Thursday, August 31, 2017


Article Courtesy of REALTOR® Magazine
Daily Real Estate News | Thursday, August 31, 2017 

Harvey Victims Granted Loan Forbearance
The mortgage-backing government entities announced that they will offer mortgage forbearance for at least 90 days to borrowers in the Houston area affected by Hurricane Harvey. In some cases, this could be extended for up to a year.

Storm victims with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Federal Housing Administration–backed loans will not have to make their monthly payments. They will face no penalty fees. Interest on their loans, however, would still accrue.

At least $23 billion worth of property has been affected by record-level flooding from Hurricane Harvey in parts of Texas’ Harris and Galveston counties alone, according to a Reuters analysis
Freddie Mac announced on Tuesday that it was suspending evictions and foreclosures on homes with mortgages that it owns or guarantees in disaster areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Fannie Mae issued a similar statement.

“We’re committed to ensuring that homeowners receive the mortgage assistance they need to overcome the devastating tragedy of Hurricane Harvey,” Yvette Gilmore, Freddie Mac’s vice president of single-family servicer performance management, said in a statement. "Once they’re out of harm’s way, homeowners should contact their servicers—the company to which they send their monthly mortgage payments. They may be eligible for forbearance on mortgage payments for up to one year if their mortgage is owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac.”

In the Houston area and nearby areas, there are more than twice as many mortgage properties with nearly four times the unpaid principal balance as there were in the Louisiana and Mississippi counties hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Mortgage News Daily reports. Black Knight Financial Services estimates more than 75,000 borrowers in Houston may be unable to make a mortgage payment within the next two months.

“This is an unprecedented crisis in the region as it relates to housing,” says Dave Stevens, CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association. “We are not even at the point where we can evaluate the total costs, walkaways, insurance coverage, homes uninsured, jobs lost, not being able to make your mortgage payments.”

Source: “Harvey Hits Mortgages: Flood-Stricken Homeowners Less Likely to Pay,” Mortgage News Daily (Aug. 30, 2017)


Empty Nesters: Best to Remodel or Time to Sell?
Article courtesy of Keeping Current Matters/The KCM Blog

Your children have finally moved out and you and your spouse now live alone in a four-bedroom colonial (or a similar type of house). You have two choices to make: 

  1. Remodel your house to fit your current lifestyle and needs
  2. Sell your house and purchase the perfect home
Based on the record of dollars spent on remodeling and renovations, it appears that many homeowners are deciding on number one. But, is that the best long-term solution?
If you currently live in a 3-4-bedroom home, you probably bought it at a time when your children were the major consideration in determining family housing needs. Along with a large home, you more than likely also considered school district, the size of the property and the makeup of other families living in the neighborhood (example: you wanted a block with other kids your children could play with and a backyard large enough to accommodate that).

Remodeling your home to meet your current needs might mean combining two bedrooms to make one beautiful master suite and changing another bedroom into the massive walk-in closet you always wanted. However, if you live in a neighborhood that historically attracts young families, you may be dramatically undermining the value of your house by cutting down the number of bedrooms and making it less desirable to the typical family moving onto your block.
And, according to a recent study, you will recoup only 64.4% of a remodeling project’s investment dollars if you sell in the future.

Your home is probably at its highest value as it stands right now. Instead of remodeling your house, it may make better financial sense to sell your current home and purchase a home that was built specifically to meet your current lifestyle and desires.
In many cases, this well-designed home will give you exactly what you want in less square footage (read less real estate taxes!) than your current home.

Bottom Line

If you are living in a house that no longer fits your needs, at least consider checking out other homes in your area that would meet your lifestyle needs before taking on the cost and hassle of remodeling your current house.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Sadly, many homes will be unsalvageable.  Mold will be the greatest threat. The BUT in this article is a HUGE one. And at what cost? 


Flooded Homes Can Be Fixed But…

As Hurricane Harvey moves off the coastline of Texas, it's leaving massive flooding in its wake that has destroyed homes and businesses.
More Harvey Coverage
REALTORS® Promise to Send Help to Texas
Tips for Filing an Insurance Claim
Harvey Sparks Flood Insurance Disaster
Until the floodwaters recede, cleanup efforts are mostly on hold. But remediation companies say they’re ready to jump into action as soon as they’re able. In preparation for the undertaking, here are a few important items to share about repairing a flooded home, compiled by®.

Time is of the essence.
A home that has been flooded does not need to be torn down, but the water does need to be removed quickly. Truck-mounted vacuums with 2,000 horsepower and dehumidifiers can extract moisture from furniture, hardwood, tile, and Sheetrock. But Robyn Kent, a claims administrator at Dalworth Restoration in Euless, Texas, says the most important element is getting it cleaned up quickly: “Closer to the three- to five-day mark is when it becomes questionable, since by then, all the materials have become fragile.”

Mold is the real issue.
"One of the biggest problems—especially in Houston in the summer—is going to be mold," Tyler Drew, a Los Angeles real estate professional and investor, told®. "The longer a house sits with water, the worse the mold infestation. Affected areas have to be removed, the wood and concrete treated with anti-mold agents, and all of this has to be done after the house is sealed, in order to prevent the infestation from spreading and sickening people."

