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Case-Shiller: Rising Home Prices Boost Inflation

Case Shiller Rising Home Prices Boost Inflation

December home prices rose by 0.10 percent according to the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index. The composite report tracks home prices in 20 U.S. cities. December’s results boosted home prices by 4.50 percent year-over-year, which is approximately double the inflation rate for 2014. Analysts note that the overall reading was less significant than individual readings for the 20 cities included in the report.

Regional Home Prices Suggest Disparity in Housing Recovery

The top three month-to-month home price increases for cities surveyed were led by Miami, Florida with an increase of 0.70 percent, Home prices rose by 0.50 percent in Denver, Colorado, and by 0.50 percent in San Francisco, California.

Chicago, Illinois posted a month-to-month loss of -0.90 percent; Cleveland, Ohio followed with a loss of -0.50 percent, and Las Vegas, Nevada and Minneapolis, Minnesota were tied with monthly losses of -0.30 percent for home prices.

Winter weather conditions and the holidays can dampen demand for homes; it’s worthwhile to note that three of the cities posting the largest month-to-month losses are located in cold winter climates.

Month-to-month readings for home prices are typically more volatile; the corresponding year-over-year readings provide a more accurate reading of real estate trends in specific cities. Nine cities posted month-to-month gains for home prices, while six cities posted lower home prices from November to December.

San Francisco Leads Year-over-Year Home Price Growth

San Francisco, California led year-over-year home price growth with a reading of 9.30 percent. Home prices grew by 8.40 percent in Miami, Florida. Denver, Colorado home prices grew by 8.10 percent year-over-year in December.

The three cities showing the least amount of home price growth year-over-year were Chicago, Illinois with a reading of 1.30 percent, Cleveland, Ohio and Washington, D.C. were tied with year-over-year readings of 1.30 percent growth in home prices year-over-year.

Home prices are growing more slowly in the North and Midwest regions, while home prices continue to grow fastest in the Southeast and Western regions.

Home prices in the cities surveyed have increased by 29 percent since the March 2012 low, but remain 16 percent below their July 2006 peak. The Case-Shiller Home Price Index measures home prices using a three-month rolling average, while other home price reports base their readings on monthly sales. Case-Shiller’s year-over-year reading of 4.50 percent for December of 2015 closely approached CoreLogic’s reading of 5.00 percent home price growth year-over-year.

While increasing home prices are good news for homeowners, higher home prices represent an obstacle for moderate income and first time home buyers, who are also impacted by strict mortgage credit standards. As the peak home buying season approaches, increased demand for homes could drive home prices higher.

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Posted by on February 25, 2015 in Market Outlook

 

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It’s Not Just for Cooking! Five Excellent Uses for Olive Oil That Don’t Involve a Stove

It's Not Just for Cooking! Five Excellent Uses for Olive Oil That Don't Involve a StoveOlive oil contains heart-healthy fats, making it a great choice for those concerned about a healthy diet. However, this amazing natural oil can also be used to solve a variety of household and beauty problems.

A high-quality oil like extra-virgin olive oil tastes great for eating and cooking but for beauty and household purposes, a less expensive type will probably work fine.

Remove Stickers And Price Tags

Taking off price tags and stickers often takes time, and it can be a real challenge to remove the entire thing. Stop stressing and get out some olive oil! Dab a sticker with oil, then wait for the sticker to soak up the oil. After waiting a minute or two and both the sticker and the residue will usually wipe off easily.

Treat and Remove Head Lice

Products for removing lice can contain potentially harmful chemicals. They can be expensive and sometimes they just don’t work. Try substituting olive oil for a simple – and often very effective – remedy. Simply coat the head and scalp with olive oil, then leave on for approximately an hour. Shampoo and repeat the process to get rid of the lice quickly.

Renew Leather And Wood

Breathe new life into leather or wood by applying olive oil. For wood, rub it in a teaspoon at a time, using a soft cloth. Allow time for the wood to absorb the oil, then just rub away any excess after about thirty minutes. The oil may also be used to protect wooden cutting boards, utensils and other kitchen items made of wood. Renew old leather baseball gloves, jackets and more using the same process.

Get Off Gum

Sticky situations can also be solved using olive oil. To get gum off a shoe, or out of someone’s hair, soak a cloth or paper towel in olive oil. Hold it on the spot with the gum for about 10 minutes. The oil helps break down the gum, allowing it to be removed easily.

