Colleen McIntyre will not seek reelection

District 4 City Councilwoman Colleen McIntyre said Monday she has decided this will be her last term as a Corpus Christi City Council member.

McIntyre has accepted a position as the director of Seashore Middle School and as the superintendent of Seashore Charter Schools on Padre Island.

McIntyre told KRIS 6 News her new position makes it difficult to put in the time and effort to serve on City Council.

She has served for two terms.

“Being with all of the different groups in the community. Being able to help with… whether it’s code enforcement, animal control, zoning cases, all the different things that I’ve dealt with in the areas of the district I’ll miss that a lot,” said McIntyre.

Her term will end in November. via Kristv.com

We want to personally thank Ms. Colleen McIntyre of her dedication to city council over the past 2 terms. We truly have enjoyed her keeping an eye on padre island interests and much of the work she has completed and set into motion during her term. You will be missed, and we are excited for your new position to lead Seashore Middle Academy forward into an even more successful future. Thank you again for your service in our city government, we feel blessed to know you! ~Coastline Properties

Tax Time 2016

Your home is likely your largest asset, and therefore, deserves special attention at tax time. Be sure you’re handling them correctly this year, using these tips!

Deduct from the correct year:

Here, we’re billed in arrears on our taxes, which can be confusing when taking the tax deduction. You’ll want to be sure to enter the amount you actually paid in that tax year, no matter what the date on your tax bill says. Because of this, it can be easy to confuse your payments and actually claim the incorrect amount.

Note: If taxes were paid from your escrow account, do not just deduct the amount escrowed. That’s because sometimes the amount you pay from this account can be a little bit higher or a little bit lower. Your lender will align the two to make sure they end up matching.

For example: Your property taxes were $6,000. Your lender collected $5,800. Or, maybe your lender collected $6,200. You’ll deduct $6,000, the actual taxes paid. This number will be the amount noted on your Form 1098.

Deduct your mortgage interest:

A home mortgage interest deduction allows you, the taxpayers who owns your home, to write off any interest you paid on a loan secured by your home (main home or a second home). The loan may be a mortgage, a line of credit, or a home equity loan. This allows you to reduce your taxable income by the amount of interest paid on the loan.

Note: You must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040), and prove your mortgage is a secured debt on a qualified home in which you own.

Exceptions: You cannot deduct mortgage interest on a mortgage that is over $1,000,000, or you have over $100,000 in home equity debt.

Refinanced?

If you’ve refinanced, you’ll be deducting points over the life of your new loan (as opposed to your regular mortgage, where you’ve been deducting points based on what you paid your lender to secure your mortgage over the course of your loan’s life – 15 years, 30 years…)

For example: Let’s say you paid $3,000 in points for a refinance of 30 years. You’ll divide 3,000 by 30 and pay $100 a year.

Went green?

If you made any energy improvements, such as installing solar electric, solar water heater, geothermal, any energy-efficient systems…you may be able to take a 10% tax credit up to a certain dollar amount. However, these are one-time credits. If you claimed your new energy-efficient windows last year, you can’t do it again.

Note: See Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits

Don’t forget to:

  • Keep track of your home-related expenses.
  • Track your capital gains (If you sold your main home last year, you’ll have to pay capital gains taxes on your profit from that sale). Keep your receipts as long as you own the property plus three years.
  • Deduct your home office (If you’re eligible, you can deduct $5 per sq. ft. up to 300 feet, or up to $1,500 a year).
  • Keep your mortgage payoff statements forever. You never know when you may need that proof.
  • Keep your appraisal or valuation used to calculate depreciation as long as you’re the owner plus three years.
  • Keep your property tax payment, year-end mortgage statement, PMI payment, and energy tax credit receipt for three years after the due date of the return showing the deduction.

CC voters face critical sales tax vote in November

KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi
CORPUS CHRISTI -

Plenty of issues will be in voters’ hands come November, including a pivotal decision on how to spend sales tax revenue.

Depending on the vote, a powerful city board that spends your money, may not exist next year.

An eighth of every cent you pay in sales tax funds the city’s Type A Board, which controls the Type A Fund.

