Tag Archives: Home insurance

Help For Underwater Or Nearly Underwater Homeowners – Have You Heard Of HARP?

14 Feb

Help For Underwater Or Nearly Underwater Homeowners – Have You Heard Of HARP? So exactly what is HARP?  Well HARP stands for “Home Affordable Refinance Program”.   The HARP program is a federal government program that was designed to help underwater or nearly underwater homeowners to refinance their homes.  The refinance enables an underwater homeowner to refinance their mortgage into a fixed loan with a lower monthly payment.

Traditionally, if you owed more than your home was worth, you would not have been able to get traditional refinancing.   The HARP program will help you refinance your home even if the value of your home has declined.  This program is not for people who simply cannot afford their current home.

Who Is Eligible? You must meet all of the following guidelines in order to qualify.

• Your mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae

• Your mortgage must have sold to Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae on or before 5-31-09

• Your mortgage cannot have been previously refinance under HARP unless it is a Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae loan that was refinanced sometime during March 2009 and May 2009

• The current loan to value (LTV) ratio must be greater than 80% – 125%

• You must be current on your mortgage at the time of refinance

• You must have a good payment history over the last 12 months

• You still have to qualify income and credit wise

HARP 2.0

On October 24, 2011, President Obama announced an overhaul to the HARP program in hopes of helping more underwater homeowners.    Remember, though, that you will only be eligible for HARP if your mortgage is held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  Ask your mortgage company if they participate in the HARP program.

Here are some of the changes to the original HARP program.  This new program is commonly referred to HARP 2.0

• There are no underwater limits

• You will now be able to refinance no matter how far the value of your home has dropped

• You will no longer have to get appraisals and underwriting

• It  contains modified fees.  Some risk based fees for homeowners who refinance into a shorter term loan will be eliminated or modified

• The deadline for this program has been extended through December 31, 2013

HARP 2.0 is a great option for qualified homeowners that want to take advantage of the lower interest rates that are currently available.  Talk to your realtor for more details about HARP 2.0 to see if this type of program is right for you.

About the Author:  Millie Gil has been a successful Licensed Real Estate agent for over 25 years in Florida.  Millie is Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group, a boutique agency committed to concierge personalized service for discerning buyers, sellers and renters of residential and commercial properties.  For more information please forward your request to communityinfo@comcast.net

Serving Locally and Globally.  View thousands of new and resale homes:  www.Northeast-Florida-Relocation.comwww.BoldRealEstateGroup.com,  www.NewYork-Florida-RealEstate.com, www.PGAVillage-Homes.com a Golf Style Private Community,  www.TheCascadesAtStLucieWest.com  a 55+ Resort Lifestyle Community, www.HealthcareRelocationServices.com

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Selecting The Right Retirement Community.

10 Oct

Selecting The Right Retirement Community.  More and more people are choosing to move to a retirement community. The very first thing you need to take into consideration is where you want your retirement community to be located. You could choose from an urban environment or a country setting but understanding what your particular needs are – now and in the future plays a big part in which retirement community you should move to.

Many people like to be close to where they live now, just a little further out.  But some like to move to the city where there are more sights and accessibility.

If you have children, you might also want to consider a location that is near to them so you can more easily spend time with them and with your grandchildren.  In addition, if you have special medical needs, you might want to choose a community that is near to certain medical facilities.  Or, if you are interested in pursuing educational interests that you never had the time for before retirement, a college community might be the best location for you.

Know Your Needs and Desires

Not all retirement communities are the same, so you need to have a clear idea of what you need and what you want in a retirement community.  First, some retirement communities are set up like apartments, while others utilize manufactured homes, RVs, townhomes and single family homes.  Therefore, you will first need to make a decision regarding which of these building styles is most desirable to you. If you are looking for a little more privacy and ease of access, a retirement community made of manufactured homes or single family homes may be the best option for you.

Be sure to consider your hobbies as well.  In that way, you can select a retirement community that will make it easier for you to pursue those hobbies.  For example, if you enjoy golfing, you might want to find a retirement community that is on a golf course. If you like fishing, then a community near the lake is ideal. If you want to be able to have most of your needs met within the retirement community, you might want to seek out a resort-type community.  On the other hand, if you might occasionally need some assistance with your basic living needs, you might want to consider an active adult community that also offers basic assisted living services.

Once you have your choices narrowed down, contact the retirement communities you are considering and ask for more information.  They will likely send you a packet filled with information that you can browse through.

In many cases, the retirement community will also offer a visitor’s program or a vacation getaway program that will allow you to take a tour of the property or stay overnight. This will help you get a better idea of whether or not the community is right for you.

