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Updated: Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Use a Reverse Mortgage to Buy a New Home

The reverse mortgage industry was developed to provide seniors aged 62 and above a means to stay in their homes and utilize the mortgage proceeds to supplement their incomes. But not all seniors want to remain in their current homes.

Some seniors want to downsize, or trade their two-stories for one level, or live in a home with barrier-free Universal Design that makes it easier to reach cabinets, turn doorknobs, use a wheelchair, and more. Others may want to >

Now, thanks to HUDs FHA Reverse Mortgage to Purchase, seniors can buy a new home, using the same advantages of a traditional reverse mortgage. Reverse mortgages are increasing in popularity with seniors who have equity in their homes and want to supplement their income. The only reverse mortgage insured by the U.S. Federal Government is called a Home Equity Conversion

Mortgage or HECM, and is only available through an FHA approved lender.

Like the FHA conventional reverse mortgages, the Reverse Mortgage to Purchase allows seniors to buy a new home with no credit or income requirements, and no monthly payments for as long as they occupy the home as their primary residence, maintain the home, pay property taxes, and so on.

How it works is that the borrowers would normally sell their current home in order to have a down payment, or if they have enough cash to put toward the new home purchase, they may keep their current home as a rental investment.

The down payment can only come from the sale of the current home, the sale of other assets, or savings. The borrowers may not use cash from credit cards, bridge loans, seller financing or seller contributions to closing costs.

The downpayment plus the proceeds from the reverse mortgage pay for the new home. The sale of the current home and the purchase of the new home can be completed in a single transaction.

Eligible homes for purchase include single-family homes, HUD-approved condominiums, planned unit developments, two-to-four-unit properties, and manufactured homes built after June 15, 1976. Reverse mortgages to purchase may not be used on coops, second homes, boarding houses, bed and breakfasts, or homes on leased land.

Borrowers must occupy the home as their primary residence within 60 days of the closing date. If the borrowers are purchasing new or ongoing construction, the construction must be complete and a certificate of occupancy must be issued prior to the loan application.

With an aging population thats living longer and likely to outlive savings or outspend Social Security and other retirement funds, reverse mortgages to purchase can be a legitimate option for seniors. To learn more, consult with a lender that is HUD-approved to learn more about HECM for Purchase loans.


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How To Prevent Interior Paint From Peeling In Your Home

You may notice it in the bathroom, above the shower, or on your windows alongside the panes of glass. Anywhere moisture can get trapped under paint, peeling paint will result.

Windows and mirrors sweat. Bathrooms and kitchens retain more humidity than other areas of the house. When wood absorbs moisture, it expands and crumbles, allowing the primer and paint on top to lose their grip. Aging paint or improperly prepared paint can easily lose integrity. Even some preventative measures can fail, such as caulking, which can lose its elasticity and allow seepage.

While not all peeling can be avoided, it can be delayed and prevented with proper preparation and maintenance. Make sure the area you want to paint is clean, particularly in kitchens where greasy cooking film can build up on walls. Also, prepare properly with scraping, sanding, and priming with a good interior primer.

Start with a high quality paint that is designed to last. If you are painting on bare wood, be sure to use a primer. Paint two coats for depth, rich color values, and coverage.

If you find peeling paint, look for the reason. Uncaulked windows, poor ventilation, roof leaks, and foundation issues all contribute moisture which loosens paint. Make sure youre using the correct type of paint to cover old paint. For example, many oil-based paints have been replaced by latex paints that may require a coat of primer.

Make repairs to your home to prevent peeling paint. All bathrooms should have an exhaust fan in the ceiling to help dispel moisture accumulation. Make sure that all windows are caulked between the frame and the glass. Caulk quarter round between the floor and bottom edge and again between the upper edge and the wall so that moisture from cleaning products doesnt gravitate behind walls.

Inspect tubs and showers frequently to see if the caulk is holding up between the walls and fixtures. Peel off weak caulk, and recaulk. If you dont have a ceiling vent, install one. It can lift moisture up and away from vulnerable areas such as window sills, sinks, and showers.

