Archive | April 2012

Investing in Real Estate

The federal Real Estate Owned Rental Initiative took its first step on February 1st of this year when the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that investors could begin pre-qualifying for the upcoming bulk sales of real estate–owned (REO) properties belonging to Fannie Mae.

Then, a few weeks later, Freddie Mac declared that it is in the early stages of developing its first ever multifamily loan product, which could help clear single-family inventory by increasing the number of investors who qualify to purchase the bulk REO properties held by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Although this information is great news for investors looking to buy some distressed property, Freddie and Fannie have remained tight-lipped about the potential financing for transactions under the REO initiative, leaving room for speculation about the types of deals available for investors.

“Investors will be able to offer higher up-front prices for the homes if attractive financing is available, which in turn will act as a stabilizer for the market as a whole,” said Thomas Shapiro, president of GTIS Partners, in an interview with Businessweek.

A big consideration for determining where and what type of properties to buy is geographic concentration.  Areas with growing economies and attractive percentage yields are great for buying single-family property while other areas, such as Phoenix, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Chicago, and southern Florida are better suited for multi-family investment purchases.

Concerns do exist that investing in single-family property pools that are too geographically spread out will create management problems.  Mismanaging these rentals could make an even bigger mess out of our already struggling housing sector.

Plus, a Federal Reserve white paper released on January 4th stipulates that “not all of these REO properties are good candidates for rental properties, even in geographic markets with sufficient scale.  Some properties are badly damaged, in low-demand locations, or otherwise low value.”

Although it hasn’t been officially announced, it’s rumored that Freddie Mac’s program won’t be as restrictive as Fannie’s bulk-only sale. It’s believed Freddie will allow investors to use a variety of methods to purchase specific REO single-family homes within an asset pool.  And the consensus seems to be that injecting some health back into the single-family sector will only strengthen the metro housing market in general.

The bottom line, investing in real estate right now is a great investment.  Now it is just a matter of what type of property you are looking to invest in and where you are looking to invest.

Multi-Family Executive contributed to this story.

Paint Color Psychology

Color consultants, designers and researchers have spent years studying the effect of color on mood, behavior and even productivity at work.  Fortunately, it is a lot less scientific when it comes to making decisions about color in your own homes.  Instead of conducting polls and studying charts, we can pick colors by tapping into our personal experiences and style.
To get started, let’s go over some of the basic colors and some of the emotions that can be attributed to those colors when Elite Home Remodeling paints them in your home.
  • Red: high energy, powerful, sometimes angry, it makes your heart beat faster.
  • Orange: social, joyful, extroverted, happy.
  • Yellow: optimism, clarity.
  • Green: color of nature, balance, peace.
  • Blue: restful, calm, deeply relaxing, beneficial for sleep.
  • Purple: creativity, intuition

This list is purely a generalization.  Every color means something different to everyone else but for the most part, these descriptions hold true to almost everyone.

Now that you know a little bit of the psychology behind each color, it is time to take a look at the psychology behind each one of your rooms.  Grab a pen and a piece of paper for this exercise.  First, write down every room in your home.  Then, next to each room, describe the feeling that you have in that room and then describe the feeling that you want in that room.  If the feeling that you have and the feeling that you want are the same then you are all set.  No need to paint.  However, if your emotions are different, it is time  for a fresh coat of paint.

For those rooms that gave you a different emotion than you wanted, the fix is simple.  Choose one of the colors that best matches that emotion and your room will get a major psychological makeover.  Even though the only thing in the room that changed was the paint, the paint will make a major difference.

Take a look at some of the pictures below and try to describe some of the feelings that you get when you are in that room.

Paint Colors

Paint Colors 

Paint Colors

Paint Colors

Paint Colors
Paint Colors
The look and feel of each of these rooms is completely different.  Next time you want Elite Home Remodeling to paint your home, think about the feelings you want to have in that room and then pick your paint color.

Remodeling on a Budget

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need loads of cash to remodel or renovate your house.  There are plenty of projects that Elite Home Remodeling can do for you without breaking the bank.

A great way to update a boring laundry room or mud room is to add a built-in bench, some new shelves or some beadboard paneling.  These great additions will not only provide plenty of organizational and storage space, but you will get plenty of new design elements out of a once boring room.

Elite Home Remodeling - Northern Virginia Kitchen Renovations

In the kitchen, upper cabinets are a great way to increase the amount of storage space.  Having taller upper cabinets allows you to not only store more things in your kitchen, but it will also make your room look taller which in turn gives your kitchen more value.  Another great tip for your kitchen remodeling project is to refinish or reface your existing cabinets.  This is a small fix that can make your kitchen look brand new.  Plus, doing something as simple as changing the cabinet door hardware can give your kitchen a new style.

If you are looking to do some work in your dining room, a great and less expensive way to improve the look of the room is to add some chair railing and wainscoting.  Keep the profiles of these trim features low and you will be surprised at just how affordable they really are.

Elite Home Remodeling - Renovating on a Budget - Northern Virginia

Sometimes staying flexible is the secret to renovation success.  No matter what room you are looking to remodel, always be on the lookout for discounted materials and fixtures at specialty stores.  This is a great way to keep the overall cost of your projects down.  Even ask your contractor if they have any leftover materials from previous jobs that they can use on your job.

Just because you are on a budget, does not mean you have to sacrifice style and elegance in your new renovations.  Keep searching for unique and creative solutions and you can have a great looking home.  Be sure to call Elite Home Remodeling to find out how we can serve you today!

The Benefits of a Sustainable Home

Sustainability.  Green.  Environmentally friendly.  Energy Star.  LEED.  These are all terms used to describe construction and remodeling practices and materials that allow us to provide a better world for future generations.  Sound too mushy-mushy for you?  Well, look at it this way, the more you know about these practices the more money you could be saving (and even making!)

LEED for Homes

The multifamily sector could save almost $3.4 billion annually, nationwide, on energy costs with a full expansion of efficient upgrades, according to a new report from the Washington, D.C.–based American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and Chicago-based think tank CNT Energy.  The report details how energy expenditures increased by 10.6% from 2005 to 2009 but many property managers have been able to reduce their energy bills by 20% or more by implementing energy-saving measures.

In case you didn’t get that last paragraph, let me sum it up for you: using sustainable practices allowed for home owners and property managers to use more energy while spending less money.  Yes, you should be buying into sustainable practices right now.

Both older and new homes can benefit from sustainable features.  In fact, the older your house, the more you will benefit from update your fixtures and materials to sustainable ones.  Some easy fixes on energy efficient include installing energy-efficient light bulbs, reducing hot-water consumption, replacing old refrigerator models and adding extra insulation to attics and basements to prevent energy loss.

Compact Flourescent Light Bulb

Still think updating your fixtures and materials to sustainable ones isn’t worth your while?  Think again.  Local utility companies will actually pay you if your home produces more energy than it takes in.  Yes, you read that correctly.  You can effectively turn your monthly electric bill into a monthly electric income stream.

The great part about sustainability and energy efficiency is that everyone wins.  The environment wins because you need to use less natural resources to perform the same tasks you normally would.  Your children and grandchildren win because they will be able to live in a world that isn’t depleted of its natural resources.  And mostly importantly, your wallet will win because you will be saving – and possibly even making – money in the long term.

Make sure to give Elite Home Remodeling a call today to find out how you can update your home into a better, more sustainable home.

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