Homebuying dreams can become real for shoppers in unmarried but committed relationships. According to Jessica Lautz, the National Association of Realtors®’s Director of Survey Research and Communication, a report from NAR found that the highest share of first-time buyers who are unmarried couples was in 2017—the highest on record since 1981. Of course, there are significant risks when buying a home with an unmarried partner. But there are precautionary steps you can take to ensure you can deal with the posed risks throughout the home planning and shopping together.
Home improvements to boost energy efficiency can be a good investment that can reap rewards for both buyers and sellers. But the Appraisal Institute, which represents professional real estate appraisers, says not all improvements will bring the same benefits. "The latest research shows that green and energy-efficient home improvements have the potential to pay dividends for buyers and sellers," said Appraisal Institute President James L. Murrett, MAI, SRA. "However, it depends on the improvements made. Some green renovations, such as adding Energy Star appliances and extra insulation, are likely to pay the homeowner back in lowered utility bills relatively quickly." The Institute says that homeowners may be eligible for a federal tax credit if they opt for an energy-efficient product or renewable energy system for a home. Murrett says there is a difference between a truly green home and one with green features. To be green it must contain all six elements of green building: site; water efficiency; energy efficiency; indoor air quality; materials; and operations and maintenance. He also says that homeowners should keep all documentation relating to construction for real estate agents, appraisers and buyers; and that buyers chose lenders that have knowledge of high-performance homes. "Builders and homeowners should collect and share with appraisers data about cost and benefits of green building materials and energy-efficient features to establish historical data regarding return on investment of green construction," Murrett said. Source: Mortgage Professional America