This is a custom built home that was part of the Louisiana Northshore 2021 Parade of Homes and is for sale.

Purchasing a home is one of life’s biggest and most stressful events. With that said, it is also one of the most exciting events. When it comes to advise, everyone has it and while friends and family have your best interest in mind, to make the best decision, you need to ask yourself these three questions.

1. What’s Going on with Home Prices?

Home prices are a big part of the housing market. Home prices directly affect how much it will cost you to buy a home and how much you stand to gain as a homeowner when prices appreciate. Waiting might not be in the best interest of the buyer.

The current market is seeing big home price surges and looks like they will continue. Keeping Current Matters reveals Home Price Forecasts for 2021. This is a good tool to use to predict just what it will cost you to buy a home. Today the average of all forecasts is 12.46%. This means a median-priced home that cost $350,000 in January of 2021 will cost an additional $43,610 by the end of the year. So in a nutshell the longer you wait to purchase a home the more it will cost you.

2. Are Today’s Low Mortgage Rates Going To Last?

Due to record-low mortgage rates, today’s market is booming. Interest rates also put a big dent in the market. The lower the rate the better the market, the higher the rate the slower the market. Just a slight increase can make a big impact on the overall cost of a home.

3. Why Is Homeownership Important to You?

The answer to this question is not the same for everyone. This is a personal decision and can only be answered by you. Financial benefits are important but emotional benefits are also. According to the 2021 National Homeownership Market Survey, there are nine reasons homeowners value homeownership.

These nine reasons directly affect how you feel about your home. Six of the nine reasons include stability, safety, a sense of accomplishment, a life milestone, a stake in the community, and personal pride. The National Housing & Financial Capability Survey from NeighborWorks America reports that Americans believe owning a home provides a sense of safety and security and an increase in financial stability.

Remember owning a home is a life-changing event and will have a big impact. This is a big decision and all options should be well thought out. Using a trusted Realtor can help you with the decision.

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The nice gray is a pop of color in the kitchen. The house features hardwood floors and a nice white wall.

Historical homes are important to our housing market. Renovations on historical homes can be challenging because of surprise damage, regulations and preservation. Take this challenge and top it with making an older home green. This is where National Green Building Standard® (NGBS) comes in handy.

The National Green Building Standard® (NGBS) is a guide to certification for green homes. Chapter 11 in this guide is dedicated to the “Certification for Existing Buildings.” Building professionals can use this guide for a comprehensive, voluntary, above-code approach to design and construct residential and mixed-use properties and for land development.  Builders are able to take this guide and use it as a “roadmap for green renovation projects” and match it with historical preservation regulations

Many builders are taking old historic buildings and turning them into residential properties. Things they need to consider are how many units will they include in their design and how much energy and water the proposed property will use versus how much the post-rehab used.

This can be a difficult task however with the NGBS these types of projects have more flexibility. Under the NGBS mandatory, historically designated buildings with historic designation restrictions are exempt from NGBS mandatory practices for unaltered portions. Cargill Falls Mill in Putnam, Connecticut is a great example.

Cargill Falls Mill is located on the Quinebaug River and is deemed a historical building. The property was turned into over nine acres of residential space with 125 units.

Karla Butterfield, NGBS Green Master Verifier, of Steven Winter Associates noted: “As a historically registered landmark, the complex was under strict renovation requirements. The NGBS remodeling program was the only residential tool that allowed the project to quantify the energy and water savings while addressing the great efforts made by the project team to reduce material and resource consumption, improve indoor air quality, address sustainable site strategies, and promote health and wellbeing for residents.”

Old buildings, especially in urban areas, are perfect projects to make into residential space. To learn more about the process visit the National Association of Home Builders site where NAHB’s Sustainability and Green Building efforts are explained. You can also find tips on water efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and other building science strategies.

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The housing market is strong and both resale and new homes are strongly in demand. According to the U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Construction’s (SOC) 2020 new single-family homes with four or more bedrooms increased. This trend could be because of more homeowners having to live work and play in their homes due to the pandemic.

