The LSU Health Foundation wants to build an age-restricted community along the Mandeville Lakefront. Sucette Harbor would be located on land that was donated by Al Copeland’s family. Many residents are not thrilled about the proposed development because they feel it will create traffic problems.

Although the development is planned to be for tenants 55 and over, it has to be 80% filled with tenants that are 55 and older in order for the age restriction to be enforced. Many Mandeville leaders and residents are afraid they will not be able to draw in that many tenants that are 55 and older. If this happens, then the development will go back to a regular multi-family complex.

Woodward Interest, the developer that will be leasing the land from LSU Health Foundation, believes that traffic will not be an issue. If the development did lose its age restriction, and younger people were to live in the complex, Mandeville’s land use regulations will still hold for the traffic standards.

The chair of the planning commission, Brian Rhinehart, still feels this could be a problem because older tenants are expected to have fewer vehicles but they still might not draw enough older tenants. Rhinehart wants Woodward Interest to do a study showing traffic that would be generated by a non-age-restricted multi-family complex.

“There’s always a level of mistrust when the developer hires a consultant. Citizens need that to have confidence that this isn’t a big snow job,” says Kevin Vogeltanz.

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The beginning of February saw a raise of a key short-term interest rate to help bring down the inflation. The one-quarter of a percentage point, from 4.5% to 4.75%, will hopefully lower the interest rates in the long term. Many professionals in the industry already considered the raise in the rates in January even though the rates fell this January from December’s 6.38% to January’s 6.29%.

The inflation rate can influence mortgage rates so when the inflation rate is falling so will the mortgage rate. The consumer price index that was reported in December showed that overall prices increased 6.5% over the previous 12 months. This shows that the Fed definitely has an upper hand on the mortgage rates.

The Fed’s monetary policy committee will meet eight times a year and the last time they met last year all eight meetings saw an increase. During the summer and fall of 2022 there were four increases from the central bank and each increase was 0.75 percentage points.

“The Federal Reserve will continue to increase short-term rates to fight inflation, and will ultimately be successful, but it will be early 2024 before inflation reaches their 2% target,” says Michael Fratantoni, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association.

If you are in the market for a HELOC, home equity lines of credit, these will go up. The quarter-point raise will cause the spike. It will be more expensive for a homeowner to borrow or repay the funds drawn. If you have a balance of $50,000, the monthly interest rate will rise by $10.42.

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A nice floorplan that has an open concept.
A second home to many is a vacation home or an investment home.  In order for it to be a smart investment, you should do your research and plan ahead.  So it will not become a financial heartache, here are several things to consider before you purchase a second home.
1. What Will You Use It For?
As mentioned before, a second home can be used for a vacation home or investment and can even be used as a secondary residence for work. You will need to decide what you are using your second home because a lender will need to know.  Investment properties are more risky for a lender while a vacation home or secondary residence are not as risky.  The secondary residency and vacation homes will usually have a lower interest rate than an investment property.
2. How WIll You Finance It?
Unless you have a chunk of cash on hand you will more than likely need to get a loan to purchase your second home.  Remember depending on what you are using your second home for will determine which loan option is right for you.  If you are purchasing a second home as a vacation home, then you will more than likely qualify for a conventional mortgage, secondary mortgage, or a jumbo loan.  If you have a current mortgage and a lot of equity in your primary home, you might be able to obtain a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) or cash-out refinance.
3. Do You Have the Funds?
You want to create a budget to make sure you can afford closing costs as well as ongoing costs that come with owning a second home.  When creating the budget, keep in mind the down payment for a second home is typically a minimum of 25% of the purchase price.  Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is 43% or lower in order to qualify for a mortgage for a second home.  As far as homeowner insurance goes, you will need to take out comprehensive insurance on a second home no matter if it is a vacation home or you are renting it as an investment.
4. You Don’t Have To Go It Alone
To make it a bit more affordable and easier for financing, many purchase a second home with friends and family and split the costs.  In order for it to work, you need to treat the arrangement as a business.  Everyone can benefit, gain an asset and save money by splitting the costs.
5. Make a Plan for When It’s Not in Use
A second home might have times when it is not being used, so it is good to have a plan for this time.  If this is a rental income property, you need to come up with a plan if you do not find a tenant right off the bat.  If it is a vacation home, think about renting the home out to other vacationers when you are not using it. If this is the case, there are tons of management companies that can take care of the process.
If you are in the market for a second home, now might be a perfect time for you to purchase one.  Choose a realtor from the area that can help with the process from start to finish.  A local sales agent can be especially beneficial when it comes to vacation homes, as they know the area best.
This is a beautiful new custom built home.

