Date Archives: March 2015

Coldwell Banker American Homes Blog Home

Subscribe and receive email notifications of new blog posts.




rss logo RSS Feed
Area Information | 27 Posts
BPT | 10 Posts
Buying | 6 Posts
Homeowners | 17 Posts
Real Estate Blogs | 319 Posts
RREIN | 62 Posts
Uncategorized | 148 Posts
Buying a Home | Home Purchase Guidelines | Long Island Homes and Property | Real Estate for Long Island | Energy Efficient Homes | Homeowner Tax Credits | Tax Credits for Home Energy Efficiency | Adjustable Rate Mortgages | Mortgages for the Long Island real estate market | The Right Mortgage for the Right Home Buyer | Real Estate Question of the Day! | Real Estate - scams and mortgages | What you need to know about real estate | Home Purchase Savings | Interest rates offer greatest leverage | Tax credit vs mortgage interest rates | Assisted Living | VA Special Pension | home loans | Home mortgage rates | Another Interest Rate Drop | Mortgage Interest Rates | Defending homeownership | Is now the time to buy a home? | Real Estate - still a great investment | Long Island condo & co-op | Long Island Homes for sale | Long Island Properties | Negotiating house purchase price | New construction on Long Island | Real Estate transfer fees | buy your home through a short sale purchase | selling short with the banks approval | Short sale home purchase | $2000 home buyer grant | New York State home buying grants | home list price vs. home sales price | negotiate a new home sales price | New York State STAR tax exemption | STAR tax exemption for New York homeowners | Buyer Brokerage | Real Estate Representation | Seller Agency | Tips for improving your credit score | Home and property appraisals | Homeowner Tax Advantages | Home Purchase Track | Owning a home vs. Renting | 55+ Adult Community | Senior housing | The Season's at East Meadow | co-op | Condo's | Homes | land for sale | Why Now is a Great Time to Buy a Home on Long Island | Homeownership | Open House weekend | home buying process | mortgage prequalification | Real Estate Investment Tips | Tips to Flip your real estate | Home Shopping Checklist | Look for a house with a checklist | ips to purchasing a short sale home | Short sales: How to purchase | Cut energy costs for your home | home energy efficiency | Loan application mistakes | mortgage loans | mortgage home loans | What home loan is right for you? | house hunting | Hunting for a home | Common Home Defects | What to look for when buying a home | first time home buyers | The 1st time home buyers guide | mobile based home search | Mobile phone users - coupons | smart phone applications | Housing Market Recovery Bright Spots | Natianal Housing Market Report | Home Closing - contract to closing | Home purchase timeline | 203k home mortgage program | Home Improvement Funding | Myths of the real estate market | The Home Buying Process | narrow down your home search | The Best location for your home purchase | buying a home? protect your credit! | credit protection | Home value pitfalls | home closing steps to take | New home closing | Home Styles | Popular Homes | best interest rates | credit scores | Create Energy within Your Home with Feng Shui | Feng Shui within your home | consumer confidence | home buyers more confident in housing market | Real Estate market impact | Rent verse Buy | Renters Outspend Owners on Housing | Benefits of home buying | Winter shopping for homes | Consumers confidence in home ownership | Homeownership attitudes | Real estate tax advantages & tips | Tax tips for homeowners | job opportunity | real estate agent | real estate career | rental agent | 1st time home buyer tips | priorities for home buyers | make moving fun for family | Moving for the family | Buy a foreclosure | REO purchase tips | Tips to buying a foreclosure property | Use a real estate agent to buy a home | Use a real estate agent to sell a home | Why use a real estate agent | Home Buying steps | Home Buying tips | Stepr to take prior to buying a home | home loan good faith estimate | Tips to your home loan mortgage | FICO Scores | How FICO scores are calculated | Your FICO score | Invest in a home | tax refund - invest it in your home purchase | VA Loan | The Home Buyers Wish List | Home buying expectations | real estate market report | Bidding on real estate properties | purchase offers for your home | home mortgage | downsizing your home | moving to a smaller house | Jumbo Loans for Home Purchase | Mortgage Money Lesson | newlywed home purchasing tips | The perfect wedding gift... a new home | Avoid these home buying mistakes | common mistakes when buying a home | Good News for Housing | Home Price Index | Bank fees for the homeowner | understanding banks and their fees | Home Inspections for your new home purchase | What to know about home inspections | Fire safety for your home | Is your home fire safe? | Home Mortgage programs | LTV | Mortgage loan to value | Mortgage relief for disaster challenged areas | Location | Property location - real estate | buying a short sale property | short sale tips | buying a home - best investment? | When is the best time to buy? | New Years resolutions | Resolutions: a Reality for Realty's | Get a mortgage after foreclosure | mortgage financing - after foreclosure | Is it a good time to buy a home? | What age is old enough to buy a home? | Buy a short sale property | Short Sale real estate properties | Home property tax deductions | real estate tax deductions | Real Estate License School | Apartment Rentals | House Rentals | Real Estate Rental Agent | House Hunting Tips | Simple house hunting tips & ideas | Mortgage advice - current trends | mortgaging & refinancing in 2013 | Good credit score = best equal rates | How to build up your credit score | lease - option to buy | Rent with option to buy | Avoid Home Improvement Blunders | Home improvements ideas for the property owner | Home Buyers - What do you really want? | Needs & wants of home buyers | mortgage loans for new home construction | New construction home loans | Home Buyers - Price & proximity to work | Key Concerns for the home buyer | Impressive mortgage applications | Keys to getting your mortgage approved | Home buying mistakes to avoid | Home purchasing blunders to avoid | New homes vs older homes | to buy or not to buy a home | pet friendly rentals | Pets or no pets - apartment rentals | tips for home purchasers | Flipping houses | home flpipping 101 | spec houses | home buyer how to's | how to be a better home buyer | Mortgage amortization | A happy home | What makes you really happy? | Low housing inventory | Low inventory housing market | Home prices on the rise | Rising property values | Home buyer tips to open houses | Open House etiquette | Winning a home purchase bidding war | Home mortgage rate tips | mortgage tips for the new home owner | Home Equity Line versus 2nd Mortgage | buy a new home or expand your current home | Home improvements vs. new home purchse | Mortgage Rate Lock | Residential home mortgage rates | Improve your economic profile for home mortgage | Personal Finance | Costly problems for new home buyers | New home buyers avoid costly problems | Handy man special | The home fixer-upper | How to refinance | Refinance - without perfect credit | Debt to Income | Tackling Debt | Seasonal real estate trends | The fall season housing market | Factor in home repairs in your mortgage payment | Home repairs for new home purchasers | Home sellers negotiation techniques | negotiations for home buyers & sellers | The home buying process - stress free | The process of buying a home | Recently Read | Saved for Later | Great Neck | Massapequa | Huntington | Ronkonkoma | Brooklyn | East Meadow | Coldwell Banker American Homes | Local Attractions | Home Improvement | Interior Design | Queens | Fresh Meadows | Long Beach | Local Businesses | Farmingdale | Home selling | Suffolk County | Nassau County | Wantagh
March
27

