Is your new home in a resilient city?

By Marcie Geffner

LOS ANGELES — Shopping for a new home involves more than looking at houses. It’s also about choosing a community where you want to live. Among the key factors to consider is whether your community will be resilient.

So, what is a resilient city and a resilient community? Resiliency refers to a community’s ability to recovery and rebuild when a natural disaster, public tragedy or other emergency strikes. If your home is badly damaged or destroyed, will your community be able to help you pick up the pieces?

There’s no single rating system or comprehensive score that measures community resiliency, so you’ll have to do some research to figure out how resilient various communities seem to you and whether they prioritize resiliencies that may be important to you and your family in an emergency.

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Innovations in new construction homes

By Marcie Geffner - New Home Source

LOS ANGELES — In these days of technological wonders, housing might not seem like a hot bed of innovation.

But, homebuilders are well ahead of many other industries when it comes to offering their customers new and different products designed to meet specific needs and wants.

For builders, innovation might mean a twist on modern architecture, creative floor plan or new way to make homes affordable for budget-conscious buyers.

These ideas and others were the topic of a panel discussion at the Urban Land Institute fall meeting here in late October. The participants — all homebuilders — talked about housing innovations and what innovative ideas bring to the table for builders and homebuyers.

Three projects — one each in North Carolina, Maryland and Los Angeles — stood out as giving buyers new choices in today’s markets.

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Downsizing into a new construction home

By Marcie Geffner - New Home Source

When Teris Pantazes and his wife Kate had their first child, they did exactly the opposite of what many couples in their situation want do: rather than move into a larger home, they bought a smaller one.

The move made sense because the new, smaller home was newly built, which meant it came with numerous benefits that made it the right choice.

The couple, who now have three daughters, moved from a 4,000-square-foot house built in the 1920s to a brand-new house with just 2,500 square feet, a sacrifice of 1,500 square feet. Both houses were in Baltimore, the older in the city proper, the newer near the outskirts of town.

“The new home felt just as big because the useable space was what we needed,” Pantazes says.

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'Don’t call us Millennials': sharers and connectors of the Millennial generation

By Marcie Geffner - New Home Source

Millennials are often lumped into one massive generational group. But they’re not all alike.

In fact, those born in the 1980s differ significantly from those born in the 1990s. Rather than “Millennials,” the older group might be better characterized as Sharers, the younger as Connectors.

John Burns, CEO of an eponymous real estate consulting company in Irvine, Calif., explained during a panel at the recent Urban Land Institute Fall Meeting in Los Angeles how Sharers’ and Connectors’ different economic experiences and demographics impact their desire to become homeowners.

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Buying your dream home later in life

By Marcie Geffner - NewHomeSource

Most homebuyers have a “dream house” that includes everything they want, whether it’s a new kitchen, open floor plan, lots of bedrooms and bathrooms or all that and more.

So, how can you buy your dream house, whether you are in your 40s, 50s or 60s?

The answer might be as simple as deciding to go for it, says Tom Page, vice president of iStar, a community developer in Richmond, Va., and general manager of Magnolia Green, a residential community in Moseley, Va.

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Builders give buyers their 'forever home'

By Marcie Geffner - NewHomeSource

Old-fashioned starter homes were designed decades ago to offer homebuyers just the basics: two or three small bedrooms, one or two bathrooms, a functional kitchen, minimal living space and a large backyard that needed a lot of maintenance.

Today’s buyers want more than a shoebox that will meet their needs for a few years before they have to trade up. They want a home that’s nicer, bigger and has enough features not just for today, but for many years down the road.

This new desire for a home that’s “forever” isn’t just anecdotal. The federal government recently reported that the proportion of people moving to a new residence over a one-year period fell to an all-time low of 11.2 percent in 2016. The percentage has trended steadily downward since 1985, when it was 20.2, almost double today’s rate.

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Chase Slate review: paying down credit-card debt

By Marcie Geffner - Credit Karma

Chase Slate is a type of credit card known as a balance transfer card. This type of card offers you a low or 0 percent introductory rate for a set period of time so you can transfer and more easily pay off a balance you owe on another card. After that, your interest rate will rise substantially.

With Chase Slate, there’s a 0 percent intro APR offer for the first 15 months for both purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, this rises to a variable APR of 15.99 to 24.74 percent.

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Buyer's home inspection checklist

By Marcie Geffner - Opendoor

When it comes to buying a home, what you see isn’t exactly what you get.

You’ll see colorful flowers, freshly painted walls, granite counter tops, gleaming hardwood floors and other superficial touches. What you can’t see is the foundation cracks, ancient plumbing, dangerous wiring, broken appliances or other defects that might be revealed when you hire a home inspector.

What is a home inspection?
A home inspection is an opportunity for you to hire an expert to walk through the home and prepare a report that outlines the home’s major components, their current condition, what needs immediate attention and what will require maintenance after you move in.

Why some new-home lots are worth more

By Marcie Geffner - New Home Source

When you purchase a new home, you also purchase the lot that it is built on. Some lots may cost more than others, due to many factors.

How much more (or less) you’ll pay for a lot you like depends on the lot’s characteristics and how the builder adds the perceived value of those characteristics to the home’s price, says Priscilla Schumacher, director of sales and marketing at Edward R. James Homes, a homebuilder in Glenview, Ill.

“Let’s say one home is set further up than another,” Schumacher says. “Is the view going to be stopped or will you see a wider range? Are you looking at a pond? A park? A golf course? You plus this and minus that and that’s what we add to the base price of that home.”

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Smart technology brings malls into digital age

By Marcie Geffner - JLL Real Views

For today’s shoppers, going to the mall is more of a digital experience than many might realize.

As their mobile devices connect to the mall’s wi-fi network it opens up a new channel of direct communication giving them relevant information from where to park to special offers from their favorite retailers to make their shopping experience more personalized, convenient and enjoyable.

In return, malls get a huge hit of data on their customers and their shopping habits which can help them promote products and services more effectively as well as ensure they have the right mix of retailers for the local market.

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