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Showing posts from 2011

Considering Selling Your Home?

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by The KCM Crew

The First Question You Should Ask Your Listing Agent

What is the most important thing a seller should look for when hiring a real estate agent to sell their house? We are often asked this question. Is it the size of the company they are licensed with? Is it their marketing program? Their years experience in the business? Should you choose the agent who suggests the highest listing price?

There are many things that should be taken into consideration when hiring someone and giving them the responsibility for selling your home. In our opinion, the most important question you can ask a potential listing agent is a simple one:

Do you truly believe that now is a good time to buy a home?
Why should this matter when hiring someone to SELL your home? Buyers are nervous about purchasing right now. They want to know they are making an intelligent choice. We believe, especially in today’s market, you need to hire someone who realizes that this is one of the best times in American real …

Real Estate: Today’s Golden Opportunity

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by The KCM Crew

Everyone wants to comment on the current real estate market. They want to talk about how now is not the time to buy a home. Some even argue owning a house has never been a great investment. Most say it will be a long time before real estate again begins to appreciate. It all sounds so familiar to us. It was just a decade ago that many made the same arguments about gold as an investment.

Gold had dropped from over $400 an ounce to $250 an ounce (a 40% decline) from February 1996 to August 1999. People ran from gold as though it was a plague.

Lord William Rees-Mogg, the current Chairman of The Zurich Club, in 1997 said:

“No investment has been so thoroughly exploded as gold; most people think that there will no more be another gold boom than there will be another boom in tulip futures in The Netherlands.”

Two years later in 1999, Don Wolanchuk author of the Wolanchuk Report explained:

“Everybody hates gold. You can’t have a bottom until everybody is out. And everybody is out o…

Mortgage rates fall to record lows

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By Les Christie @CNNMoney






NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Mortgage rates sunk to record lows again this week.

The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.94%, matching the all-time low hit in early October, according to Freddie Mac's weekly mortgage rate survey. Meanwhile, 15-year fixed-rate loans hit a new record low of 3.21%, surpassing the record set on October 6.

Five-year adjustable rate mortgages also plumbed new depths, hitting 2.86% for the week.

"We've been hanging around record lows for a few months now and we finally hit another one," said Keith Gumbinger of HSH Associates, a provider of mortgage data.

Low-interest mortgages will be available at least through mid-2012, according to Freddie Mac's chief economist, Frank Nothaft.

Where homes are affordable

The low rates can translate into big savings for home buyers. Five years ago, a home buyer would have been lucky to land a 5% rate on a 15-year loan. On a $200,000 mortgage, that would have meant the borro…

Colorado Springs Ranked as One of the Most Secure Large Cities!

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Colorado Springs is one of the most secure large cities to live, according to a new study by the Farmer's Insurance Group.

The study rates cities based on a variety of factors: crime statistics, car accidents, extreme weather, risk of natural disasters, environmental hazards, housing depreciation, terrorist threats, foreclosures, air quality, life expectancy, job loss, and mortality rates from cancer.

Cities considered "large" were those with a metropolitan area of 500,000 or more. Colorado Springs was ranked 17th out of 114 cities.

Top 20 Most Secure Cities:

1. Pittsburgh, Penn.
2. Rochester, N.Y.
3. El Paso, Texas
4. Syracuse, N.Y.
5. Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick, Md.
6. Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.
7. Wichita, Kan.
8. Omaha-Neb.-Council Bluffs, Iowa
9. Denver-Aurora, Colo.
10. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
11. Bridgeport-Stanford-Norwalk, Conn.
12. Albany-Schnectady-Troy, N.Y.
13. McAllen-Edinburgh-Mission, Texas
14. Nassau-Suffolk counties, N.Y.
15. Honolulu, Hawaii
16. Madison, Wis.
17. C…

Where Are the Generation Y Home Buyers?