We’re talking millions of dollars a year controlled by five people.

The board spends most of it on economic development. They also spend money on seawall repairs and the American Bank Center.

CLICK HERE: Projects funded by Type A Board

The board (fund) is up for renewal this year, and it’s up to the voters.

Jerry Sansing is president of the Corpus Christi Taxpayers Association. He plans on voting against it.

“I’ve seen too much money go down the drain. You know, we can’t fix streets. We can’t do this. We can’t do that, but we can certainly tax for everything under the sun,” he says.

Sansing would rather the city give that money back to the people, or spend it, in part, to cut down palm trees off Airline. The ones right by the Gulfway Shopping Center.

Sansing says they violate the Americans with Disabilities Act because they take up too much room on the sidewalk, and make it almost impossible for people in wheelchairs to get by.

But Type A Board member Bart Braselton points out the board’s numerous accomplishments, like landing Schlitterbahn with a $5 million deal in incentives.

“It competes with other cities, and when you know, when you’re having somebody that’s bringing say, anywhere from 500 to 1,000 new jobs to your city, the return on investment is incredible,” Braselton says.

Sansing says projects like Schlitterbahn don’t need the money.

Braselton points out other things the Type A Board has helped fund, like the Engineering Department at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, or the truck driving program at Del Mar College.

If residents vote to get rid of the board, it’ll be disbanded after any remaining money is spent.

If that happens, it’ll likely be up to the city council to decide how to re-allocate that portion of sales tax revenue every year.  Via KrisTv.com

WHAT’S YOUR NORTH PADRE ISLAND STREET NAME MEAN?

A La Entrada – An expedition or journey into unexplored territory, or, in Spanish it means Entrance.

Almeria – A city of southeast Spain on the Gulf of Almería, an arm of the Mediterranean Sea.

Aloha – Hawaiian word used when greeting or parting from someone.

Aquarius – The Water Bearer, a zodiacal constellation – A good person who doesn’t judge.

Aruba – An island in the Netherlands Antilles, in the West Indies.

Atascadera – Atascadero in Spanish means stumbling-block.

Barataria – A bay in The Gulf of Mexico, off Louisiana (See Laffite).

Beaufort – An empirical measure that relates wind speed to observed conditions at sea or on land.

Binnacle – A built-in housing for a ship’s compass.

Blackbeard – Nickname of Edward Thatch who was a notorious English pirate who operated around the West Indies and the eastern coast of the American colonies.

Bonasse – Easy-going and simple-minded.

Bounty – A British naval ship commanded by Captain William Bligh, which was on a scientific voyage in 1789 between Tahiti and the West Indies when her crew mutinied.

Bowsprit – A spar, extending forward from the stem of a ship, to which the stays of the foremast are fastened.

Brigantine – A two-masted sailing ship, square-rigged on the foremast and having a fore-and-aft mainsail, often with square main topsails.

Broomsedge – Broom sedge: any of several grasses of the genus Andropogon.

Bullion – Gold or silver considered in mass rather than in value.

Cabana – A cabin, hut, or shelter, especially one at a beach or swimming pool.

Cabo Blanco – It’s a fishing village in northwestern Peru, or in Spanish, “White Terminal.”

Camino De Oro – In Spanish, meaning “Path to Gold.”

Camino De Plata – In Spanish, meaning “Path to Silver.”

Canadian Mist – A brand of Blended Canadian whisky produced by the Brown-Forman Corporation.

Capstan – A revolving cylinder with a vertical axis used for winding a rope or cable, powered by a motor or pushed around by levers.

Captain Kidd – 1645(ish)–1701, he was a Scottish navigator and privateer who was hanged for piracy.

Caravel – A small, fast Spanish or Portuguese sailing ship of the 15th–17th centuries.

Carlos Fifth – Carlos THE Fifth is the name of a creepy looking candy bar from Mexico, what you call someone that does something in a stupid manner.

Cartagena – A seaport in SE Spain.

Catamaran – A yacht or other boat with twin hulls in parallel.

Cayo Cantiles – Cayo, in Taíno meaning “small island,” Cantiles in Spanish meaning “cliff.”