And remember, before selecting any retirement community try getting a second opinion from a relative or friend. Often, we fall in love with what we want, blocking out any negative aspects. Another opinion offers you advice that you may never have thought of.

About the Author:  Millie Gil has been a successful Licensed Real Estate agent for over 25 years in Florida.  Millie is Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group, a boutique agency committed to concierge personalized service for discerning buyers, sellers and renters of residential and commercial properties.  For more information please forward your request to communityinfo@comcast.net

View thousands of new and resale homes:  www.Northeast-Florida-Relocation.comwww.BoldRealEstateGroup.com,  www.NewYork-Florida-RealEstate.com, www.PGAVillage-Homes.com a Golf Style Private Community,  www.TheCascadesAtStLucieWest.com  a 55+ Resort Lifestyle Community, www.HealthcareRelocationServices.com

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Strategic Downsizing To Cut Costs

22 Sep

Strategic Downsizing To Cut Costs. Everyone feels the strain of rising costs here and there. It may be groceries or it could be gas, but many of us are looking for solutions to an on-going problem. How to cut costs?

These days it becomes more of a strategy to save money. If you move to a walkable neighborhood you can cut down on gas, kids can walk to neighborhood schools, find entertainment at nearby parks and centers and more pep in your step means a healthier you.

You’re not just downsizing your space but you’re strategizing to move to a simpler life. You look at all the ways you can save on money just by moving to the right neighborhood. Ask yourself a few questions;

1. If you drive your kids to school or if your teenagers drive to school, wouldn’t it save money to downsize to a community where they can walk or buses will pick up?

2. What communities have shopping within walking distance? If you buy local you can save.

3. Which community could you move to that has a bus stop or train station nearby?

4. Are there banks/ATM machines in the community? Do you know how many times people must run out and drive to an ATM machine just to give money to the kids? What a waste of gas!

There’s more than one way to reduce housing costs. A smaller home typically means a smaller mortgage and smaller property taxes. It also means lower utility bills and reduced maintenance costs.

The biggest problem with downsizing to new homes is that people have trouble parting with the past but you always have your memories and trinkets.

The bottom line is that costs go up and down but they will never be so low that you won’t feel pocket stings, especially when you get closer to retirement age. That’s why downsizing is strategic; you must focus on cutting your expenditures so you have more going in your pockets than going out.

Asking yourself is it Worth It?

In most cases, the answer is yes. Sizing down will almost always mean saving money. Lifestyle is perhaps your wild card in this equation, and depends entirely on your personal wants, needs and any changes you hope to introduce.

If you strategize in the choices you make it can have a profound impact on your pockets and in your life.

About the Author:  Millie Gil has been a successful Licensed Real Estate agent for over 25 years in Florida.  Millie is Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group, a boutique agency committed to concierge personalized service for discerning buyers, sellers and renters of residential and commercial properties.  For more information please forward your request to communityinfo@comcast.net

View thousands of new and resale homes:  www.Northeast-Florida-Relocation.comwww.BoldRealEstateGroup.com,  www.NewYork-Florida-RealEstate.com, www.PGAVillage-Homes.com a Golf Style Private Community,  www.TheCascadesAtStLucieWest.com  a 55+ Resort Lifestyle Community, www.HealthcareRelocationServices.com

 

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Turning Your Attic Into Living Space by Bold Real Estate Group

19 Sep

Turning Your Attic Into Living Space by Bold Real Estate Group.  An attic can yield up to hundreds of square feet of unused living space in your home. Do you have another child coming into the family? Are you starting a new business that requires more office space? Would you like to turn that attic into a guest room? All of these are viable ideas to create a room out of storage space that is rarely used! With a little sprucing up, maybe a fresh coat of paint and some windows added into the space, the attic could become one of the warmest rooms in the house! Use these tips to help you create your attic room!

Sometimes a fresh coat of paint is all it takes to add life to a room. Consider that most attics are unpainted and unfinished with low ceilings there are many painting techniques that we can use to make the ceilings appear higher, and make the room appear brighter. The lighter the color of the walls, the larger the room is going to appear. Take note of the walls, are they finished? Is the wood in good condition? Would it be beneficial to keep the history and paint the walls or would it be best to finish the walls with drywall and paint?

Take into account what the room will be used for. Often, attics are not insulated. If the room is going to be used for an office, den, living space or bedroom it is a good idea to insulate the walls before finishing the drywall. This will add warmth to the room, because no one is going to want to spend time in a freezing cold room. Make sure that it is insulated properly, contact the local professionals.

Attic floors can be customized to give the room character. Often, all they need is a good sanding, and a couple coats of wood varnish. The older the home, the more authentic that the attic floors are going to be. Add in a few area rugs here and there, and floors, and walls will be complete. These are two major parts of completing your attic room, and making it ready for your family or for guests, so these two tasks could have you on your way!

