Support for upscale home buying

Median-priced homes in many desirable metropolitan markets are approaching the half-million-dollar mark, so even people with six-figure salaries are feeling challenged when buying a home.  While these buyers may have access to a comfortable amount of cash for a down payment, it may not be enough to purchase the high-end home or upscale urban apartment they really want.

              A recent article published by MSN Money reports that new programs are providing assistance for borrowers whose yearly income places them in the top 10 percent of American wage earners.  For example, there is the Phoenix Realty Group in Los Angeles and San Diego, who are investing $190 million to build housing for families who earn up to 200% of the median income.  There is the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), which started as a nonprofit housing advocacy corporation and now operates a $10 billion mortgage lending program.  NACA offers homebuyers no-money-down loans with interest rates a point or more below prime.  Borrowers pay no closing costs, points or private mortgage insurance, and there are no income restrictions to qualify for the program. 

            Ask your mortgage broker about programs available in your area.

Features of the healthiest homes

Today’s homeowners are becoming increasingly concerned with the environmental fitness of their homes.  Knowing what features contribute to the creation and maintenance of a healthy house will help you improve your home’s value over time by upgrading its ecological rating.

 

If you are building a new home or remodeling your current residence, use nontoxic materials whenever possible.  Homes built before 1970s may contain lead-based paint and asbestos insulation, serious health hazards that must be removed and replaced by professionals.  Choose carpet, backing and adhesive that do not contain chemicals.  An abundance of dual-paned, low-E windows will refresh the interior with natural air circulation and reduce mold by providing plenty of natural light.

 

th sidence, use nontoxic materials whenever possible.  Check for lead-bThe healthiest homes include heating systems that do not circulate dust and other particulates – a side effect of forced-air heat.  New homes with radiant-heat concrete floors, wall-mounted radiators and/or a sealed combustion fireplace are in high demand with health-conscious homebuyers.  If your home already contains a forced-air heating system, change the HEPA filter four to six times a year, and have the ducts professionally cleaned every two years.

              Healthy homes are more attractive to buyers.

BACKYARD “RESORTS”

According to a recent article in Forbes magazine, “outdoor living” has taken a whole new meaning in the luxury home sector. With the cost of travel and security concerns on the rise, people have been choosing to stay at home more and are spending their vacation budget on creating a home away from home….at home!

             What used to be a place for the occasional grill and beer get-together, the backyard is turning into a mini resort outfitted with state of the art kitchens, plasma screen TVs, Japanese infinity spas, waterfall showers, and even outdoor bedrooms.

               Last year homeowners spent almost $300 billion dollars in home improvements and Harvard’s Center for Housing Studies predicts that improvement spending will increase by 45% over the next 10 years. While much of that money has gone to standard kitchen and bathroom upgrades, some has been spent on outdoor fireplaces, $20,000 four person hammocks, designer tree houses and pergola covered living rooms.

            Forget all the hassle with luggage, jet lag and those tiresome details that accompany planning a vacation. Create a vacation spot in your backyard and you can step out your door into your own little piece of paradise and enjoy it any day of the week!