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The Power of Scent

26 Feb 2018 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

There are certain things that trigger memories in your mind. Sometimes it’s a song or a piece of clothing. But more than likely, it’s a scent; the olfactory system has the strongest link to memory. This correlation can trigger memories of experiences and places, but it can also trigger your body into a specific state of being. Encourage restfulness, healing, increased energy, and more with essential oils.

Determining how to best incorporate essentials oils into your lifestyle can be a bit overwhelming. How do you use them? What does each scent do? And why do they work so well? Ultimately the oils might help ease the stress of it all. But in the meantime, here’s a quick-start guide to using essential oils at home.

WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?

Essential oils are highly concentrated oils extracted from plant parts such as leaves, flowers, needles, roots, seeds, resin, bark, rinds, berries, wood, and grass. “It takes nearly eight million small jasmine blossoms, handpicked on the day the flowers open, to produce just over two pounds of superior essential oil,” says Stephanie Tourles, a certified aromatherapist and holistic esthetician among other designations.

HOW DO I USE THEM?

“To capture the aromas of nature—whether it be the fresh scent of the ocean or sparkling citrus to freshen the bathroom, or heady jasmine or distinctive gardenia in the living room or bedroom—you can purchase a wide array of essential oils, which can be diffused into different machines or diffusers,” says fragrance expert Sue Phillips, founder of the Tribeca, New York City–based The Scentarium. Alternatively, you can soak cotton balls with the essential oils and apply them to cold lightbulbs, she adds. “Then when you switch the light on, the heat from the light bulbs will diffuse the fragrance and will waft in the air.”

WHAT SHOULD I NOT DO WITH THEM?

“Always dilute the oil if you’re going to apply it to your skin or someone else’s skin,” explains herbalist and aromatherapist Lisa Akers. “About 1 to 2 percent essential oil in a carrier oil like coconut, avocado, olive, or jojoba is best. Water won’t dilute the essential oils, because they don’t mix. Use an oil, glycerin, or milk to get a good, diluted oil.” And most importantly, do not ingest the oils. “Don’t take essential oils internally unless under the direction of a physician or trained aromatherapist or herbalist. Most essential oils are corrosive and can cause liver damage. The damage isn’t seen for months or even years later, which makes this a real concern that people aren’t considering when they drop that lemon essential oil in their morning water.”

WHAT ARE THE BEST ESSENTIAL OILS FOR EVERYDAY USE?

Lavender. This do-all essential oil is a powerhouse when it comes to helping your body inside and out. Research shows that lavender is the go-to aroma for relaxation as it lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature—but that’s not all. Studies also suggest that it helps alleviate insomnia as well as eczema. “A few drops of [diluted] lavender sprinkled on your pillow or applied to your temples will help relax you and cause a good night’s sleep,” says Phillips. “I love lavender-filled eye sachets, which can be placed over your eyes and you will immediately drift off to sleep.”

Peppermint Oil. Headaches be gone! “A few drops of peppermint oil applied to the temples, wrists, and forehead will alleviate headaches,” says Phillips. Another unconventional use for peppermint oil is to get rid of spiders. “Take about fifteen drops of peppermint essential oil and add a cup of water in a spray bottle,” she says. “Shake well. Gently spray around the corners, window frames, and doorways and the spiders will disappear. They hate the smell of peppermint!”

Eucalyptus Oil. The common cold is no match for eucalyptus. “Eucalyptus is used for treating the common cold and all its side effects like coughing, mucous, sinus infections, and a sore throat,” says acupuncture physician Elizabeth Trattner. “Eucalyptus oil also has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacertial effects. My favorite use for eucalyptus is during a cold. I like to take a bowl of hot water and create a tent with a towel over my head draped around the bowl. I will put a few drops of eucalyptus oil in and inhale the steam. It works wonders for any cold or virus and opens my respiratory passages. I would use this oil in a diffuser or a few drops in a bowl of hot water.”

Source: article.homebydesign.com

Low Inventory Pushes Home Prices Higher

26 Feb 2018 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, prices appreciated by 6.9% year-over-year from December 2016 to December 2017 on a national level. This marks the fifth month in a row with at least a 6.9% increase.

Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, gave insight into the reason behind the large appreciation,

“The number of homes for sale has remained very low. Job growth lowered the unemployment rate to 4.1 percent by year’s end, the lowest level in 17 years. Rising income and consumer confidence has increased the number of prospective homebuyers. The net result of rising demand and limited for-sale inventory is a continued appreciation in home prices.”

This is great news for homeowners who have gained nearly $15,000 in equity (on average) in their homes over the last year! Those homeowners who had been on the fence as to whether or not to sell will be pleasantly surprised to find out that they now have an even larger profit to help cover a down payment on their dream homes.

As we near the traditionally busy spring buyers season, there is still hope for buyers as mortgage rates remain low compared to recent decades. The report also predicted that home price appreciation will slow slightly, rising by 4.3% by this time next year.

Bottom Line

If you are looking to enter the housing market, as either a buyer or a seller, meet with a local real estate professional who can explain exactly what’s going on in your neighborhood and discuss your options!

Source: KCM.com

The #1 Reason To Sell Now Before Spring

23 Feb 2018 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

The price of any item (including residential real estate) is determined by ‘supply and demand.’ If many people are looking to buy an item and the supply of that item is limited, the price of that item increases.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the supply of homes for sale dramatically increases every spring. As an example, here is what happened to housing inventory at the beginning of 2017:

Putting your home on the market now instead of waiting for increased competition in the spring might make a lot of sense.

Bottom Line

Buyers in the market during the winter months are truly motivated purchasers. They want to buy now. With limited inventory currently available in most markets, sellers are in a great position to negotiate.

Source: KCM.com

Homeownership: “The Reports Of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated”

21 Feb 2018 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

The famous quote by Mark Twain in the title of this article can be used to describe homeownership in America today. Last week, the Census revealed that the percentage of homeowners in the country increased for the first time in thirteen years.

story in the Wall Street Journal gave these new homeownership numbers some context:

“The annual increase marks a crucial turning point because it comes after the federal government reined in bubble-era policies that encouraged banks to ease lending standards to boost homeownership. This time, what’s driving the market is a shift in favor of owning rather than renting.

‘This is market, market and market…There’s no government incentive program in sight that is having this effect,’ said Susan Wachter, a professor of real estate and finance at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, ‘This is back to basics.’”

In a separate report comparing the rental population in America to the homeowner population, RentCaféalso concluded that the gap is now shrinking.

“Undoubtedly, the recession had a great impact on homeownership…However, it looks like it takes more to discourage Americans from buying a house than that.

As the years go by, it seems more and more certain that the fact that renting has seen a sudden gain in popularity is more a reaction to the economic crisis than a paradigm shift in the Americans’ attitude toward housing.”

America’s belief in homeownership was also evidenced in a recent survey by Pew Research. They asked consumers “How important is homeownership to achieving the American Dream?”

The results:

43% said homeownership was essential to the American Dream

48% said homeownership was important to the American Dream

Only 9% said it was not important

Bottom Line

Homeownership has been, is and will always be a crucial element of the American Dream.

*Pictured Above – Mark Twain’s home in Hartford, Connecticut.

Source: KCM.com

Where Are Mortgage Interest Rates Headed In 2018?

16 Feb 2018 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

Below is a chart created using Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic & Housing Marketing Outlook. As you can see, interest rates are projected to increase steadily over the course of the next 12 months.

How Will This Impact Your Mortgage Payment?

Depending on the amount of the loan that you secure, a half of a percent (.5%) increase in interest rate can increase your monthly mortgage payment significantly.

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, national home prices have appreciated 7.0% from this time last year and are predicted to be 4.2% higher next year.

If both the predictions of home price and interest rate increases become reality, families would wind up paying considerably more for their next home.

Bottom Line 

Even a small increase in interest rate can impact your family’s wealth. Meet with a local real estate professional to evaluate your ability to purchase your dream home.

Source: KCM.com

Bidding Wars Abound… How Long Will They Continue?

14 Feb 2018 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

Just like with any product or service, the law of supply and demand impacts home prices. Any time that there is less supply than the market demands, prices increase.

In many areas of the country, the supply of homes for sale in the starter and trade-up home markets is so low that bidding wars have ensued, and the busy spring-buying season is just around the corner.

CoreLogic recently conducted an analysis on national home prices at the time of sale for their January 2018 MarketPulse Report and found that a third of homes sold for at least list price.

“The share selling above list price was almost three times the trough in January 2008 and represented more than one-fifth of total sales.”

