Nobody wants to deal with a foreclosure, especially after months of struggling with the coronavirus pandemic and unable to pay your mortgage on time owing to lost wages. As a homeowner, you’re informed about the intention of your lender to foreclose on your house. The lender can go about enrolling the foreclosure process in 2 ways: judicial foreclosure or non-judicial foreclosure, but as a renter, all you might get is a 3-day pay or quit notice.
In a judicial foreclosure, after the lender forwards a letter of intent, and the extra mortgage payment is still not received, the foreclosure process can begin. This process can take several months.
A nonjudicial foreclosure does not require the lender to file a lawsuit. It can be more expensive, because it requires you, the homeowner to file your lawsuit against the lender to protect your interest. Anyway, it is best to hire an experienced real estate attorney to guide you through the foreclosure process.
Statewide COVID-19 Tenant and Landlord Protection Legislation
Renters across the United States have been given COVID-19 rental assistance, but the problem with that there are more families in need than there are funds to help renters from eviction. Not to mention the landlords that want to sell the property due to the economy
“All across the United States Governors have been signing rental assistance bills to help apartment renters, but that’s only a band-aid, it doesn’t help the real problem which is people need jobs that will last. For example, in Los Angeles, California Governor Newsom signed a statewide rental and landlord legislation that extends when tenants can’t pay their rent,” says Timothy T. Tory, a broker for a private firm in Los Angeles, California.
Covid-19 State Foreclosure Moratoriums
A real estate lawyer is well competent in foreclosure law and can explain all possible solutions to slow or prevent you from losing your home. Contrary to popular belief, lenders are not eager to throw you out of your home. They would preferably not have to deal with the real estate market by putting your house for sale.
Therefore, a real estate attorney is an experienced negotiator and may send a letter to the lender on your behalf. In return, lenders are more likely to respond promptly if a lawyer is involved. The fast reaction can also contribute to the fact that real estate attorneys have built relationships with most loss mitigation departments of lenders, and they know who exactly to contact.
Some of the possible solutions that can negotiate a real estate attorney on your behalf include repair, mortgage modification, refinancing, short sale, deed in place, and bankruptcy.
If you restore your mortgage, you should be able to pay out all your missed payments, plus interest expenses after you receive the message. Different states have different grace periods in which you can legally repair your loan. If you cannot make payments during that grace period, then mortgage modification may help you. Mortgage modification is when the initial contract is changed in the loan, usually because of the inability of a house to pay for debt negotiation.
However, if you do not plan to stay in your home, then a short sale is the option that most homeowners tend to choose. Along with a lawyer, you will want to work with a broker who can get your home sold relatively quickly. If a short sale is not working, you have the option deed in lieu or bankruptcy.
Deed in lieu occurs when you transfer all rights of your property to the lender, and bankruptcy wipes out some or all the blame. However, these have a significant impact on your credit rating. In any case, a lawyer will be able to tell you which options are best for your unique situation.
LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE — Serving the military and buying the house of your dreams is the real American Dream. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers many great programs to help those who have served in the military get a decent home loan with low rates. The bad thing about these programs is that is not flawless, there are still a lot of risks involved.
Veterans and military personnel are among those who make the biggest mistakes when buying their first home. Dealing with lenders gets so complicated and confusing that people who have purchased multiple homes still have trouble. The professionals at the Local Records Office in Los Angeles, CA created a list of mistakes to avoid when buying a home as a veteran or military personnel.
Veteran Mistake #1: Not Working With a VA-Savvy Real Estate Agent
Working with an agent that isn’t Veterans Affairs savvy is a big mistake; every agent doesn’t have the knowledge to work with military programs.
“One of the biggest mistakes a veteran can make is to work with a real estate agent that doesn’t have the knowledge of the Veterans Affairs programs. Clients may think that they qualify for any home because of their military background but this isn’t correct. I see this mistake over and over again.” Says, Fernando Ramirez from Greenleaf Real Estate Firm in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. “I have worked with many clients who think they can pick and choose whatever house because they are in the military, this is not correct information. A VA loan program appraiser will have specific criteria, like homes that are fixer-uppers and even some older homes won’t qualify, it all depends on the house and the county where the house is located.” Says, Ramirez.
Do your research first and save yourself a headache and disappointment before making an offer on a house that may not get the green light. There is online help for veterans at the Veterans United Realty website.
Veteran Mistake #2: Not Being Open on What You Want With Your Mortgage Lender
Serving in the military has its perks and veterans have a powerful tool on the real estate market called arguably. The bad thing about this is that over 33% of vets don’t know why they have a mortgage benefit.
The right mortgage lender should have knowledge of the correct programs for veterans.
The biggest benefit of VA loans is that you will qualify for a 0% down payment, yes, this is right, 0% down payment. This helps many families who don’t have the money at the moment the house hits the market.
“Veterans have one of the best benefits in the real estate market I’ve seen,” says, Tom Sachs from Forever Real Estate Homes in Los Angeles, California. “Different states have different loans but the majority qualify for waived appraisal fees waived fees for veterans with good credit scores and other lender credits. You can really accomplish the American Dream when being a veteran,”
The process becomes easier when the mortgage lender knows what the person qualifies for, so speak up.
Veteran Mistake #3: Not Knowing About ALL the Upfront Home-Buying Fees
While having fees waived and getting 0% down payment are good perks the buyer still needs to have an idea of how much he or she will give down. Your down payment will mainly go to home appraisal and inspection.
This will definitely not be as much as a regular homebuyer will have to pay upfront.
LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE — Choosing the right roommate is a big deal; it’s not like picking a girlfriend, a dog or a couch. The biggest problem is that you don’t know the potential roommate. You don’t know if this person smokes, has a criminal background, uses drugs or has mental problems.
The professionals at the Local Records Office created a list of important questions you should ask your potential roommate before letting him or her rent out a room to avoid headaches.
Being a smoker is a deal-breaker for many people who rent out rooms. Smoking cigarettes isn’t just a disgusting habit but it makes the entire house smell like a chimney. Not to mention if there are kids in the property, it can be a serious health risk.
Recreational marijuana is legal in many states including; Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C. Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, and many other states. Even though recreational marijuana is legal it is not legal nationwide. Many people still see marijuana as an illegal drug that might have neighbors complaining and even worst calling the police.
If you’re ok with a smoker you need to set rules on where he or she can smoke. For example no smoking inside the house, but it’s ok in the backyard and patio with the doors and windows closed.
#2 – Are You a Morning Person or a Night Person?
Morning people and night people don’t tend to mix well as roommates. The main reason being that you’re in opposite schedules. Night owls and morning birds don’t mix like chocolate cookies and orange juice.
A problem that might occur is if one person works during the day and wants to have friends over on the evening but this is the time when the roommate sleeps.
#3 – Work Schedule
A good question to ask is if he or she works in the morning or at night. This will give you an idea of when you guys will see each other. Another reason to check each other schedule is to know when one will need the bathroom to get ready for work. This will cause a problem if there is only one bathroom in the house or apartment.
#4 – Pets
The majority of people like pets but some people can’t be around them because of allergy issues. In some cases, people can’t even be in the same room where a pet has been in. Other people don’t like to hear dogs bark, while others don’t want to have kids near large dogs.
Knowing if a potential roommate has any pets before moving in will avoid future issues.
#5 – Working From Home in Los Angeles, CA
One of the biggest benefits of working from home is the peace, quiet and distraction-free environment. The last thing you will want is a person talking your ear off when you want to get work done.
