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Is An Adjustable Rate Mortgage Right For You?

Adjustable rate mortgages are becoming popular again after nearly vanishing over the past few years! Many people took out an adjustable rate mortgage before the recession, and when their ARMs came time to reset many people tried to refinance out of them.  Unfortunately, some of these homeowners discovered that the value of their home had dropped and were upside down causing them to ultimately walk away from the home or do a short sale. Now as fixed rates are set to creep up again many are turning to the ARMs again in order to take advantage of the very low rates.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage

ARMs typically offer an introductory low rate for the first few years of the loan.  These loans are referred to as 5/1, 7/1, 10/1, depending on the length of the reduced interest rate. This means that for the  the borrower will enjoy this reduced rate for the first few years,  until it reaches the adjustment period. On a 7/1 ARM, the start rate would be lower for the first 7 years and then adjust once a year after that to the prevailing caps. There are predetermined rate caps for each adjustment and are usually stepped up gradually by about 2% per year.  However, they can climb as much as 6% over the remainder of the loan.

If utilized correctly, though, ARMs can be a good option.  This depends on several factors, especially including how long you plan on staying in the home. If you take the 7/1 ARM option and will be moving or selling within the first 7 years, then you will not be exposed to any rate increases (ultimately saving you hundreds or even thousands over the life of the loan!). Do keep in mind that plans can change unexpectedly, whether it is a change in employment, loss of a partners income or a change in familial status

Before jumping into anything, I suggest doing a little research on your own. There are many resources on the internet such as The Federal Reserve website and many lenders also have information that you can down load right off of their websites as well.

For more information, or to speak to Rob about securing a home loan, be sure to reach him by phone at (267) 207-7196 or by e-mail at rlapierre@fairwaymc.com.  Rob’s website is also an excellent resource for mortgage information!

Adjustable Rate Mortgage

NMLS ID#192175

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, 321 Old York Rd, Suite 216, Jenkintown, PA 19046, NMLS ID # 2289

This is a guest post by Robert LaPierre, Loan Officer and Branch Manager of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp in Jenkintown, PA.

equal opp housing


 

 

How Much Will The Interest Rate Affect My Monthly Payment?

Mortgage rates have (thankfully!) hovered at historic lows for a couple of years, but it’s likely that we’ll see rates rise in 2016 due to speculation that the Fed will raise rates next month. How much more will you pay on a new home if the interest rate rises? It affects your monthly payment a bit more than you might think.

Monthly Payment

Let’s say, for example, you’re  purchasing a home for $200,000 and plan on putting down 5% and have taxes of about $4400 per year.  If you secure an interest rate of 3.9% (the current national average), your monthly payment will hover right around $1360.  

With the same conditions but an interest rate of 5.0%, the monthly payment increases to $1490 — a $130 dollar difference! An interest rate of 6.0% further increases the monthly payment to $1614.

To put the current rates into perspective, consider the historical trends.  Between 1980 and 1982, interest rates hovered around 20%!  For an easy-to-read graph of mortgage rate trends, click here.

Monthly Payment

If you have any questions for a mortgage lender, we’d love to assist you.  Just send us an email at theoffice@everyhome.com and we’ll introduce you to a friendly, local loan officer who would love to answer any questions that you may have!


 

Interactive Holiday Event Map Is Here!

We’re excited to announce EveryHome’s first annual interactive holiday event map, with over 100 family-friendly festivities in Greater Philadelphia.  interactive holiday event map

Create a new family tradition by visiting a few of our favorites, including the Franklin Flea Market (featuring the very best handmade and vintage goods!) in Philadelphia, Brunch with Santa at the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown, and the North Pole Express along the New Hope Railroad.

interactive holiday event map

Click here for the full list of events on an easy-to-navigate map! And if you notice that we’re missing one of your favorite local spots, please be sure to let us know at holidays@everyhome.com

interactive holiday event map


 

We Have A Lot To Be Thankful For!

Happy Thanksgiving! It’s been a whirlwind of a year for real estate, and we’re have a LOT to be thankful for this year.