(BPT) - When it comes to buying your first home, a lack of knowledge and experience can lead to costly mistakes. One in four first-time homebuyers say they are completely unfamiliar with the mortgage financing process, according to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Even among those with an understanding of the overall process, the report found that many first-time homebuyers still had significant knowledge gaps in important areas such as available mortgage rates, closing costs, down-payment requirements and income required to qualify for a loan.   1sttime   First-time homebuyers can become mortgage-ready with these tips.   1. Adjust your budget. A mortgage payment can increase your monthly housing expenses, so prepare by calculating what that amount will be and begin saving that same amount every month so you can get used to the budget change in advance.   2. Plan for a down payment. Nearly all home loans will require you to put some money down as a down payment. Some home loans may require as much as 20 percent of the purchase cost as a down payment, although some Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans may require less. Decide on the amount you think you'll need and create a savings plan to help you reach that goal.   3. Consider the location and type of home you want to buy. Many factors influence the cost of a home, including its location, size, style and more. A larger home in a high-income area will generally cost more, and property taxes will be higher on a bigger, newer, well-located home. Many first-time homebuyers find manufactured or mobile homes are a good option. Knowing the estimated cost of the type of home you want to purchase can help you better manage your budget.   4. Stay on top of your credit. Lenders will consider your credit score and report history when determining your mortgage eligibility and the interest rate they may offer you. Make sure to review your credit report in advance. You can download a free credit report once a year from all three major bureaus at https://ift.tt/o2j1vQ. If you're planning to apply for a mortgage, it's a good idea to review your report more frequently and to consider paying to obtain your credit score from at least one major bureau. If your report contains errors, work with the credit bureaus to have them corrected before you apply for a mortgage.   5. Keep current on monthly bills. While it's important to save toward a down payment, don't let monthly bills slide. Paying your bills on time every month can help increase your credit score, and a good payment history is something lenders look for when reviewing your credit report. Use online tools like email reminders and automatic payment options to help ensure you never miss or make a late payment.   6. Work on your debt. If you have delinquent balances, bring them up to date as quickly as possible. If you carry a lot of revolving credit card debt, you may want to work to reduce it by paying more than the monthly minimum payment. While it helps to have a report that shows no late payments, the most important thing is to not have any delinquent balances before you apply for a mortgage.   7. Plan for escrow. In addition to the amount you will need each month toward repaying your mortgage, you'll need escrow - an amount added to and collected with each monthly mortgage payment that is applied toward annual homeowners' insurance premiums and/or taxes. Estimating taxes and total insurance costs can help you better understand how much your escrow will be each month, and you'll be able to budget more accurately as you prepare for homeownership. Don't forget that this amount may adjust every 12 months if your insurance premium or taxes change for the next year.   8. Take advantage of educational resources. Check out resources like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).   Published with permission from RISMedia.
March
21

