Moving into a new home calls for a great housewarming party! 

 

Moving into a new home calls for a great housewarming party! And if you’re looking for a creative way to celebrate, it may help to hear about some house celebration traditions from around the world—because there are plenty of them.

It turns out, people from all corners of the globe love marking the act of moving into new digs. Many of these housewarming rituals are purported to bring good luck to the home—and even if you aren’t the superstitious sort, they can serve as inspiration for a theme for your own fete. So check ’em out!

1. Light candles on your first night

Origin: Europe

Ever wonder why it’s called a housewarming? Fire is a classic symbol of strength and purity, which is why many European traditions involve lighting a candle or a fire on your first night in a home. Doing so is said to ward off evil spirits by casting away darkness. This was back before modern conveniences such as electricity made doing that much easier, but you have to admit, there’s something special about the glow of real flames to mark this special occasion.

2. Hang a chimney hook

Origin: France

In French-speaking countries, a housewarming party is called a pendaison de crémaillère, which means “hanging of the chimney hook.” It’s a medieval expression dating to the 1600s, when houses were built by everyone in the village. Upon completion of the house, everyone who participated was invited in for dinner, which was prepared in a large pot hung on a hook in the chimney. The hook could adjust the height of the pot, which controls the cooking temperature, and was usually the last item to be installed in a new home. Today, of course, this just means you should make sure to feed anyone who shows up at your housewarming party.

3. Bring bread and salt

Origin: Russia

Bread and salt represent two cherished symbols of hospitality, so much so that many believe they should be the first two items brought into a new home: A gift of bread is meant to ensure that the home’s inhabitants will never go hungry, and salt will provide a life full of flavor. This tradition may have originated in Russia, but has been adopted in many countries—and it’s even migrated into outer space! Astronauts have ceremoniously brought bread and salt on board both Mir and the International Space Station to celebrate their new “home” up in zero gravity.

4. Ring a bell

Origin: Tibet

Want to rid your home of dying chi (aka bad energy)? According to feng shui, the Chinese philosophy of harmonizing your environment,  ringing a bell will help clear a room of negative vibes. If you’re still feeling some bad juju, try opening windows, turning on fans, and letting in sunlight—all are part of the tradition as well.

5. Put out a pineapple

Origin: Europe

In 1493 during his second sea voyage, Christopher Columbus was said to be the first European to come face-to-face with a pineapple. And, according to the World Encyclopedia of Food, other imperial travelers found that natives who hung the fruit in front of their dwellings’ entrances seemed especially welcoming to strangers. The concept eventually travelled to Colonial homeowners, who began showcasing pineapple-shaped decorations in common areas. Once a symbol of extravagance—at one time, a single pineapple could be sold for the equivalent of $8,000 today—it now represents hospitality, and is considered a universal housewarming symbol.

6. Tie a holy thread

Origin: Thailand

To welcome good luck, according to Thai tradition, invite an odd number of Buddhist monks to your home (an even number is thought to be unlucky) for a Khuan Ban Mai blessing ceremony. This basically means the monks will tie a sai seen (a holy thread or string) around your wrist, and the wrists of your family members, which is a way to usher good luck into your life.

7. Burn sage

Origin: Native America

Also clearing out negative energy, this tradition involves burning dried sage in every room you wish to cleanse. Specifically, directing the smoke into the four corners of the room is thought to add protection from evil spirits. And it smells nice, too.

8. Boil milk and rice

Origin: India

This one can get a little bit messy. In Indian culture, it’s common to bless a new home by boiling milk and rice until the mixture overflows the pot. Doing so is said to symbolize the prosperity of a long life. And if you reallydon’t mind a mess, another Indian housewarming tradition involves bringing a cow into the new home and placing a holy garland around its neck. While it might seem strange to treat your home like a barn, cows are considered sacred in this culture, so it makes sense.

9. Paint your porch ‘haint’ blue

Origin: Southern U.S.

