How To Make Your Home Look Larger Without Remodeling

 When Mark Goldey and his wife Lisa decided to lease out their three-bedroom apartment, they rearranged it to entice renters. They de-kidified it, warehousing their two toddlers’ toys in a side TV room, and pushed the TV room couches out to the living room—it may seem counterintuitive, but furniture can actually make a room feel larger.  Their agent, Jason Saft of Citi Habitats, encouraged the Goldeys to display their glass artwork in prominent places that would reflect light around the room and draw attention to the high ceilings. He color-coded the books on the shelves, arranging larger, darker books lower and
Read More

Home Price Index Sees Record Growth

WASHINGTON — Prices for U.S. homes leapt in April, posting record monthly growth and the fastest year-over-year growth in seven years, according to Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller data released Tuesday. With gains in 19 of 20 cities, the 20-city composite index rose 2.5 percent in April, the largest monthly growth on record. The data go back to 2000. After seasonal adjustments, prices rose 1.7 percent in April. Compared with the same period in the previous year, prices in April rose 12.1 percent, the fastest annual pace since 2006, according to the report. Still, the 20-city composite index indicated prices remain about
Read More

Glacier Creates $172 Million in Economic Benefit

Sure signs of spring can be seen in the photo above of Park headquarters. A new National Park Service report shows that approximately 2.2 million visitors to Glacier National Park in 2012 spent $172 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 2,754 jobs in the local area. “We are honored and proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world to Glacier National Park,” said Park Superintendent Jeff Mow. “Glacier is a special place and many times visitors travel to Montana specifically to visit Glacier, and are introduced to the many other wonderful amenities that
Read More

FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Announce HARP Changes to Reach More Borrowers

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, today announced a series of changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) in an effort to attract more eligible borrowers who can benefit from refinancing their home mortgage. HARP is unique in that it is the only refinance program that enables borrowers who owe more than their home is worth to take advantage of low interest rates and other refinancing benefits. Borrowers must have mortgages currently owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The new program eliminates certain fees for borrowers; removes the current 125 percent
Read More

Five Tips For Selling Your Home in the Winter

Just your luck — you have to sell your home in winter, the slowest and dreariest sales season of all. But cheer up. You can use staging, the reduced competition and some seasonal opportunities to your advantage. Here are some tips to lessen the chances your home will languish on the market: 1. Remember the basics. Taking care of needed maintenance and repairs is obligatory in any season. A thorough cleaning and getting rid of clutter are equally essential. And tidying up the yard and touching up the exterior appearance to improve the curb appeal also can make the difference
Read More

Flathead Market Continues to Recover and is Gaining Momentum

In general, 2013 continued to improve from when the market bottomed at the end of 2011. The following is a list of some key points: 1. The employment picture continues to improve. Throughout most of 2013 the unemployment rate continued to decrease with a low in September of 5.9%. A key number that I look at is the actual number of people that are employed. In 2013 the average number of people employed was 40,182, which is up from 39,763 in 2012 and 38,750 in 2011. Even with that increase, it is still 3,911 short of the 44,093 that were
Read More

Existing-Home Sales Rise Again in January

The uptrend in existing-home sales continues, with January sales rising for the third consecutive month with a pace that is now above year-ago levels, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Existing-home sales, including single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, increased 2.7% last month and are 5.3% above January 2010. This is the first time in seven months that sales activity was higher than a year earlier. The improvement is good but could be better, said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “The uptrend in home sales is consistent with improvements in the economy and jobs, which are helping boost consumer confidence,” Yun said. “The
Read More

10 Common Errors Home Owners Make When Filing Taxes

Don’t rouse the IRS or pay more taxes than necessary—know the score on each home tax deduction and credit. Watch out for the common tax-filing errors, and you’ll get a maximum return without raising any red flags with the IRS. As you calculate your tax returns, consider each home tax deduction and credit you are—and are not—entitled to. Running afoul of any of these 10 home-related tax mistakes—which tax pros say are especially common—can cost you money or draw the IRS to your doorstep. Sin #1: Deducting the wrong year for property taxes You take a tax deduction for property taxes in the
Read More

9 Interior Home Features That Buyers Most Crave

Home buyers are sizing up homes with a long list of preferences. The typical home shopper buys a home with three bedrooms and two full bathrooms, according to the National Association of REALTORS(R) 2013 Home Features Survey. What feature did home shoppers report they most desire in a home? Central air conditioning, according to the survey of 2,000 buyers on 33 home features. Central air conditioning was overwhelmingly the top home feature desired by home shoppers. A home that is cable/satellite TV-ready/Internet was also ranked highly. What else should you be spotlighting on your listing ads for homes that you’re
Read More