Buying a home is a huge deal in anyone’s life. It is said to be one of the most stressful times in someone’s life. Here are some questions to ask to help you make an informed decision when it comes to buying a home.

Is now the time to buy a home?

Again this is one of the most important purchases a homeowner will ever make. Determining to take the leap of homeownership, is one of the most important financial decisions to make. Make sure your finances are in order before you decide to start your home search.

Are you ready to invest in a home?

A home is a wonderful investment, however, it is a big expensive one. Assess where you are in your life, is homeownership right for you? Make sure you want to stay in the home. Selling a house right after you purchase it will cost you a good bit of money.

Do you have a target home price?

Currently, we are in a seller’s market which means homes are going to have multiple bids and sell at higher asking prices. December 2021 reported the median home price in the country was up 15.1% higher than the same time last year. Before you start your search, find a number that you are comfortable with and stick with it.

Do you have enough savings?

Purchasing a home is not just paying the listing price. You need to have some savings not only set aside for any home updates or projects but also for other costs associated with purchasing a home. Here are some of the costs associated with buying a home. You will need 3-5% of the purchase price for a downpayment and money for closing costs and inspection fees.

Do you have credit concerns?

In order to obtain a mortgage, you will need a good credit score. By rule of thumb, anything under a 620 will not qualify. Anything between 620 – 740 will get you qualified but with a higher rate. Anything over a 740 will not only get you qualified but will get you the best available rates.

Do you have money allocated for unexpected costs?

Don’t get caught off guard by surprise costs through the process of buying a home. Remember inspections, insurance, taxes, and utilites. The more informed you are, the better decision you will make. Contact a Realtor who knows the process from start to finish.

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Habitat for Humanity is building a new 154-home community close to Terrytown. The New Orleans affiliate says this is the largest-ever project that they have built in the New Orleans metro area. Fifty of the homes will be built for people 55 or older.

Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has given the local Habitat for Humanity $4.5 million for the project. Marguerite Oestreicher, executive director of the local chapter, praised Scott for her generosity. In fact, Scott’s donation is the largest donation both the local and national Habit organizations have ever been given.

“When you get a transformative gift like this it gives you an opportunity to innovate,” said Oestreicher.

The new community will be located on the property site that was formerly Plantation Golf & Country Club. The 44-acre tract is off Behrman Highway and is planned to be called Rising Oaks. The $56 million project will be developed by Woodward Design & Build along with architect Garrity & Accardo.

The neighborhood will consist of a mix of two, three, and four-bedroom homes. The remaining 50 homes will be cottage-style homes for older residents. The remaining land will house a community center and retail center, including a health center, restaurant, pet store, bank, and many other retailers.

This will be one of the first projects Habitat has started from the ground up in the area. It was a rare opportunity for the chapter to build a live, work, and play community from scratch.

“It has allowed us to plan a community that is livable, walkable, green, and beautiful,” she said.

In order to be allowed to live in these mid-century architecture homes, you will have to qualify. Residents will qualify if their income is between 30% and 80% of the median New Orleans income which is around $20,000 to $57,000 a year.

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This custom home features this nice breakfast area with hardwood floors and plenty of sunshine.

The kitchen counters are solid and white that pops with the nice stainless steel applainces.The environment is precious to us and if we respect it, it will respect us. When we think of ways we can improve our footprint, most real estate transactions do not come to mind. Most realtors and those that are involved in some way with the National Associaton of REALTORS® (NAR) are familiar with the Preamble of the Code of Ethics.

“Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization. REALTORS ® should recognize that the interests of the nation and its citizens require the highest and best use of the land and the widest distribution of land ownership. They require the creation of adequate housing, the building of functioning cities, the development of productive industries and farms, and the preservation of a healthful environment.”

“REALTORS® will have to make sustainability a primary focus — because our customers and our planet demand it,” states NAR 2022 President Leslie Rouda Smith.

Every way we can, we should think about how it affects the Earth. Real estate transactions should not only focus on the clients but on the impact, they will have on the land itself. Here are three aspects to think about when respecting our environment.

First, governance.

Decision-making is the first step to take when thinking about how a real estate transaction will affect the earth. The National Associaton of REALTORS® under the 2022 NAR Leadership Team has created the Sustainability Advisory Group. The group consists of all Chairs who sit on the Public Policy Coordination Committee and the National Association of REALTORS®’ Vice Presidents of Advocacy and Association Affairs. They are currently working on joining in a partnership with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help keep those in the real estate industry up-to-date on how weather events affect housing and markets.