Working from home has its benefits but it can also be a distraction with the wrong roommate.
#6 – Are You a Party Animal on the Weekends?
If you enjoy pre-gaming before going out to a game or club and hosting an after hour party at 2 am, rooming with a homebody can cause a problem.
Even if you and the roommate have similar work schedules some people might not want to stay up late.
#7 – Do You Pay Rent on Time?
Living with a roommate that doesn’t pay rent on time will be a big problem. This can cause issues with the lease agreement and can lead to an eviction. Make sure to know when they will have the rent ready and at what time.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Starting, as an apartment investor is a good thing because you will gain tons of knowledge on how property investing works. The cash flow that comes from renting apartments is great along with the loans the bank gives out. The professionals at the Local Records Office talked to a few investment experts on how newbies can make money by investing in apartments to rent.
“Ever since I was younger I noticed there has been a big demand in apartments all across the country, and we expect that to continue. The biggest groups in demand that I’ve seen are ‘echo-boomers’. These are the children of baby boomers. With the growing demand on shopping centers, it brings in demand for apartments in the area” says, Christopher Loner from RT&Y Realtor LLC in San Diego, California.
Getting a Loan From a Bank
“Loans are widely available to borrowers to buy his or her first apartment building. Banks love lending to apartment investors because the income stream is consistent and steady. Banks see apartment investors as a safe loan for this reason unlike lending to new homeowners that will not bring in income besides the mortgage every month. “ Says Brandon Christenson from Villa Doors Investment Group in downtown Los Angeles, California.
4 Things to Look Out for When Investing in Apartments
Have a goal: You need to have a goal when investing in apartments, is your goal to benefit from the cash flow? Earning extra money to prepare for retirement? Are you planning to live in the apartment? Is it all three? You need to think about how you’re going to accomplish a goal.
tArea / Location: There’s a saying that goes “You can fix a property but you can’t fix a location”. If the location is declining the property will go down with it, the tenants will start to move out and that will be a bad thing.
The first thing you should look for is JOBS. How is the job market in that area? If there are no jobs there will no tenants, that simple.
Contacting the local management company in the area and ask them about the employment market is a great way to start. Management companies know what attracts tenants and what makes them move, most of the times they will let you know upfront.
Property: What is the properties condition? You want to know what you’re getting yourself into before investing in an apartment. You need to look at two things the exterior and the interior. When looking at the exterior you need to pay attention to:
The condition of the roof
Look for what needs to be repaired
Cracks on the wall
Cracks on the floor
When looking in the interior of the apartment look for these things:
All of these things are crucial to look for as a beginner. You don’t want to buy an apartment only because it was on the market. The best thing to do as a beginner is to find an apartment with the least repairs needed. The last thing you want to do is major rehab. Too risky!
Numbers: You need to make sure that the properties income exceeds the properties expenses. By giving the numbers 12 months to see if money is being made or not.
Management Strategy (BONUS): The last thing you want to do as a beginner is to deal with tenants on your own, you need to hire a licensed management company to collect rent, hire the right people to do repairs, give out eviction notices and all that’s needed to do.
LOS ANGELES, CA – If you ask someone how to sell your home fast you’ll likely hear renovation advice. Things like “add on a new bedroom” or “update the kitchen”. When you’re in the process of buying and moving into a new home, putting more money into your current house doesn’t make a lot of sense according to the Local Records Office in Los Angeles, CA.
Even if you’re just flipping houses, big renovations can quickly cut into your profits. Selling a house fast without renovation is completely possible though and we’re here to tell you how to do it.
Selling a House Fast Without Renovation
Local Records Office agrees that having renovations done on a home cannot only be expensive but it can also be time-consuming. Many projects can take weeks if not months and if you’re trying to sell your home fast, you don’t have that kind of time. Keep reading below and we’ll tell you how you can spruce up your home without spending a ton of money or time. Following these tips will ensure your success in selling a house fast without renovation.
Clean-Up & Update the Exterior
You can hire a landscaper to help with this part. However, if you’re trying to save money it is definitely something that can be done yourself. The first thing you should do is stand outside of your home, across the street, as if you were going to take a picture of it. What do you notice? What draws your eyes, the Local Records Office asks? If it’s something negative like an ugly mailbox, then invest in a new one. If it’s something positive like the front door is beautiful, then add something to draw focus to it like a colorful doormat.
First impressions are important. If the outside of your home doesn’t look appealing, its likely buyers will skip on by it and look at the next home. Here are some general steps that the Local Records Office listed so you can follow to make the exterior of your home more attractive without spending a lot of money:
Mow the lawn
Trim trees, bushes, shrubs, etc.
Pick up any debris, rake up leaves, and sweep all walkways
Clean the windows and doors
Add small details like a wind chime and rocking chair on the front porch
Make the Interior Look Like New
Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a lot of money in order to make a home look like new. Selling a house fast without renovation usually involves more elbow grease than money. That is especially true for the interior of a home.
Local Records Office insists that working hard and scrubbing a home from top to bottom can really make a big difference. Declutter the home first and then depersonalize it by removing things like family photos, awards, and items with your name on it, etc. Once that is done, it’s time to deep clean everything. If possible, now would be the time to call in a professional to clean all of the carpets (if applicable).
Here are some other inexpensive tips to spruce up the interior of your home:
Applying a fresh coat of paint in the whole house or where needed most
Hire a professional to clean all the carpeting
Do small repairs like patching holes, caulking, replacing cabinet knobs, broken lights, etc.
Clean, clean, and then clean some more
Install small upgrades like a ceiling fan, lighting fixtures, or shelving
Stage your home or hire a professional to stage your home
Hire a Professional Agent
Hiring a professional real estate agent can help immensely in selling your house fast without renovation. Working with a real estate agent offers many benefits including knowing how to list your home, at what price, and how to market it. They can also mention renovation loans in your listing and talk to buyers about it.
Renovation loans allow buyers to include the potential renovation costs when requesting for their loan. According to the Local Records Office when buyers are approved for this type of loan, they will receive a higher loan amount and get that money in stages to pay for larger renovations.
Focus on What You Already Have
If you can’t add anything to your home then focus on what already makes it great! When making an online listing, these little details can be especially important. Highlight storage spaces like closets, laundry rooms, and the garage. What are the distinguishing features of your home?
Does it have a fireplace, an outside patio, or large, open windows? Write down all of the features you can think of and then take photos of them. Use this information in your online listing to talk about what makes your home great instead of what might need work.
Make Sure You Price It Right
One of the biggest problems people have selling a house fast without renovation is setting the right price according to the Local Records Office. Once completing a lot of the tips above and investing some money into it, you may feel like you can price your home a little higher. However, if major renovations still need to be done like new appliances, flooring, roofing, etc. then it’s important you don’t price too high.
This is another part where a professional real estate agent can help. They can help calculate what homes are going for in your area and how to price properly. They can also assist you in figuring out the value of your home if you were to renovate it. This can help you make the right choice in whether investing more money is the right choice or not.
Research How Much the Property is Worth With the Help of the Local Records Office Property Details Report
Renovating your home is one thing but knowing how much your property and the land it sits on is a completely different thing. By researching how much your property is worth before and after a renovation is a major step in knowing how much you can sell your property. Of course, every seller wants to get the most money possible for his or her property so educating yourself is a great way to do it.
Selling a House Fast Without Renovation is Possible
Local Records Office insists that selling a house fast without renovation is completely possible! All it takes is a little time and sometimes a little bit of money, too. Planting some flowers outside after you clean up and painting the walls on the inside after you’ve had the carpets professionally cleaned are just some of the things you can do to help.
