Mortgage information

Mortgage Rates – Low Enough to Refinance Now!

moneyYou would think I ‘d know better.  I am in real estate after all.  But I got too caught up in the mortgage/real estate/job market/Wall Street mess, and the whirlwind of media negativity, to see that mortgage rates had dropped SOOOOO LOW that I could have saved a lot of money EACH month, if I had refinanced.  Luckily I wasn’t too late to miss the boat in its entirety.  I had grown complacent with my 5.75% interest rate since I had refinanced it several years ago when rates were at “historic lows”.  I saved on my monthly mortgage from when I originally purchased my home, so thought I was okay.  I did the calculations last week and, based on a rate of 4.625% for a 15 year loan, realized I would save $544.77 each month and that in less than a year that savings would pay for the closing costs associated with refinancing.

If I were to take a portion of my monthly savings and use it to pay down the principal balance on my loan and another portion to invest in my retirement fund, I would still have a little extra spending money!  Needless to say, I filled out the paperwork today.  What are you waiting for?

Buying Foreclosures Investment Real Estate Selling

Buying Real Estate Needs to Make Sense

Two sentences in today’s Wall Street Journal article by Brett Arends sums up all of the often conflicting real estate news these days.  “A real-estate purchase needs to make sense on its own terms.  And measure it on cash flow today, not the hope for capital gains tomorrow.” This advice makes sense in any real estate market and, if followed, should make real estate a great long-term investment, whether it is your primary residence, or an investment property.

Environmental Freebies Home Improvement

Free Trees Help Beautify Your Yard and Conserve Energy

The right landscaping  can help you save money.  Properly positioned, plants will  shade your home and tree-resizedlower cooling costs.  Using plants that don’t require a lot of water can minimize water usage while still allowing you to have a beautiful yard.

Miami-Dade County wants to encourage tree planting and offers the popular “Adopt-a-Tree” program several times a year throughout the County.

Achieving and maintaining a Florida-friendly yard, one that requires minimum watering and maintenance, is a great way to improve your home.

Other home improvement articles:

Free High Efficiency Shower Heads


Buying a Home? Know What You are Looking For

I know it sounds obvious, but knowing what you are looking for isn’t always as simple as it sounds.  Once you are pre-approved for a mortgage, decide what your ideal neighborhood and home would be.  Are schools important or is it more important that you be close to work?  Determine what the “must haves” are.  These are the specifics of the property or neighborhood that you are not willing to give up but would be willing to sacrifice a “nice, but not necessary” for.  This could be an extra bedroom, pool, specific school district, waterfront criteria etc.  Knowing what you are looking for both in a neighborhood and home  is extremely important as it will help keep you focused.  Once you narrow down your wants, you will realize you don’t have to look at everything on the market, only those specific properties that meet your criteria.


Why Homeownership is Like Drinking Red Wine

Both are good for your health! According to a recent U.S. News & World Report article there are more than just economic benefits in owning your own home. "People have more extensive social support systems, and that has a potential positive impact on health," according to William Rohe, professor of city and regional planning at the University of North Carolina. Although the individual health benefits of homeownership are unclear and other factors such as education and income level may come into play, there is proof that homeownership is good for children, because it provides stability, and the community because homeowners have a reason to invest in their community through voting, philanthropy, and volunteering.

Like the health benefits of wine, however, the benefits of homeownership can turn into liabilities if you overindulge. Too much wine on a short-term basis can cause a nasty hangover and in the long run can lead to liver damage. Kind of feels like today’s real estate market.