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Category: Home Improvement

The Wall Street Journal revealed that two additional analysts had also upgraded their forecasts.

Zelman & Associates

“Ivy Zelman, chief executive of research firm Zelman & Associates, said Wednesday she was now expecting prices to rise by 7% this year, up from earlier estimates of 6%, 5%, and 3%…She’s also calling for a 5% gain next year because she says the supply shortages and growing demand that fueled last year’s turnaround show no signs of easing.“
Her reasons:
“The shortage of housing capacity continues to resonate. Just as deflation was a national headwind that stretched deeper into the economy than anyone would have imagined, we believe that appreciation can carry broad, positive implications for the consumer and economy beyond many expectations.”

John Burns Real Estate Consultants

“John Burns, who runs a real-estate consulting firm in Irvine, Calif., is calling for a 9% gain in home prices this year, up from a 5% forecast late last year.”
 His reasons:
“Strong investor demand and low interest rates that have boosted the purchasing power of buyers.”
These two experts join a long list of housing analysts who have now called for a major rebound in housing prices in 2013.
-KCM
Today is the first day of spring and with it comes the revival of the housing market every year. If you have been thinking of buying or selling a home then NOW would be the time. This spring season is gearing up to be a big one with low inventory and lots of buyers we expect prices to begin to climb and inventory to stay low. Please contact us today for a free Competitive Market Analysis of your own property or for more information on our currently available inventory.
The wall space above a countertop, often underused, is an ideal place for racks and shelves. Image: Barb McMahon/Flickr Here are the ingredients for more space that won’t cost more than a third of the $21,700 that Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report says you could spend on a minor kitchen remodel. Hang ‘em high. Put wire racks on the wall above your sink, add S-hooks, and hang cooking utensils. It’ll free up a drawer or two. The backsplash area—the wall area right above the sink and countertops—is often underutilized and a great place for easy-to-clean, stainless steel racks and shelves. Cost: $50 to $200. Nooks and crannies. Bare walls above a phone nook or cabinets, and underneath windows, beg for storage. Make use of that open space above your cabinets with store-bought shelves and brackets painted to match the cabinets. Cost: Less than $200. For a built-in look, build a soffit above the shelves. Cost: less than $2,000. A freestanding window seat stores rarely used kitchen gadgets and provides additional seating. Cost: $200 to $500. Cool it already. Do you really need a behemoth 36-inch-wide refrigerator that looks like an entertainment center? Downsize to an 18-cubic-foot refrigerator. If your refrigerator stands at the end of your cabinets, as most do, downsizing could save a foot of space—enough for shelving to store dishes, canned goods, and supplies. Cost: Less than $500. Don’t need much room for perishables in your small kitchen? Try an under-the-counter 5.7-cubic-foot fridge. Cost: $1,200. Nuke the clutter. Get the microwave off the counter and into a drawer. Cost: Less than $800. Pull-outs. Cutting boards that hide inside your cabinets do double-duty as small kitchen tables or a bill-paying station. Caution: It’s tough to add these to existing cabinets. Consider them as a custom add-on when ordering new cabinets. Cost: $300 or less, plus the cabinets. Some custom cabinets offer a “drawer” that actually hides a 36-inch extension table. Cost: About $1,000. Borrow some space. Pantries are easy to create from a nearby closet using shelves and roll-out wire bins from a home improvement center. Cost: $200 to $500. For a fancier solution, architect Sarah Susanka of Not So Big House suggests using store-bought shelving units and building them into a hallway space. Cost for a 10-foot hallway: $5,000 to $7,500. Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-improvement/small-kitchen-space-savers/#ixzz2ChRzVFEo
A few days before Thanksgiving 1. Install a dimmer switch for the bulb’s lifespan. Most CFLs don’t work with dimmers, but you can create mood lighting with incandescents and LEDs. The dimmer switch will cost you about $10.
2. Plan side dishes that can cook simultaneously with the turkey. If you cook dishes at the same temperature at the same time, you’ll reduce the amount of time the oven has to be running — it’s easier for the cook and saves energy, too. When you start cooking 3. Lower your house thermostat a few degrees. The oven will keep the house warm. You also can turn on your ceiling fan so it sucks air up, distributing heat throughout the room. 4. Use ceramic or glass pans — you can turn down the oven’s temp by up to 25 degrees and get the same results. That’s because these materials retain heat so well, they’ll continue cooking food even after being removed from the oven. 5. Use your oven’s convection feature. When heated air is circulated around the food, it reduces the required temperature and cooking time. You’ll cut your energy use by about 20%. 6. Cook in the microwave whenever possible. Ditto slow cookers. Microwaves get the job done quickly, and although slow cookers take much longer, they still use less energy than the oven. Resist the urge to peek inside your Compost your non-meat food waste. Check out these other Thanksgiving clean-up tips. 9. Use your dishwasher. It saves energy and water, so only hand-wash things that aren’t dishwasher-safe. Wait until you’ve got a full load before starting the dishwasher. Be sure to stop the appliance before the heated dry cycle; just open the door and let your dishes air-dry.