“Haint” is another word for “haunt” in Gullah tradition, which began in Africa and spread to regions of South Carolina and Georgia. The legend says that haint spirits can’t travel through or over water, so painting part of your entryway blue is a deterrent. Southern homes are also commonly accented with blue around the doors, windows, and shutters. The paint also once had a practical purpose: Originally, it was mixed with lime, which helped keep mosquitoes away.

 

 

Article source: Matt Christensen for Realtor.com. 

This Month in Real Estate: December 2017

Market news dec 2017 indigo skye group blog

HOME PRICES:

The median home price decreased to $245,100 in September, which was down 3.2 percent from August and up 4.2 percent from September of last year. The median home price has increased by approximately $9,900 in the past year alone.

 

HOMES SALES:

The National Association of REALTORS® reported home sales at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of approximately 5.4 million homes during the month of September. This was an increase of 0.7 percent from August and a decrease of 1.5 percent from September of last year.

 

Home Inventory:

There was a 4.2-month supply of housing inventory in September, which was flat from August. The total number of available homes for sale has decreased by 6.7 percent compared to September of last year.

 

Watch the video here:

This month in real estate dec 2017 indigo skye group

 

The Indigo Skye Group has the proven strategies and systems to help you prepare your home, price it right, present it to the right buyers, and get it sold for the highest price possible. Our #1 goal is YOUR SUCCESS.

 Schedule a consultation with us today!
The Right Realtor does make a difference. Expect MORE.

Rents Are on the Rise: Don’t Get Caught in the Rental Trap!

There are many benefits to homeownership. One of the top benefits is protecting yourself from rising rents, by locking in your housing cost for the life of your mortgage.

Don’t Become Trapped 

A recent article by Apartment List addressed rising rents by stating:

“Rents are up 2.7% year-over-year at the national level. Year-over-year growth continues to fall between the 2.1% rate from this time last year and the 3.4% growth rate from October 2015.”

The article continues explaining that:

“Despite the seasonal slowdown, rents are still up year-over-year in 89 of the 100 Largest cities.

Additionally, the Urban Institute revealed that,

Over a quarter of renters, or 11.1 million households, are severely cost burdened, spending at least half their income on rental housing.

These households struggle to save for a rainy day and pay other bills, including groceries and healthcare.

It’s Cheaper to Buy Than Rent 

The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia shows that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers show that the range is an average of 6.5% less expensive in San Jose (CA), all the way up to 57% less expensive in Detroit (MI) and 37.4% nationwide!

Know Your Options

Perhaps you have already saved enough to buy your first home. A nationwide survey of about 24,000 renters found that 80% of millennial renters plan to eventually buy a house, but 72% cite affordability as their primary obstacle. Aside from affordability, one in three millennial renters have concerns about their credit scores, and another 53% said that a down payment is an obstacle.

Many first-time homebuyers who believe that they need a large down payment may be holding themselves back from their dream homes. As we have reported before, in many areas of the country, a first-time home buyer can save for a 3% down payment in less than two years. You may have already saved enough!

Bottom Line

Don’t get caught in the trap that so many renters are currently in. If you are ready and willing to buy a home, find out if you are able. Let’s get together to determine if you can qualify for a mortgage now!

Home Prices Up 6.54% Across the Country! [INFOGRAPHIC]

 

Some Highlights:

  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently released their latest Quarterly Home Price Index report.
  • In the report, home prices are compared both regionally and by state.
  • Based on the latest numbers, if you plan on relocating to another state, waiting to move may end up costing you more!

D-FW will be one of the country’s hottest home markets in 2018

North Texas’ hot housing market won’t cool in 2018, according to a new forecast.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is expected to be one of the top home markets in the country next year, according Realtor.com’s just-released projections. Only Las Vegas will have a stronger home market in 2018, the report predicts.

The D-FW area is forecast to see about a 6 percent increase in home sales and a 5.57 percent hike in median home prices in the year ahead. That’s twice the national growth rate for sales and prices, according to Realtor.com

In Realtor.com’s  2017  forecast, the D-FW market was ranked 48th with home sales estimated to see a 5.09 percent increase and median home prices predicted to grow at 4.13 percent.

