Veterans Day 2015

 

Let’s Make This One Count…

Bravery. Selflessness. Sacrifice.

These three attributes describe every dedicated man and woman who’s wore a military uniform for the sacred cause of freedom.

Under the resilient banner of red, white and blue, soldiers in every branch of our military place themselves last and us first. They march forward, upholding our rights, our liberties, our protection: all those things we’re guilty of taking for granted.

The one thing every American, young and old, can do is take one moment out of his or her day to honor those who’ve made that day possible.

Thank a veteran. Hug a veteran. Buy a veteran a meal.

So, this Veterans Day, let’s take a moment to show them Respect and Gratitude.

After all, the day really is about them.

On behalf of the staff at Boggs & Associates, Inc.,

veterans day 2015

Happy Veterans Day!

Fall 2015 | Are Your Ready?

Cooler air, changing leaves and pumpkin spice everywhere could only mean one thing:

Fall 2015 is here. Are you ready?

We prepare our bodies for the Fall weather, but what can we do to prepare our homes? Below, we’ve listed some simple and inexpensive ideas to prepare for the cooler weather. Here’s the best part, the tips below will all save you money!

1.) Seal

fall 2015 Caulk Windows

Caulk Windows and Doors to Seal in Warm Air

In less than an hour, you can improve your home’s ability to retain heat, and in turn, save a bit on your heating bill. Windows and doors are your culprits. Spend a few bucks on a tube of caulk and add re-seal any areas that need it. Gaps in caulk and weather-stripping can account for a 10% of your heating bills this Fall 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Adding weather-stripping is also an easy way to help retain heat in your home. Often, you’ll find it in the form of black strips of rubber surrounding the opening of your front and back doors. If it’s not there, then buy some and add it. If it already is there, simply inspect it and repair and damaged pieces.

2.) Gutters

fall 2015 Clean Gutters

Clean the leaves & Debris out of Your Gutters

Grab a ladder and scan your gutters. Ensure no obstruction such as leaves and dirt hinder the flow of water. Simply clean out the gutters. It’s a good idea to wear gloves.

Cleaning the gutters now to ensure easy water flow is a lot better than replacing them later. Remember, melting snow in the coming months is heavy, and if it can’t flow easily, the likelihood of damaging your gutters increases.

3.) Furnace

fall 2015 remove-furnace-filter

Replace Your Furnace Filter to Improve Airflow

Check your air filter. You should be doing this every few months, but it’s especially important to do before turning on the heat. A dirty filter can hinder and clog air flow, which not only costs you extra money on your heating bill, but can pose a potential fire hazard.

If the filter is dirty, either clean it (if it’s the re-usable type) or buy a new one. $15 now is a lot better than the hundreds or even thousands it costs to repair the heating system.

4.) Insulation

fall 2015 Attic Insulation

Add Attic Insulation to Seal in Warm Air

Placing another layer of insulation in your attic will help blanket your ceilings slow heat loss in your home’s livable spaces longer. Wear gloves, a dust mask and safety goggles. Be careful while spreading the insulation in the attic, not to step through the ceiling.

You’ve taken care of the above, now take care of the below. In your home’s basement or crawl space, you’ll see hot water pipes. Grab some pipe insulation at your local hardware store. The material is of low cost, but it can save you money and headache.

Wrap all your hot water pipes, especially those that are near the outer areas of your basement or crawlspace walls. This will help keep them warm during frigid temperatures, and will dramatically reduce the risk of them bursting.

5.) Thermostat

fall 2015 Adjust Your thermostat

Adjust Your Thermostat to Save Money

Ever walked into a home or business during winter time that felt like an oven? There’s no need to keep the inside of your home at a sweltering and money-draining 80-degrees Fahrenheit all fall and winter.

Use a programmable thermostat (they’re cheap) and set the temperature for a cooler setting when you’re not home and a warmer setting when you are home. Dress warmly, wearing socks and using blankets in the fall and winter. You’ll be surprised at how much you can drop the thermostat’s temperature, saving work for your furnace, which will save you money on your heating bill.

Applying these simple DIY Tips will help proof your home for Fall 2015.

Good Luck!

By Chuck Boggs & Justin Waybright

 

Rising U.S. Home Prices Predicted to Continue

Home prices across the U.S. continue to rise, but buyers don’t care. They’re still buying ‘em up left and right, with a promise that today’s investment will become tomorrow’s return of investment.

The numbers don’t lie.

Existing home sales rose by 10 percent this July, compared to last year, according to NAR. New home sales rose by 26 percent this July when compared to last year’s, according to a recent Census Bureau report. Prices aren’t expected to slow down anytime soon.

Home prices are predicted to rise by 4.7 percent during the next year. So, what does this all mean for potential home owners? Answer: Equity.

Get ahold of these stats.

The total home equity in the U.S. has increased by almost $1 trillion to its highest level since 2007, according to the 2015 Mortgage Monitor Report by Black Knight Financial. The average American homeowner with a mortgage has about $19,000 more equity in the home than they had a year ago.

“Low mortgage rates and stronger consumer confidence are supporting a resurgence in home sales of late,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Adding to overall housing demand is the benefit of a better labor market which has provided millennials the financial independence to form new households and escape ever rising rental costs.”

Back home, West Virginia is prospering too. The Mountain State boasts a 73.4 percent homeownership rate, according to recent statistics from the US Census. That’s nearly 10 percent higher than the nation as a whole.

In West Virginia, the economy seems to be stable, leading to a renewed confidence in home buyers. The housing market is responding with a steady demand, even with fall approaching.

