Friday, October 25, 2013

Mortgage Rates on the Rise Again


As was predicted by some of our national economists and real estate professionals, mortgage rates have risen above five percent for a 30 year fixed-rate loan as reported by Freddie Mac. In April, the rate was a record low of 4.78%.

Bernard Baumohi, the chief global economist for the Economic Outlook Group states that there is a risk that interest rates could climb to 6 or 6.5 percent. he feels that this increase will undermine the recovering economy by stunting home buying. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, refinancing of homes has dropped as well as new applications to buy.

If you are looking to buy a home, take the advice of my previous blog "Shopping for a Mortgage Loan" and get yourself locked into a lower rate. I am available to help you search out our local market and fit you with a home that is right for you!

Are our Seniors taking the Hit for the Mortgage Crisis?

AARP, a leading company and advocate dealing with senior citizens recently reported that more than 600,000 seniors are in foreclosure or are delinquent on their mortgage payments. These seniors who were expecting to use the equity in their home as their retirement fund are now finding that the value of their home has dropped so low that it is no longer feasible to sell. On top of that, these seniors are on a fixed income and are having problems keeping up with the fluctuations happening with their mortgage payments. Some simple advice for the younger crowd, don't place all your eggs in one basket and expect the retirement sale of your home will carry you through your golden years.

Women and Real Estate

On a higher note, the National Association of Realtors is reporting that single women buyers are buying more homes. They are out buying their male counterparts as first-time home buyers by 23 percent and being repeat buyers by 17 percent (single males are 15 and 9 percent, respectively). Stats show that single mothers are spending most of their income on housing. During the time period of 1994-2002, single women owning homes went from 13.9 million to 17.5 million. Keep it up ladies!

Is There a "Pop-up" Store in your Area?

Greenville has ventured on a unique shopping experience. They are having established stores take on temporary store fronts in downtown where the foot traffic is higher. These short term habitants are being called "pop-up" stores. The benefit to the store is they get more exposure for their main location and it fills up vacant storefronts downtown for a three-month term. A couple of "pop-ups" that have appeared are Ten Thousand Villages and possibly LP Vintage & Friends. Check them out and let me know what you thought of the stores and how successful their ideas are becoming.

And in continuing with our photo blog, here is a picture of the Historic Westin Hotel.
Historic Westin Hotel in downtown Greenville, SC.

Located at 120 South Main Street in downtown Greenville, this hotel has been here since 1924. Though it went through some tough times during the depression, Mr. J. Mason Alexander, hired in 1930 worked to turn the hotel into "Carolina's Finest." Today it is the only 4-diamond hotel in Greenville. Situated near the renovated downtown area, it has become a convenient location for travelers with more than 100 shops, restaurants and other attractions nearby. Features include: a piano bar with live entertainment, a fitness studio, 200 smoke-free guest rooms, complimentary high-speed internet and Heavenly Bed® beds. Have you stayed at the Westin? Leave me a comment below and let me know about your experience!

If you need assistance with selling or buying a home in 2013 I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Shopping for a Mortgage Loan


Buying a home is one of the largest investments you will make in your adult life. More often than not, that purchase is made by securing a mortgage loan from a financial institution. Understanding how to shop for the lowest loan rate will save you money. So here I am providing you with some tips that I hope will help you out.

Qualifying

Loan officer use predetermined calculations to help the decide if you can qualify for a loan. Every buyer is different so the pre-qualification process you go through might not be the same as your friends. Before walking in the loan office make sure you know your credit score. To bet the best interest rate, your score will need to be 740 or higher and you will need 20 percent down. However, these figures are always changing. A lower score and less equity will result in higher interest rates. Ask about buying points on the loan if your budget allows. This will lower your interest rate even though you might have a higher score.

Preparation

Begin preparing for your mortgage as soon as you make the decision to start looking for a home. Start by putting aside some money each month the help cover the down payment, closing costs and/or fees. Buyers tend to forget about these items when shopping for a loan. Ask the lender what fees you will be expected to pay. Each financial institution charges their own fees. You may also be able to negotiate the fees waived if you have a history with the bank. But be prepared to pay anywhere from 2.25% to as much as 20% down.

Your Loan Needs

Before you speak to anyone about a home loan, set some parameters and be clear what type of loan you are asking to get. Be wary of loan officials offering alternative options that stray too far from your original plan. Example: before agreeing to a variable rate mortgage make sure you know what the starting rate will be, what increases will happen and what the cap rate will be for the loan. Make sure you know what the market rate is on lenders also.

