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Friday, January 25, 2013

The Previous Year in Review Plus a Look Ahead to 2013 in Clarke and Oconee Counties

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We are well into the New Year and things are already picking up. In fact, looking at how 2012 compared to the year prior, there are lots of great things happening in our marketplace. We saw continued historic low interest rates that kept pulling off more and more buyers that had previously been waiting the market out. We saw a significant increase in demand and conversely a decrease in the supply of homes available for sale – as much as 40% fewer homes available this year versus last.

Clarke County Real Estate Snapshot
Last year there were 941 homes sold as opposed to just 818 sold in 2011. This represents a 15% increase in homes sales year over year, indicating a strong comeback for real estate in our area. The number does not rival pre-2007 levels however it does show strong promise for a better housing market ahead.

Oconee County Real Estate Update
We also reported approximately 2% increase in the average sales price in Oconee County as well as a sizable increase of 34% more homes sold in 2012 compared to 2011. The surprising fact is that about one fifth of these homes were new construction, an industry that until only recently had suffered from the housing market crash of 2007. Developers are able to buy land at lower prices and then pass on these savings to homebuyers, helping to propel the new construction industry.


Looking ahead to the months and year ahead, we are excited to serve you with even better service. We have brought on two assistants to the team and are putting in important systems in place to be able to provide you, our valued clients, with the best real estate experience.

If you would like more information on the counties we have covered here, or to obtain the market statistics for another area in our region, please feel free to contact us today! It’s a fantastic time to buy a home with market conditions as they are and we look forward to helping you achieve all your real estate goals.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How to Save Thousands of Dollars and Shave Off Years From Your Mortgage Payment

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What would you say if I told you that you could be mortgage-free five to seven years sooner than what your loan payment schedule dictates? And how about if I were able to share with you a simple, easy and very effective way to slash down your total mortgage payment by thousands?

Sure, you can walk into the bank and pay a huge chunk of money toward your mortgage – but who has thousands of dollars lying around? The truth is that if you follow one or more of my tips on how to save thousands and shave off years from your mortgage – you can do it without even noticing it. All you have to do is make one extra payment on your mortgage every year. Here’s how:

Use Your Tax Refund or Bonus Cash

Many households can expect a large chuck of cash at the end of the year (or later depending on when taxes are filed) and that gives them an extra couple or few thousand dollars to work with. If you can channel those funds or even a portion of them according to your mortgage payment, you will effectively pay an extra payment all at once and not have to worry about it for the rest of the year. It takes discipline but is the easiest way to knock off years and thousands of dollars from your mortgage. The same applies to annual bonuses.

Pay a Little Bit More Each Month Toward Your Principal

If a chunk of money each year is too much to handle, another easier way is to divide the amount of your monthly payment by twelve and tack on that extra amount to each month’s payment. So for example if your mortgage is $1,200 – just add an extra $100 to each payment. By the end of each year you will have paid an entire extra payment.

Make Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments

Yet another easy way to chip away at your mortgage at an accelerated pace is to make payments every two weeks. With 52 weeks in a year it will automatically result in an extra payment and you will not even notice. This can be difficult for some people, given the other expenses throughout a typical month but again, with discipline it’s a great way to manage your mortgage and pay it off much sooner.
If you can afford making a significantly larger monthly payment, another option is to refinance down to a 15-year fixed rate mortgage. Not only would that reduce your loan period by half but if you haven’t refinanced recently, you could save an additional amount with a new, lower interest rate! At the end of the term, the savings can add up to the tens of thousands of dollars depending on your mortgage amount.

Contact me today if you’d like to sit down and talk about your real estate goals, whether buying, selling, investing or just getting information about our marketplace. I look forward to serving you!