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San Diego Real Estate Veterans

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May 2016

May & June Home Maintenance

hvacfilterClean or replace your HVAC filters. You need to do this more often than once a year. A dirty filter forces your HVAC system to work harder, which in turn drains your wallet. It could also shorten the life of your blower motor.
dryerventClean your dryer vent. Not all lint is caught in the lint trap; some makes its way into the dryer vent. A clear vent will save you money by reducing the time your dryer has to run. A plugged vent not only wastes money, but could also cause a house fire.
washingmachinehoseCheck the washing machine fill hose. Look for cracks that could become leaks. A leaky hose under pressure can cause major damage in a short period of time.
screenrepairClean and repair your screens. Trying to reduce your electric bills this summer? In many parts of the country, you can keep your house cool (at least at night) by opening windows. Gently scrub on a flat surface with soapy water. Also, patch small holes, as needed.
cleandriveway Clean decks, driveways, fences and other outside surfaces. A pressure washer makes the work much easier. If you don’t have one, borrow one from a neighbor or rent one from a home center. While you’re cleaning, inspect for damage that needs mending.
paintpeel Repair any cracked or peeling paint. A good paint job makes your home look nice, while providing a protective barrier from the elements. Touch-up painting is easy to do and inexpensive.
fridgecoils Vacuum your refrigerator coils. The coils you’ll find on the bottom or back of your refrigerator conduct the hot air from inside the unit. If they’re coated with dust, they do the job less efficiently and cause your fridge to work harder. That means a higher electric bill for you. Use a vacuum cleaner hose or a brush to clean the coils.
smokedetctorReplace the batteries in your smoke detectors. You never know when you’ll need them. Sometimes, it’s a matter of life or death, so take the time to change the batteries now.
lawnmowerPrepare your lawn mower for summer. Change the engine oil and sharpen the cutting blade. You’ll lengthen the life of the mower and improve the look of your lawn.
windowseal Check seals around windows and doors. Winter weather can crack and harden caulk and other weather seals. Inspect them now and repair and replace as needed. You’ll reduce your air-conditioning bill and could prevent water from entering your home and causing damage.
acgrowth Clear vegetation around your AC compressor. To work efficiently, the compressor needs good airflow. Prune any plant growth that could block it.
waterheaterdrain Drain your water heater.

Sediment builds up in your water heater tank. Use the spigot near the bottom of the heater to drain it. By doing so, you’ll prolong its life and reduce your electric bill.
patio-furniture Clean your patio/lawn furniture. It’s time to dig out the patio & lawn furniture to prepare for your outdoor leisure time this spring/summer. Use a mild detergent and soft brush to clean off any dirt accumulation then spray with the garden hose. Don’t forget to clean the umbrella too!

summerrelax Now that the chores are done, it’s time to kick-back, relax and enjoy the beautiful southern California weather!

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March by the Numbers

New home sales continued to turn in disappointing performance, while lay-offs were at historic lows, and incomes were on the rise.

New Home Sales

New home sales took a plunge in March, with completed transactions of new, single-family homes dropping 1.5 percent to an annual rate of 511,000, according to a joint report from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That said, compared annually, March’s new home sales marked a 5.4 percent increase over March 2015’s rate of 485,000.

Looking at price and supply, the median sales price of new homes sold in March was $288,000, and the average sales price was $356,200. The estimated number of new homes for sale at the end of March totaled 246,000, which represented a 5.8-month supply of homes at March’s sales rate.

The big hope was that seasonal sales increases will help turn around new home sales’ recent disappointments.

“While new home sales have lost some luster in recent months, we believe they will re-accelerate as we head into [the] spring season,” noted Gregory Daco, head of U.S. macroeconomics at Oxford Economics, in a public statement.

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Initial Jobless Claims

Lay-offs ticked up, but remained at lows not seen since the 1970s. First-time claims for unemployment benefits filed by the newly unemployed during the week ending April 23 hit 257,000, a gain of 9,000 claims over the preceding week’s level of 248,000, the Employment and Training Administration reported. This marked the 60th straight week of initial claims below 300,000 — a level that economists associate with a growing job market — which is the longest streak at that level since 1973.

The four-week moving average — which is regarded as a more reliable measure of job losses — dropped to 256,000, a decline of 4,750 claims from the previous week’s average of 260,750 claims.

“We’re seeing things in the labor market hold up well,” Wells Fargo Securities LLC Economist Sarah House told Bloomberg. “Businesses are feeling pretty comfortable with where the economy is going, so they don’t feel like they have to make those cuts.”

Homes under $350,000

Incomes and Spending

Personal incomes saw welcome news in March: a 0.4 percent increase to $57.4 billion for the month, with disposable personal income (DPI; income after taxes) also growing 0.4 percent to $50.4 billion, according to last week’s report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) grew 0.1 percent to hit $12.8 billion. Personal outlays — which combine PCE, personal interest payments, and personal current transfer payments — grew $11.2 billion in March.

Wages and salaries rose to $29.2 billion in March, with private wages and salaries growing $26.3 billion. Supplements to wages and salaries grew by $5.4 billion in March.

Personal saving — which is DPI less personal outlays — grew to $735.5 billion in March, with the personal saving rate — which describes personal saving as a percentage of DPI — increased to 5.4 percent. This week we can expect:

  • Monday — Construction spending for March from the Census Bureau.
  • Tuesday — Car and truck sales for April from the auto makers.
  • Wednesday — First quarter productivity from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; March factory orders from the Census Bureau.
  • Thursday — Initial jobless claims for last week from the Employment and Training Administration.
  • Friday — March consumer credit from the Federal Reserve; April payrolls, unemployment, average workweek and hourly earnings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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