appraisalAn appraisal is a detailed valuation of your home comparing it to other similar homes in your neighborhood in order to find the true value in dollars of your home.  A property owner may have an appraisal made of a specific property to:

  • determine a reasonable offering price in a sale
  • determine the value at death for estate tax purposes
  • allocate the purchase price to the land and improvements
  • determine the amount of hazard insurance to carry

Appraisals can also be requested by a bank/lender for home loans, commercial properties, or land.  In order for a bank to lend on your home, they will require an appraisal to see what they are lending on.  Banks have always required this and will lend up to a percentage of what the home is worth.

There are two methods that are primarily used for calculating valuation:  the cost approach and the market comparison.  A third method of calculating value is the income approach which is used when an individual is buying an investment property.

The cost approach is based on the cost to rebuild your home in today’s market.  Square footage, costs of materials, land value all go into this calculation.  The market approach value is determined by taking 4 to 5 homes that have sold within the last 6 months within 1 mile of your home.  The appraiser looks at the area comps of homes that have sold.  This will get the true value by using the latest sales in your area.

The cost of an appraisal starts at about $350 and goes up to $750 depending on the type of home (single family, multi family, large scale home) as different styles of homes require more work from an appraiser to complete.

An appraisal is the most accurate form of placing a value on your home.  It looks at all the variables in detail, size, age, room count, land, quality, and neighborhood and grades on the overall condition.  A typical appraisal consists of about 20 to 30 pages.  Other forms that are used for valuation are the town assessors value, which is very general and can be months old.  Another form of valuation that is used is a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).  This is a detailed report that a real estate agent uses when determining the value of your home for many of the same purposes listed above.

For more information about appraisals and how they affect the buying/selling process, please email me at

Mortgage Rates: Can They Go Down Even More?

Good Morning!  It’s the start of another great week in the lending world.  Check out what is going on in the market this week!

This Week in Mortgage Rates; The Treasury will auction $99 Billion of notes beginning Tuesday through Thursday. The 10 year note yield fell to 1.70% last week, a key resistance level and matching the lowest yield on the 10 year set last September. April existing and new home sales along with April durable goods orders are the key reports this week. Stocks should rebound from their worst week since September and U.S. futures rise as China signaled it would support the economy and German and French officials prepared to meet before a summit. Commodities snapped a three-day drop while Treasuries and the yen declined. The Bank of Japan, which starts a two-day meeting tomorrow, expanded its asset-purchase program in February and April. Last week, two bond-buying operations failed to attract the central bank’s target for sell offers. The European Union summit starts Wednesday. Concern Greece will exit the euro erased about $4 trillion from global stock markets this month. Europe’s debt problems continue to dominate US bond market as money from around the world is piling in to safety in treasuries.

What Does All This Mean??

Each and every day, dozens upon dozens of economic reports, news and world matters can influence the markets very quickly.  This is a busy week in the world and will be very hard to predict the outcome until we meet up again 5:00pm on Friday.  Are mortgage rates (mortgage back securities/bonds) over bought? Will their be a sell off this week to push mortgage rates back up?  Will the Euro drag us down even more?  Does the IPO of Facebook matter?

Source:   Rate Alert                             

For more information about mortgage rates, programs and the markets, feel free to call or email me anytime. or 978-399-1313

Mortgage Rates still Trending Down

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Short Sale vs. Foreclosure

The KCM blog publishes news and information daily about the real estate market.  It’s a great source of what is the hot topic at the moment.  In their blog today, they talk about the Short Sale versus Foreclosure.  The information gives the consumer a better idea of what each of these processes entails.

KCM Blog:  Short Sale vs. Foreclosure – 10 Common Myths Busted

It’s likely you’ve heard the term “short sale” thrown around quite a bit. But what, exactly, is a short sale?

A short sale is when a bank agrees to accept less than the total amount owed on a mortgage to avoid having to foreclose on the property. This is not a new practice; banks have been doing short sales for years. Only recently, due to the current state of the housing market and economy, has this process become a part of the public consciousness.  Click here to read the full article:  Short Sale vs. Foreclosure – 10 Common Myths

Truth in Lending

truth in lendingThe History:  The Consumer Credit Protection Act, more commonly known as the Truth-in-Lending Act, went into effect in 1968. The law is intended to protect borrowers from predatory lending by requiring lenders to fully disclose all costs associated with securing a mortgage loan.