If youre planning to paint a room or two yourself, ask your professional paint salesperson for advice on the best products to use for every room in your home.


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6 Brilliant Small Front Yard Ideas

There are many ways to improve your small front yard without uprooting your driveway or dialing back your front porch. In fact, with the right touches, small front yards can be just as appealing as large ones. Here are some ideas to make your small yard appealing year round:

1 Take a symmetrical approach.

One way to make your small front yard more appealing is to use symmetry. Balancing the elements of your yard on either side of your sidewalk -- grass, fencing, flowers, shrubs -- will make it look grand and inviting; it will also cost less than it would in a larger yard, because you have less acreage to cover. You can also find a local landscaper to map out and implement a symmetrical yard plan for you.

2 Make a seamless transition from yard to house.

Use materials like box planters, stone steps or retaining walls to blend your home and yard together. Potted plants on your front porch or patio will also extend the yard without cluttering it. Make sure you choose plants that complement one another, so you dont have a lot of overgrowth.

Photo courtesy of Zachary Berger Associates, Ltd. in Portsmouth, NH

3 Use a hint of color.

If you want to wow people in your small front yard, pick a brightly colored flower, shrub or tree that stands out either on the porch or in the yard itself. Then use neutral colors around to make it stand out. This will be the eye-catching piece in your small yard that people will never miss.

Photo courtesy of Lakeside Exteriors, Inc.

4 Hang basket flowers.

Hang flower baskets around your front porch or patio. They add fresh color and a natural element to your home without cluttering the porch area itself. You can change them every season or every year, depending on the flowers or shrubs you choose.

5 Light it up.

Your front yard might be less appealing if people see it at night. Thats why you should add plenty of lighting. One option is to install standing, solar-powered lamps along the walkway; another is to hang lamps on your front porch to illuminate the plants there. It just depends on how much money and time you want to invest.

Photo courtesy of DesignMine

6 Refresh your front door.

While not a traditional part of the "yard", your front porch is still important to the beauty of the area as a whole. This means your front door needs to be appealing as well. Fix any cracks, scratches or other damage to the door. Also, think about revitalizing it with a new coat of paint. Choose a color that complements the exterior landscape.

Conclusion

These are only a few tips to help you improve your small front yard. You want to make it seem bigger, if not at least more comfortable. Adding a fence might be another option to consider, though youll want to lean towards an open design pattern like picket or chain link. Just keep your budget in mind and try not to clutter your yard while trying to redesign it. For more tips on making the most of a patio in a small yard, check out this post from HuffPost Homes.

Andrea Davis is the editor for HomeAdvisor, which helps homeowners find home improvement professionals in their area at no charge to ensure the best service in the shortest amount of time.

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Admit It. Its Time To Update Your Bedroom

A boring bedroom could lead to other boring pursuits in the room. Or even poor sleeping patterns. Time for a re-do? Excellent. Lets consider some options.

Get a new headboard

You dont need a whole new bed to create a luxurious bedroom space. You dont need to spend a whole bunch of money either. Buy or make an upholstered headboard to elevate the elegance factor.

The soft touch of the padding brings in a sense of comfort and also wont give you a concussion when you hit your head on it.

Any color or pattern will do, but remember that the bolder and busier you go, the more you may have to shield your eyes when its time to >

Just remember that while its easy to swap out sheets, accessories, and other items in the room, getting another new headboard in a year when you tire of the geometric pattern you chose may not be practical.


Best Home Design Ideas

Freshen up your bedding

Still rocking that floral comforter? The good news is, floral patterns are trending again. But this time, theyre large scale so your busy blanket might be better suited as a picnic blanket. Or a garbage can liner.

Replace it with something neutral for your comforter or duvet cover. That way you can use pillows and other accessories to express your stylish flair, which will extend the life of your bedding since its not tied to a trend.

Get a bench

Bookend your bed with a bench that can serve as a place to put on your shoes in the morning or drape a fancy throw. Its an easy way to up the >

Benches come in a variety of >
Creatf.com

Artwork

If your bedroom walls are a showcase for your kids >

  • Family photos in the bedroom are bad Feng Shui.
  • They may be killing your sex life.

