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Month: February 2016

Free Electronics Recycling, Save the Date!

Have any electronic items that are too old or broken to give away or sell?  Put them in a box and bring them to the RE/MAX Alliance office at 512 4th Avenue in Longmont on April 16th from 10:00 AM to Noon.  It’s great for our environment and an efficient way to recycle all that old tech stuff!

Recycleathon Flyer Longmont 2016

http://www.homesincolorado.com/sean-gilliam

longmontrecycleathon.homesincolorado.com

Downtown Longmont Recyclathon Ad

Times Call Recyclathon Ad

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When Should You Be Concerned About Cracks in Your Home’s Foundation?

Foundation cracks are inevitable and you may have seen at least one in the foundation of your home.  Some cracks are harmless and are not anything to be concerned about while some are significant and may indicate structural concerns.  So how do you know what to look for and which ones require action on your part?  See below for some helpful identifiers.

Settlement Cracks

Settlement cracks in concrete foundation walls are common in household basements.  They usually happen in the first year after construction as a result of the settling of the foundation’s footing.  The cracks typically run vertically or somewhat diagonally and are often wider at the top.  As a rule, concrete inevitably cracks at some point due to the materials it is made of.

When settlement cracks are a concern:

There are several things to look for in the cracks in your foundation walls to indicate an inspection and even mitigation may be necessary.

  • If the settlement crack on your foundation wall is wider than a quarter inch.
  • If the crack runs diagonally across a majority portion of a wall.
  • If the crack runs horizontally.

Any of the above symptoms indicate a possible foundation failure and/or significant structural movement.  Next steps to take would be to have an inspection of the foundation completed.  It may also be necessary to have a structural engineer involved to advise on what needs to be done to solve the problem.  Bear in mind, if your home is less than 10 years old the structure may still be under warranty by the builder.

Shrinkage Cracks

Another type of crack you might see on your foundation walls is a shrinkage crack.  This type of crack is a result of the curing process of poured concrete in which shrinkage occurs.  This is natural and such cracks do not present any structural concerns.  You’ll observe them on the foundation wall as a hairline crack, typically 1/8 inch or less in width.  The only concern with a shrinkage crack is that it may let moisture in.  This can be mitigated by injecting poly-urethane or epoxy into the crack.  This will seal it and not allow moisture to come through.  Contact a local contractor for a quote on getting this type of crack repaired.

 

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Do Mortgage Rates Go Up Because the Feds Raise Interest Rates?

With the Federal Reserve raising  interest rates (aka Federal Funds Rate) as it did on December 16th, 2015, you may hear that this means mortgage rates will increase automatically.  However, the two are not directly related.  In fact, since the Feds raised the funds rate, mortgage rates have actually dropped significantly.   For instance, prior to the Feds raising the rates, mortgage rates were hovering around 4%.  Now they are around 3.66% as of mid-February.

So if you are a prospective home buyer and see headlines that say the Federal Reserve may raise the rates at their next meeting, no need to panic.  This is because mortgage rates are influenced by the bond market, not the funds rate (See below for further explanation).  If you are just interested in knowing the current mortgage rates, you can monitor them directly at sites like Mortgage News Daily or Freddie Mac that give data on daily rate averages.

For more detailed information on what influences mortgage rates, read on:

Mortgage rates are primarily impacted by the bond market, not the Federal Funds Rate.  Here’s a brief explanation of how the bond market drives mortgage rates.  Specifically, for fixed rate mortgages (Conventional, FHA and VA loans) the mortgage rates are most strongly influenced by the trading of U.S. Treasury bonds/notes.  These bonds/notes are used by the government as a means of paying off U.S. debt.  They are sold at auction by the Treasury Department and are called bonds when issued for 30 year terms and are called notes when issued for 2, 3, 5 and 10 year terms.  However, most people refer to them as bonds regardless of the length of the term they are issued for.

In a nutshell, when investors buy more of these bonds, increasing demand, mortgage rates go down.  Likewise, if demand for buying these bonds decreases, mortgage rates go up.  So while the Federal Reserve raised the rate by .25 of a point, it doesn’t mean mortgage rates will automatically jump up as well.  It could take some time, depending on how the demand for bonds goes in the coming weeks and months.

So what market factors are necessary for mortgage rates to go down?  Typically, when the economy is struggling.  Specifically, when the stock market is unstable and thus is a higher risk for investors, these investors will invest in bonds.  This is because there is lower risk and the federal government guarantees their investment for Treasury bonds.  As more investors move to bond purchasing to avoid the risk of an unstable stock market, the demand for these bonds goes up, which in turn causes mortgage rates to decrease.  Currently, the stock market is a risky endeavor as you may have noticed some fluctuation in your investment accounts.  In these market conditions, investors are moving toward purchasing bonds which in turn keeps mortgage rates lower.  As of the writing of this article on 2/13/16, the average mortgage rate was 3.66%.  So if you have been contemplating as to whether or not you should buy a home this year, these low interest rates put you at an advantage as you can get more home for your money.  Your best bet is to talk to a lender as they can educate you as to the best loan for your situation, some of these loans come with even lower interest rates than the average.

 

See my Blog for additional articles

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Wanting to Own Instead of Rent? Now is the Time.

If you can afford rent in Colorado you can probably afford a mortgage.  The average rental rate for a 2 bedroom apartment in Colorado is $1457.  You can expect to pay more the closer you get to metropolitan areas or the foothills.  With rental rates likely going higher due to demand, it may be wise to turn that rental payment into an investment in your own home.

So what holds people back from buying?  The belief that they don’t have enough money for a down payment.  However, you may be surprised to know that you can get into a home with little or no money down.  For instance, the Veterans Administration (VA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have loans that will get you into a home with 0% down payment.  The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) loans may only require 3.5% down.

So what’s the next step?  Contact me via my webpage  or call me directly at 970-313-6706 and we can get started.  There is more than meets the eye when looking for a home and I will guide you through the process to make it easy and stress free.  The good news is, it costs you nothing to have me represent you as a buyer since I get paid through the seller at closing.

Benefits of Home Ownership vs. Renting

No Money Down Home Loans

 

 

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