No More Squeaks

Try using olive oil to squelch a squeak. Just rub a cotton ball or cloth dipped in oil onto a noisy hinge or spring. Then all you have to do is sit back and appreciate the silence. Best of all, this solution is odor-free and non-toxic.

Olive oil keeps for as long as two years. After that time the oil starts to lose its flavor, and it may spoil. However, the oil will often still remain good for household uses. One bottle of olive oil makes a great substitute for so many different products. So give it a try to save money, save space and solve some problems, all at the same time.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Home Tips

 

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The Green Thumb: Four Easy Ways To Get More From Your Home Garden

The Green Thumb: Four Easy Ways to Get More From Your Home GardenGrowing a home garden creates beauty, oxygen and even food for our families to enjoy. If you’re looking to get more from your home garden, here are four easy ways to improve a green thumb.

A Good Foundation For Your Garden

Good soil is the foundation of a healthy garden. By using quality soil, you can give your garden the best start possible. Adding a variety of organic matter to soil will give plants a happy home to grow in.

Add two to three inches of organic matter to your garden bed at the beginning of each season. Compost, dried leaves, grass clipping and dry manure are all good organic materials to use in your garden.

Manures provides nitrogen, which is a great contributor to soil aeration and composting efforts. Being so far along in the decomposing process, the nutrients in manure are readily available for plants.

Fresh manure, however, is more likely to leach out of the soil into groundwater and streams (where the nutrients it provides can become pollutants).

Design Fundamentals To Achieve Harmony And Flow

Although landscaping your home garden is a matter of personal taste and preference, there are some fundamental principles for creating a good garden.

Balance and proportion establish the basic structure of a garden. Order is obtained through symmetry, repetition of plants, and colors or thoughtful contrast. This will create a garden space that is both balanced and proportioned.

Harmony and unity is achieved when different aspects of your garden work together as a whole. Strong focal points and a limited color palette can help with the overall look of your garden.

Prevent the eye from making sudden stops with good flow and transition in your garden. Gradual changes in height and color create the illusion of a larger space, and will make for a full and finished look in your garden.

Variety Is Important And Maintenance A Must

Have a good combination in your garden of annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees and food producing plants. Plants that require little maintenance and come back each year will take some of the pressure off when it comes to seasonal changes and garden preparation.

With more time to focus on bedding plants and vegetable gardens, you’ll yield a bigger reward for your gardening efforts. Water features and other structural focal points work in much the same way; they provide your outdoor space with added beauty and appeal that is easy to maintain throughout the year.

Don’t Be Bothered By Pests And Bugs

Although people have differing opinions on pests, at home a greener garden is always a healthier garden. Harsh pest control products can hurt wildlife and pollute groundwater.

You may be solving one problem, but using chemical pesticides contributes to another. There are many ways keep pests under control without chemical products.

With so many easy to make homemade pesticides to discover, gardeners can ditch the chemical alternative without sacrificing quality. There are also plants such as marigolds that can be incorporated into your garden that deter pests.

A garden is a labor of love that creates a welcoming outdoor space that your family can enjoy. Call your local real estate professional for more information on creating or finding your perfect home garden.

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2014 in Real Estate

 

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Six Easy Ways To Protect Your Home Against Burglars And Thieves

Six Easy Ways to Protect Your Home Against Burglars and ThievesBurglaries are a concern for many North Americans. Although some communities report more break ins than others, everyone should be aware of their home’s safety and security. Protecting yourself and your home from thieves can contribute to a better quality of life.

Know And Connect With Your Neighbors

There is much to be said about knowing your neighbors. By establishing connections with the residents around you, you’ll be better equipped to spot suspicious people. When neighbors look out for other members the community, they give thieves less opportunity to case homes unnoticed.

You may consider getting your neighbors together to exchange contact information, or even form a community watch program.

Protect Your Privacy By Locking Up

Thieves often gain entry to homes through an unlocked door or garage. Make sure that when you leave your home you lock up behind you. Give yourself an extra moment or two to walk through the house and make sure that everything is properly shut and locked.

You may also consider reinforcing ground level windows and doors with additional safety locks. Wrought iron bars can mean better security for ground level windows out of street view, as they are popular targets for burglars and thieves.

Always Know Who’s Knocking

Installing a peephole on the front door works wonders for a person’s peace of mind. It’s important to know who is at your doorstep so you don’t open your door to an intruder. Burglars have been known to knock on a target’s door to see if they’re home. This also gives thieves important information, such as whether you have pets, deadbolts or security systems.

Be wary of suspicious visitors that come knocking at your door, and write down their description in case you end up needing it later.

