Monday, April 21, 2025

THANKS FOR VISITING POOK'S SUN CITY CAROLINA LAKES NEWS!

3420 Toringdon Way, Suite 200/Charlotte, NC 28277
http://www.pookbellini.bhhscarolinas.com
Facebook:  Calling Sun City Carolina Lakes Home
Pook's Sun City Carolina Lakes News contains up-to-date articles and information about real estate and other topics of interest. It is sent out as an email to those on my mailing list and then posted to this site. If you would like to receive my Pook's E-News Newsletter and are not currently on my email list, please contact me

Please be sure to use the tabs above to access a wealth of information about Sun City Carolina Lakes and other area information, including links to places and resources that you'll want to visit often.  

And, please be sure to go to my Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Website to search for homes, get market and neighborhood reports, mortgage and warranty information, and much more!

Blog postings are found just below this message, with newer postings at the top and older postings further down.  Since there is a limit to how many postings appear on a page, you will need to click on "older posts" (lower right corner of each page) to see older posts that do not currently appear on the main page. There are lots of posts hiding there... don't miss them!  You can also find postings by going to the ARCHIVE on the left sidebar.

 

video

 Please note that you can also search for previous postings at the ARCHIVE at the bottom of the left sidebar.  

Thursday, April 10, 2025

LET ME INTRODUCE MYSELF...


I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is “Pook” Bellini and I’m a REALTOR® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices/Carolinas Realty.  I am licensed in South Carolina and specialize in our beautiful Sun City Carolina Lakes community.  Prior to moving to South Carolina, I was an active REALTOR® in the Scottsdale/Paradise Valley, Arizona area since 2005.

My husband and I moved here from Paradise Valley, Arizona, where we lived for 38 years, raised two great sons, and where I enjoyed 12 wonderful years of teaching first grade prior to starting my real estate career.  Before moving to Arizona in 1976, we lived in my hometown, Ossining, New York.  I taught second grade in Chappaqua, NY for 5 years, after attending the State University of NY at New Paltz and receiving a B.A. from Briarcliff College and a Masters Degree from Western Connecticut State College.  

We first came to Carolina Lakes to visit friends in 2010 and we knew immediately that we loved the SCCL lifestyle.  In 2012 we decided to purchase a home here, with the eventual goal of moving back to the east coast to be closer to family and to call SCCL home.  For two years we made regular “visits” to our home until we moved here as permanent residents at the end of December 2014.   We are thrilled to be a part of this community and are enjoying all the wonderful activities that brought us here.  An avid walker and hiker, I love to wander the beautiful trails and walkways at SCCL... if you see me out there, please stop and say hello!

As a former elementary school educator, I bring the heart of a teacher to my real estate career and I am passionate about educating buyers and sellers as I guide them through the process of buying or selling a home.  With this in mind, my goal as a REALTOR® is to provide exceptional service as a consultant, negotiator, and overseer of transactional details, and it is my hope that the relationship I form with clients will last for a lifetime. 


  
As  part of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices/Carolinas Realty team, I am dedicated to providing all of your real estate needs. A full-service company, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices/Carolinas Realty provides home buying and selling, mortgage lending, apartment locator service, home warranties and title insurance services, all under one roof for your convenience. As one of the most respected real estate companies in America, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices/Carolinas Realty is committed to providing its clients with comprehensive marketing and technology services, including thousands of property listings, searchable open houses, virtual tours, email updates, financial calculators, selling tips and much, much more. If you are looking for your dream home, considering selling your current residence, or even if you just have a real estate related question, please contact me. I would love to have the opportunity to help you!  I will combine my experience, enthusiasm, and hard work, along with the power of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network, to exceed your expectations for exemplary service and professionalism in everything I do.

