Jeremy McElwain's Blog
Baby Boomers remain the single largest demographic, and their transition into retirement age continues to change the senior living landscape. At more than 74 million strong, this generation will completely cross the retirement age threshold in the next decade, and 52 million Americans are already enjoying their golden years. That being said, the quality of life needs impacting our valued elders are likely to shake up the status quo going forward. These are senior living trends that are expected to unfold in 2020.
1: Location Matters
Today’s health and wellness conscious seniors are living more energetic lifestyles. With that in mind, retirement communities are increasingly being developed in close proximity to robust shopping, dining, and cultural arts facilities. Gated communities that offer amenities such as health and fitness centers, recreational spaces, and public transportation for day trips are enticing places for seniors seeking improved quality of life.
2: Embracing Technology
It wasn’t many years ago that the complexities of emerging technologies limited their usefulness to Baby Boomers and older generations. But innovation has all but eliminated the user unfriendliness of those early desktops and hand-held devices. Seniors are increasingly pleased with Smart-home technologies that are voice operated, such as the friendly Alexa. Beyond controlling lights, televisions, and other home items via voice command, tech gadgets are topping lifestyle wish lists.
3: Fifty-Five & Older Communities Prove Desirable in 2020
The 2019 housing market saw modestly inflated single-family listing prices. That was largely due to low inventory and fierce competition between downsizing Baby Boomers and upstart Millennials. The latter struggled through some economic adversity, such as student loan debt, that caused them to buy starter homes a tad later than previous generations. A log jam between the two groups over smaller homes has developers creating more 55-and-older communities that eliminate competition of younger homebuyers.
4: Aging in Place is a Thing
While some aging parents and grandparents opt to downsize, buy into communities with other seniors, or move into assisted living facilities, many are determined to remain in their family home. The priceless memories of holiday gatherings and children’s first steps are not worth trading. Aging in place continues to trend among independent-minded seniors, and family members may want to consider augmenting this lifestyle rather than try to persuade mom or dad to relocate.
Support systems such as community groups, volunteerism, and having a visiting nurse check-in on parents and grandparents are more likely to enhance the quality of daily living. It may seem logical to children and grandchildren to have your elders come live with you. However, it’s essential to respect their independence.
5: Isolation Issues
It would be something of an understatement to say that our valued elders enjoy an independent spirit. As admirable as that sense of self-determination may be, the loss of a spouse or community members tend to reduce the human interactions our elders have on a daily basis. Isolation can be the downside to independence, and it’s up to friends and family members to maintain the communication channels open.
It’s worthwhile to set up group texts and emails to make sure loved ones consistently visit. Getting involved with pastimes such as going to sporting events and impromptu family get-togethers can go a long way to reduce feelings of isolation.
584 Centre Street, Boston, MA 02130
You’ve decided it’s time to build the dream house you’ve always wanted. An exciting time!
Prior to hiring builders to construct your home, it’s critical to understand the financials involved before you start the planning process. Securing funding for land is different than obtaining a traditional home mortgage. For starters, there are typically fewer loan options. If you’re looking to buy land to build your new home, here is a rundown of several common funding options.
If you have the cash to cover the full purchase price of the land, this might be your best bet because you’ll be debt-free. Many mortgage lenders often waive large down payments to build houses because the borrower establishes equity in their new home by buying the land outright.
A word of warning—be careful about wiping out your savings because you’ll need money as unexpected circumstances arise during the build process—always have a financial contingency plan.
Land or Lot Loans
Land loans are available for raw, undeveloped land, and is a great alternative to avoid cleaning out your bank account. The big drawback is interest rates will be higher. Lot loans are very similar to land loans, with the primary difference being the land has building permits, surveys, and/or utilities already in place. Like a land loan, a lot loan typically comes with higher rates.
Land is often difficult to sell and, to get the ball moving, some sellers are willing to lend buyers the money needed to get their build started. These loans are usually short-term and come with high-interest rates.
These short-term, high-interest loans are designed to help you get your project started. To be approved, you’ll need to have a budget and construction plan in place. Once your project is completed, you can often convert a construction loan to a traditional mortgage.
Home Equity Loans
If you already own property, you can explore taking out a home equity loan to cover the cost of your new land. These loans are easier to acquire, along with longer terms, better interest rates and no down payments. The big drawback is if you default on payments, you risk losing your existing home.
Borrow from Local Financial Institutions
Local lending agencies are more likely to approve a land loan than other financial institutions that aren’t vested in the community. You might do well by identifying community banks and credit unions who are familiar with the land, along with its worth and potential.
