Saturday, June 22, 2013

Living in Savannah

According to many, Savannah, Georgia, is one of the most beautiful cities in the country. We humbly agree.
Residents living in Savannah, Georgia, spend their free time the way other people spend their vacations. And young professionals have made Savannah, Georgia, a destination of choice – trading in major-metro stress and suburban sprawl for the city’s wide range of cool new and old neighborhoods.

A magnet for talent, Savannah’s beauty has long inspired artists and musicians to live in Savannah, Georgia, including Johnny Mercer of Moon River fame, and writers Conrad Aiken and Flannery O'Connor. With more than 60 in the area, Savannah, Georgia, has over 200% more art galleries per capita than New York City! The Historic District itself is living art, and Savannah, Georgia, also has its fair share of forts and historical sites representative of our nation’s early history.

Where dining is concerned, Savannah, Georgia, has it all – from elegant historic inns to marshland settings with dress codes so casual, you can go barefoot. Southern home cooking practically started here, and since Savannah, Georgia, is located right on the coast, our seafood couldn't be fresher.

In fact, life in Savannah is a virtual paradise for those who like the water. A year-round climate perfect for recreation is suitable for exploring the 420 miles of navigable waters twisting and turning through nearly 87,000 acres of tidal marshlands. Obviously, residents of Savannah both work hard and live well

'Harbor deepening will happen'


Savannah Morning News
Mary Mayle
May 24, 2013 
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed cut right to the chase.
“I know a lot of you are worried because you didn’t get what you were expecting (for harbor deepening) in the president’s budget proposal,” he told the sold-out crowd of more than 750 gathered Thursday for the Savannah Economic Development Authority’s annual luncheon.
“I’m here to tell you don’t be concerned a bit,” he said. “This is going to happen. We’re doing things in an orderly fashion, and we’re making real progress.”
In the last year, Reed said, the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project has received more than 100 approvals across four different federal departments.
“Now the Water Resource Development Act, currently in the House, contains language to authorize the spending levels needed,” he said. “When that goes through, you’re going to see things move quickly.”
Reed said he spent about four hours with President Obama when he came to Atlanta recently.
“I was ready to bring up the issue, but I didn’t have to,” he said. “The president brought it up himself, specifically mentioning the Port of Savannah.”
Reed, a Democrat, recalled going to Washington several years ago with then-Georgia Ports chairman Steve Green, a Republican, to talk about harbor deepening. When people in the administration got past the fact they were on the same page, they wondered what concern the mayor of Atlanta had with a port in Savannah.
“I told them it was simple,” he said. “I get it.”
Now, a lot other people are starting to get it as well, he said.
“With Atlanta’s world class airport and Savannah’s world class port, Georgia has the potential to become the logistics hub of the Western Hemisphere,” Reed said, noting that, as more obstacles are overcome, that vision comes closer to reality.
“So don’t be discouraged,” he said. “Let’s not get tired and miss the moment, y’all.
“This new spirit of cooperation over conflict will do more to end the notion of two Georgias than anything else.
“And always know you have a friend in me.”

Friday, June 21, 2013

New Housing Bubble?

Surging home sales raise new housing bubble fears

@CNNMoney June 20, 2013: 12:36 PM ET

existing home sales 062013 Home prices have jumped to levels last seen just before the 2008 meltdown.

Home sales and prices continued to climb in May, raising the prospect of a new housing bubble unless there is a significant increase in home building.

