Category: Learn

August 30th, 2017 by Ed Yannett

Do you want to increase the value of your home and/or sell it faster?

Updates can help you do that, but if you don’t invest in the right improvements you can spend money on things that have a high cost and low resale value.

So here’s a quick list of the best updates to make in 2016 according to Remodeling Magazine:


Buyers love kitchens, but not as much as they used to. Remodeling advises you to make modest kitchen improvements. This means spending about $20,000 for updates, like new cabinet doors and hardware, fresh paint, new flooring, and an energy efficient oven/stove. This type of update recoups 83% of its cost at resale.


Insulating your attic is the single best improvement you can make in terms of cost vs. value. Remodeling found that this update earns you about $1482 on an average investment of $1268, so you recoup 116% of your investment.


Replacing vinyl siding for a manufactured stone veneer returns about 93% on your investment. You’ll spend about $7,500 on average. If you stay with vinyl siding, but replace the worn siding with new, you will still get back a healthy 77% of the cost.

Garage door

A garage door may not seem like a big deal, but it is. It adds to your home’s curb appeal. Before updating your garage door consider how you use your garage. If you’re just storing cars, you may not need insulated doors, which cost more. But if you use your garage as a workshop or laundry room, you probably need to spend the extra for insulated doors. The average cost for this project is about $1,650 and its resale value is about $1,510.

Front door

Updating to a new steel front door can increase the security and energy efficiency of your home. A steel door brings a 91% return on cost ($1335 value vs. $1217 cost), while a new fiberglass door returns about 82% ($3126 vs. $2574) of its cost


Wooden decks are more popular than composite decks, but both can increase the value of your home. Wooden decks raise the value of your home by $7,850 and cost $10,470. Composite decks return 64% or $10,819 on a $16,798 investment.


Replacing a roof costs about$20,000 and should to bring about $14,500 in added resale value. So you recoup about 75% of your investment.


Buyers also like fully finished basements that have a full bathroom and wet bar. You’ll spend about $68,500 and it will add about $48,200 to the value of your home.

Go here to view Remodeling’s entire Cost vs Value List.

If you’d like personalized advice about the best updates to make on your home, please call me 912-844-9000. I spent years rehabbing homes before I became a real estate agent, so I can tell you how to get the most bang for your buck.

Posted in Learn, Sellers

August 25th, 2017 by Ed Yannett

What’s going on with mortgage rates?

Rates for home loans sank to their lowest level of the year this week as inflation remained stubbornly low and fears about a possible government shutdown mounted, mortgage provider Freddie Mac said Thursday.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.86% during the August 24 week, down three basis points to a nine-month low. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.16%, unchanged during the week. The 5-year Treasury-indexed adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.17%, up one basis point.

And look again at this amazing graph!


This can’t last forever so take advantage of it. LOW rates mean MORE buying power.

Posted in Financing a Home, Learn Tagged with:

June 15th, 2017 by Ed Yannett

With your focus on building your down payment fund and figuring out what your mortgage payment will be, it’s easy to overlook some of the smaller fees that come along with a home purchase. Here are eight and what they could cost you.

1. Home Inspection

A home inspection helps protect you from purchasing a home that could be a lemon. So you don’t want to forgo it. Your inspector isn’t required to be an expert in everything. If you suspect termites, asbestos, and foundational issues, for instance, you’ll need to hire a specialist.Inspectors will look for signs of structural issues, mold, and leaks; assess the condition of the roof, gutters, water heater, heating and cooling system; and more. Inspections cost between $300 and $500, and whether or not you end up purchasing the property, you still need to pay this fee.

2. Appraisal Fee

This appraisal report goes to your lender to assure it that the property is worth what you’re paying for it. This report worked in our favor a couple of years ago when our home came back appraised for $10,000 less than our bid; the sellers had to reduce their asking price in order to move forward. If you’re selling, review the appraisal thoroughly for any oddball numbers or descriptions that could affect the value of your home.An appraisal can take about 2 hours and costs between $200 and $425.

