Gifts and Gadgets for Every Room in the House
Are you searching for new and innovative gift ideas this holiday season? If so, check out our list of the hottest home technology offerings. We’ve selected a few of our favorites for every room in the house. These smart systems and devices add comfort, convenience, and a “cool factor” that will delight your friends and family.
So think about who you know that loves the latest gadgets … or add a few of these to your own wish list!
5 Quick Steps to Finding Your Next Home
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, shopping for a new home can feel daunting. In fact, 56% of buyers said that “finding the right property” was the most difficult step in the home buying process.1
Buying a home is a significant commitment of both time and money. And a home purchase has the power to improve both your current quality of life and your future financial security, so the stakes are high. Follow these five steps—and complete the corresponding worksheet offered below—to assess your priorities, streamline your search, and choose your next home with confidence.
National Snapshot: How’s the Real Estate Market?
The U.S. unemployment rate is at a 50-year low, and consumer confidence remains high. In fact, the University of Michigan’s latest Surveys of Consumers found that Americans have their most positive personal finance outlook since 2003.1
However, if you follow national news, you’ve probably heard speculation that we could be headed toward a recession. Global trade tensions and a slow down in the GDP growth rate have sparked volatility in the stock market, leading to economic uncertainty. Given these differing signals, you may be wondering: How has the U.S. housing market been impacted? Where is it headed? And more importantly … what does it mean for me?
Changes in Federal Housing Administration (FHA) eligibility requirements will now make many condominium units available to first time home buyers.
An FHA guaranteed mortgage is the loan of choice for many first time home buyers. Low down payment requirements, easier credit underwriting and even the availability of down payment assistance programs make FHA a popular option for first timers.
Condominiums are attractive market entry options but only 6.5% of the nation's condo units are approved for FHA lending. In an effort to provide access to affordable housing, FHA has changed their processes and now allows for review of individual condominium units with a "spot approval" review.
5 Step Strategy for Downsizing Your Home
In our “bigger is better” culture, there’s an expectation that each home should be larger and grander than the last. But life changes like divorce, kids leaving for college, or even the simple act of growing older can prompt us to find a smaller home that better suits our shifting needs and lifestyle.
In fact, the advantages of downsizing are being increasingly recognized. A “tiny house movement” has gained passionate advocates who appreciate the benefits of living simply at any age and stage of life. Not only does a smaller home typically cost less, it also takes less time and effort to maintain.1
Whatever your reasons are for downsizing, the process can seem overwhelming. That’s why we’ve outlined five steps to guide you on your journey. And in the end, we hope you’ll find that less is more … more comfort, more security, and more time and energy to spend on the activities and the people that you love.