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Take it easy with these Thanksgiving dinner cooking tips and time-savers.

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: November 24, 2016

thanksgivingcooking

It’s coming. That time of year when the family descends on one another for a day-long feeding frenzy. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, don’t panic. Take it easy with these Thanksgiving cooking tips and time-savers.

  1. Estimate 1 to 1 ½ pounds of turkey per person, to make sure you have enough. Too much never seems to be a problem (sandwiches, pot pie, a la king, soup, and good old casseroles).
  2. Remember that thawing a frozen turkey can take DAYS—about 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds. Do the math, and plan ahead so you’re not scrambling the morning of Thanksgiving—or serving up a turkey-sicle.
  3. In addition to the 12-minute-per-pound cooking time, allow 20 to 30 minutes at the end to let it rest before carving. This extra time lets the juices spread out and provides a moister bird.
  4. While the turkey is waiting to be carved, siphon up the juices and make the gravy. You can make it ahead, if you want, using broth or stock. Then, add the juices and thickener when you take the turkey out of the oven.
  5. Speaking of making gravy, don’t add cornstarch or flour directly into your simmering pot of would-be gravy. This leads to lumps. Instead, dilute the thickening agent in a liquid measuring cup with broth, water, or turkey drippings, to the consistency of a paste. Stir it well and add the thickener to your gravy for a lump-free result.
  6. For the tastiest mashed potatoes, start with the right tater. Yukon Golds give the creamiest texture. Red Bliss potatoes are nice (leave some of the skin on for added color). Russets are good and readily available. White potatoes lack the flavor of these preferred potatoes.
  7. Don’t mash potatoes with a hand-mixer or other electric tool. You’ll end up with a paste-like substance. For fluffy mashed potatoes, use a ricer or hand masher.
  8. Warm the milk a bit before mashing it into your potatoes (20 seconds on high in the microwave). Cold milk will only reduce the temperature of your potatoes.
  9. Pre-made pie crust is great! Why struggle with getting the perfect combination of flour and moisture for your pastry? The name-brand, refrigerated crust adds a flaky, tasty foundation to your pie (the store brand isn’t as good, in my humble opinion). Before rolling it out, let the crust come to room temperature (or thereabouts) on your kitchen counter.
  10. If you’re a pumpkin purist, you probably take the time to roast and puree the mighty gourd. But a very good substitute is pure pumpkin in a can—not to be confused with pumpkin filling.
  11. Be careful about trying a new recipe on the Thanksgiving dinner crowd. Do a trial run ahead of time to make sure you like the result. People don’t often remember their favorite dishes, but they somehow never forget the terrible ones!

Happy Thanksgiving! May the day be filled with blessings.

How to choose your kitchen backsplash

Categories: Home Design Trends | Posted: November 23, 2016

kitchenbacksplashblog

The kitchen backsplash used to be purely functional—protecting splatters, stains, and chips from damaging your wall. With kitchens getting more design attention than ever before, you have more choices for making a splash with your backsplash. In fact, you have more options in materials, color, and style in backsplashes than the countertops themselves.

What will work best for you—your style preferences, kitchen design, budget, and upkeep? Here is a guide to kitchen backsplash choices, so you can weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.

Tile

The increased popularity of decorative kitchen backsplashes has driven manufacturers to provide greater versatility. Porcelain and ceramic tiles are available in colorful patterns, as well as the look of natural stone or wood. You also have a broader range of shapes and sizes when choosing a tile backsplash.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Resistant to heat, water, and scratches
  • Easy to clean
  • Relatively simple to install
  • Chipped tiles are easy to replace
  • Wide variety of colors, designs, sizes, and shapes

Cons:

  • Not resistant to chipping
  • The choice of white tile and grout will get dirty in an active kitchen

Stainless Steel

The polished shine of stainless steel looks great with a modern kitchen and the matching appliances, so it’s a natural choice as a kitchen backsplash. Like your stainless steel appliances, however, it’s not as “stainless” as you might like!

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Heat-resistant
  • Easy to clean with warm water and a soft cloth (and mild dish detergent for greasy areas)

Cons:

  • Not scratch-resistant
  • Dents can’t be repaired (but add character)

Granite

You love it on your kitchen countertop, so why not use granite for your backsplash as well? The uniqueness of each slab make every space a one-of-a-kind. Plus, you can choose from the polished or honed finishes, for the shine or matte look you want.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • All-natural beauty
  • Easy to clean
  • Wide range of colors

Cons:

  • Porous, so requires occasional re-sealing to prevent stains
  • Expensive

Marble

The beauty of this natural stone adds the look of luxury to any room in your home. Whether or not you have a marble countertop in your kitchen, a marble backsplash makes a definite statement.