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by The KCM Crew

Many buyers are delaying a decision to purchase a home because of the volatility of the real estate market. There is no larger category exhibiting this behavior than those of Generation Y. To define this segment of the population, we go to Wikipedia:

Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation (or Millennials), Generation Next, Net Generation, or Echo Boomers, describes the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when the Millennial generation starts and ends, and commentators have used birth dates ranging somewhere from the mid-1970s to the early 2000s.

Does this generation wish to own a home?
Yes. A recent survey completed by Trulia shows people between the ages of 18-34 still believe in the concept of home ownership. 65% of those surveyed said “their American Dream includes owning a home”.

Where are these adults living?
Recent research form John Burns Real Estate Consulting shows the number of adults living with their parents ha…

Real Estate as a Hedge against Inflation

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by The KCM Crew

We haven’t heard a lot about inflation recently. However, prices have started to creep upward over the last year. As examples, here are a few categories that increased from November 2010 to November 2011:

-Food at home – up 6.2%
-Housing fuels and utilities – up 3.5%
-Transportation – up 9.2%

Today, we want to address the issue of inflation and the advantages of owning real estate. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) took an historic look at the impact of inflation. Here are some inflation numbers over the past 30 years:

We can see that real estate has fared very well. The most important number is the $0 increase in mortgage amount. The study assumed that the homeowner took a 30 year fixed rate mortgage thereby locking in the housing expense for the thirty years.

NAR then looked at inflation moving forward over the next thirty years. Obviously, if it remained the same as the last thirty years the percentage increase would be the same. They looked at a low inflation sce…

Home Sales Increase Across the Country

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The National Association of Realtors recently released their 2011 3rd Quarter Housing Report. In the report, they showed that combined sales of single family homes, condos and co-ops increased in EVERY state as compared to the 3rd quarter of last year. Here are the state-by-state numbers.

The next time someone says houses aren’t selling, ask them which state they live in and show them the chart.

If you are considering Relocating to Colorado Springs, Purchasing a Home for Sale in Colorado Springs, considering Selling a Home in Colorado Springs, or want more information on the Colorado Springs Real Estate Market, Contact your Colorado Springs Real Estate Expert, Mike MacGuire Today! Click Here to Check out my informational video if you are considering Selling a Home in Colorado Springs. Click Here to Check out my informational video if you are considering Purchasing a Home for Sale in Colorado Springs.

Rent or Buy? The Research is In!

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Ken H. Johnson

Should individuals buy or rent? What is the evidence on this question? What is the present condition of the U.S. housing market? Relatively speaking, how affordable is housing today? Is the market turning around or are we headed for another dip? These and other questions are answered in the attached PowerPoint presentation.

I recently shared this information at the National Association of REALTORS® annual conference in Anaheim, CA. If you are a practitioner, the presentation should assist in your daily practice. If you are a consumer (buyer, seller, renter or landlord), the information contained within should prove to be very informative. If you are a policy maker, the presentation presents several findings that should influence current housing policy.

Please feel free to use this presentation and redistribute to others. The goal is to create an aware and thinking market place. To download the presentation, go to http://realestate.fiu.edu/buyer-or-renter-nation.html.

If you…

Why You Need an Expert--Part 2

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By: The KCM Crew

Yesterday, we explained that having someone who truly knows the market was crucial if you were planning to buy or sell a home today. This expert should know what is happening in real estate, understand why it is happening and be able to simply and effectively explain each point to you and your family. Today, we want to discuss the consequences if you don’t have a true industry professional on your side.

When families enter into a contract to buy or sell a house, two things are true:

1. The buyer wants to own the home.
2. The seller wants to sell the home.

In order for both these things to take place, the transaction must be completed. That is not an easy task in the current market. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Homes Sales Report yesterday. In the report, NAR announced that one out of every three contracts to purchase a home in October never made it to a closing table. How does that ratio stack up against previous numbers? Here is a gra…

You Need an Industry Expert in this Market

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by the KCM Crew

In today’s real estate market, it is easy to get confused. There seems to be an overabundance of information and much of it seems to be conflicting. As an example, we offer you two headlines that appeared within 24 hours of each other last week.

