With home pricing increasing in the last 3 consecutive quarters of 2016 and 2017, interest rates inching up because of the Fed allowing interest rate increases, and the supply of housing dwindling because of an active real estate market, the home buyers in the market to purchase a home are in for a lot of challenges as they try to find a home to2-324 TerraBella Front Porch View buy. Interestingly, the demographic of home buyers entering the market this spring is predicted to be 45% millennials.

“Millennials are mostly first-time buyers and they are competing against repeat buyers who have more buying leverage and experience,” said Javier Vivas, manager of economic research for Realtor.com. He added that Millennials recently became the dominant group of users searching for homes on the website.

Most millennials will probably be first-time home buyers, and these buyers new to the market will be going up against seasoned home buyers who know how to bargain and bid for the homes that they have been evaluating since last year. Combined with a rise of 7% in home values (according to Zillow) and a shortage of home for sale inventory in the housing market – approximately a 3% drop 2-352-B TerraBella Custom Home Exteriorcompared to the same time last year; millennials will need to approach their purchase decisions prepared both financially and proactively.

Homes going on the market in this type of environment are typically swooped up quickly or immediately have several people bidding on one house. Advice to these first-time buyers would be to establish your loan approval before even beginning the home search process so that you know exactly the type and price of home you can afford. Then, move quickly on any new homes for sale that come on the market.  If the bidding war gets out of control, move on to the next prospect because going out of your approval amount or budget will only hold up your ability to close the sale. Most of all, don’t get frustrated – interest rates, though going up slightly, are still historically lower than in any years past, making now an excellent time to buy a home.

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One of Mandeville’s treasured landmarks which also services up to 1 million visitors a year, Pelican Park was recognized by the Louisiana Recreation and Park Association, receiving the Excellence in Parks Award for 2017 at the association’s recent annual conference in Baton Rouge.

Pelican Park and the Castine Center are located in an independently goverened district in St. Tammany Parish calledPelican Park Recreation District No. 1.  All oversight for this district is handled by a seven-member administrative board. The district takes in sales tax from its approximately 70,000 and uses the funds to run the park and event hall of the Castine Center.

Pelican Park itself offers 33 athletic fields, 2 gyms with a total of 4 courts, a dog park, walking trail, outdoor volleyball courts, and an 18-hole disc golf course. Events are held regularly at the Castine Center’s 46,000 square-foot facility located on the Park grounds.  Care and maintenance of Pelican Park and the Center are actually done by a lot of volunteer work.

“Thanks to the past and present dedicated volunteers, coaches and staff who have all contributed to making Pelican Park what it is today,” said Kathy Foley, Pelican Park Director, regarding the presentation of the Award of Excellence.

St. Tammany Parish’s Recreation District No. 1 recently bought approximately 100 acres to expand the services offered by Pelican Park.

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For people moving to St. Tammany Parish, this part of the Greater New Orleans area includes a diverse arrangement of local businesses, franchises, and big box retail stores.  There are also several large corporations that have locationsChevron in Covington, LA in the parish, such as Chevron, LLOG, Budweiser, WalMart, and others.  It’s hard to describe a bedroom community that also includes opportunities for incredibly well-paying jobs with national corporations and plenty of shopping, dining, & entertainment venues.  Main mall box stores include Belk’s, Dillards, & JC Penny, and other huge chains include Academy Sports + Outdoors, Target, Best Buy, and more.

However, St. Tammany Parish has cities in it that are still considered “small town” in the way that people interact.  Referral business is still one of the biggest factors when getting new business as an entrepreneur.  Pretty much any time anyone meets anyone, they immediately try to figure out the six or 16 degrees of separation of the people you and they might both know.  Because of this, the parish has great quality of life, and has experienced phenomenal growth over the last 16 years.

Now, according to the St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation, 2016 has shown a 20% increase in new Academy Sportsbusiness incorporations for entrepreneurs and businesses moving into the area compared to 2015’s numbers. This growth was focused towards the last 2 quarters of the year specifically the 4th quarter.

“We saw a significant uptick in new business incorporations in the second half of the year,” said Brenda Bertus, the foundation’s chief executive officer. “And we saw the most incorporations in the fourth quarter. We’re already seeing this trend continue in 2017.”

An astonishing 54.1% increase in new business incorporations were recorded during the 4th quarter for a total of 2,401 businesses in St. Tammany Parish. Also, hotel sales reflected the same growth with a total of $55.2 million and 18.8% of that amount adding up in the 4th quarter of 2016.  Estimated total sales and sales tax collections were as follows: $4.8 billion and $229 million respectively.