"Keep only photos of you and your partner in the bedroom," said Feng Shui expert Salvator Manzi on MSN. "Try pictures of you two on a favorite vacation. Or to spur feelings of warmth, comfort and sensuality, try using nature scenes, flowers or artwork with smooth curves and warm colors." Also remember that the first thing you see upon entering a room sets the mood, so place these images somewhere attention-grabbing."

Need some more ideas? Check out Houzz.

Dress up your dresser

Your folded storage seen better days? If its not worthy of saving, you can get a unique look by bringing a console, chest, or sideboard instead of a traditional dresser. If your existing dresser has good bones, a can of paint and some sandpaper may be all you need to transform it into something dazzling.


Pinterest

Get a leg up on flooring

Flooring in the bedroom is a personal choice; some love soft carpet underfoot. For others, a continuation of the hardwoods that are used in the rest of the home are desirable. If you want to incorporate one of the hottest trends in flooring today, forgo both and use vinyl.

"Luxury vinyl isnt a contradiction in termsits the phrase du jour among those who pay close attention to the materials homebuyers are eager to walk on," said New Home Source.


Rudis Carpet amp; Furniture

"Its the fastest-growing portion of the industry in the past two years," according to Scott Humphrey, chief executive of the World Floor Covering Association, a trade group based in Anaheim, Calif., who said this flooring category has developed thanks to extraordinary photo technology that mimics wood or just about any other material so closely that you have to look twice to see that its vinyl," they added.


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8 Smart Ways To Make A Small Kitchen Look Larger

A large, open kitchen may be the dream of most homebuyers today, but with restrictive budgets, smaller square footage, or homes that were built before this trend took over, not all are making the grade. If you find yourself with a smallish kitchen, there are ways to make it feel more spacious.

Knock down a wall

Removing a wall that blocks light or that separates the kitchen from the living or dining room is an easy choice for experienced renovators.

Its not a DIY job unless you or your friends/family are experienced in demolition, electrical, plumbing, drywall, flooring and ceiling repairs, and any other stuff that comes up.

Expect to pay in the 2,500 to 3,000 range, according to Houzz. And thats if the wall isnt load bearing; if it is; you could be looking at up to 10 times that amount, and youll probably have to bring in a structural engineer and a team of pros to do the work.

Create a pass-through

If you cant take down a wall, you may be able to create a pass-through that brings light into your kitchen. If you can extend a counter through the new open space, you can also create a breakfast bar on the other side to add function.


KBR Remodel

Remove other barriers

A raised breakfast bar may provide great functionality for casual meals, but it also may be contributing to making your kitchen feel tight. Knocking down the raised level so that your breakfast bar is all counter height is a modern way to update your kitchen and one that will open it up and make it feel larger.

Use the same theory for furniture and other items in the space. "Certain elementslike backless barstools, wire kitchen islands, or glass pendant lights, for exampleleave sight lines open and dont trip up your eye as you move around the room," said Apartment Therapy.

Clear the countertops

Messy or cluttered spaces look busy. For a more streamlined look, clear em off. Its easy and wont cost you a thing.


Luxury Home Designs

Lighten up

Light equals bright when it comes to a small space, which is great since white continues to be the most popular choice for kitchen cabinets today.

To maximize the effect, keep the wall color the same as the cabinets and extend to as many other surfaces as possible.

"White is your best friend in a small kitchen," said Better Homes and Gardens. "It reflects light, which enhances the sense of space and makes the wall seem to recede. When you carry the white from the cabinetry to the countertops, walls, and ceiling, you create a seamless space without edges or boundaries to stop the eye. Use several shades of white and combine contrasting textures to keep an all-white room from feeling sterile."

No matter what the predominant color is the space, keep the contrast low "so the eye doesnt trip over sudden shifts from dark to light. The effect is serene and expansive."

Dont avoid geometric patterns

You dont have to forgo geometric patterns in a small kitchen. In fact, if chosen right, those patterns can help you expand the feel of your kitchen.

