If you currently have a mortgage you may be wondering how you can lower your monthly payments without refinancing. Recasting your mortgage is one way to accomplish this.
What is mortgage recasting?
Recasting is when a borrower pays a large lump-sum payment towards their principal and the remaining monthly payments are then adjusted to reflect a new amortization schedule. The lower loan amount means you will also pay less in interest over the life of the loan. All the terms of the mortgage will remain unchanged.
How is recasting different from refinancing?
Refinancing is essentially replacing one loan with another one. Your new lender will pay off the balance to your old lender and then you begin making payments with the new lender. This means there are new loan terms including a new interest rate. Refinancing can lower your monthly payments if you refinance for a lower interest rate and because the length of the loan essentially starts over (you pay a 30 year mortgage for a few years and then refinance to another 30 year mortgage with the lower balance). Recasting will not change your pay-off date or your interest rate.
What are the pros of recasting a mortgage?
Recasting is often less expensive than refinancing since you are not paying for closing costs or an appraisal. Recasting is usually easier to qualify for than refinancing as well; your lender might not require proof of income or your credit scores. Additionally, while your interest rate will remain the same, you will still end up paying less in interest as the principal balance is lowered after you make the lump-sum payment. With a refinance, if you replace a 30 year mortgage you’ve paid on for several years with another 30 year mortgage, you may end up paying more in interest as mortgage payments start interest-heavy in the early years.
What are the cons of recasting a mortgage?
For starters, you might not even be able to recast a mortgage; not all lenders allow a recast and certain loans (like FHA or VA loans) do not qualify for recasting. If you have a high interest rate with your current loan, you will not be lowering your rate because the loan terms are not changed. You will not be shortening the length of the loan whereas a refinance could shorten your loan term if you move from a 30 year mortgage to a 20 or 15 year term. It’s also worth noting that recasting requires you to make a large, lump-sum payment (typically at least $5,000.00), thereby tying up your cash in equity. Keep in mind that while less expensive than refinancing, there is still a fee to recast a mortgage as well.
Recasting a mortgage can be an attractive option for someone looking to lower their monthly payments without the hassle of refinancing (as well as spending less than what would be required to refinance). A quick discussion with your lender can help you decide if a mortgage recast might be the right move for you.
I had the pleasure of having a phone interview with Kirsten Moore to get a little back story on how Magpie went from idea to a coming soon restaurant. I found myself fully immersed in Kirsten’s vision of this harmonious space. Like putting down a good novel, it’s almost jarring to imagine the corner of W Gay and N Liberty still being home to Big L Tires and not be Magpie: the natural evolution of the space and Kirsten’s career. I highly recommend you listen to the full interview with Kirsten to feel the passion and hear the story first hand.
Recorded June 3rd, 2020.
Speaking of local, Magpie stepped up during the pandemic to connect the community to the local farmers and businesses through a drive through á le cart farmers market. They seek to continue that sentiment by selling local goods in the restaurant. Tables are crafted by locally owned Rocktown Urban Wood out of the Ash trees from Westover park.
As for the restaurant, Magpie invites you into a familiar but modern diner setting. The smells of fresh bread, coffee, and bacon will give you the comfort of familiarity. However, the menu will also be exciting and invites you to challenge your pallet by trying something new; maybe a special like “Fig and Gruyere Egg Sando?”
Next to the front counter of Magpie is the original stairs that lead you to one side of The Perch. The Perch offers co-working space including private offices, dedicated desks, and general space. There will be at least one large conference room and refreshment area. The main entrance of the Perch is on the back end of the building. If you have interest in renting space, sign up through their Facebook page as there is already a waiting list for individual office space.
As any townie can tell you, Downtown Harrisonburg has transitioned into a vibrant destination filled with amazing food and businesses. Magpie will expand that theme by marrying amazing local food, coffee, and co-working.
As many of us find ourselves working from home, you may realize the temporary work space you had set up in the corner of the kitchen was fine in the first few days of quarantine but just isn’t cutting it now. Or maybe you’ve always worked from home and you’re ready to give your work space a few updates to improve your productivity and mood. Below are a few tips to creating a home office that suits your needs.
