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

Mortgage Rates in Holding Pattern

February 2, 2015 1:18 am

Mortgage rates were mixed last week, with the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate reversing last week's move and settling at 3.80 percent, according to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey. The 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.29 discount and origination points.

The average 15-year fixed mortgage dropped to 3.13 percent, down 3.18 percent from last week. The 30-year fixed mortgage was down 3.81 percent from the previous week at 3.80 percent. Adjustable rate mortgages were mostly higher, with the 7-year ARM climbing to 3.37 percent and the 10-year ARM rising to 3.65 percent.

Mortgage rates remain at the lowest levels since May 2013, despite an improving U.S. economy. The economic sluggishness overseas and increased stimulus from other central banks around the globe have kept the Federal Reserve 'patient' about raising interest rates and helped bring both bond yields and mortgage rates lower. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government bonds.

One year ago, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 4.50 percent. At that time, a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,013.37. With the average rate now at 3.80 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $931.91, a savings of approximately $81 per month for anyone refinancing now.

Source: Bankrate

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Choose a Remodeling Contractor

February 2, 2015 1:18 am

(BPT) – Trusting a contractor with both your home and money can feel overwhelming. Spare yourself time, expenses and sanity by following these steps for choosing the best remodeling contractor.

1. Decide what you want out of your newly remodeled home. Start thinking about goals, amenities and a rough timeline, making sure you can clearly articulate your ideas to a contractor. Idea centers such as Houzz.com can serve as inspiration for kick-starting your remodeling project. This phase is also ideal for researching sustainable building products. By using green products, homeowners save money on heating and cooling costs, and builders can decrease the construction's carbon footprint.

2. Ask for advice. You're not the first person to remodel your home, so don't go through the process alone. Talk to friends, relatives, neighbors and coworkers about their remodeling experiences. In addition to collecting referrals, ask targeted questions about how those contractors communicated throughout the process and mitigated any setbacks. If you know a building inspector, ask which contractors regularly meet code requirements.

3. Research and contact businesses. Start gathering information on your referrals and local prospects by visiting their websites or making phone calls. Make sure these remodeling contractors have the required licenses, liability insurance and ability to obtain local permits for your project. Most will also tell you if they belong to a professional association such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry or National Association of Homebuilders. The Better Business Bureau also issues warnings about those that might not be trustworthy. Through your research, select three to five potential contractors.

4. Set up meetings with contractors.
After identifying your top candidates, schedule face-to-face meetings with each to discuss your project. Ask questions and make sure communication is fluid and straight-forward. How many projects does the contractor handle at one time? Are his or her past projects similar in scope to yours? If you find a particular meeting goes especially well, ask for references and a bid on your project.

5. Compare bids and references. Think of this step as putting the finishing touches on your selection process. When contacting references, ask them to rate their satisfaction with the project. Did the contractor meet time and budget requirements? As soon as the bids come in, look at the cost breakdown of labor and building materials. The best contractor is not always the cheapest. Now's the time to find out if a contractor uses the best quality products that meet your budget.

6. Choose your contractor and sign a contract. With all of your research on hand, select the best contractor for your project. After confirming with the contractor, draw up a contract that includes a description of the work, products to be used, cost and completion dates and let the project begin.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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