National Delinquency Rate Falls to Lowest Level in Three Years
- Mortgage Bankers Assoc. 11/17/2011

Second Consecutive Increase in First Mortgage Default Rates
- Standard & Poors 11/18/2011

(Remember, foreclosures impact home values and the cost of mortgage money. This makes current delinquency rates an extremely important data point.)

Though these headlines seem to be saying opposite things, both are actually correct. Each report was looking at different data points over different periods of time.

In their article regarding the MBA report, DSNews explains:

“Industry data released Thursday indicates the number of borrowers in the United States behind on their mortgage payments is showing signs of improving. The Mortgage Bankers Asso…

Gorgeous Home for Sale in Colorado Springs

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Beautiful Home for Sale in Colorado Springs with Breathtaking Pikes Peak Views in Flying Horse. Click Here to Tour This Home for Sale in Colorado Springs! Boasting 4 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms, 3 Car Garage and 4,300 + SF. The Main Level Features a Spacious Great Room with Cozy Gas Fireplace and Built-In’s, Gourmet Kitchen with Stainless Steel Appliances, Maple Cabinets, Desk Area, Large Center Island, Breakfast Nook and 3-Way Fireplace adjoining to the Great Room. The Formal Dining Area is Light and Bright and Perfect for Entertaining. Unwind in the Main Level Master Featuring a 3-Sided Fireplace, Walk In Closet and Luxurious 5 Piece Attached Bathroom. The Main Level also includes 2 Large Secondary Bedrooms, an Office with Built In Bookshelves and Laundry Room. The Finished Walk Out Basement includes a Recreation Room with Fireplace, Wet Bar and Walk Out to the Covered Patio. The Expansive Backyard is Professionally Landscaped with a Fountain and Pond. Great Location with Easy Access to S…

Charming Home for Sale in Colorado Springs

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Charming Old North End Home for Sale in Colorado Springs, 1930’s Rancher Featuring 4 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, Detached 2 Car Garage and 2,047 Square Feet. Click Here to Tour This Home For Sale in Colorado Springs! Beautiful Refinished Hardwood Floors Throughout the Main Level, 2 Wood Burning Fireplaces, Updated Kitchen with new appliances, large pantry and ample cabinet and counter space, Remodeled Main Level Bathroom, Large Main Level Master and Spacious Secondary Bedrooms. The basement features a large bonus room, bedroom, bathroom and laundry area with ample storage. New Interior and Exterior Paint, New Gas Water Heater, New Sprinkler System, Large Storage Shed and Concrete Parking Slab for RV/Boat Parking in backyard with alley access. Great Location near Boulder Park, Downtown and more! Perfect for the First Time Home Buyer, Move Up Buyer or if you are Relocating to Colorado Springs.

If you are considering Relocating to Colorado Springs, Purchasing a Home for Sale in Colorado Spring…

The PRICE Is the Same, But the COST Is Less

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There is more and more research coming out showing that it makes great financial sense to purchase a home today . Whether it be rent vs. buy ratios, income-to-price ratios or income-to-mortgage payment ratios, purchasing a home right now is a bargain compared to historic norms. Now we want to look at the COST of a home today compared to pre-peak prices.

According to the most recent S&P Case Shiller price index, residential real estate values have returned to 2003 1Q PRICEs. That, in itself, says something. However, when you factor in mortgage rates, the case for buying a home today becomes even more compelling.

In 2003, 30 year mortgage rates stood at 5.88%. Today, they are 4%. How does that impact the actual COST of a home? On a home purchased for $250,000, here is the difference in monthly cost:



That means you save $285.30 a month, $3,423.60 a year and $102,708 over the life of a 30 year mortgage! You buy the home for the same PRICE but the COST is over $100,000 less.

