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Wednesday Jan. 30, 2019 Your source for complete local coverage



Cash-out refinancing can be costly mistake BPT

After years of making regular mortgage payments, it feels good to watch your net worth make upward progress. That's especially true if your house is also gaining value. With a growing amount of equity comes peace of mind, knowing you have the option of tapping into it when you want. Whether it's time for a new roof or you need to consolidate debt, you may see a traditional cash-out mortgage refinance as the ideal tool to access the money you need. However, if you're considering a cash-out refi, you may be unaware of some of the pitfalls, or you may not know about the alternative solutions that might work in your financial favor. With a cash-out refi, homeowners can borrow against the equity in their home by taking out a new mortgage loan. This new loan includes the original loan balance and the additional amount borrowed against the equity. "On the surface, a cashout refi loan appears to be the better option because these tend to have better interest rates compared to other types of loans, especially credit cards and personal loans," says Wendy Harrington, chief marketing officer at Figure Technologies, a company that offers lending solutions to homeowners. "However, these can end up costing more than homeowners expect, and it's important to take time to understand what comes with the territory."

Harrington offers three things all homeowners need to consider before they opt for a cash-out refi loan: Interest rates are rising: After enjoying historical lows, mortgage interest rates have reached 5 percent, the highest in eight years, according to the Washington Post. With a cash-out refi, homeowners face trading their lower interest rate for a higher one. Less convenient than other loan products: The application and approval process for a cash-out is anything but efficient, thanks to time-consuming activities like property appraisals and in-person closings. In all, the loan process can take anywhere from 30-60 days. Additional fees: Borrowers often don't realize that cash-out refis come with closing fees for such things as appraisals, title searches and credit

reports, adding another layer of cost to the loan. A smarter solution that can potentially spare borrowers thousands in interest cost, according to Harrington, is a home equity loan. Instead of starting over with a new mortgage, you'd simply take out a separate loan against the equity in your property. This option lets you keep your mortgage interest rate. To make things more clear, here's a comparison of how the two loans could affect a homeowner like you. Let's say you took out a $175,000 mortgage six years ago at 3.625 percent interest. After making monthly payments of $798, your balance is $153,365. Now you're looking to do some renovations and pay off some credit card debt, and you need to borrow $75,000. With your home valued at $300,000, there's more

than enough equity. With a cash-out re-fi loan, you'd "reset" your mortgage balance at $228,365 with an interest rate of, say, 5.75 percent interest. That brings your monthly payment to $1,333, but in 30 years, when the mortgage is paid off, total interest comes to $287,225 (that's the interest you paid on your original mortgage and the interest you'll pay with the refinanced loan). With a $75,000 home equity loan, you may receive a higher rate, but it applies to a much smaller loan amount. If you secured a home equity loan at 9.0 percent APR, your monthly payment for your mortgage and equity loan combined would be slightly higher at $1,559. However, the term of your equity loan is 15 years, and your mortgage is still on track to being paid off in 24 years. In all, your total interest payments come to


$174,238 (original mortgage plus home equity loan). Bottom line: In this scenario, a home equity loan comes out as the better financial decision, because not only are you finished paying six years earlier, you would save $112,987 in interest alone. Another upside to using solutions other than cashout refis is that there are now convenient and fast solutions that let borrowers access their equity with ease. Figure Home Equity Loans PLUS lets borrowers apply for a loan online and get notified of approval in five minutes. Upon approval, funds can be deposited in the bank account of choice in as little as five days, based on a typical customer experience for properties located in counties that permit esignatures and e-recording. Actual funding times may vary. With loan terms of 5, 7, 10 and 15 years at a fixed rate, you can get the cash you need with a payment that fits your budget. If you're looking to access the equity in your house to help you complete a home improvement project or consolidate your bills, taking time to know your options can potentially save you thousands of dollars. Figure has built a calculator to show how much you could save using a Home Equity Loan PLUS instead of a cashout refi. Calculate your potential costs and savings at Figure.com/cashout.

PAGE 2B ✦ WEDNESDAY, JAN. 30, 2019



New year, new smart home innovations that work with Google Assistant. By establishing a goto hub for all your smart home devices, you can increase connectivity and create a fully integrated smart home environment.


