Tag Archives: north salem estates for sale

When Homebuying Is A Waste of Money | North Salem Real Estate

For many Americans, home buying is simply a waste of money.

You could spend years paying thousands of dollars of interest on a mortgage, never reap the full tax benefits and never see enough appreciation to make it worthwhile.

Home ownership is one of the great myths of the American dream. But there’s nothing wrong in having a home. Buying it may not make the most financial sense.

A recent study by Morningstar's MORN +0.39% HelloWallet, the Chicago-based financial research firm, showed that where you’re considering of buying makes the difference in your decision. (Disclosure: I freelance for Morningstar.com)

Much of the decision in homebuying should be dictated by the “rent-to-price” ratio. This comparison shows you when it makes sense to rent instead of buy.

In some cities, for example, renting may be the only option because home prices are stratospheric: Think San Francisco, New York and Boston. Other cities, though, may offer a plethora of bargains such as Memphis, St. Louis and Cleveland, Dayton and Toledo Ohio.

“While there is no question that homes have become the most valuable asset for U.S. households, our research finds that homeownership is often not the best strategy for building wealth,” said Matt Fellowes, founder and CEO of HelloWallet and a former scholar at the Brookings Institution.

He added: “Workers need to take a hard look at other investment choices before deciding to buy a home. Employer-sponsored retirement or health savings programs, 529 college savings plans, or even IRAs may be more effective vehicles for families to build wealth and get ahead.”
When It’s Best to Rent

You may not reap the full benefits of tax write-offs for taxes and mortgage interest. That’s a signal that renting is wise. Median income homeowners realize no federal tax benefit in 75 percent of major cities.
You have to look at the local price cycle. Many homebuyers purchase at the top of the market and won’t reap appreciation from the past. More than half of current homeowners, or more than 40 million households, purchased their homes during time periods when average homebuyers would have been better off renting and investing.
Don’t overstate the benefits of buying. Many popular, free, online “buy-or-rent” calculators inflate the benefits of home buying. The study shows that calculators provide inaccurate guidance to more than 90 percent of renters considering whether to buy a home by overestimating tax benefits and underestimating the returns an individual can earn by investing.
Do the math. Prospective home buyers should calculate their “rent-to-price” ratio, or the ratio of the annual rental costs of a home compared with its purchase price, to determine whether to by a home or rent and invest.
What’s Your Bottom Line? If the rent-to-price ratio is 5% or less, people may be better off renting and investing any savings. If the rent-to-price ratio is greater than that, they may be better off buying a house.
If you have a yen to own a home, just keep in mind that ownership also entails property tax and maintenance. In growing areas, taxes are likely to rise to build schools, fire stations, libraries, etc.


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Auf Wiedersehen German real estate? Not so fast | North Salem Real Estate


As soon as someone mutters the words London property, the word “bubble” is never far away.

London house prices displayed a jaw-dropping 20 percent growth year-on-year in July– even though last week’s RICS indicator showed that the housing market is pausing for breath. Bank of England (BoE) Governor Mark Carney has sounded a warning on tougher mortgage rates and the expectation of higher rates.

But London isn’t the only place which is seeing a dizzying increase in property prices. Look no further than across the channel – to the euro zone’s economic powerhouse – Germany.

Major cities like Frankfurt, the financial capital, Munich with its famous beer gardens and proximity to the Alps and Stuttgart, the home of Mercedes and Porsche, are becoming increasingly attractive as a place to live and work. Germans from rural settings and immigrants are flocking to the cities.

But like in London, an equally potent driver of the property market in Germany is the good old “search for yield”.



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Drab to Fab: Unearthing Your Home’s Hidden Diamonds | North Salem Real Estate



Every home has “that room” – the one space that’s desperately dated, in disrepair, or otherwise in need of serious help. Of course, that room usually is the one space that everyone can see (we’re looking at you orange kitchen, carpeted bathroom, and boring backyard). So, how do you transform the embarrassing into the astonishing? We’ll show you how to find your diamond in the rough.

Fixin’ the KitchenFixin' the Kitchen

Not surprisingly, 33% of HomeAdvisor users reported that the kitchen was the room that could benefit the most from a refresh. And while many of us dream of gutting our kitchens, it’s possible to get a kitchen you can be proud by making a few key updates to your cabinets and countertops.

You probably don’t need to take a look at your cabinets to tell us whether you hate them or not. If you’re like many homeowners, you’re not too fond of them. Perhaps they’re broken and worn out. Or maybe they’re just plain ugly. Whatever the case, updating them will have a huge impact on your kitchen’s look. The question is: do you need to replace them, reface them, or simply paint them? In many cases, the answer depends on your budget. To help you decide, we recommend taking a look at our Cost Guide to see how much others in your area are paying for similar projects.

Let’s talk about your counters. If you aren’t happy with your kitchen there’s a good chance your countertops are partially to blame. While the reasons for your disdain are probably many, there are a couple of things you can do to rid yourself of your ugly counters. Your first option is to replace them. While this is the spendiest option, it’s the option that will have the biggest impact on the look and value of the room. Your other option (if you have laminate counters) is to resurface them. Far less expensive than replacing your countertops, resurfacing your counters is a labor-intensive, yet affordable option that can change the look of your kitchen without breaking the bank. To learn what option is best for you, we recommend talking to a counter pro.

Bathroom BreakthroughBathroom Breakthrough

Don’t like your bathroom? You’re not alone. You could open the checkbook and remodel your bathroom. Or you could make a few strategic updates that are guaranteed to have an impact.

