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5 DIY Projects You Can Take on With Your Significant Other

by Bill Nelson - Broker

Do you remember the first date you ever went on with your significant other? The beginning, butterfly stages of any relationship are all fun and games until it becomes serious and you’re sitting on the couch in pajamas on a Saturday night.

Rekindle the flame, see the fireworks again and fall even more in love. No couple is perfect, but DIY projects can bring you and your sweetie closer than before. Here are some great DIY projects for you and your love to do together.

1. Refurbish Furniture 

Upcycling is all the rave lately. Just face it, you both dream of new furniture to give your home a fresh look, but brand new furniture can be so expensive. Save the money for a special night out with your significant other, and refurbish your old furniture instead.

To get started on this project, you should decide together which pieces of furniture you want to give a makeover. If you two would rather replace it and start from scratch, search at yard sales and thrift stores for cheap outdated furniture.

Decision making and coming to an agreement is a challenge for couples but helps the relationship get to a deeper connection. You’ll both have to choose the type of paint you want and your color, too.

You and your significant other will be so proud of the work you did together to turn something old into something new. That’s half of what you need for wedding luck right there — something old, something blue, something borrowed and something new.

2. Wooden Coffee Table 

table

There’s nothing sexier than a man showing off his handyman skills, right? Take on a weekend project and make a coffee table for your living room. When it’s finished, you two can cuddle on the couch, put your feet up and relax.

A small DIY project such as a coffee table is an easy way to spend time together while being productive. Make this project out of repurposed materials to give it a unique look.

Did you know spending quality time together is one of the secrets to a healthy relationship? Building the coffee table is a shared activity that you’ll enjoy making together, and gain satisfaction out of using it when it’s complete.

Related: High-Resale Value Projects You Can Tackle In A Weekend

3. Retaining Wall 

A relationship can get pretty stuffy when all of your time is spent indoors. Get outside in the fresh air with a hardscaping project. Build a retaining wall and turn your backyard into a romantic oasis. Cook a special dinner and eat it on the patio when the project is finished.

Retaining walls are great for turning a plain backyard slope into a gorgeous landscape. You can shape a garden out of the retaining wall, add lighting features for elegance, or simply add value to your property.

To get the perfect measurements in your backyard, GNSS can be used for landscape or hardscape layout. You and your honey can bring the vision of your backyard to life with the proper tools and techniques.

4. Movie Room 

Adding an addition onto your home is a pretty big project for the two of you to handle alone. You don’t have to build an entire new room onto your home to create a home theater. A simple DIY project of turning any wall into a projector screen will do. You’ll have the fancy feel of a movie theater from the comfort of your couch.

You and your significant other can work together to paint your wall for projection. You’ll want to paint the wall an off-white or gray depending on what projector you have or purchase. The entire wall will have to be free of any decorations, with any visible holes spackled before painting.

Grab some comfy throw blankets for the couch and cuddle up for movie nights with the one you love. Physical touch is one of the five love languages, so if you or your significant other fall under that category, this is the perfect project for you two.

5. Backyard Vegetable Garden 

veggies

A fun project with many beneficial factors is building a DIY vegetable garden for your backyard. This is a good project to do after work, when you want quiet time but also want to spend time together. Planting a garden can teach you both patience, which is something every couple needs.

From the fresh produce you grow in your backyard, you can come up with great recipes to cook dinner together. Your relationship will see growth as you both tend to the garden and appreciate the fresh vegetables you planted together. Spice things up in the kitchen with your love and fresh produce.

Get back into the groove with your lover after some quality time making a project together. No matter what project you take on, you and your significant other can enjoy the bonding experience. Even if you have to fake it until you literally make it, you will love your project and your significant other more in the end.

The Homebuyer's Mortgage Dictionary

by Bill Nelson - Broker

Knowing that you are ready to buy a home can be an exhilarating feeling, except it is often followed by panic. While experience is the best teacher, there are some things you can do to regain control of the home buying experience. One of them is getting accustomed to the terminology, especially when it comes to the various types of available mortgages.

LearnVest offers a list of mortgage terms any first-time homebuyer should add to their dictionary:

