Real Estate Blog

WASHINGTON (January 28, 2016) — Pending home sales were mostly unchanged in December, but inched forward slightly, fueled by a large increase in the Northeast that outpaced declines in the other three major regions, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, crawled 0.1 percent to 106.8 in December from a downwardly revised 106.7 in November and is now 4.2 percent above December 2014 (102.5). The index has increased year-over-year for 16 consecutive months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says contract activity closed out the year on stable footing but lost some momentum, except for in the Northeast. "Warmer than average weather and more favorable

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Remodeling the bathroom is one of the best investments you can make as a homeowner -- whether you're planning to live in your home for ten years or sell it within the next five. In fact, improving the atmosphere and functionality of the bathroom offers a huge benefit, especially if you're starting with a cramped or outdated space. The biggest question, of course, is: How much budget do you have for your remodel? Not everyone can spend tens of thousands of dollars on a bathroom remodel.

So here are some projects that will improve your bathroom, whether you have a budget of $1,000 or $10,000:


A budget that caps at $1,000 doesn't give you a lot of room to hire professionals. You're going to have to do most of the work yourself

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The Greene Street Market at Nativity is downtown Huntsville's producer-only, open-air market for fresh, locally-grown vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. It's where you go to meet farmers with gorgeous local produce, grass fed beef and pork, free range chickens and eggs; pick up freshly-prepared meals, gourmet popsicles, traditionally-made relishes, cheeses, preserves and breads. And, it's where local artisans offer their works.

The outdoor market (located at the corner of Greene Street and Eustis Avenue in downtown Huntsville) is open on Thursdays from May through October. The hours are 4pm - 8pm from May - August, 4pm - 7pm in September, and 3pm - 6pm in October.

The indoor Greene Street Market Store, at 208 Eustis, is open Monday - Friday, 10

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Home staging can influence buyers’ perceptions of a home and even motivate them to pay more, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2015 Profile of Home Staging, a survey of more than 2,300 REALTORS® representing buyers and sellers.

Eighty-one percent of REALTORS® who represent buyers say that staged homes make it easier for their home buyers to visualize a property as their future home. Forty-six percent of buyer agents also reported that staging makes their buyers more willing to tour a home they viewed online, and 45 percent say that buyers tend to view the value of the home more positively if it is decorated to buyers’ tastes.

Twenty-eight percent of agents said their buyers are even more willing to overlook other property

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WASHINGTON (January 12, 2015) – Homeowners often consider various remodeling and replacement projects as a way to add value to their homes. Some projects add more value and better recoup their costs than others, according to Realtors® who rated small and exterior projects as the most valuable home improvement projects in the 2015 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report. Compiled annually in collaboration with Hanley Wood'sRemodeling Magazine, the report compares changes in home improvement project costs with Realtors®’ perceptions of what those projects contribute to a home’s price at resale.

“It can be a daunting task to even decide on what home improvement projects to undertake, let alone to physically tackle and complete them,” said National Association of

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Most home fires are preventable, but sometimes common sense isn't so common. According to the National Fire Protection Association, it's not too early to protect your loved ones and your home from fire damage, by simply following sensible suggestions.

1. Have your furnace checked. It's worth the money to hire a professional to inspect and service your furnace once a year. If it's going to conk out, it's better to know trouble is coming.

2. Have your chimneys and vents checked. Fireplaces produce creosote which can ignite. If you light fires frequently, you need a chimney sweep service once a year. When you burn wood, make sure it's dry and seasoned so that it produces more flame and less smoke.

3. Test smoke alarms. Make sure batteries are

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Some sellers want to take more with them than a favorite light fixture or curtain rod. They may want to move entire rooms to their new home.

That’s what Cindy Jones, a real estate broker in Woodbridge, Va., recently encountered when she saw a listing that noted the seller wanted to take the entire kitchen with them.

"How do you explain to the underwriter that the kitchen doesn't come with the house and expect to get a loan that includes the value of a kitchen?" she wrote in a recent post on

The Los Angeles Times recently featured an article on sellers who may want to take too much with them when they move, and how it can derail a deal. In some cases, sellers don’t tell their agent of their intentions beforehand.

For example,

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20 days, 20 ways to declutter your home

Jennifer SteiliVillage

Oct. 28, 2013 at 8:01 PM ET

Make a date with your clutter
Your first task is to schedule an appointment with your space, says Kim Cosentino, professional organizer and owner of The De-Clutter Box, based in Westmont, Illinois. Most people never get around to clearing the clutter because their schedule is packed. So, just as you would schedule a regular checkup with your doctor, schedule an appointment with your home to begin organizing. Take two hours one morning and set that time aside to start getting things in order.

Pick a target
Look around your home and decide what overwhelms you the most. What frustrates you most often? Is it your disordered wardrobe? Or not being

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On December 16, 2014, the Senate passed H.R. 5771, the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, by a vote of 76-16.  

The bill includes a one-year extension of several expired tax provisions that benefit REALTORS and their clients, including tax relief for mortgage debt forgiveness.  The relief is effective retroactive to January 1, 2014, but expires again on December 31, 2014.  Also included in the bill are one-year retroactive extensions of the 15-year depreciation schedule for leasehold improvements, the deduction of mortgage insurance premiums, and the deduction for energy efficient commercial buildings.  

The House passed the bill on December 3.  It now goes to the President, who is expected to sign it into law.


Courtesy of Article written

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Applying for a mortgage can be extremely nerve-racking so it's important to prepare beforehand so that some of the stress of the situation can be avoided when it comes time to meet with a lender.

Having the necessary documentation available and on-hand will immediately show a lender that they are dealing with a responsible and organized individual and this just might work in your favor during the approval process.

The first thing needed in applying for a mortgage is preparation.

Steps in Preparing for Mortgage Application:

- Try to sustain a steady well-paying job for a few years before applying for a mortgage

- Find a reliable cosigner with a good credit history who can make payments if you cannot

- Pay all bills in full and on time

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