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How Blockchain Could Revolutionize Real Estate?

“Bitcoin gives us, for the first time, a way for one Internet user to transfer a unique piece of digital property to another Internet user, such that the transfer is guaranteed to be safe and secure, everyone knows that the transfer has taken place, and nobody can challenge the legitimacy of the transfer. The consequences of this breakthrough are hard to overstate.” —Marc Andreessen, Silicon Valley venture capitalist

Over the last 6 months, the buzzword has been cryptocurrencies, so when we started hearing that our agents wanted to get their commissions paid in cryptocurrencies – we had to look at the possibility of giving that option to our agents in California and Nevada.

The advent of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, has made quite a splash in the financial world and is generating enormous amounts of speculation, controversy, and discussion. Some argue it’s the currency of the future, while other experts question why virtual money holds any value at all. But whatever your views on these cryptocurrencies, the technology behind them holds immense promise for real estate transactions.

For us at Movoto Real Estate, we think that the real estate transaction is ready for a change because the process is about the same as it was 20 years ago. The evolution of the way we buy and sell real estate could mean that we use new technology to establish, review and convey real estate. Enter Blockchain.

What The Heck is a Blockchain?

The blockchain is the technology that makes cryptocurrencies possible. Digital bits of information (in Bitcoin’s case, payments, but in real estate, it could be deeds, titles, payments, etc.) are exchanged through a distributed network that doesn’t rely on a single entity to manage or administer it. It’s designed in such a way that only the owner of an asset can send that asset, only the intended recipient can receive it, it only exists in one place at a time, and transactions are public and easily validated. In short, the blockchain virtually eliminates fraud—especially the types of fraud common in the real estate industry like fake house listings, forged titles, and loan modification and rental scams. Even in today’s day and age of technology these scams are all still happening. How about if blockchain prevented these scams from happening?

Potential Effects in Real Estate

If nothing else blockchain holds tremendous potential for real estate and related transactions. For example: “With the blockchain tokens, there would be no need for title searches or a middle man to secure the title transfer. By using a blockchain-distributed database to prove the authenticity of the transaction, a homeowner could transfer title quickly without the need for a third-party verification. This technology could very well disrupt the real estate industry by making the escrow companies obsolete,” Hillary Hobson, Chief Marketing Officer of Highest Cash Offer, told Forbes.com.

Another way the blockchain would facilitate home sales is by assigning a digital ID to real property and transacting that digital ID on the chain. It could never be duplicated or transferred to someone who has no rightful claim to it. Say goodbye to that pricey title insurance.

Crazy right? 

Because it’s digital and decentralized, blockchain transactions can be completed in record time—a major plus when it comes to snapping up a great deal on a home. Ultra-fast transaction speeds would allow mortgage lenders to instantly assess the credit-worthiness of their borrowers and allow mortgages to be funded in hours instead of weeks. It would also ensure rapid payment from buyers who are paying for their homes without borrowing, using digital currency which is easily converted to cash. And all of these transactions are free or nearly free—a far cry from the steep fees and costs currently associated with home buying.

Though it’s relatively new and not well understood by non-technically minded people, blockchain promises to simplify and speed up buying or selling a home, applying for a mortgage, validating a title, and making and receiving payments. Instead of jumping through multiple hoops and waiting for weeks or even months, buyers, sellers, and agents can focus on the important part: the sale. Just know that Movoto real estate will be realistically looking at ways to incorporate new technology to make the real estate transaction easier and safer.

The post How Blockchain Could Revolutionize Real Estate? appeared first on Movoto Blog.

Real Estate Predictions in 2018

The new year brings a renewed focus on personal goals: things like reading more and working out. Along with the resolve to improve physical fitness, many people are also committing to fiscal fitness—specifically, home ownership—as a goal for 2018.

The last few months of 2017 brought changes that are impacting home prices and real estate trends in 2018. As a result, we (along with the National Association of Realtors®) are forecasting that the housing market will cool slightly in 2018.

Here’s a breakdown of the major factors influencing our prediction.

The New Tax Plan

Passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, the tax law places tighter restrictions on mortgage interest and property tax deductions. Often, even in a downturn, states with high property prices (and high taxes) remain unaffected—especially in regions with low housing inventory and high demand. However, the new law limits the amount of state taxes that can be deducted from federal income tax returns and caps the mortgage interest deduction—moves that are likely to limit growth in home prices in these markets to 1–3%.

