1. Alexandria, Virginia
Modern home in a historic city
It’s no wonder Alexandria is one of Washington D.C.’s most sought-after suburbs. With a history that predates the American Revolution, Old Town Alexandria blends historic charm with present-day luxury. More than 200 restaurants and retailers make their home along the charming cobblestone streets—with many favorites located on Old Town’s main drag, King Street.
Just two blocks off of King Street, this three-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse is as ready-to-go as it gets. Aside from stylish furnishings, the home comes with bed linens, toiletries, and a fully-stocked kitchen (hello, Nespresso machine). Just a 15-minute drive outside of D.C. and a short walk from the King and Braddock metros, this home is a no-brainer for commuters who actually want to love where they live.
2. Dallas, Texas
Sleek rental home with a party-ready patio
Dallas is an undeniably busy city, but the neighborhood of Preston Hollow offers community and convenience within the larger metropolitan area. Dallasites living in this neck of the woods can skip the traffic and enjoy easy access to a wide selection of shops, restaurants, and parks without ever hitting the highway. When you do need to venture out, downtown Dallas and other popular neighborhoods are less than 20 minutes away.
Located near the popular Preston Hollow Village and Preston Center, this two-bedroom, one-bathroom home offers style, space, and a killer backyard. Besides coming fully furnished, the rate on this 1,000-square-foot rental includes utilities—leaving you with less stress and more time to hammock on the deck.
3. Kansas City, Missouri
Eclectic loft in the heart of downtown
Celebrated for its relatively low cost of living and a reputation as one of Missouri’s coolest cities, Kansas City offers plenty of arts, culture, and entertainment. Nowhere is this truer than in the Crossroads area, where art galleries, studios, and local businesses dominate the sidewalks. The neighborhood is known for its First Fridays, a year-long initiative that brings local retailers, artists, and artisans to the area on the first Friday of every month.
This sleek, 900-square-foot loft is in the heart of Kansas City’s cultural scene. The exposed brick, natural night, and spiral staircases may tempt you to never leave home, but you won’t have to walk far to hit some of the city’s best restaurants—such as the “special occasion” spot, Michael Smith, and Manifesto, a romantic cocktail lounge.
4. San Jose, California
Luxurious rental in Silicon Valley
San Jose has established itself as one of the largest technological hubs in the U.S.—and with a reputation for great weather, solid school districts, and plenty of employment opportunities, it’s unsurprising that the city appeals to so many. However, more than 95 percent of residents commute by car, which makes traffic hairy. Settle in North San Jose, and you’ll stay within a 30-minute commute from major tech campuses such as Google, Facebook, and Apple.
The Enclave CA is a top-of-the-line apartment community in a location that’s ideal for commuters—but your furnished one-bedroom, one-bathroom rental is close to plenty of fun. For local fare, make the five-minute drive to Mikayla’s cafe, a popular brunch joint, or head to La Catalana for live music, tapas, and an extensive wine list.
5. New York, New York
Upscale living on the Upper West Side
Actress Tina Fey’s neighborhood of choice, the Upper West Side offers more space, green areas, and relaxed nightlife than some of its rowdier neighbors in the Big Apple. Home to Columbia University and Bernard College (as well as Lincoln Center, the performance arts complex), the neighborhood has a decidedly collegiate feel but is a welcome reprieve for New Yorkers of all ages who need a bit more space and nature in their lives.
If giant windows, sweeping views, and modern amenities are your jam, look no further than Columbus Square rentals. A furnished, one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment will cost you $3,715 per month—which is well under the Upper West Side’s median rent.
6. Atlanta, Georgia
Spacious, sunny home in desirable Atlanta suburb
Atlanta is occasionally dubbed the unofficial capital of the new South. Whether the title comes from the city’s laid-back reputation or its growing popularity as a tourist destination, there’s no denying that Atlanta’s growing economy and vibrant culture make it a desirable hometown. Especially desirable is Inman Park, the city’s first planned suburb. This cozy neighborhood is known for a popular food scene and is just a 10-minute drive from downtown Atlanta.
