RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Your Yard: Go Beyond Utility with Retaining Walls

February 23, 2016 2:00 am

(BPT)—Retaining walls are commonly used to address varying degrees of elevation on a property. Did you know they they can also be used to enhance the functionality of an outdoor living space?

“Because segmental retaining walls are both durable and beautiful, landscapers and homeowners can use them to create outdoor seating, raised patios and other features," says Scott Arnold, manager of Villa Landscapes in St. Paul, Minn. “They are the perfect building block to create grill islands, outdoor kitchens and so much more.”

With retaining wall systems, homeowners can create freestanding walls, columns, stairs, planters and other features without the need for special units, Arnold says. Homeowners can create outdoor seating similar to commercial stadium seating, albeit on a smaller scale, with a curved, couch-like seating area, for example.

Retaining walls can also be purposed as offset stairs, patio landings or seat walls. One Minnesota homeowner, who nicknamed her un-mow-able backyard "Billy Goat Hill,” installed retaining walls to gain safe access to her garden.

“The pinned system provides a high ratio of weight per square foot of wall face, plus extreme flexibility in design, says Paul Devine, owner of Devine Design Landscapes in Rosemont, Minn., who headed up the project. “Back-locking lip walls are not as structurally sound as a pinned system, and hollow blocks do not provide the stability required for large tiered walls.”

Retaining walls can extend beyond the backyard, as well. Homeowners can install them as driveway barriers to protect their lawns, as a tiered arrangement to address slope issues, or at property lines to prevent unwanted traffic.

Source: VERSA-LOK

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Home Loan Closing Timeline Averages 50 Days

February 23, 2016 2:00 am

Recently effective regulation has impacted the real estate transaction timeline, extending the time needed to close a loan to an average of 50 days, according to a recent Ellie Mae® report. For homebuyers and sellers, this underscores the need for a real estate professional well versed in the loan process.

“We continue to see the time to close lengthen month over month, now reaching 50 days, which is up four days since TRID [regulation] went into effect,” says Jonathan Corr, president and CEO of Ellie Mae.

The Ellie Mae report shows:

- The average time to close a conventional loan is 49 days.
- The average time to close a purchase loan is 51 days.
- The average time to close a refinance loan is 48 days.
- The average time to close a FHA loan is 51 days.
- The average time to close a VA loan is 53 days.

Ellie Mae data also show that the average FICO credit score on closed loans is decreasing, down recently to 719 from 722. The average FHA refinance FICO score declined, as well, down to 645 from 651.

Source: Ellie Mae

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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