No More Loan Limits for VA Loans: What This Means for Veterans (Hooray!)

There is a lot to be thankful for this holiday season especially for members of the military on active duty and veterans hoping to buy a home a more expensive home.

Starting next year, they’ll be able to take out Veterans Affairs–backed mortgages as large as their bank accounts will allow.

This is thanks to the Blue Water Navy Veterans Act of 2019; -veterans will be able to buy larger homes in pricier communities without having to put down a cent. However, they must still qualify for their mortgage and be able to afford the monthly payments.

Kyle Reed, an Austin Texas based Realtor stated “It gives the veterans the opportunity to buy homes in the areas they want to be in. It opens up some areas in cities to VA loans … that maybe veterans didn’t have access to before without putting a bunch of money down.”

VA loans up until now, were capped at different amounts across the country. For example, borrowers could take out more in ultra -pricey cities like San Francisco than in Detroit, where homes cost a whole lot less. As long as they stayed within those boundaries they could get a mortgage with a 0% down payment. But if they exceeded those limits, they had to put down 25% of the difference. The change goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Mike Villano of the Veterans Lending Group near Seattle Washington stated “There’s not a lot of VA buyers who are buying these very high-dollar homes, but there are some; however there’s a lot of places where these folks go and serve, and it’s very expensive.”

The problem is that not all lenders are likely to be comfortable making huge loans without imposing a few restrictions of their own. The VA typically backs up to 25% of a VA loan. So banks, credit unions, and other loan makers are likely to set up some internal rules (usually called layers) to protect against defaults.  Some lenders require higher credit scores or debt-to-income ratios to qualify for the loans. And some lenders may even impose their own caps on how much money borrowers can take out.

In addition, mortgage lenders pointed out that the limitless loans will apply only to a borrower’s primary home. That can be problematic for those on active duty, who might buy a home near their base, get stationed somewhere else, and then choose to buy a second home in that location while renting out the first.

Plus if they already have a VA loan on another property, they can’t get the full perks of the loan on a second one. This means they may be on the hook for a down payment or can qualify for only a smaller loan for their new abode. “It would really help a lot of families if they could retain their current home and still be able to purchase at their new duty station with no cap,” says Villano.  Maybe down the road the rules will be modified to include second homes.

If you want a VA loan (or any kind of mortgage), I have a few great lenders I would be happy to introduce you to!

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want 3 cash offers? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

A Christmas Tradition – The Nutcracker

The ladies in my home have been attending this show annually for over 10 years. I have attended myself a couple of time. The Nutcracker Ballet is based on the story “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” written by E.T.A. Hoffman.  Although what is seen on the stage today is different in detail from the original story, the basic plot remains the same. The story of a young German girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a Mouse King with seven heads.

It is Christmas Eve at the Stahlbaum house — A large and grand house with the most beautiful tree imaginable.  The Stahlbaums are hosting their annual Christmas party, welcoming the arrival of their family and friends.  The children, Clara and Fritz, are dancing and playing as they welcome their friends too.

The party grows festive with music and dance as godfather Drosselmeyer arrives.  He is a skilled clock and toy maker and always full of surprises. Drosselmeyer draws everyone’s attention as he presents two life-size dolls.  They are the delight of the party, each taking a turn to dance.

The children begin to open gifts when Drosselmeyer presents his to Clara and Fritz.  Although his gift to Fritz is quite nice, he gives Clara a beautiful Nutcracker that  becomes the hit of the party.  Fritz becomes jealous and, having a lot of spunk he grabs the nutcracker from Clara and promptly breaks it.  Clara is heartbroken looking on as Drosselmeyer quickly repairs the Nutcracker with a handkerchief he magically draws from the air.

As the evening grows late, the guests depart and the Stahlbaum family retires for the evening.  Clara, worried about her beloved Nutcracker, sneaks back to the tree to check on him, falling asleep with him in her arms.

