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Is the Fall a Good Time to Buy a House? This Year, Things Have Changed.

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Coronavirus sent the U.S. housing market for a spin this summer as demand outstripped supply—and the highly competitive environment appears to have continued into the fall.

“Normally, this last week of September is sort of a buyers’ sweet spot,”
Danielle Hale
, chief economist at Realtor.com, told Barron’s. In a typical year, September is when buyer demand decreases as home listings remain on the market, resulting in more options and less competition, she said.

But that was not the case this year. Homes spent an average of 54 days on the market nationally in September, 12 fewer days than the same month last year and three fewer than in August 2020, according to a Realtor.com study. That’s an unusual occurrence during a month when market activity normally begins to slow. This was the first year since at least 2016 when homes spent less time on the market in September than in August, the report says.

“In many ways, the housing market is behaving almost as if it’s still summer,” Hale said. Even as homes flew off the market, prices continued to increase—the median national home listing price grew 11.1% from the previous September—while supply remained depressed, with 39% fewer homes for sale than the year prior.

There are a few factors at play, Hale said—one being the delayed start to this year’s buying season. The arrival of the novel coronavirus initially froze the normally busy spring real estate market, with buyer activity rebounding and then some in late spring through the summer. Historically low mortgage rates also play a part in continued buyer competition, Hale says, as could the absence of seasonal hallmarks denoting the end of the season, like children returning to school and employees returning from summer vacations. Low levels of

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Good Neighbor to remodel, expand kitchen

A migrant girl enjoys lunch Thursday at Good Neighbor Settlement House in Brownsville. (Ryan Henry/The Brownsville Herald)

Knocking down walls, expanding, buying new ovens, microwaves and prep tables are now in the works at the Good Neighbor Settlement House after the non-profit received a grant of $175,000 through the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation that will help with the expansion and improvement of their kitchen.

Hugo Zurita, executive director at the Good Neighbor Settlement House, said the grant was much needed since the kitchen has never been remodeled and does not hold enough space to have prep tables and other applianches such as ovens that would make it easier to serve healthier options to the community.

“We approached them and applied for it because our meal program is the heart of our organization, that’s what we’re known for providing breakfast, lunch and dinner for the community here in Brownsville,” he said.

“Our kitchen is pretty small, is not the biggest and is not suited for us to be able to do bigger meals and cook more, so just having one stove that worked at that time was really difficult for us to be able to feed so many individuals. Our numbers did double through our meal program during the pandemic, so we were really happy that we were really happy that we were able to get those funds.”

Zurita said the plan is to be able to better assist the community with their needs. The remodelation will also include an expansion to the kitchen pantry, allowing the Good Neighbor to take more donations and have them organized for faster access.

“The plan is to be able to better assist our community so we don’t have an oven, so now we are able to purchase ovens to be able to bake stuff

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Some renters need to be evicted, so that good renters can have the homes they deserve

I am a small passive investor in working-class apartment communities, Class B and C. This is affordable housing with rents ranging from $750 to $1,400. A syndicator pools our funds, buys a run-down apartment community and rehabs it, creating good, clean, safe, affordable housing for working-class families. Our motto is “Best Product, Best Price.”

Our syndicators work closely with honest residents, helping them to find local rent subsidies, deferring rent payments, and otherwise working with them in this time of crisis. But there are residents whose evictions have nothing to do with COVID-19, and we must be allowed to evict them.

It is critically important that government officials, politicians and religious leaders rushing to create eviction moratoriums understand the challenges our syndicators face and why evictions are sometimes necessary. Our syndicators provide monthly reports and financials. Here is a tale told by one such syndicator in his monthly reports and the challenges he faced during a recent month. We meet and know most of our syndicators before we invest with them. They are friends as much as business partners.

One of my investments is in a small apartment community in a small city. When it was originally built decades ago, this 24-unit community was considered a nice place. As it passed through several owners, the place degenerated, earning the reputation as the last place that would accept residents before they were forced to live in their trucks. The untrained former maintenance man, who made inappropriate comments to female residents, was incredibly creative in making things work, not making repairs. He just made problems go away.

Years prior to our purchasing this apartment community, the family in Unit 214, a two-bedroom, two-bath unit, allowed their daughter’s boyfriend to live with them, in violation of the lease. After numerous domestic incidents, often

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Top Five Qualities of a Good General Contractor

What makes a general contractor good? To start with, we should probably break down what a general contract does. The scope of his/her work includes organizing all sub-contractors, or the people that do specific jobs during the building or remodel process, like the window installation company, the painters, the tile copmanies and more. Their job is to keep your project on time and on budget. Like any job there are good contractors and not so good contractors. Below are a few things to look out for when considering a company for your home remodel or your new home construction:

1. Knowledge of Construction. If your general contractor is not familiar with construction, he/she won’t know if the sub-contractors are doing a good job. Leaks in the roof, drafty doors and windows, interior leaks and shoddy work can all happen if a contractor doesn’t know what to look for. Be sure whoever you hire has a construction background and understands how quality work is done. Ask questions before you hire anybody.

2. Good communication skills. Remember, this is the person who will become your voice. He/she will be communicating your vision and needs to everyone else who comes in to work on your home. They need to understand what you are looking for and then share that in a way that makes what you want happen.

3. A solid group of sub-contractors. Most general contractors, who have been in business for a while, have a group of sub-contractors they work with on a regular basis. This means there is trust and knowledge of how and how quickly they work. Things generally run more smoothly when people have worked together before.

4. Knowledge of necessary permits for the area. Every state and city has different rules and regulations regarding building and additions/expansions …

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Roof Repair Contractors Must Have Good Etiquette and Warranties

Whenever we invest in something, we always want to make sure it stays in good condition all the time. When it comes to your home we all know how important proper maintenance and repairs can be. Roofing issues are some of the most common maintenance issues homeowners encounter from time to time. Gutters or a roof for example can cost you thousands of dollars to repair if not upheld properly. The issue is that it is very difficult for homeowners to play roofer due to lack of technical expertise on the matter. Hence, most homeowners opt for hiring expert contractors for the job. However, as concerned and involved homeowners, how do we make sure that expert roofers do their job well? What are the signs of a true reliable and reputable roofing expert?

  • Transparent about their pricing – When hiring experts to work on repairs for your house, one of the main concerns you will most likely have is the service fees. Nowadays, it can be difficult to find an expert who will let you know how they set their prices. A reputable roofer however, will explain how much of his / her service fee goes to raw material expenses, tools and professional service charge. Good roofers do this as they want to make their clients feel how much value they will get from availing their services.
  • Job Site etiquette – Many contracting and building teams can often behave in a chaotic fashion. We have all seen this in action and it is certainly something we would want to keep out of our homes. Another quality of a good roofer is aiming to not just get the job done. Good roofers will care about their team's safety while doing the job. Likewise, they will also be concerned about your and
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