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A list of the 21 green building products or practices used per the standards of the National Green Building Standard Certification include solar water heaters, passive solar design, energy management systems, reused or salvaged materials, smart appliances, prefabricated components, building materials driven from renewable resources, recycling construction waste, building materials with recycled content, alternatives to dimensional lumber, 0-50 Natchez Trace Overviewon-demand water heaters, materials from regional suppliers, water conserving faucets and fixtures, efficient construction techniques that minimize material usage, moisture control measures to enhance durability, improving the home’s thermal envelope, duct systems designed to minimize leakage, ENERGY STAR® appliances, programmable thermostats, high efficiency HVAC systems, and low-e windows.

According to a survey of 337 single-family builders, builders of this survey averaged using 10.2 green products or practices in the new homes that they built.  Topping the list at 95% of builders using this green product were low-e windows.  Other very popular items included high efficiency HVAC systems at 92% of builders, programmable thermostats at 88%, ENERGY STAR® appliances at 80%, and duct systems designed to minimize leakage at 78%.

Improving the home’s thermal envelope, which is a practice that Ron Lee Homes strongly endorses came in at 67%, as well as moisture control measures to enhance durability and efficient construction techniques that minimize material usage.

Interestingly, all builders surveyed said that they used at least one green building product. Builders have the voluntary option of actually getting a green certification of the new homes that they build.  Programs such as ENERGY STAR®, LEED, and programs run by state or local jurisdictions allow a builder to certify their home a green standard.  Of the surveyed builders, 22% said that they always or almost always get this certification. Ron Lee Homes is a Certified Green Builder through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).  Our new homes are tightly construction to minimize as many effects of the environment on the home as possible.  Contact Ron Lee Homes today to find out about designing and building using green products and practices.  Call 985-626-7619 or E-mail Info@RonLeeHomes.com.

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Selling your home is one of the biggest challenges a homeowner will face throughout the life of owning a home.  Upgrading to a new home (2nd or 3rd time home buyer) is not only an investment of equity but also a thrilling adventure, but you have to get the first home sold first!  To do this, you need to be a savvy home seller with the1-932 Beauregard Parkway Exterior Front determination to make selling your home your number-one priority or “job.”  There are several ways to avoid hardships and heartaches along the way.

First: You can’t always help what a home buyer is going to do, but there are things you can do to protect yourself as the seller.  Be wise and make sure that the person putting an offer on your home can actually afford to buy your home. Make sure they are pre-approved by a lender.  Pre-approved, not just pre-qualified.  Many people can get pre-qualified based on their answers to a loan application and credit check, but when it comes down to actually examining tax returns and verifying employment, there is a big difference.  Turn down any offers of buyers that are unwilling to take this next step.

Second: Examine and inspect your home before your home inspector does. Or, if you feel like you have already made all repairs and improvements to your home before you put it on the market, be efficient about getting the home inspection done as soon as possible. The home inspection is what can make or break a sale, so be proactive and fix what needs fixing and for a great home buyer offer, get the inspection done and be open to the results.

Third: Make sure you don’t “price yourself out of the market” with the sale of your home.  What you think it’s worth and what a home buyer thinks it’s worth can be very different.  Appraisals are pricey, but if you have a strong discrepancy of what you are asking and where buyers’ offers are coming in, you may want to get an appraisal to boost your chances of getting your asking price.  You can even include this information in your listing.

Fourth: Some buyers want to live a rural lifestyle with no rules or restrictions while other buyers prefer to live in a neighborhood with strict HOA rules and guidelines to protect their home investment from losing value. If you live in an HOA protected subdivision, be sure to have the HOA Guidelines available for your potential buyers.  You don’t want them to be blindsided halfway through the process when they find out they can’t keep their cabin cruiser boat sitting in the driveway of this home they just purchased. Information like this can avoid these types of deal-breaking dilemmas.

Fifth: If you purchased your home either as a previously owned home or a new home, you should have gotten title insurance. If you didn’t get title insurance, you are going to want to consider getting an abstract of title for your home to reassure your home buyer that your home has a clear title.  You will want to make sure that all old mortgages have been cancelled and the you personally have not acquired any liens during the time that you have owned your home.

Using the tips above will help you have a smooth home selling process and allow you to upgrade to your next home purchase.  If you are considering buying a new, custom home for your next purchase, Contact Ron Lee Homes today to set up a personal consultation.  Call 985-626-7619 or E-mail Info@RonLeeHomes.com.

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New Orleans is a big city with many surrounding suburbs, and even though it is a populous area, there is still a lot of land in Louisiana on which to build.  The area is less dense than many cities across the country with very little land constraints.  No wonder the US Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC) reported that in 2015 that single-story new construction homes in Louisiana were the highest in the nation.