Creating an indoor-outdoor living space gives you tons of natural light and fresh air and is especially perfect in warmer climates. Just like an open floor plan home, an indoor/outdoor living space is perfect for entertaining and creating additional living space. Today this can be done in most any climate with the innovative glass wall systems that bring in the sunlight and panoramic views. Here are some great reasons why you should consider these great doors.

Folding glass doors are perfect for those who want to let the outdoors in as they are easy to work and let you enjoy the outdoors and indoors all at once. There are tons of glass door designs to choose from with the latest offering more glass and less frame for streamline design and uninterrupted views. Today’s folding door is not like the hard-to-pull bulky doors of yesterday. The folding doors of today have a contemporary simple design with concealed handles and hidden hinges.

“Large opening wall systems bring in natural light and fresh air and also help blur the line between interior and exterior spaces. When choosing a wall system, most customers are looking for products that offer more glass, slim profiles and sleek design,” says Tim Kelting, general manager at LaCantina Doors.

Folding doors are perfect for an open concept living because they open up your indoor space to include your outdoor space. These doors can also create bigger openings than regular patio doors and you can use the whole open space because there are no fixed panels.

“In comparison to traditional sliding doors, folding doors allow you to sacrifice interior space needed to create a pocket. In addition, folding doors are an aesthetically pleasing design element that’s both versatile and functional, making them an optimal solution,” says Kelting.

The latest folding doors by LaCantina Doors come in many looks and different designs. The range of looks will fit most any interior and exterior of your home. The hardware comes in stainless steel, bronze and black hardware finishes and there are several frame choices. The doors come in aluminum, wood, clad wood and vinyl in tons of colors.

You can open up your doors and let the indoor and outdoor space become one in for tons of entertainment space during nice weather. The glass folding doors will also give your interior extra protection from harsh elements with their updated energy efficiency. These glass doors will insulate from both cold and hot temperatures with thermal breaks helping to limit condensation.

“LaCantina’s V2 Folding Door uses a thermally controlled aluminum material, designed for climates where you want to keep either the cold or hot air out. It makes them the perfect choice for all climates and ideal for those months when the doors can be folded wide open to allow for fresh air throughout the home,” explains Kelting.

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It has been said that springtime is the perfect time to buy or sell a home, but is this always the case? Not necessarily, while springtime is the most popular time, winter months can work in a home buyer’s or seller’s favor. This can include having more time on your side to decide, not as much competition, and real estate agents have more time to focus on just you. Here are several reasons that this winter might be the right time to purchase a home.

1. Winter-Tested Houses

The winter brings harsh cold weather to most every area in the US. During the harsher cold weather, a home inspector can see the home’s flaws a little better. If you close on a home in the summer, you might have some surprises in store next winter. Professionals in the industry will tell you that the best time for a property inspection is during the rain and snow.

2. Motivate Sellers

Inventory is fairly low and slow in the winter. If someone puts their home on the market in the winter it usually means they are a motivated seller. If you are in the market for a new home, sellers will be more prone to accept offers and negotiate more on the price and closing costs during the slow winter months.

3. Fewer Buyers

The winter months are a great time to hibernate indoors so to speak. This means that there are fewer buyers out there during the colder months that are looking at a home to buy. You definitely will have less competition in the housing market during the winter. This means you can take your time and make sure you are not rushed into making an offer.

4. Available Realtors

Since winter is considered an “off-season” for realtors, this means that realtors have more time on their hands to devote to you and your search. A realtor will not only be able to devote more time but also support your specific home search.

5. Discounting Movers

Colder winter months are also slow for professional movers. This means that many movers might give company discounts to their services during this time. Since they will also have a lighter schedule, they will have more free time so they should be able to accommodate when you would like to move.

If you are ready to move before the spring, contact a local real estate agent who can help you with the home buying process. A realtor can not only find you the home of your dreams, but can get it at the right price and right terms.

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Homeownership is a big life change and comes with many unique challenges. Keeping up with a home can be daunting and if you are in your retirement years, this might not be how you want to spend them. Owning a home after you retire can affect your health, finances, and your well-being.

“It’s a complicated question because it involves emotions and decades of memory. Living in the right place can add to your longevity and promote healthy retirement lifestyles. And likewise, the wrong place can shorten your longevity and shorten the aging process. I’ve seen it with my own eyes,” explains Nancy Schwartz, founder and transformational strategist for Envision Healthy Retirement.