When it comes to a bathroom update, one of the biggest areas of opportunity is to replace your shower or bathtub. Like most fixtures, bathtubs and showers start to show their age after a number of years. Sometimes the fix is as easy as having the tub refinished. This is a great option if you have a period tub that will be costly to replace. If refinishing is out, spending the money on a high-quality replacement will get you a tub or shower that will improve the look of the room and the value of your home.

If replacing your tub isn’t in the cards, replacing your cabinet hardware and light fixtures are affordable updates that can have freshen up your dated bathroom. While both jobs are doable DIY-projects, replacing your light fixtures can be tricky, especially if you’re not comfortable working with electricity. If you’d rather contract the job out to a pro, we can help you find a pro you can trust. (NOTE: When working with electricity, always make sure to turn the power off at your service panel.)

Luxe LandscapingLuxe Landscaping

When it comes to remodeling, the yard is often one of the last spaces to be addressed. Though this makes perfect sense from a budget standpoint, it makes less sense when you consider how visible your yard is and how much curb appeal can affect your home’s value. So, what can you do to transform landscaping your loathe in a yard you can be proud of? Here are a few options.

Perhaps the project that will have the most immediate impact is clearing out or trimming overgrown shrubs, bushes, and trees. While it can be very labor intensive, cleaning up your landscaping is a project that can be tackled in as little as a few hours or as long as a weekend. Or you can clear your calendar and hire a landscaping pro to do the job for you. Think you look good after a haircut? Just imagine how your yard will look.

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The 10 greenest places to live | North Salem Real Estate


Regardless of what side of the fence you are on for celebrating Earth Day (although the grass is greener on the other side), there are select cities across the country that take the extra initiative to ensure we are taking care of the planet.

NerdWallet took a closer look at the cities with the highest level of green living, measuring environmental quality and green transportation.

Environmental quality factors in the median air quality for each city, with the lower the AQI, the better. Additionally, it looked at the number of parks per 10,000 residents.

Green transportation calculates the percentage of the population that walks, bikes, carpools, takes public transportation or works from home from each city. It also assessed the excess fuel consumed per commuter, which is wasted due to congested conditions in the city.

Of the 95 largest cities in the U.S. considered in the analysis, here are the top 10 greenest cities.

10. Minneapolis, Minn.

Minneapolis is home to 92 miles of on-street bikeways and 85 miles of off-street paths, making it one of the best biking cities in the nation. The city is also home to several green groups, including Minnesota Renewable Energy Society, a nonprofit organization that has promoted the use of renewable energy since 1978.

Overall the city posted a final score of 52.62, with a median air quality of 45, 4.7 parks per 10,000 residents and 12 gallons of excess fuel consumed per commuter.

9. New Orleans, La.

New Orleans has taken new action to rebuild a green environment since Hurricane Katrina passed. The city now offers 200 parks sprawling over 2,000 acres. Overall the city posted a final score of 52.66, with a median air quality of 45, 6.7 parks per 10,000 residents and 13 gallons of excess fuel consumed per commuter.

8. St. Paul, Minn.

Now to the other half of the Twin Cities, St. Paul hosts more than 20 buildings that are certified by Leadership in Energy and Environment Design, which identifies the world’s greenest and most energy-efficient buildings. Plus, the city is overflowing with more than 170 parks and open spaces and 100 miles of trails. As a result, the city posted a final score of 52.92. a median air quality of 45, 6.5 parks per 10,000 residents and 12 gallons of excess fuel consumed per commuter.



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Princess Firyal’s Pierre duplex hits the market for $70M | North Salem NY Homes


A sprawling Upper East Side home believed to belong to HRH Princess Firyal of Jordan is once again on the market — this time, with an asking price of $70 million.

The duplex apartment, which spans the 30th and 31st floors of the Pierre at 795 Fifth Avenue, was owned by the late financier Lionel Pincus and later handed over to the Jordanian princess, Pincus’ longtime companion. The luxurious 7,000-square-foot, five-bedroom home boasts 360-degree views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline, a 42-foot library along Fifth Avenue and two master bedroom suites with custom wood-paneled dressing rooms and marble baths, according to the listing. Sotheby’s International Realty broker Serena Boardman has the listing.

Boardman declined to comment for this story, and a spokesperson for Sotheby’s declined to confirm the seller’s identity. Calls and emails to Firyal’s publicist were not immediately returned.

Pincus, who co-founded private equity firm Warburg Pincus, was incapacitated in 2003. His sons listed the apartment in 2007 for $50 million, claiming the upkeep was too expensive. They listed it again In March 2008 for $35 million.



What does Mel Watt mean for housing finance in 2014? | North Salem NY Homes

Mel Watt (D-NC) is set to take the helm as the next official director at the Federal Housing Finance Administration — and we know there are no shortages of industry opinions out there about what a Democratic-led FHFA may decide to do (or not do) with the reins of the GSEs in their hands.

So, we want to hear from you: what does a Mel Watt-led FHFA mean for U.S. housing finance, in 2014 and beyond?

The best answers will be selected by our team of editors to appear in the February 2014 issue of HW Magazine, in our monthly “Sounding Board” department.

Those selected to appear will also receive a complimentary digital reprint of their contribution ($350 value), highlighting their opinion. It’s our way of saying thank you for telling us what you think.

So, if you’ve got an opinion, speak up! What does Mel Watt mean for housing finance, this year and in the future?