Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments

What are they? Basically when you sign up for Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments instead of making one single monthly mortgage payment each month, or 12 mortgage payments a year, you make a 1/2 mortgage payment every two weeks. And because there are 52 weeks in a year, that equates to 26 half mortgage payments a year, or 13 total monthly mortgage payments.

Since you are paying two half payments a month your principal decreases faster and as a result you are charged less interest. The result? years can be shaved off of the life of your loan. You will save thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage. For example, by paying biweekly on a $100,000, 30-year fixed rate mortgage at a 6.5 percent interest rate, you could save more than $30,000 and pay off your loan in 22 years.

How do you go about setting it up? Call your mortgage company and ask them if they offer biweekly payments and if there is a charge for it. Also make sure that they are applying the payment twice a month and not just once.

Another option is to pay an extra amount towards your principal each month or once a year. Can you pay $25, $50, or $100 a month extra towards the principal of the loan? You will build a substantial amount of equity in your home in no time.

Example, if you have a 30 year mortgage at 5% interest rate and you pay $50 extra towards principal a month you will save $21,299 in interest! Say that you are only planning on living in your home for 5 years, that's all the more reason to do it and build your equity as the beginning of the loan is when the least amount of principal is being paid and the majority of your payment is interest.

If you have any additional questions feel free to contact me.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Home Trends

What to know about the hottest home designs and trends? Click here to read all about the latest and greatest according to the International Builder's show: smaller spaces, energy efficiency, earth tones, and outdoor entertainment are all the buzz!

Who do you know?

That is the market to buy or sell real estate? I'm in the market for some homes to sell! Have your friends and family give me a call, whether they're looking to buy or sell today, tomorrow, ten months or ten years. I'd love to have the opportunity to give them information and assist them with their real estate needs!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Outdoor Living Space

Many home owners are choosing to create living space outside of their homes in the form of outdoor patios, kitchens, fireplaces & entertaining areas. This is a very popular trend we are seeing and it's paying off. Not only do you get to enjoy the space while living there but it's a huge selling point that sets you apart from your competition when you go to sell. Whether it's a building a deck, adding a porch, pergola, fireplace or kitchen you are sure to get a return on your investment. With all that said, be sure not to go overboard for the neighborhood. Also don't think that it takes several thousand dollars to create this outdoor space, there are several inexpensive things you can do yourself.

Recently I sold a home that had a pergola covered porch, our biggest competition was a brand new home down the street with the same floorplan listed for less money and the buyers chose ours!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Green in your pocket

Recently with all of the buzz about going green and being energy efficient many are talking about spray foam insulation. While it is about 20% more expensive than traditional insulation the benefits and long term return on your investment are astonishing! Many are saying it's worth the investment, whether you own an existing home or are planning on building one in the future it's definitely something to look into. For more information on spray foam insulation click here.

Benefits include:
Stops air and moisture infiltration
Makes your home more comfortable
Saves on energy costs
Adds strength to the building structure
It is permanent and will not sag
Keeps dust and pollen out
Reduces capacity requirements, maintenance and wear of HVAC equipment

In the future when you go to sell buyers will be impressed by the energy efficiency and you'll be sure to blow your competitions average electric bill out of the water! So check it out, why not put a little more green in your pocket!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Back to School

The average family lives in a home for 3-5 years before moving. Keeping that in mind for resale whether you have kids or not checking the school district ratings is a good idea. Below is a website with a wealth of information, that can help you make an informed decision in one of the biggest investments you make:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Kitchen Remodel?

Realtor magazine just released their annual Remodeling Cost vs Value Report. One of the projects on the list? Minor Kitchen Remodel. There is no doubt that Kitchens SELL homes. The national study found that many home owners overimprove their kitchens, which is not cost effective unless you plan on staying there a long time.
Some tips for remodeling the kitchen "cost effectively"
-Keep existing electrical wiring and plumbing in place
-Consider painting your cabinets instead of buying new ones.
-Ceramic Tile is the way to go when it comes to flooring, it's more cost efficient than wood and is well received by buyers..
-Laminate Countertops can be a great alternative to granite, marble or other stones. There are many that resemble these quite well and for a fraction of the price.
*If you do want granite or a natural stone instead of going to Home Depot or Lowes, go to a local fabricator. They have yards full of reminents at a fraction of the original cost. (I've got a great guy who does this and his prices are unbeatable!)
-Do some work yourself, tell your contractor that you'll remove the cabinets and paint.

Many buyers consider the kitchen one of the most important rooms in the house, you will be pleased with the return on your investment!

If you want more kitchen remodeling ideas or contractor contacts, shoot me an e-mail or give me a call. I'll be happy to help!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Home, Home on the Range

If your home is your primary residence, be sure that you have filed for your Homestead Exemption. If you purchased your home in 2010 and the previous owners had a homestead exemption on the property it must be renewed. Sometimes the appraisal districts will send the application to renew the exemption, but it's easy to get lost in the shuffle of all that junk mail.

I've made it super easy for you. Just click below on the county that you live in and it will get you exactly what you need:
Tarrant County
Parker County
Hood County

Once you've filed, you do NOT need to refile every year. You're set for the time you own the property, as long as it remains the main place you call home!

Some of you are wondering what is a Homestead Exemption do for me anyway? If your home is valued at $300k by the appraisal district the Homestead Exemption takes $15,000 off of the appraised value of your property for the school district taxes. Which means you would be taxed on a value of $285k instead of $300k. The school district taxes vary by school district but based on 1.5% of school district tax and the numbers above it would save $225 per year!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Interest Rates

What is going on with interest rates? Below is a chart of mortgage rates from April 1st, 2010 through today. They are going up and quick!
Let us take a second to understand how rates fell to historic lows to begin with. Our country was minutes away from a financial disaster one hundred times more powerful then the Great Depression. The global economy was on the brink of a collapse and one we would have never recovered from.

I know times are still rough however, as a nation, we have distanced ourselves from this disaster and the economy seems poised for growth in 2011.

Greg McBride, chief economist for, was quoted “I don’t think we’re going back to a 50 year low anytime soon without an economic collapse,” he said. “Rates will probably never revisit those levels”.

If you're thinking about buying or refinancing you should do it and do it quick! Due to the increase in the interest rate since November 22 on a $150k mortgage the monthly payment has increased by $150!

I'm here and happy to help you with your real estate needs! Referrals are wanted, needed and appreciated!

New Blog!

Well it's the beginning of 2011! I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday. As I was sitting at my desk today it dawned on me that I should start a blog for my real estate business. What a great way to communicate with my clients and future clients about what's going on in the industry, what it means to them and just useful information that would be helpful. So here it goes!