Since this can look different for different people, retirement planning should be done on an individual basis. If you are unsure of what do, hire a professional. In the meantime, here are three questions to ask yourself when you are retired and considering homeownership.

1. Can You Afford to Stay in Your Home In Retirement?

Your current financial situation will be the biggest determining factor when asking yourself this question. “If you still have a mortgage on your house, are you going to be able to afford that? If a spouse passes away, can you still afford that once you lose Social Security or if the pension gets reduced?” asks Kimberly Strosnider, president and founder of Estate and Wealth Management Services LLC.

How much money is tied up in your home is another determining factor. It might be in your best interest to sell your home to help finance your retirement. “If you don’t have a nest egg put aside, does it make more sense to sell the home, get a smaller place, and then use the equity to help finance your retirement?,” asks Strosnider.

As an example say you are a homeowner of a million dollar home that you do not want to sell. You cannot bank on that $1 million as discretionary spending but it is holding cost. Think of it as renting to yourself. Remember owning a home has many expenses, so you cannot think of this home as a liquid asset you can leave your children.

2. Is Your Home Set Up for Aging?

If you live in a three story home on a hill, this might not be the best suited home for you to live in as you age. When decided if your home is suited for aging, you need to look at everything from the layout to the size. Look at the accessibility of bedrooms and where you can add safety features to bedrooms and bathrooms. If you have stairs in your home, you might want to factor in getting a chair lift.

Sad to think about, but you need to think about if you have to live in your current home alone, could you keep it up. As you get older, maintenance gets harder. When you are alone, you also would like to live close to friends and family.

3. What Lifestyle Do You Envision in Retirement?

The kind of lifestyle you choose once you retire, will greatly affect the type of home you want to live in. If you want to travel, then a smaller home with less upkeep would be a smart choice. “Many clients who come see me, their number one goal is to travel. How much of a house do you need if you’re going to be traveling a lot?” comments Schwartz.

When making a decision like this, look at all the elements of your personal situation. Not only do you need to look at the practical side, but also how you feel about this decision. Important factors to include are financial, health, family and lifestyle.

“This is a huge decision that can affect your health and longevity. I come back to: Take time, learn all you can, asses it, and make the best decision possible. And then find that love, safety, and belonging in your new or your same home again,” advises Schwartz.

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Shiplap accents can be seen in the ceiling accents.

A custom home is a home that is built to the specifications of the buyer. Basically, the buyer of the home will get to choose every detail when it comes to their new home. Many home buyers shy away from building a custom home due to several myths.

The biggest myth is that a custom home is too expensive. Although this can be true, there are tons of ways to save when building a custom home. You do not need to have a massive budget for a custom build. Another big issue is that many home buyers feel it takes too long to build a new home. Many custom homes are actually built faster than mass-produced homes.

When it comes to custom builders, there are plenty out there and they are easy to find. The best way is through recommendations and searching online. You will want to be sure to ask the builder you have chosen about their experience, process and pricing.

Remember, working with a builder who understands what you want and knows your budget is the key. A good builder will help you find ways to save money through the homebuilding process.

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A home office is a perfect spot to work from home in this house.

If you want to own a home but haven’t decided whether to build a house or buy one, there are several things to consider. If you love a custom look with features and finishes that are in your taste, then building a custom home would be for you, but if you like historic charm and an older established neighborhood then purchasing a resale is right for you. If your budget is a factor, what is cheaper: building a home or buying an existing one? The National Association of Home Builders and the US Census Bureau reports that the median cost to purchase a home is $410,600 and is less by $28,800 than building a home.

Pros and cons: Building a house

According to the professionals in the industry a basic home can be built for around $150 per square foot. This is for a basic home, but this price can jump up to over $500 per square foot if you want the best of the best. When you build a home you get to choose what you want such as an eat-in kitchen. A new home also has less long-term expenses than an older home. A new home will be more energy-efficient and will have lower utility bills. There are also less repairs and lower maintenance costs.

On the other hand, a new construction home will take longer to get into. Especially nowadays with labor shortages and shipping difficulties. According to the US Census Bureau it takes around 6-8 months to build a new construction home. You will also have an alternative place to live while your home is being built which is an added expense. Since there is a shortage of home inventory, demand is up and the cost of building is higher. The US Census Bureau reports that new construction home costs have risen $84,700 over the same time last year.

Pros and cons: Buying a house

Most of the time, there are fewer construction costs when purchasing an existing home. The only time this will not be the case is when you purchase a fixer-upper. When you purchase a home, the transaction time is also a lot quicker. This would be the best option if you need to relocate or have a short time frame. If location is important, purchasing an existing home will be much easier than finding a lot to build on.