Cayo Gorda Ct – Cayo, in Taíno meaning “small island,” Gorda in Spanish meaning “fat.”

Cobo De Bara – Cobo, meaning “sea snail” and Bara in Hebrew means “heaven and earth.”

Commodores – A naval officer of high rank, in particular an officer in the US Navy or Coast Guard ranking above captain and below rear admiral.

Coquina Bay – A soft limestone of broken shells, used in road-making in the Caribbean and Florida.

Cozumel – In Mexico, the name was given to it by the Spaniards; however its origin is derived from the words Cuzam (meaning Swallow) and Lumil (meaning land of).

Crossjack – The lowermost square sail set on the mizzenmast of a ship or of a bark with four or more masts.

Cruiser – A relatively fast warship larger than a destroyer and less heavily armed than a battleship.

Cumana – A city in NE Venezuela founded in 1523 that is the oldest European settlement in South America.

Cutlass – A short sword with a slightly curved blade, formerly used by sailors.

Cuttysark – It is a British clipper ship built on the River Clyde in 1869 for the Jock Willis Shipping Line and was one of the last tea clippers to be built.

Dasmarinas – It is the largest city in the province of Cavite, Philippines. In the 19th century during the Spanish Colonial Period, Dasmariñas was originally called Tampus meaning “end of the forest.”

Dorsal – Relating to the upper side or back of an animal, plant, or organ. Fin – an unpaired fin on the back of a fish or whale.

Doubloon – A Spanish gold coin.

Dragonet – A marine fish that often lies partly buried in the seabed; the male is brightly colored.

Ducat – A gold coin formerly current in most European countries.

Dyna – Simply defined as “power.”

Eaglesnest – The nest of a bird built high up on a cliff or on the top of a mountain OR a room or building built high up so that people inside can see things happening below them.

El Soccorro – It’s a Portuguese-Spanish noun meaning “help” or “relief.”

Emerald – A bright green precious stone consisting of a chromium-rich variety of beryl.

Encantada – In Spanish, means “delighted” as in “pleased to meet you.”

Escapade – An act or incident involving excitement, daring, or adventure.

Finistere – Element which has reached the limits of its expansion.

Flintlock – An old-fashioned type of gun fired by a spark from a flint.

Forestay – A stay leading forward and down to support a ship’s foremast.

Fortuna Bay – Fortuna was the goddess of fortune and personification of luck in Roman religion and was represented as veiled and blind, as in modern depictions of Justice, and came to represent life’s capriciousness.

Grenadine – A thin fabric of leno weave in silk, nylon, rayon, or wool. Presently, a syrup made from pomegranate juice.

Gun Cay – Where the Lighthouse is located less than 10 miles south of Bimini.

Gunwale – The upper edge of the side of a boat or ship.

Gypsy – A nomadic or free-spirited person.

Halyard – A rope used for raising and lowering a sail, spar, flag, or yard on a sailing ship.

Hawksnest – The nest of a bird of prey OR a house located high on a hill or mountain.

Highland Mist – A Blended Scotch Whisky.

Isabella – A wine made from the fox grape. Also, Queen Isabella  of Castile whose marriage to Ferdinand of Aragon in 1469 marked the beginning of the modern state of Spain.

Isla Colon – Isla meaning Island in Spanish, Colon is a city of northern Panama at the Caribbean entrance to the Panama Canal.

Isla Pinta – Isla menaing Island in Spanish, Pinta was the fastest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first transatlantic voyage in 1492.

Jackfish – A pike or sauger, especially the northern pike.

Jacktar – It was a common English term used to refer to seamen of the Merchant or Royal Navy. By World War I the term was used as a nickname for those in the U.S. Navy.

Jibstay – In schooners, the stay to which jibs are hanked.

Jolly Roger – A pirate’s flag with a white skull and crossbones on a black background.

Keel  – The longitudinal structure along the centerline at the bottom of a vessel’s hull, on which the rest of the hull is built, in some vessels extended downward as a blade or ridge to increase stability.

Key Largo – The largest island of the Florida Keys.

King Phillip – [War] (1675–77) the first large-scale military action in the American colonies, pitting various Indian tribes against New England colonists and their Indian allies.

