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!   

Good News in the Face of Mortgage Problems

Every day we hear about mortgage banking organizations closing and certain mortgage products being eliminated.  Stocks of many surviving lenders are low, and it is common to find shares in the industry that have lost 90 percent of their value in the past few weeks and months, according to a report from the National Association of Mortgage Brokers.

This economic downturn is mostly the result of the relaxed credit activity of subprime lenders over the last six years. The interest rates on these subprime loans are now adjusting to higher rates, making them unaffordable to many investors and homeowners, and causing delinquent mortgage payments and home foreclosures. Borrowers with good credit, however, are having no difficulty in making their mortgage payments, and new mortgages are available to them today just as they were a year ago.  Fannie/Freddie/FHA/and VA mortgages are fully available, underwriting is unchanged, and funding for closing as reliable as ever. In fact, mortgage applications are increasing, according to a recent report from the Mortgage Bankers Association.  Subprime loans are still available, but they are more difficult to find and their rates and terms have toughened up.

The rising inventories of unsold homes are benefiting today’s home buyers.  They have more homes to choose from and mortgage financing with historic low rates is still available for buyers with good credit histories.  Sellers are also becoming more realistic in the pricing of their property, and more open to negotiations.