The SOC reported that across the country 45.2% of new single-family homes started in 2020 had four or more bedrooms. This was up from 2019’s report of 42.6%. Again this increase is due to the shift in buyers’ desires in a home. The pandemic devastated the US economy in 2020 paving the road for record low interest rates. The low rates coupled with low housing inventory shot house prices up. First-time homebuyers who would purchase a home with less than four bedrooms were pushed out of the market.

This caused a shift in homes.  The 2020 SOC reduced share of new homes started with 2 bedrooms or less (9.7 percent vs 10.5 percent the previous year) corroborates the lowered presence of first-time homebuyers in the new home market that year.

The East North Central region was the only division that showed a decline in new single-family homes built with four or more bedrooms. Across the board, homes with less than 1,200 square feet had more homes built with fewer bedrooms.

If you are in the market for a new home, contact your local Realtor. A professional Realtor can help you through the whole process getting you what you want for the price you want.

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Typically held in the spring, the Girod Street Stroll has been postponed due to COVID-19 and will now be held in the fall. The event is held annually by the Old Mandeville Business Association.

This year the Girod Street Stroll is presented by Resource Bank and will take place on September 25, 2021 from 5pm – 9pm in Old Mandeville. The activities take place starting at Girod Street at the Mandeville Trailhead and following along to the Lakefront. Live music and entertainment will be by 10th Street Brass.

Patrons will be able to stroll to over twenty stops and enjoy small bite plates by local Mandeville chefs and cocktails. Participants of the event can vote for the best small plate and cocktail. There will also be a raffle of a live painting that will be created by artist Andrew Wilkie.

“It is one of Mandeville’s most popular annual events, as it showcases our local businesses and restaurants, our artists community, and our vibrant culture,” OMBA Board Member Andre Judice said.

The Old Mandeville Business Association (OMBA) is a non-profit that is made up of both businesses and residences of Old Mandeville. The goal is to serve and support the local commerce while preserving and promoting the charm and beauty of the community.

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Al Copeland Sr. who is famous for starting Popeyes Chicken and is native to Louisiana is a big part of a new retirement community coming to Mandeville. Copeland Sr, who passed away in 2008 owned a 29-acre tract of land in Mandeville that the family recently donated to LSU Health Foundation.

Al Copeland Jr. said the family was honored to donate the land in his father’s name. The land, worth $7 million is the largest donation LSU Health Foundation has ever received. The site, across from Mariners Village, will house the $150 million mixed-used development which specializes in retirees. This will make the project the first retirement community that is connected to a university in Louisiana.

The multi-use restricted retirement community will feature restaurants, a marina, a hotel and apartments along with health care services. The health care services will be serviced through LSU Health Sciences Center and the center’s students. The development will not only aid in training future medical professionals but will also provide revenue for cancer research.

“The partnership, growth and symmetry between the LSU Health Sciences Center and the LSU Health Foundation absolutely shines through this project,” LSU Health Sciences Center Chancellor Larry Hollier said in a prepared statement. “Having the ability to help train students in geriatric health care while providing new funding for faculty research in fighting cancer, not to mention building a beautiful place for LSU alum (and the public) to retire and enjoy life in a wonderful community is the best of every world.”

The project will bring training opportunities and jobs to the Northshore. The revenue earned will go towards cancer research in honor of Al Copeland who died of a rare form of cancer. All in all, over $20 million from the land lease will be dedicated to cancer research funding for the next 40 years.

“While the project is only at the conceptual stage, we look forward to working with the LSU Health Foundation through our planning and zoning process once a formal application has been made,” Mandeville Mayor Clay Madden said.

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Real wood panel is used for the ship lap ceiling found in the foyer of this custom home.Fill dirt is used under all homes’ foundations as a structural component but it can also harm the foundation of a home. According to NAHB fill dirt is the leading cause of structural failures in new home building.

Walt Keaveny, a professional engineer and geoscientist for 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty, explains that this is not only the most common cause of structural failure but is also one of the most expensive repairs. In fact, around the U.S. on average it cost over $50,000 and in some states over $100,000!

Keaveny discusses fill dirt problems and tips for minimizing the problems in Let’s Talk Dirt. Let’s Talk Dirt is a new resource put out by the National Association of Home Builders Construction Liability. Subjects covered in the publication are about fill placement, density requirements, testing, and the benefits of working with a geotechnical engineer.

