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What’s Up With Housing?

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Suburban-bound Millennials and Other 2018 Housing Trends to Watch.
What’s ahead for real estate in 2018? Zillow economists put their heads together and offered up a laundry list of forecasts and predictions.

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Most millennials say they want to eventually own homes, and only rent because of financial necessity.
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Malls are dying. There aren’t enough homes. Is there a solution? Across America, malls are being repurposed for residences as an oversupply of one meets a lack of the other.
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The Florida housing market recorded increases in sales, median prices, new listings, and new pending sales in October, signaling a rebound from the impact of Hurricane Irma.
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With data on millions of homes nationwide, the folks at Realtor.com think they have a pretty good idea of how the real estate market is doing.
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Last year, mortgage loan limits accepted by Fannie and Freddie rose only slightly for the first time in a decade – but they’ll top out at $453,100 next year.
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What’s Up With Housing?

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“Convenience is one of the most attractive qualities to Millennials and something real estate developers should keep in mind…”
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NAR says the just-announced tax proposal is “nowhere near as good a deal as the one middle-class homeowners get under current law.” NAHB says it “abandons middle-class taxpayers in favor of high-income Americans and wealthy corporations.”
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Would you live in a shipping container? Check out these inventive recycled container designs.
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Pet owners face unique challenges when buying and selling a home. Not all neighborhoods, houses or condos will love their dog as much as they do.
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If you’re thinking of selling and moving down, waiting might make sense. If you are a first-time buyer or a seller thinking of moving up, waiting probably doesn’t make sense.
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NAR: Before its Dec. 8 expiration date, NFIP will likely be OK’d for another extension to give Congress time to finalize a longer-term revamp of the program.
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Welcome Home: 10 Tips to Turn Your Neighborhood Into a Hometown Haven

Neighborhood Participation

“Communities work better (students perform better, crime rates are lower, kids are safer, people live longer) when neighbors know one another better. Knowing your neighbor on a first-name basis…is a surprisingly effective first step.”
Robert Putnam, Harvard Public Policy Professor and author of Bowling Alone

While advancements in technology have made it possible for us to connect with people from around the world, numerous studies show that it has led to a decline in face-to-face interactions.1

Places where we used to strike up casual conversations—such as a doctor’s office waiting room, bus stop or grocery line—are now filled with people looking at their smart phones, barely acknowledging those around them.

Even many families dining together or relaxing in the evenings can be caught spending more time focused on screens than each other. Is it any surprise that we’ve experienced a steady decline in community involvement?

In his book Bowling Alone, Harvard Public Policy Professor Robert Putnam “draws on evidence including nearly 500,000 interviews over the last quarter century to show that we sign fewer petitions, belong to fewer organizations that meet, know our neighbors less, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialize with our families less often.”2

How is this shift impacting our overall well being? A study by Oregon Health & Science University researchers found that having limited face-to-face social contact nearly doubles an individual’s risk of depression.3

CONNECTING WITH YOUR COMMUNITY

If you’re considering a move to a new city or neighborhood, you may be worried about replacing the comfort and support of family and friends you’ll leave behind. Or perhaps you have completed a move but would like to meet more people, build friendships and strengthen your support system.

In this blog post, we’ll explore 10 ways you can utilize technology to foster in-person connections with your neighbors, make friends and get engaged in your local community.

  1. JOIN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD’S SOCIAL NETWORK

A growing number of neighborhoods are utilizing private social networks like U.S.-based Nextdoor and Canadian-based GoNeighbour. These platforms are designed specifically to connect neighbors and include an address verification process.

Residents post about a variety of topics, including neighborhood news, recommendations for local businesses, lost pets, etc. These platforms are a great way to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your neighborhood, but don’t just use them to connect virtually. Extend an invitation to your neighbors to attend an in-person event, such as a park playdate for families, an informal soccer game or a potluck block party.

  1. ATTEND A PLACE OF WORSHIP

If you have a religious affiliation, joining a local place of worship is great way to meet people and get involved in your community. Aside from attending services, most religious institutions also host extracurricular activities to foster fellowship amongst the congregation.