As the clock strikes midnight strange things begin to happen.  Clara begins shrinking as her beautiful Christmas tree grows high above her.  The toys around the tree come to life while the room fills with an army of mice, led by the fierce Mouse King.  As the Nutcracker awakens, he leads his army of toy soldiers into battle with the mice.  The Mouse King corners the Nutcracker and battles him one-on-one.  The Nutcracker seems to be no match for the Mouse King.

The Nutcracker and his army can go on no longer and are captured by the mice and their King.  Clara in a final daring charge throwing her slipper at the Mouse King, hitting him square on the head.  The Mouse King drops to the floor and the mice run away, carrying off their leader’s lifeless body.

Then begins the dream sequences – The Nutcracker turns into a Prince and takes Clara on a journey to the Land of Snow, an enchanted forest wonderland  where they are welcomed by dancing snowflakes.  After the Land of Snow, Clara and the Prince go to the Land of Sweets where they are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy.  The Prince tells her about their daring battle with the army of mice and she rewards them with a celebration of dances. At a finale, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier dance a beautiful Pas De Deux.

The Nevada Ballet Theatre version is choreographed by James Canfield is a magical trip through a larger than life world filled with waltzing flowers, nimble fairies, and moonlit snow.   The music is by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.  The ballet is at the Smith Center from December 13, – December 24, 2019.  For tickets click here http://bit.ly/344KPdR

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want 3 cash offers? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Deadline Approaching –The Summerlin Annual Toy Drive Needs your Help (sooner than you might think)

 

We all want to put a smile on a kids face especially during the holidays. So now is the time to do just that. The annual Summerlin Toy Drive is back this year – giving toys to underprivileged kids for the holidays and bringing a little joy to everyone. The unwrapped new toys must be dropped off by the end of the day on December 13.

Before you read any further, to ensure that we get the most donations possible, here are 2 ways I will make it even easier for you to help;

  1. If you bought toys at the grocery store or online, and you live in Summerlin, I will pick up the toys from you.
  2. If you want to help financially, and don’t have time to shop, then I will accept donations of money and or gift cards and I will go shopping on December 12th and deliver those as well!

Or… the community will be accepting UNWRAPPED new toys at the following locations:

Downtown Summerlin Concierge – In the breezeway of One Summerlin from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Las Vegas Ballpark: 1650 S. Pavilion Center Drive (main office on Oval Park Drive under the “K” in Ballpark); 702-943-7240; open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Summerlin Corporate office: 10845 Griffith Peak Drive, Suite 160, 89135; 702-791-4000; open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Summerlin HOA South: 2115 Festival Plaza Drive, Suite 220, 89135; open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Summerlin HOA North: 2120 Snow Trail, 89124; open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Ridges Custom Homesite Sales Center — 11277 Marble Ridge Drive, 89135; 702-255-2500; open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m

This toy drive is organized by the Howard Hughes Corp. – the developer of the master-planned community of Summerlin. According to Tom Warden, senior vice president of Community and Government Relations for Summerlin stated “Our community’s response to this effort is historically strong and we expect this year to be no different”.  Summerlin’s toy drive is in conjunction with Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly’s initiative to ensure every child living in Southern Nevada has a gift for the holidays.

So don’t be a Grinch and if you can only afford ONE toy just think of the smile you will be bringing to one kids face.  I love supporting the Summerlin community and especially organizations that help kids, and I hope you’ll join me this year.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want 3 cash offers? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

How Long Will It Last? – Life Expectancy of Major Systems & Appliances

The following list of appliances and major systems and their life expectancy comes from a respected home inspector NOT a manufacturer.  A home inspector sees hundreds of appliances and systems like a heater system or an air conditioning system and will tell you the realistic life of your systems and appliances.  Of course, home inspectors do not have a crystal ball and there can be unforeseen circumstances that occur so the life expectancy just that… what we expect.

1.  Smoke detectors and Carbon monoxide detectors: Most smoke detectors should be replaced every ten years and carbon monoxide detectors are replaced every seven years. Of course batteries should be replaced every 6 months.

2.  Refrigerators: The rule here is: If your refrigerator is more than 15 years old, it is so inefficient compared to modern day refrigerators that it should be replaced. A 10-year old refrigerator consumes twice the amount of energy as a modern day Energy-Star rated model.