Another subject explored in the Ultimate Guide to STOP Basement Water Leaks is moisture found in basements. It is said that over fifty percent of all basements have moisture issues. The most common areas where a basement sees moisture problems are leaks in the walls and floors. If water leaks are not resolved, then the soil around the foundation will be compromised, wood framing will rot, drywall and finishes will be ruined and mold will occur.

When purchasing a home, it is best to work with a Realtor who can help you determine if the home you want to purchase has foundation issues.

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A nice overview of the open floorplan in this home. The house has a nice hardwood flooring throughout. The kitchen has an oversized kitchen island.

Private soaking tub in the master bathroom that has a window above. There is a lot of natural lighting in this master bathroom.Chef Pat Gallagher is one of the most accomplished restauranteurs on the north shore. He is known for Gallagher’s Grill with the original location in Covington and two additional locations in Slidell and Mandeville and Band’s Grocery, a sandwich shop in Mandeville. Now he has opened Pat’s Rest A While in Mandeville.

This unique spot opened its doors in January 2021 and has different buildings and interconnected areas — from the cypress-lined main dining room, across the broad open-air
deck, into one cottage turned into a private dining area and to another turned into a cozy, club-like bar. The view from each area of the restaurant is a picturesque scene of Lake Pontchartrain. The lake is definitely the unifying characteristic of this restaurant that serves dishes that you can find at a laid-back beachfront hut to a refined white tablecloth restaurant.

The restaurant is housed in several 19th-century buildings that have been refurbished. Originally the Frapart Hotel, the property became known as the Rest A While when it turned into a summer camp for needy families and orphans.

Unfortunately, when Hurricane Katrina hit, the property was severely damaged. Jill and Barrett McGuire, local real estate developers, purchased the property and raised the elevation on the buildings. When they purchased the property, they pictured it as a restaurant and this came to fruition with the help of Pat.

This unique restaurant has many personal touches and intimate spaces. In the main dining room, there is a beautiful tapestry of local cypress and oak. The bar has a clubhouse feel under open rafters and there are room numbers along the walls throughout that show where the structure was once divided into different rooms. An old toboggan-like sled that used to be on the lake is displayed as well as a photo of a group of women who used to work at the Rest A While.

Patrons and pets alike can enjoy this Mandeville spot. This July an open-air bar opened with water bowls for visiting pets. Come by 2129 Lakeshore Drive in Mandeville and enjoy some local seafood and drinks.

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The past year has been a whirlwind for the housing market in a good way. There has been a boom in sales as seen in pending home sales up the highest level of sales for May since 2005. According to the National Association of Realtors, May 2021 was up 8% compared to April 2021 and 13% from the sales in May 2020.

“May’s strong increase in transactions – following April’s decline, as well as a sudden erosion in home affordability – was indeed a surprise,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “The housing market is attracting buyers due to the decline in mortgage rates, which fell below 3%, and from an uptick in listings.”

All four regions saw an increase in pending home sales in May. The Northeast had a 15.5% increase, the Midwest climbed 6.7%, the South rose 4.9% and the West increased to 10.9% month over month.

Although the market is still hot, weekly mortgage demand did take a 7% downturn in May 2021.

“While these hurdles have contributed to pricing out some would-be buyers, the record-high aggregate wealth in the country from the elevated stock market and rising home prices are evidently providing funds for home purchases,” Yun said.

The could have stemmed from the home price increases. The S&P Case-Shiller National Home Price Index rose 14% year over year in April 2021. This increase was the largest gain in its 30-year history. The median home price has also increased which has made it harder for first-time homebuyers.

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A nice foyer with double entry doors.

The housing market is hot right now and there are more buyers than there are homes to purchase. The housing market is booming right now because of the low mortgage rates and a recovering economy. It is reported that 8.3 million to 9.2 million first-time homebuyers will hit the market by 2022. Even though this is a hot market, it might not be the best time for your family to commit to owning a home. Below are several things to consider before diving into the responsibility of homeownership.

1. Pre-approval is a must.

Getting a pre-approval will not only relay the message that you are a serious buyer but will also give you an idea of how much you can spend on a home. When you are pre-approved a seller knows you are a serious contender and puts you above offers with no pre-approval.