Smart home products made major strides in 2018. More people than ever now use connected devices in their homes, and smart home hubs are constantly adding new integrations and capabilities. Research from Statista predicts that by the end of 2018, more than 45 million smart home devices will be installed in U.S. homes, fueling an exciting new phase for the smart home industry, offering consumers new and improved smart technologies and giving rise to a totally interconnected, easyto-control environment termed the "smart home." This innovation looks to continue in the new year with increasingly intuitive products that make life more enjoyable and interconnected. Here are the new smart home products ready to change the way we live in the new year, coming out of the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Laundry made easy The calendar might have changed, but your laundry needs haven't gone anywhere. Thankfully, smart home technology is making the chore a little easier with LG's Ultimate Laundry Room.

Stay connected on-the-go

The LG Styler is a first-of-itskind steam clothing care system certified as asthma and allergy friendly(R) by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). The Wi-Fi enabled smart LG Styler reduces wrinkles and odor and refreshes garments with the fastest cycle on the market today - as little as 20 minutes - thanks to the gentle power of pure steam technology. Furthermore, LG TWINWash(TM) with SideKick(TM) pedestal washer, an industry-first innovation for laundry, allows users to tackle small loads that are a big deal and can't wait or wash two loads at the same time. With LG Styler for daily refreshes, the innovative LG SideKick(TM) mini washer for small loads that can't wait, and

LG's award-winning top and front load washers and dryers, the LG Ultimate Laundry Room suite of products can be started, stopped or monitored from anywhere using LG's SmartThinQ(R) app. Users will receive notifications when a cycle has finished, or they can download new cycles, check energy usage and quickly troubleshoot minor issues using Smart Diagnosis. For added convenience, these home solutions can also be controlled with simple voice commands using the Google Assistant.

Smarter home with smart displays Laundry is just one example of how smart home technology is making life easier. By adding other connected appliances

and devices, you can develop a true smart home ecosystem in which seamless integrations produce valuable efficiency. One of the best ways to anchor your ecosystem is with a smart display like the new LG XBOOM AI ThinQ WK9 Smart Display. The advanced smart display builds on the capabilities of a Google Assistant speaker with the added convenience of a touchscreen display and, in partnership with Meridian Audio, delivers highfidelity sound, precise vocal definition and accurate bass, despite its compact size. In addition to its audio and video capabilities, the WK9 enables control of other LG ThinQ products such as LG TVs and home appliances, plus more than 10,000 smart devices from over 1,000 brands

As innovation continues, smart home technology is branching outside of the home itself. With new products, you can receive notifications regarding your home from anywhere, making sure you never lose touch with the most important things in your life. The first full-screen smartwatch with mechanical hands, the LG Watch W7 allows you to connect and control your smart devices. With two mechanical hands and a micro gearbox, users can enjoy the full WearOS smartwatch experience with the essence and mechanism of a true timepiece. With mobile connectivity, your life becomes easier no matter where you are. Smart home technology is all about making our lives easier and more comfortable. Whether you're just doing laundry, looking to power your whole home, or even taking that control on the road, new smart home products provide a level of convenience that's changing the way we live.

Three ways to prepare for any weather event lights if the power goes out before parents can get home, so No matter where you live, they feel confident about hanthe weather can be unpredictable any time of year. dling any unexpected situation. Storms can disrupt your famPrep your car. Invest in the ily's routine, but a little preparation can mean reduc- best tires, and ensure that ing the stress that unexpected they're in tip-top condition to proweather events can cause. tect you and your family during Preparing for storms or other icy or snowy weather. Check weather conditions just takes your tire pressure to make sure a few practical, proactive the PSI is at optimal levels recsteps that can save you time, ommended by your vehicle's money and give you peace of manufacturer, since tire pressure can decrease around 1 PSI per mind. every 10 degrees the temperaPrep your family. Make sure ture goes down. Make sure you everybody in the family is have a good spare tire. Keep equipped with everyone's phone your vehicle gassed up when numbers (not just on phones), in temperatures are colder, to precase batteries go dead or serv- vent gas line freezing, and make ice is inaccessible. Create a sure you're caught up on maintepractical plan for what to do if nance such as oil changes, safeschool buses are delayed or ty inspections and manufacturer canceled, or if Mom and Dad recalls. Make room in your trunk can't get home from work on for emergency supplies like time. Designate safe places for jumper cables, a first-aid kit, everyone to go or meet in the blankets and a safety flare, in neighborhood during a weather case you are stuck in your car for emergency. Make sure older any length of time. children who may be home Prep your home. Feel ready alone know where to find emergency supplies such as flash- for any weather conditions by BPT