First, we’re lucky to have expanded the EveryHome family this year! A lot of friendly, knowledgeable new agents have joined our team, and we couldn’t be happier to have them. And of course, we’re grateful for our established EveryHome agents, too — we have the kindest, and most hard-working crew out there!  (You can learn more about a career with us here!)

be thankful for

We’re also thankful that the real estate market has stayed hot, even as temperatures get cold.  It’s not uncommon for the market to slow down after September, but we’re seeing plenty of new listings this season.  In fact, EveryHome agent Joe Santoro’s most recent listing sold in under 2 days! (pictured below)

be thankful for

We’re grateful that the market remains relatively affordable for most buyers, as interest rates remain low and the job market continues to improve.

And lastly, we’re thankful for all of our wonderful clients (yes, that means you!).  EveryHome is honored to have helped so many people buy and sell homes this past year, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.  Thank you!

be thankful for

From the EveryHome family to yours….Happy Thanksgiving! Wishing you a safe and joyous holiday.


 

Should You Always Counteroffer?

If you have your home on the market, you may have received a “too low” offer where it didn’t even seem worth responding with a counteroffer. Let’s say, for example, you’re asking $250,000 for your home and you receive an offer of $200,000…. Yikes! Unfortunately, this scenario isn’t terribly uncommon.

Counteroffer

Some buyers will deliberately submit “lowball” offers, in the hopes that a motivated seller will consider a lower number in exchange for better terms such as a fast settlement or a cash deal. These offers are also more common with investors, who frequently submit offers to multiple properties at a time in the hopes that one “sticks.”  You may also be more likely to receive a low offer when your home has been on the market for an extended period of time (perhaps 6 months or more).

Counteroffer

So what should you do? Generally speaking, it’s almost always worth providing a counteroffer. (One major exception is if your home just recently hit the market, and you’ve had other activity on your home.)

Unfortunately, we often find that our selling clients may become offended and refuse to provide a counteroffer on the basis of a “rude” offer.

While we understand this frustration, it’s worth noting that we’ve seen some buyers change their terms dramatically after a round or two of negotiations. As agents, we frequently find the buying and selling parties come to mutually satisfying terms, even after a “too low” initial offer.

Counteroffer

And of course, it’s also possible that the offer seems too low because the asking price on your home is a bit too high. Be sure to frequently review the comparable properties for sale in the area, and consider your EveryHome agent’s opinion on the price. Any questions or feedback? Just give us a call at (215) 699-5555!


 

Holiday Table Setting Inspiration

If your home will be a gathering place for friends and family this holiday season, you’ll love these festive ideas for setting your dining room holiday table:

holiday table

Be sure to consider whether or not you wish to set your holiday table formally.  For more formal occasions where etiquette rules supreme (perhaps a Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas Day Brunch), we recommend visiting Emily Post’s website for helpful how-to’s and detailed guidelines.  If the occasion is less formal (think Friendsgiving and ugly sweater parties), you may wish to break the rules a bit in favor of creativity!

holiday table

holiday table

Some of the biggest trends this year include gold-rimmed glasses and gold flatware, rustic accents, DIY centerpieces, and plenty of fresh flowers!  For beautiful flowers that will stay within budget, be sure to stop by Trader Joe’s.  And if you’re in search of the season’s most swoon-worthy stemware, be sure to visit Anthropologie and West Elm!

holiday table

Spread gratitude! For Thanksgiving, consider adding these pretty cards that allow each guest to mention a few things that they’re Thankful for, and share the responses during dessert!  Click here for a free printable.

holiday table


 

This Is The Hottest New Trend for Bathrooms

Looking to instantly make your bathroom chic and elegant for under $40? Consider painting it black! Described as the hottest new trend for bathrooms, designers are loving the dramatic hue and blending a black palette with bold metallic fixtures, industrial accents, and funky prints.

New Trend for Bathrooms
Image via Lux Design

Painting your entire master bathroom black isn’t for the faint of heart.  To incorporate the trend without going overboard, consider a decorative wallpaper, or painting just above the chair rail.  For the most subtle effect, try a charcoal gray paint with silver fixtures and a bright silk flower arrangement.

