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The HodgePodge

Lucky Charms?

by Grove City Realty on 05/24/17

Lucky Charms?

The other day, my golden four leaf clover hanging above my front door caught my attention and was my unexpected muse for this blog. It was a house warming present, a lovely gesture, and on the back is the inscription, “One leaf is for hope, and one is for faith, and one is for love, you know and God put another in for luck”. So, you know what happens next. The thought train takes off and starts exploring other lucky charms that are seen in homes. I have seen horseshoes above doors and in barns, but what else? So, with the help of my friend, Google, we set off on a mission to find others. I have listed a few below and even one lucky charm that is said to help sell your home.

Horseshoe

The horseshoe has a long history of being a protective symbol. It has become customary to hang a horseshoe over the door to protect against evil and bring good luck. The way you hang the horseshoe is a matter of perspective. If the horseshoe hung pointing upward, it's believed your luck will not escape. If the horseshoe is hung pointing down, it's believed that good luck pours into the home.

Smudging

A traditional Native American practice known as smudging uses the smoke from burning herbs, most likely sage, to purify a space. Smudging is believed to clear away negative energy and bringing luck and positive energy. In the traditional practice, before you begin, you would open a door or window so the negative energy can escape. Then, you would place the bundle of herbs in a bowl, light them and gently blow out the flame so it would smolder, like incense. To dispose of the leftover ashes, practitioners recommend that you take them outside and leave them on the earth.

St. Joseph

St. Joseph is a Catholic saint long believed to help with home-related matters. Through the years he has become known as the patron saint of real estate. It is believed if you purchase a St. Joseph statue and bury it in your yard and say a series of special prayers, the right buyer will come along to purchase your home. Once the home is sold, the next step is to dig up the statue and place it in your new home for continued good fortune.

Feng Shui

The art of feng shui is an ancient Chinese practice of balancing the physical environment to promote harmony and balance, which is believed to bring positive outcomes. One prominent rule in this practice is to clear out clutter to allow a natural flow of energy, sounds like familiar advice from the home staging experts. Additionally, it is believed that a home should have a healthy combination of the five feng shui elements – wood, fire, water, earth and metal. Each element represents a different kind of energy and the type of outcome it cultivates.

As it turns out, I have a money tree in my home as well, a popular plant used in the practice of feng shui. I purchased the plant for the intricate braided trunk, long green leaves and the easy to care for promise on the tag. What lucky charms do you have in your home? Maybe, you're like me and have more than one, from a practice you know little about.

Red Doors, what do they mean?

by Grove City Realty on 05/11/17

We have all seen brightly colored front doors on homes, the most popular color is red.  The experts tell us it will improve the curb appeal of your home and make it more welcoming. But they're not the first to come up with this idea, it's an old practice from many different origins.  This is what history is saying, about the red door.
In Feng Shui, a red front door means “welcome.” Feng Shui is a Chinese philosophy in which the arrangement and color of objects in a room relates to the flow of energy. The front door is known as the “Mouth of Chi” where energy enters. If you believe in or follow Feng Shui, painting your front door red would create welcoming energy.
A red door means “welcome” in an old early American tradition. If a family had a red front door tired travelers traveling by horse and buggy would know that a home was a welcoming place to rest. They would be able to spend the night there.
A red door provides protection. In Biblical times, the Hebrew slaves were instructed to smear blood of a lamb on their front doors to protect their first born from the angel of death. In old Catholicism churches painted the doors of the church red to represent the blood of Christ. Passing through the door would mean that you were on holy ground. Some believe a red door protects the occupants from evil.

A red front door means mortgage-free. In Scotland, homeowners would paint their front door red to signify that they had paid off their mortgage.

So, maybe having a red front door isn't all about having great curb appeal after all.  When we take a moment and search history, we can discover many truths on why we do the things we do today.