assembling an accessible emergency box, complete with flashlights and spare batteries, bottled water and non-perishable food, plus a first-aid kit. Then, be prepared for power outages due to weather events by investing in a generator. Automatic standby generators from Kohler are permanently installed outside a home, similar to a central air conditioning unit. The generators connect to a home's electrical system and run on natural gas or propane. When power is lost,

automatic standby generators turn on within 10 seconds, even when nobody is home, and units can be remotely monitored from a smartphone or laptop. Larger generators can power everything from lights and HVAC to sump pumps and home security systems. Smaller units can power a few key circuits. For more information on generators, visit www.kohlergenerators.com. Having a generator can prevent a host of inconveniences, from food spoilage and lost communi-

cations to loss of heat and lighting. Thinking ahead before the unexpected happens saves time and money — while relieving your worries — during any kind of storm. Being prepared is worth the investment, offering you and your family peace of mind. You may not be able to control the weather, but you can absolutely control how you prepare and respond to it, no matter what the forecast.



WEDNESDAY, JAN. 30, 2019 âœŚ PAGE 3B

Goodbye spring cleaning, hello winter refresh! BPT

These four home improvement updates take your home from drab to fab. Every year, homeowners anxiously await spring to refresh and reset their homes. But what if we capitalized on all the time spent indoors during winter to take control of home improvements ahead of time instead? With a little thoughtful planning, you'll not only be able to give your space a simple face lift but also enjoy spring when it comes around and be outside, soaking up the weather! Many homeowners agree that the colder months are the perfect time to cross home improvement projects off the list, feeling more motivated to work on them during this time of year, according to a new survey (online survey conducted in September, 2018, of 1,000 U.S. homeowners, ages 18+, in partnership with Lucid, on behalf of Maytag). A whopping 78 percent of homeowners plan to make some type of home improvement in the next three to six months and young homeowners are even more motivated, with 87 percent of millennials planning to give their spaces some tender loving care during the same time frame.

Simple updates with big impact Enhancing your home's value and functionality does not require a full-blown remodel. Strategic updates can make a significant impact and can be completed in just

a few days. Consider these Declutter: While you may not smart, no sweat home be ready to jump on the minimalupdates while staying cozy ist band wagon, be inspired by indoors. the movement and remove unnecessary items from your Upgrade appliances: Dated home. Donate or sell trinkets and appliances can steal from a gadgets you don't use and focus space's potential; a simple swap on organizing what's left. can completely transform the Consider storage solutions like aesthetic of a room, taking it closet organizers and kitchen from vintage to polished in a pull-outs that make organization snap. Thanks to Maytag, you seamless. There's no greater joy don't have to sacrifice function than coming home to a clean, for style. Whether you're partial tidy and truly clutter-free space. to French door or side-by-side refrigerators, front load or top Fresh paint: A fresh coat of load washers, explore sleek paint is an affordable update for options at www.maytag.com. any room, and with a little elbow With a few thoughtful changes, grease, you can easily complete you have the power to turn your this project in a weekend. home into the space you've Whether you paint all the walls in always dreamed of. your bedroom or just one to create a focal wall, you can cus-

tomize this project to your per- Other materials like wood and sonal tastes and preferences. glass are popular for hardware, While you're at it, why not paint too. the ceiling too? A fresh coat of white paint can instantly elevate Whether you love it or can't a space by better reflecting light. get through it quickly Replace hardware: The enough, winter is a perfect kitchen and bathrooms are typi- time to take on home cally the most frequented rooms improvements that are simple in a home. The hardware in and achievable; about three these spaces might seem like an in four homeowners would afterthought, but if you want to rather complete home renoadd a little pizzazz with minimal vations during the fall and effort, focus here. Styles go in winter so they can travel in and out of fashion and hardware the spring and summer. With becomes drab with everyday these handy tips, you have wear and tear. Replace knobs, handles and hooks with a new the knowledge and power to look that reflects your personali- rejuvenate your home and ty. Brushed metals have main- make this winter a productive tained popularity, and brass is one. Update now, so you can poised to make a comeback. relax later!