New Trend for Bathrooms

New Trend for Bathrooms
Image via digsdigs.com

After you paint, be sure to pick out a stylish gold faucet from Home Depot and a luxe new mirror from Hickory Manor House for added glamour!

New Trend for Bathrooms
Image via amfmproperties.com

 

Special Offer for Veterans: Additional $2500 Toward Your New Home!

If you’re purchasing your first home with a Veteran Affairs (VA) loan, you’ll be pleased to know that you may be eligible for an additional 1% of your home purchase (up to $2500) toward closing costs! VA loans offer eligible veterans and active-duty military personnel special financing, including the option for a 0% down payment.

VA

The grant money is being offered to clients who are using First Choice Loan Servicesan EveryHome Realtors preferred lender. Some salary limits may apply.

For more information, please contact Joe Callahan, Senior Loan Originator, at (215) 913-8581 or at joseph.callahan@fcbmtg.com

joe c

Along with First Choice Loan Services, EveryHome Realtors wishes to extend our heartfelt appreciation for the men and women who have served our country.

fcl


 

Will Your Dog Be Allowed in A Condo?

Many condominium associations place restrictions on the type of pets that may be permitted to live in the community.  Some “stricter” associations may restrict all dogs and cats, whereas others may permit a specified number of animals or place a weight limit on dogs. The most common weight limits for dogs are 25 lbs or 45 lbs.

sam

If a condo community allows dogs, there will typically be breed restrictions, and unfortunately this is due to their insurance policy (and we agree that this seems outdated and unfair!).  Pitbulls, German Shephards, Rottweilers, Bulldogs, Dobermans, Huskies, and Chow Chows are the most commonly restricted breeds.

norm

Generally speaking, these associations don’t place restrictions on small animals, such as your child’s hamster or a small fishtank. 

The theory behind these restrictions is that the homes will be more valuable if there aren’t any pets (or only certain pets) in the neighborhood.  Some folks worry that dogs will bark and be noisy, that the odor of a litter box will travel, or that neighbors won’t pick up after their dogs.

daisy

Every condo community is different, so we recommend asking your EveryHome agent in advance of any showings to ensure that your favorite four-legged family member will be welcome.  There are many wonderful condo associations and homeowners’ associations that happily allow pets, and we’re happy to show them to you! Just give us a call at (215) 699-5555


 

The Single Woman’s Guide to Buying A New Home

This is a guest post by freelance blogger Heather Roberts.  Heather has many published articles on various topics such as cleaning, organizing, home and garden etc.

There are a great many advantages to being single, something many people don’t notice due to a number of reasons. One of the more important factors of that is that you will have far less to worry about when your expenses are covered only by yourself and not an unreliable partner. Combined households may eventually turn out to be a financial nightmare if you’re not prudent with your expenses as a family unit, not to mention having kids means extra expenses you will need to cover, such as education, extra food and resources spent on children. All is well and good with having a family, but not everyone wants one and we will point out how you can have your own home without the added attachments of a family in this article. Before you can move house however by using a moving company, you will need to consider a few things. The following examples will give you more information you can work with:

woman1

The first thing you need to ensure is that you have a realistic reason to make such a major purchase. Where for families this is a serious expense, for a single woman this can be an even greater undertaking and not something you can work together on with your loved one. You will need to work hard on finding the right price range for your property, not to mention one that fits your individual needs, so you will have to have a surefire plan on making it work. You should always consider how the mortgage will affect your overall finances. You will also have to work on a good budget so you cannot suffer from poor planning results.

The monthly budget you have will dictate how far you can reach with spending when you want to have a nice new home. Most central city locations will have higher prices so you will need to find other solutions due to working alone on this. If you happen to want a place in a large metropolitan area, then you will need to be ready to shell out a lot of cash. Fine tuning your expenses will allow you to make things a lot easier for you, especially if you are looking for a more affordable solution to work on. Find a professional real estate agent to find more relevant information on the market you can rely upon, as they will have the experience and contacts to make a lot of what you’re looking toward a reality. You will need to work together to figure out and calculate all costs of mortgage and transportation to figure out which combination will work best for your specific needs.

woman2

You should never forget that there will be many other costs you will need to work on apart from your mortgage that will be a part of the housing expenses. Homeowners insurance, utilities, maintenance and property taxes are all something you should be ready for and part of your budget plans or else you will have a much harder time getting everything organized without going into debt more than you need to. Once that is done you can easily find a professional moving company to handle house moving for you, just remember to research the market to find experienced movers and not amateurs.


