April Showers Bring Flooding and Mold

April Showers Bring Flooding and Mold

 

As winter gives way to warmer weather and spring begins to bloom, heavy rain storms pose a threat to homeowners. Homes that aren’t properly protected from the elements are at risk of flooding and mold infestation, which can cost thousands of dollars to fix once the damage is done.

Water damage claims have been growing faster than other components of homeowners insurance in recent years, according to the American Insurance Association. Water and moisture damage not only affect homes, but health as well. Moisture creates the ideal breeding ground for mold growth, which can trigger allergic reactions and a host of health problems.

Since mold cannot grow without the presence of moisture, preventing mold from growing in the home starts with taking the proper steps to safeguard against water infiltration. In anticipation of the rainy season’s arrival, now is the time to take action.

Water damage prevention starts with a thorough home inspection. It’s every homeowner’s responsibility to make sure the inside and outside of the home is properly inspected and protected against water damage. REALTORS® can help their clients take a proactive approach to protecting their homes from water damage by recommending a home inspection company that goes beyond the basics to provide professional and comprehensive home evaluations.

An inspection team evaluates more than 1,600 items in and around the home, taking the worry out of the weather’s effect on the home, and giving homeowners peace of mind.

Potential Problem Areas

Roof: There are several culprits to identify when protecting against water damage. The roof is the area that takes the brunt of heavy rains, so it must be maintained properly to prevent leaks. Air should be flowing freely through all roof vents, which will reduce the build-up of heat and moisture and extend the life of the roof. Shingles should be inspected, and any cracked, broken or curling shingles should be replaced. The roof should lso be inspected for damage around the chimney, vents and valley areas.

Gutters: Gutters should be clean and clear of debris to ensure proper drainage. They should also be stabilized so they stay firmly in place, even in the event of high winds and heavy rains. Splash blocks should be placed at the end of downspouts to carry water away from the home’s foundation. Downspouts should be sloping away from the house, carrying water a safe distance away from the foundation.

Attic: Attics should be inspected for moisture and surface discoloration. Checks should be performed around flues, plumbing vents and chimneys.

Basement: A thorough inspection of the basement is vital to protecting a home from the elements because it houses many of the home’s maintenance systems, including electrical wires, pipes, sump pumps and heating and cooling systems. Sump pumps should always be tested before the rainy season starts because they assist in keeping unwanted water out of the home.

Doors and windows: Door and window flashing, seals and weatherstripping should be checked for cracks or gaps. Any damaged areas in caulk should be resealed.

Foundation: It’s a mistake to assume every foundation is waterproof. As the house shifts and settles over time, cracks are created, leaving an open invitation to water infiltration.

Home inspection services can save homebuyers thousands of dollars in the long-term. It’s a risky gamble to not have a home inspected for potential problems. Exhibiting transparency is a REALTOR’S® responsibility to their clients. When a client sees you’re doing everything possible to know the condition of the home, they’ll be more likely to close on the sale. Referring clients to an unbiased, third-party inspector is the best option.

Joel Thompson RE/MAX Alliance

joelathompson@hotmail.com 303-877-0060

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The Housing Recovery Is Slow Going, but Things Are Improving

The Housing Recovery Is Slow Going, but Things Are Improving

 

 There has been a flurry of media stories regarding the latest housing data that suggest the recent momentum in the housing market has stalled and the industry is heading toward another downturn.

Although the latest monthly housing data showed modest declines, the less volatile quarterly data have continued to show modest improvement. Consequently, there is plenty of evidence for retaining a cautious optimism for a gradual recovery. While the February new-home sales rate dipped a nominal 1.6 percent, sales are still running 11.4 percent above their year-ago level and at the rate expected for the slow recovery. Meanwhile, the inventory for new-homes for sale remains at an all-time record low.

While combined U.S. housing starts lost some ground in March, this was almost entirely due to typical month-to-month volatility on the multifamily side. The fact is that single-family and multifamily starts and permits were all stronger in the first quarter of 2012 than they were in the fourth quarter of 2011, indicating that the market continues to slowly strengthen, albeit in fits and starts.

We are also seeing the long-term improvement in housing conditions continuing to take hold in a growing number of local markets. The April NAHB/First American Improving Markets indicates that 101 individual metros are showing measurable and consistent signs they are heading in the right direction.

Total job growth continues upward, providing added consumer confidence and pushing personal income up.

No one is anticipating that an upward path for housing will run in a straight-line trajectory. The economy is in an uneven recovery and we can expect some corresponding ups-and-downs in the housing market in the months ahead.

However, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) believes that on the whole, we can expect a slow and gradual recovery in housing starts, home sales and the overall housing market in 2012. We will provide more details on our perspective on national and regional housing trends at the Spring NAHB Construction Forecast Webinar on Wednesday, April 25 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time.

 www.nahb.org/cfw

Joel Thompson RE/MAX Alliance

joelathompson@hotmail.com 303-877-0060

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Foreclosure Proceedings Can Make or Break Local Market Recovery

Foreclosure Proceedings Can Make or Break Local Market Recovery

 

 The housing market seems to be on the upswing, and some experts say that by 2014, the market will be back on track. Last week NAR noted that investment properties are on the rise, and the National Institute of Home Builders reports that contractors have high expectations  for remodeling this year. According to data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, home price indexes for 38 states ended 2011 above their early-year lows and 30 states reported more than two quarters of growth by the end of 2011.

However, Kiplinger.com notes that how each individual state recovers will depend largely on how it deals with foreclosures; in states that require judicial review before signing off on a foreclosure, backlogged properties can slow down the progress in the market. States that do not require judicial review—like Texas and Delaware—are speeding through foreclosure processes in impressive time. In Florida, it can take over 800 days to complete a foreclosure; in Arizona, it can take less than 200. This may be part of the reason Phoenix gained 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter, despite its 55 percent plunge from 2006 levels.

Joel Thompson RE/MAX Alliance

joelathompson@hotmail.com 303-877-0060

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Single Family Rentals Now Exceed Multifamily

Single Family Rentals Now Exceed Multifamily

While inventories of homes for sale have been shrinking this spring, MLSs are filling the void with rental listings for single family homes that until recently were foreclosures. Some 16.1 percent of all listings on MLSs today are rentals, more than double the number in 2006, according to some reports.

Single family rentals are $3 trillion business today and growing as investors turn to real estate and opt to rent out the bargains they buy until prices improve. Today the single family rental market accounts for 21 million rental units or 52 percent of the entire residential rental market, according to a new study by CoreLogic economist Sam Khater.

Yet the single family rental market is poorly understood and almost invisible to economists and journalists because virtually all rental market data tracks multifamily properties and either ignores the single family segment or lumps it together with multifamily.

“Single family rentals are very distinct from multifamily and they behave very differently,” said Khater in an interview with Real Estate Economy Watch. For example, on a per unit basis, rents for single family rentals run 1.5 to 1.6 times higher than multifamily. Unlike multifamily, millions of single familyrentals are listed on MLSs by real estate brokers, many of who represent new owners in acquiring investment properties. As the for-sale inventory has trended down since 2005, the rental share rose 13.3 percent last year alone. As of the end of last year rental closings were up 11.5 percent year-over-year while prices fell 9.8 percent during the year. Demand is strong. The national average months’ supply for single family rentals was 4.5 months in December compared to 6.2 months for homes listed for sale.

Another important difference is the nature of the tenants. Single family rentals, usually stand-alone properties in ownership settings, appeal more to families. In fact, the typical SFR tenant is a family that has just left a foreclosure and can afford to pay the rent on a former foreclosure but could not make the mortgage payment on their old home, perhaps because they bought with alternative financing or purchased at the peak and could not get a modification when their home lost value. Over the past five years, foreclosures have turned more than 3 million homeowners into renters. Typical multifamily tenants, however, are younger, generally single and more mobile, and have never owned a home.

Khater found a strong relationship between distress sales markets and single family rentals. Census data shows a correlation between single family rentals and the hardest hit areas of the so-called “sand states”-Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada.

Investors buying REOs and short sales in foreclosure markets convert them to rental units and homeowners in the same locale who have lost their homes to foreclosure rent homes that until recently were owned by other families who suffered the same ill fortune.

For more information, visit www.realestateeconomywatch.com

Joel Thompson RE/MAX Alliance

joelathompson@hotmail.com 303-877-0060

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Home Trends: How to Clean and Repair Gutters

Home Trends: How to Clean and Repair Gutters

 Cleaning roof gutters is a small task that can prevent big problems. Every spring and fall, thoroughly cleaning your home’s gutters will keep them working like they should. Leaves can build up and clog the downspouts, which can cause water damage to your roof and fascia (board behind the gutter). All that water pouring over the gutters can end up next to your home’s foundation, and maybe in the basement or crawlspace. Follow these simple steps for cleaning your home’s gutters and making simple gutter repairs.

Select an appropriate ladder to clean gutters. Use a step ladder if possible. For a two-story home, you may need an extension ladder. For all ladders, make sure the legs are set on a solid and level surface.

Removing Debris
Begin cleaning the gutter near a downspout. Remove the large debris (leaves, twigs, etc.) with a trowel and dump it in a bucket. To clean out finer materials, flush the gutter lengths with a hose starting at the end opposite the downspout. Alternatively, you can use a gutter-cleaning attachment on a hose. If the water doesn’t drain, recheck the downspout strainer, and clean as necessary. If gutter water still doesn’t drain, the downspout may be clogged.