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BLOG POSTINGS BEGIN BELOW
Since there is a limit to how many postings appear on a page, you will need to click on "older posts" (lower right corner of each page) to see previous posts. There are lots of posts hiding there... don't miss them!  Alternatively, you can go to the BLOG ARCHIVE on the left sidebar and search for postings by date and title.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

How Owning a Home Pays Off at Tax Time

Article Courtesy of REALTOR®mag
Daily Real Estate News/Tuesday, April 18, 2017 (TAX DAY!)

This article covers some important facts for homeowners.  Learn about what deductions you may qualify for at tax time.  Tuck this one away for future reference. 

Mortgage interest deduction: Itemizing homeowners can deduct the interest they pay on their mortgage up to $1 million—or $500,000 if married but filing separately. The deductions can be made for loans issued to buy, build, or improve your home, and can apply to a house, trailer, or boat as long as it serves as your residence. A second mortgage, home equity loan, or home equity loan of credit to improve your home or buy a second home can also be included toward that $1 million limit.

Property tax deduction: The real estate property taxes paid can be another chunk of a deduction. For homeowners who purchased a home this year, they’ll want to check their HUD-1 settlement statement to see if they paid any property taxes when they closed on the purchase of the home.

Prepaid interest deduction: The prepaid interest, or points you paid when you took out your mortgage, is also deductible in the year you paid it too. This could apply to homeowners who refinanced their mortgage and used the money for home improvements. You can also deduct the points if you refinanced to get a better mortgage rate or shortened the length of your mortgage, but the deduction of the points must be over the life of your mortgage. See an example at HouseLogic.com.

PMI and FHA mortgage insurance premiums: The costs of private mortgage insurance can be deducted on loans taken out in 2007 or later. There are some stipulations, particularly if your adjusted gross income is more than $100,000, on how much you can deduct. Government insurance from the FHA, VA, and Rural Housing Service can also be deducted, but varies among agencies.

Vacation-home tax deductions: If the vacation home is used only by you, you can deduct the mortgage interest and real estate taxes. That means the home is not rented out for more than 14 days a year. If the home is rented out for more than that and used by yourself for less than 15 days, the home is classified like a rental property. Expenses are then deducted on IRS form Schedule E.

Energy-efficiency upgrades: Some energy-efficient upgrades may be eligible to be deducted via the Nonbusiness Energy Tax Credit. Among the upgrades that may qualify for the credit include: Biomass stoves; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning; insulation; roofs (metal and asphalt); water heaters (non-solar); and windows, doors, and skylights.
Source: “Are You Getting the Home Tax Deductions You’re Entitled To?” HouseLogic (2017)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Home Mortgages: Rates Up, Requirements Easing

This is a great article and visual on current mortgage rates. For anyone thinking about purchasing a home or refinancing, please remember that your credit is greatly affected by what you do financially prior to the loan funding. Do NOT make any large purchases or take out new credit cards prior to getting your loan... and don't quit your job! Seek advice from your lender about additional things that can affect your credit and your loan.

Article courtesy of Keeping Current Matters/the KCM Blog
April 13, 2017

Home Mortgages: Rates Up, Requirements Easing | Keeping Current Matters
The media has extensively covered the rise in mortgage interest rates since last fall (from 3.42% last September to the current 4.1% according to Freddie Mac). However, a less covered aspect of the mortgage market is that requirements to get a mortgage have eased while rates have risen. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) quantifies the availability of mortgage credit each month with their Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI). According to the MBA, the MCAI is:
“A summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time.”
The higher the index, the easier it is to get a mortgage. Here is a chart showing the MCAI over the last several months as rates have increased. Home Mortgages: Rates Up, Requirements Easing | Keeping Current Matters

Have requirements for attaining a mortgage actually eased?

