Friday, January 30, 2015

Our Heart is in Greenville


With only a couple more days left in January I thought I would pull out some interesting events coming in February for our great town of Greenville SC. Take a gander at my list below.
  • 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic at Lake Hartwell, one of the largest lakes in the Southeast.
    2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic at Lake Hartwell
    Daily launches at 7 am from Green Pond Ramps. Runs 2/20 to 2/22. Admission FREE unless you are fishing.
  • Charlie Wilson "Forever Charlie" Tour appearing at the downtown Bon Secours Wellness Arena on February 26th at 7 pm. Admission: $49.50, $65.00 & $85.00.
  • Fairytales and Legends at the Peace Center from 2/28 to 3/1. Times are Sat 8pm & Sun 3pm. Admission: $16 to $57. Come out and enjoy musical fairytales.
  • Jason Aldean "Burn it Down" 2015 Tour. Venue is the Bon Secours Wellness Arena on Feb 22nd. Showtime is at 7:30 pm. Check web site for admission prices.
  • Much Ado About Nothing, a Shakespearean comedy, presented at the Billingsley Theatre from 2/12 to 2/21. Times are 7:30-10pm. Admission: Adults $8, Students $5. Come experience one of Shakespeare's best comedies in live performance.
  • Rock 'n Roll at the Centre Stage in downtown Greenville. Enjoy 50 years of music in review presented by local artists. Appears every Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday through 2/14. Admission: $35, $30, $25. Times Thur-Sat 8pm, Sun 3pm.
  • Happy Valentine's Day with the Southeast Travel Food & Wine show at the TD Convention Center. Admission only $5 on Sat 2/14 from 10am to 6pm. Exhibitors from the travel industry as well as culinary and wine destinations.
    the peace center downtown greenville sc
  • Wicked is currently playing at The Peace Center. Back by popular demand and winner of over 50 major awards. See website for times and admission prices or call the box office at 864-467-3000.
This is only a small sampling of events for February. You can check out the February events to see more. There is always something to do and celebrate in Greenville! Celebrate your weekends and get out to one of these events.

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

Friday, January 23, 2015

Up Up and Away!



up up and away with mortgage rates
Mortgage rates are once again at an all time low as you have probably heard on the news. Mortgage rates in 2014 finished up at 3.87 percent for a 30-year fixed rate per Freddie Mac. We were closing in on the really low rates from April 2013. Sounds like good news right?

Unfortunately, the Mortgage Bankers Association is predicting that rates will be up to 5 percent by  close of 2015. Another resource Investopedia is agreeing with them. I have pulled some projections from Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Mortgage Bankers' Association (MBA) and present them to you below.

2015
Quarter
Freddie Mac
Fannie Mae
NAR
MBA
Average Rate
1st Quarter
4.1%
4.0%
4.2%
4.4%
4.25%
2nd Quarter
4.3%
4.1%
4.5%
4.6%
4.38%
3rd Quarter
4.5%
4.2%
4.9%
5.0%
4.65%
4th Quarter
4.7%
4.3%
5.4%
5.1%
4.88%

Based on these numbers it looks like NAR and MBA are erring on the up side of the percent rates while the government sponsored Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are more conservative with their rate projections.

Now I did take a look at Kiplinger.com and their post about interest rates for 2015. They are projecting that the Federal Reserve will increase short-term rates about 6 months into the year. But they are projecting that the 30-year fixed rate mortgages will be around 4.4 percent. A slower rise but still historically low rates. 

It seems that despite past decades where the interest rates screamed up to 8 percent or higher, as in the mid-80's, that the new norm seems to be a lower more calm approach to rates. The Federal Reserve is certainly taking their time in raising rates for bank bills. Growth is still slow, inflation is still under control.

Take away! Buy a home now before the rates rise. With rates still out there under 4 percent, you can get a great deal.

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

Monday, January 19, 2015

I have insurance yes I do, I have insurance how about YOU?

I have insurance yes I do, I have insurance how about YOU?
Homeowners insurance is often a pain that all homeowners endure once a year when it comes time for renewal. But doing an annual checkup can get you better rates and maybe even a better policy.

Ideally a review should take place just before your present policy is due to expire. These policies are designed to protect your home structure and the value of its contents. Some policies even have liability clauses to protect you from accidents in your home or property. Block out about an hour of time so you can contact your insurance agent and get answers to these questions.
  • What type of coverage do I have? Most effective and most common is the "replacement cost" policy. This will replace your home up to your policy limits. If you get "Extended" replacement coverage, you will get an extra 20 percent of the cost after the replacement cost is satisfied. So $100K could turn into $200K. Less attractive is the "actual cash value" coverage. This policy counts on depreciation of your household goods and replacement cost is lower overall. If you need to save money on your premiums, this option might be right for you. But be aware that what covers the main dwelling may not cover a shed or detached garage.
  • How much coverage do I need? The key here is to estimate how much money you would need to rebuild your home from the ground up. A good way to estimate is by calling a local contractor or home builder and asking them what is their average cost per square foot. If they quote $100 and your home is 1500 sq. ft. then you need to insure for $150,000. Shop around. Policies and prices do vary by company and area.
  • How can I lower my premiums? One way is to raise your deductible. The deductible is money you will have to pay if you file a claim. Adding a full service security system and installing deadbolts may get you a discount on your insurance. If you live in an area where they have hurricanes, getting storm shutters for all openings may get you a discount. Adding a new roof and making sure to upgrade your roof tie downs may get a deductible.
As always be sure to check with your insurance agent for a description of discounts allowed in your area by your insurer. If you express you are interested in finding a cheaper rate, they will work with you to find a company that can give you a better deal.