La Blanquilla – (N) A very small coin, A Californian fish, A white grape.

Laffite – Pirate Jean Lafitte: he and his brothers smuggled goods to local merchants through the La Barataria (See Barataria) berth on the Louisiana coast in the early 1800s, after the Embargo Act of 1807 barred such trades. Barataria was far from the U.S. naval base, and ships could easily smuggle in goods without being noticed by customs officials. Later, legend has it, he came to our own Packery Channel, as, when pursued, Lafitte’s shallow draft boats could escape into the knee-deep Laguna Madre where larger boats could not follow. Folklore says that he buried treasure here, right near the Port A jetties, and marked it with a golden dagger. 

Lafitte – See Laffite. Pirate Jean Lafitte and his elder brother, Pierre, spelled their last name Laffite, but English-language documents of the time used “Lafitte.”

Lanyard – A rope threaded through a pair of deadeyes, used to adjust the tension in the rigging of a sailing vessel.

Leeward – On or toward the side sheltered from the wind or toward which the wind is blowing; downwind (see opposite, Windward).

Longboat – A large boat that may be launched from a sailing ship.

Main Royal – [mast] Part of the mainmast situated immediately above, and generally formed as a single spar with, the main topgallantmast.

Man O War – An armed sailing ship.

Mingo Cay – An island of the United States Virgin Islands.

Mizzen – The mast aft of a ship’s mainmast.

Mutiny – An open rebellion against the proper authorities, especially by soldiers or sailors against their officers.

Nemo – In Oromo it means “The Man,” but in Latin, the same word means “Nobody.”

Palmira – A city of western Colombia southwest of Bogotá where coffee and tobacco are grown.

Palo Seco – In Spanish means “without anything else.”

Peseta – The basic monetary unit of Spain (until replaced by the euro).

Pionciana – A tropical tree with showy red or red and yellow flowers.

Playa Del Rey – Spanish for “Beach of the King.”

Port Royal – It is a city located at the end of the Palisadoes at the mouth of the Kingston Harbour, in southeastern Jamaica founded in 1518.

Portillo – It literally means “small port” from Latin portus.

Ports O Call – An intermediate port where ships customarily stop for supplies, repairs, or transshipment of cargo.

Primavera – The hard, light-colored timber of a Central American tree.

Punta Bonaire – In Spanish, Punta: point, Bonaire: an island in the E Netherlands Antilles.

Punta Espada – In Spanish, Punta: point, Espada: sword.

Quarterdeck – The part of a ship’s upper deck near the stern, traditionally reserved for officers.

Queen Johanna – She was Queen of Naples and Countess of Provence and Forcalquier from 1343 until her death. She also reigned as Princess of Achaea and claimed the crowns of Jerusalem and Sicily.

Reales – A unit of currency in Spain for several centuries after the mid-14th century.

Royal Fifth – An old royal tax that reserves to the monarch 20% of all precious metals and other commodities acquired by his subjects as war loot, found as treasure or extracted by mining.

Sabre – A heavy cavalry sword with a curved blade and a single cutting edge.

Salt Cay – The second largest of the Turks Islands.

San Felipe – A city in NE Venezuela, on the Orinoco River.

Skysail – A triangular sail set on a stay between the fore and main trucks of a racing schooner.

Tajamar – Spanish for the cutwater.

Tesoro – Spanish for the word treasure.

Three Fathoms Bank – Fathom: a unit of length in the old imperial and the U.S. customary systems, used especially for measuring the depth of water.

Topgallant – The section of a square-rigged sailing ship’s mast immediately above the topmast.

Topsail – A sail, or either of a pair of sails, set immediately above the lowermost sail of a mast and supported by a topmast.

Tortuga – Spanish for the animal Turtle.

Verdemar – Spanish for the color sea-green.

Vincent – From a Latin word meaning “conquering.”

Whitecap – A small wave with a foamy crest.

Windjammer – A merchant sailing ship.

Windward – The side or direction from which the wind is blowing.

Yardarm – The outer extremity of a ship’s yard.