You do not have to build to get an all-new home. You can opt to purchase a new construction home that is completed and listed for sale. You will still have all new everything without the hassle of building a home yourself.

If you are in the market for a new home, find a local realtor who can help you with your purchase of a newly built home, custom-built home or an existing home. A realtor can help you determine which is best for you and your lifestyle. They can also help you with financing options and refer you to a lender.

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The kitchen island includes storage drawers, a dishwasher, a custom stainless steel sink, a trash drawer, and custom pendant lighting overhead.

Even with the rising mortgage rates, inflation and the slowing housing market there are benefits to homeownership. The secret is how you gain equity and wealth due to home values rising over time.

“Home equity gains are built up through price appreciation and by paying off the mortgage through principal payments,” stated the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released data showing the gains over the last five years. Home prices grew around 64% on average across the country during that period.
Meaning, the home’s value can increase a lot during a short time period.

Think that is good? They also revealed that over a thirty-year span home prices went up over 290% (on average)! Even with the price increases coming in different by state and local areas, a homeowner who purchased a home thirty years ago saw their equity triple.

The cooling house market will still see home price appreciation in 2023. If you purchase a home, it will still grow in value over the next year. It will just grow over a slower pace than we have seen the last couple of years.

The cooling market should not detour you from owning a home. Rental prices have also been climbing and there are no benefits to throwing your money away to rent. Home buying is an investment that will set you up for long-term gains. Contact a local real estate agent to start your homeownership journey.

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Living in the Southeast is wonderful with its four seasons. Having all four seasons can be challenging with humidity, moisture, and storms that can wreak havoc on a home’s exterior. Six top builders throughout the Southeast agree that James Hardie® has the solution to the Southeast’s climate and geography.

1. Todd Wilson

Todd Wilson, the owner of Wilson Design & Construction, Inc. in Valdosta, Georgia, shared with Southern Living his low country cottage project. He used Hardie® plank on the home’s exterior walls, Hardie® trim on the exterior casings, column wraps and beam wraps, and Hardie® soffit for the sheets that make up the cornice and porch ceilings. Hardie® is the best material to use on the exterior of homes in the Southeast because of the moisture, humidity, pests, heat and storms. The products can resist the harsh climate over time. He loves using the product because it is architecturally flexible and ascetically pleasing to the eye.

2. Mary-Dolph Simpson

Mary-Dolph Simpson of Simpson Builders, Inc. talks to Southern Living about Simpson’s Coastal Cottage build in Bay Creek, Virginia. Simpson’s custom builds are all located close to the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. James Hardie® excels in making exterior siding and products that can replicate natural materials used to build here in the past, such as wood. Their products withstand our coastal Virginia environment and ensure that we can warranty the exterior envelope of a custom home.”

3. Chris Hoffman

Chris Hoffman with Southern Cottage Corporation in Davidson, North Carolina has a perfect example Hardie® siding on their Modern Cottage. The custom-build features Hardie® Plank Select Cedarmills siding along with Hardie’s Artisan Shiplap. “We also showcased classic mitered outside corners using a unique install method from James Hardie®. Busy families appreciate these high-quality, low-maintenance exteriors,” says Hoffman.

4. Chris Brooks

“We chose this product for its durability, ease of installation, overall curb appeal, and to carry out the architect’s vision in keeping with the historic nature of the surrounding area. The size and finish options available work well in the hot, humid climates where we build,” Brooks explains. Chris Brooks owns Structures by Chris Brooks in Moultrie, Georgia.

5. Mike Stevens

Mike Stevens Homes in Knoxville, Tennessee shares his Hardie® example with Southern Living. ” Our client for this build was a busy neurosurgeon who wanted a log maintenance home. We wanted to make a bold statement with the exterior color and this siding was perfect-it stands out against the natural backdrop yet blends in with the existing streetscape. We had lots of rain and red clay mud during the build; the protective film on James Hardie’s ColorPlus Technology finishes helped us overcome this challenge,” reveals Stevens.

6. Jamison Howard

Howard shares about a home in Awendaw, South Carolina that his company Max Crosby Construction built. The coastal environment is harsh on everything with the salty air and extreme weather patterns. It is critical to choose the right exterior building materials that will withstand hurricanes. Hardie® siding and materials are perfect for this environment. Hardie® is known for their durability in coastal areas as their products can endure extreme temperature swings.

If you are planning to have a home built, then choose Hardie® products to ensure your dream home is built with the top product.

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