Warmer weather is encouraging homeowners to break out lawn mowers, trimmers and other lawn and garden equipment for spring maintenance. To operate machines safely, it's important that users understand safety procedures and set expectations with others who operate or are nearby these machines, says the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).   lawn   OPEI recommends the following safety tips when operating mowers, chain saws, trimmers, edgers, generators and other outdoor equipment used for landscape management.   • Use the right equipment for the task. Mowers and hedge trimmers are designed to help you manage a landscape as efficiently and productively as possible. Select a "right-sized" product for the job. Ask your retailer/dealer for assistance in size, capabilities, power sources and features that fit your needs.   • Assign the right person to use the equipment. Only allow responsible adults who are familiar with the instructions to operate the machine. Do not let children use outdoor power equipment. These machines should not be operated by young people who are not physically or developmentally ready to assume the responsibility of operating a powerful machine.   • Alert nearby people of work to be done. Confirm the locations of pets and children, and ask that they be kept out of the area and supervised.   • Read the operator's manual to understand the controls of your equipment. Know how to stop the machine quickly. Do not remove or disable guards or safety devices.   • Regularly inspect your equipment. Check for loose belts and missing or damaged parts. Drain and responsibly dispose of old oil and put in fresh oil before starting equipment that has been in long-time storage. Install clean air filters so your engine and equipment will run optimally.   • Have your mower's cutting blades sharpened so it will operate more efficiently, cutting your lawn cleaner and making it healthier.   • Know your terrain. When operating on slopes, select the appropriate machine. Keep away from drop-offs and other hazards such as water. Uneven terrain could overturn the machine.   • Clear the area being managed. Remove debris, wires, branches, nails, rocks or metal that may become projectiles if thrown by lawn mower blades and other equipment.   • Dress properly. Wear substantial shoes, long pants and close-fitting clothes. You may want eye or hearing protection.   • Observe safe fueling procedures. Fill your gasoline tank only when the engine is cool. If you need to refuel before completing a job, turn off the machine and allow the engine to cool. Never light a match or smoke around gasoline.   • Do not use gas with more than 10 percent ethanol (E10) in your mower. Some gasoline filling stations may offer 15 percent ethanol (E15) gas or other fuel blends, but this higher ethanol fuel is dangerous-and is in fact illegal-to use in your mower or in any small engine equipment. • When putting away last season's equipment, clean it and be sure to drain and responsibly dispose of fuel. Don't leave fuel sitting in the tank for more than thirty days. Untreated gasoline (without a fuel stabilizer) left in the system will deteriorate, which may cause starting or running problems and, in some cases, damage to the fuel system.   Source: OPEI Published with permission from RISMedia.
March
17

