This April the Fair Housing Act will turn 50 years old. Arising in the middle of the civil rights movement, the fight for discriminatory free housing was lead largely by Assemblyman William Byron Rumford Sr.
William Byron Rumford Sr was elected to the California State Assembly in 1948. A Berkley alum, he heavily represented African American and Democratic constituencies of Alameda County, Berkeley, and part of Oakland. Rumford sponsored bills that would end the segregation of California’s National Guard, introduced and succeeding in enacting the California Fair Employment Practices Act which lessened the impact of race on hiring decisions, and garnered national attention with the Good Samaritan Act of 1959.
But Rumford’s biggest contribution, the one in which would bore his name is the Rumford Fair Housing Act. The act was passed in in 1963 by the California Legislature to help end racial discrimination by property owners and landlords who refused to rent or sell their property to “colored” people. The Rumford Fair Housing Act was not accepted with open arms into the California community. In 1964, the California Real Estate Association sponsored an initiative to counteract the effects of the Act, dubbed Proposition 14.
“Neither the State nor any subdivision or agency thereof shall deny, limit or abridge, directly or indirectly, the right of any person, who is willing or desires to sell, lease or rent any part or all of his real property, to decline to sell, lease or rent such property to such person or persons as he, in his absolute discretion, chooses.” – part of Proposition 14
Citizens protesting for equality in housing
Proposition 14’s attempt to relegalize discrimination was decidedly popular. A petition to have the proposition added to the ballot garnered over one million signatures. This was more than twice the 480,000 signatures that were required. Endorsed even by the Los Angeles Times; the proposition was passed in November 1964. However in 1966 the California Supreme Court declared Proposition 14 unconstitutional. The Fair Housing Act that we know today came just two years later in 1968. It passed with strong support from President Lyndon Johnson just a week after Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination.
As we look back on the life of William Byron Rumford Sr we realize just how crucial his hard work was to establishing fair housing for all. But the fight for equality is far from over. The Fair Housing Act is constantly being amended to include more protected classes such as gender and sexual orientation.
Real estate is similar to other types of investments in that there are always potential pitfalls. Like stocks and bonds there will be fluctuations in value depending on economic conditions. Unlike most types of investments, the gravity of the risk can exceed the investment in the assest.
Suppose you hire a contractor to make repairs to a deck and that deck collapses while tenants and guests are having a barbeque. You could be liable to pay a judgement that exceeds the value of the property. A faulty carbon monoxide detector fails and tragically a family of four is killed by a release of gas indoors. You could now face not one, but four, wrongful death actions caused by negligence.
Of course you think that having insurance would protect you from things just like this, but there are always exceptions or carve-outs in your coverage. Many insurance policies will exclude coverage or limit the losses for certain dog breeds. Rottweilers, chows, and about a dozen other breeds are among the most common not covered by dog bites.
Theses gaps in coverage can leave investors on the hook for some very large payments. You’re best bet would to find a personal liability umbrella policy with $1 million to $2 million in coverage. But many investors also have a formed and running corporation or LLC. This can limit your damages as well as protect personal assets should you be sued.
Consideration with attorney would be the smartest way of deciding how to proceed. Depending on the area and particulars, the legal work can be done for just a couple hundred dollars. This seems like small price to pay for the protection you can ensure with the proper insurance and corporation set up.
When listing a home that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, you want to make sure it’s presented in the best light. You wouldn’t buy a $50,000 dollar car if it was filled from top to bottom in someone’s personal content and trash. This is the same mindset you need to carry into selling your home that will be worth well over a $100,000.
Even if you aren’t ready to sell your house, here are a few staging tips that will make the time you spend in your house 100% more enjoyable.
1. SAY BYE TO CLUTTER
The best thing you can do for your home for sale is to get rid of all of your clutter! Make a rule for your home that for every new piece that comes in, one must go. One of the biggest factors to a cluttered home is too much furniture. Generally, in a professional staging, half the home owner’s furniture is removed to make the house look much bigger. Look around your house and see what you can pack away. It’ll be worth the investment to get a storage unit for a couple of months to store away a lot of your furnishings and goods.