Yes. Here are two examples:
  1. FICO® Score – the credit score which helps determine a buyer’s eligibility. The score required to attain a mortgage has been falling over the last five months:
Home Mortgages: Rates Up, Requirements Easing | Keeping Current Matters
  1. Down Payment Requirement – the percentage of the purchase price necessary to place as a down payment on a home. To make this point, let’s look at the percentage of first-time buyers who have put less than 5% down over the last several years as compared to the 1st quarter of 2017:
Home Mortgages: Rates Up, Requirements Easing | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Whether you are a current homeowner looking to move to a home that will better serve your family’s current needs, or a first-time buyer looking for a starter home, it is easier to get a mortgage today than it has been at any other time in the last ten years.

Friday, March 24, 2017

HOW LOW SUPPLY & HIGH DEMAND IMPACTS THE REAL ESTATE MARKET

Courtesy of Keeping Current Matters/The KCM Blog

How Low Supply & High Demand Impacts the Real Estate Market [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • The concept of Supply & Demand is a simple one. The best time to sell something is when the supply of that item is low & the demand for that item is high!
  • Anything under a 6-month supply is a Seller’s Market!
  • There has not been a 6-months inventory supply since August 2012!
  • Buyer Demand continues to outpace Seller Supply!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

How Do Your Property Taxes Stack Up?

Source:  REALTOR®Mag
Daily Real Estate News 
Friday, March 03, 2017 
 
The average American household spends $2,149 on property taxes for their homes each year, according to U.S. Census data. But depending on where you live, that can vary drastically.
Read more: Questions to Ask About Property Tax
For the third consecutive year, New Jersey ranks as having the highest property taxes in the nation, according to a new report released by WalletHub. Its effective tax rate of 2.35 percent means homeowners there pay about $7,410 annually on a $316,000 home, the median sales price in the state.
On the other hand, Hawaii has the lowest property taxes in the nation. At just a 0.27 percent effective tax rate, annual taxes on a median price home in Hawaii at $515,300 comes to about $1,406 a year.
WalletHub’s research team culled Census data on real estate property taxes in analyzing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It divided the median annual property tax payment for the state by the state’s median home price.
The five states with the lowest property taxes (based on the effective real estate tax rate):
  1. Hawaii
  2. Alabama
  3. Louisiana
  4. Delaware
  5. District of Columbia
The five states with the highest property taxes (also based on the effective tax rate):
  1. New Jersey
  2. Illinois
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Connecticut
  5. Wisconsin
View the property tax ranking of your state.
Source: WalletHub
Source: “2017’s Property Taxes by State,” WalletHub (March 1, 2017)

Friday, February 17, 2017

9 KEYS TO A HAPPY RETIREMENT

This article by Forbes magazine has some great tips for planning for and enjoying retirement.
9 KEYS TO A HAPPY RETIREMENT

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Buyers Are Searching For Your House

The following article reflects national stats.  Sales in any particular area may vary greatly.  Contact me for local information. 
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Buyers Are Searching For Your House
Article courtesy of Keeping Current Matters/The KCM Blog
2/8/17

Buyers Are Searching For Your House | Keeping Current MattersThe most recent Pending Homes Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors revealed a slight bump in contracts with an increase of 1.6% in December. This news comes as existing home sales are also forecasted to be on pace for 5.54 million in 2017, a 1.7% increase over 2016, which was the best year for sales in a decade. The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed. According to NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun,
Pending sales bounded last month as enough buyers fended off rising mortgage rates and alarmingly low inventory levels to sign a contract.

So, what’s the problem?

Buyers are searching for existing homes, but supply is not keeping up with their demand! Yun went on to explain,
The main storyline in the early months of 2017 will be if supply can meaningfully increase to keep price growth at a moderate enough level for households to absorb higher borrowing cost. Sales will struggle to build on last year’s strong pace if inventory conditions don’t improve.” (emphasis added)

Bottom Line

Buyers are out in force right now! If you are considering selling your home this year, the early months of 2017 will be your best option. Contact a local professional today to capitalize on current market conditions.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Trump Puts a Halt to FHA Mortgage Cuts

Article Courtesy of the National Association of REALTORS®
Just hours after being sworn in, President Donald Trump moved to suspend a plan to reduce the Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage insurance premiums that was set to go into effect on Jan. 27. The reduction had been announced on Jan. 9 by the outgoing Obama administration and Housing and Urban Development head Julian Castro.
 The reduction in premiums by 25 basis points, or a quarter percentage point, “has been suspended indefinitely,” according to an FHA news release. “More analysis and research are deemed necessary to assess future adjustments,” according to FHA.