Pros:

  • Natural beauty
  • One-of-a-kind uniqueness to every slab

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Not stain-resistant
  • Requires regular re-sealing

Polished Plaster

The texture of a polished plaster backsplash can range from smooth to rough, depending on how it is applied—and that step can be done yourself! Once you’re satisfied with the texture, you can apply one or more colors.

Pros:

  • Relatively easy to apply yourself
  • Easy to maintain

Cons:

  • Chips easily
  • Difficult to repair

Composite

Solid surface materials, like Corian, are manufactured from a composite of resin and minerals. Prior to the surge in popularity of granite countertops, composite was all the rage. The durability, color choices and easy care lend it wonderfully to a backsplash choice!

Pros:

  • Wide variety of colors
  • Can be molded to angles and curves
  • Seamless surface prevents cracks where dirt and germs can collect
  • Non-porous and hygienic
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Not scratch-resistant
  • Not heat-resistant (e.g., can’t be installed behind a gas cooktop)

Laminate

Perhaps your most affordable choice, a laminate backsplash can add the color or texture of natural stone or wood, thanks to the advances in the manufacturing of this popular material.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Wide range of color choices
  • Easy to clean
  • Water-resistant
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Not heat-resistant (e.g., shouldn’t be installed behind a cooktop or stove)
  • Water can seep into cracks if the laminate isn’t properly installed

Consider Your Homes ‘Walk Score’

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: November 1, 2016

There are many things to consider when shopping for a new home for your family. As a potential homeowner, you will want to explore the area that you are about to make your homebase. Go for a stroll around the neighborhood; take note of the restaurants, coffee shops, parks, and grocery stores. It’s important to learn how close all of these destinations are to your home. Can you easily walk to that delicious pizza joint down the street? If you need to run out quickly because you ran out of cream for your coffee, can you walk to the market or do you need to drive 30 minutes before you reach the first grocery or convenience store? This idea is called your home’s “walk score” and it can make or break your decision to buy a house. A walk score is ranked on a scale of 0-100 with the top scores of 90-100 meaning that a car is not required to complete most daily errands and the lowest scores of 0-24 meaning that you will be almost completely dependent on your car or public transportation.

walking scoreAs you can see in our animated gif, we’ve ranked some of the most classic homes in American history on their walk score. While some had fantastic scores, others fell a little short. The Goonies have an average walk score of 42, meaning that they could walk most places, but it may have taken them a little extra time to get there. That may be why Bran borrowed that little girl’s bike to get around town and find his brother. With a score of 11 Hugh Hefner and the playboy bunnies probably don’t often walk to the grocery store for their weekly necessities. The White House comes in with a walk score of 83, which is above average, but we’re guessing that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama don’t often get to walk to their favorite restaurants due to security reasons.

Next time you are in the market for a new home, make sure you consider what the walk score will be. Check the proximity to local restaurants, markets, schools, and shops and find out if the home’s walk score is comparable to Paul Revere’s house or on the same level as Monticello.

 

10 Best Things to Do In and Around Seattle In Winter

Categories: American Classic News, Lifestyle, Washington | Posted: October 31, 2016

Seattle

One of the best things about living in Seattle is the temperate climate. More often than not, you won’t be caught out in the snow and ice miserably scraping your car off in the early mornings. Seattle is on the Puget Sound and protected by mountains and water on all sides keeping it cool and cloudy for most of the winter with occasional rain showers. It’s the perfect weather to enjoy soups and teas while cuddling up in a flannel blanket next to the fireplace without the hassle of shoveling snow, scraping ice and paying exorbitant prices for winter heating bills. If it is snow that you love, it’s a very short drive away to enjoy beautiful skiing, snowboarding and sledding.

There are always loads of things to do in Seattle and the winter is no different. The cool temperatures make winter outings and holiday light shows more enjoyable.

1. Seattle Winter Fest

Seattle Center Winterfest is a large, family event beginning November 25th through December 31, times and dates vary. Events include ice sculpting, a large model train set with a turn of the century winter village, ice skating rink, and over seventeen free, live performances including music, dancers, carolers and comedy. Winterfest is a great event for children, and includes artistic performances from local school children.