 

5 Tips for Painlessly Decluttering Your Living Room

Joe & Nick Santoro are the experts when it comes to painlessly downsizing your home! In fact, they founded Personal Property Managers as a one-stop solution for clients needing to downsize and selling process, including estate sales and clean-outs.

Whether you’re staging your home to sell, or simply trying to spruce up before the holidays, Joe & Nick recommend the following:

boxes
Keep: Heirloom quality china, silver sets and artwork if desired
Donate: Lower value furniture, incomplete china sets, extra glassware, CD’s and DVD’s
Discard: Used candles, coasters, incomplete board games and puzzles
Recycle: Non confidential paperwork, magazines, newspapers, old greeting cards, soiled tablecloths and placemats
Sell: Crystal bowls, Hummel figurines, Lladro figurines and related collectibles

ppm

Wondering where to sell your unwanted valuable goods? Consider eBay for items that are easy to ship, and Craigslist or Wallapop for items that may be more easily picked up (such as furniture).  For truly unique collectibles, consider posting your items on any forums or trading boards, as you’re likely to reach a better, more targeted audience.  And for books, be sure to cosider selling them on Amazon.


 

How To Shop For Homeowners Insurance

When it comes to homeowners insurance, there is only one thing for sure: your mortgage lender will require you to purchase it.  The majority of our clients purchase their home insurance through the company that they use for car insurance, which isn’t a bad idea because they’ll often bundle these together and save you a bit of money.  But that isn’t always the case!

Be sure to shop around and obtain quotes from at least three reliable insurance companies.  If they’re a smaller company, be sure that they’re licensed through the state’s insurance department, and consider checking A.M. Best to easily determine the company’s financial strength.

Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance is one of the broadest types of insurance that you can purchase, and the types of claims are truly endless. However, there are a lot of things that your homeowners insurance won’t cover (like flooding), so be sure to read through the policy and gain a good understanding of the coverage. Unfortunately, much of it is written in “legalese”, so be sure to check out this helpful post by 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy on understanding your policy.

Homeowners Insurance

Lastly, remember that you’ll likely be paying this homeowners insurance in your monthly mortgage payment (most lenders include real estate taxes in your monthly payment, too).  The good news is that this fee has already been estimated and accounted for by EveryHome’s Closing Cost Calculator.  Be sure to use this helpful tool to budget for your new home, just by clicking the yellow “Closing Costs” button beneath each home on EveryHome.com.


 

Best Philadelphia Suburbs for Fitness Lovers

If you love working out, staying fit, and eating healthy, you’ll love these 5 Greater Philadelphia towns. We chose them based on the prevalence of gyms and fitness studios, healthy food options, and nearby parks and recreational activities.

1. Green Lane and Perkiomen Township in Northern Montgomery County are two of our favorite areas to enjoy the great outdoors. It’s nestled along the Perkiomen Creek and its namesake Green Lane Park, and offers plenty of outdoor activities including biking, fishing, and hiking. We love the nearby trails for runners and walkers that feature some of the most beautiful views in the region. For healthy food options, be sure to check out Faraday’s natural Foods and Supplements in nearby Pennsburg.

dtown2

2. If you enjoy fitness classes and healthy eating, you’ll love Wayne. Located in the heart of Philadelphia’s prestigious Main Line, you’ll find the popular ballet-inspired fitness studio Pure Barre, as well as Verge Yoga Center, Pilates Garden Studio and plenty of CrossFit gyms — just to name a few! For healthy eating, we love picking up a fresh juice or smoothie from The Juice Philly at Verge or Barre Focus Fitness, and Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are conveniently located nearby.