National Association of REALTORS® officials estimate that, without the cut, about 750,000 to 850,000 home buyers will face higher costs, and 30,000 to 40,000 new home buyers will be left on the sidelines in 2017. It was estimated that FHA borrowers would save an average of $500 per year with the reductions in place.

“We’re disappointed in the decision but will continue to make the case to reinstate the cut in the months ahead,” NAR President William E. Brown said. 

Sources: NAR, “Trump Already Suspends Obama-Era FHA Mortgage Insurance Cuts,” MarketWatch (Jan. 21, 2017) and “FHA Suspends Planned Mortgage Insurance Cut,” Scotsman Guide (Jan. 20, 2017)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

FHA TO REDUCE ANNUAL INSURANCE PREMIUMS ON MOST MORTGAGES

Source:  HUD.GOV
Press Release 1/14/17 

The following news regarding a decrease by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in the Mortgage Premium Insurance rate (MIP) for most buyers is great news!

Modest reduction expands credit access and reflects improved economic health of FHA
WASHINGTON – As the nation’s housing market continues to improve, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro today announced the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will reduce the annual premiums most borrowers will pay by a quarter of a percent.  FHA’s new premium rates are projected to save new FHA-insured homeowners an average of $500 this year.

FHA is reducing its annual mortgage insurance premium (MIP) by 25 basis points for most new mortgages with a closing/disbursement date on or after January 27, 2017.  For a full schedule of the new premium rates announced today, read FHA’s mortgagee letter.

Today’s action reflects the fourth straight year of improved economic health of FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund (MMIF), which gained $44 billion in value since 2012.  Last year alone, an independent actuarial analysis found the MMI Fund’s capital ratio grew by $3.8 billion and now stands at 2.32 percent of all insurance in force—the second consecutive year since 2008 that FHA’s reserve ratio exceeded the statutorily required two percent threshold.

Secretary Castro said FHA’s action reflects today’s risk environment and comes at the right time for consumers who are facing higher credit costs as mortgage interest rates are increasing.
“After four straight years of growth and with sufficient reserves on hand to meet future claims, it’s time for FHA to pass along some modest savings to working families,” said Secretary Castro.  “This is a fiscally responsible measure to price our mortgage insurance in a way that protects our insurance fund while preserving the dream of homeownership for credit-qualified borrowers.”
Ed Golding, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for HUD’s Office of Housing added, “We’ve carefully weighed the risks associated with lower premiums with our historic mission to provide safe and sustainable mortgage financing to responsible homebuyers.  Homeownership is the way most middle class Americans build wealth and achieve financial security for themselves and their families.  This conservative reduction in our premium rates is an appropriate measure to support them on their path to the American dream.”

Since 2009, the Obama Administration took bold steps to reduce risks in the mortgage market and to protect consumers.   In the wake of the nation’s housing crisis, FHA increased its premium prices numerous times to help stabilize the health of its MMI Fund.  Since 2010, FHA had raised annual premiums 150 percent which helped to restore capital reserves but significantly increased the cost of credit to qualified borrowers.  Today’s step restores the annual premium to close to its pre-housing-crisis level.

In addition, the Obama Administration took dramatic steps to safeguard consumers in the mortgage market to ensure responsible borrowers continued to have access to mortgage capital as many private lending sources tightened their lending standards.   Today’s reduction will significantly expand access to mortgage credit for these families and is expected to lower the cost of housing for the approximately 1 million households who are expected to purchase a home or refinance their mortgages using FHA-insured financing in the coming year.