2. FURNITURE GROUPINGS
It’s largely misconceived that furniture pushed directly up against walls make a room look bigger, but this is far from true. Instead, you’ll want to float your furniture in reach room and away from the walls. Position your sofas and chairs into cozy conversational groupings. Be sure the furnishings are placed to make the traffic flow in a room obvious. This will make the room more user-friendly and will make it look larger.
3. TRANSFORM ROOMS
If you have a room that has only served to collect boxes or other junk, it’s important to purpose the room to something that is functional. You can make it into an extra bedroom, a small cozy nook/reading room, etc. If it’s in the basement, hid the boxes and turn it into a gaming room or family area.
4. HOME LIGHTING
Great lighting is the trick to making a staged home look warm and welcome. Most homes are improperly lit, which makes rooms look dark and dreary. There is a quick fix to this issue. Increase the wattage in your fixtures and lamps, aiming for about 100 watts per 50 square feet. Add three different types of lighting to each room: ambient (general overhead), task (under cabinets or pendants), and accent lighting (table lamps and wall accents).
5. GO NEUTRAL
The simple trick to toning down dated finishing in any space is a little bit of fresh paint. You don’t want to go stark white, but look into neutral grey and beige colors. Beige colors can also consist of warm honey like colors, soft blues and greens, and a variety of undertones that add a little life to a general neutral color. If you do want to use bold colors, be sure to only keep it on accent walls to help enhance structural features.
6. MAKE IT LOOK BIGGER
If you want to make a room bigger than it is, paint the room the same color as an adjacent room. For small kitchens and dining rooms, a seamless look will make the space feel like one, open it up, and make it seem much larger. Using drapes that match the wall colors can also add an emphasis to the room’s size.
7. USE YOUR GARDEN
Staged homes have an emphasis in fresh flowers and pricey floral arrangements. If you don’t have the money to go all out on florals, you can get this same effect by raiding your garden space. You can DIY beautiful pieces with fern fronds, magnolia clippings, and more. Use the spring and summer months to find cheerful flowers and use them in your arrangements.
8. GET A FACELIFT
So you can’t afford new cabinets? Then you can just get new doors and drawer fronts. Then paint everything to match and add new hardware to them. Instead of replacing the entire dishwasher, you may be able to get a new front panel, go for stainless steel if you can pull it off. Check with the manufacturer to see if replacements are available for your model.
9.MAKE NECESSARY REPAIRS
Unfinished home projects can really scare off potential home buyers, so you’ll want to be sure to make required repairs. Missing floorboards and large cracks in the sidewalk on the way to your door tend to be a red flag. Holes in walls and scratched up door frames can really look unattractive. These repairs cost you less to fix than buyers might deduct from the asking price.
10. CLEAN YOUR HOME
Aside from de-cluttering, the most important step to staging your home is to clean it. A dirty house is a quick turn-off for potential buyers. Most homes, especially with children and pets, and smokers, have a smell that may go undetected to home owners, but are quickly picked up by strangers. Be sure to have your home professionally cleaned prior to staging to appeal to all buyers that your home is nice and fresh.
With the influx of new technology and web based solutions, it isn’t a surprise that everything is moving fast into the era of the internet. From sites like Uber to Grubhub, we generally can pull up our phones or laptops to order what we want with ease. And with every industry being revolutionized by technology, the same methods are “attempting” to be applied to the real estate industry.
We could all agree that the simplification of the process through paperwork would be much appreciated by agents and buyers/sellers alike; but the attempt of replacing the agent by sites like Zillow and other third party resources, can lead to a snowball affect of disaster. Think about real estate being smack dab in the middle of fast food and a doctor. You can use your mobile device to quickly place your order for a $20 meal, but when it comes to getting a surgery, you’ll want to put that phone down and visit a professional. Now think of your real estate agent being in the middle of all of that. You can use your devices to look for a home, look at market data the way you look at WebMD, knowing not to take it too seriously because you need a real professional’s input, but it’s fun and gives you a general idea of what to expect. But there in lies the issue, the data online is an oversimplified version of what goes into the process of buying and selling. The same way it oversimplifies medical diseases and surgeries, you’d still expect to get a professional’s diagnosis.
