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The Impact of Homeownership on Family Health

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The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled ‘Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.’ The study confirmed a long-standing belief of most Americans:

“Owning a home embodies the promise of individual autonomy and is the aspiration of most American households. Homeownership allows households to accumulate wealth and social status, and is the basis for a number of positive social, economic, family and civic outcomes.”

Today, we want to cover the section of the report that quoted several studies concentrating on the impact homeownership has on the health of family members. Here are some of the major findings on this issue revealed in the report:

  • There is a strong positive relationship between living in poor housing and a range of health problems, including respiratory conditions such as asthma, exposure to toxic substances, injuries and mental health. Homes of owners are generally in better condition than those of renters.
  • Findings reveal that increases in housing wealth were associated with better health outcomes for homeowners.
  • Low-income people who recently became homeowners reported higher life satisfaction, higher self-esteem, and higher perceived control over their lives.
  • Homeowners report higher self-esteem and happiness than renters. For example, homeowners are more likely to believe that they can do things as well as anyone else, and they report higher self-ratings on their physical health even after controlling for age and socioeconomic factors.
  • Renters who become homeowners not only experience a significant increase in housing satisfaction but also obtain a higher satisfaction even in the same home in which they resided as renters.
  • Social mobility variables, such as the family financial situation and housing tenure during childhood and adulthood, impacted one’s self-rated health.
  • Homeowners have a significant health advantage over renters, on average. Homeowners are 2.5 percent more likely to have good health. When adjusting for an array of demographic, socioeconomic, and housing–related characteristics, the homeowner advantage is even larger at 3.1 percent.

Bottom Line

People often talk about the financial benefits of homeownership. As we can see, there are also social benefits of owning your own home.

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

8 Ways To Find Healthy Neighborhoods In Your City

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Neighborhoods that make it easy to go for a run or kick around a soccer ball could give your lifestyle a health boost.

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Your neighborhood could play a factor in your overall health. Here are some considerations to make during your house hunt.

From green space to traffic volume, the neighborhood in which you live could contribute to your health. Think about it: If your neighborhood lacks easily accessible areas for you to exercise, you’ll probably exercise less, at least outdoors. Just as the addition of playgrounds gives children a place to play, sidewalks, for example, can encourage you to get out and walk. And when you do spend time outside in your neighborhood, you’re more likely to get to know your neighbors, which adds to a feeling of community. So whether you’re shopping for a home for sale in Denver, CO, or Columbia, SC, here are some factors to weigh if a healthy neighborhood tops your list of must-haves.

1. Look for sidewalks and bike lanes

Being able to walk or bike for exercise or to conduct daily errands is good for you — plus, less traffic and air pollution means a healthier planet too. Even having access to public transportation can contribute to a healthy lifestyle, since there’s usually some walking to get to your bus stop or train station. “Safety and walkability to a vibrant mix of services, schools, and various modes of travel are keys,” says John Zinner, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Fellow with the U.S. Green Building Council.

2. Don’t underestimate a lush tree canopy

New developments often produce houses that dot every “i” and cross every “t” on most people’s home wish lists. But some new neighborhoods and developments end up with a sparse tree canopy. That’s too bad, because not only do trees often enhance property values, but they can also contribute to a healthy neighborhood. “Tree canopies cool spaces,” says Cassy Aoyagi, president of FormLA Landscaping, a California sustainable-landscaping firm. A cooler lot means your HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard in the heat of summer. Those trees can also provide shade for your outdoor pursuits. But the best part just might be that greenery in general is good for you. “Lush, green spaces have been shown to decrease stress, even mitigating symptoms of PTSD and ADHD,” Aoyagi says.

3. Look for neighborhoods with greenways, community gardens, and trails

The more access you have to nature — and nature’s bounty — the healthier you’ll probably be. “Locating a healthy neighborhood has increasingly become a must-have for many buyers,” says Danielle Schlesier, a Boston, MA, agent. “I point [buyers] toward the community parks-and-recreation website. There, they can see if there are local farmers markets, community fitness programs, greenway trail maps, and dog parks available.” Another great tool to locate your favorite healthy amenities is the Live Well layer in Trulia Maps.

