CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - The Charlottesville Department of Utilities’ commitment to the community and to energy conservation continues by offering a new $200 attic insulation rebate. Utilities currently provides a variety of home energy conservation resources that help improve a home’s energy efficiency and reduce utility bills, and this $200 attic insulation rebate complements these existing offers. Upgrading the insulation in a home’s attic is one of the most cost effective ways for residents to increase comfort, improve their home’s energy efficiency, and lower heating and cooling bills.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that as much as 85% of the conditioned air in a home is lost through the attic, and that upgrading the insulation can lower heating and cooling costs by 10 to 50%. Over 21,000 homes in the Charlottesville area were built before 1970, the first year Virginia implemented code requirements for insulation. Many of these homes may be under-insulated, and may be good candidates for attic insulation improvement.
Requirements for the attic insulation rebate include:
For more information and a detailed explanation of requirements for the attic insulation rebate, as well as information on other rebates and energy conservation resources provided by the Charlottesville Department of Utilities, please visit www.charlottesville.gov/utilities or call 434-970-3812.
Irene PetersonUtilities Marketing & Outreach Manager434firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’re interested in removing a name from a mortgage, a big life change is likely happening. Whether it’s divorce, splitting up with your partner, or just wanting to have the mortgage in one person’s name to allow the other to have a little more financial flexibility, the circumstances compared to when you took out the mortgage have clearly changed. Getting the mortgage together no doubt had some clear advantages, including drawing on two incomes when determining how much you could get and/or utilizing the credit scores of two people to bring down your interest rate. It made sense at the time, but life happens and now, for whatever reason, you’ve decided it’s time to remove someone from the mortgage. Frankly, it’s not the easiest process in the world, but here are some steps and considerations that will help you get it done.
First things first, talk to your lender. They approved you once and they likely have the intimate knowledge of your finances necessary to decide if they want to do it again. However, you’re asking them to entrust the payment of your mortgage to one person instead of two, increasing their liability. Many borrowers don't realize that both people on a mortgage are responsible for the entire debt. For example, on a $300,000 loan, it’s not like both people are responsible for $150,000. You both are on the hook for the entire $300,000. If one of you can’t pay, the other person is still responsible for paying off the whole loan. So, if your lender simply took one of the names off the current mortgage, one of you would be getting off scot-free. As you may have guessed, lenders are not often keen on doing this.
ieswewasdfvb What your lender might,. ,k8 iuyghgjbnvncvbx78658677767- consider is refinancing your mortgage under a single name instead of both people currently on the mortgage. Keep in mind that the equation has changed in terms of approval, as the lender is looking only at the financial variables for one person instead of two. Do you have a high enough credit score – roughly 740 or higher – to make sure you get a reasonable interest rate as the sole name on the loan? Is your income (not household, but your individual income) high enough to convince the lender that you can make the mortgage payments on your own? How does your individual debt to income (DTI) ratio look? All the paperwork you did when you applied for the original mortgage – proof of income, credit history, outstanding debts, etc. – will need to be done again, as this really can be thought of as an entirely new loan. These and other factors will all go into the decision from your lender on whether they will allow you to remove the other person on the mortgage and let you go it alone.
So let’s say your lender approved the new mortgage to be in your name only – yay! Now it’s time to file a quitclaim deed. At this point, your spouse/partner/roommate’s name has been removed from the mortgage but they are still on the mortgage deed. The result of filing a quitclaim deed will be the transfer of the home solely to you. The other person that was previously on the mortgage and deed surrenders all rights to the property. If you have a lawyer, they can get you the necessary form, but you can also find it with a quick online search. After signing it in front of your lender, who will notarize it and file it with the country clerk, you are good to go.
Speaking of lawyers, consulting one as you go through this complex process is always a good idea. Removing a name from a mortgage is not simple, but it’s not insurmountable either. Like anything in life, financial and living situations often change and with those changes come new obstacles to overcome. Now that you have the knowledge and resources to tackle one of these obstacles, hopefully the other changes happening will become a little easier to bear
May 22, 2020
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage continued to near its lowest average on record. The lowest average on Freddie Mac records dating back to 1971 is 3.23%, which was set the week ending April 30. This week, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged close to that, at 3.24%.
