. But since 14.5 percent of seniors in the US, who should be basking in retirement, live below the federal poverty line, that story isn’t as realistic as we’d like to think. For the vast majority of us, no matter how old we are, money is still a consideration. Just because you’ve escaped the 9-to-5 daily grind doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ponder these questions when looking for a vacation spot:
Square all this away, and you’ll be able to relax a lot more after you get the papers signed.
Doing Your Research
Now that you’ve got your finances in order, think about your desired area, and then do your research. As with searching for any property, it’s best to scroll through online databases, talk to a trusted realtor, or both. Expect a property’s asking price to fluctuate depending on where it is. Keep in mind that if you don’t have the cash to pay for a vacation home outright, you’ll need to take out a mortgage to get it — and if you’re already a homeowner, that won’t be your only home loan. If you can afford it, great! But if not, don’t be afraid to pull out of that plan. In the long run, you’ll feel far better in retirement if you’re not stressed out.
If you’re using a secondary property as a vacation rental, you might need to think about how to store some of your possessions. If you have heirlooms you want to be secured or anything you want to protect from accidental breakage, consider adding a storage building or garage to your property. Many people go with steel when constructing these buildings, as they are relatively easy to assemble and designed for durability. If you need more information, Armstrong Steel has an informative guide to the world of steel buildings.
Holding Down the Fort
Before you pull the trigger on buying your vacation home, read up on all the hidden costs that you’re likely to encounter. These include tax implications and stricter mortgage terms, as well as the cost of maintaining it when you’re not there. If you buy a condo or a townhouse, your homeowners association fees should cover your expenses in this regard. But if you have a single-family home, you’re on the hook for all repairs, great or small. If you hire a property management company, you’ll probably shell out at least $75 per month (not including repairs). Meanwhile, there’s also homeowner's insurance to consider.
Here are some ways to keep those costs in check:
Buying a vacation home in retirement is an investment, but it’s one that could make this next chapter of your life even more exciting. Know what you can afford, research your ideal area, and make plans for upkeep and maintenance, and you’ll be able to make the most of your new home away from home.
Image via Unsplash
The first 6 months of 2019 have undoubtedly been very promising to first-time homebuyers. Beautiful houses, with amazing scenery, alluring wall art canvases and gardens have witnessed an increase in prices that did not seem to end. However, the worrying trend has been slowing down since the New Year began, and mortgage rates plummeted to unanticipated lows. This development has, without doubt, been very pleasing to prospective homeowners, especially millennials who- in spite of well-known unwillingness to settle down- now have the desire to buy their own homes.
Towards the end of 2018, experts predicted that 2019 would be a buyer’s market. People who were planning to buy their first homes were encouraged to anticipate less competition than in previous years. However, the prediction is yet to come true. In most places across the world, it is still a seller’s market.
Will the trend continue? Is 2019 a good year to buy a house? Here is what you should expect in
the second half of the year.
The housing market will be driven by people who were born after 1985
According to analysts, 2019 is undoubtedly the year for anyone who intends to buy a house for the first time. At least 50% of all mortgages from a leading financier in the United States went to young people who wanted to purchase their first homes. Since even more millennials are reaching their prime, the numbers will definitely increase.
According to data obtained by the National Association of Realtors, approximately 40% of all people who purchased homes for the first time and about 20% of sellers in 2018 were between 25 - 35 years of age. As a matter of fact, millennials have made up the largest fraction of mortgage originations since 2017. In 2018, the youthful generation took up almost half of new mortgages and even overtook Generation X regarding overall loan volume originated.
There will be a marginal improvement of inventory
According to the most recent analysis by experts in real estate, inventory is steadily increasing for trade-ups as well as starter homes. However, demand may not be satisfied by the insignificant increment. The experts discovered that there was a 3.5% and 4.8% increase in starter home inventory and trade-ups between January and April 2019, in that order.
Compared to 2018, there has been a steady but marginal rise in supply in 2019. There is inadequate supply, particularly at lower price levels.
Total housing inventory is way below the average experienced before the global economic recession, and even though an upsurge in starter home stock can be beneficial, higher-priced market segments will reap most of the benefits.
There will be a remarkable increase in home prices
Since the year 2012, prices of homes have been increasing up until the first quarter of 2018, when they outstripped pre-recession highs. There has been no reversal of the trend ever since, and neither has it lost steam since 2019 began. For instance, between December 2017 and March 2018, home prices increased by 7%.
In the first half of 2019, prices jumped by a paltry 3.7%. The slowdown together with accelerated wage- growth are two major factors that are making the property more affordable for anyone who wishes to buy a house.
In spite of the enhanced affordability, increasing demand for homes against a limited inventory of property available for sale simply means that acceleration in price increase may occur very soon.
Low mortgage rates
Rates of mortgage plummeted to the lowest levels in the first quarter of 2019, something that was last experienced in 2016. The average was about 4%. The astonishing decline led to a refinancing (refi) rush in mid-2019 when refi made up more than 50% of all mortgage deals in just one week.
According to experts, the trend will continue for the next few months. As a matter of fact, mortgage rates could plummet even further.