PAGE 4B âœŚ WEDNESDAY, JAN. 30, 2019



Bathrooms in ‘impossible’ spaces BPT

When it comes to real estate, you've probably heard kitchens and bathrooms typically sell houses. While you may not have enough money for a kitchen remodel, adding a bathroom can be a more affordable way to enhance your property and catch buyers' attention. By adding another bathroom to your home, you immediately increase your chances of the property getting noticed. Technology makes it simple for buyers to search properties of interest by their designated criteria. One of those is "minimum number of bathrooms." By adding to that amount in your listing, you'll be getting in front of that many more potential buyers.

Adding bathrooms to difficult spaces Bathrooms increase a home's value and add to its functionality - both elements that buyers desire. Homeowners can

begin to research opportunities to add bathrooms to their properties presale. This often means enhancing basements, garage slabs and other spaces that can be more difficult for contractors to add plumbing systems with conventional in-floor drainage. If you have a space that would be ideal for a bathroom but appears to be impossible due to the need to break through concrete or other types of flooring, there's another solution to consider: above-floor, macerating plumbing systems. Developed a half century ago in Europe, these systems are still relatively unknown in the United States; however, they offer a vast opportunity for homeowners. Macerating systems from makers like Saniflo reduce waste and paper from the toilet and send it under high pressure through piping directly into the septic or sewer system. No waste is stored, and the systems are low-

cost compared to traditional plumbing. Systems are discreet, quiet and open the possibilities of affordable additions in less time. Learn more at Saniflo.com. If you want to add a bathroom to prepare your home for resale, don't be limited by the seemingly impossible. Here are five "impossible" home improvement scenarios where above-floor plumbing may be the solution:

Main floor on-slab construction Owners of slab-built homes may hesitate to cut into the concrete foundation in order to accommodate conventional plumbing. No matter how careful a contractor is when cutting into concrete, a variety of problems can arise from unexpected obstructions to poor-fitting patches and even stress cracks. Abovefloor plumbing systems eliminate the need to cut into the slab, so integrity isn't compromised.

Historic homes Opening walls or floors to accommodate piping may jeopardize important historic elements, such as original wood flooring or plaster walls. Systems like Saniflo's macerating toilet and plumbing technology eliminate the need to cut through a floor to install new drainage, while minimizing the impact on walls as well. The system also fits easily into small areas like a closet or the dead space behind a stairway, meaning homeowners don't have to compromise the flow of their historic homes to add a bathBasements If your home is built room. with a basement, bathRaised homes room additions can be Bayou and beach problematic due to concrete and existing towns often boast charming raised homes. plumbing limitations. Adding a bathroom to Above-floor, macerating the lowest floor of a plumbing is a smart raised home can be solution for fast, costproblematic; conventioneffective bathroom addi- al plumbing pipes may tions in lower-level detract from the aesthetrooms. Now you can ic value of the space highlight the comfortable beneath the home, living space and make it which is often used for feel like a true entertain- car ports, porches and ment center or like home decks. Above-floor to prospective buyers. plumbing eliminates the

need for unsightly pipes, so you can make a great first impression to potential buyers. Warehouse rehabs In cities across the country, warehouses have found new life as condos and apartments. The problem is heavy brick construction can make adding traditional plumbing difficult. Above-floor plumbing eliminates the need to cut into or remove bricks, and allows renovators to install attractive, cozy bathrooms in smaller spaces. Imagine how upgrading a onebath condo to a property with two bathrooms will enhance resale. If you're preparing your home for the current real estate market, you want it to stand out. An extra bathroom can help you do that and attract high bids from buyers. Thanks to abovefloor macerating plumbing systems, the possibilities are endless.