Know Before You Owe

knowbeforeyouowe

The holidays are over, the sun is finally peaking out, and the buyers are making their grand debut from dormancy.

But as a buyer, knowledge is power. And The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau knows that. They have worked diligently to make the loan process more transparent. The new forms discussed below (the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure) were introduced to present less confusing information as to ensure consumers understand the terms of their loan and the fees they’re paying. Know before you owe!

To walk the walk, you have to talk the talk. Here is the new lingo and the new forms.

Let’s talk Terminology:

A lender is now a “Creditor”

The Good Faith Estimate (GFE) is now the “Loan Estimate” or LE for short.

HUD or Settlement Statement is now your “Closing Disclosure” or CD for short.

The GFE was meant to provide the buyer with a really good idea of what they’d be bringing to closing and the terms of their loan. But the rules behind its successor, the LE, are stricter, and provide a higher financial accuracy to the buyer. It includes interest rate, fees for both creditor and third-party services (ie: appraisals, title insurance, closing costs, etc.)

Before you do anything, shop around for a lender and get prequalified for a loan. There’s little advantage to visiting with a Real Estate Agent until you know what you can afford.

First you get prequalified, then you work with a Realtor who finds you the perfect home, and then comes your Loan Estimate.

SIX ELEMENTS TO GET THE LOAN ESTIMATE

  1. The consumer’s name
  2. The consumer’s income
  3. The consumer’s SSN to obtain a credit report (creditor shopping will NOT affect credit rating)
  4. Property address
  5. An estimate of the value of the property
  6. The mortgage loan amount sought

CLARIFY!

The prequal is NOT a Loan Estimate. If the consumer/buyer requests a preapproval or prequalification, and provides 5 of these 6 elements in their application, the creditor will provide the prequalification, but is not yet obligated to provide the LE.

Only when the consumer provides all six elements of the application, the creditor must get the LE to the consumer within 3 Federal Business days (if the creditor is open on Saturday, then Saturday counts). Once provided, the LE holds true for 10 days once a property has been determined.

The home does not actually have to be under contract at this point, but it greatly benefits the buyer if it is. Without knowing which title company the contract will be at, your creditor can’t know the exact fees. With the new LE, the liability and financial accuracy weighs much heavier on the creditor than it did in the past. So what if there are differences presented on your final CD than those on your LE?  There are zero tolerance fees, and fees that fall between a 10% tolerance. So if there is a difference between your CD and your LE, depending on which category the miscalculation falls under, the creditor may have to pay.

Moral is, sellers want strong buyers. Preapproval from a creditor shows just that, which is why it’s critical to get that first. Present that to your Realtor, house hunt, get under contract, and request the LE. Leave the rest to your happy and knowledgeable Realtor.

We’ll leave the changes to the consummation (the new term for closing) for a later discussion…

QUICK FACTS FROM 2015 COMPARED TO 2014

Demand was healthy in 2015, and the supply was enough to give the buyers options.

  • 1% increase in new listings since 2014
  • 7% increase in median sales price in 78418
  • -4.2% decrease in days on market
  • 15% new construction market share in 78418
  • 8% list to sale price ratio in 78418

Corpus Christi Chambers to Unite

hand-shake

Officials for the Corpus Christi and Hispanic chambers of commerce say their historic merger should wrap up in the next few weeks, and that they are just days from unveiling the new organization’s name.

A transition team consisting of members from each chamber’s board took less than a month to unify the groups and agree on a name for the new chamber.

The team is expected to notify the two boards of its recommendation in coming days. The name will be made public after they’ve voted on it, perhaps as early as the beginning of February, Alan Wilson, chairman of the Corpus Christi chamber, told the Caller-Times on Thursday.

Other details, including memberships and drafting bylaws, are being worked out but appear to be on pace for completion by the end of March, Wilson said.

“Everyone has been on board with making sure this (merger) is something positive for the entire region, for the entire community,” said Rosie Gonzalez Collin, chair of the Hispanic chamber.

Members of the chambers voted overwhelmingly Dec. 29 to unite their organizations. Supporters have said the move was necessary to eliminate overlap in membership and to keep Corpus Christi’s business landscape in line with the region’s energy and job growth.