This two-bedroom, two-bathroom home is an idyllic Southern rental. Beautifully furnished in a neutral color scheme, the cheerful yellow house features a picturesque front porch and a swoon-worthy back patio that’s perfect for entertaining. Best of all, it’s a short walk from Inman Park’s famous food halls: Krog Street and Ponce City Markets.
7. Seattle, Washington
Modern townhome with private sun deck
There’s a reason this Seattle neighborhood has the self-indulgent nickname “the center of the universe.” Fremont’s location—north of downtown and central to other Seattle neighborhoods—makes this artsy neighborhood the heart of much of the city’s activity. In addition to offering endless food and entertainment options, Fremont is also home to Seattle’s largest tech headquarters—including Google, Getty Images, and Adobe Systems.
Tech professionals looking for style and (a short commute) will be fighting over this huge, two-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse in Fremont. We aren’t kidding about that commute: If you work for Facebook, Google, or Adobe, prepare to walk to work. You’ll be able to map out the trip from your private roof deck.
8. Nashville, Tennesse
Gorgeous new home with tons of natural light
With its population on a steep incline, Nashville’s booming growth has turned space and prime location into rare commodities. But just a 10-minute drive from popular areas such as 12 South and downtown Nashville, the Shelby Hills neighborhood offers quiet, tree-lined streets with easy access to the best of Music City.
This three-bedroom, three-bathroom home turns childhood dreams of living in a treehouse into a grown-up reality. Built in 2017, the three-story house is surrounded by trees and shrubbery and offers several nooks and crannies within its 2,812-square-foot layout—making it the perfect place for roommates or a growing family.
9. Raleigh, North Carolina
Pet-friendly apartment in a walkable neighborhood
Known for its natural beauty and home to North Carolina State University, Raleigh is the perfect place for outdoorsy types who appreciate big-city amenities. The North Hills offers a unique blend of shops, restaurants, offices, and residential living.
At the Anderson Hills Apartments, you can currently rent a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment for $1,250 per month. In addition to the money you’ll save on furniture, living in North Hills makes it easy to cut back on car fill-ups. After all, why drive when you can walk to your local shops, restaurants, grocery stores, and entertainment?
10. Charleston, South Carolina
Renovated apartment in historic downtown
There’s a lot to love about Charleston—from its antebellum architecture to its mild winters and easy beach access. Walking along the historic streets of downtown, you’ll feel transported to another era, and yet the cobblestone walkways are lined with enough modern shops, eateries, and nightlife to keep anyone busy. Perhaps it’s this unique blend of history and amenities that keep Charleston toward the top of most “best places to visit” lists—or it could just be the “nasty biscuit” at Hominy Grill.
Taking in all of Charleston will be easy in this two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in the heart of the city. Built in 1800, this charming rental has been fully renovated and has a rooftop patio. Of course, living in the center of this walkable city, you may be too busy to spend much time at home.
Originally published October 26, 2017; updated February 23, 2018.
Where would you like to find a furnished rental? Let us know in the comments below!
Article source: https://www.trulia.com/blog/furnished-apartments-for-rent/
Another incentive option for small towns looking to lure new residents? Cold, hard cash. The community of Harmony, Minnesota, does just that, through grants from its Economic Development Authority, offering up to $12,000 to anyone who builds a new home in the town.
Like Loup City, Harmony also has just over 1,000 residents. Chris Giesen, the coordinator for the Economic Development Authority, describes how the Home Construction Rebate program came to be. “In 2014, we began to have a discussion in Harmony: How do we attract people to move here? How do we increase variety in housing stock? Most of the homes here are old, and we saw young people turned away. We asked ourselves: What are the barriers?”
A plan was hatched, offering a cash-grant to anyone who constructs a new home in Harmony. “We considered many options and realized that giving away money is preferable to land, because the cash is usually put back into the community—you can buy things like furniture, building materials, and carpeting locally.”
