What to Buy in September

(TNS)—September is a big month for bargains, with deep discounts on summer merchandise and more.

“September is all about the end of summer, so anything seasonal is going to be on clearance,” says Benjamin K. Glaser, former features editor with DealNews.com.

You’ll find the last of the one-cent and 10-cent deals on school supplies at the big office-supply chains in September. If you or the student in your life needs a laptop computer, you might find a bargain.

“Inventory will be more limited, but the discounts justify giving it a look,” Glaser says.

At the grocery store, summer produce is discounted and so is the first bounty of fall.

“You’ll see great prices on peaches and nectarines, alongside pears and apples,” says Chris Romano, chief operating officer of Veggie Noodle Co. in Austin, Texas, and former coordinator for produce and floral for Whole Foods Market. “You have two seasons at the same time.”

Here’s your guide to the best things to buy in September.

Tomatoes and Corn
If you’ve been enjoying big, juicy summer tomatoes, now is your last chance to enjoy them at lower prices.

In September, you can still find a rainbow of heirloom varieties for 20 to 50 percent less than out-of-season prices, Romano says.

Big, round “slicer” tomatoes—a cookout staple for topping burgers—will be cheaper, with some as low as 99 cents a pound. Don’t forget fresh corn—markets tend to roll out specials, such as 25 cents an ear, or four for $1.

September also ushers in the first tastes of fall. Hearty greens that are great in soups and salads, such as kale and chard, “need the cool, crisp nights” that September brings, Romano says. Look for big discounts.

Apples and Pears
Craving apple pie, apple fritters or just a sweet, crispy apple with a slice of cheese? Domestic apples are a fall crop, and as they roll into the stores in September, you’ll see prices start to drop, says Romano.

It’s also the start of the short season for another fall favorite: Bartlett pears.

“They’re very prolific and very flavorful in September and October,” says Romano. “You’ll see some nice discounts.”

Coffee
Make your calendars, caffeine fiends: Saturday, Sept. 29 is National Coffee Day. To celebrate, many coffee houses and doughnut shops, including chain stores and small independent cafes, will offer deals and discounts. Some coffee shops offer free cups of java and doughnuts on the house, as well as special buys on coffee beans.

One place you won’t find a free cup of joe: Starbucks. The giant coffee chain instead uses National Coffee Day to kick off charitable events and tout the positive impact it has on coffee-growing communities worldwide.

Airline Tickets
Most people take their big trips in summer, which makes September a good month to find deals on airline tickets. The one exception for fall travel bargains is Thanksgiving week. Flights sell quickly and at a premium for that holiday.

A few guidelines to follow:

  • If you see a good price, grab it. Airfares change frequently, and there’s always someone waiting to grab that ticket if you don’t.
  • The general rule for buying airline tickets is to book about 60 days in advance, so if you’re planning a winter getaway, September is a good time to nail it down.
  • To boost your chances of landing a deal, set fare alerts for your destination on sites such as Orbitz or Travelocity, or use a price prediction and monitoring app like Hopper. Google Flights is also a good resource for booking air travel, and it recently added new tools to help you decide the best time to book.

Bicycles, Gear and Accessories
Whether you’re an occasional bike rider or you take it seriously, September is a good month to buy a bicycle. New models debut in the fall, so retailers start to sell old inventory.

A lot of bike manufacturers have already delivered their 2019 models, says Larry Pennenski, manager of Mike’s Bikes, which sells the top bike brands at its two stores in Charleston, S.C.

Don’t expect huge discounts on bicycles.

“There’s not a whole lot of markup on them,” says Pennenski. Mike’s Bikes typically discounts older models by about 10 percent, he says.

Bike prices are all over the place, depending on what you want. A 10 percent discount on a $500 Electra Cruiser, for example, saves you a tidy $50. In September, also look for deals on cycling jerseys, helmets, storage stands, tools, and more.

Your location affects prices, too. In northern climes, the bike business slows down during cold months. That’s leverage for shoppers. Being a first-time customer at your local bike shop might give you negotiating power, too, since the store probably wants to build loyalty and retain you as a lifetime customer.