2. Light Up The Night Events

Light up the Holidays by attending Wild Lights at the Woodland Park Zoo. This event takes place from November 25th – January 1 (closed on December 24 &25) from 5:30pm-8:30pm. The entire zoo is lit up with 600,000 lights. The lights are expertly set up to replicate locations and animals. A large indoor space boasts fake snow for winter play, real reindeer, a beautiful antique carousel and Christmas carolers. Families can also enjoy a rare look at the nocturnal animals while visiting the zoo at night. The zoo puts on an ongoing scavenger hunt to find all of the peacock themed lights with a chance for a prize for people who find them all. Photos with Santa Claus are available, as well as a zoo themed gift shop for unique holiday gifts. For the adult visitors a new mulled wine and beer garden is available every evening.

If you reside in South Seattle or Tacoma, Zoo Lights at the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma is a closer option. This event takes place from November 25th – January 1 (closed on December 24 &25) from 5:30-8:30, although it has many of the same attractions as Wild Lights, Zoo Lights specializes in lights displaying marine life including a one-hundred-foot octopus!  A shark tank and aquarium are open and lit up for the event with thousands of marine animals. Santa Claus and an elf dive with sharks (see times and schedules). Camel rides are available for children and adults as well as an after dark petting zoo where young visitors will have the opportunity to feed goats and see meerkats and other animals up close.

3. Leavenworth

Leavenworth is a beautiful, Bavarian style, mountain town located 134 miles East of Seattle. Open year round to look around and go shopping, but for the first three weekends in December this town comes to life as a wonderful Bavarian Christmas town, starting on Fridays from 4-9 pm, Saturday and Sundays from 11-6. Leavenworth is a wonderful area to get into the holiday season with snow, skiing, snowboarding, and sledding. The town creates a beautiful and traditional Christmas setting with tree lighting ceremonies, over half a million lights throughout town, live Christmas music and warm mulled wine with spices to warm you up. A train to Leavenworth is available leaving from Seattle for a gorgeous ride through the snowy mountains adding a beautiful, memorable Holiday experience.

4. Magic In The Market

Magic in the Market is on Nov. 26th from 11-5:30 and takes place in Pike Place Market. The Market hosts a Holiday party with a tree lighting, Santa Claus, gingerbread cookie decorating for kids under 12, caroling and hot cider and chocolate sales throughout the market. Every Saturday in December live Jazz bands play around 2 pm.

5. Snowflake Lane in Bellevue

It’s always snowing on Snowflake Lane in Bellevue November 25th– December 24th every night at 7 pm. Snowflake Lane is a wonderfully choreographed parade of dancers, drummers and performers that come to perform shows for families amongst twinkling holiday lights and 46 snow machines!

6. Polar Bear Plunge

You can be freezin’ for a reason at the Polar Plunge in Golden Gardens Park to benefit Special Olympics on Februrary 3rd as a super plunger where you’d plunge into the icy water once every hour for a 24 hour period! If you’d like to benefit the cause, but only jump once February 4th is the day for one time plungers.

7. Go Skiing

Winter sports are huge in the North West with many options to choose from. Beautiful ski resorts are not far away, whether you prefer downhill or cross country skiing, snowboarding, tubing or snowshoeing you don’t have to drive far from the Seattle area to find them.

The Summit at Snoqualmie

Stevens Pass

Mount Baker

Crystal Mountain

8. Timber Music Festival

Timber Music Festival in Leavenworth January 27th -28th. Who says music festivals must be in the summer? Leavenworth Washington gives us something great to look forward to in the dead of winter. You can find the 2016 line up here. Every year one weekend in January visitors can enjoy discounted ski lift passes or watch live music at local venues during the days. At night is when the big bands come out for 21 and over skiers to enjoy the winter evenings with toasty hot toddies at the Hot Toddy Garden in the Festhalle.

9. Seattle Running Events

Give yourself the gift of health this year, while staying in shape through the holidays and joining one of the many of the Seattle runs this winter.

Seattle Marathon November 27, 2016 at 7:15 am. 15,000 runners run a half or full marathon with pretty views of Downtown Seattle and Lake Washington.

Rogers Raindeer Run December 3rd 2016 register from 7-8:15 am with raffle prizes starting at 8:40 am. A fun run with a choice of 1,5 or 10k runs with an opportunity for teams or individuals to run or walk as a community raising money for Rodgers High School choir and Booster Club.

Resolution Run January 1st 2017 starting at 9 am. Start your new year off right with the Resolution Run, a fun 5k run with an optional polar plunge into Lake Washington. Enjoy New Year’s Day after the run with an open beer garden, wood fires, free chili and warm drinks.