The two chambers haven’t wasted time preparing for the unification since.

Executive board members of each group have met with Annette Medlin, who recently was named president and CEO of the Corpus Christi chamber. The Hispanic chamber is planning an official welcome ceremony for Medlin during its Feb. 25 “Mi Casa es Su Casa” women’s mixer.

Medlin fills a vacancy left by Foster Edwards, who retired.

Earlier this month, the Hispanic chamber announced Gilda Ramirez would remain its interim president, while taking on a full-time role as its vice president of small business, international outreach and education affairs. Ramirez is expected to work on staff of the new chamber once the transition is finished.

Twitter: @Caller_ChrisRam via Caller Times

Barefoot Mardi Gras 2016

 

mardigras2016

We are Proud to once again be Major Sponsors for the 7th Annual Barefoot Mardi Gras .  Its going to be spectacular this year, sure to bring a very festive environment as we all celebrate together for a great cause!

A Family Parade will take place along the beach off Park Road 22 between Whitecap Blvd and Bob Hall Pier. Parade starts at 11am. The Parade Judges Float will open the parade followed a few minutes later by color guard and Mardi Gras themed floats in different divisions like Float, Jeep and Golf Cart. Many colorful characters enter the parade making it a unique activity for friends and family.

New this year is the Barefoot Mardi Gras Festival, a fun filled family event with Cajun music, food, drink, displays, exhibits, artists, children’s area, children’s stage and more! Admission is $5 with Kids 8 years old and younger FREE!

An adult-themed Party, The King & Queens Ball, will let the good times roll on the evening of the 6th from 7pm – 11pm at the Veranda Restaurant & Bar at Schlitterbahn. Miss Neesie and the Earfood Orchestra will perform and a special menu of Cajun style food will be served. Signature Barefoot Mardi Gras drinks will also be available. Guests are encouraged to wear costumes. Dancing and a live video stream from Bourbon Street in New Orleans will be part of the merriment. Attendees must be 21 years old and above. Tickets are $30 and available at various locations.

Events:

Barefoot Mardi Gras Parade

February 6, 2016
Begins at 11:00 am

Floats and fun for the whole family! The parade starts at Whitecap Beach and runs along Padre Island to the Briscoe King Pavilion near Bob Hall Pier.

Register now for the parade

Barefoot Mardi Gras Festival

February 6, 2016
11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Cajun Music, food & fun for all ages! The festival is located at the Briscoe King Pavillion in Bali Park on Padre Island and features live music, artists, car displays, exhibitors, a children’s area, food, drink and more!
Admission is $5.00 paid at the door. Cash Only.

King & Queens Ball

February 6, 2016
7:00 pm – 12:00 am

Patrons must be 21 years of age or older to attend. The ball is located at the Veranda Restaurant & Bar inside the Schlitterbahn Waterpark on Padre Island. Includes a cajun style dinner and dancing to the live New Orleans style music from Miss Nessie & the Ear Food Orchestra. Costumes encouraged!
Tickets are $25 pre-sale and $35 at the door. Tickets are available at Padres Island Properties Owners Association, Schlitterbahn at the Veranda Restaurant, and Frost Park, Padre Island.

FOR MORE INFO and To Get TICKETS to the KING & QUEENS BALL Click Here Barefoot Mardi Gras 2016

Design Trends in 2016

destrends2016

“This home is so ’70s.” How many times have we heard a home identified by a year based on its appearance and finishes? Well, 2016 will be no different, as fun and fresh designs are sure to be trending.

Outdoors, Indoors

Here on the Island, we practically live outdoors most of the year! Designs are beginning to recognize this. Homeowners are working on bringing the outside in with things like plants, and double doors, and also purchasing furniture that can be used both indoors and out. Create a fluid space where the indoor outdoor living concept is seamless.

Geometric Tiles

Tile backsplashes aren’t a new concept, but what we expect to see in 2016 are using the tiles to create more geometric patterns that feature fluid movement. New materials for this are coming onto the scene such as cement and wood. Whether it is a backsplash, an intricately patterned floor or a countertop, fluid geometry is eye-catching and coming in strong this year.