“For the fourth consecutive week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been below 3.30 percent, giving potential buyers a good reason to continue shopping even amid the pandemic,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “As states reopen, we’re seeing purchase demand improve remarkably fast, now essentially flat relative to a year ago. Going forward, mortgage rates have room to decline as mortgage spreads remain elevated.”
For Some, 30-Year Rates at 2.5% Are PossibleMortgage Applications Continue Surprising Rebound
For Some, 30-Year Rates at 2.5% Are Possible
Mortgage Applications Continue Surprising Rebound
Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending May 21:
Freddie Mac reports average commitment rates along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage.
Homeowners trying to sell during the pandemic will likely need some patience and a degree of expectation that the process could take longer. Homes are taking about an average of 15 days more to sell—or about 27% longer—than a year ago, according to realtor.com®’s data reflecting the week ending May 16. This marks the largest increase in the number of days that homes have spent on the market since 2013.
Days on the market have been gradually increasing since the pandemic began. During the first two weeks of March, prior to the outbreak’s growth in the U.S., homes were selling four days faster than a year ago.
“Mid-May is normally the time of year when homes sell the fastest,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “Today’s median time on the market is more like what we usually see in late February or November.”
But stay-at-home orders and unemployment have prompted a slowdown in the market. The National Association of REALTORS® reported on Thursday that existing-home sales dropped 17.8% in April compared to March. Many economists view the sales slump as temporary, particularly given the sudden uptick in mortgage applications for home purchases.
Prices Strong Despite Lockdowns Hindering April SalesMortgage Applications Continue Surprising Rebound
Prices Strong Despite Lockdowns Hindering April Sales
But, while days on the market have increased, consumers shouldn’t assume it’s a buyer’s market now, housing analysts say. Home prices are staying firm. NAR reports that existing-home prices for all housing types jumped 7.4% in April compared to a year ago.
“This may be surprising to a lot of people,” Hale says.
But a tight inventory of homes for sale persists. The number of new listings dropped 39% year over year for the week ending May 2.
Hale predicts that days on the market will drop again in the late summer as more cities loosen restrictions and more potential buyers return to work.
“Home Sellers Should Channel Patience as Time on Market Shoots Up During the Crisis,” realtor.com® (May 21, 2020
- Buyers take the first tour of appropriate homes online
- Realtor and clients narrow down number of homes to be visited to those most relevant and interesting to the buyer
- Sellers leave their property prior to and during showings
- Realtor and buyers drive in separate cars to tour a property
- Realtor opens doors and locks up after the showing
- All wear masks and gloves
- No one touches anything in the house
- Realtor and clients stay 6-20 feet apart
Realtor and clients discuss each home and the buyers thoughts and questions while outside at a distance (and/or by phone later)
An offer is made electronically
Negotiation occurs by phone and email
Final documents are signed electronically
In this way Realtors are able to assist their clients while supporting safety for all involved. I can help you navigate this unusual time for selling and buying. Please contact me at 434-996-0888 or by email at email@example.com.
It is not surprising to hear leading economists discuss how real estate is the fundamental structure that holds up and brings back the economy. We are fortunate that the state of Charlottesville area's real estate market was strong at the outset of COVID-19 and that we remain in good condition compared to many other areas of the U.S. The real estate sales and prices in this area have a history of being among the last to go down in a bad economy and among the first to rebound as we recover.
Now Realtors are gaining recognition for the many other ways they help the market. Please read the article below that addresses one area where Realtors are making a big contribution:
May 14, 2020
Real estate will be essential to the nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, two congressional lawmakers said Wednesday during the virtual 2020 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and Sen. Tim Scott, both of South Carolina, said at the General Session that because homeownership is a primary means of building wealth, expanding access for buyers will be crucial for helping Americans recover financially from the current crisis. “I believe that the foundation upon which this democracy is built and people thrive is homeownership,” Clyburn said. “The real estate community ought to get creative and think about ways that tools can be created so that families can begin to build wealth early.”