St. Martin’s Jingle Bell Run February 3rd 2017 at 9 am for the competitive run or 9:45 am gentle run/ walk. Located on St. Martin’s University campus, an enjoyable 5k run, walk or stroll to raise money for St. Martin’s scholarships. After the race enjoy the holiday season with photos with Santa Claus, hot apple cider, hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.

For a more complete guide of Seattle races go to:

Seattle Run Guides

Seattle Runs

10. New Years Party and the EMP Museum

One of the largest parties in Seattle on New Years Eve is thrown at the EMP Museum, with access to all of it’s pop culture exhibits, music, architecture and technology  on December 31 Celebrated with over 3,000 people, there are several stages with live bands and DJ’s, stand up comedy with different comedians performing all night, a free pre-party for singles to meet friends to spend the evening with. The museum boasts of twenty-five bars, VIP tickets available to exclusive party areas, the largest LED screen in the world and a firework show underneath the space needle!

American Classic Homes Food Bank Drive

Categories: American Classic News, Events | Posted: October 31, 2016

Now through the end of November, American Classic Homes is providing a quick and easy way to make a difference in your community. All of our Model Homes will be available as a local food bank drop off location. You can help make the holidays a little brighter for families in need by dropping off non-perishable canned or box foods to any of our model home locations.

Below are some of the most requested items from the local food banks, though any non-perishable foods you donate will be appreciated.

• Baby Formula
• Baking Mixes
• Brown Rice
• Canned Fruits and Vegetables
• Canned Fish and Meats
• Canned or Boxed Meals
• Canned or Powdered Milk
• Healthy Snacks and Bars
• Infant & Baby Food
• Mac & Cheese
• Oatmeal
• Olive Oil or Canola Oil
• Pasta & Pasta Sauce
• Peanut Butter
• Spices

Sammamish Model Home Drop Off Location
Discovery Grove
2902 226th PL SE
Sammamish, WA 98075
Open: Thursdays – Mondays
Hours: 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Supporting the Issaquah Food Bank

Renton Model Home Drop Off Location
Concord Place
1513 Jericho Place NE
Renton, WA 98059
Open: Thursdays – Mondays
Hours: 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Supporting the Renton Salvation Army Food Bank

Big Coffee Flavors in Sammamish, Washington

Categories: American Classic News, Community Spotlight, Sammamish Plateau, Sammamish Washington, Washington | Posted: October 28, 2016

The beautiful city of Sammamish is tucked between the trees to the East and Lake Sammamish. It’s proximity to Issaquah and Downtown Seattle makes it an incredible place to call home. Here are the top three places to enjoy the bold flavors of rich espresso and sweet vibrant syrups used to enhance the coffee in this charming town.

Sammamish Cafe

Pull right up to Sammamish Cafe and enjoy a gritty American feast with the locals. This cute diner was modeled after a 1940’s fishing lodge and has a bar counter tables and booths inviting you to sit and stay awhile. There are seven cafes throughout Washington that are linked to this one, including Saw Mill Cafe and Issaquah Cafe all serving hearty American meals. Each location carries a special blend of Village Cafe Coffee roasted on Camano Island. If you show up on a Sunday morning expect to wait a while but don’t be disappointed–they will offer you free coffee Bringing your kiddos along. They will fall in love. The cafe offers an M&M hot cocoa that is insanely delicious. Whether you are meeting a friend for coffee and a slice of pie in the evening or bringing your family in for brunch on the weekend this local spot can’t be beat.

 

Mercury Coffee Co

Enjoy an Eastside favorite when you walk into to get your latte at Mercury Coffee Co. Their standard brewed coffee is a combination of bold rich chocolaty flavors with a fruity finish. Nothing is more satisfying for the days when you’ve decided it’s time to “treat yourself” try ordering a Hawaiian Silk Latte. This special treat contains white chocolate, macadamia nut, coconut, espresso, and milk that feels like velvet. If you’re feeling a little spicy, they also offer a Mexican Mocha with spiced chocolate and espresso. Mercury Coffee Co first opened in 1998 in Woodinville and has been expanding over the last several years. They’ve won awards for their coffee since 2012 naming them “best” on several occasions. Their Sammamish store is scheduled to open in late 2016 early 2017 and you won’t want to miss it. Until then their nearby Redmond store is ready for you to dive in and start becoming familiar with their drinks that will soon become your favorite.