Prior to the implementation of the act, borrowers routinely were paying considerably more than what had been initially advertised or agreed upon in the beginning stages of the loan process. Now, lenders must provide the potential borrower with an approximate cost, not only in dollars but percentage terms within a specified period of time prior to the application. Then, the exact costs and interest rate must be provided to the borrower, according to the law, at least, one full business day prior to the closing, in a document known as The Uniform Settlement Statement. This document provides relevant data clearly and consistently laid out, regarding finance charges, the total amount of each payment, the number of monthly payments over the life of the loan, as well as other pertinent financial information to help the borrower understand and manage the loan.

Also notable, a borrower who has applied for an equity loan, refinance of primary home, or a second mortgage has the option to back out of the loan agreement, if he or she does so within three days. However, the rescission option is not applicable for a single home loan, to initially purchase a home.¹

Truth in Lending Today:

The Truth in Lending/ TIL discloses information to address the following items; calculate the Annual Percentage Rate, show the prepaid charges, show the overall finance charge of the mortgage, the amount financed, total payments, a payment schedule, discloses if there is a prepayment penalty, and discusses how the late fee will work.

The Truth in Lending is to give a fair and accurate cost by taking the interest rate, loan term, mortgage insurance, if any, closing costs and producing the Annual Percentage Rate which is the rate to compare all other mortgages to. By taking all these items into consideration, this will produce an average rate assuming all of these factors; otherwise known as the Annual Percentage Rate or APR.  This rate will allow you to shop and compare to all other mortgage offers and programs.

There have been some recent minor changes in the law regarding Truth in Lending known as the Mortgage Disclosure Improvement Act (MDIA).  And these guidelines are continuing to change often.  To find out more details about what the law is saying today please go to this link   If you still have questions, please contact me at


Featured Open House Recipe

quiche finishedOccasionally I am asked by a realtor to sponsor a luncheon for their open house.  I have found that by making something special for the luncheon, the realtors slow down and take a moment to truly enjoy the lunch which tends to promote more conversation about the home they are viewing.  I greatly enjoy these interactions that occur.  This last week for the luncheon I made Quiche.  Check out my recipe below…Hope you enjoy it!

Bill’s Quiche

Prep time: 30-45 minutes         Serves:  6-8


1/3 lb. Prosciutto (from any deli ask for ¼ inch thick slice), diced

½ Onion(I prefer Vidalia), diced

5 Eggs, large

1 ½ C Whole milk (Healthy version)

2 ½ oz. Extra Sharp Cheddar, shredded

2 ½ oz. Mild cheddar, shredded

¼ C Parmesan cheese, grated

¼ C Marsala wine

½ C Butter, plus an extra ¼ inch slice

One 9-inch pie crust

In advance:                                                                                                                Preheat oven to 350 degrees.                                                                                        Have all ingredients ready on counter.  Shred cheeses, dice meat and onion.      Remove pie crust from package and drape the crust over a 9 inch pie plate.

In medium sized saute pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add diced onions; turning occasionally.  Once onions begin to brown; add diced prosciutto and continue browning about 2 to 4 minutes.  Then add Marsala wine and ¼ inch slice butter.  Lower heat and simmer; slowly cook until all Marsala wine has been cooked off (so liquid is mostly gone).

While the onions and prosciutto are cooking, prepare the pie plate by shaping the crust to fit into the plate.  Cover the bottom of the pie plate with extra sharp cheese only.  In a separate dish, whisk 5 eggs until blended;  then pour into whole milk. (I use a large 4 cup measuring cup to save on dishes).

Drain prosciutto and onions in a colander; then spread evenly over the cheese in the pie crust. Pour the egg/milk mixture over prosciutto and onions.  Spread the mild shredded cheddar evenly over the egg/milk mixture.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.

Place into oven and bake 30 minutes.  Using a thermometer, you want the pie to be at least 175 degrees and for the crust to be slightly brown.  When done remove from oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!