A slow-draining shower is often the result of hair, dirt and soap scum passing through the strainer and accumulating in the lower drain. To break up the clog, you must remove the shower drain to insert a drain auger into the drain line. Changing your shower drain to match the rest of your bath hardware also requires disconnecting the shower drain. This sounds complicated, but it only takes a bit of effort to remove the old shower drain. read more
Filed under: News, Buying, Economy
Lynne Sladky/APCranes fill the skyline at the Brickell CityCentre construction site in downtown Miami.
By Lucia Mutikani
WASHINGTON — U.S. construction spending rose less than expected in May, which could prompt a further downgrading of second-quarter economic growth estimates.
Construction spending edged up 0.1 percent to an annual rate of $956.1 billion, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. However, April’s construction spending was revised up to show a 0.8 percent rise, taking some of the sting out of the report.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected construction spending to advance 0.5 percent after a previously reported 0.2 percent gain.
The data was the latest to suggest the economy’s rebound from a brutally cold winter could fall short of expectations. Growth contracted at a 2.9 percent annual pace in the first quarter, also weighed down by a slow pace of inventory accumulation by businesses.
Economists last week slashed their second-quarter growth estimates after weak consumer spending in May. Growth forecasts are now running as high as a 3.5 percent pace and as low as a 2.1 percent rate.
Construction spending in May was held back by a 0.3 percent decline in private construction projects, which offset a 1 percent rise in public construction outlays. Private construction is the largest portion of construction spending.
Private residential construction tumbled 1.5 percent, reflecting weak housing starts.
A run-up in mortgage rates has stymied the housing market recovery. Investment in home building and nonresidential structures such as factories and gas pipelines contracted in the first three months of this year for a second straight quarter.
Spending by the federal government dropped 8.9 percent, the largest fall since December 2010. State and local government projects increased a solid 2 percent.
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Filed under: News, Buying, Financing ShutterstockThe typical homebuyer in 2013 reportedly looked at 10 homes over 12 weeks before entering a contract to buy. By Chris Birk Consumers considering a home purchase often want to get a handle on how long the process takes. The problem is that it’s a surprisingly subjective and multilayered question. Answers tend to focus on the typical time it takes to close a home loan once you’re under contract, which is usually 30 to 45 days. That’s an accurate response, but it’s a vantage point that leaves little room between the starting and finish lines. The homebuying journey — from financial preparation and finding the right home to getting under contract and through closing — tends to take a lot longer. The reality is there’s no stock answer, mostly because everyone’s journey is different. Here’s a closer look at some stages and steps that can shape your homebuying timeline. Building Credit: & Savings Signing a purchase agreement to buy a home is a key step, but it doesn’t mean much if you don’t have the credit and assets necessary to secure a mortgage. You might need to spend time burnishing your credit profile or stockpiling savings in order to qualify for a home loan. Credit score and down payment requirements can vary depending on the lender For mortgage lenders, the homebuying clock starts once they get a copy of your purchase agreement. and the loan type. (Checking your credit scores before you begin your home search can help you determine if you need more time to build your credit. There are various services that allow you to check your credit scores for free, including Credit.com.) Borrowers looking at a $300,000 home would need at least $15,000 in cash for a minimum down payment on conventional financing (5 percent) and at least $10,500 for FHA financing (3.5 percent). The average conventional borrower in April had a 755 credit score, while the average FHA borrower had a score of 685, according to mortgage software company Ellie Mae. Paying down debt, correcting mistakes on your credit report and other steps can help boost your score, rapidly in some cases. But some blemishes can take longer to clear up than others. How long it takes to build that down payment nest egg depends on the borrower and their budget. Scraping together enough cash to simply meet those minimum requirements can take considerable time, especially for first-time buyers. Finding the Right Home: Last year, homebuyers typically looked at 10 homes over 12 weeks before getting under contract, according to the National Association of Realtors. But there’s no game clock on your home search. You can tour 50 homes over 50 weeks. You can buy the first showing. It’s obviously the most personal part of the process, but it’s also a time when perfect can truly be the enemy of good. First-time buyers especially have to learn to balance wants and needs with the realities of their housing market and what they can afford. That’s not always an easy — or quick — lesson to learn. Loan Processing: For mortgage lenders, the homebuying clock starts once they get a copy of your purchase agreement. From there, work starts on getting the property appraised and all of your financial documentation in order for an underwriter to review. Like credit and underwriting requirements, appraisal time frames can vary depending on the loan type. For example, most appraisals on VA loans are back within 10 days, but it might take longer in more remote parts of the country. That 30- to 45-day window from contract to close is a good ballpark for most purchase loans, unless you’re trying to buy a short sale (think more like 90 to 120 days). But understand it’s not uncommon for underwriters to require additional documents once they begin scrutinizing your loan file. Borrowers can help speed the process along by returning those documents as quickly as possible. You don’t have a ton of control once you’re under contract on a home, but this is one key area where your swift action — or lack thereof — can have a big impact on your homebuying timeline. Permalink | Email this | Comments read more
Condo developers are using artwork to create marketing buzz, lure in buyers, and in some cases assuage neighborhood resentment over new buildings. read more
About 20 to 30 percent of homebuyers purchase properties within common-interest developments, commonly referred to as homeowners associations or HOAs. Before weighing the pros and cons of owning a property in an HOA community it’s important to understand what HOAs are, how they are governed and how they affect a homeowner’s bottom line. Here are some basic facts homebuyers should know. read more
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