Why You Shouldn’t Worry About New Federal Mortgage Rules

mortgageThinking about buying a home but worried about the federal mortgage rules that went into effect early this year? Don’t worry. While there have been some concerns that the changes will make it more difficult to qualify for a mortgage, the reality is that for most borrowers, it simply isn’t the case. In fact, the new rules, designed to make sure that home buyers are financially ready to purchase a home, offer a variety of benefits to home buyers.

Administered by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the changes are designed so that home buyers have more information and protections when shopping for a loan. Lenders are required to make a “good-faith, reasonable effort” to determine that borrowers are likely to be able to repay their loan. That means lenders are required to check and verify income, assets, debts and credit history, to determine whether borrowers are financially ready to buy a home. Lenders also must make sure borrowers can afford the monthly payments on their loan along with all of their other credit obligations, such as car loans. It discourages loans with risky features and excessive fees. Sounds sensible, right? That’s what reputable lenders have been doing all along.

The new rules DO NOT require consumers to make only large down payments, have only excellent credit scores or take out only certain types of mortgage loans in order to purchase a home. Want to learn more? Here’s an informative guide to the myths – and realities – of this new consumer protection measure.

What’s In Store For The Housing Market in 2014?

Housing Market

Wondering what is in store for the nation’s housing market next year? Expect another upbeat year for residential real estate, according to the National Association of Realtors. The association predicts home prices and sales will continue to increase in 2014.

All economic signs point to a continued housing recovery nationwide, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors. Yun predicts the national median existing-home price to increase by a healthy 6 percent in 2014. Existing-home sales are forecast to hold steady at about 5.12 million in 2014, with new home sales expected to reach 508,000 next year, up from 429,000 in 2013.

What’s in store for the Philly housing market? In the Philadelphia metro area, the housing recovery continues to gain strength. Home sales and prices are rising, and that trend is expected to continue next year. Mortgage rates are expected to rise in 2014, but are forecast to remain near historic lows.  All in all, 2014 will be a great year to buy or sell a home.

What are you waiting for?

Five Signs it’s Time to Look for a New Real Estate Agent

When you are looking to buy or sale a home, your real estate agent is going to be on your speed dial.  You want to make sure you have a good relationship with them.  Some people don’t get lucky with the first agent they pick, so here are a few signs that it’s time to look for a new agent.


Your Agent is Unresponsive:   Your agent should respond to your voicemails and emails in a timely fashion.  Your agent should be in touch every single day to in the beginning to make sure the home-seller has seen the listing and approved it.

An ongoing conversation with your agent can be the difference between selling your house in five to seven months, and having it sit on the market.


Your Agent Doesn’t Listen:   The first meeting with your agent should give you confidence your agent has your best interests at heart.  If your agent asks you these questions, you should feel good about them:

What’s your time frame to buy or sell?

Tell me about your dream house/the house you are selling?

What improvements have you made to your home?

What are your expectations for me? And how often should we be in touch?

Have you worked with a realtor before? What was the experience like?

What kind of neighborhoods are you interested in?

Discussing the work process and market are important, but assessing your wants and needs will help your agent figure out if you are on the same page and will be able to work well together.


Your Agent is Inexperienced:  You want your agent to have at least two years experience and also have selling homes their career, not a job on the side.  Your agent should also be well-educated, up to date on current issues and follows a professional code of conduct and ethics.


Your Agent is Unprofessional:  If your agent acts disorganized, cancels, or shows up late to appointments is unprofessional and looks bad for everyone involved.


Your Agent Makes You Uncomfortable:  You shouldn’t be squirming in your seat every time you have a meeting with your agent.  Poor social skills are a turn-off to both buyers and sellers and could cost you the sale or a showing.  Your agent should not try to talk you out of what you want, making comments that you should aim lower; they shouldn’t make you feel bad for spending less or pressure you to make an offer before you are ready.


When you start looking for the right agent, The Mickey Pascarella Group will be here to help.

5 Tips for Staging Your Home

Need to make your home stand out in this saturated buyer’s market? Staging your home appropriately can be the difference in selling your home or having it sit on the market. Staging allows potential buyers an opportunity to imagine themselves in your home. A home buyer wants to be able to see how their lives would be in your home, and the staging your space right could give them that impression, and sealing the deal on selling your home. Here are five essential tips for staging your home fast and getting it sold.

