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2017 design trends for outdoor living spaces

Categories: Blog | Posted: March 3, 2017

For months, you’ve been looking outside, yearning for the days when you could relax, play, and entertain out there. With all this time to think about it, have you considered ways to improve or upgrade your outdoor living spaces?

New products have been introduced and we’re seeing a variety of 2017 design trends for outdoor living spaces. See if any of these decorating ideas sparks your desire to make some changes.

Outdoor kitchens are growing. The grill just isn’t enough for the person who likes to cook and entertain outdoors. The outdoor kitchen now incorporates a refrigerator, sink, warming drawer, smoker, beer tap, wine chiller, and maybe even a pizza oven or cooktop. Homeowners are installing cabinets that can withstand the weather, to complete this fun and functional space.

Outdoor fireplaces and fire pats sparked a frenzy. At the end of the day, relax in front of a crackling fire and indulge in gourmet s’mores. From simple to sophisticated, the scope of your fire feature can reflect any style. Create a hearth on your patio or build a fire pit that can be rustic, sleek, or anywhere in between.

Furnish it in style. With the passion for more stylish outdoor living spaces, you have more choices in outdoor furniture that’s durable, comfortable, and attractive. This year, expect to see natural materials—like wicker and rattan—in more vibrant colors than the traditional white. Accent pieces—like ottomans, side tables, and outdoor rugs—are showing up in every style imaginable. No matter what color palette you choose, you can find cushions and pillows to match.

Exterior lighting choices are broader and brighter. With new technology, you can add light outdoors, where you need. Solar lights can stick in the ground, hang from a tree, sit on a table, or be strung around, across, or above your spaces. Lanterns, lamps, and chandeliers allow you to create the style of indoor living outside the walls of your home. LED bulbs are also lighting the way for homeowners who want more light with less energy use.

Low maintenance is a high priority. Homeowner don’t want to spend long hours keeping their outdoor spaces looking good and staying safe. Stain-resistant concrete paving provides an easy-care surface that has become the preference over wood flooring outdoors—and the wide range of colors and patterns gives you the look you want.

Reduce lawn care by converting lawn to garden and planting perennials and sprawling ground cover. Some homeowners are also trending toward the use of synthetic grass and artificial turf, which have grown to appear far more realistic than the plastic grass you might recall.

With all the time you’ll be spending outdoors in the months ahead, isn’t it worth sprucing up your outdoor living space?

Buy or rent? Save 37.7% with the right choice.

Categories: Blog | Posted: February 28, 2017

It’s the classic battle: Should I buy a home or keep renting?

If you’re leaning toward remaining a renter, consider this current statistic:

In the United States, buying a home averages 37.7% cheaper than renting.

Trulia’s Rent vs. Buy Report analyzed 100 metropolitan housing markets and compared the cost of owning a home over a seven-year period (with 20 percent down payment) to the bottom line for renting over that same time frame. In late 2016, the margin between the two choices actually widened a bit over the previous year’s average of 37.2% and reflected the widest gap since 2012, when buying averaged 40.7% less expensive than renting.

The cost comparison takes into account median home value and rent, including mortgage payments, maintenance, insurance, and taxes, plus one-time costs such as closing costs, down payment, sale proceeds, and security deposits.

Housing markets like Miami and Fort Lauderdale proved to homebuying to be a staggering 50% cheaper than renting. In Miami, for example, the median home price in the fall of 2016 was $259,527. A house rental averaged $2,000 per month.

Even in the markets where the margin was slimmer, the report showed that buying still held a significant advantage. Honolulu showed the smallest variation with a 17.4% savings for homebuyers over renters, followed by San Jose, CA, with 18.6%.

Home prices are rising at an average of 5.9%, with rents increasing at about 3.5%%. Low mortgage rates have enticed many renters to become homebuyers. Even with rising home prices, the value of homeownership presents a strong investment. According to the report, mortgage rates would have to make major gains—as much as 5% higher—to offset the homebuying advantage.

According to the Trulia report, “The FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) has only raised rates once in the past 10 years, and prices would have to grow to their tipping [point] with little movement in rents—the latter of which hasn’t happened since the housing market recovery began in 2012.”

Need more convincing? Trulia’s Rent vs. Buy calculator to see a comparison with your specific parameters (e.g., housing market, rent, target home price, mortgage interest rate).

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