WEDNESDAY, JAN. 30, 2019 ✦ PAGE 5B

Mortgage insurance: Added cost or smart way to get in? BPT

The homebuying process is exciting, but can also seem fraught with added costs, like a home inspection, title insurance and closing costs. And if you can't afford a full 20 percent down payment on a conventional home loan, then you will most likely pay for private mortgage insurance (MI). Some people consider private MI yet another added cost, but it helps creditworthy middleincome homebuyers qualify for home financing sooner with a low down payment. Is it really an added cost if it saves time and money in the long run? For most people, low down payment home loan options include conventional loans with private MI and governmentbacked loans like those offered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). While comparable, each of these options has important differences. For example, the minimum down payment for an FHA mortgage is 3.5 percent while it's only 3 percent on a conventional, privately insured mortgage. Another key feature of private MI is that it can be canceled when a borrower reaches

20 percent equity in his or her home. Borrowers who purchase a home with private MI can typically cancel it within 5 to 7 years, resulting in their monthly bill going down. Private MI's cancelability makes it a more affordable option over FHA-backed mortgages, which typically require mortgage insurance premiums for the entirety of the loan term. Both are offered by most mortgage lenders, so it's smart to ask a loan officer for both options so you can compare and do the math.

The myth that a homebuyer needs 20 percent down to obtain a mortgage is simply not true. Low down payment mortgages are widely available and used every day across the country. In 2018, the National Association of Realtors found that first-time homebuyers typically put down 7 percent, while repeat buyers put down an average of 16 percent. Many homebuyers choose a lower down payment option to preserve some savings for home improvements or save for other goals. The time it could take to save up

a 20 percent down payment is significant. On average, it could take up to 20 years to save a full 20 percent, plus closing costs, for a $257,700 house — the national median sales price. With home prices on the rise, the amount of time it takes to save up could only increase. Private MI can mean the difference between getting into the home of your dreams sooner or waiting for years. For over 60 years, more than 30 million homeowners of all backgrounds have used private MI to successfully buy their homes. In the past

year alone, private MI helped more than one million borrowers nationwide purchase or refinance a mortgage. According to a study by U.S. Mortgage Insurers, 56 percent of purchase borrowers were first-time homebuyers and more than 40 percent had incomes below $75,000. For decades, millions of homeowners and prospective homebuyers have relied on private MI to help them affordably and responsibly purchase their homes - in turn helping them build personal wealth. Today's historically low mort-

gage interest rates are a good reason to buy a home now. It is estimated that in 2019, the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will be around 5 percent. Borrowers should take advantage of these historically low mortgage interest rates because experts forecast that primary mortgage rates are on the rise. Getting a mortgage with private MI and keeping more of your hard-earned money in the bank can be a very smart way to invest in your future. Check out lowdownpaymentfacts.org to learn more.

are typically used for water supply. Piping is hidden behind the walls and ceilings. ■ There are several kinds of sprinklers made just for homes. Some can be hidden behind round plates. Some sprinkler companies offer custom painted sprinklers to match your d√©cor. ■ Each sprinkler is individually activated by heat, so the entire system does not activate. Each sprinkler has a temperature-sensitive glass bulb.

If a fire starts, the high heat from it breaks the glass, allowing the water to flow onto the fire. That controls or even puts out the fire, allowing you and your family to escape. ■ You need not worry about your sprinklers being set off by smoke alarms operating, burnt toast or cigarette smoke. They're designed to operate from the high heat of a fire, usually between 135-165 F. Your family's fire safety is in your hands! Ask

your builder for home fire sprinklers. The best time to install fire sprinklers is when the home is being built, while walls and ceilings are open and accessible. Learn the facts about home fire sprinklers from the nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition, a non-commercial educational organization that offers free information and resources. Follow HFSC on Facebook and Twitter.

