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SRES March 2015 Newsletter

(Published on - 10/19/2017 7:18:25 AM)
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March 2015
 
REALTORS® aren’t the only ones carving out a unique namespace for themselves on the Internet. New top-level domains (TLDs) such as .bank,  .lawyer, and .nyc are also benefiting from a focused extension that easily stands out when communicating messages, products, or services to the entire online world. Just like SRES designee Lydia Norcia did with http://www.sresnorcia.realtor/, .REALTOR lets you stand out from other real estate professionals.

Selling the Family Home Is Liberating for Many Retirees
Selling the family home may cause heartache for many clients. However – according to the New York Times, many retirees find it liberating. Read more here!

Top 10 Housing Markets for Baby Boomers
Many Baby Boomers will choose to relocate in retirement. Read this article to find out what is fueling their decisions. 

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SRES® March 2015 Newsletter

(Published on - 10/19/2017 7:18:25 AM)

Better end-of-life decisions

Mortality.

It’s a most unpleasant topic.

Everyone hopes for an easy exit.

Few really want to ponder the end.

But author and physician Atul Gawande does just that in his book Being Mortal. He takes on end-of-life challenges and our obsession with chasing cures, and offers insight about making the last days better.

PBS’s “Frontline” also did a documentary based on Gawande’s book. If you’re up for such reading and viewing, see: http://atulgawande.com/book/being-mortal/ and http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/being-mortal/.

 

Guard your keys

You’re probably already careful about handing over just your car key – not the full ring with your house keys—when you’re having your car serviced or when you turn it over to a valet.

Now you have to be even more careful about keeping an eye on your keys.

New technology makes it possible for someone to scan a key with a smartphone app and either go to a self-service key-making kiosk to get an extra key made or upload the image and get a duplicate mailed.

Though the service -- provided by companies like by KeyMe (https://www.key.me/app), MinuteKey (www.minutekey.com) and KeysDuplicated (https://keysduplicated.com) -- is a huge convenience when you get locked out or you want spare keys for a house guest or a dog walker, it’s also a boon to thieves.

So that means the days of leaving keys unattended or lying around on a table in a public place are over. You really need to guard a ring of keys the same way you protect a credit card or a bank password.

Learn more at:

http://www.wired.com/2014/07/keyme-let-me-break-in/

 

Lower Your Utility Spending

When you’re living on a fixed or low income, you look at all of your spending to see where you can save. Every dime counts.

One way to reduce expenses is by slashing spending on utility costs.

Maybe you’ve looked into ways to save energy and found that the upfront costs for some projects are too much to afford.

It might be worth a second look, especially when you consider some of the free services available through utility companies and through other affordable weatherization programs specifically designed for seniors and low income households.

 

Utility company freebies

Each utility company’s services differ, but most have some type of home energy assessment program and many offer free products.

For example, Miami-Dade County in Miami, Florida offers assistance to low-income homeowners to lower their energy bills.

That help could include simple strategies, such as installing energy efficient light bulbs and low-flow showerheads or more significant projects like installing attic insulation or replacing inefficient air conditioners and appliances. Senior citizens and families with young children are given priority. For more, see http://www.miamidade.gov/socialservices/housing-assistance-weatherization.asp.

In Chicago, ComEd, the electricity provider, offers free energy audits to help all its customers reduce energy consumption.

It also provides certain free products, including programmable thermostats, low-flow showerheads, and CFL bulbs. See program terms and conditions: https://www.comed.com/home-savings/Pages/default.aspx

Another example is the Weatherization Assistance Program (http://www.massresources.org/weatherization.html) aimed at helping low-income Massachusetts homeowners and renters lower their energy costs by making energy efficiency changes.

Seniors get priority for services, which could include insulating attics and walls, sealing cracks, wrapping water heater and pipes, or installing storm windows.

 

Small changes, big impact

If you’re skeptical about the value of small changes, consider what you could save by changing habits.

Lighting – Replace your home's five most frequently used light fixtures or the bulbs in them with models that have the ENERGY STAR label. Savings: $40 per year. http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=lighting.pr_lighting_landing. Turn off lights. It costs almost $20 per year to leave one light on for 8 hours per day.

