Thursday, July 28, 2016

Taking Advantage of Tax Free

The weekly forecast shows triple digit highs as far as the eye can see but the Halloween decorations are already out! It's the awkward transition to fall which also means - Back to School!

Tax free weekends are right around the corner and are a time to take advantage of the tax savings on qualified purchases.

For South Carolina residents the tax free weekend is August 5th through 7th.  For Georgia residents, tax free is THIS WEEKEND, July 30th and 31st.

Visit the links below for a full list of qualified items. Here are a few of the highlights:

- Clothing
- Computers
- Computer Equipment
- School Supplies
- Bath Towels
- Footwear

Does not apply to jewelry, cosmetics, eyewear or items on layaway

For more information click HERE

Thursday, July 21, 2016

What are closing costs?

Closing costs are one of the many talked about but not necessarily understood components of obtaining a home mortgage.

Understanding and comparing closing costs are an important part of shopping for a mortgage.

Closing costs are primarily made up of fees associated with the closing and mortgage process that are passed on to the buyer.

On average closing costs are 2-5% of the home price.

They include items such as:


  • Obtaining a credit report
  • Processing paperwork for the loan (loan origination fees)
  • Legal fees
  • Appraisals
  • Surveys
  • Title insurance
  • Title searches
  • An escrow deposit
  • Recording the transaction in the city or county’s records
  • Underwriting the mortgage (evaluating the borrower and the property)



Most of the closing costs are the responsibility of the buyer, however sometimes the builder or seller will contribute.  Talk to your lender to get a full explanation of the costs so their won't be any surprises at closing!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Hot Weather Lawn Care Tips

With the hot sun blazing down and temperatures not scheduled to dip for many more weeks - it's important to adapt your lawn maintenance plans to accommodate the summer!  Following these tips can help prevent damage and save you money on maintenance.

Watering
- Lawns need at least one inch of water a week during extreme heat
- Water less frequently but for longer amounts of time to encourage roots to grow deeper
- Water early in the day to beat evaporation but not at night which could encourage disease

Mowing
- Don't cut your lawn too short - longer lawns are more resistant to the damaging effects of heat
- Make sure your blades are sharp so the grass is cut and not torn
- Mulch the clippings to create a moisture barrier

MISC
- Don't fertilize in the summer - even if your lawn looks brown - it can burn the lawn
- Place stepping stones in high traffic areas to minimize damage
- Pick up outdoor toys after playing to keep dead spots from popping up

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Interest Rates and Your Buying Power

We hear so often about interest rates - good ones, bad ones, refinancing to get a lower interest rate. But what does it really mean? What impact does it have on the house you buy or don't?  Here's a quick overview to explain one of the most important factors of mortgage lending.

Interest is the amount it costs you, the buyer, to borrow money in the form of a mortgage.  Banks require a return on the amount of money you borrow.  Your monthly mortgage payment is made up of the principal (or loan itself), interest, insurance and taxes. The higher the interest rate - the more money you owe on your mortgage each month. That's why it's important to search for the best interest rate for your particular type of mortgage.

Interest rates are an annual figure. To calculate your monthly rate take the interest rate and divide it by 12.  This new number is the amount of interest you will pay on your loan per month.

Each month your interest payment decreases as you pay more towards the principal on your loan.  In order to keep your monthly payments the same banks use an amortization schedule which applies more money to your principal and less money to interest each month.  Banks can provide you a full amortization schedule upon request.

Currently interest rates are at historic lows. This means that borrowing money for a home is more affordable than it has been in years. Take a look at the graph below for an idea on how far interest rates have come and why now is a great time to buy!