4. Observe neighborhood social connections and activity level

Having a sense of security and even happiness comes with being able to socialize with your neighbors. Visit the neighborhood you’re considering at various times of day to see if people are out and about. Are neighbors chatting out front? Jogging on neighborhood streets? Out walking their dogs or playing with the kids? All of these are positive signs that a neighborhood has a thriving, active, and close-knit community.

5. Scout out parks, sports courts, and places to play

The healthiest neighborhoods offer variety and versatility when it comes to recreation and active living. In addition to nature exploration resources like trails and greenways, look for neighborhoods that offer tennis or basketball courts, playgrounds, parks, fitness centers, and pools. You may have to pay for these extra amenities through homeowners’ association (HOA) fees, membership requirements, or simply higher home prices, but the ability to easily diversify your workouts can lead to greater health and fitness.

6. Go to a neighborhood association meeting

Mark your calendar for the next meeting of the neighborhood association or HOA in the areas you’re considering. In addition to meeting your potential neighbors, you could get an inside look at neighborhood concerns (such as safety issues or traffic congestion) and find out about future construction or plans for enhancements. You’ll also get a sense of how close-knit the community is. An active, positive group of neighbors working to continually improve their neighborhood can clue you in on future healthy upgrades coming to a neighborhood. Plus, if you’re trying to narrow down your options, going to a few of these meetings could help you decide where you’ll really feel at home.

7. Consider traffic volume

Limited traffic, both in volume and speed, can contribute to a healthy neighborhood. But what makes high traffic unhealthy, exactly? Noise, for one. The more traffic there is and the faster cars travel, the noisier the environment, which can affect your sleep and stress levels. There’s that pesky little pollution issue, for another. Plus, longer commutes due to higher traffic volumes can decrease your overall quality of life. Check what your possible commute could look like using the Commute layer in Trulia Maps.

8. Check to see if healthy essentials are within walking distance

Healthy neighborhoods incorporate plenty of ways to be active, but they also have essential services nearby, such as day care centers, pharmacies, doctors’ offices, a hospital, and urgent care. Easy access to affordable, nutritious food from supermarkets or farmers markets is important too — it’s even been associated with less obesity. And give your future new neighborhood bonus points if any of these essentials are within walking distance!

 

Posted by Laura Agadoni on Trulia

 

 

Easy and Inexpensive Ways to Fix Up Your Home Like a Flipper

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Flipping homes is a thrill, but don’t forget your own home’s potential. Enjoy that new-home feeling again with these simple tips.

If you’re anything like me, you may find that it’s all too easy to get caught up in the rush of flipping houses. I’ll admit — buying an old house, fixing it up, and flipping it for a profit is pretty exciting. But if you get too distracted by flipping houses, it’s easy to let your own home fall by the wayside.

While profitable remodeling projects can be more tempting to work on, you can still benefit from tackling projects in your own home. Remodeling your home will not only up its value, but also improve the way you feel about it. After all, who wouldn’t love to cook in a newly remodeled kitchen?

Here are five easy, inexpensive projects that will really make a difference in how you feel about your home.

Add a new coat of paint

Whether you decide to paint your kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom (or all three!), a coat of paint can instantly transform the look and feel of a room. The best part about painting your own home is that you don’t have to stick to neutrals, because you aren’t trying to attract any buyers.

If you’ve been dying to paint your kitchen red or your bathroom blue, then do it! This is your chance to paint your home the colors that make you happy.

Refresh your kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most used rooms in a home, so it should be one of the first rooms you remodel. And unless you moved into a brand-new home where you were able to design your kitchen from scratch, chances are there are a few things you’ve been eager to change.

If you’re lucky enough to have nice wood cabinets, don’t worry about replacing them. A splash of paint and some new hardware can work wonders and make your kitchen look brand new, without having to spend hundreds on new cabinets.

The same goes for laminate or wood countertops. There are plenty of DIY kits you can buy to transform your countertops for a fraction of the cost.