Harmony also kept its red tape to a minimum. “I can help people write the whole application in a few minutes–it’s only one page,” says Giesen. “The only requirement is that we have to have approval before breaking ground. When the exterior is finished, we cut them a check. This program is all about neighbors helping neighbors.”
Giesen couldn’t be prouder of the Economic Development Authority’s success. “We are in the process of renewing the program now,” he says. “What this program does is bring people in from elsewhere—we’ve been tracking newcomers and most are coming from out of town—and they come in and buy groceries, put money into our banks, they become part of our tax base.”
“We’re investing,” says Giesen. “We’re not dying. The idea was to get the word out—and it has been incredible.”
You can also find free money giveaways in…
New Haven, Connecticut. Most well-known as the home to Yale University, New Haven is relatively economically depressed outside of the prestigious college’s ivy-covered walls. To fix it, the town has a program that grants up to $10,000, interest-free, for a down payment or closing costs on a new home. Even better? City employees, teachers, firefighters, police officers, and members of the military are eligible for an additional $2,500, and New Haven also grants forgivable loans up to $30,000 to homeowners who want to make energy-saving upgrades.
Article source: https://www.trulia.com/blog/small-american-towns-free-land-free-money/
(TNS)—World events are conspiring to make it more expensive for you to borrow money to buy a house.
Mortgage rates have increased for five consecutive weeks, according to Bankrate data, bringing interest on a 30-year fixed rate loan to 4.44 percent—the highest level in 11 months—while home prices continue to rise due to a lack of available homes.
After years of tepid economic growth, animal spirits are aflame. Inflation and wage growth recently found a groove, while the Federal Reserve’s plan to raise short-term interest rates multiple times for a consecutive year has reduced the value of government debt. The yield on 10-year Treasuries is close to a four-year high. (Bond prices and yields are inversely related.)
Oh, and China may reduce its appetite for U.S. bonds.
Homebuyers Should Get off the Fence
Mortgage rates are moved by the yield on 10-year Treasuries, rather than short-term rate hikes by the Fed. That’s why mortgage rates fell throughout 2017, for instance, even as the central bank raised the federal funds rate three times.
Rates remain cheap, however, compared to historical prices. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage came with an interest rate above 6 percent just before the Great Recession in 2007.
Potential homeowners should get off the fence and make a bid, assuming you have an affordable home target and adequate savings, because rates are likely only heading north.
Why Mortgage Rates Are Increasing
You’ve seen this movie before.
Immediately after the 2016 election, investors sold government debt en masse, causing the 10-year yield to rise from 1.88 percent on November 8 to 2.60 percent five weeks later. That dramatic rise was predicated on investors thinking a newly Republican-controlled Washington would bring about faster economic growth through infrastructure spending and tax cuts.
Optimism waned throughout 2017, though, as the GOP failed to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, casting doubt on their cohesion as a governing party. The long-promised massive infrastructure bill never materialized, while the prospects of a tax overhaul dampened. By the first week of September, the 10-year yield was 2.05 percent.
But then Republicans made progress on a $1.5 trillion tax bill, while the employment picture continued to brighten, and the U.S. economy grew at a solid clip over the last six months of the year.
With Congress agreeing to a $300 billion spending bill—which will only throw more coal on the burning economy—investors see fewer reasons to own bonds. Economic growth and higher pay could result in long-awaited inflation gains. Prices have been rising below the Fed’s 2 percent target, according to the central bank’s preferred prices gauge, for years now.
Higher inflation is a boon for fixed-rate borrowers but hurts debtors. The January jobs report, which showed a 2.9 percent-year-over year earnings increase, was a signal to market observers that inflation may be coming.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported in January that China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, may reduce or cease U.S. debt purchases, causing market jitters.
Should You Be Worried?
Given the recent run-up in yields, you may be worried—but don’t panic just yet.
“This is not alarming,” notes Chris Vincent, fixed income portfolio manager at William Blair. “There is no significant drama in the credit markets.”
Markets, after nearly a decade of low rates and low growth, are adjusting to the new normal and corresponding volatility—and while China may own over a trillion dollars of U.S. debt, that’s less than 20 percent of all debt owned by foreign nations, and a fifth of what America owes itself.