Security Systems To Protect Your Home

Monitored security systems are a great way to feel good about your home security. There are many products available at a variety of different price points. These systems are easily installed by a professional, and are monitored by a security company. The monthly cost of the service will be offset by savings on your home insurance, and is well worth the protection the systems provide.

Stop Break Ins While You’re On Vacation

If you’re planning on going out of town, keep your plans on a need to know basis. Don’t let people know you’re away on your answering machine greeting or with auto respond email. These may be suitable for the workplace, but they are not safe for your personal messaging systems.

Have a neighbor gather your mail and take out your garbage to keep your home looking lived in while you’re away. You may also consider lighting and electronic timers to give the illusion that someone is home.

Spare Yourself From Burglaries

Spare keys can save the day, but can also tempt thieves. If you have a spare key hidden, make sure it’s hidden well in the back of the house. If you do use it, don’t return it to its hiding spot right away, and change its place from time to time. A better idea may be to leave a spare key with a neighbor or with a friend.

Security is an important component to a good quality of life. By taking simple steps to improve the security of your home, you can feel safe knowing that your house is protected from thieves.

Call your trusted local real estate agent to learn more about home security, or to find the safest neighborhoods in your area.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2014 in Real Estate

 

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What’s In A Color? Six Paint Colors That Will Affect Your Mood

What’s in a Color? Six Paint Colors That Will Affect Your MoodBelieve it or not, paint colors can affect your mood. When remodeling your home, the color you use on the walls can end up being just as critical to the thematic consistency of your home as the furniture you use to decorate it.

Before you slap any old color on the walls, take some time to consider what mood you’d like each room to inspire.

Red, Yellow And Orange: The Colors Of Excitement, Hunger And Happiness

Ever wonder why the dining rooms, kitchens and entertainment rooms you see in magazines always seem come in every shade of red? It’s because these rooms are dedicated to eating and leisure time. Shades of red, especially bright, vibrant reds, have been linked to increased appetite and increases in energy levels.

In a similar vein, we have shades of yellow. Typically, yellow hues have been known to encourage feelings of happiness and joy.

That said, it’s a good idea to steer clear of especially bright shades of yellow that can be harder on the eyes, as they can foster feelings of frustration and an inability to concentrate.

Orange, like red, provides a great way to bring up energy levels, but like yellow, is prone to cause irritation when used excessively. People are more likely to be excitable and show more enthusiasm in rooms that incorporate this color. In order to reap the benefits of orange without causing irritation, restrict your use of it to the odd wall here and there.

Blue, Green And Purple: The Colors Of Restfulness, Peace And Serenity

It’s no surprise that blue is the color of calm and relaxation. For bedrooms and bathrooms, blue hues are ideal for inspiring restfulness; however, this color’s calming influence makes it a poor paint color choice for high traffic areas where high energy levels are necessary. 

Occasionally, overusing this color – especially in darker shades – can bring moods down beyond calmness and into sadness and depression.

Green is yet another color that inspires peace and restfulness. The advantage of green is that the serenity it brings on is accompanied by feelings of rejuvenation and replenishment. Think of green spaces as places where you can gather yourself and quietly rebuild your energy levels.

Purple is often associated with lavishness and luxury in deep, rich hues that spark creative thinking. In lighter shades, it has the same calming influence of blue but, thanks to its red undertones, none of the sadness that blue can often have.

Making The Most of These Colors: A Little Goes A Long Way

It’s unlikely that you will be painting any of the rooms in your house in a single shade of any of these colors. Experiment with different shades and work with colors that inspire similar emotions to break up the visual impression of the room.

You can use neutral paint colors like brown, black and white to bring depth to room, or to suppress the harsh tones of brighter colors like yellow and orange.

Psychologists have long known that colors affect mood, and in recent years, the interior design world has caught on as well. Now that you understand how paint colors can alter your mood, it’s important to paint your walls wisely.

To learn more about home care and prepping your home for sale, call your trusted real estate professional today!

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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3 Surprising Spots in Your Home That Might Be Aggravating Your Allergies

Three Surprising Spots in Your Home That Might Be Aggravating Your AllergiesEnvironmental allergens affect the way many people live their lives and clean their homes. Allergens make their way into our houses, and can settle in some unexpected places – but knowing where these irritants can hide can help you eliminate problematic allergens from your home.

If your house has you sneezing and wheezing in every room, here are three allergy-triggering places where you wouldn’t expect to find allergens in the home.