The SOC is a monthly and annual report that is organized by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) 0-113 Maison du Lac Overview of New, Custom Homethat surveys important information corresponding to the homebuilding industry.  Examples of data gathered include start and completion dates of new homes for sale, new homes sales prices, square footage of new houses and the number of bedrooms in new homes built. The SOC is an important factor in determining where the country’s economy stands.

Nationwide the data found that 58% of new construction houses built in 2015 were two or more stories and 42% were one story.  The country is divided between ten divisions, Pacific, Mountain, West North Central, West South Central, East North Central, East South Central, New England, Middle Atlantic, and South Atlantic. In the Pacific division 69% were two or more stories, in the Mountain only 47% were two or more stories, in West North Central 52% were two or more stories, in West South Central only 45% were two or more stories, in East North Central only 49% were two or more stories, in East South Central 58% were two or more stories, in New England 84% were two or more stories, in Middle Atlantic 80% were two or more stories and in South 1-229 Bedico Creek OverviewAtlantic 66% were two or more stories.

The Northeast had the largest number of two or more stories being built in 2015 due to high density with little land which made lot prices very expensive.  Luckily Louisiana which is in the West South Central division has reasonable lot prices making it an attractive place to buy a lot and then build a new home.  If you happen to live in St. Tammany Parish in Southeast Louisiana, Ron Lee Homes, a new, custom home builder, designs and builds new homes to your specifications on lots that we own, lots that you own, or lots that you may be interested in buying.  Land in local subdivisions is plentifully available for new home buyers interested in building their own home.  We can even make recommendations as to where you might want to build depending on your life situation, finances, and housing requirements.  Contact Us Today to get started talking about building a new, custom home on a local homesite.  Call 985-626-7619 or E-mail Info@RonLeeHomes.com.

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According to over 80% of Americans surveyed by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), homeownership is one of the highest and best investments in not only a financial future but also an emotional and mental future as well.  Home provides security in investment, security in living (the physical walls of the home), security in family (many couples dream of owning a home to rear their children), and security in equity in the 2-Lot 34 Autumn Creek Family Roomfuture.  Homes are one of the largest financial investments that can be made that will absolutely return money to a homeowner in the form of equity loans that can be taken out of the house.

Most everyone has heard of the “American Dream” and Leonard Boswell, former U.S. Representative, described it best when he said, “The American Dream is one of success, home ownership, college education for one’s children, and have a secure job to provide these and other goals.” The (NAHB) believes this still holds true in today’s current housing market.   According to a polling done in July on over 2,800 registered voters “…..most Americans believe that owning a home remains an integral part of the American Dream and that policymakers need to take active steps to encourage and protect homeownership,” said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady.

The polling was done to explore the American peoples’ perspective on homeownership, housing production, and government programs that assist in homeownership.  Four out of five Americans still factor homeownership into the “American Dream’” believing it is still a worthy investment.  The key outcomes of the study were as follows: 82% of Americans feel that owning a home is the highest of investments, 81% of 18-29 year old Americans are 17-Lot 207 Fully Bricked Back Patioplanning to purchase a new home, 72% agree that the government providing tax incentives help fuel homeownership, 46% feel that now is a good time to purchase a new house and 36% of the Americans surveyed planned to purchase a new home within the next three years.

So with that said, homeownership is still a big part of the “American Dream” and to end with another quote, Maya Angelou describes homeownership as this, “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

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With half as many homes being started before the Recession, a new record has been set for lots for sale.  Not since 2006 has the cost of a lot exceeded its highest amount of $43,000, but in 2015, the average cost of a lot was $45,000, which is a record high for lot sales.  Lot values indicate an appreciation in the investment of real estate nationwide.  It is another positive indication of the recovery of the housing market, and it also allows builders to be able to value the new homes they build at higher prices as well.

One of the reasons for the increase in lot values is that there is actually a shortage of lots for sale according to the15-229 Bedico Creek Backyard Swimming Pool National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).  This lot shortage seems to be a nationwide problem as the land is available, but developed lots are scarce.  Thanks to the regulatory costs which are going up at a significant rate, ultimately this translates to a rise in development costs.  The work to develop new lots for sale costs more and thus boosts the cost and value of the lot.

Another factor is that the land that is being purchased for development is trending closer to denser urban areas.  These areas typically have costlier land because of their location and proximity to the city.  Many areas of St. Tammany Parish are located close to shopping, dining, and entertainment hubs – some of which are brand new.  Shopping districts around Covington have increased exponentially in the last 8 years requiring a large amount of road construction, expansion, and renovation in order to handle the increase in drivers and traffic.