“There are two main things a seller wants to know about buyers: Are they willing to pay my price and can they close a deal if we agree?” says Dale Taylor, a realtor in Chicago.

A good place to start is by using an online home-affordability calculator to see how much money you should be able to borrow. Once you have established this, check out several mortgage lenders in your area. It is a great idea to shop around for the best rates and mortgage offers. You not only want the best bang for your buck but you also want to choose a lender who is happy to help answer questions, trustworthy and easy to reach.

2. Do not let emotions make the decision.

You might take a tour of a listing and say it is love at first sight but that doesn’t mean you need to jump right in. Look at all the features of the home from a practical point of view. A home on a hill might have awesome curb appeal but might not be the best choice for families with you kids who like to roller-skate or ride their bikes.

According to half of all homeowners find at least one or not more things they do not like about their current home. There might be a cute three-bedroom bungalow that you love, but it might not have any closet space or back up to a busy street. Remember, always think long-term when investing in a home.

3. A home costs more than just the mortgage.

There are many more expenses than just your monthly mortgage payment. There will be real-estate taxes and homeowner’s insurance on top of your principal and interest payment. Tax Foundation states that depending on the area you live in, your property taxes will average about 1.1% of your home’s value per year. If you need $250,000 worth of insurance coverage, that will be about $1,477. You will also need to add your utilities to the monthly cost.

There are also some upfront fees you will also have to consider. You will need to set aside around 2% to 5% of the purchase price for your closing costs. A local Realtor can help you through this process.

4. There is a big difference between an appraisal and an inspection.

Banks will need an official appraisal and you will need to hire a licensed appraiser. An appraiser will give the bank a firm value of the home. An inspection will let you know if this home is a reliable purchase.

A lot of times buyers will make their contract contingent on the home inspection. A home inspector has certain criteria the home must meet to be deemed satisfactory. It is always a good idea to have a professional inspector inspect the home you are about to purchase. An inspector can make sure everything is up to code before you go through with the contract.

5. Read the whole contract.

Purchasing a home is a long-term investment and one of the biggest milestones in your life. You need to make sure everything in your contract is in order. You might look at a home love it, put it under contract, close and discover they took the refrigerator. You have to make sure everything is listed in the contract. If you do not understand any wording, ask your Realtor to explain the meaning. Make sure you are comfortable with what you sign.

If you decide to go through with purchasing a home, go through a local sales agent. A Realtor can help you find the perfect floorplan that will fit your family, in a neighborhood you are comfortable in, and in the right school district.

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Real wood panel is used for the ship lap ceiling found in the foyer of this custom home.

The U.S. housing market is still going strong. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the total number of single-family permits issued year-to-date nationwide reached 276,110 in March, up 25.3% over the March 2020 level of 220,416 and total number of multifamily permits issued year-to-date nationwide reached 131,227 in March, up 20.4% over the March 2020 level of 108,977.

Single-family permits were high in all four regions. The Midwest reported a 40% increase, next the Northeast with a 27.3% increase, followed by the West with a 23.9% increase and the South saw a 23.1% increase. There was also an increase in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

The highest growth rate was 300% from 20 to 80 in the District of Columbia between March 2020 YTD and March 2021 YTD. The top 10 states on the list accounted for a total of 62.8% of the total single-family permits issued. The top 10 metropolitan areas with the highest number of single-family home permits were Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington (13,094), Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland (12,745) and Austin-Round Rock (6,189), and two were in Florida; Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (5,219) and Jacksonville (3,391).

All four regions also saw a gain in multifamily permits in March 2021. The South reported the highest at 22.1%, the Northeast 21.3%, the West 20.3% and the Midwest 13.5% increase. During the time between March 2020 YTD and March 2021 YTD 36 states saw an increase in multifamily permits.

The highest was seen in New Mexico with an increase of 1,267.7%. The top 10 metropolitan areas with the highest number of multifamily home permits were New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA (9,222), Austin-Round Rock, TX (7,359), Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA (6,661), Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington,TX (5.594), Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA (5,555), Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV (5,183), Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-ME (3,881), Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ (3,095) and Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN (2,888).

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