"The home price growth is too fast, and only additional supply from new homebuilding can moderate future price growth," said Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. He said there needs to be a 50% increase in home building.
The median home price jumped 8% from the previous month to $208,000, according to NAR. While month-to-month price swings are not unusual, the year-over-year rise is now 15%, and prices are at levels last seen in the summer of 2008, just before the bursting of the housing bubble.
May marked the 15th straight month of annual price increases, the first time that happened since May 2006.
Related: Home prices post biggest gain in 7 years
Home prices have been driven higher partly by a drop in foreclosures. Only 18% of home sales in the month were so-called distressed sales, which typically sell at a discount to market prices. A year ago 25% of sales were distressed sales.
Overall sales rose 4% from April and 13% from a year earlier to an annual rate of 5.18 million homes in the month.
Related: Venezuela money fuels Miami housing boom
There are differences between this run-up in prices and the housing bubble that preceded the financial crisis, said Gary Thomas, the Realtors' president.
"The boom period was marked by easy credit and overbuilding, but today we have tight mortgage credit and widespread shortages of homes for sale," he said. The improved housing market and mortgage rates still near record lows, despite a recent rise in rates, is pulling buyers back in the market faster than it's prompting sellers to put homes on the market. Buyer traffic 29% above a year ago, but the supply of homes for sale is actually down 10%.
My dream home
That's caused homes to sell much more quickly -- only 41 days on the market on average in May, about a month faster than a year ago, with nearly half the homes being sold in less than a month.
The warnings about prices rising too fast were a stark change from the Realtors' position during the heyday of the housing bubble, when the statement from officials generally cheered the steady rise in prices. To top of page

Friday, June 14, 2013

How do you???

How do you...

Just how do you buy a house? The Home Loan Learning Center delivers information on the home buying process in two ways: through in-depth information on pages sorted by topic and in our step-by-step mortgage process guide that is provided in this section. Here you can view the process from beginning to end, referring to the more in-depth information on other pages as you need it. MBA has identified seven steps that make up the mortgage lending process. By reviewing them, you will know what to expect at each point in the process.
In addition to the seven steps, MBA has developed the Top 10 Tips for Home Buyers, a concise list that you can print out for reference if you like. Use it as a checklist as you're going through the process. It can help keep you on track as you move through the steps. All of the topics are also addressed in the topic-specific pages on this site.
Once you finish going through this site and start to feel comfortable with the process, you will be ready to take the first step, finding a lender. To help you take that step, you will find the list of MBA members — experts in mortgage lending — in this section. Some are regional and others have nationwide operations. Take a look. After you read this site thoroughly, go to their Web sites and check them out. If you think you see a few that might work for you, give them a call. Ask some questions.

Top 10 Tips for Home Buyers

1. Check your credit score. Get your credit history in order before beginning the home buying process.

2. Develop a monthly budget based on your income and expenses so that you can determine what is realistically affordable in terms of a mortgage payment.

3. See a lender first. Shop around — compare various mortgage lenders and find one that will work well with you and your situation.

4. Needs vs. Wants — what features do you need in a new home versus what you want? Don't make an emotional decision, make a financial one.

5. Take time to learn important terms and understand their meaning.

6. Once you've found a lender, thoroughly investigate the mechanics of the deal — are there additional costs, such as origination and/or application fees?

7. Learn about the various types of mortgage packages. Figure out, with your lender, what type of mortgage is best for you.

8. Get pre-qualified so you are aware of what you can afford as well as prepared to seriously consider real estate options.

9. Visit as many homes as possible and decide on the house you are interested in based on your approved loan amount.

10. Work interactively with a mortgage lender and be accessible to him/her in order to secure the loan.

Be a Responsible Homeowner


Buying a home is exciting, whether it’s your first house or your fifth, but it’s also a big commitment. And after you’ve closed on your new home, the responsibilities of homeownership are really just beginning. That’s why it’s important to understand all that being a homeowner requires—both now and throughout the life of your loan.
As a responsible homeowner,
you have commitments to your:

Mortgage Company

You agree to pay your mortgage payment (on time and in full) every month. If you have trouble paying your mortgage or think you might, you're expected to contact your mortgage company for help.


You agree to pay your local property/real estate taxes (on time and in full).


You agree to pay for all needed upkeep and maintenance and be a positive asset to the neighborhood and community.


You agree to maintain the safety and soundness of your home keeping it insured and in good condition.
If you feel like you can’t make these homeowner commitments, buying isn’t right for you—at least not yet. Maybe you need to save up for a bigger down payment, improve your credit score, or build up your emergency fund…whatever the reason, plan on being a responsible homeowner before taking that next step. Houses will always be for sale, so don’t rush. Take your time to make sure it’s right for you.