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

Friday, January 9, 2015

Who wouldn't like a big tax refund!




homeowner tax deductions
As a homeowner you can get a nice pay back on your tax return. Taking advantage of these tax strategies I have listed below can reap you big rewards.
  • Mortgage Interest Deduction. For 2014, you will still be able to take a deduction on your taxes for interest paid on your primary mortgage if you itemize. Interest paid on a mortgage up to $1 million is deductible if you used that loan to build, buy or improve your home. If you have a 2nd mortgage, home equity line of credit or home equity loan, these will count toward the $1 million limit.
  • Private or FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums. If you are paying for Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) on a loan taken out in 2007 or after, you will still be able to deduct for 2014 if you itemize. This deduction is up for renewal by Congress this year.
  • Prepaid Interest Deduction. Did you purchase a home and buy down points? This is referred to as prepaid interest and is deductible if you itemize. This is usually only deductible in the year you got your mortgage. But if you refinanced in 2014, used that money for home improvements and bought any points on the refinance, they would be deductible. If you refinanced to shorten your mortgage or get a lower rate, these points then become deductible over the remaining life of your mortgage. So doing a refi for 10 years and paying $3,000 in points gives you $300 deductible per year for the 10 years.
  • Property Tax Deductions. Usually paid through an escrow account set up with your mortgage, you can deduct this expense on your itemized return. If you bought your home in 2014, your settlement statement from the title company would list any prorated taxes you had to pre-pay when you closed.
  • Upgrades for Energy Efficiency. If you made any upgrades to your home in 2014 that improved its energy efficiency you may be able to deduct this on your itemized return. Note that this deduction does have a $500 lifetime limit. You can get credit for updating windows, doors, roofs, water heaters, insulation, or heating and A/C systems.
  • Vacation Home Deductions. Keep good records here because these rules are complicated. But here are some hints. If you or your family are the only ones who use the home you can deduct the mortgage interest. If you rent out the home for more than 14 days a year, it is considered rental property and is deductible on Schedule E.
april 15th tax dayNote that most of these deductions can be taken on your Schedule A tax return unless noted differently. As always, make sure to consult your accountant or tax professional to get details on how these strategies may help you get a bigger return. Also, these deductions can only be taken if you itemize your return. If you elect to take the standard deduction, then these items become null and void. Most tax programs or tax professionals can look at both scenarios and suggest which one will benefit you the most. The key is to BE PREPARED! Happy filing!

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

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Is winter gear taking over your home?


winter close piling up?Old man winter is here and he is blowing cold this year. If you have pulled out the sweaters, jackets, hats and gloves, they may be taking over your home. Here are some tips on how to organize it all and keep your home looking good this winter.
  • If up cycling is your thing, turn your used 28-oz food cans into storage cubbies. Clean them up, remove the burs and labels, and then mount them to a small board. Use them for stuffing soft hats and gloves.
  • Entryway or mudroom organization. Consider adding a combo seat and boot storage bench. This allows you to sit while removing your shoes. Store them under the bench for easy, neat access. Add an old towel or cloth mat to soak up any liquid remains from your shoes.
  • Hide it behind the door. Get a simple clear over-the-door shoe organizer to store hats and gloves for easy access. These are inexpensive, and fit right on your closet door.
  • Need a place for boots to drip? Grab an inexpensive plastic tray and then add some river rocks you can get at your local craft store. Place the rocks on the tray and you have an instant drain rack.
  • Need tool organization in your garage? Create a homemade tool rack. Make it with holes for long handled tools and with slots for hanging tools. Keeps your snow shovels neat and tidy.
  • Need de-icer where you live? Keep it close and neat in a galvanized bucket close to your doorstep. Pick up a large metal scoop for easy application. Add festive decoration during the holidays.
  • Keeping boots outside? Make a homemade boot rack that stores your boots upside down so they will drain and dry. You can use some extra pieces of firewood for a rustic version. Or pick up a pre-made version in oak or metal. boot racks for drying winter boots
  • Do you live where you need to change your tires during the winter? Consider creating a garage tire rack. Hang it from screw hooks driven into ceiling joists, or pick up some metal ones that mount to your wall. This keeps them up and out of the way, but still within easy access.
Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.