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Forecast on the Fall 2017 Housing Market

The good news for the economy is the national housing market is still setting higher and higher prices.   But while nationally those numbers are looking good, most of these reports focus on only the major metro areas of the US.  While it is true the markets in metropolitan cities have nearly fully recovered, the actual recovery is far more muddled.   Smaller markets are taking baby steps on the road to recovery and still have a long way to go.  Meanwhile, cities like San Francisco are seeing double digit growth.  It’s expected take at least another eight years to for the US to reach full recovery in most places. Continue reading

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FHA Rate Cut Suspension Hurts First Time Homebuyers

On Dec. 27, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that premium rates for mortgage insurance on loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration would drop by a quarter of a percentage point.  This change would have brought the rate down to what it was before the housing market crash in 2008.  New home buyers using a government-backed FHA loan and who put down a small down payment would have benefited from this change greatly.  Continue reading

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Checklist for Safeguarding Your Home

In light of the recent viral video showing a dresser falling on one of two twin toddlers, we put together a list of ways you can safeguard your home to help prevent such occurrences from taking place.   As prepared as you may be for your two year old to rampage through your home without fear of  them getting seriously injured or breaking your valuables, there are still a few things that you may not be prepared for.  Here are some things to go over just to get you started. Continue reading

How to tell if your neighborhood is safe

How to Check the Safety of Your Neighborhood

Buying a home or renting to own a home is a considerable investment.   And with that investment, it would be prudent to check the safety of the neighborhood where you plan to purchase your home.   Land values are primarily affected by the desirability of the area.  Areas with a high rate of crime or sex offenders typically have low desirability and thus lower land values.   But these are not the only factors that determine how valuable an area may be.   You’ll also need to take into consideration things like pollution and air quality as well.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can check your neighborhood and determine its safety and value. Continue reading

Going Solar Is It Worth It While Renting?

Going Solar: Is It Worth It While Renting?

This is a tricky question and while it’s possible to go solar while being a renter, we’re here to consider the question:  Is it a good idea to go solar while renting?  The answer to that question is “it depends.”  There’s a lot to consider when deciding to step into the world of a solar powered home, even if you own that home.  It gets a bit cloudier when you’re not the owner.  Let’s break it down and take a look at how you can install solar panels if you’re renting.

First of all, let’s take a look at the solar panel installations available.  There are a lot of installation options available for various types of solar panels:

  • Ballast Mount- The ballast mounted systems use weights to hold the panels to the roof of a home or where ever they are mounted
  • Mechanically Attached – This method attaches the solar panel mounts to the beams in the roof so they are more securely and permanently held in place
  • Hybrid Mount – This is a combination of the ballast and mechanical systems
  • Ground Mount – Typically used in areas where there are no suitable structures to mount a solar panel onto. Ground mounts are typically steel beams anchored with concrete
  • Plug-in Systems – Modular systems that typically are transportable or can be mounted to a structure of any type.

Now that we know what kind of installation systems are available for mounting solar panels to your rental home.  the next thing you’ll need is to speak to your landlord and determine what type of solar panel systems they will allow.

Once you get the landlord on board you’ll need to decide what’s best for your situation.  Both the mechanically attached and hybrid mount systems require you to drill into beams in the roof to make the attachment,  so these systems may not be the best choice for a renter especially if you’re the one footing the bill.    Ballast mounted systems seem a little less destructive to the property but you also need to consider wiring and how energy will be stored so you’re going to need to make some changes to the wiring in the home, as well as setting up an area for the necessary equipment to convert the power and distribute it to the home.

This leaves the plug-in systems, which are actually just what a renter should be looking for.   These solar panels are modular and transportable and do not require a lot of technical knowledge to operate or install.   There’s no question that solar powering a home can save a ton of money in the long term, but make sure that you’re not investing in a permanent, non-transportable solar system for a property that you do not own.