  • The First Impression: Before a buyer sees inside your home, they’re going to check out the front yard. And if they don’t like what they see there, there’s virtually no chance they’ll be looking inside. Staging the outside is just as important as staging the inside. Makes sure the grass is clipped and manicured and power-wash the driveway, sidewalk and walkway. The most important step is getting possible buyers inside your home.
  • See It Through Their Eyes: When you stand in your front doorway, what do you see? You may see the home where you’ve raised your children and lived your life, but it won’t look that way to buyers. De-personalize your home. Go through each room and remove pictures and other personal belongings. It will give buyers an opportunity to imagine your home as their own.
  • Clutter Doesn’t Sell: When a room is cluttered, it will look small to a buyer. If some rooms in your house look too full, sort through your stuff and decide want needs to go and what should stay. The added bonus of this is you could sell some of your unneeded possession and potentially make some money.
  • Balance the Rooms: A well-balanced room will seem much more balanced and presentable to a buyer. This means finding the right balance between hard and soft surface, and grouping object in either ones or threes. For instance, if you have hardwood floors, make sure you have a rug to balance the room. Or if you have a overzied couch and a soft recliner, try replacing the recliner with a wooden rocking chair. As far as objects on end tables, you never want to exceed more than three, otherwise the space will look covered.
  • Extreme Cleaning: It should go without saying that you need to clean your room before staging it. But this isn’t just your average Spring cleaning. Your going to need to clean like you’ve never had before, as potential buyers will be checking in every nook and cranny. Get behind the fridge, inside the closets, under the rug and anywhere else you may not think to normally clean. Leave no stone unturned. It really could make all the difference.

Want more advice on selling your home? Give me a call at 267.702.5608 or email me at mickey@themickeygroup.com

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When is the Best Time to Sell a House?

With the weather heating up(as well as the real estate market), the Spring is a perfect time for homeowners to come out of hibernation and begin the process of selling their houses. Because let’s face it, when the trees in your front yard are blooming and the sun is shining, your house is going to look much more appealing to a potential buyer. It is of course possible to sell your home in the Winter, but you’re understandably going to get more visitors when the weather is nice, and your home’s curb appeal will benefit.

Listings your home at the right moment can mean more money in your pocket. Real Estate, like everything else, has a season. 60% of American move to their new homes mid Summer. But the closing process when buying a new home takes weeks, usually anywhere from 30 – 90 days. Now may be the best time to sell your home, but make  sure you also keep an eye on your local market. Pay attention to the various factors which can affect the price of your home. Remember, the warm weather can make a big difference when you’re selling your home, but it is not an absolute.

If you would like more information about selling your home or the real estate market in general, send me an email at mickey@themickeygroup.com , or give me a call – 267.702.5608

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Is Your Agent Working for You?

Recently, our buyer specialist Solon Alpohoritis received a call from a home buyer who was interested in one of our listings. This buyer was already working with another real estate agent but still had to make phone calls and find properties on her own. Solon asked her, why is she working with an agent if she’s stuck making the phone calls? Frankly speaking, if you’re calling around, you’re working with the wrong agent.

Choosing the right real estate agent can be one of the most important steps when you’re looking to buy a home. The right agent can help you find your dream home, and be able to assist you on every necessary step of the process. The wrong agent can do just the opposite. The qualities you want in a real estate agent are experience and commitment. Experience shows that they know what they’re doing and they can anticipate what will happen next. Commitment means they are driven to help you find the right home for you. Remember, the agent is working for you. If you feel like you are not getting the attention and respect you deserve, perhaps you’re working with the wrong realtor. Before you start searching for the right neighborhood or that perfect home, take some time to find yourself the right real estate agent. It can make all the difference in helping you eventually find the home of your dreams.

3 Tips You MUST Follow When Buying a Home

The real estate market is constantly moving through cycles. Property values go up and down and the worth of your home can  change because of a variety of factors. Right now is a great time to buy a home, there’s plenty of houses on the market, prices are falling and sellers are getting worried. So if you are considering buying a home soon, now is the right time. Here’s three helpful tips for purchasing a home in this buyer’s market.

  • Use Technology to Your Advantage: Most real estate searches begin online. There’s so many great websites and online tools available to let you peruse listings  and help you figure out the best way to go about your home search.  In fact, if you came across this blog, then you already understand the value of the Internet when searching for a home. A few other helpful online resources include www.zillow.com, www.realtor.com and my own website www.themickeygroup.com where you can get a free custom home evaluation and check out a bunch of great house listings.
  • Be A Respectful Negotiator: Just because it’s a buyer’s market, does not mean that you should try and lowball the seller. When you toss out an offer, make sure you are still respectful of the seller, otherwise they may not want to do business with you. If you decide to make an offer that is lower than the asking price, you want to base that number on the values of the other homes in the neighborhood or other related factors. You’ll be a much more effective negotiator if you can back it up with data and numbers.
  • When You Find the Right Home, Buy it: Did you find your dream home for a great price in a desirable location but you’re still dragging your feet on it? Then maybe buying a home isn’t the right move for you at this moment. It can be hard to predict what the real estate market will do next. So if you wait for home prices to fall further, you may miss out on the right house.

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