Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Be Thankful You Don't Have to Pay Your Parents' Interest Rate!

Here's a great message for those concerned over rising interest rates... especially those younger first-time home buyers.  Granted, even small increases will affect your monthly payment and that's what is most important when you're analyzing how much of a home you can afford.  So, as interest rates start going up, moving ahead with making a purchase sooner, rather than later, is a prudent move, if you are in a position to do so.  That being said, this article gives a great perspective on interest rates over the past 45 years.  

Article Courtesy of Keeping Current Matters/The KCM Blog
Be Thankful You Don't Have to Pay Your Parents' Interest Rate!

Be Thankful You Don’t Have to Pay Your Parents’ Interest Rate! | Keeping Current MattersInterest rates hovered around 4% for the majority of 2017, which gave many buyers relief from rising home prices and helped with affordability. In the first quarter of 2018, rates have increased from 3.95% up to 4.45% and experts predict that rates will increase even more by the end of the year.

The rate you secure greatly impacts your monthly mortgage payment and the amount you will ultimately pay for your home. Don’t let the prediction that rates will increase stop you from purchasing your dream home this year.

Let’s take a look at a historical view of interest rates over the last 45 years.

Be Thankful You Don’t Have to Pay Your Parents’ Interest Rate! | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Be thankful that you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago, a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago, and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago.

Friday, March 23, 2018


Raffle tickets for dinner at the 4-star Gallery Restaurant in the Ballantyne area of Charlotte with transportation in a classic Rolls Royce are available for $10 each or 3 for $25.
Note that transportation is between Sun City Carolina Lakes
(or other nearby communities) and the restaurant.

Hand-sewn queen-size quilt made by Darlene Hallman
Raffle tickets: $1 each or 6 for $5
Last year's LASS luncheon was a huge success - we raised $13,000!  If you would be interested in getting tickets for this year's luncheon and/or raffle tickets, please contact me.   Tables of 8 may be reserved, otherwise it is open seating.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

7 Factors to Consider When Choosing A Home to Retire In

After our first visit to Sun City Carolina Lakes in 2010, my husband and I decided that the lifestyle at Sun City Carolina Lakes would be perfect for us. But, we wondered how long we should wait to make it happen.  The question we finally asked ourselves was, "If not now, when?" and in 2012 we decided NOW was the right time. Even though we hadn't yet put our Arizona home on the market, we purchased our home and then "visited" it a couple of times a year until we made the big move in 2014. Our adult sons thought we were nuts for leaving our home and friends of 38 years back in Arizona, but we knew that this is where we wanted to be. While they originally believed SCCL was "training wheels" on the road toward assisted living, our sons quickly realized that "ACTIVE" was the key word in this "55+ active adult community." Being closer to family was definitely a very important part of our decision to move, but moving to a place where we could "live the dream" was the key factor.  We've now been here full-time for a little over 3 years and we have absolutely no regrets.  In fact, like so many others, we now ask ourselves why we waited so long to make the move. 
As people nearing retirement age start to consider their options about staying where they are or making a move, there are some very important things to think about.  Everyone must look at their own situation as they begin the decision-making process. This great article by Keeping Current Matters suggests 7 things to consider and I would suggest one more... #8 (perhaps a subtopic under #7) Availability to Healthcare Services.  After reviewing all 8 Factors, allow yourself the luxury of dreaming about how and where you would want to spend your retirement years.  Start looking at your options and then ask yourself, "If not now, when?"

7 Factors to Consider When Choosing A Home to Retire In
Article Courtesy of Keeping Current Matters/The KCM Blog

7 Factors to Consider When Choosing A Home to Retire In | Keeping Current MattersAs more and more baby boomers enter retirement age, the question of whether or not to sell their homes and move will become a hot topic. In today’s housing market climate, with low available inventory in the starter and trade-up home categories, it makes sense to evaluate your home’s ability to adapt to your needs in retirement.
According to the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA), there are 7 factors that you should consider when choosing your retirement home.

1. Affordability

“It may be easy enough to purchase your home today but think long-term about your monthly costs. Account for property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, utilities – all the things that will be due whether or not you have a mortgage on the property.
Would moving to a complex with homeowner association fees actually be cheaper than having to hire all the contractors you would need to maintain your home, lawn, etc.? Would your taxes go down significantly if you relocated? What is your monthly income going to be like in retirement?

2. Equity

“If you have equity in your current home, you may be able to apply it to the purchase of your next home. Maintaining a healthy amount of home equity gives you a source of emergency funds to tap, via a home equity loan or reverse mortgage.”
The equity you have in your current home may be enough to purchase your retirement home with little to no mortgage. Homeowners in the US gained an average of over $14,000 in equity last year.

3. Maintenance

“As we age, our tolerance for cleaning gutters, raking leaves and shoveling snow can go right out the window. A condominium with low-maintenance needs can be a literal lifesaver, if your health or physical abilities decline.”
As we mentioned earlier, would a condo with an HOA fee be worth the added peace of mind of not having to do the maintenance work yourself?

4. Security

“Elderly homeowners can be targets for scams or break-ins. Living in a home with security features, such as a manned gate house, resident-only access and a security system can bring peace of mind.”
As scary as that thought may be, any additional security and an extra set of eyes looking out for you always adds to peace of mind.

5. Pets

“Renting won’t do if the dog can’t come too! The companionship of pets can provide emotional and physical benefits.”
Evaluate all of your options when it comes to bringing your ‘furever’ friend with you to a new home. Will there be necessary additional deposits if you are renting or in a condo? Is the backyard fenced in? How far are you from your favorite veterinarian?

