Something that the Europeans have been doing for decades has finally made its way over the Atlantic Ocean to North America: the trend is called micro housing, and it’s turned into an entirely new way of living.
With micro housing, we’re beginning to do away with oversize condos and even detached homes, learning to live in a more minimalistic manner and curbing our hoarding habits for good.
The affordability of micro housing is making it possible even for young adults and students to purchase their homes in the city centers across North America. But one must ask, is the micro housing trend good for the globe too?
Sustainability Of Micro Condominiums
Being able to pack a higher number of salable units into one building and lowering the prices to widen the market and encourage young buyers to purchase instead of rent is certainly economically beneficial; but is this trend sustainable and beneficial for the planet too?
As it turns out, the cost of building a micro-apartment structure over a regular sized one has a much lighter footprint on our earth. Micro-housing is a sustainable part of urban design because it is made to be a contributing asset to compact cities across North America, requiring less infrastructure cost, fewer resources, and a smaller environmental impact from shipping to construction to ongoing management and maintenance.
Some micro-buildings even have shared areas like kitchens and lounges; this helps to cut back on building costs even further and lessens air pollution from shipping.
Micro Homes: Are They Green?
Though micro detached homes are also on the rise, they have run into problems with bylaws in certain cities across North America. They may just be the way of the future, though, with the real estate prices in many areas growing out of control. These micro homes are similar to the micro condominium units in their petite sizes, however they typically do not have a standard foundation, instead resting on screw piles that are attached to the ground.
These easy-to-assemble micro homes, though perhaps battling with particular municipalities and their bylaws, offer practical housing that is sustainable too. Green features of these micro homes include the additional options of a composting toilet, solar power energy systems, grey water treatment system and a rainwater collection system.
The Lifestyle Of The Micro-Housing Trend
Another factor that should be taken into consideration when looking at the sustainability of the micro-housing trend in the kind of lifestyle it is promoting. Generally situated in the dense city centers, micro housing encourages a lifestyle that is affordable, thereby attracting residents who will take public transit or be within walking distance to work or school, and lessening the need for the daily use of a vehicle.
Perhaps we’re looking a little too enthusiastically at the future, but as it seems, the micro housing trend is bringing with it all kinds of benefits, both economically and sustainably. A lifestyle and housing solution that finally benefits the planet is always accepted among our modern cities across North America, and soon it may just be the reason to purchase instead of rent, allowing us to walk instead of drive.
For more information on the micro housing trend in your area, call your trusted mortgage advisor today!
While the traditional method of trawling for sale listings, making bids, and negotiating with the seller has been a popular rite of passage for many home buyers, buying a house at auction is swiftly becoming a favored way to purchase property.
Buying a home through auction can be tricky, so it’s best to do your research and keep your cool on auction day, lest you find yourself stuck with a less-than-ideal place to live for a price you didn’t expect to pay. If you’re in the market to buy through auction for the first time, here are some things you need to know.
How To Find Houses Up for Auction
Real estate agents will often use the same methods to sell a house by auction as they do in a traditional sale: adverts in newspapers and online, posters in their office windows, and signs outside the property.
Depending on the reason for the sale, a home auction may be held at a local courthouse, an auction house, or, in some cases, online.
Viewing A House Before Auction
It’s always best to try before you buy, so make sure you are able to view the house prior to the auction. Some real estate agents will insist on exterior views of the home only, but, if you’re a new buyer, this may not be enough.
Seasoned home buyers can often pick a house by looking at the exterior and reading a description; buyers new to the game should bank on seeing inside first.
Checking The Price Of An Auction
Look into the price that is offered for the home you seek to buy; sometimes, if a house is in foreclosure, the starting price of the home may be the balance of the mortgage, or a lower price to get people to begin bidding. Lenders, such as banks, are not permitted to make a profit from selling a foreclosure and may often sell homes at a loss; look out for these bargains when checking house prices in your local area.
Bidding At An Auction
On auction day, make sure you enter the auction knowing the general value of the house and the maximum amount you are willing to pay; having these parameters set out will help prevent you from getting swept up in the auction process and bidding more than what you have or what the house is worth.
On the day, bring a cashier’s check—auction holders ask winners to pay for auction fees, bidding fees, and a deposit on the purchase. If you are successful on auction day, you will then have to close the deal with the seller just like any other property purchase.
If you need financing, you may wish to be pre-cleared by your lending company before the auction. Also, be aware that your winning bid may not be accepted. Many homes have a reserve price, and if the reserve is not met, the house will not be sold on the day.
If you are interested in buying a home through auction, go into the process knowing that auctions can be riskier than buying a home via traditional means. Also remember that just because a house is up for auction doesn’t mean you are guaranteed a good price. Some houses sell for a lot of money, and others sell cheaply but have hidden costs, such as urgent maintenance.
When you’re ready to find your new home by auction and finance it, call your local trusted mortgage professional for information.
While little housing-related news was released, last week’s economic news showed signs of a brighter economic picture.
Labor statistics were stronger, with job openings up and new jobless claims filed lower than expected.
Mortgage rates fell, and the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index was higher than expected.
More Jobs Available, Fewer New Jobless Claims
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that February job openings rose to 4.20 million, which exceeded January’s reading of 3.9 million jobs. New jobless claims were lower than expected with 300,000 new jobless claims filed against expectations of 316,000 new jobless claims and the prior week’s reading of 332,000 new jobless claims filed.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve released minutes of its meeting held March 18 and 19. The minutes noted that payroll jobs expanded, but the unemployment rate remained elevated, and inflation was below the committee’s goal of 2.00 percent. Indicators of longer-run inflation expectations were seen as stable.
