There are many different types of features that people look for in a previously-owned home, as well as a home that is built custom by a new home builder.  These features can include the type of flooring, the type of cabinetry, the type of countertops, and many other selections.  However, there are other “forgotten” features which can be hidden luxuries in a new home or a resale home which can also add aesthetic value and make a home more valuable.

Whether you are building a new home or buying an already-built home, storage inside a home can be very important.  Any home that has “out-of-the-way” storage is also a great benefit.  Built-in storage shelving in closets,6-22nd Avenue Backlit Cabinetry bathrooms, and planned built-ins around the fireplace or in private office nooks offer surprising and unexpected “hidden” spaces which allow for a homeowner to be able to put things away and not waste space.

Although not very common, another hidden luxury are heated floors.  Heated floors can mostly be found in bathroom areas and other wet areas. Heated floors can be especially wonderful for new homes built custom for older homeowners who appreciate warm floors on older bones.

Many already built homes have this next feature – surround sound.  Many people prefer to install custom systems once they own a home and have placed all of their music and entertainment equipment in specific places throughout the home.  Properly installed, working sound systems can add great value to a home for sale because people can envision how they can use the installed system to fit their needs.  If you are building a new, custom home, you can also have the system installed where it doesn’t affect the walls and flooring because it can be implemented with the electrical system before the walls are erected and finished.

A very popular home luxury which can be found in many newly built homes for sale in West St. Tammany Parish is under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen.  This lighting can be both underneath the lower cabinets and also installed in top cabinets that double as display cases with glass fronts.  This lighting can add an amazing aesthetic value to the kitchen and also is helpful for navigating spaces at night or when you are just getting home from work.

These new home and already built home luxuries are not common, but they are very appreciated by home buyers when they are searching for a home to buy.

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There are many tools that new home buyers can use to prepare to become a homeowner, which were not available even a few years ago.  On the Internet, new home buyers can access home loan calculators, tax appraisals, pre-qualification opportunities, and constant credit monitoring.  Some new home buyers may not realize that the last item – credit monitoring – is one of the most important factors that lenders use to determine eligibility for a new home loan.  Staying on top of your credit right before you are about to buy a home is the most important thing you will need to do unless you are planning on being able to purchase a new home for sale with cash.

If you have the availability, sign up for a free credit monitoring agency which will not only be able to constantly inform you about your credit report, but it will also alert you if there are any changes to your credit report.  You are Credit Scoregoing to want to know exactly where you stand with your credit when you go to apply for a loan.

If you check your credit report, and you see items on it that you don’t recognize, be sure to immediately report those errors to the credit agencies so that they can be removed.  Any good credit monitoring company will have information where you can dispute items on any of the three credit agencies’ reports.  You will need to have as clean a credit report as you can when applying for a home loan.

Finally, if there are legitimate items on your credit report which need to be addressed or paid, you will want to be sure to take care of those before applying for a loan.  Some banks won’t approve you for a loan with derogatory marks on your credit report.  Others will give you a loan, but it will be for a higher interest rate than you would have gotten with a better credit rating.

Credit is the biggest factor in getting a home loan, but don’t forget that you will need to have enough income to qualify for a home loan. Make sure you know how much you qualify for before going out to search for a house, so that you don’t go out of your price range during your search.

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In case you haven’t been “in the market” to buy a home in a very long time, now its as easy as a touch of your finger to begin the search for the perfect home you wish to buy.  However, this article gives you some helpful tips on how to process and move forward with the information that you find online during your home buying process.

Before you even get started with buying a home, make sure you know what type of home that you want.  That doesn’t just mean, bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, and location, although those are pretty much mandatory pieces of1-196 Bedico Creek Exterior information you will need when searching for a home to buy.  Make a list of the items that you can and can’t “live without.”  If you definitely need a space for an office, make sure that the home you are buying has a room with enough outlets and phone lines to install your office equipment and hook up a modem.  If you need a lot of cabinets in your kitchen, make sure that you put that on the list and don’t settle for a home that has a kitchen which won’t be functional for you.  When you have your list of of absolute must-have’s, then make sure you know how much home you can afford so that you can find a home that not only fits your needs but fits in your budget.

Once you have established the exact type of home that you want, start your real estate search online.  There are hundreds of websites out there which carry what is called an IDX feed, which is access to the MLS feed (Realtor listings) of all homes for sale in your area.  By using a useful website, you can actually sort the homes for sale by bedrooms, baths, square footage, and price.  Once you have sorted down the homes which fit your basic requirements, you can view multiple pictures of the homes for sale to see what type of features they include.