"Choose geometric and striped walls and floors that draw the eye lengthwise or vertically and make the room appear longer or taller than it actually is," said Apartment Therapy. "If you cant change the floor itself, add a patterned runner that will add the same effect."

Pare down the cabinets

"Too many cabinets, especially if theyre dark, will create the illusion that the room is much smaller than it is," said DIY Network. But if youre stretched for storage space as it is, getting rid of cabinets may not be practical. Swapping out your solid cabinet doors and replacing with glass can be just as effective.


dcor pad

"Glass fronts lighten the look of cabinetry and allow the eye to travel through to the back, which helps the kitchen seem more expansive," said Houzz. Want to do it yourself? Check out this tutorial.

Think about scale

Giant stuff in your tiny space will only make it look more cramped. "Select petite islands, slim chairs, streamlined stools and narrow tables that dont eat up valuable floor space," said Houzz. "Avoid chunky furniture legs or thick bases, which add visual bulk."


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Invasive Plants A Public Health Hazard Across Canada

Giant hogweed sounds like something from a Harry Potter novel, but you wont get magical powers from this invasive plant. Instead, you could get a nasty skin rash and be told -- like a Renfrew, Ont. women was this summer -- to avoid direct sunlight for as long as three years.

The CBC reported that Sherry Steeves was gardening when she was exposed to the sap from wild parsnip, a close >

"Both giant hogweed and wild parsnip are noxious weeds that look alike and can cause a public health hazard," says Martin Neumann, manager of Parks Operations for the City of Guelph, Ont. The city removed 25 plants from a park this summer and asked residents to be on the lookout for them on their property.

The plants have been getting a lot of publicity recently in Ontario, with new reports each summer during the last five years or so. >

The Workers Compensation Board of B.C. says giant hogweed was originally imported from Asia as a garden curiosity. It says the "plant hairs" can even penetrate thin clothing, and that that a worker in North Vancouver was burned by the plants through his clothing.

Giant hogweed grows as tall as 10 to 15 feet, with hollow stems that are two to four inches in diameter. When in bloom, it has white flowers clustered in an umb>

To view photos of giant hogweed, visit weedinfo.com and tdcs FarmGate sites.

The City of Guelphs website says you can tell if a plant is giant hogweed by its tall growth and thick stem with reddish spots. "It looks like giant Queen Annes lace or wild carrot but is considerably larger," says the Guelph website. "It is important to note that other plants in our green spaces look like giant hogweed as well. Angelica and cow parsnip have a very similar leaf pattern and flowermany farmers may be familiar with cow parsnip, which have been found in farm fields for decades."

Giant hogweed and wild parsnip are generally found along roadsides and railway tracks, in public parks and near sports fields and fence lines.

The plants have chemicals called furocoumarins that cause the interaction between plants phyto and light photo that induce skin inflammation, says Ontarios Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

While wild parsnip, also known as cow parsnip, can cause the nasty rash when exposed to the sun, giant hogweed can blister the skin so it looks similar to a third-degree burn, says the National Invasive Species Working Group.

You get it by brushing up against broken plants, handling the plant material or even by touching tools that were used to cut the plants. The toxic sap is the in leaves, stems, flowers and roots of the plants.

If youre exposed to them, you should wash your skin immediately with soap and water. If the sap gets into the eyes, flush with lots of water and put on some sunglasses. Keep out of direct sunlight and get checked out by a doctor.

To prevent burns from these plants, experts advise becoming familiar with the plants so youll know them by sight, and teach children to recognize them as well. Your kids should be taught the dangers of poisonous plants and discouraged from picking wild flowers.

Back in 1971, Genesis wrote a song called The Return of the Giant Hogweed, calling the plants invincible. That isnt true, but if you find the plants on your property, most municipalities and agencies recommend calling in experts to remove them.

If you plan to remove them yourself, The National Invasive Species Working Group says giant hogweed only reproduces by seed, so if you prevent seed development you can keep the plants isolated in their original position. It says removing the plants in summer is not recommended because they are too large and theres too much dangerous sap. Instead, cut off developing flowers to prevent the plant from producing more seeds.