  1. ARM: This acronym stands for adjustable rate mortgage, which in vernacular means a home loan with fluctuation interest rates. ARMs are very much a game of chance, starting off with a period of 3 – 10 years of low fixed rates, followed by an adjustable roller coaster-rate period. In short, your interest rate will reflect whatever’s happening in the market. This might be highly anxiety-inducing if you are not planning to sell by the time the rates adjust higher, but there is a chance that you will end up paying less if market trends are in your favor.
  2. Fixed-Rate Mortgage: This is the total opposite of the ARM. Instead of offering a fluctuating rate, you sign on for the same rate throughout the course of your mortgage loan. There are no surprises here, but the downside is that you must pay the same fee even if the market rates drop. There is some wiggle room thanks to refinancing, but fees and potential hassles come with it.
  3. Assumable Mortgage: This is a wild card that only becomes possible once in a blue moon. For this kind of mortgage, you take on the seller’s mortgage loan instead of taking out a new one for yourself. This helps when the market rate is higher than what the seller had it fixed at, plus it cuts some fees in the process. Yet, be aware that the seller’s lender must give you the green light as well. The other curve ball is that the home-selling price might surpass that of the mortgage balance.
  4. Balloon-Payment Mortgage: This mortgage option is like playing a game of Super Smash Brothers in which you are given 5 – 7 years of low monthly payments followed by a sudden death knockout match where you must make a giant final payment. Homebuyers tend to pick this type of loan because they expect to sell their home before the final payment while enjoying low interest rates during their ownership years. Another solution is applying for a new loan, but of course, who’s to say you’ll get it? And that’s where the sudden death part comes in: the balloon may just explode.

With this knowledge, you can now start planning your next move. What type of mortgage loan better suits your situation?

First American’s proprietary Real House Price Index (RHPI) looks at January 2017 data and includes analysis from First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming on the decline in affordability as consumer house-buying power dipped due to rising rates.


“While affordability is lower compared to a year ago, the level of affordability in most markets is still high by historical standards, which is why demand is expected to remain strong this spring.”


“Real purchasing-power adjusted house prices declined 0.1 percent in January, as mortgage rates did not meaningfully change and income growth continued. Despite the monthly increase in affordability and continued strong wage growth, homes are less affordable across the country compared to a year ago,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American.

 

For Mark’s full analysis on affordability, the top five states and markets with the greatest increases and decreases in real house prices, and more, please visit the Real House Price Index.

 

The RHPI offers an alternative view of the change over time of house prices at the national, state and metropolitan area level. The traditional perspective on house prices is fixated on the actual prices and the changes in those prices, which overlooks what really matters to potential buyers - their purchasing power, or how much they can afford to buy. The RHPI adjusts prices for purchasing power by considering how income levels and interest rates influence the amount one can borrow.

 

The RHPI is updated monthly with new data. Look for the next edition of the RHPI the week of April 24, 2017.

032717 RHPI.jpg

(Reuters) - New U.S. single-family home sales jumped to a seven-month high in February, suggesting the housing market recovery continued to gain momentum despite the challenges of high prices and tight inventories.

Other data on Thursday showed an unexpected increase in the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week. Still, the labor market continues to tighten, which together with the strength in housing, should underpin economic growth.

The Commerce Department said new home sales increased 6.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 592,000 units last month, the highest level since July 2016. Sales have now recouped the sharp drop suffered in December.

Economists had forecast new home sales, which account for about 9.7 percent of the overall market, rising 0.7 percent to a rate of 565,000 units in February. Sales were up 12.8 percent compared to the same month last year, showing the housing market's resilience. 

Last month's sales were likely partially buoyed by unseasonably warm weather. Although mortgage rates have risen and may go higher, most economists see a limited impact on housing because a tightening labor market is improving employment opportunities for young adults.

Outdoor Redo Projects Both Valuable Now, and Later

by Bill Nelson- Past President NCAOR®

Remodeling your SLO County home? Add an outdoor redo to the project.

According to a report from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), an outdoor renovation can add significant value to a home come resale. The most valuable updates, per the report, are:

• Seeding the Lawn (Reaps 417 percent of its cost)
• Implementing a Standard Lawn Care Program (303 percent)
• Sodding (143 percent)

An outdoor renovation can also up the enjoyment factor—the “Joy Score,” according to the report. The highest project on the Joy Score scale? A pool, though it is one of the least profitable at a 50 percent return-on-investment.

The most appealing projects following a pool, the report found, are an overall landscape upgrade and a new wood deck.

“Realtors® know first hand the importance of curb appeal because when it is time to sell, a home's exterior is its first impression to potential buyers,” says North County Association of Realtors ® Past President Bill Nelson. “Realtors® also know that these projects—from flower beds to fire pits—can bring homeowners who have no plans to sell even more enjoyment and satisfaction in their home.

"Homeowners looking spend money on large, expensive outdoor projects should do it for themselves, for the enjoyment they and their family will gain from the finished results, and not only to improve the value of their home for when they sell,” Nelson cautions. “Smaller projects will bring potential sellers the most value back upon resale—and have the benefit of costing less up front.”

“Homeowners working with a landscape professional to embark on renovations—whether that means enhancing their turf and growing a lush lawn, rehauling their entire landscape, or incorporating new features like patios and exterior fireplaces—can rest assured that they are making a smart, worthwhile investment,” adds Nelson “Further, that investment is coupled with the immediate happiness received by beautiful landscaping and the long-term enjoyment of outdoor living spaces, which are priceless.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

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