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/saving-energy/how-to-use-less-energy-thanksgiving-day/#ixzz2ChRQlaLn
Trying to get just the right amount of homeowners insurance for your house and possessions may leave you feeling a bit like Goldilocks searching for a chair, a bed, and porridge that are just right. If you underinsure your home and suffer a devastating loss — flood, fire, theft — then you risk not being able to return to the lifestyle you’ve worked hard to achieve. Yet if you overinsure, you’re throwing money away every year on unnecessarily high premiums. What you need is coverage that’s just right. Here’s how to get it, and it shouldn’t take more than 4 or 5 hours of your time spent reviewing your homeowners insurance policy, talking to your agent, and doing a little research.
Look before you leap into a policy All homeowners insurance isn’t created equal. That’s why it pays to review your coverage every year to ensure your policy meets your evolving needs. Begin by understanding the types of coverage available. Actual cash value coverage reimburses you for the value of your home based on its current condition, explains Marjorie Young, senior vice president at E.G. Bowman Co., a New York City insurance brokerage. If your home was built 10 years ago, you’d receive only the depreciated value of decade-old windows, cabinets, appliances, and so on. Most insurers recommend the more comprehensive replacement cost coverage. With it, says Young, you’ll be reimbursed for the amount it will cost to rebuild your home like new with the same kind and quality of materials. Depreciation doesn’t factor into the settlement equation. To get the full benefit of replacement coverage, you need to purchase enough insurance to cover the total cost to rebuild your home, excluding the value of the land. Many people make the mistake of insuring at the market value, says June Walbert of USAA Financial Planning Services in San Antonio. But the amount you could sell your home for today isn’t necessarily the same as how much it would cost to rebuild. Construction costs play big role Look to current construction costs in your local area for guidance. If you’ve purchased a newly constructed home in the past year, you already have the answer. The same is true if you’ve refinanced within the past year. You almost certainly paid for an appraisal during that process that likely includes three valuations: replacement cost, market value, and actual cash value. If you’re determining replacement cost without those head-starts, Walbert recommends calling several local homebuilders and asking the average square-foot construction cost in your area. If the going rate is $175, and your home is 2,000 square feet, you’d purchase $350,000 in coverage. For just a few bucks you can also order a valuation report online at a website like AccuCoverage ($7.95) or Home Smart Reports ($6.95). Remember that any time you spend at least 5% of your home’s value on a remodeling project—or $5,000, whichever is less—you should contact your insurer to increase your coverage. Young recently did that after she revamped her own kitchen. An additional $40,000 in homeowners coverage raised her annual premium by about $40. Don’t neglect valuables, liability Be sure you’re also insured at the right value for your home’s contents and for personal liability. Most insurance polices provide only actual cash value on contents, says Lisa Lobo, vice president of underwriting operations at The Hartford in Southington, Conn. To get replacement cost coverage, you’ll need to purchase an endorsement. If you have valuables not covered by your policy—silverware, jewelry, furs—purchase endorsements for those, too. Many people pay no attention to the liability coverage limits in their policies, but Walbert says that’s a mistake. If you have a dinner party and a guest falls down your front steps, you don’t want to be underinsured. In recent years the average liability claim for bodily injury and property damage has been $15,854. Walbert recently increased a homeowner’s liability coverage by several hundred thousand dollars for just $6 more per year. If you’re concerned about increasing your premiums by adding endorsement after endorsement, ask whether you can save money by splitting your deductible, paying a higher amount for certain claims and a lower amount for others. Bundled endorsements can save you a few bucks, but only if you require them all. Take a pass on unneeded riders. Why spend $8 to $12 a year for $500 worth of refrigerated property coverage when you eat takeout every night?
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-insurance/homeowners-insurance-are-you-over-or-underinsured/#ixzz26wbiRT7i

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