Keep It Moving

As you work through the shopping process, make sure to provide any requested information to loan officers as quickly as possible. This will keep your approval moving forward as you inquire with other financial institutions. Also, set a reasonable time frame for your shopping. Make sure you don't pass on the best rate while waiting for a lower one. It may or may not happen. Most institutions allow a certain amount of time that you can "float" and watch the loan rates. Some let you "lock in" your rate against increases for 30 days.

Another option to keep the process moving along is to get pre-qualified. It is a simple process and can give you perceived power when buying a home. Most sellers love to hear a buyer is pre-qualified.

Home loans are a huge financial commitment. Make sure to do your research and explore different options so you can get the best possible deal on your mortgage.

Local Update


Now for some local information that just came across my desk. Greenville has welcomed more visitors this year. Seems occupancy levels are ahead of what our prior peak levels were and we have certainly reaped the benefits. Restaurant sales were up five percent in the second quarter of this year. Hotel tax collection were up 18.1%. Did you know that visitors to our fair city generate over $982 million in direct spending in the community and $55 million in state and local taxes?

With this increase in tourism it brings an increase in our local economy. With the local economy doing well, more people will want to live here. Increased demand for housing will then increase home listing and sales prices. Trickledown economics anyone?



Today's photo is of the Blue Ridge Brewing company located at 217 North Main street in downtown Greenville. A unique restaurant and brew pub. Specializing in handcrafted ales all brewed on site by brewmaster Johannes. They also offer a distinct menu prepared by their chef Neal Meyers. Get Sunday brunch or outdoor dining year round. Open seven days a week at 11 am. If you happen to stop by come back and leave me a comment below.

If you need assistance with selling or buying a home in 2013 I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Friday, October 11, 2013

News and Tidbits from Greenville

Greenville South Carolina makes the news again! National retired membership giant AARP featured Greenville in their membership magazine as “AARP’s top 10 best places to retire for 2013.” Check out the November/December issue of AARP Magazine and see Greenville as one of the five most liveable and low-cost cities in the United States. To add to the excitement, a AARP representative was on The Today Show and talked about Greenville and the other cities on their top five list. The representative talked about how historic Greenville was and yet how modern.
  • John Stamos recently visited Falls Park in Greenville and posted a picture on Instagram.
  • Don’t forget Fall for Greenville is this weekend starting 10/11.
  • Greenlink has partnered with the Children’s Museum to provide a new “Ride & Play” promotion. Offered on two different weekends in October.
  • Greenville City Fire Department members are once again participating in Breast Cancer Awareness Month by selling t-shirts. All proceeds are donated to the SC Mountains to Midlands Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Make sure to help support this great cause.
With this blog we are going to begin a photo tour of Greenville. I spent some time out and about in downtown and got some great pictures that I want to share with you. Here is the first.



This is a shot of the Amphitheatre and Peace Center which overlooks the Reedy River. The TD stage you see here provide a scenic yet casual stage for musicals, performances, presentations, lectures and social gatherings. Located at 300 South Main St it is close to shops, restaurants and coffee houses. Start you night by having dinner downtown then head on over here for an event.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Greenville Parks and Recreation Department

greenville parks and recreation

The Greenville City Department of Parks and Recreation has great offerings for our residents. With a comprehensive system of public facilities, greenways, parks and other recreational choices, it is sure to enhance your quality of life.

The City of Greenville maintains 39 different parks totaling over 500 acres inside the city limits. Falls Park is more popular with its suspension bridge which spans the Reedy River but Cleveland Park is the largest at 122 acres. Cleveland Park also includes the Greenville Zoo.

Did you know Greenville has a trail system? There are nature trails, hiking and mountain biking trails, walking trails and a dog park trail. Trail length runs anywhere from a 1/2 mile to 1.5 miles. The Fitness trail offers 16 different stations with activities at each one.

The recreation division of the Parks and Recreation Department coordinates and schedules athletic and youth programs year round. It also operates five community centers offering summer programs and leisure activities.

Depending on the park, you will see things such as scenic overlooks and gardens. Other parks have softball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, picnic areas and playgrounds. Legacy Park, a 20 acre park located in the city at 336 Rocky Slope Road was inspired by Central Park in New York City.

Greenville hasn't stopped there. It is planning even more parks with public meetings being held for a location near A.J. Whittenburg Elementary School. Get your voice heard by attending one of the meetings. Check out the hyperlink above for more details about the complete park system in Greenville.

If you need assistance with selling or buying a home in 2013 I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.