Home Trends – First Bank https://localfirstbank.com North and South Carolina Community Bank Sat, 23 Mar 2019 23:30:12 -0400 en-US hourly 1 The Top Home Remodeling Trends of 2017 https://localfirstbank.com/article/the-top-home-remodeling-trends-of-2017/ Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:25:44 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=9439

Remodeling your home, or any home for that matter is a big investment. If you’re remodeling with the intention of selling soon, it’s critical to know where to allocate funds.

You’ll want to put your money in places where you get the highest ROI. Below you’ll discover not only where to remodel, but the hottest trends for 2017.

Attic Insulation

Attic insulation may not be the sexiest home remodeling trend on this list, but it does have the highest ROI. The average cost for attic insulation in 2017 is $1,343, but its resale value is $1,466. This makes the ROI 107.7%!

It may be shocking, but attic insulation will help keep your wallet warm when selling. If you’re looking to turn up your ROI, you can do it yourself, but read this beforehand.

Major Kitchen Remodel

This year may be the perfect time to remodel your kitchen. It doesn’t have the best ROI on our list (the national average in 2017 to complete this project is $62,158 with a resale value of $40,560 for 65.3% ROI), but it’s quickly moving up.

This means that if you can get it done soon, your ROI can significantly increase. Oh, and pay attention to the color of new appliances!

Entry Door Replacement

Probably one of the easiest on the list, simply replacing your entry door has the second highest ROI. The job costs about $1,413 with a resale value of $1,282, placing its ROI at 90.7%.

The catch: doors need to be steel. This is important because entry doors make first impressions. Wood or any other composite material won’t do.

Two-Story Addition

Need some more space and want to sell your home soon? This project may be just the ticket for you. Again, it’s not the highest on the list, but growth is key, along with asking the right questions.

The national average to complete a two-story addition is $176,108 with a resale value of $125,222 or a 71.1%. But this remodeling project has been on the upswing since 2015, so getting it done now may give you a higher return for when you’re ready to sell.

Manufactured Stone Veneer

While this trend is on a slight decline, it ranks as the third highest remodeling ROI. With a job cost of $7,851 and a resale value of $7,019, it’s an affordable project.

The ROI lies at 89.4%, but why the downturn? Manufactured stone veneer saw a slight price increase in materials, thus contributing to the decline, but if costs go back down, expect this to stay put or even climb higher in value.

Want to geek out some more over the ROI of remodeling ideas? Check out this handy site.

The Right Age to Buy a House https://localfirstbank.com/article/the-right-age-to-buy-a-house/ Wed, 02 Nov 2016 14:25:36 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=9244

Although buying a house for the first time is a big decision, it turns out there is no perfect age to do it. When it comes to taking the plunge, it’s more about individual readiness.

You’re likely ready to buy your first home if you:

  • Have steady income.
  • Have saved enough for a required down payment and closing costs.
  • Have an emergency fund with three to six months’ expenses.
  • Have little or no other significant debt.
  • Plan to stay in the home at least three to five years to recoup initial expenses.
  • Have improved your credit as much as possible.
  • Can comfortably afford mortgage payments for homes in your desired location.

While there’s no “right” age, there are trade-offs between buying when you’re a young adult and waiting until you’re older.

Why buy a home earlier in life?

If you can swing it, homeownership in your twenties or thirties brings many advantages.

For starters, money spent on rent is lost forever, and you don’t even get a tax break for your trouble. When you buy a home, you’re actually investing in your future, potentially reaping a nice tax break for the mortgage interest you pay (be sure to talk to your tax professional to confirm any benefits to which you may be entitled).

Over time, you’ll build equity you can borrow against if necessary, and the value of your home may increase enough to bring a substantial profit when you sell. Or if you stay in your home long enough, you’ll pay off your mortgage completely and enjoy living free of that monthly payment.

Why wait, then?

Sometimes putting off home purchase can be a good thing, too.

When you’re in your middle years or older, chances are you’ll have a higher, steadier income and a better idea of where you’d like to settle down than when you were first starting out.

You’ll also leave yourself time to build excellent credit, which may qualify you for the best available mortgage rates and terms. Additionally, taking the years to save a large down payment improves loan-to-value ratio, making it easier to find affordable financing.

Not ready? You’re not alone

The Pew Research Center found that young adults are waiting longer on average to move out of their parental homes than they were a generation ago, with over 32% of adults aged 18 to 34 still living with their parents.

The increasing age of first marriage also comes into play. For the first time in more than 130 years, this demographic is less likely to be living independently with a spouse or partner than remaining in their parental home, according to Pew’s analysis.