Second, resilience.

The National Associaton of REALTORS® is working on how it can change and sustain the environment. An example of what they are currently working in is the Flood Factor on This provides flood risk data on each listing, allowing property owners to accurately assess their risk and better prepare for future flooding events.  Another great example is NAR’s Smart Growth Grants and Placemaking Program. This program supports both state and local associations giving them the resources to build parks, trails, and community gardens. NAR is backing FEMA’s Risk-Rating 2.0 which helps with rating individual homes when it comes to flooding rather the rating flood zones. By doing this, homebuyers will have a better perspective on how flooding will affect the specific property they are looking to buy.

Third is environmental stewardship.

Data has shown that homebuyers will pay a premium for homes that are certified Energy Star or the National Green Building Standard. Realtors are also encouraging healthy green communities for homebuyers of all income levels and backgrounds.

If you are in the market for a new home, contact a Realtor who can help navigate the green housing market. Everything we do from the products we use to the homes we live in can impact the beautiful earth we live in.

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This custom home features a nice white exterior with black trim.

Custom Built-Ins with a nice dark paint pops and is a great addition to this dining area.The COVID-19 pandemic played a large part in the current strong housing market. Bidding wars have been predominant for the past year and a half. Now that the interest rates are starting to rise, the competition is getting even stronger. Here are five new rules to follow when buying a home in 2022.

1. Lock in a mortgage before you start your search

In the past, homebuyers would find a home and then get pre-approved. This is not the case in 2022 because of the strong demand. This fast-paced market makes it essential to get pre-approved before you start the homes search process.

“You should be pre-approved by a lender and knowledgeable about your finances before you even begin your home search,” says Beverly Burris, an agent with William Means Real Estate in Charleston, SC. “With houses going under contract as quickly as they are right now, often within days or sometimes hours of going to market, there is no sense in going to see a property before speaking to a lender and learning what you can afford.”

2. Shop for homes priced below what you can afford

Once you get pre-approved you then know how much you can afford. Homebuyers in the past have purchased a home on the high end of their mortgage approval and that resulted in a recession. Today, homebuyers are encouraged to purchase a home below the top of their price range.

“These days, houses are selling for more than their list price and, as a buyer, you’re more than likely going to end up in a bidding war,” Lori Ozley, a manager with Birmingham HomeBuyers explains. “If you look at properties that are under your budget, you’ll have room to submit a competitive offer that goes above the asking price.”

3. If you love a property, act fast

Purchasing a home is a big deal so most homebuyers want to think on it before they make the big leap. Today’s market does not afford homebuyers this luxury.

“If you are interested in a property, you must act quickly or you risk losing out to another offer. When you really like a property, you should sit down with your real estate agent, go through the comp research, and work on putting together an offer the very same day,” says Bill Samuel, the agent and investor behind Blue Ladder Development.

4. Put your big number out there from the start

When it comes to purchasing property, negotiations have always been part of the process. This is not the case today in this hot market. Homebuyers need to put their best offer forward at first.

“Be prepared to make your best and final offer from the beginning,” advises Jodi Dougherty, a luxury broker at Downtown Realty Company in Chicago. “Since sellers often receive multiple full-price offers, you may not get an opportunity to counteroffer if you come in too low.”

5. It will probably take multiple tries before you succeed

Don’t give up, there are tons of other homebuyers looking at the same homes in the same market. It might take more than once to put your best foot forward and have your offer accepted.

‘You can almost plan on having several offers not go through before one is accepted,” explains Brian Chinn, leader of the Brian Chinn Team at Newberry Real Estate in Tyler, TX. “While that isn’t always the case, it happens more often than not in this market.”

If you are interested in purchasing a new home, contact a Realtor who can help you through the process. “It’s easy to get frustrated,” Chinn adds, “but having patience is key.”

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Secondary bedroom with a unique ceiling that has recessed lighting and a custom chandelier.

A nice master bedroom with french doors leading outdoors. The bedroom also has custom lighting and hardwood floors.With the new year comes new trends in home designs. Glen-Gery, a premier brick and stone manufacturer, says to consider incorporating materials like stone and brick, which bring color, texture and functionality while complementing some of this year’s leading design trends. Here are the trends for 2022 that Glen-Gery shares.

Warm Colors

This year the trend is using warming colors. These include beige, tan, caramel, cocoa and even black. Designers are beginning to take a shift from cool tones like gray to the warmer “coffee-inspired palette.” These colors give materials such as brick, stone, siding, doors and shutters a warmer feel.

