Top U.S. Metros for Real Estate Investment Revealed in New Report

With the U.S. homeownership rate falling to its lowest rate since 1967 in July 2015, this has been a banner year for many rental property owners, with vacancy rates at their lowest since 1993, according to a new inaugural rental report by All Property Management, a Buildium subsidiary. The rental market in the U.S. reached $173 billion in 2016, and although rents rose significantly, they still increased at a lower rate than that of the median U.S. home price. In addition to these market statistics, some of the results from this year’s report include:

The top five performing metros for the past year include: San Francisco, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; San Jose, Calif.; Louisville, Ken.; and San Diego, Calif.

The Western U.S. is currently the best region for rental property investment, thanks largely to the impressive rent increases and property value appreciation found there.

Worcester, Mass. had the lowest vacancy rate with 3.05 percent, and Birmingham, Ala. came in at the bottom spot with a 17.67 percent vacancy rate. The percent change in median rent was best in Buffalo, N.Y. at 16 percent and worst in Hartford, Conn. at -6 percent.

“Our inaugural report was created to serve as a valuable resource for real estate investors, property managers and landlords throughout the U.S.,” says Michael Monteiro, co-founder and CEO, Buildium. “Our team compiled data from a variety of sources to bring together the most useful information and help those in the real estate industry source new properties and to help in setting rents and fees, assessing value and benchmarking performance.”

The report also looked at other factors pertaining to the quality of real estate investments. Some additional data points include the capitalization rate, or the comparison of median rental prices to median property values (Dayton, Ohio had the highest percentage at 13.15 percent) and property appreciation, where San Francisco, Calif. had the highest percentage at 7.34 percent. The report also looked into job growth (San Jose, Calif. had the highest growth at 19.11 percent), days on the market (San Francisco, Calif. had the lowest number of days at 33) and future rental availability, where Austin, Texas experienced the best percentage at -1.47 percent. Finally, the research also included data on job availability, where it compared population numbers to current job openings (San Jose, Calif. had the highest availability at 36), and the cost of insurance premiums and property taxes, where Salt Lake City, Utah came in with the lowest cost.

For the full Rental Ranking Report, visit www.allpropertymanagement.com/rental-ranking/

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Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

Simple Tips to Get Rid of Stubborn Carpet Glue

By Keith Loria

Moving into a new home is a great opportunity for homeowners to tackle a variety of projects to get the house looking like their own—with changes and renovations beginning almost immediately after taking ownership of a property. And more often than not, floors are job No. 1.
 
For many, there’s nothing better than ripping up a carpet and discovering beautiful wood flooring underneath. The problem is, removing carpets can be a painful process, one that leaves marks on the floor due to the glue that kept them in place over the years.
 
These problematic remnants are typically harder to remove than the actual carpet itself, but with a little elbow grease and some basic DIY instructions, homeowners will be enjoying their new hardwood floors before they know it.
 
The first step toward tackling stubborn carpet glue is to determine what type of glue you’re dealing with. Not all carpet glues are the same, requiring different solutions and steps depending on the type you’re working with. Therefore, before you can remove any adhesive from the floor, you must determine what type of glue you’re dealing with. Tar-based adhesives are dark brown or tan, while yellow-looking adhesives typically signify that a carpet was glued down with a more general adhesive.
 
Once you’ve determined which type of glue you’re dealing with, go to your local hardware store and buy the appropriate removal material. General adhesives are best removed with some basic adhesive remover, while tar-based glues need mineral spirits to get the job done. Both require a good deal of that elbow grease we spoke about earlier.
 
The process of removing the glue is simple. Start by scraping off any spots you can, but don’t dig in too deep, as you don’t want to damage the floor. Next, add the adhesive remover, spreading it out evenly. Read the instructions carefully to ensure you keep it on for the correct amount of time. Also, since many of these adhesive removers can be toxic, be sure to wear gloves and keep the windows open to allow proper ventilation.
 