Whether you are looking to join a church, synagogue, mosque or temple, there are a variety of online resources available to help you find a match in your area, including:

To make the most of your affiliation, look for opportunities to meet in smaller group settings. It’s a great way to form interpersonal relationships with people who share your beliefs and values.

  1. FIND AN INTEREST GROUP

Whatever your favorite hobby or pastime, you’re guaranteed to meet people who share your interests when you join an interest group!

The website Meetup.com has over 32 million members in 288,000 groups in 182 countries. You can search for a group in your area that appeals to you … from book clubs to running groups to professional networking, they have it all.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can start your own group for a monthly fee. The site makes it easy to ask (or require) members to pitch in to cover the cost. It also enables you to promote a corporate sponsor on your page, so you may be able to find a local business to cover the cost.

Most people who join Meetup are there for the same reason you are … to meet people who share their interests. So it’s a great place to make like-minded friends in your community.

  1. LEND A HAND

Volunteering your time and talents is another good way to get engaged in your community and meet those who share a similar mission.

Most nonprofit organizations rely heavily on volunteers. Find one with a cause you’re passionate about by visiting VolunteerMatch.

You can search by cause, location and keywords, and filter your results to include opportunities that are suitable for kids, seniors or groups. Another option is to search for volunteer positions that require specialized skills. Perhaps you’re musical or maybe you’re good with computers. There could be an organization in your area that needs your talents or skills.

Lotsa Helping Hands is another site focused on connecting volunteers with those in need. Members can request help or search for opportunities to assist others in their area. Most of the volunteer opportunities involve aiding neighbors who are ill or elderly by delivering meals, offering rides to appointments or just stopping by for a visit. This can be a great way to make a direct impact on your neighbors who need a helping hand!

  1. TAKE A CLASS

Taking a class is a wonderful way to develop a skill while meeting people who share your interests and passion for learning.

Whether you want to brush up on your Spanish, finish your novel, or learn how to tango, most community colleges offer inexpensive, non-credit classes on a variety of topics.

And if you are pursuing a degree, forego taking your courses online. Opt for the traditional route instead. There’s no substitute for being part of a live community of your peers.

To search for a community college in your area, visit the American Association of Community Colleges or SchoolsInCanada.com.

  1. ATTEND AN EVENT

Attending a live event is another way to engage with members of your community. From festivals to fundraisers to retreats, Eventbrite is a great place to search for events in your area. You can filter your search by category, event type, date and price to find something that fits your interests, schedule and budget.

Be strategic about the type of event you choose. For example, while attending a large festival might be a fun way to feel engaged with your community, it might also be harder to meet people. A retreat or a networking event may offer more opportunities for one-on-one interaction.

  1. SHARE YOUR STUFF

Everyone’s talking about the rise of the “sharing economy” with the popularity of Uber and Airbnb. But there’s also been a rise in “sharing communities,” which facilitate the free exchange of goods among neighbors to reduce consumption and keep usable items out of landfills.

Nonprofit groups like The Freecycle Network are made up of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and neighborhoods. Members can post “offers” of free items or “wanted” items they need.

The company Peerby has a similar goal of reducing consumption by encouraging neighbors to lend and borrow items they don’t often use. For example, you can offer to share your blender, rake or ladder. Maybe you need to borrow a drill, cake pan or moving trolley. Peerby enables you to request items to borrow from your neighbors and encourages you to register items you are willing to lend.

The Little Free Library is another innovative way neighbors are participating in a sharing community. Stewards build or purchase a box to house the library and fill it with books they are willing to give away. The library is usually placed in their front yard or in a public outdoor space. Visitors are encouraged to take a book they’d like to read, and in exchange leave a book for someone else to enjoy. With over 60,000 libraries in 80 countries, the organization estimates millions of books are exchanged annually among neighbors.

  1. SUPPORT A COMMUNITY GARDEN

 Community gardens have become increasingly popular in both urban and rural areas across North America. Not only do they beautify a neighborhood, they also foster community, encourage self-reliance, reduce family food budgets, conserve resources, and provide opportunities for recreation and exercise.

The mission of the American Community Gardening Association is to build community by increasing and enhancing community gardening and greening across the United States and Canada. The organization’s website enables you to search for existing community gardens in your area. If there isn’t one nearby, you might considering starting one. The site provides helpful tips and resources for organizing a garden in your neighborhood.