Next comes the ceiling, after the walls have been painted, it is time to look at the ceiling. How is the shape of the ceiling? Should it be replaced? If the ceiling needs to be replaced, it could be completed at the same time that the walls are finished with drywall. Be sure to use thin drywall, as attic rooms are small, and we need all the space that we can get.

After the main elements of the room have been completed it is time to think about décor. Finishing the room on a budget could mean visits to the local chain store, or thrift store to find cozy, chic furniture for less. This means, that you could spend more on fabrics, accessories and other elements to make the room feel more like home.

About the Author:  Millie Gil has been a successful Licensed Real Estate agent for over 25 years in Florida.  Millie is Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group, a boutique agency committed to concierge personalized service for discerning buyers, sellers and renters of residential and commercial properties.  For more information please forward your request to communityinfo@comcast.net

View thousands of new and resale homes:  www.Northeast-Florida-Relocation.comwww.BoldRealEstateGroup.com,  www.NewYork-Florida-RealEstate.com, www.PGAVillage-Homes.com a Golf Style Private Community,  www.TheCascadesAtStLucieWest.com  a 55+ Resort Lifestyle Community, www.HealthcareRelocationServices.com

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Three Residential Improvements That Add Value by Bold Real Estate Group

19 Sep

Three Residential Improvements That Add Value by Bold Real Estate Group.  There are two ways to go about making home improvements. Either you splurge for things purely for the pleasure of having it or you take a pragmatic approach, making purchases that will increase your home’s market value.

Exactly how much you’ll recoup in costs depends on several factors, including the value of the homes in your neighborhood, when you plan to sell the home and the nature of the project itself.

But there are three improvements that will up your value no matter what!

1.Install a Standby Generator. Standby generators can add value to your home and while they are moderately expensive to install, they will safeguard your family by keeping power running in an emergency. Unlike a portable backup generator, which you store in the garage or shed and roll out during an emergency, a standby generator is permanently installed on a gravel bed or concrete pad next to your house. If the power goes out, an electronic switch automatically signals the unit to turn on, keeping essential household systems and appliances running

The cost of these units all depend upon your comfort level and what your expectations are. If you lose power, would you prefer the whole house remains running as if nothing ever happened or do you need just the basics to get through the rough time? Prices for standby generators can start as low as $1700, however, this does not include the price for an electrician to install and test the generator.

2.Create a Home Office. Many companies are looking for ways to reduce costs and minimize space to house employees; additionally, millions of Americans work from home and that number grows every year. This has made a home office more of a necessity than a luxury. Creating a dedicated work space not only adds value to your house, but it also makes your telecommute tax deductible. Converting an unused den, sunroom or extra bedroom is a great way to take care of business from the comfort of your home.

3.Infuse some Curb Appeal. If your house doesn’t look appealing from the outside, chances are a potential buyer will never make it inside. Paving a driveway or walkway that is in disrepair is a must, because this is what leads people to your home — you want it to be welcoming. Attractive, manicured front-yard landscaping will also add value to your home. Drought-tolerant plants are a great option if you don’t have a green thumb. And don’t forget about your backyard either. Outdoor living is very popular as more people wish to entertain. Raised garden beds and attractive lounging furniture will definitely appeal to future buyers. Who said you must spend a fortune? Curb appeal can be created for under $500.

Keep in mind that design tastes can shift significantly over time. A house that’s priced higher than its neighboring homes could be perceived as overpriced even if it does have more value.

About the Author:  Millie Gil has been a successful Licensed Real Estate agent for over 25 years in Florida.  Millie is Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group, a boutique agency committed to concierge personalized service for discerning buyers, sellers and renters of residential and commercial properties.  For more information please forward your request to communityinfo@comcast.net

View thousands of new and resale homes:  www.Northeast-Florida-Relocation.comwww.BoldRealEstateGroup.com,  www.NewYork-Florida-RealEstate.com, www.PGAVillage-Homes.com a Golf Style Private Community,  www.TheCascadesAtStLucieWest.com  a 55+ Resort Lifestyle Community, www.HealthcareRelocationServices.com

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Quick Affordable Decorating On A Budget by Bold Real Estate Group

19 Sep

Quick Affordable Decorating On A Budget by Bold Real Estate Group.  Looking to make your home more than a place just to lay your head? If you can’t afford to give your home a posh makeover, there are ways to decorate on a budget and still turn your place into a dream home.

The first placed to start should always be with color. Paint can transform a room and transform your furniture. Once you discover which hues you can live with continue on with small affordable touches to make your house more of a home.