White Appliances

With so many homeowners going with the trending white cabinets, white appliances just blend right in. Also, many are becoming tired of the maintenance from the marks and handprints that are so evident and inevitable that show up on stainless steel appliances. Try Ice White from Whirlpool. Slate kitchen appliances can also bring a classic and modern look and are gaining momentum.

Metallics, Metals, and Minerals

All trends come back around, and the 1950s and 1970s are hot fashion trends in 2016, and this will also translate to the home. Gold and metallic finishes are exceedingly popular right now. Retro bling, shine, and polished geodes will rock your home (pun intended). Accessorize with oversized bowls of fools gold, big chunks of quartz, or even unpolished semi-precious stones turned into door pulls. Go au natural!

Chevron is Out

Herringbone, Chevron, Zig-Zag, the fun and often colorful pattern was so 2015. If you are still a fan of it, try putting it in easily removable ways, such as an area rug or throw blanket. Don’t stick it up on a large wall. Instead, try solid-colored, textured fabrics, or even animal hide is in!

Bye Brass

Brass hardware is one design element that almost immediately outdates a home. Hardware is one incredibly easy and inexpensive way to update! To replace brass hardware or other knobs, be sure to choose a size that will cover the “footprint” of whatever is currently installed. For 2016, try brushed or satin nickel hardware. Magic.

Fake Wall Treatments

Solids are back. 2016 interior design approaches emphasize authenticity. The prevalent use of natural materials (back to minerals, above) goes back to midcentury modern design. That means it may be time to get rid of the fake wall treatments such as Tuscan paint finishes and marbled columns. Use a solid paint! It’s chic, clean, and IN.

6 Smart Reasons to Buy a Home in 2016

2016

Is it really 2016 already?  For those of you who happen to be planning on buying a home in the new year—or even just trying to—there’s a whole lot to celebrate. Why? A variety of financial vectors have dovetailed to make this the perfect storm for home buyers to get out there and make an (winning) offer. Here are six home-buying reasons to be thankful while ringing in the new year:

Reason No. 1: Interest rates are still at record lows

Even though they may creep up at any moment, it’s nonetheless a fact that interest rates on home loans are at historic lows, with a 30-year fixed-rate home loan still hovering around 4%.

“Remember 18.5% in the ’80s?” asks Tom Postilio, a real estate broker with Douglas Elliman Real Estate and a star of HGTV’s “Selling New York.”“It is likely that we’ll never see interest rates this low again. So while prices are high in some markets, the savings in interest payments could easily amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage.”

Reason No. 2: Rents have skyrocketed

Another reason home buyers are lucky is that rents are going up, up, up! (This, on the other hand, is a reason not to be thankful if you’re a renter.) In fact, rents outpaced home values in 20 of the 35 biggest housing markets in 2015. What’s more, according to the2015 Rent.com Rental Market Report, 88% of property managers raised their rent in the past 12 months, and an 8% hike is predicted for 2016.

“In most metropolitan cities, monthly rent is comparable to that of a monthly mortgage payment, sometimes more,” says Heather Garriock, mortgage agent for The Mortgage Group. “Doesn’t it make more sense to put those monthly chunks of money into your own appreciating asset rather than handing it over to your landlord and saying goodbye to it forever?”

Reason No. 3: Home prices are stabilizing

For the first time in years, prices that have been climbing steadily upward are stabilizing, restoring a level playing field that helps buyers drive a harder bargain with sellers, even in heated markets.

“Local markets vary, but generally we are experiencing a cooling period,” says Postilio. “At this moment, buyers have the opportunity to capitalize on this.”

Reason No. 4: Down payments don’t need to break the bank

Probably the biggest obstacle that prevents renters from becoming homeowners is pulling together a down payment. But today, that chunk of change can be smaller, thanks to a variety of programs to help home buyers. For instance, the new Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Home Possible Advantage Program allows for a 3% down payment for credit scores as low as 620.