We also recommend hiring a professional real estate agent to assist you in pricing your house properly and letting you know if any further renovations would be worth it.
LOS ANGELES, CA – With such a high demand for homes in Los Angeles residents want to know how much their property is worth. Here are 8 tools that will help you determine your properties worth with ease, says, Local Records Office.
When it comes time to sell your house, you have one burning question: What is my home worth?
In recent years, a proliferation of online resources has emerged to provide you with an answer before you ever consult a human. But while consumers have access to more information than they could have dreamed of a decade ago, that doesn’t mean you can expect a computer to deliver the final word on your home’s value – though it can give you some helpful hints.
“I don’t believe there are any accurate instant numbers,” says David Eraker, CEO and co-founder of Surefield, a new brokerage in Seattle that has a free Pricepoint tool that provides estimates of home values, so far just in Washington state. “I think the first thing you should do is take it with a grain of salt. You could probably talk to three or four different real estate agents, and they would probably give you different numbers as well.”
The variation in the data is a good reminder that any estimate of home value, whether provided by a human or a computer, is just that – an estimate. Computers and humans may disagree, for example, about which recently sold homes are truly comparable. Plus, when it comes time to do the deal, the negotiation skills of buyers and sellers (or their agents) may come into play.
Estimates Are Just That, Estimates
“Opinions of value, there are a lot of them,” says Stan Humphries, chief analytics officer for Zillow, which pioneered the practice of estimating and publishing home values in 2017 with the “Zestimate.” “If you were to sell the same house 100 different times with different buyers and sellers, it would close at a different price.”
That means if you are looking at estimates for your home’s value, you have to consider what kind of data went into that estimate. If your home is unique compared to others in the neighborhood, for example, the choice of “comps,” or comparable homes, would be a challenge to find. Your estimate may also be less accurate than if you live in a neighborhood where all the homes are similar. If there have been lots of recent home sales in your area, there is going to be more data to work with than if there are fewer sales, and therefore you’ll get a more accurate estimate.
“The more the house is an outlier, the more difficult it is for anyone to price it, whether it’s a human or a computer,” says Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, which has launched its own automated estimate tool. “The hardest things we had to deal with was which homes are comparable and which aren’t.”
Different Tools Just Different Data
All the online tools take advantage of publicly available data, which they then run through computer models to derive estimates of value. Exactly which data is used is proprietary, as are the formulas used to crunch it, but among the data sources are public records and the multiple listing services used by real estate agents. Exactly what data is available also affects the accuracy of the estimate, and that amount of data varies by municipality and sometimes by home.
To get a value using an AVM, you feed a lot of data into a computer, which crunches the numbers according to directions (or models) you give it and arrives at a home value estimate. Different companies use different data in different ways, which accounts for some of the variations in online home values. Obviously, the accuracy of the data itself affects the outcome. There are also factors a computer can’t see, such as whether your kitchen has ugly wallpaper.
“The thing about homes is they’re not commodities,” says Nela Richardson, chief economist for Redfin. “Every home is different.” Plus, there is the factor of the unknown. “We don’t always know if there’s a big hole in the floor or if someone spilled red nail polish on the bathroom floor,” she says.
Zillow allows consumers who register for a free account to correct or add data about their homes, and the company’s Price This Home tool lets consumers receive a private estimate in which they control which comps are used. Surefield also has tools that allow homeowners and homebuyers to refine estimates based on their knowledge of the neighborhood and the listed comps. Redfin shows the comps and public records data about the home that was used, and you can email if you believe the information is inaccurate.
Estimates Aren’t Just the Big Number
Zillow covers about 100 million homes in 450 markets. Humphries says the national margin of error for home values is 7.9 percent, but the rate varies by location. That’s partly because the type and accuracy of data vary, but also because home values are easier to estimate in an area with more sales and in areas with a larger volume of homes. “You’re dealing with less data than you’d like to have,” Humphries says of some areas. Parts of New York state, for example, don’t list square footage in public records.
He points out that real estate agents doing comparative market analysis have an error rate of 5.5 to 6 percent, and it’s rare that a home sells for the exact asking price. “No one’s error rate is zero. They’re all opinions of value,” Humphries says.
Glenn says Redfin’s estimates have a median error rate of 1.96 percent for homes on the market and 6.23 percent for homes not on the market, but the service so far covers only about 40 million homes in 35 major metro areas, which are often easier to value than homes in less dense areas.
We also found some calculators that provide estimates at several bank sites, with information drawn from databases used by appraisers. ForSaleByOwner.com has its own tool, called Pricing Scout.
The representatives of all the companies stress that their numbers are merely estimates, based on the available data, plus a number of assumptions about comparable sales. While all the services throw out a number for the home’s estimated value, most provide a range of values, which sometimes gets overlooked by consumers who focus on the number in big type.
While the various online AVM services spit out a single number that is an estimate of the value of your home, Richardson and Humphries point out that the number comes with a few caveats. Zillow provides a range of values for an estimated sales price, as well as publishing the error rate for a given municipality. Redfin shows you the comps it used to reach its final number.
For example, two-bedroom, two-bathroom home in suburban Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with a Zestimate of $153,306 also notes that the home is likely to sell for between $146,000 and $161,000. Homes like it in the area have sold for $138,000 to $163,000, Zillow reports. The median error rate in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area is 8.7 percent, with 31.8 percent of homes sold at a price within 5 percent of the Zestimate, 55.3 percent within 10 percent and 79.8 percent within 20 percent.
If we take Zillow up on its option to remove three of 10 comparable home sales because of location and up to another three because of the condition, the estimated value rises to $161,211. Zillow also offers users an option to correct facts about their homes, including the size, type of heating or cooling system and the number of bedrooms and baths.
“There are some things that aren’t explicitly in the data that our models aren’t able to discern,” Humphries says. “A lot of consumers don’t focus on that value range, and they should. The wider that range is, the less certain we are. … From day one, we’ve said these are all opinions.”
Not all services use the same “facts”
One reason the companies arrive at different estimates is that they aren’t all using the same facts. With our house above, Zillow, Redfin, and Realtor.com calculated the home’s value based on a size of 1,155 square feet, the number from the tax assessor’s records. But Trulia used 972 square feet, which is the size of the house without the garage. (Trulia does not provide an automated estimate unless you agree to be contacted by a real estate agent.)
While garages and unfinished basements usually aren’t included as part of a home’s square footage, Florida tax officials and real estate agents traditionally include half the square footage of the garage when they compute the taxable value, and that is the number that usually appears in the MLS.
Redfin, using the same home facts as Zillow did, estimated the home’s value at $163,001. Redfin showed the comparable sales upon which it based its value, making it possible for someone who knows the home to realize the comps were substantially remodeled while the subject home was not.
Realtor.com estimated the home’s value much lower at $142,689, but there are no details about how the tool arrived at that figure.
Economists who work with the data remind consumers that the estimates are just that, estimates and that the actual sales price is likely to depend upon many factors, including the condition of the home, the motivation of buyer and seller, and the supply and demand at the time the home is offered for sale.
“This is the starting point of a conversation that you’re going to have with your family and your real estate agent,” Richardson says. “It’s not just this black box that gives you a number. It’s important to note that this is not a be-all, end-all. It’s just the beginning of a complicated process.”
“We think of our estimate as the beginning of a conversation, not the end,” Kelman says. “Many times the asking price of a home is the result of a fairly tense conversation between the owner of the home and the agent who is trying to sell it.”