Bottom Line
Thi…

Gradual Recovery for Housing and the Economy Expected in 2012

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Although the housing market struggled to maintain an even footing in 2011, gradual improvement is expected in 2012 and beyond, according to projections at a residential forum here at the 2011 Realtors® Conference & Expo.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors®, said home sales should be stronger. “Tight mortgage credit conditions have been holding back home buyers all year, and consumer confidence has been shaky recently,” he said. “Nonetheless, there is a sizeable pent-up demand based on population growth, employment levels and a doubling-up phenomenon that can’t continue indefinitely. This demand could quickly stimulate the market when conditions improve.”

Yun projects growth in Gross Domestic Product to be 1.8 percent this year, then rising moderately at a rate of 2.2 percent in 2012. With job growth of 1.7 to 2.2 million next year, the unemployment rate is expected to decline to 8.7 percent by the second half of 2012.

Mortgage interest rates should …

Veterans Day 2011

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Veterans Day 2011 free meals from Applebee's, Chili's, Denny's, Subway and more

By: Roz Zurko, Hartford Pop Culture Examiner

Veterans Day 2011 free meals list has offers for every meal of the day. On Friday November 11th veterans and active service members can have a free meal and even a snack at these participating restaurants according to the Foodbeast. The 2011 Veterans Day list is bigger this year than last year as more of the big name restaurants honor the nation’s veterans and active military.

The rules around the Veterans Day 2011 free meal offerings are simple. You need to show proof that you’re in the military or that you’re an active member of the military. These specials are available for November 11th 2011 at the participating locations. It’s a good idea to call ahead to the restaurant that you’re planning to visit to make sure they are honoring the free meal offer.

Here are the Veterans Day 11-11-11 offerings:

Denny’s: (participating restaurants only) is offering a…

Colorado Springs Ranks #2 Top Cities for Veterans

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by: Livability.com

It's hard to beat the opportunities for Physical Training, oops we mean recreational adventures, that Colorado Springs has to offer. Add in that the city is home to such military installations as Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base, United States Air Force Academy, Schreiver Air Force Base, and Colorado Springs gives veterans a vast support network and potential job market. While the nearest VA medical center is located in Denver, about 63 miles away, there is an outpaitent clinic for veterans in Colorado Springs.

The defense industry plays a major role in the economy here, employing thousands of vets. Some of the city's largest employers develop high-tech weapons, aircraft, spaceships and electronic equipment. The city was originally a resort town, and the scenery, hikes, and geological features here are among the best in the nation. Colorado Springs is home of the U.S. Olympic Training Center and several club sports teams. The group Walk Score ranked the ci…

Americans Still Believe in the Value of Homeownership

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Last week, Fannie Mae released their National Housing Survey for the third quarter of 2011. They survey the American public on a multitude of questions concerning today’s housing market. Each quarter, we like to pull out some of the findings we deem most interesting. Here they are for the most recent report:

Most Important Reasons to Buy a Home

The study shows that the four major reasons a person buys a home have nothing to do with money. The top four reasons, in order, are:

-It means having a good place to raise children and provide them with a good education
-You have a physical structure where you and your family feel safe
-It allows you to have more space for your family
-It gives you control of what you do with your living space (renovations and updates) When we talk about homeownership today, it seems that the financial aspects always jump to the front of the discussion. There is no doubt that families must justify a home purchase from a financial point of view today. However, the rea…

Colorado Springs listed among best housing markets for 2012

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by: RICH LADEN

The Colorado Springs housing market, like many other communities around the country, has taken its lumps in recent years: falling home prices, rising numbers of foreclosures and a construction slowdown.

But the city’s housing market will stage a turnaround in 2012 and become one of the nation’s best, according to a national forecast by Builder Magazine.

The Springs ranks No. 7 on Builder’s Top 20 list of healthiest markets the magazine is projecting for next year. Builder publishes its Top 20 list twice a year — once for the current year and another that looks ahead — in conjunction with parent company Hanley Wood, a real estate media and information services firm. Their projections use Moody’s Economy.com data, which focus on jobs, price appreciation, population growth and other factors that drive housing.

The Department of Defense’s major presence in the Colorado Springs area — which includes Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base and Schriever Air Force Base — will serve a…

Insurance Anyone?