Use a plastic putty knife to scrape the glue away as this won’t scratch or scuff the floor like a metal tool will. If the glue isn’t completely wiped away, follow the instructions again and add more remover to the spot. This time, use an old towel to wipe away the remaining glue.
 
Once all the glue is gone and the floor has dried, vacuum the area so no glue particles remain. Buy some floor cleaner and polish up the wood floor so it looks brand new, and enjoy.
 
For more tips on removing carpet glue, contact our office today.

For more information, please contact marketing@ascentrealestate.net

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

Great Spaces: Prince’s Spanish Villa in El Paraíso

By Nick Caruso

We can’t get enough of Prince here at RISMedia (#SorryNotSorry), and this Great Space is certainly one for the record books.
 
Possessed with the need for freedom, the multi-instrumentalist Prince broke through barriers and convention in the music industry with a dynamite vocal range and some serious guitar skills. After marrying his backup singer Mayte Garcia at the age of 27, Prince bought this stunning villa in Spain as a gift to her. Located west of Marbella in the hills of El Paraíso, it offers views of the sea, mountains, valley and golf course. Elaborately decorated in pure Prince style, the villa was eventually sold after Garcia and Prince divorced in 1999 and redecorated by its new owner to tone it down to a more universally preferred elegance. And now, this Spanish beaut is back on the market.
 
Sited on 1.45 subtropical walled and landscaped acres, the 7,535-square-foot villa also has 2,583 square feet of terraces for outdoor living with a tennis court, pool and three-car garage with additional parking for six. The landscape is softly lit at night, affording ambiance for outdoor entertaining. Inside, visitors are greeted with an enormous Colonial-style double staircase with white marble balustrades sweeping down to the grand, chandeliered entrance hall. Adding to its elegance, the dining hall and interlinked living room and breakfast room have panoramic windows, making this European getaway the perfect pied-á-terre.
 
Upstairs are six bedroom suites, including two masters, with the grand master encompassing two levels. Public rooms are sumptuous with good flow, a new, fully-equipped kitchen has been reconstructed, and the entire villa has been updated with the finest materials. The marble bathrooms are beyond beautiful and private terraces abound, offering owners the ability to enjoy breathtaking panoramic views over the valley and sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea. It is said that this home and its romantic location served as the inspiration for many of Prince’s songs.
 
Additional luxurious features include a sunken bath, outdoor Jacuzzi, marble floors, air conditioning throughout, inside and outside security with camera system, a security room, electric generator, water tanks, irrigation system and a water well.
 
Named “one of the most influential artists of the Rock & Roll era,” Prince is rated No. 27 on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest Artists of all time. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, Prince won an Academy Award for his film “Purple Rain,” along with seven Grammy Awards and a Golden Globe Award. He’s sold over 100 million records, making him one of the highest paid artists of all time.
 
Listed for: $5.99 million (5.25 EUR)

For more information, please contact marketing@ascentrealestate.net

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

Home Prices Up 6.3 Percent Year over Year in December 2015

Home prices nationwide, including distressed sales, increased year over year by 6.3 percent in December 2015 compared with December 2014, according to the recently released CoreLogic® Home Price Index (HPI™) and HPI Forecast™ data for December 2015. Results also showed that prices increased month over month by 0.8 percent in December 2015 compared with November 2015.
 
The CoreLogic HPI Forecast indicates that home prices will increase by 5.4 percent on a year-over-year basis from December 2015 to December 2016, and on a month-over-month basis home prices are expected to increase 0.2 percent from December 2015 to January 2016. The CoreLogic HPI Forecast is a projection of home prices using the CoreLogic HPI and other economic variables. Values are derived from state-level forecasts by weighting indices according to the number of owner-occupied households for each state.
 
“Nationally, home prices have been rising at a 5 to 6 percent annual rate for more than a year,” says Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “However, local-market growth can vary substantially from that. Some metropolitan areas have had double-digit appreciation, such as Denver and Naples, Florida, while others have had price declines, like New Orleans and Rochester, New York.”