FHA loans, what are they?

by Grove City Realty on 05/03/17

An FHA loan is a mortgage loan that is backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).  FHA mortgage loans are very popular, especially with first time home buyers because the requirements are less strict than conventional loans.  Borrowers can qualify for an FHA loan with a down payment as little as 3.5% of the purchase price and a credit score of 580 or higher.  If the borrower's credit score is between 500-579, the down payment increases to 10%.  It is important to remember, interest rates are still reflective of the borrowers credit score. 
There is one catch to the FHA mortgage loan, mortgage insurance.  It requires two kinds of mortgage insurance premiums: one is paid in full upfront, or it can be financed into the mortgage and the other is a monthly payment. 
So, who can qualify for a FHA mortgage loan? Below are some key points you will have to meet.
  • Borrowers must have a steady employment history or worked for the same employer for the past two years.
  • Borrowers must have a valid Social Security number, be of legal age and a lawful resident of the United States.
  • Borrowers must pay a minimum down payment of 3.5%.
  • Borrowers should have a minimum credit score of 580, you can have a score as low as 500, but it isn't ideal.
  • Typically borrowers must be two years out of bankruptcy and three years out of foreclosure and have re-established good credit.
Below are links for more information on FHA mortgage loans and possibly help you get a pre-approval.  Please call Grove City Realty if you have any questions, we help buyers work with lenders every day. 724-458-5858

What is a USDA loan?

by Grove City Realty on 04/24/17

A USDA home loan from the USDA loan program, is a mortgage loan offered to rural property owners by the United States Department of Agriculture.  This type of loan has the ability to help people purchase a home who would otherwise not be able to qualify for a conventional loan.  Of the many benefits, the most noted is the ability to obtain one hundred percent financing.  This means qualified borrowers can purchase a home with no out of pocket cost.  Below are the top five benefits of having a USDA mortgage loan.
1.  No down payment required
2.  Low monthly private mortgage insurance
3.  Flexible credit guidelines
4.  Competitive fixed interest rates
5.  Ability to finance upfront mortgage insurance and closing costs
So, the next question you may ask, well who is eligible for the USDA loan?  First, any individual or family who plans to occupy a home located in an eligible rural area as their primary residence may qualify for a USDA mortgage loan.  Grove City, Pennsylvania is considered a rural area, so we have you covered there.  Second, when applying you must provide sufficient income verification and have a credit history that has indicated the ability and willingness to meet the repayment obligations.  Third, you have to fall within the income guidelines.  USDA mortgage loans are catered to the low to average income borrower, there is an income limit to qualify.
 
Below is the link to the USDA government site to help you learn more and possibly get a pre-approval.  Please call Grove City Realty if you have any questions, we help buyers work with lenders every day. Let us help you find the home of your dreams!

Twelve Things You Need to Know About Your VA Loans

by Grove City Realty on 04/09/17

Veterans

Here are twelve things you need to know about your VA loans:

1.       They’re reusable.  As long as you have paid off your VA loan, you can use your full entitlement again. 

2.       Only certain types of homes can qualify for your loan.  Many “fixer-upper” types of homes or businesses may not qualify.  If it is a move-in ready home or condo, you should be ready to go.

3.       The loans are not for recreational “camps” or vacation homes or investment properties.  They are designed to provide a primary residence for you.

4.       The VA does not give you the money.  What the VA does is to guarantee the qualifying mortgages.

5.       The loans are guaranteed by the federal government.  This gives veterans good terms and rates in their loans, because the USA government guarantees about a quarter of the loan and reduces risk to the lender.

6.       If you are putting less than 20 percent down, you do not have to pay mortgage insurance.  The VA’s guarantee saves veterans money each month by eliminating this premium.

7.       There is a mandatory fee.  It may run about 2 percent of the loan amount.  This is the VA Funding Fee.  It helps keep the program running for you and other veterans.

8.       There is a limit on co-borrowers.  Many mortgages will let you get a loan with about anybody.  Usually the co-borrower needs to be a spouse or another veteran who will live in the house with you.  Check with your lender for restrictions.

9.       They are available even if you have a history of foreclosure or bankruptcy.  You can still use your VA loan benefit.

10.   They do not carry a prepayment penalty.  You can make extra payments any time you are able.  Even if you can only apply a little extra cash to paying off your mortgage each month, you can pay off the mortgage years earlier and save thousands of dollars.

11.   After establishing that you are eligible, you will need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). The COE verifies to the lender that you are eligible for a VA-backed loan. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website can help you determine what forms you need for your particular military service experience. 

12.   See your lender to get a preapproval for your VA loan as a first step.  Then you are ready to make an offer when that dream home becomes available. 

 

Please call Grove City Realty if you have questions.  We help buyers work with lenders everyday.  Let us help you find a great home at a great price.  This article is a brief summary. Check out these websites and your lender for information suited to your unique situation. 

We thank you for your service to our nation.   

Thanks to the following websites for information:  usaa.com    www.benefits.va.gov  veteransunited.com