After utilizing all of these preliminary tools, you may consider hiring a Realtor who can take you around, get you 9-196 Bedico Creek Stand-Alone Tubaccess to homes for sale, educate you on parts of town, school districts, and realistic pricing.  A Realtor should have their finger on the pulse of the real estate market and should be well-informed on where homes with your price range and parameters may be located. Also, a Realtor can assist you throughout the entire buying process as well.

When you are doing your preliminary research, be sure to pay attention to any open house information you may see about homes in which you are especially interested.  It is also advised that you drive the neighborhoods in which you are interested, as well as the surrounding area to see if they are going to fit your lifestyle as well as your budget.

All of these tools should help you make an informed and intelligent decision about the home you wish to buy.  These tips should also get you as close as possible to any existing home on the market which is in your price range, with the features you want, where you and your family can be happy.

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The housing market has completely rebounded and nationally home prices have risen 49.9% according to CoreLogic. The next challenge that builders have been facing is a labor shortage in the construction market and an increase in materials, especially after this year’s hurricanes and wildfires.  To offset this cost, builders and developers alike have been looking at setting a new trend called densification.  This basically means that because of the scarcity of lots available to build, builders and developers must divide up the lots that they can purchase to put more houses on each0-22nd Avenue Exterior Overview lot, thus reducing the overhead cost and property taxes per house that they build.

Home prices have come completely back to the record high that they were in August, 2006, before the housing market crashed.  For this reason, it is lucrative to be in the home building and real estate industries right now. However, depending upon what market you are in, home prices may have been on a continual increase, or some builders may have seen a volatile up and down trend in their local community’s home prices.

According to the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC), the following statement was issued.

“The median lot size of a new single-family detached home sold in 2016 stands at 8,562 square feet, or just under one-fifth of an acre. This is a new record low and a small decline since 2015, when the median lot size fell under 8,600 square feet for the first time since Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC) started tracking the series for single-family detached homes.”

By reducing overhead costs, builders and developers will be able to make more profit. Thus, shrinking lot sizes is one answer to reducing these costs.  However, some communities have covenants which require a certain lot size, or pre-engineered plans have delineated the size and scope of the lot and house in new developments, so the trick is to be a crafty business professional and seek out opportunities to rezone lots to a smaller size.

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A jointly sponsored survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo to a selection of builders in the United States rates builder confidence in three different areas: current sales conditions, prospective buyers, and expectations for future sales. The results of this survey are published each month in the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Any rating by builders that is higher than 50 is considered a positive sign. During October, 2017, the builder confidence index rose to a total of 68 for all three categories, which is the highestBuilder Confidence level it has been since May of this year.  March – June are considered some of the best months for real estate, so to have this high of a score during October from builders is a very positive sign for the real estate industry as a whole.

“This month’s report shows that home builders are rebounding from the initial shock of the hurricanes,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald, a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. “However, builders need to be mindful of long-term repercussions from the storms, such as intensified material price increases and labor shortages.”

It is also interesting to note that builder confidence is so high when the hurricanes have eaten up a lot of the construction labor available to builders with flood restoration and home repair.  Some construction companies have one year and year and a half waiting lists for hurricane-related home repairs. In fact, the typical number of new home permits issued in Houston in a year has been surpassed by the number of permits requested for home repairs.

The price of lumber is also up 21% and is expected to continue to rise. However, builders are also seeing a surge in demand for new homes after the hurricanes, so this has probably helped with builder confidence levels during this month.

The exact numbers of the three survey factors are as follows: current sales conditions rose five points to 75. Sales expectations over the next six months also rose five points to 78. The component measuring buyer traffic rose just one point to 48 and is the only measure in negative territory.

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If you have been able to purchase a new home, and you were able to afford a little less space than expected, there is no reason why your new home has to look or feel crowded, even if you have less square footage. Below are some tips to help you expand the look and feel of your newly purchased home.

1. Even if you like a lot of light, overhead lighting illuminates a room too much and actually emphasizes the size of the room. This means that if the room is smaller than you would like, excess lighting will reveal this. It is recommended that you use smaller lamps and focused lighting on the areas of the room in which you will occupy or spend the majority of your time. Table lamps and unique lighting selections can also make your decorating eclectic and inviting.

2. Color coordination – maybe a small palette of just a few colors – will make the house seem to “flow” together 12-22 Madisonville Oaks Master Bedroominstead of using a different color in every room.  By using too drastically different of colors, you are highlighting the fact that every room is separate, which may make the focus on the room size more stark. With a blended palette throughout, your room spaces may blend together more seamlessly.