  1. CARPOOL WITH A COWORKER

In the spirit of joining a “sharing community,” carpooling offers many similar benefits. It presents an opportunity to form a bond with coworkers and/or neighbors during your daily commute. Additionally, you can save money on gas, reduce wear-and-tear on your vehicle, lower carbon emissions, and in many cities reduce your commute time by taking advantage of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) travel lanes.

The success of ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft has spurred a new wave of carpooling websites and apps that aim to revolutionize the way we commute by making it easier and more convenient to carpool. While many of these are still in their infancy stages, they are expanding into new markets and improving functionality at a rapid pace.

Kangaride Local, Scoop and Waze Carpool are just a few examples, and more are popping up every day. They are currently available in limited markets throughout the United States and Canada, but are becoming prevalent in more cities as residents opt-in. Check to see if any of these are available in your local area.

Alternatively, you can try posting on your neighborhood’s social network to see if one or more of your neighbors are commuting to a nearby location. Take turns driving and start benefiting from all that carpooling has to offer!

  1. PARTICIPATE IN WORLD NEIGHBORS DAY

The organizers behind World Neighbors Day promote it as “an invitation to share a moment with your neighbors, to get to know each other better and develop a real sense of community.”

In Canada it’s held on the second Saturday in June, and in the United States it’s held on the third Sunday in September. Participants are encouraged to organize gatherings with their neighbors to build relationships that “form the fabric of our communities.”

You can participate by attending or organizing a gathering in your neighborhood. Examples include: a block party, outdoor movie screening, book exchange, charity bake sale, volleyball game, etc. Anything that brings neighbors together in a fun and relaxed setting is a good choice!

Gatherings can be promoted through your neighborhood’s social media network, blog or listserv, or you can go the old-fashioned route and hand out flyers door-to-door. Whatever you do, be sure to make your gathering inclusive and welcoming to all.

BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR

 As with anything in life, you will get out what you put in. It can take time to build lasting and meaningful friendships with your neighbors, but the effort you make is likely to pay off tenfold.

The tried-and-true way to make friends, expand your circle, grow your support system and get engaged in your community? Be a good neighbor yourself.

What are the best ways you’ve found to meet and engage with your neighbors? Share your success stories or challenges in the comments below!

Sources:

  1. Lengacher, L. (2015) Mobile Technology: Its Effect on Face-to-Face Communication and Interpersonal Interaction. Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences –
    http://www.kon.org/urc/v14/lengacher.html
  2. Putnam, R. (2000) Bowling Alone. New York: Simon & Schuster –
    http://bowlingalone.com/
  3. Bergland, C. (2015 October 5) Face-to-Face Social Contact Reduces Risk of Depression. Psychology Today
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201510/face-face-social-contact-reduces-risk-depression


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What’s Up With Housing?

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Housing Shortage
The Fed is pre-emptively raising interest rates so the economy doesn’t overheat. But overheating is not the current problem.
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Can the economy support a strong housing market without help from Washington?
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A home inspection can make or break a real estate transaction. See what goes into a home inspection, and whether waiving that condition is a good idea.
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How will we be living in 10 years’ time? Futurist Morris Miselowski tells us his predictions about where and how we’ll be living a decade from now.


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What’s Up With Housing?

Independence Day

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Will new laws protect condo owners from apartment conversions and rogue associations?
A bill passed by the Florida Legislature would affect places like The Slade in Tampa’s Channelside district, where condominium owners have battled a plan to convert homes into apartments.
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Back With Your Folks… In your 20s and living with mom and dad? In Florida, you’re not alone.
The Tampa Bay region is ranked 15th nationally for millennials who move in with their parents. Is the economy to blame, or something else?
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CFPBHousing Groups Want Change to CFPB Structure
The groups want the CFPB to be led by a bipartisan commission instead of a single director.

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How Long Does It Take to Get a Mortgage? Longer Than You Might Think…
We’re used to having everything done quickly and easily, but getting a mortgage can take time. So how long does it take to get a mortgage?
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7 New Florida Laws go Into Effect Today.
Seven real estate laws drafted by the 2017 Florida Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott go into effect today (July 1), including a Florida Realtors priority: estoppel fee caps.
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http://www.TitleSecurityFL.com


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5 Signs You’re Ready To Stop Renting.