Textures and Patterns

These are becoming a staple in the 2022 home designs. Texture can draw a person to a room by adding depth and complexity. Using brick or stone is a perfect way to provide visual texture to any space.

Outdoor Inspiration

This year’s design elements are nature-inspiring. Homes will have more glass that will bring in the natural light and nature scenes. During the stay-at-home orders from the pandemic, homeowners learned to use their homes for outdoor enjoyment as well as indoor enjoyment. Bringing the indoors outdoors is a big trend for this year. The transitional indoor-outdoor spaces are great for this trend. Indoor kitchens, fireplaces and electronics are popular for outdoor spaces.

Clean Lines

Clean line designs are a designer’s best friend this year. These clean lines make a space inviting, comfortable and serene. Glass and brick are great materials for this. They both can transfer light giving a space an illumination from a higher sheen which creates a sense of balanced calm and strength in a space.

Bringing On-Trend Design into Your Home

Brick is a great versatile material that can be added to any home design. Brick comes in tons of different colors, textures and sizes. From modern designs to traditional designs brick brings flexibility. Brick is also a material that is low maintenance, resilient, durable and ascetically pleasing.

If you are planning to build or renovate, these trends are a must to use. Following these trends will not only update your home but add value to your investment.

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This kitchen features a nice kitchen island with custom lighting. The kitchen also has hardwood floors.

This custom home features a nice white exterior with black trim.Just because you are single doesn’t mean owning a home is not a reality. In fact, Freddie Mac reported that 28% of all households are sole-person. That is roughly 36.1 million and is still increasing.

“Our calculation suggests that there will be an additional 5 million sole-person households in the United States by the next decade. This means 42% of the household growth will be contributed by sole-person households,” concludes Freddi Mac.

Here are several tips to follow if you are single and want to make the dream of homeownership come true.

1. Know Your Credit Score

When you purchase a home solo, you will only have your credit score to depend on. In order to qualify for a loan, you will need stable finances and good credit history. According to Investopedia, since lenders are only looking at one score it needs to be in tip-top shape. They recommend reviewing your credit report before starting the lending process.

Knowing where your credit score falls will help your decision on if and when you should take that leap of faith in purchasing. If your credit is not so good, focus on improving it before starting the home buying process.

2. Explore Down Payment Options

A down payment is another factor to consider. If you do not have enough saved up, there are down payment programs that can help you determine how much and how to save for a home. A loan officer can help you determine which loan program best suits your personal financial needs.

3. Think About Your Future Home and Your Needs

There are so many homes to choose from when it comes to styles and options. Spend time thinking about what type of home will fit your lifestyle. Here are some questions to think about when considering what type is best for you. Do you want a short commute to and from work? Do you want a big yard for a pet or space for outdoor entertaining? Do you want an extra bedroom for guests? Do you want a home office due to working from home? Do you want a condo with lower maintenance than a detached home?

The process seems daunting and can be a challenge but with a Realtor on your side, it becomes a much easier process. A professional sales agent can help you make the best choice for the right price.

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This custom home features a nice white exterior with black trim.

Recent housing data shows that single-family new construction homes are increasing in size. COVID-19 has changed the way homeowners view their home and its square footage. Stay at home orders made homeowners live, work, school and play in their homes 24/7 during the height of the pandemic.

The Census Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design and NAHB analysis revealed in the third quarter 2021 report that the square footage went from 2,337 square feet to 2,541 square feet for a median single-family home.

The NAHB Eye on Housing reveals that median home size has is 9.3% higher since the Great Recession lows. The average size for a single-family home is now 6.2% higher on a one-year moving average basis since the recession.

If you are in the market for a new home contact your local Realtor. A local sales professional can help you with your new home.

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Attractive Master Walk-In shower featuring a nice long bench and a nice custom tile floor.

A bathroom especially the primary bathroom is a homeowner’s relaxing space. In fact, the key phrase for bathrooms for 2022 is “calming retreat.” Homeowners are looking for a space with mood-setting lights and unclutter spaces and simple tilework to set a tranquil mood. Professionals say there are six trends to follow in 2022 when it comes to designing your tranquil space.

1. Return of the Bath

Many people prefer showers and some prefer baths. Even if you are a shower person, 2022 is looking to bathtubs being the focal point of the primary bathroom. Especially in today’s uncertain times, homeowners are looking for ways to decompress and relieve the stress of the day. Bathtubs are a great way to take some time to yourself and relax.

“In past years, deck tubs were taken out to allow for larger showers, but I think adding a tub back into the bathroom will be on the rise in 2022,” says Susan Froehlich, co-owner and design and selections coordinator at Corinthian Fine Homes in Indianapolis. “While shower design was the ‘wow’ of the room in the past, tubs will take a bigger focus, with floor-mounted plumbing and two-toned tubs.”

2. Attention to Light

No one wants fluorescent lighting in the place they get ready in the morning for the day nor in the space, they relax in. Lighting needs to be right and is a priority when it comes to the 2022 bathroom.

“Lighting for bathrooms has definitely evolved beyond your basic overhead light,” says Sara English, lead designer at AMEK Design + Build in Bloomington, Minnesota. “Our designers are appreciating the range of lighting and finishes available to show clients for mirrors, sconces, chandeliers and beyond. It’s fun to remodel bathrooms and use lighting to change the whole feeling of the room.”

“While wall sconces continue to be the most popular lighting choice in 2021, we believe more thought will be given to additional ceiling lighting in 2022. Dependent on the height of the room, we are seeing more great choices for flush-mount or semi-flush lighting options. Various metal finishes will always be here to stay, but an increase in sparkle and glitz is on the rise next year,” Froehlich says.

3. Double Vanities

Today’s busy homeowners look to the bathroom as their own space. Having double vanities is a plus but having vanity storage space has become a priority of 2022.

”We believe these ‘his and hers’ vanities will differ in size and function in 2022,” Froehlich says. “More ladies are wanting a makeup vanity and drawers that fit all of their hair appliances, while the men want electric shaving and toothbrush charging built in.”

We are getting into more precise and thoughtful storage for items such as hair dryers, grooming devices, makeup and towels, etc.,” English says. “U-shaped drawers at the top of vanities take advantage of the often unused space around sink plumbing, and in addition, we are adding outlets to closets and drawers for recharging needs.”

4. Calming Retreat

Today everyone is busier than ever coping with everyday life on top of the COVID-19 pandemic. Having a space to escape to and decompress is very important.

“Bathrooms are definitely becoming spa-like retreats,” says Tess Ceron, designer and principal at Belle Decor & Design in Orlando, Florida. “For 2022, designs will be simplified, with muted color palettes and lots of texture and natural elements to instill a sense of tranquillity.”

“With the stresses of everyday life, homeowners are wanting their bathrooms to be their sanctuary,” Froehlich says. “We think it will be a place of calm and relaxation in 2022, with more soaking tubs and calming colors, such as blues and soft greens.”

5. Clean Lines

Professionals are saying that 2022 is all about streamlined fixtures and beautifully clean lines, with larger tiles, fewer grout lines and linear infinity drains.  Designers are seeing more wall-mounted faucets and seamless quartz countertops and backsplashes.

“The simple, clean lines that result give a heightened sense of sophistication without the stuffiness,” says Sara English, lead designer at AMEK Design + Build in Bloomington.

6. Luxury Showers

For the homeowners that like a shower over a bath, showers are still a key component in the 2022 bathroom designs. Features that we will now see will be twin shower heads, black instead of chrome hardware, built-in bench seats and larger door openings.

“Roll-in showers and grab bars will be considered the norm,” Froehlich says. “Most of our homeowners ask for a ‘spa-like’ bathroom to relax in and escape the busyness of life. It’s no longer just a space to get ready in the morning or brush your teeth at the end of the day. It’s a place to be enjoyed.”

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This custom home features a nice white exterior with black trim.

This September has seen a gain in single-family permits. The first nine months of 2021 reported year-to-date (YTD) got up to 864,184. This is a 21.2% increase from the 713,286 reported in September 2020.

All four regions had a very strong increase year-to-date ending in September 2021. The South saw the largest increase of 22.8% while the Midwest reported the lowest at 16.1%. The Northeast reported 20.4% and the West 20.3%. For multifamily permits, the West reported 35.3, Midwest 26.7%, the South 24.5% and the Northeast 17.7%.

Of the four regions, 49 states and the District of Columbia reported an increase of single-family permits issued. The highest growth was in the District of Columbia with a 234.7% increase! Mississippi was the only state that saw a decline of 0.5% during September 2021.

At the local level, below are the top 10 metro areas that issued the highest number of single-family permits.

Metropolitan Statistical Area Single-family Permits: (Units #YTD, NSA)
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 40,255
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 39,161
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 27,534
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 24,928
Austin-Round Rock, TX 19,250
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 15,444
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 14,767
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 12,725
Jacksonville, FL 12,725
Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 12,625

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