Homeownership Among Singles

When a lot of people think of buying a home, they picture it as a part of settling down and building a family. There’s a pretty good reason for this; couples and families do make up a significant portion of the home-buying population. But there is a growing trend among buyers that bucks this tradition: Single people have become increasingly likely to shop for a home in recent years.

The Importance of Singles Buying Homes

There are multiple reasons why the increase in singles buying homes is noteworthy. The uptick may be due in part to overall changes in society, with individuals marrying or starting families later in life, after trying to achieve stability. It also speaks to the increased economic power of the Millennial generation, with those in their 20s and 30s able to buy a home of their own even as they’re working on building a career.

Of course, there is one other important thing about more singles buying homes that is easy to overlook. Those looking to sell their home may focus on making their property as appealing as possible to older buyers or those with families, missing out on this growing segment of homebuyers. Realizing that more singles are buying homes allows sellers to market their property to a wider range of buyers, increasing the likelihood of selling a home quickly and without having to compromise substantially on asking price.

Women as Homebuyers

One specific aspect of the increase in single homebuyers that is worth noting is the fact that single women are significantly more likely to buy homes than single men. In fact, as many as 1 in 5 potential buyers is likely to be a single woman according to recent trends. This is around twice as likely as a buyer being a single male. This difference is especially noteworthy when you consider that, on average, women typically earn only around 80 percent as much as men working in similar roles.

This is another point that sellers should consider when putting their homes on the market. Not only is it increasingly likely that singles will be interested in the property, but when they are, they will probably be women shopping for a home. This really shakes up old mindsets that focus on married couples buying with the husband as a negotiator trying to get the best price on the home purchase.

Attracting Single Buyers

Single homebuyers may have different criteria when shopping for a house than couples or families. They may look for smaller properties, homes with large yards for gardening or other characteristics that might not be as important to couples or families. Location can be viewed differently by single buyers as well; they are less likely to be concerned with school districts and proximity to parks or other family destinations, and more likely to consider proximity to work or attractions that appeal to singles.

Realizing how the priorities differ when it comes to buyers who are single versus couples and families can affect how you advertise the home you have for sale. Listings in areas that aren’t ideal for families can be targeted toward single buyers instead, focusing on those aspects that a single woman or man might find appealing. Even if you don’t target your sales specifically toward singles, being mindful of the differences can help you to create home listings that have a wider appeal across a range of potential buyers.

Prepping Your Home

If you’re putting your home on the market, it’s important to keep single buyers in mind. If you aren’t sure how to do this, you might consider bringing in an interior design expert that can help you to make your home as appealing as possible to a wider range of potential buyers.

At Luxe Realty Group, we are not only Realtors, but we are professional interior designers.

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Wallpaper Made Easier

When you think of wallpaper, you likely picture rolls of material that are plastered or glued in place. Once the wallpaper is up on the walls, that’s pretty much it; while wallpaper can be removed, the process usually isn’t very quick or easy. If you want the look of wallpaper without the hassle, however, there is another option: peel and stick wallpaper. If you weren’t aware that this was available, it might be worth looking into.

What Is Peel and Stick Wallpaper?

Similar to some other wall decorations, peel and stick wallpaper is a vinyl applicant that has its own adhesive on one side. A protective paper backing covers the adhesive and is peeled off before application, allowing it to be placed without the need for glue or other messy adhesives. The adhesive on the back of peel and stick wallpaper is strong enough to hold the wallpaper in place, but not so strong that it can’t be removed with ease; when you’re ready to take it down you can simply peel it off without having to worry about the wallpaper tearing or causing any sort of damage to the wall surface beneath it.

Peel, Stick and Adjust

As with more traditional wallpaper options, peel and stick wallpapers typically feature repeating designs that are essentially seamless once everything has been installed. The self-adhesive nature of the wallpaper makes it easy to start a wallpaper installation since you can position the first piece more easily than you might with wallpapers that have separate adhesives.

There is another advantage to using this self-stick adhesive as well. Because it’s designed to release easily, you can adjust the positioning of the wallpaper with ease during the installation process. This helps to ensure that none of the wallpaper is crooked or out of alignment, since you can correct any problems as they occur without having to reapply adhesive or worry about damaging the paper.

Residue-Free Removal

One big advantage that peel and stick wallpaper has over more traditional wall coverings is that you can remove it and replace it whenever you need to. The vinyl material that peel and stick wallpaper is made from is harder than paper, so not only is it less likely to be damaged in day-to-day life but it’s also much less likely to tear during removal. The adhesive on the wallpaper leaves no residue behind and isn’t going to peel off paint or other surface details. While peel and stick wallpaper typically isn’t designed for reuse after removal, you can remove one peel and stick design and replace it with a different design, or even more traditional wallpaper, without any issue.