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I am often asked about the different types of insurances that surround real estate. And while I am no expert on the topic, I do feel qualified to give an overview and some insight to assist you in asking intelligent questions to true insurance professionals. So, here it goes:

Homeowner’s Insurance covers the replacement cost of the home and is required by lenders to ensure that their collateral (the home) will be replaced in case of damage. The amount of the policy need not include the value of the land. There are variables in cost by company and by the amount of the deductible. Many people include riders to their homeowner’s policy for personal property (like jewelry) or get discounts because they tie it to their auto policies, etc. Recognize also that policies vary for owner occupied homes to second homes to vacation homes to investment properties.

Flood Insurance is mandated by the Federal Government if your property is located in a Flood Zone. Flood Insurance Premiums are used to as…

Colorado Springs named one of the top 5 cities in America for young adults

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By Caitlin Dewey, Kiplinger.com

For twentysomethings, finding the right place to live can be a challenge. The best cities need to offer a combination of employment opportunities and social activities, of course, but they also need to be affordable. After all, the typical college graduate with up to three years of work experience makes $41,900, and that money must go a long way.

To assemble our list, we screened for cities with high starting salaries for college grads, using data from Payscale.com. We also looked for a cost-of-living score near or below 100, the national average, as well as affordable monthly rents. (The median U.S. rent, including utilities, is $817.) Finally, we searched for cities where the percentage of residents ages 20 to 29 is near or above the average of 13.8%.

With these parameters in mind, we found great cities for young adults. These aren’t the cheapest places to live but rather cities that offer solid value: low cost of living and reasonable rents relative to …

Is It Really Time to Buy a Home?

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On Monday, I gave you the links to four different articles that came to the same conclusion: it’s time to buy a home. Today, we want to take a closer look at one of the sources, the JP Morgan’s Market Insights report. Right from the beginning, the paper identifies the greatest challenge in today’s housing market: consumer emotion. They attempt to overcome that emotion with logical reasons why now is the time to buy a home. They break it down to the following.

Price-to-Income Ratio

One measure of housing values is the ratio of personal income to home prices. The report explains where we are today:

“Since 1966, the median price of an existing single family home in the U.S. has varied between 150% and 251% of personal income per household. However, roughly three-quarters of the time it has been in a relatively narrow band between 185% and 230%. In September 2011, the ratio was just 153%, implying that to get back to an average price to income ratio, home prices would have to rise by about 2…

Home Price Monitor: October 2011

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by: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS®

The Home Price Monitor Series reviews national home prices by examining several widely cited national measurements. It is released monthly and allows REALTORS® to gain insight into the recent performance of national prices, factors affecting that performance, and the likely direction of prices in the months ahead. The Home Price Monitor includes the same data covered in the national media that clients will expect their REALTORS® to know and be able to comment on and provides different, more complete coverage of the information all in one place.

Highlights:

• While month to month home prices in August were roughly stable, the end of the summer selling season led to a typical seasonal decline in September among currently available price measures. This seasonal decline generally continues through February.

• Compared to one year ago, however, price change was stable from August to September among existing homes—available data show a 3-4 percent year to y…

It's Simple: Now is the Time to Buy a Home

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by The KCM Crew

“The millionaire says to a thousand people, ‘I read this book and it started me on the road to wealth.’ Guess how many go out and get the book? Very few. Isn’t that incredible? Why wouldn’t everyone get the book? A mystery of life.” – Jim Rohn

Mr. Rohn explains that if we want to make the right financial decisions in our lives, we should depend on the same sources the wealthy read. This past month four different iconic financial resources said the same thing:

IT’S TIME TO BUY A HOME!

Here are all four resources.

Forbes Magazine:The Next Mortgage Crisis

Wall Street Journal:It’s Time to Buy That House

MarketWatch.com:Now Might Be the Best Time Ever to Buy a Home

JP Morgan Market Insights:Housing: A Time To Buy

Enjoy reading them!!