The lawmakers thanked REALTORS® for their steadfast support of two major issues facing current and prospective homeowners today: access to broadband internet and remote online notarization. Lack of internet access in rural communities especially hinders schoolchildren who are now reliant on home computers for remote learning, Clyburn noted. This issue could stifle homeownership, dissuading prospective buyers from moving to smaller, more affordable communities around the country, he added.
The National Association of REALTORS® sent a letter to Capitol Hill on Monday calling for increased investment in broadband infrastructure and services. “COVID-19 has created an unprecedented need for reliable and affordable high-speed internet,” NAR President Vince Malta wrote in the letter. “REALTORS® support a comprehensive national policy to stimulate the deployment of broadband, increase data speeds, and lower broadband prices.”
Scott, who worked in the real estate industry before being elected to Congress, called remote notarization—an increasingly important step for completing closings without in-person contact—“the future.” He also noted that activity in many housing markets remains healthy, which speaks to the need for national remote notarization guidelines. The local MLS in his hometown of Charleston, S.C., he said, reported its highest number of contracts on record in the last week. “We’re working to make sure it’s easier for closings to happen” because owning a home means “you have skin in the game of America,” Scott said.
In March, NAR sent a letter to Congress in support of the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020. The bill would permit immediate nationwide use of RON, with minimum standards, and provide certainty for its interstate recognition.
Clyburn, chair of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, said the HEROES Act, intended to provide another $75 billion in stimulus funds to Americans, would help homeowners directly. The bill, currently under consideration in the House, would “also protect the livelihoods of teachers, first responders, and other essential workers,” he said. “Direct payments are needed for all Americans to sustain themselves so losing your job doesn’t mean losing your home.”
On a personal note, Clyburn added, “I have interacted with your profession my entire career. You guys have been interconnected with the communities in which I work. Though I admire you professionally, I appreciate you personally.”
There are many valid reasons why purchasers are interested in buying a home. Those could be to start a family, more space, the perfect school district, a desire to be closer to family, or to achieve that good ole American Dream. There are also tax benefits to buying a home if tax deductions are itemized. Here are some benefits:
For much more tax information for homeowners, reference the IRS Publication 530 on Tax Information for Homeowners. This will surely come in handy for you and your clients.
When home shoppers are looking around for the best mortgage rates, they may wonder why they aren’t quoted the ones they see advertised online or by banks. Lenders usually advertise the best interest rates that are available only to their borrowers with the highest credit scores.
Credit scores can have a big impact on what borrowers are quoted with mortgage rates.
Forbes.com paints the following scenario in a recent article: Two neighbors are both applying for a $300,000, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. The only difference is one has a credit score of 750 and the other has a credit score of 620. In that scenario, the borrower with a 750 credit score may be able to get the 3.75% advertised rate with a $1,390 per month mortgage payment. On the other hand, the borrower with the 620 credit score may be quoted a 4.50% interest rate with a $1,520 per month mortgage. The difference in payments is $130 more per month and a 0.75% higher mortgage rate.
The other borrower can still get a lower interest rate, but they would need to pay extra for it. In order to get the 3.75% interest rate that the other borrower gets, that borrower would have to pay points to buy the 4.50% rate down to 3.75%. That could cost anywhere between $3,000 to $6,000, but could offer thousands of dollars in savings over the life of the loan.
Lenders use a risk-based pricing to determine the interest rates to quote borrowers. Credit scores are weighted heavily. Lenders will offer the same exact loan to a person with a higher credit score at a lower interest rate because they view them as lower risk. On the other hand, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines its risk-based pricing with higher risk borrowers who have a lower credit score and they will likely be quoted a higher interest rate.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Yates Nobles, Realtor Receives 2019 Best of Charlottesville Award
Charlottesville Award Program Honors the Achievement
CHARLOTTESVILLE October 11, 2019 -- Yates Nobles, Realtor has been selected for the 2019 Best of Charlottesville Award in the Real Estate Consultant category by the Charlottesville Award Program.
