Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Preparing for Spring Storms

As we saw this week in some areas of the country hit hard by Spring Storms, it's the time of year when volatile weather can lead to tornadoes or severe storms.

While we may feel helpless in the face of nature's power, there are things that you can do to make sure your home and family are prepared to the best of your ability.

  • Keep trees and bushes trimmed - this will help prevent branches from breaking off during high winds
  • Check gutters and keep them clean. Make sure they are pointed away from the house.
  • If a bad storm is approaching, move patio furniture in or secure in place.
  • Avoid using the telephone or taking a shower during thunderstorms as lightning can be of concern.
  • Have a battery operated weather radio on hand for frequent updates.
  • Know how to turn off your home's water, gas and electricity in case of emergency.
  • Have a first aid kit, flashlight and list of emergency numbers available.
  • Make a plan with your family to all go to the safest place in your home during severe weather - preferably an interior room away from windows, skylights and doors.
Taking these precautions now may help when spring and summer storms pop up this year. Plan ahead for the safety of your home and family.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Rent Affordability

In the past, renting an apartment or home was seen as an affordable option for people hesitant to enter the housing market.  According to a recent report from Zillow, this is far from true across most of the country.

Renters across the U.S. are now spending more of their income on rent costs than at any time in the past 30 years.  In addition to rising rent prices and decreased vacancies, flat incomes have compounded the problem.

Based on Zillow's Rent Index which tracks the monthly median rent in certain areas of the country, renters are spending almost 19% more of their incomes on rent than renters from 1985-2000.

To more dramatically illustrate the chasm between wage growth and rent growth, Zillow reports that from 2000-2014 median household income increased by 25.4% while rent increased over 52.8%.

Read the full article HERE.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Time to Buy!

As the economy improves we see changes in the housing market. The housing market forecast is closely linked to employment growth which has remained steady over the last year. As employment growth continues to increase, the demand for housing increases and house prices as well as appreciation rise.

The current housing environment is moving away from a buyers market. A buyers market occurs when housing supply is greater than demand and prices remain low.    House prices have begun appreciating at a faster rate and the median house price is increasing as the demand for new homes increases. This means that consumers have more buying power now then they will a year from now. Don't delay your home purchase!

Mortgage rates are also increasing steadily. While they remain at historic lows, they will continue to rise as economic conditions improve.

The overall message is that NOW is the time to buy. Don't wait and let your buying power erode.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Planting Your Own Veggies

As a new homeowner - your home and yard are like a blank canvas. Just waiting for you to fill in.

One of the most rewarding uses of your outdoor space is the planting of a vegetable garden.  No matter the size of your space, growing delicious and healthy vegetables and fruits is possible!

Here are some tips for getting started!

Pick Your Space - Wherever you decide to plant, make sure the area gets plenty of sunlight and is in a space you will remember to check frequently. If possible, choose a location near a water source to make watering easier.

Prep The Soil - Most home improvement stores and nurseries offer a variety of soil mixes. Choose an organic mix if possible. Soil should be a good mix of earth, clay and sand. Turn the soil over by hand or with a tool to break up any root systems or chunks - remove rocks and debris as you find them.

Start Small - Gardens require consistent care and maintenance. You will need to water and weed frequently. If this is your first garden, start small and grow over time.

Research What to Plant - Think about what foods you will want to eat and research their growing season in the Southeast.  Talk with experts at local nurseries for their recommendations. Consider planting some flowers such as marigolds within the garden to help naturally ward off pests. Certain vegetables do well planted near each other such as Cucumbers, Peas and Lettuce where as Tomatoes and Broccoli do not do well together.

For a full list of companion vegetables click HERE.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

It's A Great Time To Buy!

Check out this infographic about future household projections in the U.S. Thanks to for the visual!