Consider this: When to refinance?!

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Refinancing your mortgage is something most homeowners consider at least once throughout the lifespan of their home loan. It allows you to pay off your previous loan by applying for a new one that has better financial advantages. While there are many good reasons to refinance, here are five common ones.

  • Scoring a lower interest rate. The number one reason homeowners decide to refinance is to secure a lower interest rate on their mortgage. Not only does this save you money in the long run and decrease your monthly payment, but you can start building equity in your home sooner.
  • Using an improved credit score. Even if interest rates have not dropped in the market, if you’ve improved your credit score over the last few years, you may be able to reduce your mortgage rate.
  • Shortening the loan’s term. If interest rates are decreasing, there is a chance you may be able to get a shorter loan term with little to no change in your monthly payment, allowing you to pay off your loan sooner.
  • Switching from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate. If you chose an adjustable-rate mortgage with great introductory rates when you initially financed your home, that rate may increase significantly over the years. By switching to a fixed rate while interest rates are low, you can protect yourself from future increases.
  • Cashing out home equity. If there is a big purchase or payment on the horizon, such as funding a wedding or going back to school, your best option may be to use the equity you’ve built in your home to borrow money at a lower cost.

Give us a call today!  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com

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Understanding Price Per Square Foot

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Price per square foot is a concept in real estate which is easy to understand and just as easy to misuse. The formula is pretty simple: To determine price per square foot, you take a price, such as sale price of a home, and divide it by the square footage of the property.

Price per square foot is useful in looking at broad market comparisons, such as comparing one entire metro area to another, or looking at an area’s average change over time. It is not, however, terribly accurate in figuring out the value of your home.

Why? Well, price per square foot fails to take into account the most important factors when pricing a home.

First and foremost, it makes assumptions about the home’s amenities. We all know the quality of materials used in home construction and the condition of the home’s appliances and other features can have a dramatic impact on the value of a home. A kitchen with Italian marble surfaces versus one with pressboard countertops will have completely different values. Price per square foot in a given neighborhood will blend these homes together and produce an average.

Second, price per square foot assumes locations are identical, but in almost any metro area there are up-and-coming neighborhoods as well as neighborhoods in decline. Price per square foot near an abandoned industrial zone will vary considerably from one near a well-established downtown district with a great walkability score.

Third, even the simple methodology of calculating price per square foot can be influenced by how the total number of square feet has been calculated. If one has a garage converted into a mother-in-law, and another home doesn’t, which square footage is valid? And what about home or lot size? Sometimes above or below-grade lots can influence the price per square foot as well.

Price per square foot is more useful in commercial situations where there is tremendous uniformity in the design, construction, and location, but as a tool for assessing your home’s market value, it’s flat out dangerous.

Want a real estimation of your home’s value in its current condition and location? We’d be happy to help. Get in touch today, and we’ll show you what goes into determining the optimal price for your home.  Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS – The Hanley Home Team of Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside 904-515-2479 http://www.TheHanleyHomeTeam.com

5 Factors That Can Help Predict Neighborhood Values

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How do you predict the value of a neighborhood? While no one can say for sure how home values in a neighborhood will rise or decline over time, there are big-picture economic factors that you can look for to help get handle on where they may be going.

1. Major regional employers. If a community depends upon one or two large companies for a high percentage of local employment, you can bet that as the company fares, so will the neighborhoods. While “company towns” are hardly the norm these days, don’t overlook the possibility.

2. Number of properties currently for sale. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with a neighborhood just because the inventory (i.e. number of homes on the market) is high. Other times, something may be amiss. If you’re seeing street-after-street of “FOR SALE” signs, ask questions.

3. Major construction. Is that a new school they’re building, or is it a supermax prison? Did they clear that land for a new shopping center, or is it a new loop for the interstate? Certain types of construction can improve home values while others can hurt. Getting in touch with the local planning commission as well as the local newspaper’s business section (or website) can help illuminate what’s behind those bulldozers and cement mixers.

4. Rental density. People who own the homes they live in tend to take better care of them. Also, it’s preferable to have long-term neighbors versus high-turnover tenants. Absentee landlords or seasonally rented properties can also be a drag on a neighborhood. Get a feel for the rental density and the direction it’s heading. Rental density matters.

5. Environmental conditions. One industrial accident that poisons a water supply is enough to annihilate home values. How susceptible is the region to extreme weather? Don’t rule out environmental liabilities or benefits.

Nobody’s crystal ball is perfect, but to ignore major macroeconomic factors is dangerous. Even if you’re only planning on staying in a location for 5 – 7 years, do yourself a favor and try to position yourself to make, not lose money, on your home with these tips in mind.

Have questions about a neighborhood in Jacksonville? We’re happy to help. Get in touch today: Kevin and Jennifer Hanley, REALTORS, Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Partners Southside, http://www.HanleyHomeTeam.com