Luckily, there have been large tracts of land that were zoned residential or had zoning changes to accommodate residential construction close to Covington.  These new subdivisions and neighborhoods have been built with the distinct advantage of having lots and homes for sale that had easy access to an unusual amount of social and retail locations that would not typically be associated with quiet, country, bedroom community new home communities.  Lot values in the St. Tammany Parish area can be higher than the national average, but they come with amazing community amenities as well as location amenities.  There are many new communities springing up in St. Tammany Parish, and Ron Lee Homes, a custom home builder can design and build new custom homes on your lot or on a lot you purchase.  Contact Ron Lee Homes Today by calling 985-626-7619 or E-mail Info@RonLeeHomes.com.

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An article written on a popular website begins with the assumption that you, as the home buyer, are aware that you have the choice to shop your lender.  So let’s start there with the discussion of what you should be learning from the company which is going to be lending you money for what could be the most important investment of your life.

Researching Your Loan

As a home buyer, you have the right to shop your mortgage.  You can and should contact as many lenders, banks, and / or mortgage companies as possible and ask them the costs on application fees, appraisal fees, and the breakdown of your closing costs.  Specifically with your closing costs, you will want to check to see if they are a mortgage broker or if they are the company that has the underwriter who will approve your loan.  A mortgage broker can incur additional fees on top of your loan origination fees. When you contact your lender, you are going to be asking them what their loan origination fees are.  This is a way to “weed out” any unknown loan companies which may have higher fees.

Know Your Title Company

You, as the home buyer, do have some say in the title company that is used by the lender.  The lender works with specific title companies, therefore sometimes gets a better rate that you would as an individual.  However, if you are interested in cross-checking their rates, you can get quotes from title companies as well to make sure that you are not overpaying for those services.

Another big chunk of your closing costs is the cost of your escrow account, if you are doing one.  There is a deposit into your escrow account that is for your taxes and insurance.  If you haven’t yet shopped for the most competitive rate for your homeowner’s insurance, you should definitely do that before you choose your lender or title company.  Your insurance rate accounts for the amount of money that is added to your loan each month in order to pay your annual premium.  The better the rate, the lower the deposit and the lower monthly payment.

On the flip side, you should find out if there are any credits available to you depending on the type of loan that you are getting.  Some lenders are authorized to credit up to a certain amount of money depending on the loan-to-value ratio or the type of loan they are doing. If you are pulling money out of the loan for renovations or to create a home equity line of credit, make sure you get the most amount of money you can at the best interest rate.

Hidden Fees / Down Payment

Once you have done all of your research mentioned above, don’t forget to check with your lender on the following items:

You should find out what interest rates are offered and how much points would be if you chose to “buy down” your interest rate.  Many people don’t know about points, and lenders can sometimes add them into the cost of the loan in order to advertise a better rate to the home buyer.  Make sure that you are getting the base cost of the loan and then the cost of points.  Your lender can break down for you how the cost of points can save you money in the long run by showing how you “pay off” your points and still ssave money of your monthly payments.

Secondly, when you are finding out about the type of loan available to you, find out the specific information about the down payment.  Lending restrictions have loosened up in the last couple of years, so a 20% down payment is not necessarily required anymore to get a loan.

If you are able to obtain a fabulous rate, make SURE to find out exactly when you are required to close if you lock-in your rate in order to be able to keep that excellent rate for closing.  Locking in your rate means, though, that you can’t get a better rate later on, so if you feel like your closing can happen fast, and you have the best rate, go ahead and lock it down to get the most savings.

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Home building generates a substantial amount of money for local governments and the federal government just by the nature of the industry.  According to the National Association of Home Builders, approximately 90,000 different governments receive approximately $111 million in taxes and fees from the construction and building of 1,000 single-family homes.

Sub-Contractors Contribute Greatest Share

In addition to the governments making a substantial amount of money from home building, sub-contractors alsoroofing-prep-2 are reported to make consistently higher wages because of home building.  One of the reasons for this is that sub-contractors actually do the work themselves instead of hiring the jobs out to employees.  Because sub-contractors make up the majority of the workforce when building a new home, the taxes on profit then paid by these sole proprietors also contribute greatly to the overall economy.

Tax Breakdown

The amount of taxes paid to the federal government is comprised mainly of income taxes and social security equaling an amount of $74.4 million.  State and local income taxes comes to $10.3 million, and city and county taxes equal approximately $6.9 million.  Other taxes consisting of impact fees, permit fees, and other fees for new construction bring in a total of $13.7 million.

A breakdown of industries which bring in the revenue shows that construction has the most jobs, and other affiliated companies related to construction such as manufacturing, bring in other revenue.  Other affiliated businesses include trade, transportation, warehousing, finance, insurance, real estate sales, rental and leasing, and professional, management, and admin services. A total of 2,975 jobs are created from building 1,000 single-family homes based on full-time jobs over one year.

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