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Real Estate News February 2021

Home Décor to Look Out For in 2021
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Even with 2020 in the rear-view mirror, it’s fair to assume we’ll still be spending a good amount of time at home in early 2021. Here’s a roundup of popular décor and design trends to keep in mind if you plan to redecorate this year, so you can nest with the best.

Comfort and functionality
2020 was a year when most of us spent more time at home than ever before. Not only were we confined to our homes during our free time, but our homes also became our gyms, our schools and daycares, and (if we were lucky) our offices. All of these new demands have made comfort and functionality top priorities in home design.

Unused guest rooms and formal living rooms have been given more useful purposes. Home offices have gone from makeshift setups to more permanent work stations. The rise in popularity of overstuffed living room furniture signals that consumers are focused on actually relaxing in their living spaces. Furniture sellers are also seeing high demand for partitions and room dividers, as people look to subdivide their limited free space.

Lighter wood
Inspired by the minimalist aesthetic of Scandinavian and Japanese design (that’s “Japandi” for the uninitiated), lighter wood will be a popular choice in 2021. From furniture to flooring, blonde and light oak woods make spaces feel bright, open, and modern – even if your other décor is more traditional.

Not your grandma's wallpaper Grandmillennial
Consider “Grandmillennial” design to be the wild-child cousin of buttoned-up “Japandi” minimalism. Imagine the comforting traditional styles of your grandparents’ home but with trendy updates. Colorful wallpaper, rehabbed antiques, and busy patterns on furniture and rugs are making a comeback with people tired of minimalism.

While these trends are no doubt driven by nostalgia and warmth, sustainability is an added factor. Antique furniture and home goods are available in abundance at affordable prices and were manufactured at a time when products were built to last. Since you’re not shopping at a big box store, your décor is also sure to be unique.

Neutrals are no longer the default
For years, neutral gray, beige, and white were the go-to paint colors for walls and cabinets. Now, bold blues and greens are rising in popularity, and that’s not just limited to accent walls. Expect to see splashes of color covering entire rooms and cabinetry in 2021, as consumers try to recreate the colorful environs of restaurants and hotels in their own homes.

Buying Land: Look Before You Leap
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Have you found yourself dreaming of your own Walden Pond lately? Whether you’re looking to build a luxury retreat or you just want a natural escape, the dream of scooping up an undervalued piece of land is an understandable one. But before you break out the flannel, it’s important to remember that buying land is different from buying property with a structure already on it. Here are some things to keep in mind when buying land:

If it’s an investment, consider it a long-term investment
Land is not a quick flip. You should only plan to buy land if you’re going to hold on to it for at least 10 to 20 years. Landholding can protect you against inflation, but its value isn’t going to rise quickly.

Pay cash if possible
If you aren’t going to build a home on your land right away, lenders will see you as a risk, and you’ll have to pay 30 to 50% upfront (if not full price). If you are going to build right away, you can get a construction-to-permanent loan, which is different from a normal home loan.

Construction-to-permanent loans are a form of short-term financing that don’t have fixed rates. Your bank releases funds as construction stages are completed. Then, the loan rolls over into a traditional mortgage when construction is done.

If you plan to build with a construction-to-permanent loan, and you don’t have collateral in the form of a preexisting home, you’ll need to have nearly perfect credit.

Paying all cash is the best option to avoid these financial hurdles.

Review deed restrictions
Before getting your heart set on land, it’s important to look at deed restrictions to determine what you can and can’t do with the property. You’ll also have to figure out how binding these restrictions are. Restrictions might include limits on the building styles or square footage. The more rural the property, the fewer deed restrictions there are likely to be, but that’s not always the case.

Research zoning restrictions
Land may be zoned for commercial use, residential use, or both. You’ll have to figure out if the land is zoned for additional structures like detached garages or ADUs. Zoning restrictions can also determine the minimum structure size you can build.

Why don't I own this?

Find out about easement stipulations
If there’s an easement on a property’s title, you’ll want to know the stipulations before buying. An easement gives another person or entity a legal right to someone else’s property for specific reasons, which may reduce privacy or cause other headaches.

Water and septic considerations
If you’re looking at land that’s not on a city sewer system, you may have to dig a well for water. That can cost over $10,000, plus the costs of water filtration. Some properties even require adding lakes or hydrants, so firefighters have access to a rural water supply.

If your land isn’t on a municipal sewer system, then any structure you build will probably need a septic tank. For that you’ll need a percolation test, which measures how absorbent the soil is to the liquid that comes out of the septic tank. If you can’t support a septic tank on your land, you probably won’t be able to build or get a mortgage.

Buying land can be a great opportunity, but a lot of research should go into the decision. Do your due diligence and consult with experts on real estate laws and local zoning guidelines. Like anything else, if a land deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.

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