 

Starbucks

Only 20 miles from the flagship store, there is no doubt that Starbucks holds its own in any neighboring Seattle town. There are two Starbucks locations in Sammamish one drive-thru and one walk-in storefront. If you’re looking for a space to spread out and work the drive-thru location a tad bit closer to Eastlake High School might be your best bet. If you are a teacher or a parent of students at Eastlake High¨ the convenience of having two Starbucks locations so close is unmatched. Whether you are

craving one of their signature holiday drinks such as the Fall-favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte or a grab-and-go warm bacon gouda sandwich it is hard to compete with the predictability of stepping into a Starbucks. If you find yourself in Sammamish it is highly likely that you enjoy spending time outdoors. Take any coffee to go and enjoy it on a beautifully-paved Lake Sammamish trail or with a pastry as you sit alongside the lake. Invite your friends and family to join you for breakfast at the Sammamish Cafe become a regular at the new Sammamish branch of Mercury Cafe or celebrate the holidays with a Starbucks classic drink as you curl up next to the fireplace. No matter how you enjoy your coffee enjoy it in Sammamish

Chimney fire prevention in 3 easy steps

Categories: Home Owner Tips | Posted: October 27, 2016

fireprevention

The growing chill in the air ignites the urge to cozy up in front of a crackling fire. Before you light that log in your fireplace, be sure you’re not sparking a chimney fire.

Approximately 23,000 chimney fires occur every year, causing near a billion dollars in damage, and potentially the loss of lives.

Chimney fires are usually caused by creosote build-up. That’s the highly combustible residue that remains in your chimney when burning wood. The wood emits smoke, vapor, gas, hydrocarbons, tar fog, and wood particles. When the internal temperature of your flue gets high enough, the creosote ignites. The fire can explode and erupt in flames, or quietly smolder undetected.

A chimney fire can also result from a faulty chimney liner. If your chimney liner doesn’t provide adequate protection from the searing heat, sparks can escape into your home and ignite a fire.

You can prevent a chimney fire with three easy steps:

  1. Have your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned. At the beginning of the heating season, hire a certified chimney inspector to examine your chimney—specifically, the chimney liner and ventilation. The chimney inspector will check for creosote build-up, cracks, and leaks, and make sure the vent is in good working order. A good chimney sweep thoroughly cleans the chimney, flue, and vents.
  2. Use the right wood. Not all woods burn the same. Seasoned hardwood—like ash, oak, maple, hickory, and beech—is best. It has been fully dried out, and the ends should appear cracked, showing the wood is dry. When wood is still green, it creates more smoke as the moisture is dried. This additional condensation can lead to creosote build-up.

Never burn any treated wood materials—e.g., plywood, pressed wood, pressure-treated lumber, engineered wood, like laminate. These materials have been chemically treated and could emit dangerous gases when you burn them.

  1. Take precautions outside.
    • Stack your firewood at least 30 feet from your home, to avoid any risk if the wood catches a spark.
    • During your fall clean-up, clear away fallen leaves, pine needles, and debris from the roof and flue. Anything near the chimney is at risk of catching sparks and starting a fire.
    • Place a spark arrestor screen over the chimney opening. The mesh keeps sparks from escaping to the roof and igniting a fire.

For some tips on finding a certified chimney sweep, visit the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).

Homeowner and Agent Appreciation Halloween Event

Categories: American Classic News, Events | Posted: October 26, 2016

Join Us This Weekend for Our Homeowner and Agent Appreciation Halloween Event!

This weekend agents and homeowners are invited to join us at our Halloween Party Celebrations. Two days to choose from! You can attend the Sammamish Halloween Party at Discovery Grove this Saturday or the Renton Halloween Party at Concord Place this Sunday.

Bring your friends and family to celebrate the festivities. You can tour the beautiful model homes while enjoying delicious bites and be sure to enter your children into the costume contest.

Sammamish

Saturday, October 29th | 12:00pm-3:00pm

Discovery Grove Model Home

2902 226th PL SE, Sammamish, WA 98075

&

Renton

Sunday, October 30th | 12:00pm – 3:00pm

Concord Place Model Home

Directions: 1513 Jericho Place NE, Renton, WA 98059

Questions? Call Thuan Howard at 425.445.3252 or via email at ThuanHoward@gmail.com.

 

Must-have new home features, by generation

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: October 19, 2016

musthavefeatures

Each person has a unique vision of the “dream home”. It could be spacious and luxurious or a country retreat. Maybe the house offers single-level living or has several stories.