First-home purchase age also increased slightly. Zillow reports that back in the 1970s, most first-time homebuyers were 29 to 30 years old and often married with a child. Today’s first-time homebuyers average about 32 years of age and are more likely to be single.

Roberta Pescow, NerdWallet

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

But if you are ready

First Bank can help you decide if the time is right to buy by providing expert financial guidance and a wide variety of competitive mortgage options including conventional and government loans.

You can also schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable mortgage loan professionals who can help talk you through the process and next steps.

State of the Housing Market in 2016: Part Two https://localfirstbank.com/article/state-of-the-housing-market-in-2016-part-two/ Tue, 03 May 2016 14:25:38 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=5121

In Part One of this series, we examined the overall market shifts from sales volumes nationally to the demand for housing in North Carolina. Here we explore two more trends: the Baby Boomers taking over and interest rate implications.

Chapel Hill Realtor Kim Dawson, president of the North Carolina Association of Realtors, says North Carolina saw a lot of first-time homebuyers in 2015, along with empty-nesters looking to downsize and retirees moving in from the north, and she expects all of those groups to again comprise most of her buying clients this year.

Forecast: Graying Market

But nationally, homebuyers are becoming older. At the end of 2015, the share of first-time homebuyers was at an all-time low, having declined each of the past six years. After 5 consecutive years of job growth, Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors, thinks that trend will start to change this year, if only modestly.

It isn’t for a lack of desire among Millennials. In a December National Association of Realtors survey, 94% of renters age 34 and younger said they aspire to home ownership at some point in the future.

Millennials are increasingly attracting the focus of homebuilders. While addressing the National Association of Homebuilders’ annual conference in Las Vegas earlier this year, Dan DiClerico of Consumer Reports said Millennials have become the nation’s top home-buying demographic, outnumbering Baby Boomers 36 to 34%.

Contrary to stereotype, many are now earning high incomes and demanding larger homes than the industry initially expected. Most prefer city life but often must settle for the suburbs if that’s not possible.

Still, many builders continue to believe Boomers will drive most of their business.

“They are putting more money into their homes and building fairly substantial houses,” Pennsylvania builder Tim McCarthy told the Associated Press. “They are substantially better off than the rest of America. They are going to dominate the housing market.”

Forecast: Mortgage Origination Challenges

Nationally, married couples with dual incomes are buying the most homes, making their down payments and increasingly, paying for their entire homes, with cash proceeds from selling their previous homes, something they had long wanted to do but couldn’t until home values increased, says Adam DeSanctis, a National Association of Realtors spokesman.

Because of so many cash sales last year, purchase mortgage originations are forecast to increase 13% this year after rising 8% last year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. But because interest rates are expected to keep rising, refinancing volume is slated to drop 32%, after growing by 32% last year.

Combining both types of mortgages, total originations are forecast to decline by about $100 billion this year.

Michael Jablonski, executive vice president and director of mortgage lending at First Bank, says he relishes the challenge.

Despite the declining mortgage market, Jablonski says he is confident First Bank will accomplish its objective to grow its mortgage business. It’s becoming increasingly important with the decline in two other traditionally reliable revenue sources, transaction fees from credit and debit cards as gas prices have plummeted, and minimum deposit fees because people are saving more.

“We fully expect our volume at First Bank will improve as we continue to implement our (mortgage lending) strategy,” Jablonski says. “We fully expect to take market share from our competitors.”

Jablonski says First Bank will do that by offering competitive interest rates and emphasizing its wide array of products and services, in contrast to mortgage brokers who form a much more limited relationship with their clients.

“I love to talk about mortgages,” Jablonski says, “and the best way to talk about mortgages is through the delivery channel of a full-service bank, and through a community bank that is well-capitalized, strong and with a good culture that we want to employ in the community so that we can be successful.”

Ready to talk mortgages? Sign up today for a free consultation with one of our mortgage loan experts.

State of the Housing Market in 2016: Part One https://localfirstbank.com/article/state-of-the-housing-market-in-2016-part-one/ Tue, 26 Apr 2016 14:15:18 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=5120

Despite coming off a solid sales year, Chapel Hill Realtor Kim Dawson isn’t quite certain what to expect in 2016.

On the bright side, she anticipates demand for housing in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill or “Triangle” area to remain strong. Employment continues to grow as the region recovers from the recession, and mortgage interest rates, while projected to rise slightly, remain very low by historical standards.

Forecast: Demand Outstrips Supply

The biggest challenge Dawson sees, and it’s a significant one, is finding enough homes on the market to meet demand. Like the rest of the nation, residential real estate in North Carolina has become a seller’s market.