8 Online Home Value Estimating Tools
Here are seven online tools you can use to help you estimate the value of your home:
Zillow: This is the pioneer of the home value estimating tool, and the company continues to refine how it arrives at its Zestimates.
Redfin: This new tool shows you photos and listing information for the exact comps used to arrive at the value of your home.
ForSaleByOwner.com : This site’s Pricing Scout tool gives you the average of regression analysis and comparative market analysis to estimate the worth of your home. It also shows recent sales of comparable properties on a map. You have to register to use it.
Chase: This tool allows you to change the information about the house to arrive at a more precise estimate, plus provides information on recently sold homes and neighborhood trends. You can also use it to estimate the value of improvements you’re considering.
Bank of America: This tool shows comparable neighboring sales on a map. It provides only a range of values, not a single number.
Surefield: This site lets you narrow or widen the range of comparable homes, plus exclude specific comps from the list.
Eppraisal.com: This site uses data from public records and lists homes sold recently nearby.
Putting the Tools to the Test
We tested homes we know in South Florida, Los Angeles and Kansas City, Missouri, plus a random home in Seattle, using the available home value estimators. Not all the online tools had the same data for the same home.
These Were Our Results:
A two-bedroom, one bath home in a trendy historic urban neighborhood in Miami where homes vary considerably in size, age, and condition.
com : $459,750
Bank of America: $434,000 to $486,000
A two-bedroom, two-bath home in a 1970s tract home neighborhood in suburban Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Bank of America: $433,800 to $460,200
A two-bedroom, one-bath home in a trendy neighborhood of 1930s bungalows in Los Angeles:
Bank of America: $709,300 to $1,020,700
com : $765,500
A five-bedroom, three-bath home with a water view in Seattle:
Bank of America: $823,400 to $966,600
com : $778,500
A one-bedroom, one-bath house on a double lot in Kansas City, Missouri, where the houses vary in size and condition:
com : $222,750
Bank of America: $96,700 to $217,300
Redfin: Not available
Why the Online Value of Your Home Could be Wrong
Here are six reasons the automated valuation of your home could be off:
The facts in the public record or the MLS are wrong. With our Fort Lauderdale home above, the companies all took the square footage of the Fort Lauderdale home from the public record, but they didn’t all use the same figure. A difference in the number of bedrooms or bathrooms might create an even larger variation in valuation. “If there’s a discrepancy … it’s usually because the facts themselves are not up to date,” Humphries says. Homeowners can claim their homes and correct facts on Zillow.
Your home is not like others in your neighborhood. Whether a real estate agent, an appraiser or a computer is evaluating your home, it’s harder to arrive at an accurate value if there are no comparable homes. “Houses that are very unusual are harder to value, not surprisingly than homes that are not,” Humphries says. “The Playboy Mansion and the White House are very difficult to value.” Homes that are different from others in the neighborhood or have unique features are harder to value because there are fewer or no comparable properties with which to compare them.
Few homes in your neighborhood have sold in the last six months. The more homes that sell, the more MLS data and the more sale prices the computers have to calculate the value. With few sales, there is less information to draw from.
Your home has not been on the market in recent decades. There is significantly more information about a home in an MLS listing than there is in the tax records. Once a home has been listed, the services add that data. As homes are sold, the models can adjust for whether the home sold for more or less than asking price or the AVM price.
Public records in your jurisdiction omit key information. The nation’s approximately 3,100 counties don’t all record the same information about homes. In Suffolk County, New York, for example, few records include the home’s square footage, Humphries says. “There is a wide variance in the quality of the data we obtain,” Humphries says. “Without square footage, it becomes very challenging to value the home.”
The market is changing rapidly. Home valuations are based on past sales. If the market is significantly hotter or colder than it was six months ago, those past sales are less an indicator of current values.
LOS ANGELES, CA – Southern California has been a booming state ever since the early 1900’s so it’s not a surprise that people want to live here, says, Local Records Office. Los Angeles along with San Francisco has been the two major cities that attract homeowners and tourists.
As you schlep your ski gear to your favorite resort for the umpteenth time or search for lodging near your favorite beach on a holiday weekend, you may think how much easier life would be if you had your own vacation home.
An estimated 1.13 million vacation homes were sold in the U.S. in 2017, the highest number since the National Association of Realtors began collecting the data in 2012. And vacation home sales made up 21 percent of residential transactions in 2017.
While owning a vacation home can make logistical and financial sense, it’s not a decision to be entered into lightly.
“For some people, it’s not a matter of dollars and cents,” says Marian Schaffer, president and founder of SoutheastDiscovery.com, which publishes information on retirement and vacation home communities in the Southeast. “It’s a matter of experience.”
For most people, money will play a big role in the decision. Baby boomers who have sold their family homes for cash may choose to invest some of that cash in a winter home in a warm climate or other future retirement destination, says Valerie Dolenga, a spokeswoman for Del Webb, which builds active-adult communities throughout the United States. In those cases, homeowners don’t rent out their properties but move from one home to another, perhaps spending winters in a second home in Florida or Arizona and summers up North near family.
Others may buy a vacation home with the idea of renting it out when they’re not using it to defray at least some of the costs. Some may only be able to afford a vacation home if they rent it out when they’re not using it.
Rob Stephens and his family bought a three-bedroom condo in Vail, Colorado, in 1999 with rental income in mind. “Having a getaway place in the mountains was a motivator,” Stephens says. “When I started, I really needed that rent to make my mortgage payment.”
“To us, owning real estate in Vail long-term is a good investment,” says Stephens, general manager of Avalara MyLodgeTax, which helps owners comply with local lodging tax laws.
If you want the rental income, it’s important to choose a home that can be rented at the frequency you need to cover expenses. That means both choosing a community that allows vacation rentals and then making sure you’re set up to take advantage of the rental potential, from furnishing the unit to having a plan for advertising and handling tenants. You need to know before you buy whether you will rent the home when you’re not using it.
Here Are 10 Things to Consider When Looking at Vacation Homes
Can you afford it? Real estate is not a liquid investment, and you can’t count on being able to sell a home for a profit or even break even, especially in your first few years of ownership. During the recession, homes lost more than half their value in Florida, Arizona, and Nevada, among other places.
Know all the rules. Not all homes can be used as rental property. Homeowner or condo associations may set rules for rentals, as many cities. Some resorts may require you to use their programs, which set standards for interior furnishings and amenities, but the property handles the logistics for a percentage of the rent. If you plan to rent out your property, it’s especially important to research all these rules before you buy.
Calculate all the costs. The actual purchase price is only part of what you will need to spend. You will also have to pay utilities, HOA or condo fees, property taxes, insurance and the cost of furnishing a new home down to the spoons and forks. If you’re in a resort area, you may also need or want skis, snowboards, kayaks, water toys or other gear.
Be realistic in your expectations of rental income. Renting out a vacation home comes with expenses. You will need to pay for cleaning between tenants, advertising and perhaps property management. If you’re part of a resort rental program, it will take a percentage.
Know how often you will really visit. If you don’t rent out your unit, you want to make sure you will visit enough to make the purchase worthwhile. Pick a place you love and want to return to often, advises Dolenga. You don’t want your home to sit unoccupied for long periods.
Have a plan for emergencies. If you don’t visit the house often, make sure someone does. A water leak can be devastating. If you’re renting, repairs need to be made quickly, so get to know a good handyman or property manager. If there is a hurricane, you may need someone to put up shutters before the storm and remove them afterward and secure the home if it suffers damage.