A recently released TransUnion survey shed light on consumer confusion when it comes to credit scores. In fact, nearly half of all consumers falsely identified rental (45 percent) and cell phone (47 percent) payments as those that directly affect their score; however, these are not regularly reported to credit bureaus.   credit   While consumers who frequently review their credit report incorrectly identify some aspects of it, consumers who rarely or never review their credit report have an even higher level of confusion. Among survey respondents who reported checking their report in the last 30 days, half mistakenly believe their full employment history (55 percent) and income level (41 percent) are included in their reports.   Surprisingly, even consumers who characterize their credit as "excellent" or "good" had trouble identifying credit report factors. Among those who characterized their credit as "excellent," 49 percent mistakenly thought rental payments are included in their report, yet currently they are not regularly reported to credit bureaus in the same way that auto and mortgage payments are reported.   According to the survey findings, there are several noteworthy points of confusion about what affects a credit score and what information is included in credit reports, as follows:  
  • Pay raises: Nearly half (48 percent) of respondents who've checked their credit report in the last year incorrectly believed an increase in income improves their score.
  • Credit inquiries: Forty percent of respondents who've never checked their report are unsure how it affects their score, and 20 percent who checked their report in the last year mistakenly believed checking their report would decrease their score.
  • Paying down debts: Sixty-one percent of those who checked their report in the last 30 days erroneously believed paying off debts from late payments automatically increases their score.
  • Trended information: Seventy percent of those who've checked their report in the last year incorrectly assumed that it reflected recent changes or trends in their finances over time.
  To help consumers better understand their credit scores and reports, TransUnion debunked these common myths:   Myth #1: Your score drops if you check your own credit. Fact: Viewing your credit report counts only as a "soft inquiry" and doesn't change the score. "Hard inquiries" by a lender or creditor, though, can slightly lower your credit score.   Myth #2: I should close old or inactive accounts to help my credit score. Fact: This might actually have the reverse effect of lowering your credit score because it can shorten the measured duration of your credit history.   Myth #3: Paying off a negative record means it's taken off your credit report Fact: Generally, negative records like collections or late payments will remain on your credit reports for up to seven years.   Myth #4: Co-signing doesn't mean you're responsible for the account. Fact: If you open a joint account or co-sign a loan, you will be held legally responsible for the account, meaning activity on the joint account as well is displayed on the credit reports of both account holders' reports.   Myth #5: Making on-time rental, utility and cell phone payments helps my credit score. Fact: While outstanding rental, utility and cell phone debt that has gone to collections can negatively affect your score, generally, on-time payments are not regularly reported to credit bureaus.   Myth #6: My credit score reflects recent changes or trends in my payment behavior. Fact: Historically, credit scores have not incorporated trended credit information, meaning they are a moment-in-time glimpse at consumer risk.   Source: TransUnion Published with permission from RISMedia.
March
12

Owning a home for the first time is exciting, but that excitement can fade quickly if faced with extensive (and expensive) damage. New homeowners often inadvertently cause damage that can cost thousands of dollars or more in repairs.   mistake   The Home Book authors David MacLellan, George Wolfson and Douglas Hansen recommend steering clear of these common first-time homeowner mistakes.   1. Overloading Upper Cabinets in Kitchen Avoid stacking heavy dishes in an upper cabinet, which is only supported by the wall behind it. Shelves may begin to sag if the cabinet struggles to bear the weight. At worst, your cabinet can detach from the wall completely.   2. Using Attic or Garage Trusses as Storage Despite many homeowners doing otherwise, storing items on top of garage or attic trusses can lead to sagging, increasing the possibility that the roof may collapse. If you truly need the additional space, consult a structural engineer who can advise you as to the best course of action.   3. Tinting Dual-Pane Windows Many new homes have dual-pane windows, which help insulate a home by sealing 'dead air' between two panes. Tinting can disrupt the reflection of the sun's rays, trapping hot air in the dead air space. Heat can cause the elastic seal to rupture, eliminating insulation.   4. Disconnecting Bathroom and Laundry Vent Fans The noise may bother you, but disconnecting a bathroom or laundry vent fan can increase water vapor, adversely affecting drywall and electrical outlets and leading to damages from dry rot, mold and mildew. Turn the fan on during each use of the room.   5. Irrigating against the Home When installing an irrigation system, ensure that irrigation spouts spray away from the home and add-on structures. It seems like a no-brainer, but it can happen in places where you least expect it, including the posts of an overhead deck.   6. Altering Finished Grades If you'd like to install a walkway, patio, drainage system or even a pool, make certain that your contractor doesn't just pour concrete over the existing finished grade. Doing so can result in water flow towards the home, which can cause the foundation to shift. A shifting foundation can lead to both interior and exterior damage – a costly, and preventable, repair.   7. Improperly Installing Add-on Structures Before installing any structure, such as a trellis, sun screen or lanai, check with your municipality for any building codes that may apply to your situation. Do not nail or bolt the structure directly the exterior wall. Homeowners who do so run the risk of dry rot from rainwater collection.   Source: RISMedia's Housecall Published with permission from RISMedia.
March
9