A new backsplash is also an inexpensive way to add some life to your kitchen — plus it’s a cinch to install.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Install new doorknobs, faucets, and light fixtures

While they are probably the easiest feature to overlook, new doorknobs and fixtures can make a huge difference in a room. Depending on the type of doorknobs you purchase, and considering that most homes have quite a few knobs, the price can add up pretty quickly.

If you don’t have the time or money to replace all your doorknobs at once, work on replacing just a couple every month, starting with the most obvious ones.

Faucets can get pretty expensive as well, especially if you want to replace them in both your kitchen and bathroom(s). If you want to save some money, I recommend searching online or heading to the clearance section of your local home improvement store.

If you’re lucky, you can find great deals on some beautiful faucets. Replacing all your faucets at once might not be feasible, so don’t be afraid to take your time with this project. Before you know it, you’ll be able to enjoy the luxury of attractive faucets in all your rooms.

As for light fixtures, you may already have fixtures that you like, but they just need a color update. Instead of buying new fixtures, grab a can of spray paint and go to town. It’s amazing what a difference a $3 can of spray paint can make!

Revive your bathroom

A coat of paint, wainscoting, and a fresh shower curtain and linens are all super easy ways to instantly transform your old and tired bathroom.

If you’re feeling a bit more ambitious, you could even replace the flooring or change up the vanity. Getting ready in the mornings will be that much more enjoyable if you can do so in a beautiful bathroom.

Photo from Zillow listing.

Boost your curb appeal

While it’s always satisfying to remodel the interior of your home, you don’t want to forget about the exterior. Fortunately, there are a couple of simple changes you can make to really boost your home’s curb appeal.

If you can’t afford to replace the front door, try painting it instead. A new porch light fixture, house numbers, and a mailbox can also make a huge difference for your home’s exterior.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to stop coming up with excuses. Go fix up those kitchen cabinets that you’ve hated since you moved in!

 

Posted by Christina El Moussa on Zillow

Do You Know the Real Cost of Renting vs. Buying? [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Some Highlights:

  • Historically, the choice between renting or buying a home has been a close decision.
  • Looking at the percentage of income needed to rent a median-priced home today (30%), vs. the percentage needed to buy a median-priced home (15%), the choice becomes obvious.
  • Every market is different. Before you renew your lease again, find out if you could use your housing costs to own a home of your own!

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

10 Fabulous (And Real) Front Doors

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Who wouldn’t feel welcomed by this cherry red front door?

Ornately carved, brightly painted, or gleaming in glass, each of these stunning doors makes a bold design statement.

A front door is a home’s first chance to make a good impression. And if you’ve ever asked your real estate agent to skip past a showing appointment because of a house’s unwelcoming exterior, you’ve noticed firsthand just how important curb appeal really is. These 10 homes for sale on Trulia all boast pretty portals — the perfect inspiration for your personal home search.

Cowabunga(low): $414,999, 3009 Elizabeth St., Bellingham, WA 98225

A tangle of grapevines on twin trellises adds curb appeal to this craftsman bungalow in Bellingham, WA. The two-bedroom, one-bathroom home is already as cute as a button, with its cranberry-red front door and a location along one of the city’s lesser-trafficked roads. Built in 1926, the charmer has been modernized with a keyless entry, hardwood and tile floors, a subway-tiled kitchen with recessed lighting, and an open floor plan that makes the most of the bungalow’s 1,150 square feet. The master bedroom opens to the large, private fenced yard.

Making waves in Carolina: $539,000, 1031 Bennet Lane, Carolina Beach, NC 28428

Just a seashell’s throw from the coast, this contemporary on a cul-de-sac welcomes guests with a front door painted a happy shade of sunshine. The door’s skinny windows provide a peek at who’s outside, but a fuller view is offered by the high-tech doorbell, which is loaded with a camera and an intercom. After guests identify themselves, they’ll cross a threshold into a 3,071-square-foot space that’s flooded with natural light, from the quartz-bedecked modern kitchen to the ground-floor home gym. But if you ever choose to venture out for a workout, you’ll have easy access to the Carolina Beach Fitness Loop.