“We had an agent the other day that had 18 offers in one day, which is just crazy,” says Dawson, who also serves as president of the North Carolina Association of Realtors.

Over the past decade, buyers grew accustomed to negotiating the best price possible, and if a home didn’t have what they wanted, they simply moved on to the next one. But Dawson is trying to convince her buyer clients that they’re in a different world now.

“If they find a home they like, they need to make an offer and it needs to be a strong one,” she said.

Homes in the Triangle are on the market for an average of 52 days, down from 60 to 70 days in 2014 and 2015. And that average is inflated by homes that aren’t in good condition, Dawson noted.

“They’ll sell their house fast if it’s decorated right, staged right and priced right,” she said.

Several trends have converged to tighten inventory across much of the state. Home builders, after drastically reducing output following the mortgage crisis, have ramped back up but are having trouble meeting demand.

Following the recession, many homeowners, unable to sell their homes, fixed them up instead and now are content to stay where they are.

Finally, the state has become a sort of victim of its own success. People migrate to the area for its mild weather, strong economy, top-notch health care and cultural amenities. Once they arrive, they want to stay.

Simply put, there just aren’t enough people wanting to sell. “If inventory improves, (sales) will be equal to or better than 2015,” Dawson said. “If we don’t get more inventory, it’s going to be a tough year.”

Forecast: Modest Sales Uptick

Nationwide, home sales grew 7% last year from 2014, the best year in nearly a decade, but are projected to rise by only 1 to 3% this year, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors.

Yun attributed the slower sales growth to home prices he predicts will start rising for the spring buying season, along with shaky global economic conditions, rising mortgage rates and sluggish GDP growth in the United States.

Stay tuned for Part Two in this series next week where we look at the graying of the market and mortgage origination trends.

Ready to explore a new mortgage? Sign up today for a free consultation with one of our mortgage loan experts.

Your Home: Landscaping Trends in 2016 https://localfirstbank.com/article/landscaping-trends-2016/ Tue, 02 Feb 2016 15:21:38 +0000 https://localfirstbank.com/?post_type=article&p=4918

As the excitement of the New Year fades and the quiet of winter settles in, many homeowners begin to plan projects for the spring.

Long-time gardeners may curl up by the fire with their favorite seed catalogs while others scroll through Pinterest on their phone for inspiration.

No matter how long you’ve been in your home, there’s always room to add a few new design elements to your outdoor landscape.

On trend this year

As with every other industry, the movement to go green continues to rise in popularity as homeowners use organic techniques, as well as water-wise and native plants in their landscaping.

In fact, a survey from the American Society of Landscape Architects supports this movement nationwide, reporting last February that native plant projects account for 85% of consumer demand. Because these plants naturally thrive in the local environment, they are extremely low-maintenance and are an attractive option for busy homeowners.

Not sure where to begin or which plants are native to your area? “Your local extension office is a good resource for native plants, and one of the more underutilized,” says Ted Blackwood, owner of Blackwood Landscaping in Asheville, North Carolina. “These folks are master gardeners with years of volunteer experience, and they can also help you get free soil tests.”

Another option for DIYers is Facebook, where you can find groups focused on plant identification or weekend projects.

Out with the old

As 2015 came to a close, so too did outdated trends. According to Blackwood, “We’ve been ripping out trees that get too big. People are becoming conscious about plant size. When I first started, customers wanted instant gratification with big plants, but they grow so fast they take a lot of maintenance.”

Not only do consumers want fewer large trees, they also want less grass. “We’re doing less grass than we’ve done in the past. It uses so many chemicals and it’s not naturally occurring,” says Blackwood.

Boxwoods are also on the outs, with many people preferring different kinds of hollies.

Rest assured however, southern classics—like crepe myrtles and forsythia—never go out of style, with traditional varieties continuing to thrive throughout the Southeast.

Evergreen tips for the outdoors

Another au courant trend? Maintaining your curb appeal.

Not only will you keep your neighbors happy, you’ll also be ready to sell your home when the time comes. “A first impression is a lasting impression,” says Jamie Tingen, owner of Pistol Tingen Realty based in Greenville, NC.

When listing your home, he recommends quick fixes like adding a fresh layer of mulch outside, power washing your siding, and clearing the roof of debris. “The outside tells us a lot about the inside,” says Tingen.

Regardless of your time and budget there are plenty of ways to stay on trend when it comes to landscaping. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of your local resources and ask questions about what works for your area.

And if all else fails, there’s always Pinterest.