6. Mobility

“No one wants to picture themselves in a wheelchair or a walker, but the home layout must be able to accommodate limited mobility.”
Sixty is the new 40, right? People are living longer and are more active in retirement, but that doesn’t mean that down the road you won’t need your home to be more accessible. Installing handrails and making sure your hallways and doorways are wide enough may be a good reason to look for a home that was built to accommodate these needs.

7. Convenience

“Is the new home close to the golf course, or to shopping and dining? Do you have amenities within easy walking distance? This can add to home value!”
How close are you to your children and grandchildren? Would relocating to a new area make visits with family easier or more frequent? Beyond being close to your favorite stores and restaurants, there are a lot of factors to consider.

Bottom Line

When it comes to your forever home, evaluating your current house for its ability to adapt with you as you age can be the first step to guaranteeing your comfort in retirement. If after considering all these factors you find yourself curious about your options, contact a local real estate professional who can evaluate your ability to sell your house in today’s market and get you into your dream retirement home!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


I always like to remind everyone that the answer to the question, "How's the real estate market?" usually requires an answer that is specific to a local area such as a town, subdivision, or even a neighborhood.  That being said, it can also be helpful to look at the bigger picture over an extended period of time to see how the country as a whole is doing.  The article below shares a great overview of the national recovery in terms of home appreciation following the recession that began in 2007.  

For those who are interested in specific market information for Sun City Carolina Lakes, I encourage you to visit my website often for up-to-date stats for SCCL and for property searches for SCCL and other nearby communities (including TreeTops and Carolina Orchards).  If you would like to stay current on our market, contact me for a personalized search with auto-updates.

Home Prices: The Difference 5 Years Makes
Article courtesy of Keeping Current Matters/The KCM Blog

The economists at CoreLogic recently released a special report entitled, Evaluating the Housing Market Since the Great Recession. The goal of the report was to look at economic recovery since the Great Recession of December 2007 through June 2009.
One of the key indicators used in the report to determine the health of the housing market was home price appreciation. CoreLogic focused on appreciation from December 2012 to December 2017 to show how prices over the last five years have fared.
Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist at CoreLogic, commented on the importance of breaking out the data by state,
“Homeowners in the United States experienced a run-up in prices from the early 2000s to 2006, and then saw the trend reverse with steady declines through 2011. After finally reaching bottom in 2011, home prices began a slow rise back to where we are now.
Greater demand and lower supply – as well as booming job markets – have given some of the hardest-hit housing markets a boost in home prices. Yet, many are still not back to pre-crash levels.”
The map below was created to show the 5-year appreciation from December 2012 – December 2017 by state.
Home Prices: The Difference 5 Years Makes | Keeping Current Matters
Nationally, the cumulative appreciation over the five-year period was 37.4%, with a high of 66% in Nevada, and a modest increase of 5% in Connecticut.

Where were prices expected to go?

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists and asks them to project how residential home prices will appreciate over the next five years for their Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES).

According to the December 2012 survey results, national homes prices were projected to increase cumulatively by 23.1% by December 2017. The bulls of the group predicted home prices to rise by 33.6%, while the more cautious bears predicted an appreciation of 11.2%.

Where are prices headed in the next 5 years?

Data from the most recent HPES shows that home prices are expected to increase by 18.2% over the next 5 years. The bulls of the group predict home prices to rise by 27.4%, while the more cautious bears predict an appreciation of 8.3%.

Bottom Line

Every day, thousands of homeowners regain positive equity in their homes. Some homeowners are now experiencing values even higher than before the Great Recession. If you’re wondering if you have enough equity to sell your house and move on to your dream home, contact a local real estate professional who can help!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


As you may know, I proudly serve on the Board of LASS (Lancaster Animal Shelter Supporters), and today I'd like to take this opportunity to give LASS a plug.   

LASS' mission is to provide volunteer support and funding for stray and unwanted dogs and cats received by the grossly underfunded and understaffed Lancaster County Animal Shelter.  

LASS was recently invited to attend an event to view the airing of a special episode of CBS TV's Lucky Dog, sponsored by Nutramax Laboratories, at the Springs House in Lancaster. The event was attended by Nutramax company executives, local officials, and two animal-rescue groups (LASS and the Lancaster SPCA), who received generous donations.

In this episonde, a rescued poodle-terrier puppy was trained by show host, Brandon McMillan, and given to a Nutramax employee who has been battling cancer.    

Please visit the LASS website to read a complete article about the event.

On May 12th, LASS will be holding its 3rd annual Luncheon & Fashion Show Fundraiser at The Ivy Place in Lancaster.  Last year's event raised $13,000 for the shelter.  Tickets to the luncheon fundraiser, which will include a silent auction, raffle prizes, and local vendors, are $40.  If interested, please contact me

Friday, March 2, 2018

Mortgage Rates Just Got Higher Again

For the eighth consecutive week, borrowing costs were on the rise.
“Optimistic testimony on Capitol Hill from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell sent Treasury yields higher as Powell stated his outlook for the economy has strengthened since December,” says Len Kiefer, Freddie Mac’s deputy chief economist. “Following Treasurys, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate jumped 3 basis points to reach 4.43 percent in this week’s survey. The 30-year rate has been on a tear in 2018, climbing 48 basis points since the start of the year.”

Kiefer continues that historically when mortgage rates rise, the housing market teeters, but he doesn’t foresee that happening this time around.

“We think strength in the economy and pent-up housing demand should allow U.S. housing markets to post modest growth this year even with higher mortgage rates,” Kiefer says. “We really have to wait for housing markets to heat up in the spring, but early indications are that housing demand remains robust to these rate increases.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending March 1:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.43 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 4.40 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.10 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.90 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.85 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.32 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.62 percent, with an average 0.4 point, dropping slightly from last week’s 3.65 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.14 percent.
Source: Freddie Mac