Reason No. 5: Mortgage insurance is a deal, too

If you do decide to put less than 20% down on a home, you are then required to have mortgage insurance (basically in case you default). A workaround to handle this, however, is to take out a loan from the Federal Housing Administration—a government mortgage insurer that backs loans with down payments as low as 3.5% and credit scores as low as 580. The fees are way down from 1.35% to 0.85% of the mortgage balance, meaning your monthly mortgage total will be significantly lower if you fund it this way. In fact, the FHA predicts this 37% annual premium cut will bring 250,000 first-time buyers into the market. Why not be one of them?

Reason No. 6: You’ll reap major tax breaks

Please, Mr. Postman Tax laws continue to favor homeowners, so you’re not just buying a place to live—you’re getting a tax break! The biggest one is that unless your home loan is more than $1 million, you can deduct all the monthly interest you are paying on that loan. Homeowners may also deduct certain home-related expenses and home property taxes.

via realtor.com

5 Real Estate Trends That Will Dominate 2016

real-estate-2016

This year may have marked the best for housing since 2007, but the market will likely get even rosier in 2016, according to a recent real estate forecast by realtor.com®. One of the main drivers behind the brighter 2016 is the projection that employment will continue to grow, which will add to consumers’ wallets and allow them to purchase their first home or upgrade to a new one.  Realtor.com® highlights the following housing predictions for 2016:

  1. ‘Normal’ is coming.

Expect a healthy growth in home sales and prices – at a slower pace than in 2015. “This slowdown is not an indication of a problem—it’s just a return to normalcy,” writes Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “We’ve lived through 15 years of truly abnormal trends, and after working off the devastating effects of the housing bust, we’re finally seeing signs of more normal conditions.” New construction and distressed sales are expected to return to more historical levels, and home prices are expected to follow at “more normal rates consistent with a more balanced market.”

  1. Generational buying trends shape up.

Young adults’ presence on the housing market has been largely predicted for years, but 2016 may finally be the year they make a move in a larger way. Millennials represented nearly 2 billion sales in 2015 – one-third of home buyers. They are expected to continue to be a major buying pool in 2016 with the majority of buyers between ages 25 and 34 expected to be first-time home buyers next year. But two other generations will also have a big presence in 2016: financially recovering GenXers and older baby boomers who are entering retirement, realtor.com® notes. “Since most of these people are already homeowners, they’ll play a double role, boosting the market as both sellers and buyers,” Smoke notes. “Gen Xers are in their prime earning years and thus able to relocate to better neighborhoods for their families. Older boomers are approaching (or already in) retirement and seeking to downsize and lock in a lower cost of living.”

  1. New-home construction focuses more on affordability.

Builders have been faced with higher land costs, limited labor, and concerns about the demand of the entry-level market. As such, they have shifted to constructing more higher-priced homes, which has caused new-home prices to rise significantly faster than existing-home prices. In 2016, they likely will shift to more affordable product to cater to the entry-level buyers. “We are already seeing a decline in new-home prices for new contracts signed this fall,” notes Smoke. “In addition, credit access is improving enough to make the first-time buyer segment more attractive to builders.”

  1. Higher mortgage rates.

Mortgage rates will likely be volatile in 2016. But the recent move by the Federal Reserve to guide interest rates higher should push mortgage rates higher in the new year than the historical lows they have been at for years. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will likely end 2016 about 60 basis points higher than today’s level. “That level of increase is manageable, as consumers will have multiple tactics to mitigate some of that increase,” Smoke says. “However, higher rates will drive monthly payments higher, and, along with that, debt-to-income ratios will also go higher.” The markets with the highest home prices will see the effects from the higher rates the most.

  1. Rents to go up even higher.

Rental costs are skyrocketing, and the costs are likely to only go up in the new year. More than 85 percent of the nation’s markets have rents that exceed 30 percent of the income of renting households. “Rents are accelerating at a more rapid pace than home prices, which are moderating,” Smoke says. “Because of this, it is more affordable to buy in more than three-quarters of the U.S. However, for the majority of renting households, buying is not a near-term option due to poor household credit scores, limited savings, and lack of documentable stable income of the kind necessary to qualify for a mortgage today.”

Source: “The 5 Real Estate Trends That Will Shape 2016,” realtor.com® (Dec. 16, 2015)

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