Each year, the Charlottesville Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Charlottesville area a great place to live, work and play.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2019 Charlottesville Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Charlottesville Award Program and data provided by third parties.
About Charlottesville Award Program
The Charlottesville Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Charlottesville area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.
The Charlottesville Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.
Certain home remodeling projects are making homeowners happier and proving to be well worth the cost and time when they sell their properties, according to a new survey from the National Association of REALTORS®, which includes insights from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
After completing a home remodeling project, 74% of more than 2,100 consumers surveyed reported having a greater desire to be in their home, 65% say they experienced increased enjoyment, and 77% felt a major source of accomplishment, the 2019 Remodeling Impact Report shows. Researchers examined 20 projects and surveyed REALTORS® and consumers on home renovation projects.
“REALTORS® and homeowners alike recognize the value of taking on a major home remodeling project,” says NAR President John Smaby. “While these tasks can be time-consuming and costly, the projects are well worth the temporary inconveniences, as this report shows, and the final products ultimately reward us with feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction, and higher home values.”
NAR calculated a “joy score” for each home remodeling project studied. The score, a scale from one to 10, is based on homeowners’ overall perceived happiness with their renovations. The higher the joy score for the project, the more homeowners felt satisfaction from it.
Some of the highest joy scores for interior projects centered on complete kitchen renovations, closet renovations, full interior and interior room paint jobs, kitchen upgrades, and basement conversions to living areas.
The exterior jobs with the highest joy scores were new fiberglass or steel front doors, new vinyl and wood windows, and new roofing.
The Resale Benefit
Remodeling can be money well spent at times of resale. Overall, the top remodeling projects for recovering costs at resale were from new roofing, hardwood floor refinishing, and new hardwood floor installation.
NARI remodelers say that homeowners spend on average about $7,500 for new roofing, but real estate pros estimate that sellers will recover $8,000 at resale—an estimated 107% of the value recovered.
On new wood flooring, the average cost homeowners spend on an update is $4,700, but a 106% potential return is possible at resale (real estate pros estimate $5,000).
The Happiest Home Projects
But remodels aren’t just for the potential payback at resale. “The NAR report shows us that people often remodel for resale purposes, but it also reminds us that homeowners remodel too, with the desire to make a home their own,” notes Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.
Here’s a closer look at the study results on the home improvement projects that made homeowners the happiest:
Joy score: 10
Ninety-three percent of consumers said they had a greater desire to be at home since the completion of their kitchen remodel; 95% said it’s increased their sense of enjoyment when at home. “The kitchen is a space homeowners frequent regularly throughout the course of the day,” Yun says. “So when that area is remodeled to owners’ exact preferences—as they enter and exit the room—they continually experience the satisfaction of a job well done.”
The biggest reason behind a kitchen renovation was to improve functionality and livability, according to 46% of respondents. Also, 24% said they wanted to upgrade worn-out surfaces and materials, while another 20% said they had recently moved into their home and wanted to customize the kitchen to fit their particular tastes. “Kitchens serve as the ‘heart of the home’ for many, and whether you like to entertain or cook, updating a kitchen ensures greater access and use as homeowners age, especially when the upgrades take accessibility into account,” says Robert Kirsic, a certified kitchen and bath remodeler and also NARI’s 2019–2020 president.
Upgrading home closets also made for instantly happier homeowners. Sixty-eight percent of consumers surveyed say they feel a major sense of accomplishment when they think about a completed closet renovation project. More than half say the most important result is improved functionality and livability.
Full interior paint job
Joy score: 9.8
A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for improving the look of a house—but it also improves the mood of those living there. Eighty-eight percent of respondents reported a greater desire to be home since having their home freshly painted.