©2018 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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What Property Buyers Should Know About Land Loans

(TNS)—If you’re thinking about buying land, you’ll be hard-pressed to persuade a mortgage lender to finance your purchase. Instead, you’ll likely need to apply for a land loan.

Land loans aren’t as common as mortgage loans, so your options may be limited. Also, because of different factors, you could end up with a shorter repayment period and higher down payment and interest rate than you’d find with a mortgage loan.

So, if you’re considering getting a land loan, it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into and what options are available to reduce your costs.

What Are Land Loans?
Land loans are a type of credit you can use to buy a vacant lot to eventually build a home on or raw land that you don’t intend to develop.

Land loans tend to be riskier for lenders than mortgage loans, says Casey Fleming, a mortgage adviser with C2 Financial Corp. in San Jose, Calif. Because of that, you may not get as favorable terms as you might get with a mortgage loan.

“Owners of raw land are much more likely to stop making payments and walk away from the property in the event of a financial event in their lives,” Fleming says. “And land is much harder to sell (than a home).”

That’s primarily because the demand for land is smaller than the demand for new and existing homes. So, if a lender needs to foreclose on the land, there’s no guarantee it will get its money back in a timely manner, if at all.

As a result, some lenders require a substantial down payment and charge high interest rates on land loans. Also, some land loans have significantly shorter repayment terms than a typical 15- or 30-year term you might get with a mortgage loan.

5 Land Loans to Consider to Finance Your Land Purchase
There are five common types of land loans you can get to finance your land purchase, each with its own terms and features.

  1. Lender Land Loans
    Community banks and credit unions are more likely to offer land loans than large national banks. Your best bet is to find a lender with a presence near the land you want to buy. Local financial institutions know the area and can better assess the value of the land and its potential.

If you’re leaving the land undeveloped, interest costs will be very high, Fleming says. Plus, a lender could require a down payment as high as 50 percent.

Some lenders, however, may be willing to take a lower down payment and charge lower interest rates if you have plans to build on the land soon. So, shop around before you apply.

Also, local lenders are more likely to offer longer repayment terms, giving you more time to repay the debt.

  1. USDA Rural Housing Site Loans
    If you’re planning on building a primary residence in a rural area, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a couple of loans that can help.

Section 523 loans are designed for borrowers who plan to build their own home, while Section 524 loans allow you to hire a contractor to build the home for you. Both loans are designed for families with low to moderate income, and they have a repayment term of just two years. Interest rates, however, can be low. Section 523 loans, for instance, charge just 3 percent, while Section 524 loans charge the current market rate.

Depending on the situation, you may even qualify for a loan with no down payment.

  1. SBA 504 Loan
    If you’re a business owner planning to use the land for your business, you may qualify for a 504 loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). With a 504 loan, you, the SBA and a lender help contribute to the costs of the land purchase:
  • The SBA provides a loan for 40 percent of the purchase cost.
  • A lender provides a loan for 50 percent of the purchase cost.
  • You contribute 10 percent in the form of a down payment.

SBA loans come with a 10- or 20-year repayment period, and the interest rate will be based on current market rates. The terms of the loan you receive through the lender can vary, however, depending on which lender you choose.

  1. Home Equity Loan
    If you have an existing home with significant equity, it may be worth getting a home equity loan instead of trying to get a land loan. There’s no down payment on a home equity loan. What’s more, you can typically get a low interest rate—regardless of what you plan to do with the land—because your home secures the loan.

The downside is that if you default on the loan, you could lose your home. Also, since you’re not using the loan to buy, build or substantially improve the home used as collateral, you can’t deduct the interest you pay when you file your taxes.

Depending on the lender and the loan, your repayment term could be anywhere between five and 30 years.

  1. Seller Financing
    In some cases, the person or company selling the land may be willing to offer short-term financing. In many cases, the seller isn’t in the lending business and doesn’t have a broad portfolio of loans like a community bank or credit union.

As a result, you can typically expect high interest rates and a high down payment. Also, it’s unlikely you’ll get a long repayment term. So, consider this option if you can’t qualify for any other type of land loan.