1.If you just want to breathe new life into an old look start by shifting your furniture to change the style and appearance. Make minor changes with decorative pieces like mirrors, decorative candles and lots of plush plants. Fill up corners will plants of various sizes and set your lighting to reflect off the leaves, creating a beautiful focal point.

2.Add some texture to your rooms with rattan baskets and large bowls.

3.Used old distressed pieces of furniture in your kitchen; creative reuse of shelves, benches, tables, dressers, cabinets and various other used materials can give your kitchen a totally new look. Scratches and scars are part of the “in” look and called patina. But don’t go overboard, use sparingly.

4.Use crown molding kits to create detailed features in rooms; there are DIY kits that homeowners can easily complete in a day without the use of special tools.

5.Add table lamps, accent tables, drapes and artwork for visual focal points in rooms.

6.Faux pas painting, technique used for creating various decorative patterns and finishes can add drama to rooms without a burden to your bank account. One wall can become the talking point for your whole house.

7.A simple slipcover can make something old new again. Slipcovers are like clothing and can completely quick change any look.

8.Mix old with new to add freshness; many of us have fond memories of old sofas, chairs and accessories but there comes a time to shelve and box those things and add a touch of newness to your abode.

Decorating can be low-maintenance and comfy with shots of vivid color to make your home look like a work of art. All your rooms should feel stress-free clean and light so that you’re in a relaxing mood all year round.

About the Author:  Millie Gil has been a successful Licensed Real Estate agent for over 25 years in Florida.  Millie is Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group, a boutique agency committed to concierge personalized service for discerning buyers, sellers and renters of residential and commercial properties.  For more information please forward your request to communityinfo@comcast.net

View thousands of new and resale homes:  www.Northeast-Florida-Relocation.comwww.BoldRealEstateGroup.com,  www.NewYork-Florida-RealEstate.com, www.PGAVillage-Homes.com a Golf Style Private Community,  www.TheCascadesAtStLucieWest.com  a 55+ Resort Lifestyle Community, www.HealthcareRelocationServices.com

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Minimizing Closing Costs by Bold Real Estate Group

16 Sep

Minimizing Closing Costs by Bold Real Estate Group.  Closing costs are one of the least understood aspects of the home buying process. Most home buyers have a vague notion when they buy a home that there will be additional costs besides the down payment, but nearly every buyer is shocked when they see the first estimate of the total cash they will need at their closing. You become so busy negotiating the price of the home that homebuyers forget about one of the biggest expenses involved.

Out-of-pocket costs are the hardest costs to reduce but just about every expense can be negotiated;

1.Escrow and Title fees are negotiable. Homebuyers can choose a preferred Title Company; do some research based on reputation and costs.  Most seasoned Realtors have clout with certain companies and they can negotiate these fees down to save a deal.

2.Appraisal fees can be financed in the property or completely erased.  Compare mortgage companies and their fees; look for one that does not charge up front appraisal fees or simply negotiate with the lender.  This fee can be a few hundred dollars.  All can be negotiated including the amount of the credit report.

3.Points on the loan can be purchased.  A point is equal to one percent of the mortgage loan amount and is actually pre-paid interest that helps reduce your interest rate. A zero point loan will only cost a few dollars more a month and will eliminate having to outlay thousands of dollars up front.  Most home buyers will resell the home in a few years and the money spent on the monthly payment will greatly outweigh what is saved.

4.PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) is not necessary when the buyer puts 20% down on the loan.  If there is PMI there are upfront reserves which can be in the thousands of dollars.  Take a loan with no PMI and pay a slightly higher payment, which will end up costing less in the long run.

5.Pay 20% down on a loan and avoid tax and insurance compounds in escrow.  It is easier to pay for the taxes as they come due, opposed to paying several months of upfront tax proceeds right now.

6.Another part of pre-paid items that can be reduced to zero is pre-paid interest. Because all mortgage loans are due on the first of the month, you will have to pay interest from the day you close until the end of the month. By closing on the last day of the month, you will have no pre-paid interest due and can save hundreds of dollars.

With these simple guidelines, the buyer can seller can both save money on closing.

About the Author:  Millie Gil has been a successful Licensed Real Estate agent for over 25 years in Florida.  Millie is Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group, a boutique agency committed to concierge personalized service for discerning buyers, sellers and renters of residential and commercial properties.  For more information please forward your request to communityinfo@comcast.net

View thousands of new and resale homes:  www.Northeast-Florida-Relocation.comwww.BoldRealEstateGroup.com,  www.NewYork-Florida-RealEstate.com, www.PGAVillage-Homes.com a Golf Style Private Community,  www.TheCascadesAtStLucieWest.com  a 55+ Resort Lifestyle Community, www.HealthcareRelocationServices.com

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