Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Choosing the Right Home Loan in Today’s Mortgage Market

Do not let all the media hype scare you away from your goal of purchasing a home. Mortgage rates are still excellent and most loan programs are very safe if you are working with a reputable Mortgage Lender.

Many of the mortgage problems today have occurred because people chose 100% or interest only financing. Many were in what are called an 80-20 mortgage. It was an 80% first mortgage and a 20% second mortgage. The 20% second mortgage many times was an equity mortgage that had an adjustable rate. When interest rates started going up, the interest only loans and the second mortgage payments increased dramatically, making it difficult for people to manage the larger payments. Even in an appreciating real estate market that is risky if you are on a limited income. If you choose the 80-20 mortgage route, make sure the 20% is also a fixed rate. (These loans are now almost extinct.)

Here are some tips to help you choose the right mortgage in today's mortgage market:

  • If you need a 100% loan -- get a fixed rate so you will know exactly what your payments will be and they won't change. Also, if you choose the 80-20 mortgage route, make sure the 20% is also a fixed rate.
  • Do your homework and weigh down payment vs. 100% loan. The more down payment you make, the easier it is to get a loan and you may also get a lower interest rate.

  • Choose a local reputable Mortgage Lender. You will be less likely to risk being involved with a lender that may be in trouble, which could cause loan funding problems as you approach closing.

  • Get pre-qualified before you begin looking for a home. This prevents you looking at homes beyond your price range. Of course, you are going to want to purchase the nicer, higher priced home if you see that first. By today’s standards, you may qualify for much more than you may be comfortable with and just because you are pre-qualified you don’t have to spend the maximum amount.

  • Do not be talked into purchasing a home that is beyond your budget. You may not be able to buy your dream home this time but you will be investing in your future by building equity in this home to invest in the dream home at a later time.

There are many types of loans available to you. Be sure you are comfortable with the monthly payment and that you know what your payment will be, should interest rates increase. Insist the mortgage lender explain completely anything you do not understand. No question is a dumb one and we sometimes forget that most people do not understand the mortgage lingo.

For a more detailed explanation of the mortgage process and a recommendation for local lenders who meet the above criteria please contact FOR HomeBUYERS, Inc. at 800-333-2893 or visit You may also attend our next Home Buying Seminar, “How to Avoid Costly Home Buying Mistakes” on January 8, 2008.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Downtown Raleigh School Named Blue Ribbon School for 2007

Raleigh, NC – The U.S. Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has announced that Sacred Heart Cathedral Catholic School has been chosen as a National No Child Left Behind – Blue Ribbon School for 2007. A total of eight schools in North Carolina received the national recognition.

The No Child Left Behind—Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private K-12 schools that make significant progress in closing the achievement gap or those whose students achieve at very high levels. The schools submit an extensive application and are selected by a panel based on one of the following criteria:

  • A school has at least 40 percent of its students from disadvantaged backgrounds who have dramatically improved their performance in at least the past three years in reading and mathematics and are achieving at high levels.

  • A school may be recognized if its students achieve at the highest levels, that is, if the school is in the top 10 percent of the schools in the nation in reading and mathematics in the last grade tested, as measured by an assessment referenced against national norms, or in the top 10 percent in its state as measured by a state test in at least the last grade tested.

Sacred Heart Cathedral School is being recognized for high achievement. Along with test scores, the schools were evaluated on other measures such as overall school program, assessment, curriculum, instructional methods and professional development. “This is a huge accomplishment and honor for our school. Words cannot express how proud I am of the faculty, staff, students and parents for making this a school community that is able to compete and be recognized on a national level,” says Donna Moss, Principal of Sacred Heart Cathedral School. Since its founding in 1909, Cathedral School has played a dynamic role in the North Carolina educational community. It was the first school in North Carolina to educate Native American children. It was also the first Catholic School to integrate when high school students from St. Monica’s School began attending Cathedral School in the 1950’s. Even today, Cathedral School is recognized as the hallmark of ethnic and racial diversity among Raleigh’s private schools. Located in its historic building on Hillsborough Street in downtown Raleigh, Sacred Heart Cathedral School is among the oldest in the Diocese of Raleigh. Contact: Trudie Williamson; (919) 832-4711;

Cary Voters Have Spoken Out for Managed Growth with Election of New Mayor

"It truly is a victory for all of Cary," said Harold Weinbrecht, 51, a SAS software programmer and newly elected Mayor. "Not only a victory for those of us who care about a balanced way to approach growth but a victory for those of us who want to be heard. We wanted a voice."