Building a new home? Protect yourself against today's faster, scarier fires BPT

If your new home is among the one million or so being built in the U.S. this year, congratulations! You'll have the chance to customize it to your dream home preferences. One feature that should be at the top of your priority list is the best possible fire protection for yourself and your loved ones: home fire sprinklers. While choosing household systems may not be as fun as picking paint colors and carpeting, it's even more important. And asking for fire sprinklers could literally save your life. That's because home fires today are hotter and faster than fires of the past. Homes with unprotected lightweight building material and flooring burn faster, failing quicker (often collapsing in a

fire). Common synthetic furnishings and belongings burn hot and fast and produce toxic smoke. Larger, more open layouts enable faster flashover. That means they can become deadly to people and pets in as little as two minutes. The tragic facts are that seven people die in U.S. home fires each day, while another 12,300 are injured. The residents aren't the only ones in harm's way; firefighters are constantly in danger of injury or death. Studies show they're being diagnosed with cancer as a result of their occupation. Home fire sprinklers are dependable. They not only save lives; they protect property and possessions (reducing fire damage by as much as 81 percent). Most insurers offer sprinkler discounts that lower your homeowners'

premiums. "New homeowners have a great opportunity to ensure their houses are optimized for fire protection," notes Lorraine Carli, HFSC president and vice president of outreach and advocacy for the National Fire Protection Association. "Start with working smoke alarms on every level, and prepare and practice a home escape plan. Create a complete system of fire safety by asking for home fire sprinklers. Here are the basics: ■ Your sprinklers will be customized for your home, ensuring proper protection for your unique layout. Usually the sprinklers are connected to the household water main. In areas where there is not a city water supply or well water, a tank and pump

PAGE 6B âœŚ WEDNESDAY, JAN. 30, 2019



Simple bathroom installations with big impact for 2019 BPT

lasting, and can be created to look surprisingly like other materials, such as wood, creating unique looks that wouldn't typically be possible for the bathroom space. Want to step it up? Consider heated flooring to add comfort and a touch of luxury. This top trend works with a variety of different types of flooring material.

Craving a more beautiful bathroom? Resolve to make this the year that you finally create the bathroom of your dreams. Fortunately, you don't need a major remodel. Consider these ideas for simple changes with big impact. With a little planning and effort, you'll add to your home's value and functionality, while Project 3: getting the "PinterestC u s t o mizable shower worthy" bathroom you A restorative shower know will make you experience is at the smile every day. top of the list for a new bathroom mustProject 1: Fresh, have. Intuitive prodeco-friendly style Transitional style is ucts like GROHE today's most popular SmartControl make it bathroom style, easy to control the according to the precise amount of National Kitchen and water with a simple Bath Association, and push of a button. A with good reason: turn of the dial allows almost limitless for accurate control of design potential. The water volume and This American Standard temperature. Town Square S bath- makes it easy to room collection, change modes quickinspired by classic ly, from when you American architec- want less water while ture, makes it easy to soaping up to when create a 'put-together' you want more water look in bathrooms of to rinse off. all sizes, with a full suite of fixtures and Project 4: Personal pampering faucets that are easy to Bidet seats and toiinstall for a stunning lets are a smart bathrefresh. Performing beautifully, you would room upgrade for a never guess just how w e l l n e s s - f o c u s e d much water the Town home. Drawing on Square WaterSense- Japanese traditions certified faucets save: and technology, water almost half the water cleans more thoroughof regular faucets! ly than toilet paper, so There is nothing better it's more healthful for than a beautiful new all users. A great bathroom that is as option is the DXV AT easy on the eyes as it 200 LS SpaLet with is on our water its heated seat, soft resources (not to men- night light, fully-autotion the little extra matic cleansing wand cash you get to keep in and adjustable water your wallet when a temperature settings. lower water bill This bidet toilet will also score bonus arrives!). points because it is designed for fast and Project 2: easy installation, so Modern flooring When you look you can create your down, do your bath- spa bathroom retreat a room floors leave lot sooner than you something to be think! With these project desired? Redoing the tips that involve simflooring is a simple weekend project that ple product installawill transform the tions, updating the space. Tile is a great look and feel of your bathroom flooring bathroom won't feel choice because it is so like an overwhelming versatile and long- undertaking.

Profile for ClovisNews-Philip Hall

Real Estate Jan 2019  

Real Estate Jan 2019  


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