Multiple Surface Options

Peel and stick wallpaper goes well on walls, but it can also be applied to other surfaces as well. The main requirement for application is a clean, dry surface without texture. Your walls should be painted with at least a base coat, but the paint shouldn’t have any texturing agents added. Surfaces with non-stick elements added (such as non-stick paint) or residues need to be cleaned or painted before application as well. Peel and stick wallpaper can be added to drywall, wood or any other surface that either meets its requirements or can be painted to provide the clean, smooth surface that the wallpaper needs for adhesion.

The Perfect Install

Even peel and stick wallpaper can be stressful if you’ve never installed your own wallpaper before. Whether you’re looking for someone to install it completely or you think your walls could use a touch up before the wallpaper goes up, it’s not a bad idea to find a painter in your area to get the job done right.

Insulation Basics

Insulation is an essential part of your home. Not only does it help keep the home warm during the winter, but it also plays an important part in keeping you cool during the summer. Once you start looking at the different insulation options that are available, though, the whole thing can get a bit confusing. To help you make sense of it all, here are some of the basics you need to know about home insulation.

How Insulation Works

Insulation works by providing a physical barrier to the transfer of heat through parts of the home such as the walls, ceiling and roof. Depending on the type of insulating material used, it may simply provide a barrier to heat transfer, or it could actually reflect some of the heat back in the direction it came from. In the summer, this means that heat is prevented from entering from outside; in the winter, the insulation stops heat from moving out of the house.

Understanding R-Values

Insulation effectiveness is measured by R-Value. The higher a material’s R-Value is, the more resistant it is to heat penetration. Insulations that have a higher R-Value tend to be thicker or made of denser materials able to resist greater amounts of heat transfer than thinner insulations. Some forms of insulation may have a lower R-Value but are still effective; an example is aerosol can spray foam, which can’t be placed very thick, but seals out air. So keep in mind that R-Value isn’t the only measure of how effective insulation is.

Types of Insulation

Insulation isn’t exactly a one-size-fits-all product. There are different types of insulation available to meet different needs. Though the specifics of different insulation types may vary, these are the most common types of insulation you’ll see:

  • Batt Insulation – This is what most people think of when they picture insulation. Batt insulation comes in rolls of material such as fiberglass or cotton that is applied in walls, floors, ceilings or other areas where large amounts of insulation is needed.
  • Spray Foam – As the name implies, this insulation comes in the form of a liquid foam that is sprayed onto the surface where insulation is needed. The foam expands and hardens, providing a layer of insulation that can fill gaps, cracks and other areas that other insulation types often miss.
  • Blown-In Insulation – Similar to spray foam insulation, blown-in insulation is applied by a blower instead of coming in rolls. Instead of originating as a liquid, however, this insulation is made of small bits of fiberglass or cellulose and fills in the area where it is blown. It provides excellent heat retention and creates a sound barrier where applied as well.
  • Radiant Barriers – A specialty insulation generally made of layers of perforated aluminum, this insulation is applied in the attic walls and rafters in areas with warm climates. The insulation reflects radiant energy from the sun, reducing attic temperatures and making heating and air conditioning more efficient.
  • Window Insulation – This can come in the form of films applied to the window surface, plastic sheeting applied over the windows or even insulation built into the windows themselves.

You may encounter other types of insulation as well, though they are typically intended for more specialty uses than those listed here.

Air Sealing

Even high-quality insulation can’t do much if there are cracks and gaps in your walls or foundation that let air flow in and out freely. Finding and filling cracks with a sealant is an important part of insulating your home. There are different sealants available for this purpose, though spray foam insulation works as both an insulator and an air sealant.

Insulation Installation

Making sense of different types of insulation and figuring out which is best for your needs isn’t always easy. Fortunately, we can help you find a professional installer who will match you to the best insulation for your home and seal up any air leaks as well. Sign up today for a free account so you can get to work on insulating your home.

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The Hype About Smart Homes

There’s been quite a bit of hype about smart homes in recent years. These aren’t the top-to-bottom smart homes that were envisioned by science fiction for years, of course. Those were houses that had a central artificial intelligence that controlled everything and inevitably went rogue at some point. Instead, modern smart homes are usually traditional homes just like the one that you live in. They’ve simply been enhanced with sensors and devices and the occasional digital assistant.

Some people are thrilled with how technology is changing the way we interact with our home environment. Others aren’t quite so happy with the direction that this trend is heading. Love them or hate them, though – there’s one thing that you need to accept: The smart home isn’t going away.

What Makes a Smart Home?