You are entering a world where it’s going to become more expensive to borrow money. It’s time to get used to it.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC
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You have one chance at a great first impression — knock their socks off with listing photos that shine.
Your bags are packed, you’re ready to move and the last thing you want to do is follow your agent’s advice about putting time and money into your listing photos. But if you don’t, your photos could prevent the home from selling quickly.
Consider these nine do’s and don’ts to help your listing attract the attention it deserves.
1. Do: Take a shot from the curb.
Keep your home’s curb appeal top of mind. Buyers often decide in a matter of minutes (or seconds) whether they want to keep looking or move on to another listing.
Make sure you get the whole house in the shot, and don’t let cars or other objects block your line of sight.
Don’t: Create a landslide.
When taking a shot from the curb, be mindful of your camera’s angle. The roofline should be parallel with the photo’s frame to make it look level — not like there’s a landslide on the property.
2. Do: Welcome visitors.
An attractive front door and entryway go a long way in setting the tone for the rest of your home. Leaving the door open in one of your photos can also send a welcoming message.
Don’t: Threaten visitors.
Remove any threatening signs or barriers on the property before taking photos. The goal is to create a feeling of warmth with your listing photos — not scare onlookers away.
3. Do: Consider a bird’s-eye view.
Taking a photo from above is a great way to show off a large property or a waterfront location. Crop the photo close enough so the home is visible without having to draw an arrow or a box around it.
Don’t: Consider a fisheye lens.
Some folks use a fisheye lens to make smaller spaces appear larger. However, it often has the opposite effect, making the space feel smaller and distorted.
As a general rule of thumb, stick with a traditional lens for listing photos, and make small spaces appear bigger with design tricks.
4. Do: Capture your home’s selling points.
You may think it’s best to skip the bathroom when taking listing photos, but if yours was recently updated, show it off! Bathrooms are among the first spaces to be upgraded in newly owned homes, and research shows that blue bathrooms sell for more than expected.
Don’t: Capture yourself in the mirror.
While a vanity can be a selling point, you want buyers to picture themselves in the mirror — not you. Stay out of your listing photos by avoiding angles where you or your camera’s flash may be reflected.
The goal is to put your home’s best foot forward. That means staging each room to sell shoppers on the lifestyle your home offers. Create cozy vignettes in each photo so it’s easier for shoppers to envision themselves living there.
If there’s one absolute “don’t” for listing photos, it’s capturing a mess. Tidy up each room before taking any photos so your home looks its best.
Even if your home has been on the market for a while, it will feel up-to-date if the photos reflect the season. If it’s summer, take a sunny photo of the backyard. If it’s winter, create a cozy feel with a fire and a warm blanket.
Over-the-top holiday decor can be a turnoff, especially if buyers don’t celebrate that holiday. Instead, consider ways to decorate for the season as a whole and take photos of rooms without themed decor.
If the view is one of your home’s selling points, you’ll definitely want to show it off. It’s best if you can capture it with a part of the house in the shot, like the deck or porch. That way, buyers can picture themselves there.
Don’t: Show off your pets.
Focus on the parts of your home that will be there when a buyer moves in. Unfortunately, your pets don’t fall into that category, as cute as they are!
8. Do: Show off architectural details.
Archways, beams and other architectural quirks may be hard to photograph, but they give your home character. Try to capture a few of the architectural details if you can.
Don’t: Show off architectural blunders.
Every home has its blemishes, but that doesn’t mean you have to capture them all in the photos. The listing is the time to put your best foot forward — the open house and inspection are when the buyer can take note of the imperfections.
You may also want to consider making a few small improvements, like updating the bathroom, before listing your home.
While it’s easy to assume daytime shots are ideal, a nighttime exterior shot can create the right amount of contrast to make your photos stand out. The key is to leave your home’s interior and exterior lights on while you take the photo.
When it comes to interior photos, you want all the light you can get. Use lamps and daytime window light to make your photos as bright as possible while still looking natural.
Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ZillowBlog/~3/4CD2ulnAuuE/
(TNS)—Your day burns brightly on both ends.
You prod your kids out of bed at daybreak, get them dressed, fed and off to school. You drive to work, endure meetings, colleagues, power lunches, memos and strategy sessions, only to return home through gridlocked traffic just as the sun sets, beg your kids to eat dinner, wash them, coax them to sleep, do the dishes and then mercifully collapse in front of the television set.
You fret over your emergency savings account, retirement savings account, credit card debt, mortgage rate, health insurance, college savings, and on and on.
It makes sense, then, you’d opt to pay a cleaning or lawn service every week to lighten your load. Hiring someone to keep your property in working order, either on your own or through homeowners association fees, doesn’t come cheap, though.
More than three in five homeowners—63 percent—use at least one recurring home maintenance provider, while 35 percent use two, according to a recent Bankrate survey. The average homeowner pays $2,000 annually on maintenance services, the survey finds.
Costs of Owning a Home
The price of biweekly landscaping probably never factored into your calculus when deciding how much house you can afford.
The average home mortgage neared $250,000 last year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, which came with a monthly principal and interest payment of $973, or about one-sixth of median family income.
Homeowners saw an average property tax bill of $3,300 in 2016, according to ATTOM’s most recent data, adding another $275 to your monthly budget. You’ll also owe hundreds more in insurance premiums depending on where you live and what type of house you own.
That doesn’t even include the money you need saved in case something unexpected happens. If your air conditioning unit or washer and dryer gives out, you could immediately owe hundreds, if not thousands.
Kevin Mahoney, CEO of fee-only financial advice firm Illumint, recommends to designate a savings account as a “home maintenance fund.” Mahoney, who recently bought a renovated row house in Washington, D.C., contributes $100 to $200 a month as a hedge against unexpected repairs and wear-and-tear. Maintaining a house fund will inoculate you against high-interest debt, leaving your budget open for routine maintenance services.
Cost You Probably Didn’t Think About
After the years required to amass a sufficient down payment—the average among new homebuyers is 11 percent—and all the big costs staring homeowners in the face, it’s little wonder if you don’t account for smaller fare.
But the price tag for convenience can rise quickly.
People who opt for housekeeping shell out an average of $285 a month, while HOA dues ($210) and landscaping ($144) followed behind. A home security system costs $130, slightly more than pool care ($123). Snow removal ($84), septic service ($67) and trash and recycling collection ($55) proved more affordable.
Unsurprisingly, renters are less likely than homeowners to pay for recurring maintenance services, and when they do, they pay less for most services.
On average, renters pay less for housekeeping ($128), HOA dues ($71), pool care ($70), landscaping ($61) and snow removal ($24); however, they fork over a little more for security systems ($142), septic service ($113), and trash and recycling collection ($63).
Nate Masterson, a director of Finance for Maple Holistics, pays $1,000 annually for gardening services, and another $70 to clear his Riverside, N.Y., home of snow.
“It would require a lot of strenuous work to perform either task, and it’s simply more worthwhile for me to pay a professional,” says Masterson, 34.
Make Sure You Account for All Costs
Americans broadly struggle mightily to save.
The average person wouldn’t pay for an unexpected $1,000 expense from their savings, per a recent Bankrate survey, while the median amount in a savings and checking account for a middle-income household has essentially remained flat over the past 27 years, according to Federal Reserve data.
Credit card debt recently hit an all-time high, while the personal savings rate has dropped precipitously over the past two years.
If you don’t have a fully-funded emergency fund comprising three to six months’ worth of expenses in a high-yield savings account, strongly consider suspending as many as these services as possible until you do. Dropping almost $300 a month on housekeeping while lacking $1,000 in the bank is simply too risky. What if the roof caves in? At the very least, start contributing to a home maintenance fund.
You may not have a say in other costs—trash collection and HOA fees were two of the three most common—but make sure to account for those expenses into your budget prior to moving in, and in your emergency fund.
Life’s hard, and there’s nothing wrong with paying someone else to mow your lawn. Unless you can’t afford it.
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