Monthly Archives: January 2009

Go Steelers!

Here is a cute video from a young local band in Harmony, Pennsylvania. Hope everyone enjoys the superbowl this weekend. Go Steelers!

Pittsburgh Real Estate on the Rise

I was delighted to hear in yesterday’s local news that Pittsburgh area Home Prices are on the rise. They have been stable but are actually rising. They were up in 2007 and expected to up in statistics from 2008.

Read the article from the local tribune
“Home prices increased 3.5 percent in 2007 and are expected to be up 1.9 percent in 2008, PNC says.”

Haven’t found a house yet? Still a great time to buy :)

You know this is one of the best times ever to buy a home – prices are down, inventory is high, interest rates are still extremely low. There is even great incentives from lenders to buy. Below is some information on first time home buyer tax credit from a local mortgage agent Todd Fletcher.

There are amazing deals out there, you just need to get out and look. There are many bank owned properties and reduced properties. Builders are offering amazing deals, very little money down paid closings costs and other things. If I needed a house I would be hitting the streets. I have enjoyed personally pre-viewing some awesome houses out there.

Todd Fletcher is a Mortgage Advisor with Equity Lending Group. He helps buyers with financing, mortgage options, and any other financial questions. I have listed some information on the current tax credits and Todd’s contact information.

“First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit at a Glance:

· The tax credit is available for first-time home buyers only.
· The maximum credit amount is $7,500.
· The credit is available for homes purchased on or after April 9, 2008 and before
July 1, 2009.
· Single taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 qualify     for the full tax credit.
· The tax credit works like an interest-free loan and must be repaid over a 15-year period.

Also, Todd still has 100% financing available at great rates – with no MI. ”

Todd H. Fletcher
Mortgage Advisor
Equity Lending Group
724-453-0335 phone
412-953-2447 mobile

The First Fun Snow

Out came the sleds and all the snow gear on Saturday at 9:30 pm. My daughter had been planning her sleep over for several days and to add to all the fun was a day of snow. How could I say no? The two of them were out there almost until 11 pm. Non-stop fun. They made a snow turtle in the back yard, since the snow was not the packing kind. They even colored him green with food coloring. LOL.  Our front yard has enough of a hill to get a nice speed up for some good sledding close to home. They made their speed bump and went flying. You know one of my favorite times to play in the snow is when it is snowing.

So as the crazy mom photographer, I whipped out my camera and insisted they pose for me and get some good action shots. I remind them that they will laugh at these down the road when they are older. Well, I took probably over 100, you can never have enough memories.

Calculating a Mortgage Payment

So you have looking for many weeks, browsing around at homes online and maybe doing some drive by’s in the car – checking out the neighborhood.  But you are wondering how much can you afford each month.

Usually the next step is to get pre-approved. Your mortgage rep will be able to give you that information. They will calculate your monthly payment at usually 15, 20 or 30 years, with your down payment. They will also include your yearly real estate taxes and home owner’s insurance.

If you are not quite that ready to call someone yet, check out this mortgage calculator and run your own numbers.

Should I Buy a Home Warranty?

I usually suggest that my seller’s get a home warranty. A Home Warranty is a great thing to have because:

1) It sets your home apart from other seller’s in a crowded market place today.
2) It gives a perk to the buyer to have a warranty on the property for one year after purchase.
3) It protects the seller until the home is sold.

Keep in mind, there are various home warranty companies and they all work different. The one our company uses, covers the buyer until the home sells. The warranty is paid at closing so you do not have to put funds out ahead of time. You are covered while the home sells. If the home does not sell or is taken off the market, you are not charged even if you have a claim. Wow, so how can you beat that?

You really cannot go wrong offering a home warranty. Chances are that the buyer is going to ask for one anyway with their offer, so why not be covered for the time you are selling your home. What a deal.

Here is a great article from CNN on home warranties.

Pittsburgh Stays Strong With Healthcare and Technology

Every day I continue to read great things about Pittsburgh. After the steel industry went out years ago, focus was put into education centers and that blossomed into a city with great strength in healthcare and technology.

“Unemployment is 5.5 percent, far below the national average. While housing prices sank nearly everywhere in the last year, they rose here. Wages are also up. Foreclosures are comparatively uncommon.

A generation ago, the steel industry that built Pittsburgh and still dominated its economy entered its death throes. In the early 1980s, the city was being talked about the way Detroit is now. Its very survival was in question. ”

Quoted from the New York Times

Read more about what they have to say.

Mortgage Rates Still Historically Low

Great news with this new year ahead. Mortgage rates still Historically Low. Take advantage of the low rates before they disappear.

“RISMEDIA, Mortgage rates remained low last week and many states saw sub-5.00 percent rates for the first time in recent history. The weekly average rates for 30-year fixed mortgages declined to 4.96 percent, down from 5.15 percent the week prior, according to the Zillow Mortgage Rate Monitor, compiled by leading real estate Web site Rates for 15-year fixed mortgages decreased to 4.91 percent, down from 5.00 percent and 5-1 adjustable rate mortgages decreased significantly to 5.54 percent from 5.94 percent.”

-Quoted from RISMEDIA

* * * * * * * * * *

Also, Todd Fletcher, a Pittsburgh area mortgage broker agrees and give tips below on how rate locks work:

“Rate Lock Duration Lock durations can vary for mortgage financing, but most lenders lock in the interest rate for 60 days from the date the loan application is submitted. As long as the loan is closed within that lock-in period, the lender honors the agreed upon interest rate.

Some consumers are misled by advertising that quotes unrealistically low rates based on 15- or 30-day lock durations. This is called ‘short-pricing.’ The lender basically knows the borrower doesn’t have time to meet their conditions and have all the necessary paperwork in order within that brief time period. As a result, the lender is not obligated to honor the low rate that was listed in their advertising.

For simple refinance transactions, a 45-day lock-in period is more realistic. For purchase transactions, which are typically much more complex, you’re much safer going with a 60-day lock, even though the interest rate might be a little higher than the rate you see quoted on billboards and the Internet.

Borrowers should make sure they have a written rate lock agreement, and allow themselves a reasonable amount of time to close their loan. I prefer to lock in all my clients as soon as their application is filed, rather than gamble with predicting short-term interest rate movement. My team and I focus more on assisting clients with long-term goals and management of their mortgage debt to secure a strong financial future.”

Todd Fletcher
Mortgage Advisor
Equity Lending Group
Phone: 724-453-0335
Fax: 724-453-0463