Protect your home when it’s vacant. Vacant homes attract thieves. Take steps to keep your home from looking empty. Consider lights on timers or asking neighbors to occasionally park in your driveway. Make sure someone picks up mail and fliers so its not obvious no one is home.
Have a rental business plan. Will you go into a rental program, hire a management company or do it yourself via services such as Airbnb or VRBO? If you’re handling your own advertising, you will need great photos. You also need to be able to take payments from tenants (services like PayPal or Stripe typically work well) and have a way for them to get in (Stephens uses a keyless entry system with codes). A reliable cleaning service is essential, especially when you have only a few hours between tenants.
Calculate your return on investment. If owning a vacation home is part of your overall investment strategy, make sure it’s a good move. Estimate returns and weighs them against other uses of the same money.
Expect to pay taxes.Rental income is taxable on state and federal returns, though most vacation homeowners won’t earn enough after expenses to face a significant tax liability. If you are doing short-term rentals, usually of less than six months, your state and county consider you an innkeeper and expect you to collect the same lodging taxes that hotels collect and pay those to the appropriate authorities. “If you’re renting a home, an apartment, a room, you’re basically running a mini-hotel,” Stephens says, with the rules varying by state and county. In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for example, a tax of 11 percent is due, 6 percent to the state and 5 percent to the county, he says.
How to Rent Out Your Vacation Home and Make It Pay
Renting out your vacation home can yield significant financial benefits – but only if you do it right.
“It starts with a commitment to customer service,” says Jon Gray, chief revenue officer for HomeAway.com, which also owns the vacation rental website VRBO.com. “You’re basically having to market your house and get people to want to stay there.”
Renting a vacation home is a business, which means you’ll need the proper business tools in place, from being able to accept credit cards as payment to paying lodging taxes to get the home cleaned quickly and completely between guests.
“It’s really quite a lot of work, and a lot more work than people anticipate,” says Michael Joseph, co-founder, and CEO of InvitedHome.com, which manages vacation properties. “There’s a lot to keep up with. … Guest expectations are becoming higher.”
One of the first decisions when starting the vacation rental process is whether to hire a management company or manage your rental yourself.
While websites such as HomeAway.com, VRBO.com and Airbnb.com provide online marketing tools, access to credit card processing, booking tools and other infrastructure, the individual owner still has to handle guest inquiries, screen renters and arrange for cleaning.
Full-service management companies charge 20 to 50 percent of the rental proceeds to manage the entire process, from bookings through cleaning. You also can hire people to manage parts of the process for less. The online portals usually charge an annual fee for listings. VRBO and HomeAway start at $349 a year and also offer a pay-per-booking option of 8 percent, while Airbnb charges both hosts and guests a small processing fee – 3 percent for hosts and 6 to 12 percent for guests.
The home rental industry has grown significantly in recent years, as online listings and reviews make travelers more comfortable with the model. But travelers who are accustomed to staying at hotels and resorts expect significant amenities and, in some cases, service.
“The competition is more fierce today,” says Cathy Ross, CEO of Exclusive Resorts, a vacation travel club that owns its own properties. “Today’s customer is demanding, and they want certainty that what they see online is what’s there.”
Customers expect modern finishes, nice furniture, hotel-quality beds and linens, plenty of bathrooms, entertainment options such as a TV with cable package, a pool table, board games and big gathering spaces for families, one of the groups that favors vacation home rentals. “Those homes that aren’t well decorated or aren’t well furnished just don’t cut it,” Joseph says.
It’s important to screen tenants, collect a damage deposit and have a strong rental agreement in place, as well as the proper insurance, to protect your home from damage. Stevens, who has been renting out his vacation home in Vail, Colorado since 1999, has only once had to deal with significant damage by a tenant. “That concern is way, way overstated,” Stephens says. “These people are generally very respectful of your home.”
Here Are 13 Things You Need to Know and Do Before You Rent Out Your Vacation Home
Figure out if the math works. Create a spreadsheet to analyze what it will cost you to rent out your home versus the income you can expect to generate making it a vacation rental. Expenses will include maintenance, utilities, taxes, insurance, repairs, and amenities. “Make sure you budget for preventive maintenance, and wear and tear,” Joseph says.
Decide whether to manage it yourself or hire a company. While managing a rental yourself provides a greater financial return, it also means more work. HomeAway, VRBO, Airbnb and similar sites offer online booking, calendars, email communication and referrals to other tools such as credit card processors and professional photographers. But even with these online portals you still have to hire and oversee the cleaning crew.
Furnish, decorate and equip your home. Amenities typically depend on the market and the price, but people often expect most of what they would get at a hotel. A fast Wi-Fi connection, an expansive cable package, and other entertainment options are recommended, while a hot tub, pool table, board games, and other recreation options can be a draw for some guests. Have toiletries, paper products, and basic cleaning products available. Stephens provides guest passes to his community’s athletic club. Remember to remove family photos, clothes, and personal items so the guests feel more comfortable.
Get professional-quality and write a great, detailed description. People will choose your home based on the photos and the description of the property. “That first photo is incredibly important because that’s what people see,” Gray says. Be very thorough in your description. List every amenity, down to balconies, cribs and pool noodles.
Find a dependable cleaning crew and other maintenance personnel. If your home is popular, you will have one set of guests checking out in the morning and a second set arriving that afternoon. That makes it imperative that the cleaning crew show up on time. If you don’t live nearby, your cleaning crew is also your eyes and ears. You may also need pool service, lawn service, and a handyman, plus know whom to call if the toilet quits working.
Get proper insurance. A regular homeowners policy rarely covers a vacation rental. Ask your agent what type of policy you need for a home that is used for short-term rentals.
Set up your welcome package and infrastructure. If you don’t plan to meet guests personally, how will they get into the unit? Keyless entry and a hidden key are the two most common methods. Decide which is best for you. Most guests expect to pay with credit cards, though some online portals provide that service or help you sign up for it. Consider creating a welcome packet with the Wi-Fi password, entertainment services, appliance operating instructions and information on community amenities.
Expect to pay resort or occupancy taxes. Your city, county or state may require you to register your vacation home or get a business license, and most municipalities will collect the same taxes from you that they collect from hotels. You can handle this yourself or hire someone to do it. Avalara MyLodgeTax charges by the report, with most homes paying between $60 and $200 a year for the service.
Comply with legal requirements. Make sure you can legally rent your home to travelers. Most homeowner associations don’t allow short-term rentals, though some resorts may handle them for you. Some cities and counties ban short-term rentals. Know the local laws before starting the rental process.
Make rules and create a strong rental agreement. Management companies and online portals have agreements you can modify, and you can also find examples of such agreements online. Decide what number of people you’ll allow per stay and whether to allow pets or smoking.
Be ready to respond quickly. Most online shoppers will send inquiries to several homes at a time. The first suitable home to respond is likely to get their business. “That’s critical,” Stephens says. “Responding a day late is probably unacceptable. You’re going to lose business.”
Create a tenant screening process. Joseph advises talking to all prospective tenants by phone. Ask the number of guests, their ages, why they want the property. If they book, get their full names, addresses, and phone numbers. “You get a lot more information and a feel for people by talking to them,” he says.
Offer a personal touch. In a world of online reviews, you want your guests to recommend your home or become return customers themselves. Anything you offer to make your home stand out and to make their vacation easier is likely to yield dividends.
LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – While the share of nation’s workers the federal government employed in 2017, equaled its lowest level ever recorded, new Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the level is too low for government to perform basic functions. And with alarms ringing over the rising costs in Pekin, Illinois could less us to fewer firefighters serving the community. With two firefighters down in the department due to retirements of last year, the union’s president, Tom Veatch explains, “It’s a safety concern. You know, not only for our taxpayers but our members too. We’re always here. We do our job 100 percent all the time. And we will never stop doing our job, no matter what.” However, the city has not filled those 2 positions and leaders are pointing at rising costs as they are looking towards a budget plan for the next fiscal year. The Local Records Office reviews how the 2019 budget proposal will impact federal jobs; employees’ benefits and the cost of living adjustments (COLA) will both a take a major hit.
“It might sound better to say ‘cuts’. We’re maintaining the employment levels in the proposed budget,” proposed Carson.
Carson described that the city faces 60 million in pension liabilities for the fire and police retirees and is the reason staffing levels in the proposed budget are under consideration.
“They offer great service to our residents. They’re going to continue to do a great job. I have confidence in their abilities. We’re not short staffing them,” expressed Carson.
Though, CBP has documented how, due to lack of personnel, basic governmental functions –ie. administrating the nation’s Social Security and even tax systems –are being performed inadequately.
Recently, Sens. Mitch McConnel, R-Ky., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., recently announced they are closing a two-year budget deal, which lifts budget caps and would require appropriations committees to develop detailed plans within six weeks.
The 2019 Budget proposes a pay freeze; federal employees will take major compensation cuts
With the 2019 presidential budget in place to include a pay freeze for federal employees; with the administration’s intention to rely on a “pay for performance” basis rather than a standard pay increase on a schedule, the American Federation of Government Employees national president J. David Cox Sr. explains that “by stripping employees of their due process rights and firing those who reject his politics, President Trump is opening the door for rampant corruption, discrimination, and worker intimidation.”
With the 2019 budget proposal relying on employee compensation cuts and changes to reduction to the deficit by more than $70 billion by 2028, by mostly coming from reducing the government’s contributions to the retirement and health programs, and eliminating some programs, such as special retirement supplements and the Federal Employee Retirement System cost of living adjustments, the 2019 budget proposal estimates adjustments to will reduce the U.S. deficit by $192 million by 2021 and achieve a total reduction near $2.8 billion by 2028.
Similarly, this 2019 budget proposal estimates these changes to the federal retirement benefits will also reduce the deficit by nearly $2.6 billion in 2019 and adds up of more than $68 billion in reductions by 2028. And members will receive a 2.5% raise, according to the 2019 document.
Though the president is proposing a pay freeze for civilian employees next year, the Congress has multiple opportunities to suggest and pass laws otherwise.
New changes to the federal employee retirement benefits
-Increasing the employee contributions to retirement by 1% per year until it reaches 50% in the Federal Employment System (FERS) –phased out over a period of several years.
-Replacing the current high three average salary to calculate the retirement annuities with the five-year average salary baseline.
-Eliminating FERS annuity supplement for eligible employees retiring 2018 and beyond.
-Eliminating the cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for current and future FERS employees
-Eliminating the FERS cost of living adjustments and reducing civil service costs (CSRS) and cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) by 0.5%
With the White House plans to indicate plans to propose a seismic shift in federal retirement systems in the future, as it could remove defined benefit pensions altogether, officials wrote that “the TSP is a particularly attractive benefit to young, mobile workers not intended to make a career of federal service.” And that “the budget, therefore, funds a study to explore the potential benefits, including the recruitment benefit, of creating a defined-contribution only annuity benefit for new federal workers, and those desiring to transfer out of the existing hybrid system.”
As the proposal would change other federal employee benefits and do away with the current leave system, which offers time off for regular leave, sick days and vacation, in favor of Paid Time Off would effectively reduce the number of leave workers receives each year.
Healthcare –Proposed changes to Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB)
The trump administration is recommending changes to the formula the currently directs towards the government’s contribution rate for the participants in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB).
With the budget contribution rate on an FEHB plan’s score from a performance assessment, the OPM rates all FEHBP carriers on all 19 health outcomes, quality, and efficiency standards.
The formula set under law determines a share the government and enrollee pay towards FEHBP premiums each year. The government pays 75% of participants’ premium up to a certain cap. The cap equals to 72% of the weighted average of the previous years’ premiums.
The Trump administration wants to alter the formula slightly, so the government would contribute more towards the employee’s health care depending on how well the specific FEHB plan performs under the OPM’s standards.
The Office of Management and Budget projects the government will contribute a range of 65-75%.
“Under the current structure, enrollees have few incentives to choose less expensive, higher value plans,” the budget cites. “This proposal would incentivize enrollees to select high-performing, high-value plans by making them more affordable. The proposal would also provide carriers with greater incentive to compete on price and quality, help driving down overall program costs.”
And according to the budget, this change to FEHB premium contributions would save over $2.7 billion in the next decade.
Annual leave –impacts paid time off and sick days
The 2019 proposal also suggests combining all leave into one “paid time off category.”
“This would reduce total leave days while adding a short-term disability insurance policy to protect employees who experience a serious medical situation,” according to the 2019 request.
And currently, the federal employees receive 10 paid holidays, 13 sick days and 13-to-26 vacation days, depending on the tenure.
David Cox, the national president of AFGE, had told reporters that Trump’s budget is a significant threat to the federal employees’ livelihood, particularly following years of austerity during the Great Recession.
“Federal workers already make 5 percent less in inflation-adjusted terms than they did at the beginning of the decade,” Cox said. “If we don’t stop the pay freeze for 2019, they will have given up $246 billion in wages and benefits since 2011. No other group has lost more to deficit reduction than the federal workforce.”
And Tony Reardon, President of the National Treasury Employees Union described the budget in a statement as a “full-scale assault” on our federal civil service.
“This should alarm every member of Congress and all Americans,” Reardon said. “Weakening our civil service system and attacking the pay and benefits of federal workers will backfire and leave our country unable to tackle the complex issues we are facing.”
LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – The top industries that stimulated Pekin, Illinois’ economy are diminishing industries that once stimulated the economic growth in Pekin, Illinois. With companies avoiding corporate taxes by outsourcing and avoiding paying for the employee wages and taxes here in America, the wage growth is continuing to diminish, which has resulted in fewer people in the seeking work. The Local Records Office reviews how the unemployment rates are merely hitting the tail end of the crisis our economy is in.
Service industries, manufacturing, exports, agriculture, and mining
Service industries contribute the largest dollar amount to the Pekin, Illinois economy, according to the Local Records Office. Leading the way of our community, business, and personal service sectors are: hotels, law firms, accounting firms, engineering powerhouses and private health-care providers generate a majority of the dollar share in Pekin, Illinois’ economy. And following close behind are Pekin, Illinois’ finance, insurance and real estate conglomerates, the Local Records Office said. Thirdly are the wholesalers and the retail industries from car dealerships, department stores to supermarkets.
75% of the U.S. economy gains its shares from the service sector. As it is well-known, American boosts more of the service industry and thus outsourcing forms a major part of their operations. Therefore, U.S. firms that rake off a sustainable GNP growth must bring a balanced dependency on each other, to bring improvement to productivity is the only mantra for a successfully growing economy.
Manufacturing is the second largest, in fact, Pekin, Illinois is known as a major manufacturing leader in the entire company, said the Local Records Office. While building machinery makes a huge portion, including the assembling of construction equipment, farm machinery, and machine tools. And the second largest is the processed foods sector. Primary food products being created in Illinois include baked goods, breakfast cereals, candy, sausage, and spices. Chemical manufacturing makes up the remainder with the production of pharmaceuticals, cleaning solutions, and paint.