The Federal Reserve in the US has opted to loosen their purse strings due to a slowdown of global economic activity. Consequently, there has been a remarkable decrease in interest rates, and they could plummet even further if the Federal Government implements measures that would lower interest rates to promote economic growth.
Buyers should not be in any hurry
Competition for homes will be less than what the situation has been in years gone by, the influx of youthful homebuyers notwithstanding.
In April 2019, a vicious bidding war was ignited by a simple 15% of offers. This was a remarkable drop from 60% that was experienced in April 2018.
Hot property markets have not been spared. In San Francisco, for instance, bidding wars plummeted to 22% from peaks of 75% between January and May 2019.
Is 2019 a good year to buy a home? Well, buyers in the United States and other countries across the world are not rushing to acquire real estate property. Therefore, anyone who intends to buy a house for the first time should not be in any hurry.
Are you thinking of renting out your home? In that case, you need to ask these 10 questions to anyone wanting to rent your house:
1. When are you planning to move in?
This is the question that shapes the rest of your engagement with the potential tenant. The answer here will help you determine whether or not the tenant’s timelines synchronize with yours. If, for example, a tenant wants to move in a month from now but you want to rent it out sooner than that, then there is no point in engaging the person any further.
2. Why are you relocating?
If the tenant is moving into your property after falling out with their previous landlord, you need to know what led to the fallout. Was it because of dishonoring their rent obligations? Was it because of neglecting their other tenant responsibilities as per the lease agreement? The answers they give will tell you whether or not to let them rent your property. In the same vein, ask them how long they have lived in the previous apartment and how long they intend to live in yours. If you establish that they have a habit of hopping from one apartment to another within unreasonably short durations, politely decline their application.
3. Have you ever been evicted for any reason?
This question seeks to clarify the #2 question even further. Maybe they weren’t evicted in their immediate former home, but you cannot conclude that they have never been evicted in the past. Ensure that they give you sufficient details about their journey since they started renting.
4. How stable are you financially?
If they are unstable, chances are that they will give you problems with the rent. Experts say that a good tenant is the one whose monthly rent doesn’t exceed 40% of their total monthly earnings. That is to say that if you expect the tenant to pay $1000 in monthly rent, they should be earning at least $2500 per month. And because monthly income isn’t a perfect indicator of financial stability, make a point of running a credit check to determine how much debt the tenant is in. If your new tenant is in the Gig economy, you might want to ask more questions if they are financially stable.
5. How many people will you be living with?
The last thing you want is to rent your house out to an individual, only to realize later that he brought in his extended family and some of his friends to live with him. There is nothing wrong with housing a needy friend or relative, except that more people mean more wear and tear to your property. Besides, overcrowding in homes is listed by most fire departments and health professionals as a major health and safety risk.
6. Do you own any pets or support animals?
If yes, how many do you have? This is important to know if you have a renting policy that doesn’t allow pet ownership. If you have a set monthly/annual deposit for pets or a limit as to how many pets a tenant can have, make it clear to them beforehand.
7. How clean is your criminal record?
As a tenant’s credit history is significant to your property’s financial future, so is their criminal history to your - as well as your other tenants' - security. Don’t underestimate the number of ex-convicts looking for rental homes in the US today. In 2015, a tenant screening by SmartMove showed that at least 22% of all tenants-to-be had a criminal record. Even if you don’t have a problem renting out to an ex-convict, having this information with you is necessary when planning your rental unit's overall security.
8. Are you prepared to pay all moving costs upfront?
Some landlords require tenants to pay a security deposit, one month rent deposit, and first month rent in full upon signing the lease. If you are such a tenant, or if there are other moving costs attached to your house, then let the tenant know beforehand.
9. What kind of a neighbor can you describe yourself as?
A new tenant can be so unruly that they force their neighbors to end their lease earlier than intended. If they like to play loud music or bring home too many friends, you need to know so that you can append a rule within the lease that will keep their unruly behavior in check.
10. Do you have any follow-up questions?
This sounds obvious but it is very important. You need the tenant as much as they need your property, so you will be wrong not to give them the chance to ask you the follow-up questions they could have. This presents you with the opportunity to appeal to the tenant.
If you’re in the market for a new house but don’t like your financing options, you may be happy to hear that there are other, less conventional means that can help you make a purchase. Traditional financing may suit the needs of most buyers, but it’s not the only way to go. Check out the following homebuying “hacks” if you’re looking for a different kind of deal.
Most homebuyers get qualified for financing ahead of time and end up spending every penny of that amount. However, sometimes it makes sense to spend less instead of reaching for the top rung of the ladder. Don’t forget that houses almost always cost more than their list price due to wear and tear, ongoing maintenance, emergencies, etc. Maxing out your monthly mortgage budget can come back to bite you (and it often does). Pay less than you can afford and you’ll be in a better position to handle the ongoing expense of home ownership.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a run-down property that requires a lot of work. Be patient and watch for a house that’s been on the market for a long time, one that’s in an area where you want to live. You may find a property that’s not getting a lot of attention for a reason you could live with (like not enough yard space, or no attached garage). Getting a house for less means you’ll be better able to afford any necessary upgrades later on.
