Nearly 2 million homeowners no longer ‘seriously’ underwater on their mortgages

Surging home prices have helped nearly two million homeowners get back above water on their mortgages over the past year.

During the first quarter, 9.1 million, or 17%, of homeowners were seriously underwater on their home, meaning their debt exceeded the home’s value by 25% or more, according to RealtyTrac. That’s down from 10.9 million, or 26%, of all properties a year earlier.

States with the highest percentage of seriously underwater homes included Nevada, Florida and Illinois.

Read full article at CNN

Your Guide to a Smooth-Running Construction Project

Imagine walking into your newly built or remodeled home and seeing it exactly as you had imagined it at the start of construction: the windows are all in the right places, the flooring is the right color, and the kitchen cabinets are a perfect fit.

Now allow me to pinch you on the arm, because for most people, reality is often different from that idyllic scenario. You might see missing trim around the bedroom doors or wonder why that small change in the kitchen cost so much. Looking back, you might ask, “And why did we have to hire another subcontractor to finish the bathroom?”

Of course, there are things you just can’t plan for, but there’s plenty that you can. Costly changes and additional time-consuming work can be kept to a minimum if you fully understand what you are building before you start. By understanding the construction process, being part of the team and keeping a firm grip on the budget, your construction project can result in the home of your dreams.

Read the full article at Houzz.com

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing Where to Retire

Are you facing retirement soon? Are you trying to decide between staying near family or choosing real estate in Central Florida, or elsewhere? Should you sell the home you are currently in to give yourself some freedom? You have a lot to consider when it comes to making a decision. The five questions below are great ones to ponder if you are considering a move.

First, how far are you willing to move?

Making a move of any kind is both exciting and challenging for any person, especially those past the age of retirement. It is important to consider just how far you are willing to move. Are you ready for a big change?

Second, where have you always wanted to live?

What’s your dream? Is the Florida sunshine where you have always wanted to spend your retirement? Or do you love the changing seasons? Do you want a home by the ocean? Or is a golf community the priority? How do you want to spend your days?

Third, how close do you want to be to your loved ones?

If you decide to make a long distance move, it might mean having a substantial distance between you and some of your loved ones. This can be refreshing! But it can also be a challenge. Are you willing to put distance between yourself and your children or grandchildren? Would you like to divide your year and live in two places?

Fourth, how much money are you able to spend?

Once you have decided where you want to live, it is time to determine just how much you can afford to spend. This needs to be decided before you can start to find a place to live. Work on your budget and determine just how much you will be able to use toward this move and toward your future home. If you are moving away from family, remember to include money in your budget for going back to visit them.

Fifth, do you want to own or rent?

This is something that needs to be considered carefully. When you move, do you want to get into a condo or apartment, or would you rather own a little home of your own? Do you want the responsibility and freedom of a home, or do you want to relax in a maintenance-free place?

Take your time to answer these questions, decide where to retire. Then take the leap and make every day count wherever you are!