DID YOU KNOW? Mortgage applications fell 2.5% last week...however, the average loan size for purchase applications increased to a record high, led by a rise in the average size of conventional loans. This suggests that move-up and higher-end buyers have so far become a greater share of the spring market. Affordability/shortages on the entry level remain a problem. (CNBC)
DID YOU KNOW? Wildfires destroyed more U.S. homes and buildings last year than at any other point in recorded history, so now the challenge comes to build houses that are fire-resistant, not just in California: increasingly intense wildfires have happened recently in Colorado, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Fire-resistant building ingredients include fiber cement composite siding rather than typical wood shingles or planks, rock mulch instead of plant mulch, plantings at least 5 ft from the siding, siding raised 6" off the ground, dual-paned, tempered glass windows, metal (cleaned out) gutters. (WSJ)
DID YOU KNOW? Anyone being smug about other people's floods should know flooding WITHIN homes is a growing issue: Old pipes and valves, worn-out hoses on second-story washing machines and faulty connections for a proliferation of water-using appliances are causing a surge in increasingly expensive damage reported to insurers. Many other types of claims - including fire - have declined in frequency. 2% of homeowners filed a water-damage claim each year between 2013 and 2017, up from 1.44% annually between 2005 and 2009 resulting in $13 billion damages for homeowners’ insurance companies in 2017. Claims average about $10,000. Here are problem areas worth evaluating:
ROOF AND ATTIC: Missing, worn or broken roofing material may allow water to penetrate. The attic should be properly ventilated.
BATHROOM: Inspect to determine that caulking is watertight in tubs and shower stalls. Watch for dripping under sinks.
KITCHEN AND LAUNDRY ROOM: Inspect water supply hoses for appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators, ice makers, garbage disposals and washing machines.
BASEMENT: Know where the shutoff valve is for the main water supply. Consider shutting off your water if away from home for a week or more. Inspect visible plumbing lines and your water heater for leaks or damage. Avoid storing valuables in your basement; use racks for elevation if you do.
TERRACES: Especially in zones that freeze, shutting down water supplies should be handled professionally. (WSJ)
Maybe a good item to send to your clientele? Being a great real estate professional is not just about transactions....
DID YOU KNOW? In my household, 2 people use the building gym at least 5 days per week. We each used to pick up a plastic cup to drink water during our workouts...and then throw it away. A few months ago we started to share a plastic cup that we save and re-use....that's almost 500 plastic cups saved from waste PER YEAR, not to mention a savings to the building! Now imagine if all other 80+ apartments in the building did the same (40,000 cups!)....Little things can achieve big results.....even bigger when multiplied!
DID YOU KNOW? The most expensive new car ever sold is a one-off Bugatti luxury sports car that has been sold for $18.9 million. True exclusivity always commands a massive premium.