Rising home inventories in many U.S. markets will enable home sales to grow.

“Inventory increases will be felt in higher priced segments after spring home buying season, which we expect to take hold and begin to provide relief for buyers and drive sales growth in 2019 and beyond,” Javier Vivas, director of economic research for Realtor.com, said in the report.

Next year is likely to see a rise in millennial homebuyers who will account for more than 40 percent of new mortgages.

“Millennials are a driving force in today’s housing market,” Vivas said. “They already dominate lower price home mortgage and are getting close to overtaking older generations for mid- and upper-tier mortgages.”

D-FW will be one of the country’s hottest home markets in 2018

Realtor.com says the biggest uncertainty for next year’s housing picture is the current federal tax code overhaul, which could reduce incentives for homeownership and raise taxes for some homebuyers.

realtor chart on top home markets indigo skye group blog
Article by Steve Brown at the Dallas Morning News.

Why Is There So Much Paperwork Required to Get a Mortgage?

Why is there so much paperwork mandated by the lenders for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today? It seems that they need to know everything about you and requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form.

Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago.

There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.

1. The government has set new guidelines that now demand that the bank proves beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of paying the mortgage.

During the run-up to the housing crisis, many people ‘qualified’ for mortgages that they could never pay back. This led to millions of families losing their home. The government wants to make sure this can’t happen again.

2. The banks don’t want to be in the real estate business.

Over the last seven years, banks were forced to take on the responsibility of liquidating millions of foreclosures and also negotiating another million plus short sales. Just like the government, they don’t want more foreclosures. For that reason, they need to double (maybe even triple) check everything on the application.

However, there is some good news in the situation.

The housing crash that mandated that banks be extremely strict on paperwork requirements also allowed you to get a mortgage interest rate around 4%.

The friends and family who bought homes ten or twenty years ago experienced a simpler mortgage application process, but also paid a higher interest rate (the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 8.12% in the 1990s and 6.29% in the 2000s).

If you went to the bank and offered to pay 7% instead of around 4%, they would probably bend over backward to make the process much easier.

Bottom Line

Instead of concentrating on the additional paperwork required, let’s be thankful that we are able to buy a home at historically low rates.

Home Prices Up 7% from Last Year

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Indexnational home prices have appreciated by 7.0% from October 2016 to October 2017. This marks the second month in a row with a 7.0% year-over-year increase.

A lack of supply of homes for sale has led to upward pressure on home prices across the country, especially in areas where both existing and new home inventory have not kept up with buyer demand.

CoreLogic’s Chief Economist Frank Nothaft elaborated on the significance of such a large year-over-year gain, 

“Single-family residential sales and prices continued to heat up in October. On a year-over-year basis, home prices grew in excess of 6 percent for four consecutive months ending in October, the longest such streak since June 2014.

This escalation in home prices reflects both the acute lack of supply and the strengthening economy.”

This is great news for homeowners who have gained over $13,000 in equity in their home over the last year! Those homeowners who had been on the fence as to whether or not to sell will be pleasantly surprised to find out that they now have an even larger profit to help cover a down payment on their dream home.

CoreLogic’s President & CEO Frank Martell had this to say,

“The acceleration in home prices is good news for both homeowners and the economy because it leads to higher home equity balances that support consumer spending and is a cushion against mortgage risk. However, for entry-level renters and first-time homebuyers, it leads to tougher affordability challenges.”

Any time the price of a home goes up there will likely be concern about the affordability of that home, but there is good news. Mortgage interest rates remain at historic lows, allowing buyers to enter the housing market and lock in a low monthly housing cost.

Rents Are Also Rising

The report went on to mention that over the same 12-month period, median rental prices for a single-family home have also risen by 4.2%.

With rents and home prices rising at the same time, first-time buyers may find the task of saving for a down payment a little daunting. Low down payment programs are available and have been a very popular option for first-time buyers. The median down payment for first-time buyers in 2017 was only 5%! 

Bottom Line

If you are looking to enter the housing market, as either a buyer or a seller, let’s get together to go over exactly what’s going on in our neighborhood and discuss your options!