3.   HVAC: In Las Vegas we don’t have separate furnace (heating) and air conditioning systems. Its all-in-one: Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning. A well-maintained HVAC system will last many years. Well maintained includes changing filters in a regular, consistent, and timely manner and having the units serviced semi-annually. Air conditioner components will fail long before furnace issues occur. The average life expectancy for air conditioning systems is 10 – 15 years. Heating systems will generally last 20 – 30 years. Newer units with SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) of 14- 16 SEER are more than 25% more efficient and consume more than 25% less electricity than a 10 SEER unit.

4.  Water Heater: A water heater maintained in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations is supposed to last 8 – 12 years. This generally means that the tank is drained and flushed of sediment twice a year. People rarely do this. Sediment build-up in the tank causes uneven heating in the tank, metal fatigue, and that’s what often causes premature failure. Lowering the temperature reduces the effects of the uneven heating and can prolong life.

5.  Water Softeners: The life expectancy of water softeners varies greatly. The general life expectancy is 8 – 10 years. The less expensive off-the-shelf units often don’t last long and the high end models can operate well for over 20 years.  

6.  Clothes Washers: When maintained and cleaned in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations, washers generally have a life expectancy of 8-12 years.

7.  Clothes Dryers: Clothes dryers have a life expectancy of 8 – 10 years. Excessive heat greatly contributes to failure of dryers. Excessive heat is often the result of inadequate airflow. Inadequate airflow occurs when the vent becomes clogged. It’s very important to clean the dryer vent no less than biannually.

 

8.   Dishwashers: A well maintained and cleaned dishwasher may last – 10 years. When they do need to be replaced, replacement Energy-Star dishwashers are often more energy efficient and consume less water.

9.  Refrigerator and Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water Filters: The life expectancy of water filters and RO cartridges varies dependent on usage. Refrigerator filters should be changed no less than every 6 months. RO filters should be changed once per year at a minimum.

10.  Roof’s: Concrete tile roofing is designed to last 50 years. This does not mean that the roof is maintenance-free. A licensed Roofing Contractor should review the roof every 3 – 5 years to repair / replaced wind-damaged tiles and to renew the mineral flashing. A well-maintained composition shingle roof has a life expectancy of approximately 20 years.

11. Range / Oven: Life expectancy of these components differs depending on whether it is gas or electric. Gas ranges / ovens seem to have a slightly longer life expectancy, one of the longest life expectancy appliances in the home. Gas range ovens typical last 15 – 18 years. Electric ones typically last approximately 9 – 12 years.

12. Microwave ovens: With microwave ovens, built-in microwave ovens seem to have a longer life expectancy, 9 – 12 years, than the countertop units, 5 – 7 years.

Of course, the life expectancy of any appliance is greatly influenced by the amount of use it receives and how well it is maintained. To achieve maximum life expectancy of any appliance or component they should be maintained in accordance with manufacturer’ recommendations. You may fully expect to have maintenance costs along the way. These figures provided are generalities and should not be considered set in stone.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

 

 

 

Power Surges – Myth or Reality?

A couple of year ago, I was in one of my furnished rental properties, when suddenly (and seemingly for no reason) the lights all got very bright, then burned out and it suddenly smelled like an electrical fire. It turns out, the house had a huge power surge! For some reason, one of the TV’s had a good surge protector, and the other had none at all. Well, as you can probably guess, we had to replace 1 TV, along with the microwave & stove, and several light bulbs. For some reason the washer and dryer were fine. Power surges can wipe out TVs, video games, appliances and many more electronic devices.  This is nothing new – power surges have been in our lives since the invention of electricity, and most of them are more subtle.  However, it is more of a concern these days due to our increased use of electronics.

Basically a power surge is a spike in your home’s electrical current. The spike is very brief, usually lasting less than a thousandth of a second, but it can still cause damage to your anything that is plugged in.