Although a real estate agent isn’t quite like a doctor, the industry in it’s legalities, contracts, and processes is similar in the sense that it needs to be taken seriously. Looking for a house online and wanting to put an immediate offer on one can be exciting and fun, but the issues that require a professional’s guidance comes after the initial contract is written up and the hard work comes into place to actually make the home your own. Same for sellers, if you decide to put your home on the market and want a website that will give you an automatic offer, how do you know you’re not being taken advantage of in the price? But most importantly, how do you know you’re not being taken advantage of in other aspects of the contract? Because there is a lot more to the sale of the home then just agreeing on a number.
The next time you’re digging through public sites for homes for sale, and getting instant home valuation estimates, keep in mind that this is a simple process to give you an idea of your market. A very general idea. But after you’ve found the perfect house, or after you’ve decided that the numbers make some sense for you to sell, call your favorite real estate agent and make sure they give you a more detailed look into the market and assist you through the full process, not just the exciting first parts. Because it’s going to be in the middle of a contract when the lending is falling apart, or negotiations can’t be made on repairs and emotions are at an all time high, that you are going to wish you had put down your laptop and had an agent fighting for you by your side. Use the internet, have fun with it’s amazing resources, but don’t let it replace your agent. We aren’t in an age, just yet, where technology can do everything a professional can.
“Wednesday’s child is full of woe”
Everyone knows Wednesday is the longest day of the week, well, it feels like it at least. Carole King plays softly in the background as you think of the weekend “so faaarrr away”. Well here is a list of things to break up the sheer drab of the Mid January Mid Week fog I’m sure you’re in.
Being one of the hottest culinary hubs on the East Coast Providence Restaurant week allows a variety of restaurant options with pri-fixe three-course lunches for $16.95, three-course dinners for $29.95 or $34.95. Check out new guys The East End as they serve up spicy lamb meatballs with harissa and fresh ricotta for course one. Coffee roasted sunchoke fritters with a bourbon caramel sauce for dessert….oooohh. Full list of participating restaurants can be found here.
Play some hookey, smoke some cigarettes, check out a vintage punk rock exhibit. Hosted at the uber cool POP: The Emporium of Popular Culture, part gallery/performance space part whimsical retro store, the show runs until Jan. 28. It features photos from Richard McCaffrey, the late f-stop Fitzgerald (Richard Minissali) and serigraphs (silk-screens) by Pete Cardoso of Ghost Town Studio.
POP: The Emporium of Popular Culture, 219 West Park St., Providence, (401) 521-0001. POP is open noon to 5 p.m. Fridays to Sundays, admission is free.
Dark, witty, raw, your boyfriend it sure to let you know that “he totally gets it”. The four time golden globe winner plays at the Cable Car Cinema. Another Providence hybrid, the Cable Car Cinema is a fully functioning cafe that also plays movies and serves beer. One stop shop. Tickets are $10 per adult. A full list of show times can be found here.
Cable Car Cinema & Cafe, 204 South Main Street,Providence, RI 02903
Finally ready to make the transition into home ownership? That’s awesome, and in this exciting time you can be turning to friends and family for an insight into the process. However, there seems to be a circulation of misinformation spreading around, so we’re here to clear up a few myths.
1. THE FIRST STEP IS SEARCHING FOR A HOME
You know the saying, “Don’t put the cart before the horse,” well that’s important to remember when it comes to buying a home. You don’t want to start looking for a house until you have gotten to sit down with a lender and discuss what the bank will qualify you for. If you fall in love with a house that’s $250,000 and come to find out you’re only qualified for $200,000 you can get your hopes crushed and waste a lot of time. Don’t start the process on the wrong foot and make sure the numbers line up.