In general, lenders command higher interest rates and bigger down payments with land-related loans because they deem land purchases to be far riskier than lending money to people to buy an existing home. The reason being they perceive owners as not yet fully invested in the property until a house is on it.
Choosing the right property and finding a way to fund the purchase is the first step. Once you’ve got these two boxes ticked off your to-do list, you’ll have taken one big step towards the day you’ll be able to move into your dream home.
If you want to buy a house, it helps to plan ahead as much as possible. That way, you can increase the likelihood of a fast, seamless homebuying journey.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare to enter the housing market, and ultimately, ensure that you can enjoy a speedy homebuying experience.
1. Focus on Specific Cities and Towns
Consider what you want to find in your dream house. Then, you can fine-tune your dream home criteria and narrow your house search.
For example, if you prefer small town living to life in the big city, you may want to search for houses in various towns in your state of choice. Or, if you want to buy a house near your office in the city, you can browse residences in or near the city itself.
Differentiating your dream home must-haves and wants can make a world of difference too. Because if you know exactly what you want to find in your ideal residence, you can streamline your house search and accelerate the homebuying journey.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
The process of filling out a mortgage application and getting approval from a bank or credit union can be long and arduous. And if you submit an offer a house without financing in hand, you may face a time crunch to get a mortgage as well.
When it comes to home financing, it pays to be proactive. If you start searching for a mortgage today, you may be able to save time down the line.
For instance, if you meet with a bank or credit union, you can learn about a variety of mortgage options. Next, you can select a mortgage that matches your needs, and this mortgage will allow you to enter the housing market with a budget. With this budget at your disposal, you can narrow your search to houses that fall within your price range.
3. Employ a Real Estate Agent
Let's face it – few homebuyers have the necessary time and resources to conduct a comprehensive home search. Luckily, real estate agents are available to help you discover your dream house in no time at all.
A real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and find out what you want from your dream house. With this information, a real estate agent can provide you with details about houses that fulfill your criteria.
Furthermore, a real estate agent is a housing market expert who will do everything possible to help you buy a high-quality residence. He or she will teach you about the housing market and provide extensive insights into real estate patterns and trends. Also, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your homebuying concerns and questions at any time.
For those who want to buy a house, there is no need to wait to enter the housing market. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can reap the benefits of a quick, stress-free homebuying experience.
Buying furniture is a big investment in time and money. If you’re trying to match the style and color scheme of your home perfectly, it can be difficult to find something that’s the right fit.
This is a task made more difficult when many large furniture stores carry largely similar items that don’t veer too far from the current trends.
If you want to buy unique furniture that meets your specific style it can seem like there are few options. However, there are many online stores where you can find just that, and so so by supporting small retailers and craftsmen.
In this article, we’re going to give you some advice on finding furniture that will make your home stand out. Read on for a list of how to find handmade and uncommon furniture for your home.
One way to find unique furniture and support local craftsmen at the same time is to search for furniture makers in your area. Oftentimes a Google search will help you local nearby shops. However, you can also use websites like Craigslist to narrow your search down to your area.
If you’re having trouble finding people who make or refurbish furniture in your area, try searching for local businesses on websites like Yelp or Yellow Pages.
Scavenge and refurbish
One way to guarantee that your furniture will be unique is to buy antique or discarded items and then pay a craftsman to refurbish and alter the item. This is particularly common with sofas and chairs.
Upholstering is an art form that requires a good idea, both for restoration and customization. Oftentimes you can find inexpensive, but well-worn, furniture at thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales, and on Craigslist at very cheap prices.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of sanding, staining, or painting old furniture to give them a new life in your living room or kitchen. What’s more, when you take on a DIY project to refurbish a piece of furniture it will have added meaning and value to you, and you could discover a new hobby that you’re interested in along the way.
There are a number of online retailers who sell handmade or refurbished furniture. One of the most popular web stores right now is Etsy. On Etsy, you can find craftsmen and refurbishers’ work who you appreciate and follow them to see what they have in stock.
Before Etsy, Ebay was the leading place to buy handmade and refurbished items online. To this day, Ebay still has a wide selection of items. Since many items on Ebay are auctioned, you also have the potential of winning a bid at a low price.
A third option would be to seek out the hundreds of small furniture shops online. A benefit or seeking out the manufacturer directly is that you get a chance to learn about the product and ask about customization.
Those are just some of the ways to find unique, handmade furniture for your home. Remember to be patient and to ask questions while furniture shopping to make sure you find the perfect fit for your room.