How to Find the Right Land Loan for You
There’s no single best land loan out there for everyone, so it’s important to shop around to find the best one for your situation. Before you do anything, Fleming recommends developing a comprehensive plan for what you plan to do with the land. Doing this can help you determine what type of loan is best and how long you want the repayment term to be.

Keep in mind, though, that some lenders may have limits on how much they’re willing to finance. Others, Fleming says, may require a balloon payment, which is a large, one-time payment at the end of the loan term. “So, you may have to have a plan to pay it off before that payment comes due.”

As you consider your different options, make sure you choose one that fits within your budget and helps you achieve your ultimate goal with the land.

©2018 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Consumer Confidence at High Point

In August, consumer confidence rose, posting a 133.4 reading in the Consumer Confidence Index® from The Conference Board. July’s reading was 127.9.

The Expectations reading of the Index, which gauges how consumers feel about their business, employment and income prospects six months out, improved, as well, to 107.6, while the Present Situation reading, which gauges how consumers feel about conditions currently, rose to 172.2.

“Consumer confidence increased to its highest level since October 2000 following a modest improvement in July,” said Lynn Franco, director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, in a statement. “Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions improved further. Expectations, which had declined in June and July, bounced back in August and continue to suggest solid economic growth for the remainder of 2018. Overall, these historically high confidence levels should continue to support healthy consumer spending in the near-term.”

Source: The Conference Board

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Consumer Confidence at High Point

In August, consumer confidence rose, posting a 133.4 reading in the Consumer Confidence Index® from The Conference Board. July’s reading was 127.9.

The Expectations reading of the Index, which gauges how consumers feel about their business, employment and income prospects six months out, improved, as well, to 107.6, while the Present Situation reading, which gauges how consumers feel about conditions currently, rose to 172.2.

“Consumer confidence increased to its highest level since October 2000 following a modest improvement in July,” said Lynn Franco, director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, in a statement. “Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions improved further. Expectations, which had declined in June and July, bounced back in August and continue to suggest solid economic growth for the remainder of 2018. Overall, these historically high confidence levels should continue to support healthy consumer spending in the near-term.”

Source: The Conference Board

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Beware Location Remorse: Over a Third Have ‘Neighborhood Regret’

You can change a house—location is tougher.

According to new research by Trulia, 36 percent of Americans have “neighborhood regret,” or would have moved to another neighborhood than the one they reside in today. The feeling is heightened in metros, where 46 percent are dissatisfied with their pick, but less pronounced in rural areas (31 percent) and the suburbs (30 percent) The portal surveyed 1,000 Americans in Austin, Chicago and San Francisco who moved in the past three years.

What makes a neighborhood suitable? Forty-eight percent of those surveyed were motivated by the “vibe,” 37 percent were affected by crime rates, and another 37 percent were attracted to easier travel to work. Attributes that led to regret? Lack of public transit, noise and traffic.

Is your neighborhood a problem? For future moves, prepare through research. Look up neighborhood photos—something just 38 percent of those surveyed did—and plan a time to visit. Only 37 percent explored the neighborhood’s popular spots, and 47 percent did not go at night. Remember, as well, that your agent is an expert on the local market. Contact them for help with your move.

For more information, please visit www.trulia.com.

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$121,000 :: 29401 PARK PLACE DR, Warren MI, 48093-2329

Property Photo

2 beds, 2 baths
Home size: 1,091 sq ft
Lot Size: 0 sq ft
Added: 08/08/18, Last Updated: 09/05/18
Property Type: Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op
MLS Number: 21489059
Community: Warren (50023)
Tract: CITY CENTER SQUARE # 06
Status: Sold

FRESH PAINT AND NEW CARPETING MAKE THIS CONVENIENTLY LOCATED END UNIT CONDO IRRESISTIBLE. FEATURES INCLUDE 2 CAR ATTACHED GARAGE, GRANITE COUNTERTOPS, LOTS OF CLOSET SPACE AND STORAGE.