Now Weinbrecht will lead the suburban boomtown of about 123,000 people between Raleigh and Research Triangle Park, where the techie rode a tide of discontent about the effects of rapid growth in the Triangle's third-largest city.


Growth seems sure to slow somewhat in Cary, where all the winners Tuesday favor slowing development to a more manageable rate while roads, schools, parks, and water and sewer catch up.


Even Cary's most pro-growth candidates acknowledged that development of big tracts surrounded by established neighborhoods will remain a hot issue as "doughnut holes" fill in and the town begins to reach its outward limits. The issue inflamed residents this year near the intersection of Davis Drive and High House Road, where the Town Council approved large mixed-use projects in the geographic center of town; some of the irked residents got involved in the election campaigns. The election results suggest that large-scale infill development will get closer scrutiny.


Widening roads and building parks are popular in Cary, and all of the winners rated them a high priority. Several also highlighted a core infrastructure project the town can't long delay: building an expensive sewage treatment plant with Apex and Morrisville.

In the end, the voters had the final say on growth policy. And they gave Weinbrecht four years -- and a friendly council -- to pursue his vision for Cary.

Matthew Eisley, Staff Writer,

Friday, November 2, 2007

Heritage Golf Community in Wake Forest Opens New Community- Heritage Reserve

Wake Forest, NC., Fall 2007. Heritage Reserve is now open for sales. Built by the Cunnane Group of Charlotte, N.C., Heritage Reserve offers outstanding views of the 10th, 11th and 14th holes of the Heritage Golf Club, as well as a private, low-maintenance lifestyle. These Charleston-style homes range in size from 3,000-3,500 square feet and are priced from the low $500s. Heritage Reserve is part of the Heritage Wake Forest residential community developed by Ammons Development Group.

Located near the downtown district of Wake Forest, Heritage Wake Forest features beautiful custom homes with a wide variety of home plans and architectural styles. The community features several amenities, which include the Heritage Swim and Tennis Club as well as the award-winning Heritage Golf Club. For more information on Heritage Wake Forest, visit For more information call FOR HomeBUYERS, Inc. at 919-878-1110 or 800-333-2893 or visit

This neighborhood in Heritage Wake Forest offers amazing views of the golf course along with a private, low-maintenance lifestyle to potential home buyers. FOR HomeBUYERS’ Exclusive Buyer’s Only Realtors look forward to selling the beautiful Charleston-style homes in Heritage Reserve.

Chapel Hill with increasing jobs, excellent schools and controlled growth, has fewer homes on the market than other areas of the Triangle

Job growth, attractive schools and a slow-but-steady rate of community development are saving the greater Chapel Hill area from being swamped by the housing crisis that has stymied the rest of the nation.

"The North Carolina market — Chapel Hill included — remains relatively stable, but soft by comparison to the previous six years," Kent said. From 2001 to 2006, North Carolina saw record home sales. Year-to-date, however, the number of North Carolina home sales are down 8 percent. Chapel Hill home sales are down 4 percent.

The average list price for a home in Chapel Hill stands at $469,000, up 4 percent from last year and way above everyone else in the county and the entire Triangle. However, the sold price is up less than 1 percent.

"We want prices to go up but be sustainable," said Stacey Anfindsen, managing partner of Birch Appraisal Group and preparer of the market update for the Greater Chapel Hill Association of Realtors.

The good news is that homes continue to appreciate in North Carolina. According to the market update, comparing the first quarter of 2006 to the first quarter of 2007 the rate for housing appreciation in the United States was 4.3 percent. In North Carolina, it was 7.99 percent. Since January 2005 the average for re-sales in Orange County is 7.54 percent.

The work force in Orange County increased 3.1 percent since May 2006. The large number of newcomers to the area raises the demand for housing near the universities and Research Triangle Park.

Many new employees looking to relocate families come to Chapel Hill because of the schools. During the 2006-07 school year, all schools met their Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Newsweek ranked East Chapel Hill High School 105 in America’s top high schools for 2007.

Currently, there are fewer houses available for sale in Orange County than in nearby counties.

Anfindsen agrees. "Durham and Wake Counties are exploding, but not Orange," he said. That is not to say that Chapel Hill is a no-growth area. The Town Council takes time and careful planning before allowing new building in the area. "The [Chapel Hill] Town Council is very deliberate and thorough," Perry said. "As long as you’re doing something that is a benefit" the town welcomes new growth.

The inventory of homes in Orange County has risen 23 percent, and more are up for sale. In July 2006, 695 houses were listed. In July 2007, 856 homes were listed. A home stayed on the market for an average of 45 days in July 2006. In July 2007 the length was 53 days.

Realtors remain hopeful for the fall market.