Local Real Estate News

 |  July 2016

What are Loan Points?

When shopping for a mortgage rate it is necessary to pay attention to the details. Loan points are often overlooked as buyers are fixated on getting the lowest interest rate; however they are an important point to consider when picking your mortgage.

Loan points are an upfront charge by the lender that is part of the price of a mortgage. Points are expressed as a percent of the loan amount, with three points equating to 3 percent of the amount financed, on a $200,000 house that is $6,000.

Points can also be negative, in which case they are a rebate from the lender to the borrower. Rebates usually are bundled into higher rates, while low rates usually have positive points. Lenders usually offer borrowers a range of interest rate/point combinations, leaving it to borrowers to select the best combination for their particular needs.

If you have sufficient cash to meet the requirement and plan on staying in the home for a long time then you should probably pick a low rate/high point combination. On the other hand, if you do not have sufficient cash and do not expect to be in your home for a long time it would be best to pick a high rate/low point combination.

It is possible to include the points in your financing; however you want to make sure that it does not push you into the threshold where you will need Private Mortgage Insurance.

Location, Location, Location...

When it come to real estate anyone can tell you that three of the most important factors in where you buy a home are location, location, location. This is one of those terms that we hear all the time and which becomes especially salient as we are searching for our dream home.

All too often buyers will be caught up in the excitement of the home buying process and make an offer on a home that seems too good to be true. unfortunately, many times it does turn out that the "perfect home for the reasonable price" is too good to be true.

The reason is simple - location. Buying a home in the wrong location is going to have a dramatic impact on how happy you are in your new home and also on the value of your home when you decide to sell.

For this reason it is important that you do your homework beforehand and pick out possible neighborhoods that suit your lifestyle. At the same time, keep an eye on that future date when you might put your new home back on the market and pick a neighborhood that is know for good schools and well maintained public facilities.

Once you have narrowed down the neighborhoods, visit the neighborhood and pick the best house available.

You'll be happier in the end if you plan well in the beginning.

Lawn Maintenance Tips

If the spring weather is any indication of the summer ahead, then it is likely to be a long and hot summer. The scorching heat, though appreciated by sunbathers, can be murder on our lawns and gardens. A little early prevention is the best way to ensure that your lawn remains free of brown patches, insects, disease, and weeds.

In order to avoid a desiccated lawn, start tending your lawn early in the growing season. A strong and healthy lawn is the best way to ward off weeds, insects, and diseases.

The best time to aerate and fertilize the lawn is during the spring months, you do not want to wait until late May or June. For warm climate grass you will want to fertilize monthly using nitrogen.

Sharpen the lawn mover blade so the grass will be cut cleanly, not shredded. This will help stave off diseases.

During the hot summer months, make sure that you do not crop your lawn too short. Cut only a third of the grass bladed when you mow and raise the mower height gradually by 25 to 50 percent as temperatures rise.

Water uniformly, deeply and infrequently in the morning with a sprinkler or in ground system. Your lawn should receive a total of 1 inch of rain, including rain and irrigation.

If you are constantly fighting off weeds every year, then you might want to look into using an herbicide. The best time to apply the herbicide is in late April and May. You should not broadly apply any herbicide during summer as this is when your lawn is at its weakest.

By following these tips you can make sure that your lawn is lush and green for those BBQ's and family get-togethers.

Existing-Home Sales Grow 1.8 Percent in May

Existing-home sales sprang ahead in May to their highest pace in almost a decade, while the uptick in demand this spring amidst lagging supply levels pushed the median sales price to an all-time high, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All major regions except for the Midwest saw strong sales increases last month.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, grew 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.53 million in May from a downwardly revised 5.43 million in April. With last month's gain, sales are now up 4.5 percent from May 2015 (5.29 million) and are at their highest annual pace since February 2007 (5.79 million).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says existing sales continue to hum along, rising in May for the third consecutive month. "This spring's sustained period of ultra-low mortgage rates has certainly been a worthy incentive to buy a home, but the primary driver in the increase in sales is more homeowners realizing the equity they've accumulated in recent years and finally deciding to trade-up or downsize," he said. "With first-time buyers still struggling to enter the market, repeat buyers using the proceeds from the sale of their previous home as their down payment are making up the bulk of home purchases right now."

Adds Yun, "Barring further deceleration in job growth that could ultimately temper demand from these repeat buyers, sales have the potential to mostly maintain their current pace through the summer."

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate (link is external) for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage inched backward from 3.61 percent in April to 3.60 percent in May, which is the lowest since May 2013 (3.54 percent). The average commitment rate for all of 2015 was 3.85 percent.

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