Repair costs can escalate.
"Drying off a 2,000-square-foot house in normal conditions may cost more than $2,500, while in situations like Harvey is producing, the job scope expands quickly—and so will costs," says Peter Duncanson, director of operations and safety with ServiceMaster Restore. Flood insurance may cover the cost of repairs, but it depends on what type of insurance the owner has. Standard homeowner's insurance policies don’t typically cover flooding inside a home, and many in Houston don't have flood insurance.
Source: “5 Surprises About Fixing a Flooded Home,”® (Aug. 29, 2017)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Harvey Sparks Flood Insurance Disaster
Article Courtesy of REALTOR® Magazine
Only 15 percent of homeowners in Houston have flood insurance on their properties. The city is under two feet of water after Hurricane Harvey ravaged the Texas coastline over the weekend. (Getty Images)
The majority of the thousands of Texas homes submerged in floodwaters after Hurricane Harvey slammed the coastline over the weekend do not have flood insurance—a costly reminder of the importance of extending the National Flood Insurance Program, which the National Association of REALTORS® is fighting to support. Only 15 percent of homes in Harris County—which includes Houston, now under two feet of water—are covered by flood insurance, CNN reports. Only 20 percent in the coastal town of Corpus Christi are covered. Fannie Mae alone says more than 36,500 homes in its portfolio are in the storm’s path, according to Fox Business.
Standard homeowners insurance polices cover wind damage caused by a hurricane, but not damage caused by flooding from storm surges or overflowing rivers. Harvey, now downgraded to a tropical storm that could dump up to 50 inches of rain on parts of Texas by Tuesday, will leave many homeowners in the storm’s path unable to cover the costs of repairs to their homes. “This could be the worst flooding disaster in U.S. history,” Greg Postel, a meteorologist with The Weather Channel, told news agency UPI.
NAR is assessing the situation as it worsens and expects to send an all-member email about relief efforts for homeowners and renters displaced by the storm.
Federal financial regulators also have urged lenders to work with customers affected by Harvey to accommodate their needs. Freddie Mac has announced the availability of disaster relief options, including forbearance programs, for borrowers living in places that have officially been declared major disaster areas. “We strongly encourage the many American families whose homes or businesses are being impacted by Hurricane Harvey to call their mortgage servicer if the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s declaration is announced,” said Yvette Gilmore, Freddie Mac’s vice president of single-family servicer performance management. “Relief—including forbearance on mortgage payments for up to one year—may be available.”

The Department of Housing and Urban Development also announced measures to provide disaster relief to homeowners affected by Hurricane Harvey, including reallocating existing federal funds to recovery efforts in Texas, granting a foreclosure moratorium and forbearance in affected areas, and providing mortgage insurance to victims. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are beginning the process of recovering from Hurricane Harvey,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement. “As FEMA begins to assess the damage and respond to the immediate needs of residents, HUD will be there to offer assistance and support the longer-term housing recovery efforts.”
—REALTOR® Magazine

Sunday, August 27, 2017


73┬║! Working out on the deck... with Rudy, of course! Loving life at Sun City Carolina Lakes!

I've added some more great interactive stats for Sun City Carolina Lakes to my website/blog.  Click on "UP-TO-DATE STATS FOR SCCL" above.  Stats now include numbers for: New Listings, Homes For Sale, Pending Sales, Closed Sales, Average Days on Market, Months Supply, Average List to Close Days, and Average Percent of Original Price. Great info! Please share with anyone interested in our awesome community! 

Friday, August 18, 2017


Those of us observing from Sun City Carolina Lakes will see between 98% and 99% of the total eclipse.  How cool is that??!!!

Don't have certified eclipse watching glasses?  

If you've procrastinated, the glasses are now hard to come by... especially since many of the ones sold by Amazon were recalled because they were not certified.  But, worry not, there's another safe way to observe the eclipse.  The teacher in me loves this old-fashioned pinhole approach!  Here are instructions, courtesy of NASA.

Sunday, August 6, 2017


After a year of not taking our kayaks off the wall in the basement, we finally went out for a morning paddle with the SCCL Canoe and Kayak Club last week.  It was great to be out on the water again!  We don't get out to paddle much, but we're excited about all the possibilities out there for us when we do decide to go.  So far we've paddled at a place called "Stumpy Pond" (a generally quiet - except when we were there - reservoir also known as Rocky Creek and Cedar Creek Reservoir, operated by Duke Power Company), Cane Creek Park in Waxhaw. NC, Chester State Park in Chester, SC, and the quiet (and just my speed) Bowers Lake (aka Lake B) at Sun City Carolina Lakes.  BTW, if you haven't tried out the kayak launch next to Grandparents' Park in SCCL, you really should!  It's the best darn launch I've ever seen!  (Not that I have that much experience with such things, but it's really awesome!)

As relative beginners, my husband and I prefer the quiet lakes and it's doubtful that we'll ever tackle anything more than that.  Quiet (and no wind) works for me!  That being said, I wanted to share this great article about places to paddle by Scott Jensen of  It lists what they call "Top 10 Places To Go Kayaking Around The Charlotte Region."  If you know of any other great kayaking locations in the area, please let me know.  Happy paddling!