Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Own a House? You may want to own Life Insurance too

Buying a home is a large purchase, often someones most expensive purchase they'll make! You worked hard to save for your home, rental property or second home. So what happens if something unexpected happens to you? Your surviving family members will be emotionally stressed and grieving, having life insurance can hopefully eliminate any extra financial stress during this time.

I'm a worse case scenario person and I do think about the "what ifs'." (That can be good and bad depending on the situation, I know) I have many friends, acquaintances and colleagues that tend to block out the thought of unexpected illness and death. It is not pleasant to think about, but I truly believe it's necessary to be prepared.

Essentially you purchase mortgage life insurance so that in an event of sudden death, funds are available to meet your outstanding mortgage balance. This type of insurance can greatly affect your surviving spouse, partner and family options.

I'm not an insurance broker nor an expert. But I'm confident Alison Hartrum with New York Life can help you and your specific needs. There is no harm in asking!

Alison M. Hartrum
Financial Services Professional
Agent, New York Life Insurance Company
Registered Representative offering securities through NYLIFE Securities LLC (member FINRA/SIPC), A Licensed Insurance Agency
555 East City Ave
Suite 800
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
Office: (610) 617-4493
Be sure to 'like' her Facebook page!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Smelly Smoke Houses

As a non cigarette smoker, you may not realize or believe people still smoke in their homes.  I've even spoken to smokers and some have stopped or never did light up in their home or even car. But trust me, over the years I've shown many smoke filled houses. 

While house hunting, have you ever walked in to a house and couldn't bear the smell? Maybe it's even turned you off from looking at the rest of the property. Honestly, it shouldn't be a deal breaker (maybe a negotiating tool though!) if you know what can be done to eliminate the smell. 

Smoke stays in furniture, clothes, window drapes and rugs. Once the home is vacant of those items, the smell honestly may not be too horrendous. 
I've researched some tips on getting the smell out of a home after it's empty:
  • Walls Scrub your walls with a mixture of ammonia or vinegar and water.
  • Carpet Spread a dry carpet cleaner with granules on your carpet and let it sit for an hour. When done, vacuum it up [source: Heloise]. 
  • Furniture Simply sprinkle baking soda on your furniture, and allow it to sit for a while, soaking up the smoky smell. Vacuum up the baking soda after a few hours, and the smoky smell should be gone [source: Reader's Digest].
  • House Place several bowls of white or cider vinegar, which have the strongest scent of all vinegars, throughout the house. The vinegar odor will permeate the house, and the smoke odor should be gone in less than a day. If you want to speed the process, soak a towel with vinegar and wave it around the room [source: Readers Digest].

Wiki also has a step by step tutorial:

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Home Buying Tips

Spring has sprung (sort of!) and people are getting out of their winter dens to start house hunting. Housing inventory is low in many areas of the Philadelphia region, requiring buyers to act quickly and even experience bidding wars! Over the last few weeks, I've personally encountered multiple offer situations in Philadelphia, Havertown and Phoenixville. In order to be successful in this competitive market, buyers need to be strategic and prepared.

Here are five tips buyers can incorporate into their home buying process that will prepare them:

Step Away from the Computer

Despite the fact that 90 percent of home buyers start their search online, buyers should also consider getting outside and canvassing their desired neighborhoods. In a low inventory market, it's important to to be proactive and not waste time weighing options, because by that time, the property might be off the market. 

Get to Know the Current Housing Market

Every housing market is different, so it's important to do research on the market and neighborhood trends. Finding a good real estate agent and keeping up with local real estate news is crucial for buyers to understand the nuances of their local housing market. The more quickly buyers can educate themselves, the more successful the home search will be.
**Here is a helpful tool to learn about a local market : Market Insider**

Grab Those Low Mortgage Rates—Before it's too Late!

While mortgage rates continue to hover below 4%, buyers might not be able to enjoy these low rates forever. "With all indications pointing to a rate increase from the Federal Reserve this year – perhaps as early as this summer – affordability concerns could heighten as home prices and rents both continue to exceed wages," says NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

Create a Dynamic Team

The fast pace of the most competitive housing markets means buyers have to be in a position to make an offer at a moment's notice. Before making an offer, buyers need to ensure they've lined up a real estate professional, a lender, a lawyer, and a home inspector. They will also want to be pre-approved for a loan and ready to complete a mortgage application as soon as they find a property.

Be Prepared for Bidding Wars

Buyers should be strategic when maneuvering a bidding war. Some agents suggest that buyer clients include an escalation clause, while others suggest they examine the deal and identify areas where they could be more flexible, in terms of contingency clauses. 
Are you or someone you know needing a Realtor to help navigate this market? Contact me today!