Spring DIY Projects: How to Build a Treehouse That the Kids Will Love

Spring DIY Projects: How to Build a Treehouse That the Kids Will Love If you have children, no home is complete without a treehouse. Besides the fact that treehouses provide kids with hours of entertainment, they can also confer ancillary benefits that are hard to quantify. For starters, treehouses can improve property values by boosting curb appeal. When building any type of treehouse, keep the following tips in mind.

Location, Location, Location

Before you head off to Home Depot and get all the necessary supplies, you need to spend some serious time storyboarding the build process. Pick a tree with low, sprawling branches such as an oak or a maple. Furthermore, consider issues like wind, shade and privacy before you start to nail up supports.

Choose Your Materials Wisely

A treehouse built with subpar materials will fall short in the longevity department and disappoint the kids. Pick out stout oak 4×4 posts for the structural elements and top them off with pressure-treated pine for the floors and railings. Use quality plywood for the interior walls and seal it to avoid rot.

Make Multi-Use Your Mantra

Treehouses that are simply shacks suspended above ground will quickly bore youngsters no matter how well-built they may be. Incorporate elements such as swings, rope ladders and even zip-lines to get more from your treehouse. As long as you’re putting in the effort, you might as well add all of the bells and whistles.

Bake Safety Into the Recipe

You don’t want the kids to get hurt when they’re frolicking among the branches. Make sure to bolt handles and permanent rails into the truck so that adolescents are less likely to slip and fall. If you want to go all out, add a few safety nets around the edges.

Heed Aesthetics When Designing

An unadorned treehouse quickly turns into an eyesore over time as it’s battered by the elements. Shingle the roof and paint the exterior walls so that they match your home. Kids will naturally gravitate towards a treehouse that looks appealing and your neighbors won’t complain about a shoddy structure in your weeping willow.

It’s More Than a Treehouse

While many young kids will no doubt love a full-featured treehouse, it’s usually the improvement in home value that will appeal to adults.

3 Reasons Why Your Mortgage Lender Might Ask for Your Tax Returns – And Why You Should Provide Them

3 Reasons Why Your Mortgage Lender Might Ask for Your Tax Returns - and Why You Should Provide Them After you have completed the initial loan application and have signed the preliminary loan disclosures, your mortgage loan application will generally receive a preliminary prequalification. This prequalification will be based in large part on your ability to provide documentation to support your statements on your loan application, including your stated income and assets. Typically, a lender will include a request for least the last two to three years of your income tax returns with this documentation. There are several reasons why a lender may need to review your tax returns and why you should provide requested documentation as soon it is requested.

To View All Sources Of Income

Your mortgage lender will typically request a copy of your W2 tax forms, which will show your salary and compensation from your employer. However, the W2 form will not show all sources of income that you may receive. For example, rental property income, dividend income and even alimony or child support are just some of the many types of income that you can document through your tax returns.

To Average Income From Self-Employment

Most lenders will require self-employed borrowers to document their income through their tax returns. They will receive income as well as business-related expenses on the tax return. It is common for mortgage lenders to average this type of income for the previous two to three years. Typically, this is the only way that self-employed income is verified for mortgage purposes.

To Comply With Underwriting Guidelines

There are various types of mortgage loans that you may apply for, including stated income loans and low documentation loans. While not every type of loan that you apply for will require you to submit tax returns, some loans will have this as a firm requirement. Your loan request simply will not be reviewed and approved until you provide the required documentation to the lender.

If you want to be approved for your mortgage, it is important to comply with lender requirements. Providing documentation as soon as it is requested can speed the application process up, and your personal income tax returns may only be some of several documents that you will be required to submit to the underwriter for your loan request. You can speak with your mortgage representative about questions you have regarding required documentation, and you can work diligently to comply with underwriting information requests.

FHFA: Home Prices Rise 0.30 Percent in January

FHFA Home Prices Rise 0.30 Percent in JanuaryThe Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported that home prices rose by a seasonally-adjusted rate of 0.30 percent in January, and were 5.10 percent higher as compared to home prices in January 2014.

FHFA oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and its home price report is based on sales of homes financed by mortgages owned or backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Month- to- Month FHFA Home Prices Mixed

Month to month home price data was mixed for January. Home prices ranged from -0.40 percent in the Middle and South Atlantic census divisions to +2.30 percent in the East South Central census division.

Month-to month readings are considered more volatile than year-over-year home price readings. Year-over-year readings for all nine U.S. census divisions were positive and ranged from a 1.70 percent increase in the Middle Atlantic division to an increase of 8.20 percent in the Pacific division. This suggests that overall, home prices are gaining, but slowly.

Commerce Department: New Home Sales Hit 7-Year Peak

In an unrelated report, the Commerce Department reported that February sales of new homes reached a seven-year peak with 539,000 sales of new homes expected on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. This was significantly higher than the expected reading of 455,000 new home sales and was also higher than the revised reading of 500,000 new home sales in January.

Analysts said that this positive reading may indicate a robust sales for the peak spring and summer home buying season. The reading for new home sales in February was nearly 25 percent higher than for February 2014.

In spite of this good news, analysts cautioned that the new home sales numbers are often volatile, and future revisions could result in lower sales figures for new homes.

With jobs increasing and mortgage rates remaining relatively low, more homebuyers may enter the market and boost home sales. Tight mortgage lending standards remain an obstacle for would-be buyers with less than stellar credit scores.

Considering a Reverse Mortgage Loan? Here’s What You Need to Know

Considering a Reverse Mortgage Loan? Here's What You Need to Know Many seniors are looking for a great way to improve their financial situation. Retirement or semi-retirement can be difficult due to the need to live on a fixed income. Some may have been unable to save enough in their working years, or their accounts may have been hit hard by stock market fluctuations. Still others are feeling the effects of inflation and the rising costs of medical care and general living expenses. If you are like many other seniors, you may not have a huge cash reserve available in your bank account, but you may have a sizable nest egg in your home. The fact is that you can tap into that equity without selling your home or taking on a mortgage payment when you apply for a reverse mortgage.

What Is A Reverse Mortgage?

A reverse mortgage is a unique type of loan that utilizes the current equity in your home and allows you to make regular withdrawals from that equity. Rather than you making a payment to a lender, the lender pays the funds to you. The terms of the mortgage are structured so that you will never owe more money on the reverse mortgage than the home is worth. When you decide to sell it or when your estate is being settled, the home’s value will pay off the mortgage. This essentially gives you the opportunity to keep living in your home and to use the equity now when you need it most.

Is This The Right Option For You?

A reverse mortgage is not suitable for everyone, but it may be suitable for you. You can easily learn more about the amount of payments that you could receive on a monthly basis if you were to apply for a reverse mortgage, and you can consider how these payments would ease your financial concerns. This loan will decrease the amount of equity you have in your home over time. Therefore, if you have plans to sell your home later and use the equity for other retirement plans, you should carefully consider if the reduction in equity is feasible for your situation and goals.

One of the best steps that you can take is to learn more about this option. You will not know if a reverse mortgage is suitable for your financial needs and long-term goals unless you take the step of speaking with a loan agent.