And the upcoming months look to hang on a positive note, hinging on 30-year fixed mortgage rates of 4 percent or less for qualified home buyers and the promise of a solid return of investment.

Buying a home today could just yield you a solid return tomorrow.

By Justin Waybright & Chuck Boggs

Homeownership Pride Reigns in West Virginia

West Virginia always seems to have a resilient housing market.

Case in point: Its low number of foreclosures.

Since June 2014, the Mountain State recorded only 566 completed foreclosures, the 5th lowest amount in the nation.  The US, as a whole isn’t doing so bad either.

Foreclosure inventory declined by 28.9 percent, and completed foreclosures have declined by 14.8 percent since June 2014, according to CoreLogic’s newly released June 2015 National Foreclosure Report.

“The foreclosure rate for the U.S. has dropped to its lowest level since 2007, supported by a continuing decline in loans made before 2009, gains in employment, and higher housing prices,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic.

So, what does this mean for West Virginia and the nation?  Let’s take a look.

West Virginians share a pride in homeownership

 West Virginia boasts a 73.4 percent homeownership rate, according to the US Census.  That’s nearly 10 percent higher than the nation as a whole.  Keep in mind, West Virginia carries this number along with its stigma of lower household income than the rest of the nation, right at $12,000 less per year.  These numbers speak loudly as they testify to the determination of West Virginia families to retain home ownership as the “American” or in this case, “The Appalachian Dream.”

The local economy is bouncing back

 Anyone noticing lower gas prices lately?  Those prices are expected to drop to $2 or less by November, according to economists’ predictions.  More people are out working, as employment seems to be gradually bouncing back.  The unemployment rate currently hovers at 5.3 percent, down almost 1 percent from this time last year, according to a release from the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A Renewed Value in Housing

 It’s no secret that home prices continue appreciating, and have been doing so monthly since Spring.  This has helped create a sellers’ market, where everyone wants a “piece of the pie.”  West Virginians are no different.  It seems the Mountain State leads the pack.

Nationally, demand for homes remains solid.

The annual sales pace for new single family homes in the U.S. rose by more than 5.4% last month.

By Justin Waybright & Chuck Boggs

 

Local Realtors Inundated with Buyers & Sellers

This summer has brought the local West Virginia housing market into the spotlight.  And that light continues to shine as others grow dim nationally.

Low interest rates, warm weather, soaring home values and the West Virginia Housing Fund’s news of sub-3 percent interest rates have fueled one of the busiest summer buying seasons to date, especially in the Kanawha Valley.  From Charleston to Huntington and every town, city and neighborhood in between, buyers continue to flood local realtors with viewings, requests and closings.

Numbers don’t lie

WV Homes Sales July 2015

(WV Homes Sales July 2015)

Last month, Kanawha Valley realtors sold 312 homes, according to numbers from the Kanawha Valley MLS.  In July 2014, they sold only 247.  That’s 21 percent more homes sold this July.  June’s numbers tell a similar story of a hotter summer.

Not only are more homes being sold, but they’re being sold quicker.  In July 2014, the average time on the market for a home in the Kanawha Valley was 88 days.  This July, that number fell to 76 days.  In other words, homes in our area are selling 16 percent faster than last year at this time.

 The Realtors Speak

 Cindy Elkins sells homes left and right, and this summer has been one of her best.

“It’s been a GREAT summer!” the Family First realtor said.  “We are experiencing a better seller’s market this summer than last, and sellers have seen an increase in price per square-foot for most recently sold homes in our local market.  Buyers also have enjoyed the continued low interest rates, so a home that once was considered ‘out of the question’ is now a possibility due to the low interest rates.”

For the past few months, success has followed Travis McCracken.  The Real Estate Central realtor has experienced his busiest summer to date.

“It doesn’t appear to have slowed down at all, even with vacation season, and it’s definitely been busier this summer…I’ve listed more houses this summer than I ever have,” McCracken said.  “Overall, I’m seeing certain areas selling faster-places like Scott Depot, Cross Lanes and Hurricane.”

The busy realtor said lately he’s been receiving multiple offers on homes within hours of them hitting the MLS.  McCracken believes low interest rates and the historic push by the West Virginia Housing Fund have fueled the market frenzy.

“This is all sparking a lot of interest in first-time home buyers,” he said.

For more than 20 years, Betty Sargent has served thousands of buyers and sellers.  Like McCracken and Elkins, the well-known Old Colony realtor has witnessed one of her most successful summers to date.  Sargent said the local housing market came alive this Spring and hasn’t slowed down yet.

“It’s been a great summer and a great year, and this Spring, it got really busy and has remained pretty steady,” she said.  “I think we’re very fortunate in West Virginia…Our housing market never seems to have the peaks and valleys the rest of the nation experiences.”

Predictions for this Fall

 The realtors interviewed all believe Real Estate in the Kanawha Valley will continue its resilient march forward even into Autumn and Winter.

McCracken remains confident.

“I’m expecting for the market to pick up, and I believe we’ll see more homes bought and sold before winter,” he said.

Sargent is excited to see what the cooler weather brings.

“Going into fall, so far it’s been steady, but still going strong, and we’ve got good buyers,” she said.  “I’d think Fall will be somewhat different because of the government changing closing requirements, but we’re still excited for Fall and Winter.”

Elkins looks forward with hope.

“I’m ever the optimistic, I anticipate our local market to remain stable, with very little change from last fall…unless interest rates increase over the next few months,” she said.  “There’s never been a better time to purchase or sell a home and we are blessed to enjoy one of the best, most stable markets in the country.”

By: Justin Waybright & Chuck Boggs

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