1. Allergens Lurking In Your Living Room

Visitors to your home brings allergens with them. Allergens are easily transferred from your visitors onto your carpets and couches. Even if you do not have pets of your own, animal dander can easily find its way in with visitors from pet-friendly homes.

Your couches and cushions are hot spots for irritants. If you are find yourself exhibiting allergy symptoms in your living room, look to your cushions to find some relief.

These cushions and throw blankets can be placed into the dryer for a few minutes to get rid of irritating dander and dust mites.

Items that cannot be placed in the dryer should be cleaned regularly according to the manufacturer’s directions. A good vacuum with a HEPA filter can pull allergens out from flooring, drapes and couches.

2. Steaming Kitchens May Make You Sneeze

The kitchen may be home to mold that triggers your allergies. Steam from cooking and cleaning carries moisture into the air, and can cause damage not only to your health, but also to your home.

Dishwashers and other appliances can contribute to mold growth in a big way. Areas that are not regularly cleaned and properly maintained could be triggering allergic reactions. To get allergy relief, clean and sanitize the rubber seals of all your appliances.

If you suspect mold may be an issue, have a professional test your home. Whereas surface mold can be killed and cleaned, more serious mold problems may require renovation and cause serious harm.

3. An Attack On Your Sinuses While You Sleep

Dust mites flock to a surprising and unsettling place in our home. If you find your allergies are causing unrest, it may be where you are placing your head to sleep.

Pillows are problematic because they are not washed regularly with the rest of our bedding. There are many different solutions for this, and some are more effective and comfortable than others. Replace your pillows annually, or consider a different material or type of pillow – pillows with a tight woven covering will be harder for mites to penetrate, and allergy-proof pillow covers can be washed regularly.

Your bedroom is meant to be a place of rest, but where the room is placed could be causing you discomfort. Allergens from trees and plants out your window can make their way into your bedroom. Air purifiers can help, and in some instances you may want to consider having the irritant removed.

Pinpointing the source of a reaction can be a challenge, especially if the allergens are hiding in unexpected places in the home. Allergies in the home shouldn’t cause residents constant problems. Seek out the culprits that plague your sinus, and breathe easy knowing that your home can be your sanctuary.

For more information about available services and possible solutions to your allergen problems, call your trusted real estate agent today.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Four Signs You Have Mold In Your Attic, And What You Can Do About It, Now!

Four Signs You Have Mold in Your Attic, and What You Can Do About It, Now!Signs of mold in your attic can be indicative of a bigger problem in your house, which is why it is a good idea to nip this situation in the bud as soon as you see it developing.

The signs of this type of fungus can be quite diverse and sometimes unexpected, so it pays to understand exactly what to look for if you suspect you have mold in your attic. Here are the four signs that you have mold in your attic, as well as what you can do about it right now.

Sign #1: You Spot Condensation In Your Attic

Condensation often occurs in cold spots in your home, and it is also one of the primary causes of mold. In fact, if you have condensation, it may build up and start to form droplets or even small pools of water. Look for condensation to appear in places such as metal pipes and windows, and any area in the attic that is cold to the touch.

Sign #2: Water Leaks In From Outside

Continuing the pattern that mold relates to moisture, water leaks can be a surefire indication of mold. If you notice a leak in your roof from the attic, then that’s a pretty reliable indication of a mold problem. Sometimes, though, water leaks can be hidden, as when they occur inside the wall cavities of your attic.

Sign #3: Are There Any Water Stains On The Ceiling?

When you spot water stains on the ceiling of your attic, you can expect it will turn out to be mold. This holds especially true if the water stains that you see are yellowish in appearance. Water stains can also appear in even darker colors – and if they do, it’s a major sign that you have mold.

Sign #4: Rust On Pipes, Nails And Windows

Rust is never a good thing to spot in your attic, as this is a reliable sign of a mold problem. Examples of places where you might see rust in your attic are on the metal pipes, the windows and on any nails. When rust shows up, this usually indicates that it is related to another water problem, such as a water leak, a water stain or simple condensation.

What To Do About A Mold Problem

A mold problem in your home deserves immediate attention and correction, as allowing mold to fester can result in health problems and damage to your home’s structure. The first step to deal with the issue is to get a mold inspection done in your attic, which is helpful in uncovering hidden mold as well. Then, if the test shows mold in an area greater than 10 square feet, it’s time to call in a professional mold remover.

These are the four signs of mold and what to do about mold once you spot it. It’s important that you are able to spot all of these important indications of mold, as it can be highly destructive and unhealthy if left untreated. Don’t forget to call your trusted real estate professional today for more information on residential issues.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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