The Best Cities for Retirees to Call Home

Ask any retiree what mattered most in their search for a new home, and most will tell you location. A recent study by WalletHub ranked the top locations for soon-to-be retirees, weighing cost of living, health care, quality of life and recreation—and in a not-so-unexpected twist, the top three locations in the ranking were all within the Sunshine State:

  1. Orlando, Fla.
  2. Tampa, Fla.
  3. Miami, Fla.
  4. Scottsdale, Ariz.
  5. Atlanta, Ga.

Several other cities outside of the top five were named ideal for retirees, as well. Laredo, Texas was ranked No. 1 based on cost of in-home care and cost of living, while Plano, Texas, and Grand Prairie, Texas, were ranked No.1 and No. 3, respectively, in most employed retirees. (Many people of retirement age are simply forced to keep working due to a lack of savings, according to WalletHub.) Some sprawling metropolitan areas are suited for retirees seeking an active lifestyle; Washington, D.C., for instance, is tied for first for the most museums and senior centers per capita.

When it comes solely to weather, however, California cannot be beat: Glendale, Riverside and Bakersfield ranked in the top three for “mild weather,” followed by Scottsdale, Ariz., and Henderson, Nev.

Source: WalletHub

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(TNS)—An underwriter is an entity, typically a company, accountable for analyzing and assuming the risk of another entity. Underwriting typically happens behind the scenes but is an important aspect of mortgage approvals. The mortgage underwriting process has five key steps: verification, appraisal, title search and insurance, flood certification, and surveying.

Verification
After the housing crisis of the mid-2000s, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) enacted rules to protect borrowers. Under these new rules, lenders must be sure a borrower is qualified. Verifying the information you put on your application is top priority.

The lender’s team of underwriters will check the information on your application and supporting documents. They will call your employer, for example, to confirm that you work at that job and that you are paid what you said you’re paid. If you’re self-employed, you may need to supply a lot more documentation. The amount of verification involved depends on how risky your lender perceives you to be.

Appraisal
The lender wants to be sure that the price of the property you’re buying is comparable to the values of similar properties. The lender will get an independent appraisal of the property prior to closing, and the results could affect the rate and terms of your mortgage. A licensed appraiser will provide an expert’s estimated value based on a physical inspection and comparables, or “comps”—prices paid for comparable properties that have recently sold in the neighborhood. An appraisal typically costs between $300 and $500.

Title Search and Title Insurance
After the appraiser has looked at the physical side of your house, a title company looks at its legal history. Your lender doesn’t want to lend money against a house that may have claims on it. That’s why a title company performs a title search.

The title company will research the history of the property, looking for encumbrances such as mortgages, claims, liens, easement rights, zoning ordinances, pending legal action, unpaid taxes and restrictive covenants.

The title insurer then issues a policy that guarantees the accuracy of the work. Your lender will require a title policy that protects the lender. In some cases, two policies are issued—one to protect the lender and one to protect the property owner.

Flood Certification
Flood insurance is not part of a standard homeowners insurance policy. If your property is in a flood zone, your lender wants to know about it. The lender will hire a specialist to analyze your property and neighboring sites to determine if the home is in a flood zone; the report is called a flood certification. If you’re in a flood zone, you’ll be required to buy flood insurance.

If you think you may be in a flood-prone area, you can check out any property on FloodSmart.gov before you even start searching for your new home.

Survey
Finally, some lenders will require that a home’s property boundaries be verified by a professional survey.

While all of this information is being gathered, you can help by taking these steps:

  • Provide complete documentation with your application.
  • Respond promptly to your lender’s request for more information.
  • Call your lender and real estate agent to check on your loan application status.
  • Help contact employers and others who may need to provide documentation.
  • Keep records of your conversations with your lender.

Visit Bankrate online at www.bankrate.com.

©2017 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Nomophobia is the fear of being without a working smartphone, and research says an increasing number of people have it.

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Learn how to tailor your customer service, sales tactics, and communication when working with sellers in various age ranges.

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Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

If you’re selling your home, chances are good you’re familiar with the concept of staging your home. Real estate agents recommend your home look its best to prospective buyers, and home staging is a great way to ensure you receive top dollar.

Did you know you should stage the exterior of your home, too? Failing to update the look of your home’s exterior can cause buyers to get a bad first impression when they initially arrive to view your home. Whether your target is luxury homebuyers or you are selling your starter home, staging the exterior will have a major impact on the sale of your home. If you want to put exterior home staging to work, here are five elements you should consider tweaking.

Clean Your Exterior Windows and Screens
Nothing says poor maintenance like dirty windows and window screens. If your windows are caked with dust or muck from the last rainstorm, open house visitors are going to wonder what other maintenance jobs you haven’t attended to. Don’t give visitors the opportunity to question whether your home has been properly maintained or not; clean those windows and screens before hosting an open house.

Refresh Your Gardens and Walkways
Just like dirty windows are a real estate faux pas, so are unkempt flower beds. Weeds and overgrown bushes tell visitors you can’t be bothered with the small stuff. Spend a day removing weeds and trimming flowers, or hire a professional landscaper to refresh your gardens. It is amazing what a refreshed garden can do to your home’s curb appeal.

Refresh Your Home’s Siding
No, you don’t have to replace your home’s siding prior to an open house. A quick power wash could be all it takes to remove years of dust and grime. You can attempt this task yourself, but it might be worth your while to hire a professional—some homeowners have been known to damage their home’s siding by using too forceful a water stream.

Update/Clean Door Fixtures and House Address Signage
Something as simple as a new door knob or address signage can give your home a refreshed look. You needn’t spring for a new door; just update the face plate and/or door knob. Purchase new address numbers from the local hardware store and you’ll have tweaked the look of your home’s exterior in just a few minutes.

Clean Patio Furniture
Whether you have chairs on your front veranda or a dining set on your back deck, tired patio furniture can cost you big dollars when it comes time to negotiate with a potential homebuyer. Dilapidated patio furniture instantly gives a bad impression and can cause potential homebuyers to request replacement furniture as part of their deal. Spruce up your existing furniture with a quick power wash, or replace it if it is beyond cleaning.

Simple tweaks to the exterior of your home can have a big impact on your home’s final selling price. By spending just a few days improving the look of the outside of your home, you can increase the amount buyers are willing to offer and make your home the cleanest real estate listing on the block. Will you be trying these exterior home staging tricks when you list your home for sale?

Charles Muotoh is the owner of dcrealestateguru.com, a full-service real estate firm focused on leveraging digital marketing strategies to serve buyers and sellers of real estate in the Washington D.C. area.

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The post 5 Simple Ways to Stage the Exterior of Your Home Before an Open House appeared first on RISMedia.

Home shoppers say they’re willing to make big sacrifices in order to get a property with a great outdoor space, according to a new survey....

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