2. YOU DON’T NEED A REAL ESTATE AGENT
For starts, when buying a home, 99% of the time the buyer’s agent gets paid by the sellers. That random 1% can be for odd circumstances. So you’re getting to use the services of a real estate agent for free. Having a real estate agent on your side means you’ll get to see homes that aren’t as readily available on public searches, you avoid outdated listings and scammers (there are lots of them), and you have protection when it comes to navigating the legalities of contracts and buying a home. Why wouldn’t you want an awesome negotiator working to ensure you get the best from the transaction? For FREE!
3. YOU CAN’T BUY A HOME WITH BAD CREDIT
Fortunately for some, this is a myth. Lenders and banks come by the hundreds of thousands and all though there are a few loan options, a lot of lenders can work with credit scores down to the low to mid 500’s. Get in touch with an agent to help you connect with the right lender who can help you potentially approved. There is a lot of factors that go into approvals, but your credit doesn’t have to be a sore thumb during the process. However, you will be doing yourself a favor if you connect with a credit repair specialist to at least get those numbers in the 600’s. A better score will lower you interest rate.
4. YOUR DOWN PAYMENT HAS TO BE 20%
Think you have to sell an arm and a leg to buy a home? Not at all! An FHA loan only requires 3.5% while a conventional only requires 5%. There are a lot of programs that can potentially help you with down payment assistance or be 0% down mortgage. USDA and VA loans are the most popular 0% down programs. If you qualify, this can take a big chunk off the amount of cash you have to bring to the closing table.
5. DOWN PAYMENTS ARE THE ONLY UPFRONT COST
This is one of the biggest misconceptions. There is a lot of cost that goes into buying a home, and that includes upfront costs. One of the mandatory ones are a termite and appraisal. If you are getting a mortgage, the home will have to appraise and get a letter stating there are no termites in the home. Termite can range between $25-$75 dollars. An appraisal can range from $300-$700 dollars. Aside from your down payment, you then have to pay for closing costs. And NO, they are not the same thing. Closing costs can range anywhere between 3-6% of the purchase price. In certain markets, this can be negotiated for sellers to cover by rolling into the offer price, but whether that decision is smart to do or not when it comes to landing your dream home will need to be discussed with your agent.
Now that you have some knowledge to get the process started, get in touch with an agent who will help you get through the process as smoothly as possible.
Home ownership rates are the lowest they have been in the last 50 years. Yet a large portion of Americans are still renting properties, instead of enjoying a home of their own. Consumer reports believe this is an issue because of a buyer’s lack of trust in their ability to purchase. It is still a long standing notion that a buyer needs 20% towards the cost of the home in order to move forward, but this isn’t true. With countless down payment assistant programs, and closing cost roll-ins, a home owner could move in with as little as a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. Which is a huge difference in the time it takes to save up to make the move.
With interest rates at an all time low, home ownership in today’s market is a great investment. The money saved over a mortgage’s lifespan can result in tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds. That’s more money in your pocket today. Don’t wait to buy when interest rates soar again. With low interest rates, that means your monthly mortgage payments are at a significantly lower cost, as well. With such a heated housing marketing, rental prices are soaring, and statistics are constantly showing that home ownership can be equivalent to your rental rate each month, if not less. Why get stuck in a small 2 bedroom apartment, if you can move into a home a pay a monthly rate that is the same, and get a 3 bedroom house with a great backyard?
There is also a fear that a home can keep you “stuck” or “rooted” to one place, without an easy transition out if you decide to move. Although the future of the housing market isn’t easily predictable from location to location, you can always discuss with your agent about buying a home in an area that has a strong turn-over rate when a home hits the market. The equity build up when it comes time to selling is going to be far more beneficial, than if you put money into a rental and decided to move. The money from selling the property can be used to purchase a new home. With renting, there would be no additional funds to transition into a new place.
Now imagine if you were renting a home for $2000/month. If your landlord is renting to make a profit, think how much less you’d be paying on a monthly basis towards your mortgage, if the home was yours. Then you wouldn’t be paying a landlord to profit off of you, you’d be paying a reasonable rate, and get to call the property your own. Discuss with your agent and lender the steps you need to take towards home ownership, you might be happily surprised about the type of home you can afford to move into.
