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Shopping For Your Home: Memorial Day Weekend Sales To Take And Avoid

By now you have been blasted with Memorial Day Weekend Sales promotions from big box retailers for things such as patio furniture & grills, mattresses, appliances, and other home goods. It can be difficult to decide what offers are great and which are more talk than an actual deal, but I'm here to help! I did a bit of research on what Memorial Day Weekend Sales you should jump on and which you should avoid, and here's what I found (credit goes to FatWallet, a deal-hunting website):
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Downsizing Your Home In 5 Smart Moves

Cashing Out When Downsizing Your Home

The kids are out of the house, up-keeping the home has begun to take more and more time, and you're looking for a setting where you can live smooth and easy. Do these symptoms sound familiar? Downsizing your home often gives homeowners a big break after decades of cash tied up in equity. When you sell your home, you've got tons of purchasing power that most home buyers don't -  this means striking better deals and beating out competitors. You may also have enough cash left over to use as a buffer between you and your retirement savings. How does all of this magic happen? (1)Make the following 5 smart moves and (2) work with a realtor who knows the ins and outs of the area you're looking to downsize to.

1. Stage Your Home

The most minimal and cost-friendly upgrades can make all the difference. Replacing old, out-dated bedding and bath towels, for example, can give your home a new look with minimal effort. Also, remove clutter that you have held on to for a decade or more - put it away in storage or get rid of it completely. De-cluttering will also make life easier when moving into your smaller home! If you've got a higher-priced home, you might want to look into getting a professional stager. A stager can really shine new light on your home and help get you top dollar. Costs for hiring a stager can vary, but a NAR survey revealed a median cost to be $675. The NAR survey also revealed that 90% of sellers' agents said staging resulted in an increase in price buyers would pay.

2. Consider a Town House or Condo

If you're looking to keep more of your cash for retirement savings, consider moving into a town home or condo. Prices for these rose just 3.1% in 2015, NAR says, vs. the 7.2% growth among single-family homes. Other perks, besides more money in your pocket, include less upkeep - landscaping, repairs and service to major appliances, and more. Though, town houses and condos do have some drawbacks.; the biggest being high HOA fees and surprise costs. Working with a realtor who knows the ins and outs of the area you're looking to downsize to can help with avoiding some of those surprise costs.

3. Build a Mortgage That Is The Right Size For You

Cashing out your home puts money in your pocket, and this means you can put down a larger down payment which will reduce your monthly mortgage. Were you thinking of paying off your new home? Think again! Having a mortgage at this stage in life isn't a bad idea, as 30-year loan rates are below 4%, and it's tax deductible.

4. Take On Cosmetic Repairs

This is where purchasing power and time come together to strike gold. The likelihood of finding a real bargain in a home that is perfect for you is high if you are willing to take on some cosmetic upgrades. You can find bargains because younger buyers are still trying to find their way in life and cannot take on such a project. Also, you most likely have more time at hand to manage a contractor who will make the needed cosmetic repairs. In turn, the money you save on the new home because of its cosmetic shortcomings will almost always keep you well under what you would have paid if the home was up to par. What kind of numbers can you expect? NAR survey found savings of 15% to 55% for homebuyers who opted to buy a fixer-upper.

5. Try It On For Size Before You Buy

Have a particular square footage or home style in mind? Don't rush into something you might deem unfitting later on. Consider renting something with the square footage you have in mind. You may find that it's just not enough space for you, or that the style of home wasn't quite what you needed.
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Video tour

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced on Wednesday a proposal to delay the effective date of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule until Oct. 1.
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Real Estate Roundup!

May new home sales gain 2.2% from April Sales of new single-family houses in May 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000, which is up 2.2% from April, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. -- From Housing Wire 3 ways to tame student loan debt and afford a mortgage It's no secret that student loans can make buying a home a challenge. But what exactly is the problem, and how can buyers overcome it? The problem is that student loans can be included in the buyer's debt-to-income ratio, or DTI. -- From Bankrate
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We’re ready for the TRID rules!