Exports sustain thousands of Illinois businesses as a total of 23,252 companies exported from Illinois locations in 2014, 333,674 U.S. jobs supported by goods exports from Illinois in 2015 and 86% of these jobs were supported by manufactured goods exports. While Illinois depends on world markets, the exports from Illinois have helped contribute a total of $59.8 billion out of the $2.21 trillion of U.S. goods and services exports in 2016. And Peoria, being relatively close to Pekin has contributed to export a goods value of $9.8 billion which is a 13.6% share of the state’s exports.
Though, the controversial issue of free trade is moving businesses out of the country costing us to lose tax revenues from corporate profits and the workers, and puts people out of work, which put pressures on the government to raise taxes, borrow money, print money, and still add onto our growing debt, to eventually collapse.
As some question a policies aimed towards looking only at consumer prices and not seeing the bigger picture, as well as keeping American jobs in America, bringing back the jobs we have left, and creating an environment for people to start and continue to grow companies, as outsourcing has contributed to the scourge of unemployment and denies the worker a just wage and the security of the worker for his or her family. But at the same time, some see the factor of production as an alternative to achieve improved levels of efficiency.
In Pekin Illinois’ the 2018 Governor’s Export Awards Applications –are due by Friday, April 20th, at 4:00 Pm.
To fill out the application, right click and save on your computer. If you’re having trouble downloading, please email Godfrey Angara at email@example.com for an emailed copy.
Agriculture -as CAFOs hurt property values, contributes to pollution and other environmental problems, question the impact of the proposed facility on 40 houses and cabins within a two-mile radius of the proposed facility, and roads as well as nearby ponds.
Opponents also question whether the site complies with “setback” rules requiring facilities with 7,000 or more animals to be at least a half mile from an occupied residence and a mile from populated areas.
Johnson’s concern of the number of swine CAFOs in her home country also mentions how pigs are raised in CAFOs tightly confined crate-like pens.
The odors, gases, and particulates are said to rise nearby neighbor’s health issues and meanwhile, proponents are keeping up the increasing international demand for pork as farmers are updating their facilities and lead others to argue whether these facilities will be enhancing the local economy.
Coal mining is now more apart of Illinois’ history than the present, as coal production has decreased since the 1920s, with technology and natural gas being the two culprits for the industry’s decline and mining jobs dissipated after the Harsey’s mine shut down, and many workers were let go. The Local 1825 still comes together to celebrate the history of coal mining every year on April 1st.
Despite Chicago’s gains in employment and the declining unemployment rate across the state, the rest of the state of Illinois.
Springfield, Decatur, and Danville have experienced dips in the employment rates because more residents are unable to find a job.
Policies are pushing smaller businesses into paying higher taxes, while corporations are ‘beating the system’ by outsourcing and getting a corporate tax break
And policies are not helping the issues of forcing smaller businesses to pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation, the highest workers’ compensation costs in the region or raising the overall tax burden to fix Springfield’s spending problems.
Yet, a vast majority of these jobs have decreased their average weekly wages. And to determine whether wages have increase broadly and consistently, after adjusting for inflation, economists measure that wages were only 10% higher in 2017 than they were in 1973, with the annual real wage growth just below 0.2%.
So while corporations get a larger cut on their taxes and even a larger corporate tax break by from outsourcing, the companies start hiring more people and the continuation of inflation of prices rises only higher. And with more people employed and stimulating the economy buying from these large corporations, they continue to have a larger profit margin and become more powerful.
Reasons wages have lagged behind U.S. job growth
Diminishing wages is resulting in fewer people entering the labor force, and as Baby Boomers are retiring and Millenials start earning relatively lower salaries
Andre Chamberlain, the chief economist at the jobs and recruiting company Glassdoor has said even as unemployment fell to a 16-year low recently, the wage growth has slowed. As the Labor Departments’ numbers show wage growth averaging 2.5% in the last four months of last year’s peak at 2.9% in December. Though, Chamberlain says wage growth during this stage of economic recovery should be closer to 3.5%.
One theory is many young, inexperienced workers are entering the job force getting paid less and dragging the nations’ earning growth down as a whole.
Another factor the unemployment rate does not reflect is the people ages 25-54 –the prime working ages – are the ones’ not looking for a job, but might if the condition is right, Chamberlain says.
Replacing workers with technology will reduce costs in the long run, as workers lose out on employment. And while opposing views of whether or not the technological advances are economically significant or simply, are a better alternative for companies to increase productivity. The overall impact of job losses has slowed those looking for work under the right circumstances and the overall wage growth has gotten worse for those who are entering the labor force.
So as people justify that the economy has improved, due to the lower numbers of unemployment rates and the amount of 1.5 million entering the labor force, economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco have recently argued that people entering the labor force are earning relatively lower salaries.
LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – While you may be either building a completely new home or searching for your next home, it is one of the most exciting times and it is important to start looking for your ideal home design.
As we are growing out of modern architecture, you may be wondering if building a ‘fad’ for your newer structure really worth it? Tiny houses have been the big craze for many families looking to downsize and still be able to access an adequate amount of surrounding land, but will it still be a popular choice for potential homeowners in 20 to 30 years?
Either way, looking into styles of homes that fit both you and your family’s needs and wants is your main objective. And here are the few ideal architectural home designs that are both popular and offer significant features with each having its own unique style.
This can be overwhelming, as there are many different housing designs, so I put this list in alphabetical order, in case you already know what design you are looking for.
These house plans share the ideal Country French architecture and are found in Louisiana and across the American southeast, maritime Canadian areas, and exhibit the Louisiana and Cajun influences. Rooms are arranged on either side of a central hallway and the kitchen is in the back. And these stylized homes typically feature a steep, sloping roof with gables that shed snow and moisture effectively.
It is a regional architectural style that draws inspiration from the Pueblo and Spanish Missions located in New Mexico, and typically is made with stucco and has a flat roof with rounded edges. These decorative features often found in this style home include wooden beams projecting from the roofline, hand-hewn lintels inset above deep window openings and walls that slope inward.
The popular style A-Frames have come back into style and are great for that cozy, ‘cabin look’ and most offer acres of land surrounding rivers, a lake or a body of water. And they are well-underpriced for what they have to offer.
The A-frame is shaped like an equilateral triangle and its distinctive peak is formed by rafters or trusses that are held together at the top and bolted to the floor joists or plates down below. And the cross-piece of the A is created with horizontal collar beams to stabilize the structure and typically supports a sleeping loft.
A-frames meet the earth on the rubble of cinderblock walls, concrete or even wood columns, but their essential nature is for them to float slightly above their natural environment, with a viewing platform for an expanse of nature.
These houses are often raised houses suitable for shoreline sites and are adaptable for vacation homes near water or mountain areas. The Tidewater house is typical and features the wide porches, and are constructed of wood with the main living are raised one level.
These house plans are common to Craftsman, Rustic and Cottage home designs. These typical home designs have a great porch for your rocker and are typically one-level with over-hanging eaves as some of the most classic features.
This small, symmetrical style is typically 1 ½ story, and typically people will add on additions behind or on the sides to increase the square footage. These first Cape Cod homes were also built in the 1600s and were inspired by Britain’s thatched cottages, but with steeper roofs and larger chimneys to withstand the cold Northeastern winters. New builds in this style are rare, says Rob Brennan, principal at the Brennan + Company Architects in Ellicott City, Maryland.