Many markets in the western part of the country and around major cities are experiencing higher shares of homes selling above list price.

“San Francisco had the largest share of homes—76 percent—that sold for at least the list price, and Seattle and Los Angeles followed with 63 and 51 percent, respectively. Miami had the lowest share—16 percent—of homes selling at or above the list price.”

Increased demand during the spring and summer months, the traditionally busier seasons for real estate, will no doubt influence how many homes continue to sell over list price.

This should not be seen by sellers as permission to overprice their homes, though. Buyers are becoming more and more educated, especially those who have been searching for their dream homes for a while now while waiting for new inventory to come to market.

Realtor.com gives this advice:

“Aim to price your property at or just slightly below the going rate. Today’s buyers are highly informed, so if they sense they’re getting a deal, they’re likely to bid up a property that’s slightly underpriced, especially in areas with low inventory.”

Bottom Line

Without a large wave of new listings coming to market, buyers will continue competing with each other for the homes that are available. If you are thinking of selling your home, now may be the time to do so before more competition comes this spring. Contact a local real estate professional who can help you determine the demand for your house in your area.

Source: KCM.com

Study Shows “Millennials Deserve More Credit”

12 Feb 2018 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

When it comes to talking about millennials, there are many stereotypes out there that have influenced the way the public feels about the generation. Whether it’s the assumption that millennials are irresponsible with money and would rather buy avocado toast than save for a down payment, or that millennials jump from job to job, the majority of these stereotypes paint the generation in a negative light.

A new study by Bank of America entitled Better Money Habits Millennial Report recently came to the defense of the generation when it reported that:

“Millennials deserve more credit – both from themselves and from others – for their mindfulness when it comes to money and their lives.”

Here are some key takeaways from the study proving that millennials deserve more credit for what they are already doing:

63% are saving – (47% have $15,000 or more in savings)

54% are budgeting – (73% who have a budget stick to it every month)

57% have a savings goal – (67% who have a goal stick to it every month)

46% have asked for a raise in the past 2 years – (80% who asked for a raise got one)

59% feel financially secure – (16% have $100,000 or more in savings)

Many have wondered if millennials even want to own their own homes or if they would choose to rent instead. Well, not only do they want to own their own homes, but many already do and are looking to trade up! A recent study by realtor.com shows that 49% of Americans who plan to sell their home in the next 12 months are millennials!

Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s Chief Economist, gave some insight into why millennials are looking to sell,

“The housing shortage forced many first-time homebuyers to consider smaller homes and condos as a way to literally get their foot in the door. Our survey data reveals that we may see more of these homes hitting the market in the next year.”

Bottom Line

Not every millennial fits into the stereotypes that are so prominent in our society. Those who have risen above the stereotype are ready and willing to buy a home of their own, and many others already have!

Source: KCM.com

2 Major Myths Holding Back Home Buyers

09 Feb 2018 Posted by NooshiAdmin in Blog

Urban Institute recently released a report entitled, “Barriers to Accessing Homeownership,” which revealed that eighty percent of consumers either are unaware of how much lenders require for a down payment or believe all lenders require a down payment above 5 percent.”

Myth #1: “I Need a 20% Down Payment”

Buyers often overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the same report:

Consumers are often unaware of the option to take out low-down-payment mortgages. Only 19% of consumers believe lenders would make loans with a down payment of 5% or less… While 15% believe lenders require a 20% down payment, and 30% believe lenders expect a 20% down payment.”

These numbers do not differ much between non-owners and homeowners; 39% of non-owners believe they need more than 20% for a down payment and 30% of homeowners believe they need more than 20% for a down payment.

While many believe that they need at least 20% down to buy their dream home, they do not realize that programs are available that allow them to put down as little as 3%. Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

Myth #2: “I Need a 780 FICO® Score or Higher to Buy”

Similar to the down payment, many either don’t know or are misinformed about what FICO® score is necessary to qualify.

Many Americans believe a ‘good’ credit score is 780 or higher.

To help debunk this myth, let’s take a look at Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight Report, which focuses on recently closed (approved) loans.

As you can see in the chart above, 53.5% of approved mortgages had a credit score of 600-749.

Bottom Line

Whether buying your first home or moving up to your dream home, knowing your options will make the mortgage process easier. Your dream home may already be within your reach.

Source: KCM.com