3. Some people think that getting a shower enclosure is a good way to create more space in the bathroom. However, by installing a shower door, you only are creating two cramped spaces instead of a larger vanity area space. By installing a panel that can open, which only covers 1/3 to 1/2 of your shower space, you are creating a versatile space between your vanity area and your shower area.

4. When choosing your decor, think, small and delicate in order to utilize your cubic space instead of your square footage.  Oversized couches, beds, and bedroom furniture can take up all of your space and make the rooms seemed cramped and tight to move around. Have fun choosing decorative furniture that is simple in design and takes up less space.

5. If you have the ability, try to use all light colors in your kitchen, including your kitchen cabinets. Dark cabinets make a room seem much smaller, especially if your kitchen cabinets go all the way to the ceiling. Even though the storage space is great, the cabinets will seem to “swallow” the room, and a lighter color may deflect this feeling. If your cabinets don’t go all the way to the ceiling, and you have your heart set on dark cabinets, try using a sharply contrasting wall color (black and white) to set off the cabinets and give them a more aesthetic appeal.

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Located between N. Columbia Street and N. Florida Street is a slight street in Covington, Louisiana’s downtown district named Hotel Alley.  Streets in the historic district of Covington, formerly known as Division of St. John, are laid out in unique patterns of squares within squares called ox lots. This peculiar design is how the downtown district got placement on the National register of Historic Places in 1981.  The main streets, laid out horizontally, are accessed by alleyways.  That is how this particular street – Hotel Alley – came to be named.  Now, the St. TammanyArt Alley Covington Art Market Art Association is planning on completely “renovating the street,” and renaming it: Art Alley.

Art Alley, currently a strip of asphalt, will be getting a new look, complete with cafe-style lighting overhead, connecting between the Art Association’s Art House and the H.J. Smith & Sons General Store and Museum; a lit-entry archway, a mural, and removable bollards to close off the street for special events. The special event, which will benefit from this street renovation is the Covington Art Market.  This year’s Covington Art Market will be held on October 7, 2017, from 9am – 1pm at the new Art Alley location.  Formerly located at the Covington Trailhead, the October Art Market will feature artists: Susan Carver, Wess Foreman, Julie Katich, Richard Lo Piccolo, Linda McNeely, Jeffrey Minzey, Ruth Ostarly, Allison Radtke, Jason Ronquillo, Kristy Ruffino, Robert Wagner and Chuck Wright.

“Throughout the United States, cities of all sizes are embracing what’s known as ‘Creative Placemaking,’ the art of transforming ordinary spaces into extraordinary places that promote a sense of community, spark commerce and enhance areas by creating cultural hubs of activity,” said Kim Bergeron, STAA’s executive director.

The October Covington Art Market is also doing something a little different.  They are partnering with American Art Therapy Association and the South Texas Art Therapy Association to provide hurricane relief efforts to children affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  The visitors of the Art Market can contribute to an art supply drive which will then be donated to those children in need. The effort is being spearheaded by Jaclyn Warren MS, ATR-BC, a STAA Artist Advisory Board member and president of the Louisiana Art Therapy Association. Colored pencils, crayons, cay-pas, unruled journals and sketchpads, and coloring books are just some of the supplies that can be donated.

“We hope the community sees the possibilities that Art Alley offers and embraces our efforts to bring that vision to reality,” Bergeron said. “And, of course, a visit to the art market is an opportunity to discover new talents and to celebrate our community’s artists.”

For more information, call 985.892.8650 or visit

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Private residential construction spending is spending on construction by private parties and homeowners.  Data about this construction spending is collected from retail and wholesale outlets nationally. It seems that homeowners and small builders have a positive outlook on the economy and are spending money on new home construction on their own land or lot, as well as additions and remodeling to existing homes that they own.  Many people buy land12-196 Bedico Creek Mud Room and hold it for awhile before they decide to build a new home.  By owning land, there is an opportunity for new home builders to be able to more easily qualify for a construction loan by utilizing the equity in the land.

In addition to new home construction, homeowners are improving their homes as well, by contracting popular remodeling projects, such as kitchen, master bath, and outdoor area remodels.  Additions of pool houses, mother-in-law suites, and over-the-garage apartments are also popular construction projects for existing homeowners, which contribute money to the total amount of private construction spending during the month of July.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) did an analysis of the Census Construction Spending, and the data showed an increase of private residential construction spending of .8% in July over June, 2017, to an amount of $523.1 billion.  This increase was also an 11.6% increase year-over-year compared to 2016, and it was the third consecutive monthly increase for private construction spending after it went down slightly in April, 2017.