At 5 p.m. EST June 17, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a statement that the effective date for the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rules would be pushed back to Oct. 1, 2015. CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a prepared statement: "The CFPB will be issuing a proposed amendment to delay the effective date of the Know Before You Owe rule until Oct. 1, 2015. We made this decision to correct an administrative error that we just discovered in meeting the requirements under federal law, which would have delayed the effective date of the rule by two weeks. We further believe that the additional time included in the proposed effective date would better accommodate the interests of the many consumers and providers whose families will be busy with the transition to the new school year at that time." Rainier Title has been working towards the TRID implementation for over a year and felt prepared for August 1st. However, with the proposed delay we will be taking this opportunity to continue our education and training of TRID. While we believe that we have been proactive and ready for this change, there are still so many unknowns that will have to be addressed at the time of implementation. The industry should still prepare for 45-60 days for transaction to close due to the new timing parameters of the forms. We're working hard to be ready for all changes!
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Real Estate Roundup

Active Home-Building Industry Will Lead to More Demand for Warehouse Space Strong consumer spending and the rise in housing construction activity are currently the prime factors for the incredible rebound of the U.S. industrial real estate sector, and experts say as home buying continues to increase, so will demand for warehouse space. -- From NRE Online To Buy or Not to Buy: That Is the Developer's Question
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Kissimmee Florida Homes Sales Summary

April 1st marks the opening day of the real estate major league season, or at least that’s what I like to call this busy 4-month period. Kissimmee Florida homes sales peak between April and July, making it the busiest season of the year for many reasons. For people with kids, school is or has wound down and they are looking to make the move during the Summer months while the kids are out of school. For people who have an empty nest and are in retiring mode, they have had enough of the snow by April and get into relocating mode. What ever your situation may be, the following information is one you should take into consideration if you are buying or selling a home in 2016.

Kissimmee Real Estate Cold Hard Facts

According to a recent news report, this January, the Orlando Metro area housing market outperformed the state of Florida’s. In the Orlando metro area, buyers paid a midpoint of $202,000, which is $3,000 higher than the current median price throughout the state of Florida. A report by Florida Realtors stated that a tight job market along with a thinning inventory helped boost Orlando’s real estate market up by more than 14 percent over the past year. Over the course of the past year, the state's 13 percent price growth was surpassed by Central Florida’s market. The region’s strong price growth wasn't hurt by its pace of sales. The Orlando metro area accounted for 2,000 single-family home sales in the month of January, a 4.3 percent increase from January of 2015. However, not every price range was selling according to Florida Realtor Chief Economist Brad O’ Connor. Affordable home sales dropped by 17 percent and the inventory of houses through- out Florida decreased from a supply of 5.9 months in 2015 to 4.5 months of supply just last month. The demand for such home prices was maintained, even with 30-year mortgage interest rates rising to nearly 3.8 percent.

What Does This Mean If You’re A Seller?

Make repairs now - gutters, squeaky doors, leaky faucets, broken moldings, paint touch-ups, pressure washing, new roof (if approaching the 12 year mark), add fresh mulch, weed flowerbeds, and any other simple repairs or improvements that could be an excuse for a buyer to submit a low bid. Keep curb appeal closely in mind as a clean, bright driveway and maintained landscaping will create competition for your home and thus being able to sell closer or above your asking price.

What Does This Mean If You’re A Buyer?

Be flexible. Things can begin moving rather quickly during this time and you must be ready for calls, face-to-face meetings, and other things that may come up during this process. Expect to exceed the asking price. In these types of market conditions, chances are the seller has several good bids and yours may not make the cut if you try to bid cheap. Get in touch with the seller and show him/her your interest in creating a home out of their space - they may prefer to sell to you even if your bid isn’t the highest because they can relate to you. Have at least two areas you would want to live in. The market is tight so we may need a back up plan.
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Florida Real Estate Outlook: 2016


2016 will be the year to buy a home in Florida.

At least, that's what the Florida real estate outlook for 2016 is alluding to. In an interview with the St. Augustine RECORD, Chief Economist, Jonathon Smoke, said “Florida is positioned to become one of the hottest spots in the country with rising demand, positive gains in recovery, really good fundamentals and positive momentum”. According to Smoke, Millennials and Boomers will both be dominating the market when it comes to home purchases. Millennials will be looking to purchase their first home, while Boomers will be looking to downsize and relocate to warmer weather, lower cost of living, and an activities-rich area. From experience, the Spring and Summer months always are a hot time for closing sales, but according to Smoke the Spring and Summer months will bring a swarm of buyers to Florida. Home prices will "rise about 5%" during 2016 and will result in an "8 to 10 percent" home sales increase. See the full interview by going to