National Open House Weekend – April 10 & 11, 2010

I am very excited to be participating in “National Open House Day” April 10 & 11, 2010!  Sponsored by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and Georgia Association of Realtors (GAR), National Open House Day is expected to be a great opportunity to see what’s available in your market. 

This weekend, I will be featuring a beautiful 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home at 1080 Sutherland Drive, in the Sutherland subdivision, in Winder, GA.  This home is nearly new and ready for its new owner.  You will get the benefit of new construction without the hassle of buying from the bank, or having to install all of the “little things” usually needed when moving into a new house.  This home is well positioned on a large, level lot.  Its popular “Mariah” floor plan is a real benefit.

Sutherland is a fabulous new community, conveniently located off of Corinth Church Road and Hwy 11, in Winder.  There is a community pool with clubhouse, neighborhood fishing pond and plenty of green space set aside for residents to enjoy.  Sutherland is located in the Apalachee High School cluster, convenient to Hwy. 316, moments away from Eagle Greens at The Chimneys Golf course and an easy commute to Gwinnett County or Athens, GA.

Come out April 10th & 11th to see what Sutherland has to offer, or just follow the   REALTOR balloons in your area to see what great opportunities await you!

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Filed under Barrow County, Buyers, Communities, First Time Home Buyers, Sutherland

Go Red for Women with Me!! – February 05, 2009

Sometimes you’ll find things here which are not particularly related to Real Estate.  This is one of those times. 

January 30th, 2009 marks 4 years since my beautiful, amazing Mother in-law was stolen by a heart attack, only days after her 60th birthday.  We never saw it coming.  I miss her so much.  She had an EKG just 6 weeks prior, as part of routine pre-op procedure, for a minor surgery.  No red flags were waived, and there was no discussion of imminent danger largely because symptoms of heart disease are quite different in women than men.  Know this – what you don’t know can KILL you. 

The most important things I can share with you today are:

  • Heart disease is the #1 KILLER of WOMEN!
  • Women experience very different symptoms than men!
  • YOU can control your risk for heart disease!
  • YOU MUST be your biggest advocate and insist on further testing if you feel there is a problem not being address by routine methods

The passing of my Mother in-law brought this home very loud and clear.  Looking back, she would not be the only woman in my life impacted by this disease.  A heart attack stole my dear high school friend, at the very young age of 23.  She had a beautiful 6 month old daughter, married for almost 2 years and a whole lifetime of memories to make.  Sadly, she never got the chance.  This was many years ago, and it was very rare for women to be considered as candidates for a heart attack.  I often wonder what would have been.

Just a year ago, another dear friend became her own advocate, ultimately saving her life.  She wasn’t feeling very well and went to the doctor.  They ran routine tests, advised her to get some rest, and told her that if she didn’t feel better, further testing would be available.  However, this testing would be expensive and likely not covered by insurance.   She left, still feeling that something just wasn’t right.  She decided not to wait and requested the additional testing, sooner rather than later.  She wondered if she was making much adieu about nothing and spending too much money, all the way up to checking in at the doctor’s office.  Upon check-in, she learned that her insurance wouldn’t cover the $750.00 procedure.  She almost walked away, but decided to pay up and do it anyway.  I’ll tell you right now – that decision saved her life!  After the test, she was sent home to wait until the following week when the doctor would have results.   About an hour later, she received a call from the doctor’s office with instructions to report immediately to the hospital for admission.   She spent a week in the hospital to address issues with blockages and break the many clots which had filled her lungs.  Had she not insisted on the additional testing, she would likely have had a stroke or heart attack before her next appointment.  YOU MUST be your own advocate!

For each of these stories, there are thousands more.  We often delay doctor visits and dismiss smaller symptoms, especially while caring for others.  YOU can avoid becoming a statistic, or even help save a friend.  Education, awareness and ACTION can greatly reduce the risk of heart disease and save lives.

Education:

Awareness:

  • WEAR RED on Friday, February, 5 2010 for National Go Red Day
  • Tell a friend to join you in WEARING RED.
  • Share Heart Healthy recipes with a friend.

Action:

Stand up and support our mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, girlfriends, aunts, nieces, neighbors and friends.  Stand up and steal the power from this disease.  Stand up and WEAR RED for Women!

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Filed under Health

The Cost to Obtain FHA Mortgages Expected To Increase

Expect to hear from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) today, regarding rate and fee increases associated with obtaining FHA insured mortgages.  According to a Wall Street Journal article, the increased borrower fees are necessary to avoid the future need for an FHA bailout.  In recent years, FHA insured mortgages made up about 5% of all mortgages, in our market.  The economic crisis, increased difficulty in obtaining conventional financing and low down payment requirements has boosted the ratio of FHA insured mortgages from 5% to 40%, in our market. 

According to the WSJ article, the upfront insurance premium charged on all FHA mortgages is expected to increase from 1.75% to 2.25%.  The additional fees are meant to ensure a safe operating level of required capital reserves.   The FHA doesn’t make mortgage loans; it insures the mortgage lenders against buyer default.  Capital reserves are in place to pay the lenders should the homeowner default.  When this happens, the homes are then taken back by the FHA and sold as HUD owned properties.

Additionally, there has been mention for a few months that the current 3.5% down payment requirement will also increase.  This low down payment requirement has been a significant reason for the increased popularity of FHA insured mortgages.  Industry analysts have been pushing to raise the down payment requirement to 5%.  The intent is that homeowners with greater equity and interest in the property will be less likely to walk away or lose the asset.

Also, look to see seller paid contributions reduced from the current 6% to 3% of sales price.  It is believed that higher seller paid contributions have led to mortgages greater than the home’s value.  There are much tighter guidelines on loan to value ratios, and for good reason.

Should these changes become reality, it will likely push or delay some from entering the housing market.  Is that a bad thing?  It’s probably long overdue.  It’s time to get back to sensible lending requirements and FHA insured mortgages should be no exception.  It will be a very long time before we see the days of little or no down payment required loans, if ever.  We’re looking at the consequences of those products, right now.  Conventional wisdom shows that when one has had to work hard to achieve something, it’s usually far more rewarding.  So, work hard, save money and when you make that purchase, you’ll be happy you did.

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Filed under FHA, Homeownership, Mortgage, Uncategorized