3. Application Fees

Before ever approving you for a loan, the lender is going to run your credit report and charge you an application fee, often lumping the credit report fee in with the application fee. This can run $75 to $300. Be sure to ask for a breakdown of the application fees to understand all costs.

4. Title Services

These fees cover a title search of the public records for the property you’re buying, notary fees for the person witnessing your signature on documents, government filing fees, and more. These can cost between $150 and $400, and it’s important to get a line item for each cost.

5. Lender’s Origination Fees

Your lender will charge you this upfront free for making the mortgage loan. This includes processing the loan application, underwriting the loan (researching whether to approve you), and funding the loan. These fees are quoted as a percentage of the total loan you’re taking out and generally range between 0.5 to 1.5%.

6. Survey Costs

This report ($150 to $400) confirms the property’s boundaries, outlining its major features and dimensions.

7. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

When you put down less than 20% on your new home, the lender requires that you purchase Your lender must cancel PMI once you reach 78% of your loan-to-value ratio or you have 22% equity. But you can petition to cancel early when your LTV hits 80% which is a policy that protects the lender from losing money if you end up in foreclosure. So PMI is a policy that you have to buy to protect the lender from you. PMI rates can vary from 0.3% to 1.5% of your original loan amount annually.

8. Tax Service Fee

This is the cost (about $50) to ensure that all property tax payments are up to date and that the payments you make are appropriately credited to the right home.

Always ask questions when it comes to understanding the fees you’re paying. If possible, print out documents and go through them with a highlighter to indicate any areas you have concerns about. Discuss them with your lender or real estate agent and determine if you can negotiate any of them down.

Don’t be afraid to price shop to ensure you’re getting the best value. Just because you’re spending hundreds of thousands on a home doesn’t mean you should be comfortable throwing thousands of dollars at fees.

Credits to Original Blog:

Posted in Learn

September 18th, 2016 by Ed Yannett

Today, I’d like to talk about something that has been on the minds of lots of homeowners lately: Is my flood insurance premium going to go down when the new flood maps are finalized?

Here’s where the process stands at the moment. Preliminary flood maps are out and the plan is for the maps to be finalized in 2017.

The good news is many Chatham residents will get some relief when the new maps come out according to Michael Blakely, Chatham County floodplain administrator. Here’s what Blakely had to say recently in an article in the Savannah Morning News:

“Generally speaking we’re seeing that flood zones within the community have been decreasing. Where builders were previously required to build at an elevation of 12 feet, we found that on maps there have been decreases of as much as 3 feet, so they can build a slab on grade at 9 feet. Consequently, there have been a lot of areas throughout the county and all the municipalities where the special flood hazard area has been reduced.”

The new preliminary maps — developed by the county, its municipalities, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Federal Emergency Management Agency — define flood hazard risks more accurately. The more accurate mapping means you may qualify for a lower flood insurance premium.

While most experts recommend you carry flood insurance it is also mandated in some areas based on your flood zone and the type of home loan you have. Most conventional home loans are backed by the federal government and this means many homeowners who live in flood hazard areas MUST have flood coverage for the life of their home loan. And don’t assume a flood is covered by your homeowner’s insurance. It’s usually not.

If you want to find out more about how the new map will affect your property, feel free to give me call 912-844-9000 and I can help you find out how your property is zoned on the proposed flood map.

The preliminary flood map was released to the public on July 17, so you have 90 days from that date to appeal or protest your determination. You can submit an appeal or protest with supporting data to the local floodplain administrator. Then it should be forwarded to FEMA.

After the 90-day appeal period ends, FEMA reviews and resolves any issues. Then FEMA sends a Letter of Final Determination to the community, and it has six months to adopt the new flood maps. This process is expected to be finished sometime in 2017.

Posted in Flood Insurance, Learn