purebarre

3. Gym rats will love Montgomeryville. Not only is there an LA Fitness, Retro Fitness, Planet Fitness, and plenty of CrossFit studios, you’ll also be sure to love the martial arts centers nearby including Nak Muay and Tiger Schulman’s. Fusion Training Center is also in the area, and offers Surfset fitness classes and kickboxing. Montgomeryville is also located near the new 202 corridor, with a great running and walking trail.  Holly Hill Health Foods and Whole Foods are located in the neighboring town of North Wales.

dtown

4. And for those of you in Bucks County, you’ll love the Doylestown Area. Doylestown is home to plenty of gyms, including a number of CrossFit studios, an Orange Theory Fitness, and a bikram yoga studio. Plus, Bucks County Running Company is located in the heart of Doylestown, and there are a number of running groups for those interested. And for healthy eats, be sure to check out Doylestown Food Market, a local co-op with plenty of organic and gluten-free options.


3 Tips for Keeping Your Heating Bill Low

It’s no secret that keeping your home warm and cozy can get pricey! Whether you have gas, electric, or oil heat, these three tips will help you keep your heating bill low:

This heater is just $109 from Amazon.com
This heater is just $109 from Amazon.com

 

Supplement gas or oil heat with a decorative electric fireplace — and you won’t believe how inexpensive they can be! We love the fireplaces from Amazon.com (pictured above) which range in price from $40-$300.  Many cost less than 9 cents per hour to run, and can fully heat a large room or two.

Keep cozy at night with an electric blanket. Costing less than 3 or 4 cents per hour, these electric blankets allow you to turn your thermostat down by 8 or 10 degrees every night.  Plus, they often offer multiple heat settings to ensure that you stay appropriately warm throughout the night.

blanket

Consider weatherproofing your windows, by applying a weather seal tape to the gaps around your windows.  This tape prevents any chilly drafts from sneaking in through older windows, and you can pick this up for under $7 from Home Depot or Lowe’s.


Should You Love It Or List It?

It’s hard to decide whether or not to love your current home and renovate it to fit your lifestyle, or list it and start fresh in a great new space.  HGTV’s hit show, Love It or List It, features interior designer Hilary Farr and showcases her amazing ability to beautifully remodel a family’s existing home.

love it or list it

Hilary sat down with NBC’s Today Show and divulged her favorite tips for clients who are planning to stay in their home and “love it”, and advice for clients who are planning to sell:

If you’re planning to stay in your current home and renovate, Hilary recommends these three things:

  1. Create an open-concept kitchen! Not only is this style great for entertaining, but it will also create the appearance of a larger living space.  We especially love adding kitchen islands with breakfast bars, for greater counter space and seating.
  2. Hilary loves creating a luxurious master bathroom, and feels that everyone deserves to have at least one opulent bathroom.  This may include adding a soaking tub, installing a double sink, and new floors.  To spruce up your bathroom on a budget, consider adding some new fixtures (brushed bronze is elegant and trendy), purchasing a few fluffy towels, and painting a new tranquil hue.
  3. Lastly, Hilary recommends adding “bonus” square footage by finishing any unfinished spaces in the basement.  While the projects can be costly, she notes that the payoff is large — more space for you & your family, and added value for the future!
love it or list it

If you’re ready to move, Hilary suggests these three (inexpensive!) things to boost your home’s value:

  1. Declutter, declutter, declutter! Hilary recommends going room by room and getting rid of everything that you don’t absolutely need.  Consider renting a storage space, or neatly organize boxes in the basement.  And don’t forget to organize the garage & closets too!
  2. Reorganize and spruce up the kitchen for cheap, by scouring countertops, removing grease from cabinets, and organizing shelves.
  3. If you’re going to spend money doing any renovations before selling your home, Hilary recommends upgrade floors.  Whether you replace your carpet or add hardwood floors, just be sure that they are neutral and suitable for a variety of buyers.
love it or list it
Gorgeous floors at 126 Milbob Dr in Ivyland

Plus, be sure to check out EveryHome agents Lauren McDonald and Katie Kennedy in this great video about how to decide when to move.

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EveryHome Realty is licensed by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission (license RB066839) and the New Jersey Real Estate Commission (license 0901599)