Everyone seems to agree that spacious island kitchens, and updated bathrooms with separate tub and shower are essential. Still, different age groups are looking for different “must-have” features in their next home.

How does this list fit your new home wishes?

Baby Boomers

  • Single-level home. They don’t want stairs!
  • The coziness offers special comfort.
  • Low-maintenance surfaces. Granite and quartz are preferred.
  • Walkable, sociable communities. Boomers want walking trails and common areas to come together with friends, family, and neighbors.
  • This generation wants more detail, done with quality, like crown modling and built-ins.
  • Flexible space. Their lives are changing. Kids are moving out. They want the next home to be easily converted.
  • Storage. Even though they are often down-sizing their life, they want to be able to organize everything they keep, for easy access.

Gen X

  • Breakfast bar. Generation X (Echo Boomers) like to relax with their coffee and read the latest on their tablet while sitting at a counter.
  • Eco-friendly. New homes have energy-efficiency built in, but appliances aren’t enough. Home systems (HVAC), light fixtures, windows and doors—it all needs to respect the environment.
  • Upstairs laundry rooms. This generation of homeowner wants two (or more) floors, and they don’t want to haul laundry up and down those stairs.
  • Closet organizer. Gen X is particular about their clothes, and they will appreciate the value of a spacious, organized closet to store them.
  • Second-floor loft. Specifically, they are seeking a getaway to be alone with their laptop.
  • Outdoor fireplaces. They grew up with campfires but they want something more updated now.
  • Natural light. Their parents tolerated fluorescent lighting (to a point), but Gen Xers want ambient light streaming through windows.

Millennials

  • Open interior: The fewer the walls, the better. Open floor plans are ideal, so they can designate the purpose for themselves.
  • Low maintenance: No carpets or wood-burning fireplaces or stoves. Easy-care floors and surfaces, gas or ventless fireplaces are the way to go.
  • Spa bathrooms: While most homebuyers want a nice bathroom, Millennials will likely accept nothing less than the latest trends, from vanities to showers and tubs to plumbing fixtures.
  • Tech-ready. They want everything “smart” so the new home must be ready to handle the Millennial’s ever-expanding technology needs.
  • Energy-efficiency. Their new home must be eco-friendly, from construction materials to systems and appliances.
  • Less detail. Millennials aren’t impressed by crown molding and fine details.

New homes are always exciting. Finding the perfect one can be a chore, but remember, it’s out there!

Rent or own? Weigh the cost benefit.

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: October 6, 2016

costofrenting

There continues to be an ongoing debate over the value of renting a home versus owning it. Renters know that they are spending money that they won’t recoup—it’s not easy writing that rent check every month and watching the funds fly away forever. Still, those who are financially capable of owning a home bide their time.

Many of these hesitant homebuyer-hopefuls are just afraid of the commitment and the housing market. They saw homeowners go underwater on their mortgages when the housing bubble burst in 2008. But that fear is costing them now. Housing prices are on the rise while mortgage rates remain low (but not forever). The issues that contributed to the fragile housing loans in 2006 and 2007 (no-doc and low-doc) have been rectified, with stricter underwriting processes than ever, to ensure safe lending.

Analysis paralysis on making the decision to purchase a home is costing renters too much right now.

Just weigh the cost benefit to buy a home right now, with today’s rates, mortgages, and tax laws.

  1. Investment. Real estate is a powerful investment because you can leverage the money you borrow to gain equity in your home. Home values are on the rise. How are your stocks doing??
  2. The cost vs. value of your monthly payment. Rent is an expense, which means it delivers no return. You pay a fee. A mortgage payment is a contribution toward your investment because your home will gain in value.
  3. Tax benefit. A homeowner can deduct mortgage interest, points on closing costs, and property tax. Energy-saving improvements are usually deductible. If you work from home, you can take a variety of home office deductions, which include a percentage of your utilities, mortgage, insurance, depreciation, and home repair for your dedicated home office space. Renters might be able to claim a small credit, depending on the state they live and work in.
  4. Cost control. With a fixed rate mortgage, your payment stays the same through the life of the loan. Conversely, a landlord will likely increase your rent every year, based on inflation, the cost of repairs, etc. Buying a home is your best protection against inflation!

Housing construction is on the rise, because the demand is growing. Home sales are moving faster than they have in almost ten years, which means the inventory is getting smaller. Mortgage rates are certain to increase. The longer you wait to make the move to buy a new home, the more you will pay. Talk to a mortgage specialist to get pre-approved so you know what you can purchase. You might be pleasantly surprised at your buying power!

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