You may have noticed that new homes are going up around town again. Along with the sale pending signs on existing homes builders are building again. A national index measuring builder sentiment rose in June to its highest level since May 2007. But is buying a new home right for you? Homebuyers trying to decide between new and existing homes have more choices than they have had in the past.

The case for new homes:

New homes come with builder warranties.

New homes allow buyers to select colors and floor plans.

New homes can be easier to insure.

Some builders have their own financing divisions, so getting a mortgage from the builder may be easier than from a lender.

New homes may have a resale advantage.

The case for existing homes:

Existing homes may offer more space for the money and a more convenient location.

Existing homes can be 10 percent to 20 percent less than new construction for comparable square footage.

Existing homes are in established neighborhoods.

New homes can take several months or longer to build.


Have you been thinking of buying a fixer upper but you don’t have the money to do the repairs? If you are thinking of buying a property that needs extensive repairs there is a federally backed lending program that enables buyers to roll the cost of necessary fixes into their mortgage.

The Federal Housing Administration’s 203(k) program provides funding for loans that cover purchase and renovation costs for single-family homes and multifamilies with up to four units.

Here are some things you need to know about a 203(k) loan:

The loan total amount is based on the property’s appraised value once the repairs are completed.

The required down-payment for a 203(k) loan is 3.5 percent.

203(k) loans are not available to investors . Borrowers must live in the properties.

203(k) loans are more expensive than conventional financing. The interest rates are slightly higher and private mortgage insurance (PMI) is required for a 203(k) loan.

Borrowers must hire a building consultant to write an initial estimate of the cost of planned repairs. The cost of the consultant could range from $400 to $1,000.

Renovations must be completed within six months after closing.

Loan limits depend on where the property is. For a single-family property, the limit ranges from $271,050 to $729,750.

For more information on a 203 (k) loan you can visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website.


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They say a picture is worth a thousand words and we often focus so much on the photos of our home that we put little emphasis on the words that are used in Words are powerful and because the multiple listing service limits the amount of words that can be used in a listing it is important to make them count.

Here are some words and phrases to bring in the buyers:

Create an emotion: Buyers buy on emotion so be sure to tell them what it is like to live in the home. Paint a picture of sitting by the fire or entertaining in the open floor plan.

Use specifics: Don’t just say new or updated. If the kitchen boasts high-end appliances tell the potential buyer the brand name. Describe the shelves and racks in the walk-in closets or the brand name replacement windows.

Highlight location: Is the home blocks away from stores, transportation or can you see the beach from the bedroom window? If so, tell the buyer exactly how close it is to desirable amenities and community resources.

Update the listing: Change up the wording if the house has been on the market for a while. Try highlighting some different features. Don’t forget to remove the comments about the Open House or how the listing “won’t last”.

The words that describe your home can be just as important as the pictures so make sure that you use every character allowed to highlight the features and bring in the buyers.


Having a baby often makes new parents more aware of the chemicals we are exposed to every day. A natural place to start making your home as eco-friendly as possible is the baby’s bedroom; here are a few ways to start creating an organic nursery:

Use low- or no-VOC paints

One of the first things new parents do is paint the nursery but many paints contain VOCs or volatile organic compounds. VOCs are toxic fumes that off-gas from common household items such as paint or a new vinyl shower curtain. When painting the nursery use low- or no-VOC paints.

Don’t use carpet

Keep the baby’s room carpet free. Carpets can trap mold, dust mites, and more. Because carpets need replacing they also add to landfills so they are not a good green option. If carpet is a must choose one made of natural fibers such as wool, cotton, hemp or jute. New synthetic carpets also give off-gas VOCs.

Use a green mattress

Where baby sleeps can be another place to go green. Many mattresses are treated with chemical fire retardants or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). That may seems like a good thing but PBDEs have been known to accumulate in our bodies and affect the endocrine and nervous systems. Look for organic cotton or natural wool mattresses.

Avoid stain resistant treated products

Other items that may end up in a child’s nursery that have VOCs are furniture and pressed wood products with resins and glues. Look for furniture made from certified sustainable wood or reclaimed materials. You should also try to avoid plastic as it is made from petroleum. Plastic items also usually end up in a landfill.

Go green with diapers

Reduce the dioxin pollution by using cloth or chlorine free diapers. Dioxin is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals this is not something most parents want next to baby’s sensitive skin.

Choose nontoxic toys

Babies put everything in their mouths, so look for toxin free toys. Look for soft organic cotton toys or toys made from wood that comes from FSC-certified forests. Toys made from PVC, contain phthalates, an ingredient in plastic that can affect reproductive and developmental health.

Making these small changes for your baby are easy and healthy. It may take a a little more time and effort but you will have peace of mind you are starting your baby’s life off the right way.

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