Be certain not to confuse power strips with surge protectors! They look very similar; however, a surge protector will have those words on the box along with a rating in joules!  Essentially, more joules equal better protection, as this means the device can handle one large surge, or multiple smaller surges, before your gear is in danger. Over time, the parts inside the protector wear down, reducing its effectiveness, so you probably want to replace them from time to time… especially the ones hooked up to your most expensive electronics. They are the easiest and least expensive fix for properties with circuit breakers built in.  If you want more protection, consider that phone and cable lines can carry power spikes too. Some surge protectors have connectors for these as well. Many surge protector models will light a warning lamp if the outlet into which they’re plugged isn’t properly grounded. Most do-it-yourself and hardware stores also sell inexpensive circuit testers that are simply plugged into outlets to confirm that circuits are grounded properly.

Also you can install a whole house surge protector at your electrical panel.  I would advise you to have a licensed electrician set this up for you.  This installation will likely cost between $300 to $500. This will monitor electrical spikes and dissolve them safely into the ground before they can do any damage.

During holiday time it’s a good idea to plug in any lights you use in decorating to a surge protector. Has this every happened to you? Share your story below!

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

What type of Homes are Trending with Millennials?

Did you know that Millennials actually make up a considerable part of the economy?   Their economic strength as a group seems to be growing every day. As of 2019, Millennials are making up approximately 37 percent of home buyers… even more than the Baby Boomers!  So what exactly are these Millennials buying, and what trends are growing along with their increasing representation in the market? Let’s find out.

First-Time Buyers – About 52 percent of Millennials who are buying homes are first-time home buyers. This makes sense for younger Millennials, but even older Millennials who were born in the 80s are also first-time buyers. Before buying, a large number of these Millennials were renting homes. By buying homes, they can enjoy the benefits of ownership and build equity for similar amounts (or in some cases, less) than they were paying each month in rent previously.

Family Homes -The majority of home-buying Millennials are buying single-family homes. This is in part because over 50 percent of them are either married or in long-term relationships.  This is interesting – in 2018 there were more married couples among home-buying Millennials than there were in any other generational group that was in the market for a house. A significant number of Millennials also have children under the age of 18 living at home, which increases the need for a family-friendly home.

Motivation to Buy – The majority of Millennials who have bought homes within the last year did so simply because they wanted to own a home of their own – and stop paying rent . Some wanted to own a larger home, be closer to friends and family or were moving due to job relocation, but the general desire to own a home was listed as a reason for buying. A lot of this came down to the opportunities that were presented; over 50 percent of Millennials report that it was “just the right time” to buy a home, while the second most common reason (that they didn’t have much choice and had to buy when they did) was only reported by around 10 to 15 percent of Millennials.

Back to the Suburbs – One big trend among Millennial home buyers is that they were buying homes in the suburbs. This wasn’t restricted only to Millennials; 51 percent of all homes purchased in 2018 were located in suburban areas or subdivisions. The Millennials fell pretty close to this statistic, with small towns being the second most common location. The majority of the homes Millennials purchased were previously owned.  The Millennials as a group are not moving into newly built subdivisions.

 

Biggest Factors – There are a number of factors that affected the purchasing decisions of Millennials. The presence of public transit or proximity to work was one major factor, with many Millennials trying to minimize commuting costs. Heating and cooling efficiency also played an important role. In general, Millennials were more willing to compromise on price than on a home’s condition, but only around 20 percent were willing to compromise on the distance of their new home from work.

Home Shopping Trends – By far, the majority of Millennials started their home search by looking online to try and find properties for sale. Around 15 percent spent even more time online than that, starting their search by researching the ins and outs of the home buying process before even starting to look at properties. Beyond online sources, Millennials trusted real estate agents the most for information about homes for sale.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Why you should Brine your Turkey this (and every) Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is next week and if you volunteered to roast the Thanksgiving turkey this year and are starting to feel a bit nervous I have three words of advice: Brine your bird. Brining will make sure your turkey will be a juicy and full-flavored even if you’re not feeling confident about your roasting skills.