New fiberglass front door
Joy score: 9.7
The installation of fiberglass front doors can also help for resale and happiness, the survey found. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said that they’ve had a greater desire to be home, thanks to their new front door. Sixty-seven percent say they have an increased sense of enjoyment when they’re home.
New vinyl windows
Joy score: 9.6
The happiness around new windows mostly comes from the result of improved functionality and livability. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they were motivated to update their windows to improve their home’s energy efficiency, and 23% want to upgrade worn-out surfaces, finishes, and materials.
© National Association of REALTORS®
August 26, 2019 By Bill Gassett
There is no denying the flexibility that renting offers—you can move relatively easily when you want, and you do not have to carry a mortgage for decades to have a place to live. However, if you are like many renters, you are probably at least considering the idea of owning a home.
But how do you know if you are ready for homeownership? Here are some reasons why you might be prepared to become a homeowner. If some or all of these resonate with you, it’s probably time to talk to a real estate agent you trust to start looking for a place you can be happy owning and living in.
The opportunity to become a homeowner can be both emotionally and financially rewarding when you have a long term horizon. By following some sound first-time buyer tips, you’ll ensure that your journey from renting to owner goes smoothly.
The following are some of the most common reasons why renters decide now is the time to own a home:
In most areas of the country, rents are rising and rising. The increase in rental prices can be frustrating for numerous reasons. You cannot anticipate what your housing costs will be over the long-term, which makes it hard to plan your finances.
You also probably feel some frustration with landlords—after all, who likes being told that they need to fork over yet more rent money in the coming year? There is also the uncertainty of the whole situation that can get to you. Your income is probably not shooting up and up each year, so why should you be expected to pay more and more rent?
When rent is going up, and mortgage rates are low, it can be a good sign that you should start shopping for a home. If you think about it – when you are renting you’re probably helping to pay someone’s mortgage. Unfortunately, that person isn’t you!
Some folks aren’t quite ready to go right from renting into becoming a homeowner. Often the reasons are financial ones. It could be not enough of a down payment or high amounts of debt, possibly from student loans. At times, if you can find the opportunity, renting to own a house might make sense. Of course, there are pros and cons associated with rent to own arrangements, so make sure you understand them.
One of the better reasons to go from renting to owning a home is when money is unbelievably cheap. When interest rates on mortgages are desirable, it’s like a flashing sign that says “buy buy buy.” Interests rates won’t stay at record lows forever. History shows us that they can turn rather quickly.
When they do, it will be a lost opportunity if you were in a position to buy.
Lenders look closely at the amount of debt you have and how you have managed that debt. Ideally, a lender wants you to have 43% or less debt-to-income ratio, although some conventional loans will allow you to have a 50% DTI.
You can calculate your debt to income easily by adding up all of your monthly debt payments. Once you know what all your monthly debts cost, then you can divide that number by your gross monthly income.
If you have high balances on your credit cards, you can pay them down in order to look more appealing to lenders. You do not have to pay them off completely. Instead, pay them down enough to hit the right DTI. Then, you can put that extra money into building an emergency fund for your home.
Purchasing a home requires paying a lot of costs at the beginning that cannot really be recouped in the first few years of ownership. In other words, for a home purchase to make financial sense, you need to be ready to stick around for a while. Over time, the investment can prove quite positive, but it does take time.
Real Estate has been shown over and over again to be an excellent long term investment. Like other investments, it is not for someone who might need to move quickly because of a job relocation.
Lenders prefer you to have had the same job for a while as well, a job you are probably going to stay at for years after you purchase the home. They prefer you to have a steady, stable income so that you are less of a risk. Your regular income ensures you won’t miss mortgage payments.
The desire to live in a particular property or neighborhood can be powerful. Maybe your parents are getting ready to downsize, and you have always thought that owning their place would be a great idea? There may have been a house in the town you’ve always wanted to own if it became available?
Some buyers have always pictured themselves living in a desirable neighborhood in town that has all of the amenities close by that you love. There are different strokes for different folks, and emotional attachment can be highly influential in that thinking.