Wear goggles, rubber gloves, rubber boots and thick coveralls. Its best to do the job on a cloudy day. Wash your boots and gloves with soap, water and a scrub brush before taking off your protective clothing. You should shower and wash the clothes as soon as possible.

The best time to remove the plants is in spring, when the plants are small. Use a sharp spade or narrow shovel to loosen and uproot the plant and slice the roots a few inches below ground level. If there are seeds, take care not to spread them around. The plant material should be burned -- never compost it.

Make sure to monitor the area for several seasons to make sure the plant has been eradicated.


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Increased Recording Fees Will Fund California Affordable Housing

It appears likely that the California legislature is about to enact a major bill that will provide a permanent source of funding to create housing for low-income individuals and households. The legislation, Assembly Bill 1335, introduced by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins D -- San Diego, is expected to raise 300 - 500 million annually. Where will all this money come from? Current and future California homeowners.

AB 1335 would impose new fees on the recording of various sorts of real estate documents. It would not raise fees on the recordings of documents pursuant to a sale transaction. So, for example, in most sales a new trust deed is created in connection with the purchase financing. The recording of that trust deed would not be subject to the fee. However, when a new trust deed is created in the course of refinancing or adding an equity line of credit, the recording of that trust deed would be subject to the fee.

The fee to be imposed is 75 per document. The documents affected include, but are not limited to, the following: grant deed, quitclaim deed, deed of trust, declaration of homestead, notice of default, mechanics lien, CCamp;Rs, easement, abstract of judgment, and reconveyance.

In any single transaction there is a limit of 225 that can be imposed by these fees. There is no limit to the amount of fees that can be charged over any period of time to the same entity. If, for example, you refinanced twice, you might pay 450 in fees.

The total fees collected, minus any administrative cost to the county recorder, is to be forwarded each quarter to the Department of Housing and Community Development HCD where it is to be deposited into the "Building Homes and Jobs Trust Fund". The Trust Fund will be administered by a Governing Board.

The legislation requires the following: "A Twenty percent of moneys in the fund shall be expended for affordable owner-occupied workforce housing. B Ten percent of the money in the fund shall be expended to address affordable homeownership and rental housing opportunities for agricultural workers and their families."

Among the purposes for which the remainder of the money could be used for are matching portions of funds placed into local or regional housing trust funds, emergency shelters and transitional housing, accessibility modifications, efforts to acquire and rehabilitate foreclosed, vacant, or blighted homes, and homeownership opportunities, including but not limited to down payment assistance.

AB 1335 has garnered an unusual amount of support, much of it from specific cities and from a variety of building industry associations. 176 individuals and organizations registered support for the bill. Sixteen registered opposition, twelve of whom were county clerks, assessors, and/or recorders.

The opposition centered on two concerns: 1 the fees might discourage some people from recording documents that they really should for their protection record; and 2 nothing in the bill required that any of the money collected would come back to the communities where it was generated.

It came as a surprise to many that the California Association of REALTORSCAR weighed in supporting the bill, as it had opposed a similar bill SB 391 last year. But this bill differed in important respects e.g. the 225 cap, and the 20 set aside for homeownership purposes. It probably didnt hurt, either, that the composition of the Trust Fund Governing Board is practically guaranteed to include two representatives from CAR.

Bob Hunt is a director of the California Association of Realtors. He is the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way.


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Today's Real Estate News and Advice
Updated: Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Admit It. Its Time To Update Your Bedroom

A boring bedroom could lead to other boring pursuits in the room. Or even poor sleeping patt...
> Full Story

8 Smart Ways To Make A Small Kitchen Look Larger

A large, open kitchen may be the dream of most homebuyers today, but with restrictive budget...
> Full Story

Invasive Plants A Public Health Hazard Across Canada

Giant hogweed sounds like something from a Harry Potter novel, but you wont get magical powe...
> Full Story

More Real Estate News
Copyright © 2015 Realty Times®. All Rights Reserved

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