Water – According to the EPA’s WaterSense, just one leaky toilet could waste 200 gallons of water per day. And by replacing just one showerhead with a WaterSense-labeled model, you could save $70 per year on water.

Find water rebate programs in your state at: http://www.epa.gov/watersense/rebate_finder_saving_money_water.html

Also see: Shower Better http://www.epa.gov/watersense/docs/ws_waterenergy508.pdf

For more simple ways to save on energy costs, see http://www.ase.org/informed/tips/home

And if you’ve tucked away some money for a more significant home upgrade project, consider getting an energy audit to see where that money would be best spent. Keep in mind, bigger projects, such as upgraded insulation, new windows, a high-performance furnace, or energy-efficient appliances, yield bigger energy savings.

Start your search for weatherization assistance by contacting your utility provider. Also search for rebates and incentives and contact information for state and local utility providers at http://www.dsireusa.org/.

 

 


The "FIRST-TIME BUYER DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM" is Back!

(Published on - 10/19/2017 7:18:25 AM)
(Photo Credit: Tax Credits/Flickr)

Wouldn't you love to receive $4,000 to put towards a downpayment on your dream home? With Opening Doors' First-Time Buyer Down Payment Assistance Program, that dream can now be a reality!

(The following information is from the Pacific West Association of Realtor's website and can be viewed, here.)

The Pacific West Association of REALTORS® Charity Foundation is pleased to announce the “Opening Doors” First-Time Buyer Down Payment Assistance Program. Qualified buyers are eligible to receive up to $4,000 in down payment assistance towards the purchase of their first home. The program is funded with the generous support of corporate donations, industry partners and REALTORS®, through various fundraising activities. All are committed to making the dream of home ownership a reality for buyers in northern Orange and southern Los Angeles Counties.

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Applicant must be under contract to purchase a property in order to apply for the PWR Grant

Funding is limited and not all qualified applicants will be approved

Incomplete applications will not be considered

Buyer must meet all eligibility requirements in order to be considered

Properties designated as “short-sales” must have written bank approval

Buyer must not exceed maximum income levels. Current limits for Orange County are $109,800 (1-2 persons) and $128,100 (3+ persons), and for Los Angeles County are $99,360 (1-2 persons) and $115,920 (3+ persons)

Maximum purchase price may not exceed $673,615 for both Orange and Los Angeles Counties

Property must be located within PWR’s jurisdiction (Central/North Orange County and South Los Angeles County)

Buyers must be pre-approved by an approved lender in order to apply

The mortgage loan must be based upon a full-documentation loan (no stated income loans) with a minimum 5-year fixed rate

Debt-to-income (DTI) ratios should not exceed 55% (including the mortgage payment) of the borrower’(s) gross income

Buyers must have a minimum credit score of 620

Buyers must contribute 1% of the sales price from their own funds towards the down payment (Excludes Veterans)

Opening Doors funds may only be applied towards the down payment

Applicants must be represented by a PWR REALTOR® member

Upon approval, Buyers must participate in a self-study Home Buyer Education Program, or provide a completion certificate from a another certified home buyer prorgram

PWR will make every effort to notify applicants of acceptance or denial within 3 to 4 business days of receipt of a completed application

You can review the Opening Doors application and learn more about the qualificaiton and requirements of the program, here. The applicaiton may seem a bit overwhelming, but don't let that be the reason you don't apply. If you need assistance filling out the application or have questions about whether or not you qualify for the down payment assistance program, don't hesitate to give me a call today so that I can help you complete and submit the necessary documents to help you get qualified -- that's my job, and I'd be happy to help!

Lindsey Acton, REALTOR®, SRES®

T: 714) 801-0175

LindseyActon@att.NET

Connect with me on Facebook and be in the know on all things real estate.

 

The PWR Charity Foundation is a 501(c)3, non-profit charitable subsidiary corporation of the Pacific West Association of REALTORS®. Since its inception in 2002, the PWR Charity Foundation and industry partners have provided volunteer and financial support to community service organizations, crisis groups and low-income housing programs.