Severe winter weather was viewed as a cause for slowing economic activity. FOMC noted that it would be difficult to determine the effects of winter weather on the economy as opposed to slower economic growth caused by unemployment or other negative factors.
Housing Starts and Building Permits were lower, but FOMC noted the impact of winter weather on these reports. FOMC asserted its intention to continue reducing its monthly asset purchases by $10 billion per month as economic conditions permit.
The FOMC emphasized its commitment to continuous review of financial and economic news as it makes month-to-month decisions concerning asset purchases.
Mortgage Rates Fall, Consumer Sentiment Rises
Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week. The rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell from 4.41 to 4.34 percent. The rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage dropped from 3.47 to 3.38 percent, and the rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage fell by three basis points from 3.12 percent to 3.09 percent.
Discount points were unchanged at 0.70, 0.60 and 0.50 percent respectively. Lower mortgage rates may encourage more buyers into the market as the spring and summer buying season gets under way.
The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index for April rose to 82.60 percent against the March reading of 80.00 percent and the projected reading of 80.80 percent. If expectations prove correct, this week’s economic reports are expected to bring more good news.
What‘s Coming Up This Week
This week’s scheduled economic news includes Retail Sales for March, which are expected to show a gain, the Consumer Price Index which is expected to hold steady, and the Home Builder Index, which is expected to rise.
Projections for Housing Starts are also higher. Fed Chair Janet Yellen is set to give a speech in New York on Wednesday, and the Fed Beige Book report will also be released. This week’s economic reports will wrap up Friday with Leading Economic Indicators.
Water is the planet’s most precious resource. Access to clean water is a privilege that, unfortunately, many people still take for granted.
By utilizing new water efficiency technologies and age-old conservation methods, we can help preserve the water supply for future generations. Cutting down on consumption whenever possible is something that everyone can do to live a little greener.
Making Sure Your Home Holds Water
The first stop on your journey to save water is to ensure your home is free of water leaks. Make your way through your home, and properly shut off the water at all fixtures and faucets. Air-cooling systems and other devices that use water should also be shut of.
Read your water meter, wait two hours (without using any water), and check it again. If your water meter gives you two different readings, you are losing water somewhere, and the problem needs farther investigating.
If you find yourself flooded with problems, it may be time to call your local real estate professional. Most issues are easily repaired or upgraded, but sometimes a fresh efficient start may be a simpler solution.
Air It Out And Get In the Flow
Installing aerators on faucets and shower heads reduce their usage by half. These contraptions are inexpensive and easy to install. By injecting air into the water flow, you keep the same water pressure, but use less water.
If you are in the market for a new toilet, complete your water saving bathroom makeover with a low flow, water efficient model. These toilets can save about 9,000 gallons of water a year.
If a new toilet is not in your near future, a simple homemade contraption can cut down on water being flushed away. Fill a water bottle with some pebbles so it sinks, and fill the rest with water. Place the bottle in the cistern of your toilet. By displacing some of the water in the tank, you can save around 500 gallons of water a year.
Obtain A Lush Lawn With Less Water
Over-watering your grass is wasteful and counterproductive. Watering your lawn two times a week is better for grass than daily sprinklings. Giving your lawn a good soaking with an inch of water every few days will keep it lush and save water. You should also avoid over-mowing.
Grass is happiest at two to three inches tall. Over-mowed grass tends to have weak roots, and requires more water to keep it growing strong. Let Mother Nature take care of the watering on occasion, especially during the spring.
Mulch Landscape To Lock In Moisture
Mulch around the trees and shrubs in your yard. Mulch holds in moisture, and will keep the water in the ground longer. There are also water bags on the market that do a great job of keeping young trees hydrated.
Make sure your sprinklers are putting water where it is needed, and not unnecessarily watering the sidewalk. When the sidewalks and patios need a sweeping, make sure you reach for the broom and leave the hose on standby.
By making a few informed decisions to cut down on water consumption, you can feel good knowing you are doing your part to conserve. When water flows freely, it is easy to forget how precious it is.
Remind yourself that water is a resource that needs to be saved, and should not be wasted. Access to clean water is something no one wants to see lost.
When you’re looking for ways to supplement your retirement income, there are a number of different options to consider. A reverse mortgage is becoming a more popular and more common way to provide income when your retirement savings don’t leave enough to live on.
But with all the information out there, how do you know what happens in a reverse mortgage and whether it’s a good option for you?
What Is A Reverse Mortgage?
A reverse mortgage essentially reverses the typical actions of a mortgage. Instead of making payments on your home, you receive payments against your home’s equity. The amount you are loaned is dependent on your age, your home’s value, the interest rate and any restrictions placed by state or local laws.
Then when your home ownership changes through sale, death or moves out permanently, the loan comes due and is paid for out of the sale of your home. If you borrow more than the value of your home, you or your heirs will not have to make up the difference.
If your home’s value increases and it sells for more than the total of the loan, you or your heirs receive the difference.
There are a number of requirements that must be met that were implemented in late 2013. These include a the home being your primary residence, reaching a minimum age of 62, an increasing progressive percentage of your home’s value that can be borrowed against based on your current age and limitations on exactly how much value you can borrow against in the first year of the loan.
Let’s Break It Down
As an example, a 62-year-old could borrow 52.6% of their home’s value and receive a disbursement of 60% of that percentage. So if their home had 500,000 in value, they could borrow $263,000 and take out $157,800 the first year. By comparison, a 90-year-old could borrow 66%, so the same home would let them borrow $330,000 and they could take out $198,000 the first year.
Disbursements typically are awarded in three ways: as a lump sum at closing, as periodic payments over the life of the loan or as a line of credit with a checkbook. It is also common for a combination of these three ways be used for disbursement.