Multigenerational Family Homes on the Rise

Today more than 4.4 million American households that have three generations or more living under one roof. An estimated 51.4 million Americans currently live in homes with more than two generations. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, multigenerational households are a growing trend, up 30 percent between 2000 and 2010, a figure that will only continue to grow, experts say.

“We’ve seen a 25 percent increase in demand for multigenerational housing structures over the past two years and expect to see more,” said Luis Tusino, CEO of the GBI-Avis building group, which specializes in building custom modular homes.

Many families have gone to great lengths to accomodate so many generations, adding on separate wings to make their homes larger and friendlier to each family’s personal space.

Though factors such as high unemployment, a battered economy and the recent housing crisis have pushed more people into multigenerational living, studies show that it’s a trend that’s circled back from a similar era.

Housing Production Up 3.6 Percent

Building is up 3.6% in October, the highest pace of new home construction since 2008.  Recent builder surveys have showed optimism and productivity, and these numbers only confirm their predictions.  With low mortgage rates and even more attractive prices, buyers and builders are taking advantage.  Throughout the country, the market is making a slow but steady recovery.

The only bad news from the report was a 6.5 percent decrease in home sales in a post-Sandy Eastern corridor.

Understanding Stairs

Understanding Stairs

“What is there to know about stairs?” you may ask.  Stairs are actually one of the most expensive and regulated parts of constructing a home– they take up such a huge amount of space and are a complex, three dimensional shape.  They are functional and iconic, and can truly make a home interesting.

Building codes require strict construction for stairs.  Each must come with a handrail, as they are potentially very dangerous.  Handrails must be a certain size, distance from the stairs, and must be able to be grasped by a hand.  Building codes also regulate the size of the tread (the part that you walk on) and the height of risers.

There are also different designs for stairs– switchback stairs are more compact than a traditional staircase, and feature a landing.  Spiral stairs have more strict requirements.  Treads, for example, cannot be rectangular but curved.

While many think of stairs as just the entry to the second floor, stairs can actually be a major element of home design.  Putting a window near the stairwell can brighten your whole home; a tall stairwell can naturally cool your home without air conditioning.  Stairs can be a sculpture, a statement.  When imagining your perfect staircase, what do you see?

Short Term Loans for Hurricane Sandy Homes: Good Idea?

Some big banks are offering short-term loans and credit increases to help victims of Hurricane Sandy afford the repairs and changes needed to get things back to normal.

Are they worth it?

Banks such as Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America are taking into account the storm and being more lenient with their usual standards in hopes of offering more money to more people.  But just because Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast doesn’t mean that extra loans or more credit are good ideas.  Before taking any money, check with your insurance company to see what they will cover.

In some cases, FEMA will take care of rental payments for temporary emergency housing and other emergency-related costs, such as medical bills. (You can apply for coverage here.) The Small Business Administration is also offering disaster loans at low interest rates.

If you don’t already have sterling credit and little or no debt, indebting yourself to the bank might not be the best first option. However, some big banks are waiving late and overdraft fees for customers affected by the storm in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Five Most Expensive Ways Buyers and Sellers Hurt Themselves

1.  Hesitating: Instead of trying to beat the market, it’s best to think about the time that works best for you.  Once you’re ready, hesitation can mean losing out on your dream home, a willing buyer, or a great mortgage deal.

2.  Ignoring expert advice:  Many buyers spend countless hours researching who their agent will be– only to disregard the advice they receive.  They forget that experienced, local agents know more about the market and strategies for getting the best deal.

3.  Overpricing or lowballing:  While you want to get the best value for a home, sometimes overpricing or lowballing can be very costly.  Overpricing could scare away serious buyers, while lowballing could cost you the deed to the home you love.  Be reasonable and smart: sometimes what you think is the right price is very wrong.

4.  Cutting corners:  When your home needs repairs, it’s important to invest in it as if you were still living there.  Fundamental and cosmetic repairs can actually add quite a bit of value to your home, and sometimes can be worth more than the money you put in.  Poor work could be uncovered by potential buyers and scare them off.

5.  Not reading documents: When contracts come in, you’re going to be signing hundreds of times.  Make sure you understand what you are signing so there are no surprises later.