The breakdown in construction spending between single-family home construction and home improvement of existing homes shows that new home construction went up by .8% compared to June to reach $264.1 billion, and $192.4 billion was spent on home remodeling or renovation, which was a 1.41% increase month-over-month.  Also remodeling / renovation spending was up a total of 16.5% year-over-year compared to July, 2016.

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The U.S. National Home Price NSA Index is reporting an increase of 4.3% over the peak of the same index in 2006, which was at its highest level right before the housing crash.  Home prices went up in June, 2017 5.8%, which was slightly higher than May’s 5.7% increase.  The index, which is formally called the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. 6-Lot 127 Maison du Lac Kitchen IslandNational Home Price NSA Index, was also up 43.7% above its lowest point in 2012 after the housing market crash.  Home prices have continually risen since the real estate market began its recovery, and they continue to climb. In fact, housing pricing reached another all time high in June.

“The trend of increasing home prices is continuing,” says David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Price increases are supported by a tight housing market. Both the number of homes for sale and the number of days a house is on the market have declined for four to five years. Currently the months-supply of existing homes for sale is low, at 4.2 months. In addition, housing starts remain below their pre-financial crisis peak as new home sales have not recovered as fast as existing home sales.”

According to Blitzer, the housing market now has the “problem” of not having enough supply to meet the demand.  Even with the increase in home pricing, there is a reason that home buyers are still purchasing homes for sale despite the continuous price increases.  Unemployment rates continue to decline, and jobs are being added to the market at an average pace of 200,000 jobs per month.  Mortgage rates have flinched with increases from the Federal Reserve, but they are still holding steady at or below 4%, which is a historically low interest rate for home buying purchases.

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There are many tools that you can use during the home buying process.  You can do the majority of your own research by using online resources on the Internet.  You can manage your finances and credit and get quotes from lenders and banks on your mortgage.  You can research different areas of town to find the best locations to buy your home by checking out reviews of area information.  Once you find out how much you are able to spend, where youAgent with Contract want to purchase your home, and different homes that you would like to actually go out and visit, you can retain a Realtor to act as your buyer’s agent to buy your new home.

Even if you hire a Realtor, you are going to want to stay the savvy, “in the know” home buyer who knows the questions to ask and the information to get in order to get the best home for the huge investment that you are going to make on your home.  Below is information which is important to know when buying a new home.

What Is Allowed

Unless you are buying a home in an established community with known restrictive covenants and a homeowners association, you are going to want to make sure that anything you want to do to or store at your home is allowed. 12-22nd Avenue Patio & Pavers Zoning laws can hamper a new homeowner’s aspirations by not allowing you to run a business out of your home, build a workshop at your house, build a fence, store your boat or RV, or add an addition.  So, before you sign on the dotted line, be sure to know if the home you are buying has any zoning or covenant restrictions.

Use an Inspector

If you are buying your home “as is” with no changes or required improvements by the seller, then you won’t need to worry about the condition of the home.  However, if you want to make sure that you get your return on investment, and don’t “buy a lemon,” you will want to make sure you get a home inspection.  Realtors know many people in the real estate industry, so they may be able to recommend a quality inspector to you, but make sure that the inspector they use is extremely thorough and has your, as the buyer, best interests in mind when making the inspection.  You definitely don’t want an inspector who glosses over a report so that your Realtor can “make the sale.”  You may want to get a referral and hire your own inspector.  If necessary, get the seller to cover the cost of a home warranty that covers all major appliances and structural systems of the home to “cover your bases,” as well.

Your Contract

Just like your parents and teachers always taught you, don’t sign anything unless you read it.  This applies to every piece of paperwork that you are going to sign regarding your new home purchase, from your contract, to counter 6-22nd Avenue Backlit Cabinetryoffers, to waivers, to your closing documents.  Not only should you make sure that you read everything, but you should also be sure to “read all of the fine print.”  If there is anything that you absolutely don’t understand, make sure you get it clarified before you sign anything.  Another important point about this is to get everything extra in writing.  This includes everything that is outside of or not written on the paperwork that you are reading and signing.  If the seller promises to fix a faucet, repair a door frame, or include additional equipment to “make the sale,” make sure you get it in writing.

Negotiate Everything

Most everything is negotiable when buying a home from the home price, the purchase of a warranty, home repairs / deductions, and closing costs.  Any chance you see to save yourself some money, attempt to negotiate.  It never hurts to ask the seller, especially if you are already qualified with guaranteed money from your lender.  The worst thing that can happen is that the seller can so no.

Using the tips above along with the other tools at your disposal to make a good home buying decisions, you can retain a Realtor and then monitor the process yourself to make sure that you are fully informed during your home buying process.

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