“Higher property valuations appear to be driving up single-family construction as we head into the spring.  Additional housing stock, especially in urban centers on the coasts such as San Francisco, could help to temper home price growth in the longer term,” says Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “In the short and medium term, local markets with strong employment growth are likely to experience a continued rise in home sales and price growth well above the U.S. average.”

For more information, visit www.corelogic.com

For more information, please contact marketing@ascentrealestate.net

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

Q: What Can I Do to Minimize Chaos, Danger and Stress Once a Remodeling Project Has Begun?

A:  Plan ahead.  Since your home will become a worksite once the remodeling begins, inconveniences will arise that can be minimized with a little planning.  Begin by having a frank discussion with the contractor to set guidelines and develop a clear understanding upfront about the various project stages and the processes involved.

 Talk, for example, about where building materials will be stored, how to best protect your belongings from dust and debris, areas of your home that will be off limits to workers and whether you will need to vacate the home for any reason over the duration of the work.  If a kitchen or bath will be out of commission, plan accordingly.  It’s okay to move the refrigerator, microwave and toaster oven to the basement or another designated area where you can prepare meals to avoid eating out.  Equally important are the rules that dictate how workers can conduct themselves in your home.  Will they be able to use your bathroom and the telephone?  Will they be prohibited from smoking, playing their radios or using profanity? Finally, remember to preserve a safe haven in your home where you can flee the chaos and dust and attempt to maintain your sanity.

For more information, please contact marketing@ascentrealestate.net

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

Q: What Is Universal Design and How Does It Relate to Remodeling?

A: Universal design is an approach to design that focuses on making all products and environments as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, physical ability, or situation.  In recent years, the housing industry has recognized the importance of a "universal" approach to residential design that modifies standard building elements to improve a home's accessibility and usability.  This allows for more equitable, flexible and simple use.  Many books exist on the subject, including Residential Remodeling and Universal Design: Making Homes More Comfortable and Accessible, a resource guide offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  HUD’s guide provides technical guidance on selecting and installing universal features during home remodeling or renovation. The modifications can range from expanding doorway dimensions to replacing kitchen appliances.  The guide emphasizes eliminating unintentional barriers and using designs and features that could benefit people with a broad range of needs.

For more information, please contact marketing@ascentrealestate.net

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Top Financial Resolutions for 2016

By Barbara Pronin

Not surprisingly, the top financial resolutions for 2015 were to save more, spend less, and pay off debt. It’s a list that rarely changes from year to year, say financial mavens at The Fiscal Times, a digital news service reporting on fiscal policy. Yet results are almost always mixed.

As we enter 2016, financial experts advise, consumers focused on improving their fiscal well-being would do well to make these financial resolutions:

  • Know your credit history Having higher credit scores can save you big bucks on interest over the years. Pull your credit report for free every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian – at annualcreditreport.com. Once you have it, check for and correct mistakes that could be hurting your credit profile.  
  • Get on the same page with your partner – If your finances are co-mingled with a spouse or significant other, get everything out in the open, including debts, salaries, credit scores and spending habits. Together, figure out how you will manage your obligations, what financial goals are most important, and how you plan to reach them.
  • Live below your means – Start by tracking where your money goes. Spending is a key variable, so record every penny spent in one month in a notebook or an Excel spreadsheet. That will show you whether you are spending too much and where you can cut back.
  • Start saving more – Max out your 401(k) contributions or at least contribute enough to get the full employer match your company offers. Determine what you want to save toward. To build emergency savings, aim to sock away at least six months’ worth of expenses. Have a certain amount of money direct deposited into a savings account – or set up automatic transfers to a savings account after each paycheck.
  • Whittle down debt Maximize monthly payments to the greatest extent you can. Make one extra mortgage payment each year. Consult with a financial planner about debt consolidation.
  • Review your wills and beneficiaries Make sure your insurance policies are adequate, for your home as well as life and disability. Reread your policies, as well as your will, powers of attorney, retirement benefits and health proxies and make any necessary updates to reflect any changes in family circumstances.

For more information, please contact marketing@ascentrealestate.net

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.