Where Should Buyers Shop For Homes in 2016?

By Tali Wee

Buying a home is even harder than just a year ago, as fewer homes are available and buyers in many desirable markets are falling subject to bidding wars and incredibly steep buying competition. The best way to locate your dream home is to begin shopping in areas where buyers have the most negotiating power. When inventory is high, shoppers have more options to choose from and sellers are more eager to accept offers.

Researchers at Zillow narrowed down a list of the top 10 buyers’ markets by evaluating locations with the most price cuts and the longest average number of days for-sale homes sit on the market. If you’re thinking of buying a home soon, you’ll have the most luck in the following markets.

The Top 10 Markets for Home Buyers

  1. Philadelphia, PA
  2. Chicago, IL
  3. Baltimore, MD
  4. Hartford, CT
  5. New York/ Northern New Jersey
  6. Miami, FL
  7. Indianapolis, IN
  8. Jacksonville, FL
  9. Virginia Beach, VA
  10. Orlando, FL

Across the U.S., the median home value is $187,000, making a standard 20% down payment around $37,400. Although buyers these days can finance homes with less than 20 percent down, acquiring a mortgage is a major financial decision. You want to make sure you’re buying a home at a price you feel confident matches its value.

Homes in Philadelphia cost a bit less than the national rate, with a median value of $121,800. Plus, homes in Philly are expected to rise in value throughout the year, appreciating an additional 2.7% – slightly faster than the expected national lift of 2.4%.

BurlingtonMeadows

Burlington Meadows

If you’re looking to buy in Chicago, values sit at $203,700 with an anticipated 2.8% appreciation by year’s end. Besides the obvious appeal of such a major city making the list, Chicago offers many small communities with new homes that may meet your shopping must-haves. Check out your new construction options in Sagebrook offering both townhomes ($185,990) and single family homes ($305,990) Lehigh Station ($249,990), Lakewood Prairie ($215,990) and Kearney Glen ($199,990).

HickoryRidge

Hickory Ridge

A little more than halfway down the list of ideal markets for buyers is Indianapolis. In seventh place, Indianapolis offers new construction communities such as, Mapleton at Wynne Farms ($195,990), Greenwood Station ($192,990) Cumberland Farms ($181,990) and Marlin Meadows ($176,990). Although these homes are priced above the state median home value of $116,000, the communities offer grand homes with accessible green spaces, clubhouses, and even schools. Plus, homes in Indiana are expected to appreciate another 2.8% within the year.

FawnLake

Fawn Lake

Virginia Beach can expect far less appreciation this year, just 0.7%, but home values already stand at $248,800 – more expensive than Philadelphia, Chicago, or Indiana properties. If you’re on the hunt for new constructions in the state of Virginia, check out townhomes at Overlook at Cascades ($539,990), the gated community of Fawn Lake ($371,990), or luxury urban residences at Majesty West ($1,189,000).

SummerlakeGroves

Summerlake Groves

Lastly, the city of Orlando squeaked in at the bottom of the list of top markets for home buyers. Home values ($150,700) are closest with properties in Philadelphia – much cheaper than in Virginia Beach. Additionally, Orlando homes should jump in value throughout the year by a huge 4.2%. If you’re shopping for new construction homes in Orlando, consider single-family homes in Econ Landing (216,990), Hickory Hammock featuring both single family homes ($287,990) and townhomes ($232,990) or Summerlake Groves featuring both single family homes ($266,990) and townhomes ($227,990)

Regardless of where you shop for homes, prepare beforehand by getting preapproved for a loan and finding a lender you trust. That way, when you find your dream property, you’re ready to buy without the added pressure of completing all the necessary paperwork in a few short days.

M/I Homes Design Center Experience

When you choose to build a new home and start a new chapter of your life with M/I Homes, we dedicate ourselves to helping you create your dream home. To do that as best we can, we have Design Centers all across the country to help you put all of the pieces together. In order … Continue reading

Top 10 Ways to Make Your Move Stress Free!

Moving is fun and exciting, but it can also be extremely stressful! There are so many moving pieces with getting your home and family ready to move, that it can often take the excitement out of moving.  However, there are always ways to help make your move stress free (or at least a bit less stressful).  Here are our top 10 suggestions to make your move “stress free”!

  1. Clean out –  Prior to packing, start going through your things and getting rid of anything you haven’t used in months (or scarier – years!). Don’t pack items that you know you’re going to get rid of once you move!  Start a box that can go to Godwill as soon as you know you’re going to be moving!
  2. Collect boxes –  Who said you should have to pay a fortune for moving boxes? Start collecting boxes from family and friends, the office, grocery stores, etc. Check your local websites (places like Craigslist, Facebook groups, etc) to see if people are giving away boxes or selling them for cheap. You’ll be happy you did when you start looking at the prices of boxes in your local stores.
  3. First Day Essentials –  Create a box of first day essentials (trust us you will thank us later). Make sure that this box gets put in your car, or is the first box that is unloaded off of the moving truck. Items such as: glass cleaner, antibacterial wipes, toilet paper, paper towels, scissors, markers, hammers, a shower curtain, paper plates, napkins, cups, first aid kid, etc. are all great items to put into your first day essentials. (You’re most likely going to sweat and there is nothing worse than wanting to go take a shower and realizing you don’t have a shower curtain – take our word for it!)
  4. Color code your rooms –  Assign each room in your new home a color. Utilize stickers to put on each box with those colors, helping you and your movers know where items need to be delivered come moving day. Put a list of all of the rooms and their associated color on the front door or garage door so that your moving team can know exactly where to drop them!
  5. Change of address –  As you receive mail at your current address, call companies to start switching your address information upon moving day. Make sure to leave forwarding information for neighbors and the new owners, just in case!
  6. Keep your clothes on hangers –  Take garage bags and cut holes in the bottom of them to put your hangers through. This will allow you to keep your clothes protected in the move, but organized as well. All you have to do is hang them up in your new closet!
  7. Use what you have –  Wrap your dishes and breakables in towels, blankets, sheets etc. You have to move those items anyways, why not save money from having to buy extra tissue paper or newspaper?
  8. Save your Receipts – Keep all of your moving receipts. Depending on your move (relocating for work) you might be able to write off some of those items on your tax returns!
  9. Arrange for Daycare / Childcare –  Arrange childcare the day of the move if you have children.  If you have pets check to see see if there is a local pet daycare that you might be able to use while moving your items in. With everyone coming and going from your home, it might be easy for someone to accidentally let your dog or cat out of the house.
  10. Label your electronics –  Don’t just start unplugging your computer cords and stuffing them in a box. Utilize labels to properly identify which cords go to what items. You can even use color coded labels (blue for the TV, green for your desktop computer, etc).

Have other suggestions for a stress free move? We would love to hear them!

Being Thankful Really Hits Home.

It’s days like today that we’re thankful just to be home.

The leaves we rake, the gutters we clean, the windows we wash, the firewood we collect, the bills we pay and the mortgage we meet – all are reasons to be thankful because it means we have a roof over our head and a place to stay warm at night.

Home is everything to us because it remains a symbol of so much we have to be thankful for.  It’s where we first learn how to walk, how to dream, how to work, how to grow and how to love.  It’s where we gather as family and where we celebrate as friends.

As millions of Americans spend this holiday finding new reasons to say thanks and new places to be thankful, we’re thankful for all that we have.  Which, for us, starts at home.

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4 Tips for Finishing an Attic

Building-code basics for turning attic space into living space

Figure you’ll need to beef up the floor, insulate—and more. Here’s a look at some building-code basics when it comes to turning attic space into living space.

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Access and egress
Code generally requires a full-size staircase with a minimum 6-foot 8-inch clearance above it. For fire safety, there must be two ways out—a second staircase, for example, or a window.

Ceiling height 
Any living space requires at least 7 feet of headroom over a floor area of at least 70 square feet, measuring at least 7 feet in each direction. At the Lyons’ house, this meant that only a portion of the attic was usable, though some of the low-clearance area was tapped for storage.

Floor support
Attic floors generally need to be reinforced with additional joists and a subfloor. The Lyons used a web of 16-inch-deep engineered trusses to accommodate wiring, plumbing, and ductwork, then topped the plywood subfloor with oak or tile. (Keep in mind that deep trusses will cut into headroom.) “Houses built before 1950, and some built after, may also need foundation work,” says architect Stewart Davis, especially if the project involves raising the roof, as the Lyons’ did.

Ventilation and insulation
Heat and moisture rise. This often means having to add air-conditioning, ceiling or window fans, and/or windows. The Lyons installed windows at each end of the roof to promote cross-ventilation. A layer of spray foam insulation under the roof and in the walls will help cut their heating and cooling costs.

source: This Old House

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