People who live in desirable destinations, such as San Francisco or Anaheim, have a unique opportunity to offset the cost of homeownership. One option is to rent out a room — or rooms — in your house to vacationers looking for a good deal on accommodations located near attractions. For example, Turnkey points out that vacationers will often gravitate to rental properties located near popular destinations such as the beach, Disneyland, and Knott’s Berry Farm. You can then take this income and put it toward the mortgage payment or to make improvements that will increase your home’s value. Online rental platforms are excellent business tools because they promote your house to vacation renters and help you earn extra income.
It used to be a hard-and-fast rule of real estate that buyers need to come up with a 20 percent down payment. But let’s face it: 20 percent is a huge chunk of change for a lot of people — it can be out of the question for first-time buyers. Do your research and find out the average down payment in your community. You might be able to get the deal you want by putting down less.
Don’t give up on buying a home because you can’t come up with a down payment. There are loan options through the US Department of Agriculture, the Federal Housing Administration, and the Veterans Administration, which offer no-down-payment, or low-down-payment, mortgages if your credit number is at least 500.
Did you know that you can share home equity with an investor? It works like this: You and your partner investor combine forces and put down a healthy down payment, and you live in the property for an agreed-upon number of years. At the end of that period, you either buy your partner out or sell the property and split the profits. Of course, equity sharing means you’re not the sole owner, but it does give you added financial clout up front.
Sometimes, broadening your financial perspective can bring the property you want within your grasp. Financing through traditional means can restrict your options or saddle you with a mortgage that’s beyond your means, so explore other avenues available to you.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
It is very disheartening when the plants in your garden fall prey to disease. The question everyone asks is how exactly this came about. In the event that it spreads out will it destroy all your plants? For a fact, preventing disease when it comes to plants depends on the host, pathogens that attack the plants, and the prevailing environmental conditions. It takes all these factors to bring about disease. In that regard, the simplest way of preventing the occurrence of the disease is knocking out one of these factors.
You cannot consider your plants productive and healthy if they are not planted on the right soil. If the soil is not fertile, loamy or permeable then the plants are at risk of infection. Good healthy soil helps develop strong and productive plants. The choice of using chemical soil treatments has raised lots of debate lately. More industry experts seem to be in favor of using organic soil.
Just because you saw an attractive plant while on vacation and noted down its name, it does not mean it will grow in your garden. Before going planting ensure they match the surrounding areas planting conditions. Narrow your choice on those that adjust well to moisture, dimensions, soil quality, and light. Plants resistant to diseases and pests can save you from disappointment.
Always ensure there is adequate space for planting as it contributes to the plants' health. Every plant has its own unique set of needs. A few tips worth considering is the air circulation room and size of the pot when planting. If you opted for ground cover species, ensure they are grouped together in beds away from public pathways. If you group them accurately, the need for weeding will be minimized alongside the uneconomical water usage. The rows in between should have ample space to allow for maintenance that way fungal attacks are repelled. There are those who plant tomatoes alongside their fresh organic plants or non-hybrid beans - that way they maximize on the space.
You must have a regular watering schedule as it is a must-have requirement for any plants survival. Watering does not mean you have to make them wet. Not all plants demand an equal amount of water. In that regard, do your homework to get the right watering schedule for the particular species. The mornings happen to be the best time for watering plants given the atmosphere is cool and chilled. Unlike noon when the sun is overhead and the place is hot, water loss from evaporation is minimal in the mornings.
Tender flowers thrive in hot climates and can result in occasional heat waves. Water your lawn as recommended by an experienced botanist. Good examples are the canna, agapanthus, petunias, eucomis, dahlias, zinnia, and lots more. Where planting is required to fill the planting holes and drain it out before setting in the plants. Weeds can easily be killed so this is the best chance of getting them out.
If you are planning to drop a dime on high-value plants for your garden landscaping, get an expert opinion on the place you will have them positioned. Surprisingly, some plants thrive when under shade. Also, look at the planting position and ensure its well-drained. If the planting was done in a container ensure there are adequate drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
If there is too much exposure to sunshine there might be adverse effects on your crops. For instance, potatoes will fill up with starch, beetroots and carrots will ripen. Tomatoes need the sunshine to ripen to perfection. Plums and pears equally respond well to light and warmth. If there is an extended rainy season there is a high chance of the brown rot disease affecting them.
Pests to look out for during the hot weather season are the caterpillars, red spider mites and blackflies. If you have to simply squash by hand. Diseases like potato blight are also affected by the weather.
If you intend to fix some greenhouses in your backyard, beware that they easily overheat so manage the temperature. This can be done by shading or taking out some panels.
About the Author:
Lena is an interior designer at Homes in London, and she loves to be able to help her clients create their dream home because she believes that home isn't just a place, it's a feeling. She is confident that her experiences can help a lot of people so she expresses it through writings. If you need design advice, feel free to reach out to her as she will always be available for those in need. :)