Smooth around the edges: $765,000, 3019 E. Bonanza Road, Gilbert, AZ 85297

This 3,637-square-foot residence in Gilbert, AZ, sits about 20 miles southeast of Phoenix. The home welcomes guests with a circular brick driveway that’s echoed in a colossal arched front door. The wood- and stone-adorned interior features more curved lines. Arched doorways create a sense of grandeur within the already-stately residence, while an arched portico shades the poolside patio. Fun fact: The ceiling of the home takes inspiration from a villa in southern Mexico and contains 234 Saltillo tiles between the wooden beams.

A pivot(al) moment in the desert: $825,000, 24 W. Linger Lane, Phoenix, AZ 85021

Ever heard of a pivot door? Here’s a crash course: A pivot door is mounted using a set of pins in lieu of a traditional hinge. The pins are set in the top and bottom of the door frame, not the side, which allows for a better weight distribution and enables the (generally larger-than-usual) door to swing both in and out. With its clean lines and architectural flair, a pivot door lends itself to modern design. That’s probably why one was custom-built for this contemporary home in north-central Phoenix, just a few miles from downtown. The frosted glass-and-metal door hints at the 3,168-square-foot stunner’s airy feel. The fully remodeled home is heavy on glass and organic materials like wood and marble.

Verona by way of South Jersey: $849,000, 283 E. Kings Highway, Audubon, NJ 08106

Supported by a quartet of columns, this home sits just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, PA. A Juliet balcony offers views of a tree-lined, residential street in South Jersey. Underneath, a pendant light illuminates two leaded-glass doors that hint at what’s to come: a center-hall Colonial with a decidedly traditional aesthetic. The foyer greets guests with a curved staircase and a glimpse at the four-bedroom home’s double-height living room, complete with a black marble fireplace and a 20-foot-high coffered ceiling. Custom moldings and trim can be found throughout the home’s 3,704 square feet.

A modern-day Hobbit house: $925,000, 3395 SE Hidden Valley Way, Olalla, WA 98359

The front walkway might lead you to believe you’re entering another time and place, but be assured that this modern-day Hobbit house is in Olalla, WA — about 20 minutes southwest of Seattle. Built in 1982, the home welcomes you inside through handmade wooden doors with extensive ironwork. With four bedrooms and 2,800 square feet, the charming cottage lures buyers in with a rarely encountered selling feature: a complete lack of right angles. Those rounded corners contribute to the home’s quirky charm, which borrows a page from the storybooks with stained-glass windows, stone fireplaces, hand-carved wood beams, and rounded doorways. Frodo, are you in there?

Ahead of the carve: $3.1 million, 44 Beech Hill Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583

Standing guard in a display of glass and ornately carved wood, twin front doors mark the entrance to this 6,500-square-foot residence in the posh Beech Hill neighborhood of Scarsdale, NY. Loving the doors’ medieval vibe? You’re in luck: This place is full of it, thanks to the previous owner’s penchant for woodwork. You’ll see it in the home’s coffered ceilings, tigerwood floors, decorative mantels, and mahogany elevator. Besides four bedrooms, a heated garage, and a showstopping garden, this home features a top-notch chef’s kitchen and a Mediterranean-inspired wine cellar.

Sliding in from the slopes: $3.9 million, 14235 Mountainside Way #6, Truckee, CA 96161

Whether you enter from the road through an all-wood door or kick off your skis and head in through the glass slope-side door, you’ll be entranced by this home’s mountain-modern design. You can’t get much closer to the mountains than this 3,450-square-foot modern marvel. With direct access to the Northstar California ski resort, it’s cantilevered over a ski run. Inside, the alpine abode boasts four bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms. Plus, those floor-to-ceiling windows offer uncompromised views of the surrounding mountain peaks. Once the skis come off, you can thaw out in the home’s private hot tub or beside the fire pit, or head to the community lodge for a dip in the pool.

Champagne taste in the Sunshine State: $3.95 million, 7035 Greentree Drive, Naples, FL 34108

The owners of this 3,032-square-foot home, steps from the white-sand beaches of Naples, FL, took a no-expenses-spared approach during its 2016 remodel. The white-hot interior was outfitted with custom cabinetry and top-notch Wolf appliances in the gourmet kitchen and Italian porcelain plank floors throughout. Out back, a brand-new saltwater pool and outdoor kitchen offer a private oasis. The arched front door follows suit: Its ornate design was custom-made using luxurious mahogany. The surrounding community offers plenty of options for further relaxation, including a 570-acre nature preserve, exclusive-access beaches, a fitness center and wellness studio, and a cultural center.

