Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Psalm 142 (Trust in the Lord)

1 I cry aloud to the Lord;
I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.

2 I pour out before him my complaint;
before him I tell my trouble

3 When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
people have hidden a snare for me.

4 Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
no one cares for my life.

5 I cry to you, Lord;
I say, "You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living."

6 Listen to my cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.

7 Set me free from my prison,
that I may praise your name.
Then the righteous will gather about me
because of your goodness to me.

How many of us feel this way and how many of us put our trust in the LORD?  I confess I love the LORD but my trust is lacking.  I pray that he will forgive me and my hope is in his saving grace. 

Top 3 Home Buyer Deal Breakers

Recent surveys have shown that more Americans have a thirst for buying real estate, with home affordability at record highs and mortgage rates at record lows. In fact, real estate buyer agents report a 59 percent increase in buyer inquiries this year compared to last year, according to a recent survey conducted by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council.

So what’s preventing some buyers from making it all the way to the closing table?  REBAC surveyed its buyer agent members to determine the top issues preventing home buyers in their local markets from completing a home purchase. The top three obstacles identified in its 2012 survey are:
  1. Economic insecurity
  2. Difficulties in obtaining financing
  3. Problems selling current home
The number of home buyers citing difficulties obtaining financing has fallen markedly in the last few years. In 2011, 65 percent of home buyers cited this as a big hurdle to purchasing, and 61 percent cited it in 2010. This year that number has dropped to 49 percent, as economic insecurity overtakes it in having the biggest effect on stalling home sales.

In 2011, the top three issues cited by buyers were difficulties obtaining financing, problems selling a current home, and holding out for lower prices.

5 Must Haves When Buying A Home

  1. Increase your savings:  Home buyers should save enough money for six months of mortgage payments and at least a 3.5 percent of the purchase price for a down payment and closing costs. Buyers shouldn’t forget about moving and possible home repair costs too in setting up a savings plan for a home purchase.
  2. Have your credit in shape:  Home buyers should know their FICO score and know how it can impact the mortgage rate they get. Borrowers with credit scores of at least 700 tend to get the best mortgage rates.
  3. Know what you can afford:  Home buyers should get pre-qualified for a mortgage so they know how much they can afford, what types of loans they can qualify for, and set a comfortable monthly mortgage payment goal.
  4. Avoid making other major purchases:  Big-ticket purchases, like a car, should be put off until after they buy a home. Potential buyers should be working to keep their cash reserves high and prove to lenders they can take on mortgage debt.
  5. Consult a real estate professional:  Long before you are ready to buy, seek out and interview up to three real estate professionals who can prepare you to face the market by addressing questions, setting realistic expectations and providing valuable insight and expertise to the complex process of home purchasing.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fannie Mae Expresses ‘Cautious Optimism’ for Housing Market

Fannie Mae Expresses ‘Cautious Optimism’ for Housing Market

Despite slowing economic growth, Fannie Mae says the housing market has “performed relatively well” as record affordability and low interest rates continue to bump up home sales.

“Cautious optimism remains in place for continued gradual healing of the housing market, albeit in the face of various headwinds, including weak employment growth, rising student loans, and a continuing stream of foreclosed households,” according to Fannie Mae’s June Economic Outlook report, released by its Economic & Strategic Research Group.

The report notes that home prices have “firmed in recent months” while the shares of “distressed sales have declined in a strong seasonal period.”

Fannie predicts distressed sales will finally bottom out in 2013. The group expects home prices to decline slightly by 1.2 percent this year, before bottoming in the beginning of next year and regaining that 1.2 percent in 2013.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

American Renters are Paying More

Rents continue to inch upwards and many renters say they know it would be cheaper to buy a home than rent, but they can’t qualify for a mortgage. With rising demand for rentals, landlords are increasing rents. Apartment rents have risen at their highest rate since 2007. Landlords feel they can charge more since vacancies have reached at a 10-year low at the same time that demand has surged. Asking rents have jumped nationally to $1,091 during the second quarter, the largest increase since the third quarter of 2007.

The improvement in rents is pretty pervasive. Even in places like Providence and Knoxville, which you don't think of as hotbeds for apartment activity, landlords felt the market was strong enough to raise rents on their tenants.

New York remains the market with the lowest number of vacancies and also the priciest place to rent by far. The monthly rent there averages $2,935, which is more than $1,000 higher than the second-priciest place to rent in the U.S., San Francisco.

Many finance experts recommend budgeting no more than 30 percent of household income to pay for housing costs. Yet nearly 40 percent of Americans are now paying more than a third, according to a U.S. Census Bureau survey. In New York, one-third of households spend more than half their pay on rent.

Meanwhile, for those who are able, purchasing a home has never been more affordable. It’s cheaper to purchase a home than rent in basically every major U.S. city.

But securing financing remains a renter's biggest obstacle to buying a home. Banks are pickier in what they require to qualify for a mortgage. Loans for home purchases reached a 12-year low last year as lenders tightened their credit standards. Now, potential borrowers often need an average credit score of 762 to get a mortgage backed by mortgage giants Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.

Now is the time to get your self in a position to purchase a home. It is definitely a buyers market and there are still many loan programs to help you get qualified. Find yourself a knowable realtor and get yourself moving out a rental and into home ownership. Contact us for help 803-553-3740.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Routine Plumbing System Maintainance

Checking and maintaining your pipes, toilets, water heater and more can help prevent your minor leaks from turning into major disasters, help maintain peak efficiency with your water heater and other systems, and prevent utility overpayment and Minimize costly repairs in the future.  So what what's could be included in your preventative maintenance plan?  Below is a list of the standard maintenance procedures you could follow when servicing your plumbing.
•Check water pressure in home

•Visual inspection of faucets for leaks

•Check for slow drains in bathtubs and sinks

•Visual inspection of shower tiles for obvious cracking or separation

•Visual inspection of bathtub grouting for cracking and leaking

•Visual inspection of toilet and tanks for leaks

•Visual inspection of accessible, exposed drain lines for signs of leaks

•Check to see if the garbage disposal is working properly

•Check to see if sump pump is working

•Test water heater operation

•Check operation of water heater elements (electric)

•Check amperage draw of water heater elements (electric)

•Check operation of water heater gas burner (gas)

•Check gas valve on water heater (gas)

•Check thermocouple on water heater (gas)

•Flush one gallon water from the water heater

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Electrical Preventative Maintenance Plan

Electrical Preventative Maintenance Plan

Below is a list of the standard maintenance procedures we will follow when servicing your electrical system. We will mark each item as Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory and provide you with comments on next steps if repair is needed.

•Apply Noalox mix on aluminum wires

•Check for double tapped breakers

•Check for overloaded circuits

•Check outlet with tester for open grounds, neutral wires & proper polarity

•Check smoke detector batteries. Replace up to two (2) standard batteries (9 volt if needed)

•Check wiring

•Pull and check main panel

•Survey for proper surge protection

•Test/visual inspection of ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets and breakers

•Tighten screws and lugs on breakers

•Verify main breaker size matches specific electrical conductivity (SEC) cable into home

•Verify sump pump outlets have power and test sump pump