Check the drain end. If the downspout runs underground, remove it from the pipe as needed. Install a small nozzle on the hose and lock it at full pressure. Turn on the water and feed the hose up from the bottom of the spout. If this doesn’t clear the downspout or the nozzle is too big, use a plumber’s snake tool to clear the blockage. Reattach the downspout.

Repairing Gutters
After flushing the gutter, if there is still standing water, the gutter may not be sloped correctly and will require adjustment. The length of the system should decline at least ¼” every 10’ toward the downspout. If the gutter doesn’t slope enough, detach the hangers and adjust the gutter enough to drain properly, then reattach. It may be easiest to work on small sections at a time to prevent the entire gutter system from falling. Inspect the gutter for obvious damage and missing parts. Support hangers should be spaced every 2’ along the gutter.

Repair any leaks in the gutter. Identify gutter leaks by filling the gutter with water, but make sure the gutters have dried before repairing. To repair leaks at the seams, make sure the gutter lengths are tight against each other, and run a bead of gutter sealant on both sides of all joints. To repair leaks at the end caps, add sealant along the inside of the joint. To repair holes in the gutter material, ask a Lowe’s associate for products designed to repair aluminum or fiberglass gutters.

Apply gutter touch-up paint to cover any blemishes as desired. If necessary, repaint some or all of the gutters in the home’s exterior color.

This article is excerpted from Lowe’s Creative Ideas magazine. For more information, please visit www.lowes.com

Joel Thompson RE/MAX Alliance

joelathompson@hotmail.com 303-877-0060

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LONGMONT REAL ESTATE STATS

LONGMONT REAL ESTATE STATS

The Market action index for Boulder is already hitting above 19.  Last year the market peaked in June so we should have some additional upside and may see our highest Market Index Rating in the last 3 years.  These are similar patterns to Longmont, but Longmont has shown strength over the past couple years where the city of Boulder has been fairly low.

Boulder is also experiencing a renewed enthusiasm for mid to higher priced homes.  Since May of 2011 Median price has risen from the $610,000 to the $754,000 range.  This is a similar pattern that we saw in Longmont Real Estate numbers yesterday.  

Based on our analysis over the past couple days it does appear the Boulder Valley Real Estate is improving and is following a traditional pattern of moving from the bottom up.

 

Joel Thompson RE/MAXAlliance

joelathompson@hotmail.com 303-877-0060

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Survey Finds Women and Men Make Home-Buying Decisions with Head and Heart

Survey Finds Women and Men Make Home-Buying Decisions with Head and Heart

 Square-footage and price are important elements to consider when selecting a home but according to a new survey from Coldwell Banker Real Estate of 1,000 men and women, they both also rely on how they feel and how their lifestyle fits into a home when looking for a place to live. The survey found 28 percent of women and 25 percent of men put more emphasis on their feelings about a home than they do on the layout, square footage, or price. The majority of women (62 percent) and men (61 percent) also know within the first visit if the home is right for them.

“A home is more than square-footage and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and this survey shows just how much emotion can play a role in home buying process,” says Jessica Edwards, Coldwell Banker Real Estate consumer specialist. “When two people are looking for a home together, there are many considerations to take into account. Of course, price and layout matter, but ‘feeling at home’ is an important factor.”

The survey also reveals insights into the roles men and women play at home and finds some interesting differences between age groups.

Women Take Charge of Making a House a Home:

Over half of women (54 percent) say that they take the lead when it comes to decorating.

However, younger men play a larger role in décor decisions than their older counterparts. Forty-eight (48) percent of younger respondents, age 18-44, say decorating is mutual; this decreases to 36 percent for respondents 55 and over.

Women also cook it up in the kitchen. Sixty-eight (68) percent of women say they are the “primary chef” for their household.

Not to be outdone, some men are also putting on the apron—occasionally. Nearly a quarter of men (23 percent) say cooking is their job.

Age Changes How Men and Women Feel “At Home”

Sharing financial decisions may get easier over time. Fifty-four (54) percent of people age 18-44 say major financial decisions are mutual, compared to 60 percent of those 45-54. This increases to 70 percent for people 55 and over.

Interestingly, as age increases, so does contentment with the current status of the home. Almost half (45 percent) of those older than 55 say they are very happy with their home just the way it is, compared to 25 percent of those age 18-44.

More men seem to be focused on making significant changes to the home (9 percent) compared to women (5 percent).

For couples entering the home-buying process, here are Edwards’ tips for harmonious house-hunting:

• Each person should come up with a list of a few things that are most important and then come together as a couple to decide on a list of the top three to five things that are important for the home.

• When looking for a home, communication is key. Consider designating a point person for different aspects of the home-buying process, so that information is not delayed or communicated to just one part of the couple.

• Don’t get too many people involved; typically more people means more stress and what is most important is that the couple is happy with the decisions being made.

• Don’t forget to have fun! Remember that this home will be the place to build memories and a life together.

 

Joel Thompson RE/MAXAlliance

joelathompson@hotmail.com 303-877-0060

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