If you are considering Relocating to Colorado Springs, Purchasing a Home for Sale in Colorado Springs, considering Selling a Home in Colorado Springs, or want more information on the Colorado Springs Real Estate Market, Contact your Colorado Springs Real…

Housing Affordability: Price to Income

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by Ken H. Johnson

The Research

The resale of existing homes fell 3 percent in September according to the National Association of Realtors.[i] A new wave of foreclosures is scheduled to hit the U.S. housing markets.[ii] Homeownership levels experienced their largest decline since the Great Depression.[iii] Is there any good news about housing? Are there any signs of life in the U.S. property markets?

In fact, there are significant signs that favor a recovery in many markets around the country. Beracha et al. (2011)[iv] reports that housing affordability is at record levels in most of the country.

The study examines housing affordability from a number of different vantage points. The first investigation by the researchers is into the relationship between property prices and average income on a state-by-state basis and the country as a whole. In general, lower ratios (Price/Income) indicate better property affordability. For example, the average affordability score for Florida over the last …

Long Term Benefits of Buying vs Renting

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If you are considering Relocating to Colorado Springs, Purchasing a Home for Sale in Colorado Springs, considering Selling a Home in Colorado Springs, or want more information on the Colorado Springs Real Estate Market, Contact your Colorado Springs Real Estate Expert, Mike MacGuire Today! Click Here to Check out my informational video if you are considering Selling a Home in Colorado Springs. Click Here to Check out my informational video if you are considering Purchasing a Home for Sale in Colorado Springs.

What’s First? The House or the Mortgage?

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by Dean Hartman

Most people get it backwards. They shop for a home, THEN, they try to structure the financing for it. They make the emotional decision of buying the home of their dreams, THEN, try to apply logic in how they pay for it. Many even go “online” and play with what is affordable by underwriting standards without TRULY considering their future.

I am always fascinated by mortgage underwriting “standards” when they don’t even take into account some very large variables that affect an applicant’s cash flow, and thereby, their ability to repay the loan or maintain a lifestyle they want:

-Are you single or a family of six? Costs for food and clothing alone are very different.

-Do you live in a state that requires State Income Tax or not? Another significant part of the equation.

-How often do you like to eat out or vacation? Are you willing to sacrifice these things for a bigger or nicer home?

Falling in love with a home without considering the REAL impact on your lifestyle is a recipe…

Why Do You Want to Buy a Home?

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by The KCM Crew

If you are in the market to buy a home of your own, you need to ask yourself one question:

WHY?

It seems like a simple enough question yet it is not. Experts are predicting that, in many markets, prices will continue to soften. That has caused many buyers to stay on the fence of indecision hoping to buy at the optimum time. If the reason you are buying is to do a quick ‘flip’ of the property to make money, waiting most definitely makes sense.

What if the reason you are moving isn’t about finances however. Does it still make sense to delay? That depends on why you are buying. What if your purchase is more about improving the quality of life for you and your family? Or moving into a school district where your child’s talents will be maximized? Or being closer to friends and family? There is a cost to delaying any of these decisions.

We realize everyone wants to make a sound financial decision no matter the actual reason for moving. Delaying in a hope to ‘time’ the market migh…

9 Unexpected Energy (and Money) Savers

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Here are a few surprising and simple ways to cut your energy bill this season.

Put lamps in the corners: Did you know you can switch to a lower wattage bulb in a lamp or lower its dimmer switch and not lose a noticeable amount of light? It’s all about placement. When a lamp is placed in a corner, the light reflects off the adjoining walls, which makes the room lighter and brighter.

Switch to a laptop: If you’re reading this article on a laptop, you’re using 1/3 less energy than if you’re reading this on a desktop.

Choose an LCD TV: If you’re among those considering a flat-screen upgrade from your conventional, CRT TV, choose an LCD screen for the biggest energy save.

Give your water heater a blanket: Just like you pile on extra layers in the winter, your hot water heater can use some extra insulation too. A fiberglass insulation blanket is a simple addition that can cut heat loss and save 4% to 9% on the average water-heating bill.

Turn off the burner before you’re done cooking: When you t…