A smart home is one that has a variety of sensors and controls within it that give you additional information or functionality when it comes to your home. This can range from information like whether you left the front door unlocked or what the temperature is in your living room to functions such as controlling your lights with your voice. Some smart homes use a central hub or device to control everything, while others use components that connect via wifi and are controlled by your phone. Some smart homes feature appliances or other major fixtures that have “smart” capabilities while others just use devices or sensors to make day-to-day life more convenient. Because of the device-based nature of modern smart homes, homeowners can choose exactly the components they want to help make the smart home installation meet their specific needs.

Smart Home Devices

There are a wide range of smart home devices available for homeowners. Some of these are fairly well known, such as smart thermostats that feature programmable temperature controls that “learn” how best to keep you comfortable. Others are less common but very handy, such as leak sensors that alert you when your pipes leak or window sensors that let you check to see whether your windows or locked or unlocked. You can get smart lighting that can be controlled remotely and can even change colors, smart locks that you can lock and unlock with your phone or a key fob, smart smoke and CO2 detectors, motion sensors that activate security cameras but that are able to ignore pets and small animals… the list is quite extensive. Most of these devices are programmable so you can automate specific tasks, or can at least be paired with things such as a digital assistant (like Amazon Echo devices or Google Home) to schedule automation and even voice control.

Safety and Privacy

There are a number of advantages to using smart devices, including saving money and increasing convenience in your daily life. However, some people have security and privacy concerns as well. Some smart devices have been exploited in the past, allowing hackers to listen in or speak through the devices to people in a smart home. Some devices featuring video also raise security concerns as people worry that others will be able to record them going throughout their day. While these are valid concerns, security breaches and flaws are taken seriously by manufacturers. The majority of cases where unwanted access has occurred were either due to flaws that have since been patched or due to someone gaining access to the password that secures the devices. This is why it’s important for those who buy smart devices to use strong passwords on their accounts and to make sure that their devices have up-to-date software, as these two actions will mitigate the majority of security concerns.

Get Smart

Whether you already have smart home devices installed or you’re just curious, there are installers and consultants who can help you determine exactly how your home could be a little smarter. If you’re interested, we can help you connect with a consultant in your area that can help you along your way.

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Financing Outside of Single Family Homes

Most of the time, if you think about taking out a loan to purchase real estate, you’re likely picturing a single-family home. Depending on your needs and the properties available in the area you’re searching, though, you may find that other property types are actually a closer fit for you. Multi-family properties such as duplexes and similar units might end up being a better choice, or you could wind up shopping for a condo. You might even be in the market for a property that contains both commercial and residential aspects. Regardless of what you’re looking for, though, you should have options for financing your purchase.

Borrowing Differences

None of these property types are exactly rare, but they are outnumbered in the market by single-family dwellings. As such, the loans that you’re likely most familiar with are geared more toward those properties than properties for multiple families or dual-zoned use. Because of this, you need to be prepared for potential hurdles when you start looking for a loan. Lenders may have different requirements for these loans than they would for mortgages on a single-family unit, and some lenders may not offer loans for multi-family units or similar properties. This doesn’t mean that there are no loan options available, but you should be prepared for the possibility of a different borrowing experience.

Loan Options

When it comes down to it, many of the same options are available for purchasing multi-family units, condos and other properties as you would find when shopping for a loan for a single-family dwelling. Organizations such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and others that are commonly used for single-family purchases also offer loan programs or insurance to cover these types of dwellings. Most local and national banks offer these loans as well, as do other mortgage lenders. With that said, you may have to meet different qualifications to get these loans than you would if borrowing to purchase a single-family home.

Qualifying for a Loan

Though specific qualifications may vary from one lender or program to the next, some of the most common items that are considered during qualification may include:

  • Larger down payments than what would typically be used for a single-family purchase
  • Reserve requirements of at least 2 percent and as high as 6 percent of the unpaid principal balance
  • For multi-family properties, a cap on the loan amount calculated on a per-unit basis
  • Minimum or maximum numbers of units within a property
  • Restrictions on any repairs that may be needed for the property

There are other qualifications that may be required by specific lenders before authorizing a loan for a condominium, multi-family dwelling or other less-common property. Depending on the property and the amount of the loan, higher credit scores, co-signers or other additional requirements may also be necessary.

Finding a Lender

As with any loan, it’s important to spend time looking for the best loan option to meet your needs. This is especially important with these types of loans, as in many cases you’ll be borrowing more than you would with a single-family mortgage and may be subject to more restrictions as well. Taking the time to explore different options and check with different lenders will help ensure that you get the best terms for your loan and will keep you from having to settle when it comes to buying the property you want.

Getting Your Loan

When you’re ready to start your loan search, we can help make sure that you get just the loan you need to finance the property of your dreams. We can connect with lenders and other pros who can point you in the right direction for your loan.

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