When it comes to selling your home, first impressions matter. According to the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB), it's critical to put your best foot forward when putting your home on the market. The NAMB outlines these dos and don'ts for preparing your home for sale.     ????????????????????????????????   Do: Consider curb appeal. "Curb appeal is a huge draw for buyers," says Don Frommeyer, CEO, NAMB. "If you live in a cold state, consider creating a winter planter with cold-weather plants like winter berry holly or noble fir. At the very least, invest in a new doormat and keep the driveway clear of ice and snow. Warm lights glowing in the window will also be welcoming."   Invest in updates that matter. "People will pay top-dollar for homes with updated kitchens and bathrooms," says Frommeyer. "If you can make even the barest improvements to these rooms, you will see a huge return. Update the yellowing tile in the bathroom or invest in new cabinetry. At the very least, purchase new shower curtains, bath rugs, and the like."   Keep it bright. "Open all the curtains, turn on all the lights, even if it is in the afternoon," says Frommeyer. "Replace all dead light bulbs. Crack open doors to the pantry or laundry room so people won't be afraid to peek inside. And tidy up in forgotten places like inside the fridge or oven…people will be looking in there, and if they see mold or burnt food, they will be very turned off."     Don't: Overdo it on the heat. "People tend to overcompensate when they know that potential buyers are coming to look at their home in the winter time. They crank up the heat to make the place warm and welcoming," says Frommeyer. "But that can backfire. The air will be dry and stale, plus the buyers will probably be too warm as they will be bundled up in coats. So keep the heat at a reasonable setting and have your humidifier set between 40-60 percent."   Expect people to use their imagination. "If you have a crazy color choice in one (or more) of your rooms, you might think that people will look past that," says Frommeyer. "But that can prove difficult for buyers. Garish paint and wacky décor choices will make them uneasy, no matter how beautiful your home is underneath your collection of animal heads. Paint over those wild colors and put away any crazy items that might garner a laugh or a raised brow."   Source: NAMB Published with permission from RISMedia.
March
6

Spring cleaning your home can be overwhelming without help. If you're a parent, enlist your children with these creative (and fun!) ways to clean, courtesy of Debra Johnson, home cleaning expert for Merry Maids.   springclean • Host a Fashion Show Go through closets and play dress up with the kids. Put away the show-stopping outfits and make piles of items that no longer fit to donate or discard.   • Skate Over Dust Remove furniture and rugs from hardwood surfaces in your home and have your kids slide over the floor with microfiber cloths wrapped around their feet (supervision required). Have a trash bag on hand to collect dust afterwards.   • Celebrate Christmas in Spring Help children sort through toys and games that are no longer being used for donations. Bonus - kids may re-discover items they love!   • Establish a Finders Keepers Rule Entice little ones to help with cleaning under couch cushions or beds with a finders keepers rule, letting them know that any money found while cleaning is theirs for the taking. Hide coins in places that need the most attention, and provide each child with a jar to collect their spring cleaning savings.   Source: ServiceMaster Published with permission from RISMedia.
March
5

According to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey, mortgage rates unwound a recent increase last week, with the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate pulling back to 3.90 percent. The 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.29 discount and origination points.   int rates   The average 15-year fixed mortgage dropped to 3.15 percent while the larger jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage settled at 4.07 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were down also, with the 5-year ARM falling to 3.22 percent and the 7-year ARM sinking to 3.44 percent.   Mortgage rates moved lower last week after indications that maybe the Federal Reserve isn't going to raise interest rates as soon as markets had thought. The minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's January meeting showed a hesitancy to raise interest rates on the part of Fed members. The concern was that despite recent signs of improvement in the job market and overall economy, raising interest rates too soon could douse the recovery. Since mortgage rates and long-term bond yields move in anticipation of Fed interest rate moves, any change in the outlook for Fed action can have a pronounced effect on mortgage rates. Source: Bankrate.com Published with permission from RISMedia.
March
2

Furnaces have been operating overtime in order to combat frigid weather, which likely has led to an increase in heating bills. By taking some simple steps, homeowners can reduce their costs without sacrificing warmth.   Digital Thermostat  
  • Open the blinds on the south side of your home during sunny days, but keep the blinds closed on cloudy days and at night.
  • Use a programmable thermostat and set it to 68 degrees Fahrenheit when you're at home and 65 degrees when sleeping or away.
  • Turn off non-essential lights, appliances, electronics and other equipment.
  • Postpone, whenever possible, using electric appliances such as dishwashers, dryers and cooking equipment during on-peak or mid-peak price periods.
  • Check to see that weather stripping around your doors, fireplace dampers and attic hatches are in place and intact.
  • Check your furnace filter and replace immediately if needed.
  • Keep supply and return air vents clear of furniture and appliances so your furnace can work more efficiently.
  Source: PowerStream Published with permission from RISMedia.

Login to My Homefinder

Login to My Homefinder