Get their name from the outbuildings of large manors whereas owners store their carriages. Today, the carriage house generally is in reference to the detached garage with living space above them.
It has a symmetrical look and floor plan and has been a popular style throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. These are typically two to three-story house plans with symmetrical façade and gable roofs and often are expressed in temple-like entrances with porticos topped with pediments.
Multi-pane, double-hung windows with shutters, dormers, and paneled doors with sidelights, topped with rectangular transoms or fanlights, and include entry-hall floor plans, fireplaces and simple, classical detailing.
It offers today’s building appearances and can vary in design. The most common characteristic is clean lines, large windows devoid a decorative trim, and with the focus towards function. It is comparable to connecting the indoors with the outdoors by emphasizing energy efficiency, sustainable materials, with large, floor-to-ceiling windows offering lots of natural light and uses recyclable non-toxic materials.
The exterior is a mixture of siding, stucco, stone, brick, and wood. The roof is either flat or shallow-pitched, and often with great overhangs.
This smaller design is a storybook charm that will fit near a lake or in a mountain setting. These are sometimes also referred to as bungalows.
As are one of the most popular styles, these styled house plans embrace the wraparound porch and have a gabled roof. And they are offered most commonly in either one or two stories high.
The French County style is rooted in the rural French countryside and includes modest farmhouse designs and estate-like chateaus. This style exudes warmth and comfortable design elements such as curved arches, soft lines, and stonework. The inside has wooden beams, plaster walls and stone floors as the most common thematic features.
The Low Country house plans are suited for coastal areas and the coastal plains of the Carolinas and Georgia. Typically, they are elevated and have welcoming porches to enjoy the outdoors in the shade.
The Craftsman displays the honesty and simplicity of a truly American house. These homes emphasize natural materials –wood, brick, and stone with wide porches and low-pitched, gabled roofs (often hipped) with exposed rafters. The porches are either full or partial width, with tapered columns, and or pedestals that extend to the ground level. The interior’s open floor plan features built-in furniture, big fireplaces, and exposed beams.
A Dutch Colonial is similar to Colonial-style and it most recognized for its gambrel roof and has a shallower pitch with must steeper sides –a look most commonly used on barns. Dormers are where second-story windows pop out of the façade and are also a more common feature of Dutch colonial homes.
These houses have typically steep roofs, subtly flared curves at the eaves and faced with either stucco or stone. The roof comes down to the windows and the second floor is often the roof, or as we know it, the attic.
Reflects the American simpler era when families gathered in an open kitchen and a living room. This version of a country home style usually has bedrooms clustered together and features the friendly porches. The lines are simple and often faced with wood siding.
The Federal-style became popular during America’s first decades as a nation in the late 18th century and 19th centuries. These homes tend to be symmetrical with tall windows. The Federal homes were originally built in a similar box shape, and it is common to see in additions to the side or expanded depth.
A Florida house plan embraces elements of several styles that allow comfort during the heat of the day. This Mediterranean house with its shallow, sloping tile roof and verandas is faced with wood and has one or more porches, verandas, and windows to allow a breeze to flow freely throughout.
These home plans characterize with proportion and balance and typically have square symmetrical shapes with paneled doors centered on the front façade. The paired chimneys are a common feature of added symmetry. The common building materials use stone with red, tan or white being the most frequently used colors.
This Texas Hill Country style is a regional historical style with roots in European immigrants that settled the area, with available white limestone and later brown sandstone that were used with the local cedar to construct these well-crafted and attractive homes. During the settlers’ movement and due to these lean times, the result of these homes is simple and has an authentic style with modern elegance.
Log Homes originally were small cabins in the 1600s and were built as one room using no nails, sort of like the same concept of when we were kids building our own homes with the logs. Now, they are built as functional and large luxurious getaways. These log homes are ideally found in a rural setting. The climate of the surrounding area will dictate the type of wood you should use to build the home. And can be handcrafted or milled (built of manufactured wood).
This is usually a one-story home design with shallow roofs that slope, with a wide overhang to provide shade in warmer climates. The courtyards and open arches allow for breezes to flow through freely the house and verandas. There are typically open, big windows throughout and the verandas can be found on the 2nd floor. The exterior is stucco and the roofs made with tile, making these great vacation homes in southern latitudes.
It Features glass, steel, and concrete. The open floor plans are a signature characteristic and from the street, they are dramatic to behold. And even though there is some overlap to the contemporary house plans, they are two different looks.
Mountain home designs commonly feature huge windows and large decks with rugged exteriors and exposed wood beams. These prow-shaped great rooms are quite common. There is some crossover to vacation home plans.
From Greek and Roman architecture for inspiration, the Neoclassical design embraces large columns and smooth surfaces. Some of the well-known homes in the U.S with the Neoclassical design, include the White House and Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello.
Designed by architects from the Northwest, this home is simple in design, devoid of the excessive exterior details and it is mostly made of wood. The roof usually is medium to low-pitched with deep overhangs. Windows being large can bring light into the interiors.
The plantation home plans are typically boasted with white pillars, asymmetrical shape and sprawling porches mostly associated with the South, though, found all over the country. The grand scale features are spacious and suggest the charm and genteel lifestyle of the South.
The prairie style home plans came around the turn of the 20th century and are often associated with one of the giants in design. With seeping horizontal lines and wide-open floor plans, the common features of this style include overhanging eaves, rows of small windows and one-story projection, and in many cases, a central chimney.
Is also known as “rambler” for the way the rooms spread out over only one level, but it also becomes a raised ranch or a split level with room for expansion. These styles became popular in the 1950s and had inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie style, says Brennan. The asymmetrical shapes are common with the low-pitched roofs and a built-in garage. And the exterior is faced with either wood or bricks or has a combination of both.
Shingle style house plans were born in England and popular throughout the West Coast, they are informal and highly imaginative –a summer style “cottage” often built for the wealthier clients. This architecture of American summer is known for its casual style with its ability to blend into their surroundings, with wooden shakes in natural colors. The wide porches are fairly common and are an invitation to spend more time outdoors in the sun.
Spanish Colonial Revival
These Spanish styles are easily recognizable by the terracotta tiles roof that is perfect for warmer climates, and stucco or adobe walls, and arched windows and doors that complete the look.
Its variation of the ranch but has more of an up and down feel as you walk through. Essentially is a ranch house with a garage stuck underneath it. The short staircases lead up and down to different levels and to rooms throughout.
This being one of the most common styles in the U.S. is a mix of classic, simple designs that commonly features little ornamentation, simple rooflines, and symmetrically spaced windows. The building materials are in either wood or brick.
The Tudor Revival homes only use timber cosmetically and are easily recognized by its steep-pitched roof and framing of typically half brick or half-timber with stucco. Often, is misrepresented as the Tudor which refers to the English architectural style in the 16th century.
These house plans combine modern elements with a classic Italian design and resulting in an attractive Old World European charm. Though similar to Mediterranean house plans, the Tuscan designs typically feature stucco exteriors and stone accents, terracotta roof tiles, narrow, tall windows with shutters and enclosed courtyards. Additionally, this style often features decorative ceilings and wooden beams.
Vacation home plans have central, open living spaces and with few or many bedrooms to suit a couple or a family with lots of friends.
It is best marked with its steep roof, asymmetrical facade and elaborately crafted trim on overhangs and rooflines, giving it a ‘gingerbread house’ look. San Francisco’s Painted Ladies are a prime example of Victorian and Edwardian architecture in the U.S.