House Hunting Basics


It’s usually recommended that homebuyers work with an experienced real estate professional. Not only will they assist you in your search, but they’ll be able to provide advice and support throughout the process—contract negotiations, financing, home inspections, closing, etc. If you choose to not work with an agent, make sure you have an attorney review any contractual or legal documents.
Need help finding an agent? Family, friends and neighbors are a great resource for referrals. You can also check out listings in your current or desired neighborhood.

Helpful Tips

  • When you're purchasing a home, you'll work with a buyer's agent, who will represent you in the transaction. Likewise, the listing agent represents the seller, the owner of the home you are purchasing.
  • Working with a buyer's agent is typically free of charge—the seller will pay both agents (buyer and seller) a commission when the sale closes. However, you should always confirm with your agent as compensation/incentives may differ by state.

Courtesy of Fannie Mae

Friday, June 7, 2013

Construction Terms

A smart consumer, is a informed consumer. Below you will find a guide to “Construction Terminology”. What is a: BEAM: A principal structural member used between posts, columns or walls. BEARING WALL or PARTITION: A wall which supports a vertical load like a roof. BOW: A curved projection formed by at least five windows joined at obtuse angles (more than 90 degrees, less than 180 degrees). CAMBER: A slight curve in a beam or other horizontal structural member which prevents it from bending into a downward or concave shape due to its load. CAULK: To seal a crack or joint and make it water-or airtight, especially around window or exterior door frames. CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY: A piece of paper stating your building is up to code. CLERESTORY: An outside wall of a room or building that rises above an adjoining roof and contains windows. COLUMN: An upright supporting member; can be circular or rectangular in shape. CONDUIT: (Electrical) A pipe or tube in which wiring is installed. DENTIL: One of a series of small projecting rectangular blocks forming a molding under an overhang, most common in colonial homes. DIMENSIONAL STABILITY: The ability of a material to resist changes in its dimensions due to temperature, humidity and/or physical stress. DORMER: A structure projecting from a roof, containing a window (looks like a small dog house). DRY WALL: Materials used for wall covering (interior) which do not need to be mixed with water before application. Also called gypsum board or wallboard. EAVES: The lower part of a roof that projects over the exterior wall. Also called overhang. ELEVATIONS: Drawings which show the exterior sides of your building. FOOTPRINT: The outline of a home’s foundation – used for site planning. FOUNDATION: The supporting portion of a building, usually concrete (including the footings), which sits below grade or below the first-floor construction. FRAMING: The wood structure of a building which gives it strength and shape; includes exterior and interior walls, floor, roof, ceilings. GABLE: The vertical triangular end of a building from the eaves to the ridge. GABLE ROOF: A roof consisting of two rectangular planes sloping up to a ridge. GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Person overseeing a construction job, may include hiring special contractors, doing physical labor. GIRDER: A large or principal beam used to support concentrated loads or weight at particular points along its length. GLAZING: The process of installing glass into window frames (sash) and doors. GYPSUM BOARD: The generic name for a family of noncombustible sheet products consisting of a core primarily of gypsum and paper surfacing. Also known as wallboard, sheetrock, or drywall. HEADER: Horizontal structural member that supports the load over an opening such as a window or door. HIP ROOF: A roof with sloping ends and sides that meet at a ridge. INSULATION: Any material high in resistance to heat transmission; placed in structures to reduce the rate of heat flow. JOIST: One of the series of parallel framing members used to support the floor and ceiling; joists are supported in turn by larger beams, girders or bearing walls. KEYSTONE: A wedge shaped detail at the top of an arch. LIEN (mechanic’s lien): The right to enforce a charge against the property of another until some claim or unpaid charge is satisfied. LIGHT CONSTRUCTION: Construction generally restricted to conventional wood stud walls, floor and ceiling joists and rafters. Primarily used in houses and small