 Damage From Four Hurricanes

2017 put the squeeze on many areas known for reasonable home prices as well. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate struck the southern and southeastern US and Puerto Rico, affecting close to 15 million people and causing billions of dollars in property damage. The massive scale of these natural disasters is straining building supply inventories and homebuilder availability.

Mortgage Rates

Current interest rates at Wells Fargo, the largest mortgage lender in the nation (by market share) are at 4.00% for new purchases. However, three leading authorities foresee an increase in those rates:

 

  • The Mortgage Bankers Association suggests rates will be 4.6% in 2018.
  • The National Association of Realtors expects rates of 4.5% by the end of 2018.
  • Realtor.com predicts 4.6% on average and up to 5% by year’s end.

Live Your Dream

While these factors may soften the housing market somewhat, the simple truth is that home ownership is still a fundamental part of the American dream and is key to building wealth—and keeping that New Year’s resolution of fiscal fitness.

The post Real Estate Predictions in 2018 appeared first on Movoto Blog.

So Much to Love (and Learn) About Fresno


iStock/Davel5957, Fresno Skyline

Almost everyone has heard of Fresno, California, but few people know all that this vibrant, mid-sized city has to offer. What began as a stop along the Central Pacific Railroad has blossomed into the fifth largest city in California. It boasts 300 days of sun per year, mild winters, and warm summers. That’s probably why U.S. News & World Report ranks it one of the 100 Best Places to Live–and why half a million people call it home.

Cost of Living

Nestled between the Sierra Nevada and the Pacific Coastal Range mountains, Fresno is no slouch when it comes to natural beauty. But affordability is arguably Fresno’s sexiest feature. In fact, New York Times recently named it one of the most affordable places to live in America. And for good reason: The cost of living is 22% below the state average, and the median home price is $212,000–on par with the national figures and nearly half as expensive as the average statewide home price. The median household income is an attainable $41,455, which means retirees, teachers, firefighters, and, well, normal people can afford to live here.

Neighborhoods

So where do people live in Fresno? Well, that depends on their priorities. Central Fresno, as the name suggests, is located downtown. It’s home to about 14,000 residents and has a walkability score of 75. High-Roeding is a larger suburban area northwest of town that features good walkability and easy access to the business district. For a more rural vibe, check out the open spaces of Woodward Park, tucked into the north edge of town, with a low crime rate and high walkability score.


Woodward Park
Image Credit: Dylan Bishop

Perhaps the most unusual residential area is Sierra Sky Park, a “fly-in” community where you can literally taxi a plane from the runway to your driveway.


Sierra Sky Park
Image Credit: Thomas Nebia

Check out our Fresno Neighborhood Guide for a deeper dive. And rest assured that no matter which neighborhood you’re in, you’ll appreciate a short commute–22 minutes, on average.

Points of Interest

Despite its reputation for dullness, Fresno’s attractions are definitely not dull. Forestiere Underground Gardens is a unique and special place–in fact, it’s a state landmark. Chaffee Zoo houses elephants, kangaroos, aquatic life, and many more of nature’s creatures.


Image Credit: Fresno Art Museum

For music lovers, there are multiple concert venues and a local philharmonic. Area museums include the Fresno Art Museum, The Discovery Center (geared toward kids), an African American museum, and one dedicated to Latino culture. Outside of the city limits, Fresno offers easy access to three jaw-dropping sites: Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon national parks. Each is just a few hours’ drive–perfect for day trippers and weekend warriors.


iStock/Ron_Thomas, Kings Canyon

Events and Entertainment

Fresnans enjoy a wide variety of events and activities, including the annual Christmas parade, which is now in its 88th year. Hit up downtown on Wednesdays to buy fresh, locally grown produce at the Market on Kern and on Thursdays for CArtHop, a food truck festival featuring live music. Nearby Clovis holds a number of events, including the twice-yearly Wine Walk (spring and fall) and the annual Craft Beer Crawl.


Christmas Tree Lane
Image Credit: Paul Schlesinger

Food and Wine

While Fresno is the Raisin Capital of the World, many Californians prefer their grapes in liquid form–and Fresno doesn’t disappoint. More than a dozen wineries are situated in and around Fresno. Take a tour, sip a pour, or order a bottle at one of 700 area restaurants.