Calm, cool, and collected: $7.145 million, 1900 Sabal Palm Drive, Boca Raton, FL 33432

You’ll be the first to live in this new, 9,650-square-foot estate in Boca Raton, FL. Its futuristic facade is marked by massive, marine-grade steel double doors. Enter and find an open floor plan with all the markings of modern design: clean lines, abundant glass and metal, and a so-cold-it’s-hot neutral color scheme. The huge retracting windows in the living room help redirect some of the focus from the 12-foot-long linear fire feature to the view. (This six-bedroom home sits just beyond the first fairway of the world-class Royal Palm golf course.) Fore!

Posted by Julie Davis on Trulia

The Great News About Rising Prices for Homeowners

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Recently there has been a lot of talk about home prices and if they are accelerating too quickly. As we mentioned before, in some areas of the country, seller supply (homes for sale) cannot keep up with the number of buyers out looking for a home, which has caused prices to rise.

The great news about rising prices, however, is that according to CoreLogic’s US Economic Outlook, the average American household gained over $11,000 in equity over the course of the last year, largely due to home value increases.

The map below was created using the same report from CoreLogic and shows the average equity gain per mortgaged home from June 2015 to June 2016 (the latest data available).

For those who are worried that we are doomed to repeat 2006 all over again, it is important to note that homeowners are investing their new-found equity in their homes and themselves, not in depreciating assets.

The added equity is helping families put their children through college, invest in starting small businesses, allowing them to pay off their mortgage sooner or move up to the home that will better suit their needs now.

Bottom Line

CoreLogic predicts that home prices will appreciate by another 5% by this time next year. If you are a homeowner looking to take advantage of your home equity by moving up to your dream home, contact an agent in your area to discuss your options!

 

Posted by The KCM Crew

Live Happily Ever After: Creating a Fairy Tale Interior

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Once upon a time, there was a home that captured storybook allure with luxe fabrics and delicate details.

Pretty accessories, elegant touches, and finishes fit for a king all combine to create a fairy tale interior. From delicate pastel palettes to chic chandeliers, this sweet and sophisticated style is dreamy, decadent and perfect for any home.

Twinkle twinkle

Pretty statement pendant lights and elegant tableside fixtures create the perfect amount of illumination for a fairy tale interior. Create this look with layered lighting: choose a sophisticated statement pendant and complement it with dimmed floor lamps or bedside lighting.

Glass, nickel, and high-gloss finishes are all princely illumination options, and work perfectly in the master bedroom, dining and living areas.

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Photo from Zillow listing.

Powdery pastels

Create a space straight out of a storybook with soft and lustrous pastel colors throughout the room. Choose a satin-finish paint for the walls in a soft white or powdery gray, and add plush upholstered pieces in muted neutrals for additional elegance.

Top off the look with airy drapery and linens, and soft, tufted textures throughout.

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Courtesy of AdamHunterInc.

Enchanted embellishment

One of the most beloved characteristics of fairy tale interiors is their decadence and grandeur. From crown molding to ornate coving and ceiling medallions, fairy tale style is nothing short of sophisticated.

For your own enchanted space, consider adding molding. Moldings add shape and dimension to a room, lending an opulent feel to the design.

Accessorize the room with ultra-feminine furniture and velvety fabrics topped with masculine elements like fur and metal fixtures.

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Photo from Zillow listing.

Plenty of sophisticated touches can be added for your own personal pampering. Ornate fireplaces, cozy curtains, textured tapestries and delicate details all add their own fairy tale flair. Four-poster beds covered in sensual fabrics, vintage throws, and tufted pillows create decadence, while calming colors create a restful haven.

Combine your favorite fairy tale elements to create an ambiance perfect for a beloved storybook character. Bring the look into modern-day design with transitional elements, or keep it classic by playing up its old-fashioned appeal.

Posted by Kerrie Kelly on Zillow