buildings. LOAD: Weight that must be taken into account to design the strength of a structure. Tables in the U.B.C. will give you typical loads. Dead Load: A nonvariable weight; the weight of the building materials themselves. The roof is a dead load on the walls; the roof and the walls are a dead load on the foundation, etc. Live Load: The total of all moving and variable loads (furniture, people, appliances) that can safely be placed upon a building. MEMBER: Any unit or element of construction usually referred to when speaking of structural components of the building. NOMINAL SIZE: As applied to timber or lumber, the commercial size by which it is known and sold. Wood that is called 2 x 4 measures only 1 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches. NONBEARING PARTITION: A wall extending from floor to ceiling which supports no load other than its own weight; designed to separate rooms. Can be knocked down without jeopardizing the safety of strength of the structure. ON CENTER (O.C.): A method of indicating the spacing between framing members by starting the measurement from the center of one member to the center of the next. PALLADIAN WINDOW: A window arrangement with a half-round window on top of a wider rectangular window. PARTITION: A wall that subdivides space within one floor or story of the building. PIER: A small column of masonry or concrete (usually drawn rectangular in plan) used to support other beams or columns as part of the foundation of the building. PITCH: Slope, as of roofs or stairs. It is computed by dividing the rise by the run. (A roof which rises 5 feet over a 20-foot length (run) has a one-in-four pitch, 5/20=1/4). PLAN: A drawing representing any one of the floors or horizontal cross sections of the building. Usually taken at four feet above the floor so as to cut through most structures-windows, built-in cabinets, etc. PLOT PLAN shows the buildings on your site. PLATE: A nailing board placed over the foundation sill or rafter used to connect the foundation or rafters to the wall. QUOIN: A large square or rectangular stone set into the corner of a masonry building. RAFTER: One of a series of structural members of a roof which support the roof’s weight. RETAINING WALL: A wall used to support or keep back earth. Below-grade FOUNDATION WALLS. RISER: The vertical piece between consecutive stair treads. ROUGHING IN: The work of installing plumbing, gas or electrical systems to the point where it is ready to be connected to sewage, water supply pipes or electrical wires. An inspection is always made after roughing in to make sure the systems are functional as safe before final connect. ROUGH OPENING: The opening formed by the framing members. This is one of the several measurements that may be used when ordering doors and windows. Other measurements used are FINISH OPENING (the dimension of an opening after sash is installed). SHEATHING PAPER (building paper): A protective building material used on a wall and roof construction to resist the passage of moisture. SIDELIGHT: A vertical window beside a door or another window. SIDING: The finish covering of the outside wall of a frame building. Many different types are available such as vinyl, wood, brick, etc. SPAN: Distance between structural supports such as walls, columns, piers, beams, etc. STUD: One of vertical structural members in walls or partitions, typically 2 x 4 for interior walls or 2 x 6 for exterior walls. SUBCONTRACTOR/SPECIALTY CONTRACTOR: A craftsperson under contract to the owner to do a particular phase of construction such as plumbing or wiring, etc. SURVEY: An exact measurement of your property lines done by a licensed surveyor or civil engineer. TOENAILING: To drive a nail at an angle for better stability. TRANSOM WINDOW: A narrow window above another window or door. TRAY CEILING: A recessed ceiling – sometimes with the sides sloped at an angle. VAULTED CEILING: A ceiling that slopes up to a peak. Like an upside down V. VENT: A pipe installed to provide a flow of air to or from a drainage system; or to provide a circulation of air within plumbing systems to prevent siphonage or back pressure from contaminating the water supply. WALLBOARD: Gypsum or other materials made into large sheets (typically 4 feet by 8 feet) that are fastened to the frame of the building to provide a surface finish. Also known as sheetrock.

Household Wealth Tops Pre-Recession Levels

Household Wealth Tops Pre-Recession Levels

List of Improving Housing Markets Grows

List of Improving Housing Markets Grows

Most Renters Plan to Buy, But Fear Lending Standards

Most Renters Plan to Buy, But Fear Lending Standards