The real estate market is constantly changing, so of course DO YOUR RESEARCH! DO NOT jump the gun on this one! Unbiased advice from family and peers may be kind, but you are the only one who knows what your needs are when it comes to buying a home.
WHAT MADE YOU CONSIDER OWNING A HOME?
Forget finances for a minute and focus on what made you consider even buying a home in the first place!
· Is your family expanding?
· Does your family feel safe?
· Is there a STELLAR school system in the area so your children can get the education they deserve?
· How about that unbearable landlord?
WHICH WAY IS THE REAL ESTATE MARKET GOING?
DON’T SLEEP ON YOUR DECISION TOO LONG! Home prices are on the rise! Not only are they on their way back up, but these increases are happening monthly.
Don’t believe us? According to Existing Homes Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average price of homes in May 2017 went up 5.8% from last year. If you wait until next year to buy, you might be scrapping for change in the cushions to say the least! Not only will it cost you more to buy, but you will also need to increase your down payment to account for the higher price of the home.
WHAT IS THE MORTGAGE FORECAST?
The initial process of purchasing your home may seem easy and quick, but THERE IS MORE TOO IT! The ‘long term cost’ of buying a home WILL haunt you if you buy at the wrong time! Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and NAR have projected that mortgage interest rates will DEFINITLEY increase over the next twelve months. The smallest increase in mortgage rates can have a huge impact on a home owner.
If you and your family feel it is the right time to buy a home then GO FOR IT! Consider these points when making the final decision.
Don’t forget, this move is FOR YOU!
If you haven’t bought a home yet, you’re missing out on a wonderful feeling! That moment when you walk through your doors, throw your purse or keys on the floor, plop down on your couch and breathe a sigh of relief while thinking, “Finally, it’s ours (or mine)!” And the joy of looking at all of your boxes, getting to roll your eyes about why you buy so much stuff, then giving yourself a moment to take a nap because you worked hard to get here and earned it! Yes that’s a real feeling!
We often hear, and read, about the cost effectiveness of home ownership. The equity build-up, the freedom it can give us from finances in our retirement years, and a plethora of other ways owning a home can be a positive impact on your bottom dollar. But we don’t often hear about the emotional impact owning a home can have. Yes there will be days the fridge is acting silly and you need to call your home warranty, or days you have to get outside to mow your own yard, but nothing beats the pride and joy of owning a home.
There is a sense of security, and a sense of “this is mine and I worked my way up to this moment,” that provides moments of bliss. The ability to do with your home as you please, not pay a pretty penny for every member of your fur family, and the privacy it provides can’t be beat.
Home ownership also gives you the ability to put down some roots. And we mean that figuratively and literally. You get to build memories through the holidays and go through many milestones with your family, that leave a significant impact into the later years. You also get to build bonds with your neighbors, and grow in a community oriented neighborhood. With rentals, people come and go annually, but there are deeper roots planted with building relationships with those living next to you. Potlucks, 4th of July and New Year’s Eve spent lighting fireworks, and just the excitement of getting to know each other and build new relationships.
Buying a home isn’t about the dollars and cents for everyone, sometimes it’s just about the joy of owning your own place, and getting to build amazing memories in it. If you’ve been longing for this, get in touch with a real estate agent, and make it happen. You owe it to yourself to make your dreams come true!
Why School Districts Matter— Even If You Don’t Have Kids
While its obvious that towns with good school districts would be appealing to parents and those planning for children what does this mean for the real estate market in those areas?
Typically homes in good school districts are more expensive than similar homes in poor performing districts both in price and taxes. While homes in good districts are more expensive the benefit is that these markets have stabler home prices meaning higher resale value when it comes time to sell. A 2013 realtor.com® survey of nearly 1,000 prospective home buyers showed that 91 percent said school boundaries were important in their search. With the importance of school qualifications prominent on buyers mind you can expect faster home transactions.
Recently Niche.com has released its data for the 2018 Best Public High Schools ranking. Using a combination of public data and millions of reviews from students and parents this blend of information comes together to reveal what schools are really like.