Image Credit: Ziveli Winery

Steakhouses such as Fleming’s, Ruth’s Chris, and Manhattan are popular, as is Parma, an Italian eatery. Max’s Bistro and Bar is another hotspot for foodies, one that sources ingredients from the area’s abundant agriculture.


Image Credit: Max’s Bistro

To learn more about the humble greatness of Fresno, check out the “Things to Do in Fresno” blog post.

Author – Kristi Colmenero

The post So Much to Love (and Learn) About Fresno appeared first on Movoto Blog.

The Cost of Housing Around the Globe


The Cost of Housing Around the Globe - Movoto.com - Infographic

Movoto.com

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Shelter is one of life’s basic necessities. The biggest problem for millions of people around the world is that housing is often not affordable. What percentage of the average monthly income is required to afford the average mortgage payment? How much is rent in a local city compared to average New York City prices? This infographic examines the affordability of mortgages and rent in 102 countries around the world in a spectacular data visualization.

The post The Cost of Housing Around the Globe appeared first on Movoto Blog.

Special Interest Home Incentives for Single Moms Make Homeownership a Reality for Many

It almost goes without saying that taking care of a family on one person’s income can be burdensome. For this reason, single mothers may feel tempted to just focus on paying the bills each month.

Single mothers don’t need to reduce their dreams to merely consisting of short-term goals. This is particularly true when it comes to owning a family home.

Various special interest home incentives for single mothers will help make the dream of an affordable home a reality.

Federal Housing Association (FHA) Loans and Rural Loans

Home Incentives for Single Moms

FHA loans are a great resource for moms looking for a good interest rate on a home purchase. With only a 3.5% down payment, moms receive a 96.5% mortgage loan. FHA loan terms offer several advantages, including:

  • Lowered Closing Costs
  • Easy Approval for Credit
  • Smaller Down Payments

Single mothers who live in rural areas should also consider Rural Housing Direct loans. These loans are 100% financing loans funded by the government. All homes will be in rural areas, and loan terms will typically be 33 years. As such, these loans are ideally suited for moms who don’t plan on moving from their family home.

Applicants will need to have a low income (typically 50 to 80 percent of the median income in the area) and must be unable to obtain credit elsewhere. While this program is not an outright grant, it is an extremely generous loan that makes the dream of homeownership a reality for low-income moms living in rural areas.

Buying a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Home

HUD homes are another indispensable ally for single mothers looking to buy a home. From housing choice vouchers to homeownership vouchers, HUD makes homeownership easier for single mothers. Additionally, public housing options are available through HUD as well.

HUD homes are available in every state, so it helps to visit their website frequently to see what is available.

Making Homeownership a Reality with an Individual Development Account

Home Incentives for Single Moms

Single parents looking for a home should consider using an Individual Development Account (IDA). An IDA is a matched savings account set up by community organizations.

These accounts help single income families save money towards a home or a child’s education. An IDA can even be used to finance a business as well.

The matching amount of these savings accounts will depend on the public or private organization doing the matching. Some matched funds will equal what the participant saves. Others may double the amount saved. Either way, shop around to find the best matching IDA program in your area.

Typical requirements for IDA approval include:

  • Meeting a Minimum Income Requirement
  • Contributing to the Account with Your Income
  • Having a Minimal Amount of Debt or No Debt
  • Lacking Assets in Excess of $5,000
  • And More

If approved for inclusion into an IDA program, you will have to complete a series of financial education courses on budgeting and saving. Prior to the purchase of your new home, you will also have to complete education courses on the purchasing process.

IDA programs also typically require economic training as well, which may be beneficial. Understanding how the purchasing process works will benefit your family now and in the years to come.

Which of these homeownership choices is right for you will depend on your own circumstances and housing needs. Still, the wide range of housing options available to single moms shows that homeownership can become a reality, not just a dream.

Movoto is a real estate agency dedicated to helping you find the perfect home. Part of that process is helping you discover information that simplifies the home buying experience. Movoto’s team of expert agents understand home buying from A to Z, so they can help get you into your dream home quicker and easier than you thought possible.

The post Special Interest Home Incentives for Single Moms Make Homeownership a Reality for Many appeared first on Movoto Blog.

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The Hilda Jones Team

Relocation Certified Broker Associates
Serving Northern Fox Valley Residents for 40+ years!

TWO Office locations:

1557 S. Randall Road, Algonquin, IL 60102
230 W. Virginia St  Ste 400, Crystal Lake, IL 60014

 jenny.jones@bairdwarner.com
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