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

3 Earthquake Safety Tips

July 16, 2015 1:09 am

Disaster films like “San Andreas” may appear to depict real-life scenarios, but most earthquakes are not all doom and gloom, says the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). In fact, there are three ways to prepare for an impending quake that are relatively simple:

1. Earthquake-Proof Your Home

Falling objects cause the majority of injuries during an earthquake. Using museum wax or putty, anchor bolts and earthquake straps to secure objects within your home will prevent injuries and save lives. Take a Saturday afternoon and have your kids help put museum wax or putty under all your breakables and collectibles.

2. Be Financially Prepared

Earthquakes are not covered under standard homeowners or renters insurance policies, so look into purchasing a supplemental policy for earthquake damage. Earthquake coverage is available from private insurance companies and, in California, where quakes are most common, from the California Earthquake Authority (CEA). The CEA coverage limit is the insured value of the home as stated on the companion homeowners insurance policy with a deductible of 10 or 15 percent. Cars and other vehicles are covered for earthquake damage under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy.

3. Plan for Evacuation

The whole family can—and should—participate in creating and practicing your evacuation plan. Consider downloading the Know Your Plan app to better protect yourself, your family, your home and even your pets.

Source: I.I.I.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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4 Steps to Take before Refinancing a Mortgage

July 16, 2015 1:09 am

Refinancing your mortgage can lower your monthly payments and save money, but it’s important to review your circumstances carefully before doing so. According to a Zillow survey cited by the nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC), many homeowners are misinformed about the refinancing process – nearly half incorrectly believe they must wait at least one year between refinancing, and one-fifth incorrectly believe underwater borrowers are not eligible for refinancing.

“Too many homeowners are unaware of the opportunities to refinance and save money,” says ACCC President and CEO Steve Trumble. “As people work through their careers and continue to increase their salary, they are more likely boost their credit score. With this increase in credit comes the ability to procure home loans at lower rates. A lower interest rate can have a significant effect on monthly mortgage payments, potentially saving homeowners hundreds of dollars a year.”

Before refinancing a home loan, ACCC advises homeowners to:

1. Beware of Increased Terms - Borrowers should be aware that increasing the term of the loan repayment means more payments and more interest paid. Borrowers can use an online home refinance calculator to help calculate monthly payments under these repayment plans.

2. Meet Qualifying Criteria - Before deciding to refinance, borrowers should be sure to meet all of the qualifications. To refinance, homeowners should have regular income, at least 10 to 20 percent equity in their homes, and a FICO credit score of 740 or better. Borrowers with scores as low as 620 can qualify for a Federal Housing Administration mortgage, which are available through banks, credit unions and other lenders.

3. Look at Short-Term Loans
- If you're not going to stay in your home for over 10 years, you should consider a hybrid loan that is fixed for 5, 7, or 10 years and then converts into a 1-year adjustable rate mortgage. These loans reduce the amount of interest paid, but if you stay beyond the fixed period, your rate could rise.

4. Know Your Options - Before refinancing, weigh your options. Compare monthly payments, interest savings, length of mortgage, refinancing costs, eligibility, etc. Speak with your current lender and see what types of options are available and let the lender know you are shopping around for the best deal.

All homeowners have their own unique and personal financial situation, but taking advantage of refinancing can be rewarding – particularly when consumers take the time to properly research and make educated decisions on the timeliness of their repayments.

Source: ACCC

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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