As a renter, your rent payments are paying the mortgage of the landlord or property owner. If you are ready to put all that money towards your future, buying a home makes sense. Each mortgage payment you make will increase the equity in your home, which is an investment for you.
A home purchase is not always a guaranteed home run—all investments carry risks. But, generally, you can expect that over the life of your mortgage, you will gain a lot of financial benefits out of putting money into property.
There are also tax advantages of owning a home as well.
One standard piece of advice for every potential homeowner is to have an emergency fund in place for the unexpected. As a renter, your landlord pays for emergencies.
If a pipe bursts, a refrigerator breaks, or an air conditioner stops working, the landlord has to come in and fix it—and pay for those repairs. But as a homeowner, you are the one responsible for those expenses. You want to be confident you have enough money set aside to weather such emergencies.
I have written about things you need to do before buying a home, and that includes having a down payment and money set aside for emergencies.
If you are seriously considering buying a home, you definitely need to start saving to create an emergency fund. That way, when something goes wrong—which is going to happen eventually—you can handle it without breaking a sweat. Vanguard has an excellent resource that discusses some of the problems that can rear their ugly head you need to be prepared for.
One of the most common reasons from going from renter to homeowner is a significant life event such as getting married. It is not unconventional thinking at all for two people to decide to find a home that blends common goals.
Having an apartment usually does not satisfy the needs of blending two families,’s especially if there are kids involved.
Having more room is another substantial reason for purchasing a home. If you are expecting to have a child shortly, it makes sense to start considering homeownership.
While renting is sometimes a necessity for growing families, if you are fortunate enough to be in a position where you can buy a home, doing so can offer a lot of benefits for you and your growing family.
Your new home can give you room to expand, such as providing your family bedrooms, bathrooms, and all the other spaces that make life easier. The house can also serve as a stable location for peace of mind for you and all your loved ones.
By becoming a homeowner, you’ll be able to pick and choose the kind of property that will serve the needs of your lifestyle. Buying a home can not only be rewarding but fun as well. It is a chance to spread your wings and take another step towards becoming an adult.
One of the most significant signs you are ready to move from renting to owning a home is having a down payment. Financial stability is a significant indicator that you are prepared to buy a home—particularly when it comes to down payments and closing costs.
You want to be able to pay the down payment so you can get a mortgage, and you want to be able to pay the closing costs so you can finalize your purchase. And don’t worry if you don’t have 20% down—many loans do not require so much for a down payment.
There are numerous loan programs available for first-time buyers. It can be very confusing to a first-timer because of how many mortgage choices are out there. An experienced mortgage broker can come in handy to answer all of the questions you should be asking a lender. Remember, you should be interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.
For first-time homebuyers, FHA mortgages have become really popular. Some FHA loans only require 3.5% down, while loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac only need 3% down. If you can come up with 3% down and qualify for the right loan—and have your closing costs in order—you can likely become a homeowner.
The credit score you bring to lenders is going to play a significant role in the type of financing you can get. The worse your credit score, the fewer options you have available when buying a home. That is why it is essential to do what you can to improve your credit score before you go to try and buy a home. The better your credit score, the more options you will have, and the more money you can save on your mortgage.
If you have improved your credit score, it may be time to talk to a lender about what you can do to get a mortgage. You can sometimes qualify for a mortgage with a credit score of 500—but that does not mean it will be a mortgage that you want.
The mortgage will have an undesirable rate and will require a higher down payment. But, if you have a higher credit score, the loan will have a better rate and require a lower down payment.
If you need to improve your credit score, get a free copy of your credit report, and address any issues that might be hurting your credit score. Mortgage professionals and real estate agents continuously preach about the importance of the best credit scores – this is why!
Going from a renter to a homeowner is not something that should be made as a snap judgment. There should be a lot of planning involved in buying a house for the first time. Those who are unprepared typically make buying mistakes they regret later on. Don’t be one of them!