The turkey is a relatively lean bird, particularly the breast meat, meaning that it doesn’t have a lot of fat to help keep the meat from becoming dry and tough. This is where brining comes in. Brine is a very basic solution of 4 quarts of water and 1 cup of salt, and by giving our turkey a long and luxurious dunk in this solution; we can actually coax a bit more moisture and flavor into our meal.  There are also some aromatic options: bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves, juniper berries, allspice berries, orange peels, lemon peels, to add to the brining mix.  There are many stores in the Las Vegas area that sell kits for brining – Sprouts, Bed Bath and Beyond, Whole Foods and Lowes and of course you can order a kit from Amazon.com.

During brining, the turkey absorbs extra moisture, which in turn helps it stay more moist and juicy both during and after cooking. Since the turkey absorbs salt along with the other flavors in the water, getting nicely seasoned from the inside out. Also the salt breaks down some of the turkey’s muscle proteins, which helps with the overall moisture absorption and also prevents the meat from toughing up quite so much during cooking.

The only downside to brining a turkey is that it takes up a good amount of fridge real-estate. First, find a pot or bucket big enough to comfortably hold the turkey and keep it fully submerged. Next rearrange the fridge to make enough space. If you’re okay meeting these two conditions, then you are good to go!

Brine only turkeys that have not been pre-treated in any way, which should be clearly stated on the label. Do not use turkeys labeled as “kosher,” “enhanced,” or “self-basting” for brining. These turkeys have already been enhanced with salt in some way and brining would result in an over-salted turkey. If your label doesn’t say any of these things or give any indication that it has been pre-treated, then it’s safe to assume you’re getting the turkey and nothing but the turkey, and you’re clear to proceed with brining.  Also it’s fine to brine a partially thawed turkey. The thawing process will continue while the turkey is in the brine.

You cook a brined turkey just as you normally would whether brined or not. Once it’s out of the brine, pat it dry and rub it with any spices you were planning to use (although you can skip the salt!). You can also baste the turkey with juices or brush it with butter as it roasts.  You might find that a brined turkey might cook a little faster than a non-brined bird, so it is recommended starting to check the internal temperature.

The following is step by step instructions to help make your brining easier.

  1. Find a pot or food-safe bucket large enough that you will be able to entirely submerge the turkey. Next, clear some refrigerator space and make sure your pot will fit. (You may have to remove shelves)
  2. Unwrap your turkey and remove the giblets, then transfer it to the pot. Add any aromatics you’d like to use.
  3. Heat 1 quart of water in the microwave until warmed — it doesn’t need to come to a boil, just be warm enough to dissolve the salt. Add the salt and stir until the salt is dissolved. Let the liquid cool slightly; it’s fine if it’s still a touch warm. Also add the other flavors at this time.
  4. Pour the brine solution over the turkey. 
  5. Add the remaining 3 quarts cold water. This dilutes the salt solution to the best ratio for brining and also helps further cool the solution.
  6. Make sure the turkey is completely submerged.If needed, prepare more brine solution at a ratio of 1/4 cup salt per quart of water to completely submerge the turkey.
  7. If the turkey floats, weigh it down with a dinner plate. Cover and place it in the refrigerator.
  8. Brine the turkey in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.
  9. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Clean your sink thoroughly after doing this step to avoid cross-contamination.
  10. (optional).If you desire, let the turkey air-dry overnight in the refrigerator. Place the turkey on a roasting rack set inside a roasting pan and cover loosely with plastic wrap to prevent cross contamination. This drying step will give your turkey crispier skin.
  11. You can roast the turkey either immediately after brining or after air-drying. I’ve found that brined turkeys tend to cook a bit more quickly, so roast as usual, but start checking the turkey’s temperature an hour before the end of your estimated cooking time.

This might seem overwhelming for first time briner’s, however it is totally worth it – a brined turkey is so good you will always brine your turkeys after tasting the delicious turkey and have your family and friends compliment you on the best bird they have eaten.

It’s funny… I have actually compared staging a home before selling it to brining a turkey… sure you’ll be fine if you don’t do it. However, if you do, the results are dramatically better! (and I always like “better”)

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff