Do Home Automation Upgrades Increase Property Value?
Once seen as futuristic gizmos reserved for the likes of the Jetsons, smart technology has become commonplace in today’s homes. Millennials are especially drawn to amenities like smartphone-controlled lighting, speakers and thermostats. Some of these features are now factored into home appraisals and may help a house sell faster.
According to a study by Security.org, 70% of buyers want to purchase a smart home. Of those buyers, 78% are willing to pay more for a home with smart technology. Additionally, nearly 75% of respondents said their top factor for a good smart home device was convenience, and 50% said saving time was their goal. Other benefits noted by survey participants included increasing home control, safety and enjoyment.
Smart features help improve energy efficiency, security and resale value. Basic smart home updates range from $175 to $1,500, with an average price tag of $800. More elaborate improvements can easily run into thousands of dollars, according to HomeAdvisor.com. Here are the three types of smart tech people use smart tech to keep their homes safe.
- Store-bought tech like voice assistants and cameras that can be controlled from a smartphone. (Estimated cost: $300-$3,000 for a one-time purchase.)
- Subscription-based services for 24-hour monitoring. (Estimated cost: $500-$1,500 per year.)
- Custom installations by a licensed professional. (Estimated cost: $2,000-$15,000+ for a one-time purchase.)
Smart Updates That Yield a Respectable ROI
- Programmable thermostats
- Smart LED indoor and outdoor lighting
- Remote-controlled fans
- Home security, including door and window locks
- Remote-controlled blinds and shades
- Automated yard irrigation
Pro Tips: Tech brands aren’t necessarily compatible with one another, and be aware that some features may leave homeowners vulnerable to hacking. Certain services may require monthly subscription fees.
Ways To Save for a Down Payment
Home buyers searching for ways to reduce their expected monthly mortgage payment may want to consider increasing their initial down payment. Putting a larger amount down may result in a lower interest rate, so it’s worth your time to explore all available options. Here are few ways would-be buyers can save to increase their down payment.
- Automate savings through direct deposit or recurring transfers to a savings account.
- Alter spending habits to reflect your resolve to purchase a home. Consider cutting back on expenses like travel, dining out or entertainment for one year.
- Increase income by starting a side hustle, requesting a raise or finding a higher-paying job.
- Explore down payment assistance programs that offer discounts or grant money.
If a larger down payment isn’t an option, ask about federal programs that offer loans for as little as 3% down. Find out if you qualify for offerings from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, and USDA. Also consider exploring employer-assisted, local and national programs for first-time buyers.
2023 Paint Colors – Wow and Why Not?
Neutral palettes still dominate interior design websites and magazines, but wouldn’t it be fun to play with some new color trends in 2023? You can repaint entire rooms or simply add some of these new colors as accents. Either way, you’ll end up with a refreshed and updated place where you’ll want to spend more time.
Sherwin-Williams is introducing Redend Point as its 2023 color of the year. This expressive blush-beige draws inspiration from healing and restorative energy.
Benjamin Moore announces Raspberry Blush as its choice. Dramatic and punchy, the undertones of this hue are said to channel vibrant energy.
Dutch Boy champions Rustic Greige. Understated yet warm, this color is cozy and comfortable.
Pantone names Viva Magenta as its 2023 winner. Choose this shade for a vibrant, lively and optimistic atmosphere.
Painting a room the color you love shifts the whole feel of the space. Not only will you enjoy the new look, but you’ll also sense a new vibe. Browse through the many unique colors of 2023 to see what strikes your fancy.
Qualifying for a Mortgage in Retirement
Home buyers at or near retirement age should be selective when choosing a mortgage lender. It’s wise to find a loan officer who’s familiar with current programs and fluent in the nuances of retirement-age cash flow. Fortunately, both public and private lenders offer products specially designed for retired folks who are in the market for a mortgage.
Like other borrowers, retirement-age buyers need good credit, limited debt and sufficient ongoing income to repay their mortgage. These buyers will also need to provide detailed information about their various sources of income. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act prevents lenders from discriminating based on age, but borrowers will still be held to the same financial requirements as other borrowers.
What’s a Mortgage Rate Buydown?
Sellers are finding more creative ways to attract buyers in this changing market. The most obvious move is to simply lower the price — great for the buyer, but not so great for the seller.
But there’s another way to cut monthly mortgage costs that benefits both parties. A seller-paid mortgage rate buydown saves money for both buyers and sellers. Instead of reducing the price of the house by $15,000, for example, the seller can use that $15,000 to pay down points on the buyer’s mortgage.
Offering a below-market mortgage rate may draw buyers looking for lower monthly payments, while sellers benefit from a higher selling price. Additionally, the neighborhood benefits from the higher home values and less stigma from the price reduction.
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