Listed with RE/MAX Showcase Homes


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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$123,500 :: 11382 CELTIC MANOR DR, Warren MI, 48089-3560

Property Photo

2 beds, 2 baths
Home size: 1,007 sq ft
Lot Size: 0 sq ft
Added: 06/05/18, Last Updated: 09/04/18
Property Type: Condo/Townhouse/Co-Op
MLS Number: 21457137
Community: Warren (50023)
Tract: CELTIC MANOR
The price of this listing was last reduced on 6/19/2018 by 8%
Status: Sold

Very nice 2 bedroom-2 bath condo. Freshly painted interior. Walk in closet in master bedroom. Newer carpet in bedrooms. 11×11 deck off living room. Living room has vaulted ceilings. All appliances stay. Large finished basement for added entertainment with closets for storage. 2 car attached garage with entry into kitchen. Association includes water, snow removal, lawn care and exterior maintenance. This one will not last long. BATVAI

Listed with NextHome City Realty


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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Before and After Photos: How Staging Can Make a Big Difference

Patti

By Patti Stern, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

What is the key to staging a home in appealing to a broad demographic? Presenting a property’s main rooms so buyers can see its true potential beyond what they read in the listing.

A room showcased in a way that features the best use of the space will not only get noticed but will increase the perceived value and ultimately reduce the time spent on the market. The following are some examples of rooms that were “styled to sell” by meeting targeted buyer specific needs.

Feature a Room’s Original Purpose

Take away the guesswork from buyers by converting the key rooms of a home back to their original purpose. A living room that was being used as a library or office space (as shown in the example above) lacks the “wow factor” when entering the home and is a turn-off to young buyers looking for room to entertain guests.

By adding cozy furniture and modern accents such as a plush rug, wall art, and colorful throw pillows, the space has a fresh, welcoming appeal and helps buyers see the home’s true potential.

For the bedroom above that was used by the sellers as a wardrobe closet, it’s safe to say that buyers would lose interest if they can’t see how a full-sized bed, side table, and shelving would work in the room. Presenting a more functional use of the space rather than one that appears tiny with nothing but racks of hanging clothing, immediately might increase the property’s perceived value for buyers with young families.

Use Furnishings That Fit a Small Space

When staging a small, vacant property such as this flip/investment property shown above, choose the right sized furniture and don’t overdo with too many accents.

Try a love seat and smaller accent chair in the family room or position the head of a bed in front of a window to save space and increase perceived room size.

Present Creative Options For A Large Space

Or when styling a large space such as this living room, divide it into distinct sections to show creative uses of the space. We created a cozy game zone in this living room by incorporating a large round table and chairs accented with wall art by the window for an extra inviting touch. Buyers will not only be attracted to the style of the room, but the potential function as well.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is principal, interior decorator, and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating. She has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full-service home staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. She also developed an award-winning staging program for the luxury homebuilder, Toll Brothers. Her company received the Houzz 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Awards for Customer Service.

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$159,900 :: 31245 BLAIR Drive, Warren MI, 48092

Property Photo

3 beds, 1.1 baths
Home size: 1,536 sq ft
Lot Size: 6,098 sq ft
Added: 09/01/18, Last Updated: 09/01/18
Property Type: Single Family
MLS Number: 218085503
Community: Warren
Tract: GREEN ACRES # O1
Status: Active

This well maintained Warren Tri-level is located in a nice quite neighborhood. This home features a gorgeous landscaped corner lot, with a maintenance free backyard for family BBQ s or just to entertain your friends. The over sized detached garage provides plenty of room for vehicles or extra storage. Take the party inside to a large lower level family room with 1/2 bath, completely updated kitchen with granite and title back splash, a nice size living room that opens into a larger dinning room. The home has 3 large bedrooms with an nice size full bath. Come and check it out for yourselves this home wont last long.

Listed with The Agentcy Real Estate Firm


Brought to you by Janet Hull and Thomas Bush, Real Estate One, Inc.. Call me today at 1-855-Janet-Tom, or visit my website at www.JanetandThomas.com!


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A Barefoot Fantasia Barrino Sings Soulful Tribute At Aretha Franklin’s Funeral

“And I hope she don’t mind, I don’t think she would, but I think I’m gonna come out of my shoes,” Barrino said before her moving performance in Detroit. Continue Reading →