Buy or Rent?

via Nancy Mann Jackson

There’s a lot of conflicting advice about whether it’s smarter to rent or buy. Some say renting is like throwing money down the drain when you could be building equity in your own home. Others argue there are better ways to invest your cash, and you’re giving up valuable flexibility.

“We typically make big decisions like whether to rent or buy with emotion and defend them with logic, which is why it’s so easy to make a case for either,” explains Dana Bull, a Realtor at Sotheby’s Harborside in Boston.

But there are actually several considerations that can make the decision to rent or buy much easier. Here are five signs you’re ready to be a homeowner.

1. You actually want to own a home.

Enjoy gardening and fixing things up around your place? That’ll make homeownership easier. From coordinating maintenance and repairs to dedicating weekend time to yard work and other projects, owning a home requires a big time investment on top of the financial one. Be sure you’re ready for that responsibility.

“If you’d rather be able to call a landlord to handle issues when they arise, you may be better off renting for now,” says Certified Financial Planner John Piershale of Piershale Financial Group in Crystal Lake, Ill.

2. You’ve saved up for a down payment.

After deciding to take the leap, the next step is to save up a 20-percent down payment. This helps you avoid private mortgage insurance, which is typically equal to 1 percent of the purchase price (and paid annually). “If you can save more than 20 percent, even better,” Piershale says. “Taking out a smaller mortgage means you’ll pay less in interest over time.”

If homeownership is a near-term goal, you can take advantage of your flexibility as a renter by finding a roommate or downsizing to a cheaper place to accelerate your savings.

3. Your budget can handle all the extras.

A mortgage is just one home cost to budget for—there’s also taxes, insurance, maintenance and homeowners association fees. Generally, mortgage lenders want to see all these costs add up to no more than 28 percent of your income, Piershale says. (You can get estimates on sites like realestate.com.) It shows you can comfortably afford home costs and other living expenses, as well as repairs that may come up.

Don’t have that much wiggle room? Consider looking at homes with lower price tags or work on upping your income and savings while you’re still renting.

4. You’ve found a neighborhood you’d like to live in for years.

If you’ll only live in a particular area for a year or two, renting is likely your best bet. “Having the option to get up and leave with minimal strings attached is very appealing,” Bull says. Renting can also be a smart way to test the waters, learning what you like and dislike about different neighborhoods.

When you’re ready to put down roots, and plan to stay for at least five years, buying’s back on the table. Just make sure you thoroughly research the area first: If you have kids, are you happy with the school district? Is the neighborhood safe? Are the home prices increasing generally? You can find detailed information on crime rates and school rating on sites like City-Data.

5. You can’t rent a similar place for significantly less.

If you can rent in your desired area for much cheaper than a mortgage and other housing costs would set you back, you may benefit from renting a while longer and saving or investing the difference in monthly expenses. Not only can this build your net worth in the meantime, but it allows you to test-run your budget. When you do buy one day, you’ll already know you can comfortably handle the uptick in expenses.


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What’s Up With Housing This Week?

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1st Time HomebuyersA Few Tips for First Time Buyers This Spring Selling Season.
What first-time millennial buyers need to know about the spring housing market.

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Florida Association of RealtorsClosing costs? What are they really?
Here’s one common pitfall on the road to a smooth closing: During the course of a transaction, it’s fairly common for a seller to offer money toward the buyer’s closing costs — and many Realtors feel that adding a quick line about this change in the contract’s additional terms section is sufficient.
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Millennial HomebuyersSeems Millennials Are Unaware that They Can Enter the Housing Market.
Knowledge is essential in order to attract this generation.
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Are We Headed for Another Bursting Housing Bubble in 2017?
“There are three basic worry indicators and all three were very scary in 2005 and all three today suggest, if anything, that the housing market is still in the process of recovery instead of being near a new bubble.”

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What’s Behind the Housing Drought
The supply of homes for sale is now at the lowest level since the National Association of Realtors began tracking inventory 18 years ago.
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http://www.TitleSecurityFL.com