1. Designate Your Work Space
The most important aspect to a home office is choosing the space you will designate for work and only work. Ideally, your office would be its own room but having a room pull double duty can certainly work with proper boundaries. Keep work in your designated area and resist temptation to bring paperwork or your laptop to places you eat or lounge. This will ultimately help maintain a work/life balance so that when you finish with work, you can feel rewarded by relaxing in your living room or baking in your kitchen. It will also help you focus and stay on task when you enter your work area.
2. Have Ample Lighting
Make sure your home office is very well lit. The last thing you want is to strain your eyes for 8 hours of the day. You may need to play around with the lighting to avoid a glare on your computer screen and make sure your face is clearly visible for video calls. A small desk lamp can help with task lighting and reading.
3. Check Your Posture
Along the same lines as lighting, checking your posture and investing in a good office chair are key to your health and comfort. Some things to keep in mind regarding your posture:
4. Declutter and Organize
Physical clutter can instantly make your mind feel cluttered as well. Keep your work surfaces as tidy as possible to help you stay focused and reduce stress. Organize both horizontally and vertically; most homes don’t offer large office areas (or a specified office at all) so utilizing shelves can be a great way to keep important files and tools close at hand without infringing on your actual desk. For more information on decluttering and organizing, check out this blog post.
5. Check The Background
Since face-to-face meetings have largely been avoided in favor of social distancing, video calls have made a huge jump in popularity among companies. Something to keep in mind is what your coworkers or clients may see behind you when you have these video calls. Keep your background clean and throw in a bit of your own style with a piece of artwork or a shelf sparsely decorated with beloved trinkets. Perhaps you still have a few in-person meetings with clients or coworkers; it’s important that you keep any areas of the house a visitor may walk past on the way to your office cleaned up as well.
6. Add Color and Personality
Choose a color palette that encourages your work-flow. For some, this is a bright, poppy color. For others, a cool and calming color may do the trick. Then you want to pick accessories that make the area feel more homey and set the mood. Finally, give yourself a view or create an inspiration board to make the space inviting and engaging.
Now is a great time to curate the perfect work area whether you’ve been working from home for years or are new to working remote because of COVID-19. If you are still struggling to stay on task, think of places where you feel most productive and try to duplicate those elements. If you like the music at a local coffee shop you can play similar music at home. Perhaps the outdoors help to keep you focused, you can incorporate more plants and be sure to choose an area with a window. Something else to keep in mind is that you may be able to deduct your home office expenses from your taxes. Be sure to check the IRS website to determine if you would be eligible to do so and check out this article for more information.
Space. Do we ever have enough of it? Whether your home is a studio apartment or a mega-mansion, somehow stuff seems to multiply to fill any amount of space. Fortunately, there’s no end to human ingenuity, and there are a plethora of ideas out there for maximizing space. Here are some options that can work for any size home.
1. Make Your Furniture Do Double-Duty
Try to acquire furniture with built-in storage. You can find beds and benches with built-in drawers or shelves, coffee tables or ottomans that are also bins, and many other innovative combinations. The more you can turn your furniture into storage space, the more spacious your home will feel.
2. Sleep On It
Virtually any bed can be used for storage space. Simply tuck your things away neatly in bins under the bed. If your bed is low to the ground, you can lift it up with some wooden blocks. This creates a great deal of storage space that’s out of sight
3. Maximize Your Hangers
Use cascading hangers in your closet to increase the amount of clothing you can hang in the space. Shirts and pants are particularly well-suited to storage on cascading hangers and will create quite a bit of space in your closet.
4. Hang Your Shoes Up
Over-the-door shoe organizers can also help you maximize your closet space. They typically hold 12 or more pairs of shoes, and can also accommodate other small clothing items or accessories. They make your items easy to locate and put away.
5. Shrink Your Stuff
Use vacuum storage bags to compress and puffy or fluffy items and make them easier to store in a small space. This works with comforters, sheets, towels, etc. Simply place your items in the bag and use your vacuum cleaner to suck the excess air out of them.
6. Make It Float
Install hooks or dowels in the wall to hang various items. You can hang light weight things like pots and pans in the kitchen, or heavy items like a bike. If you are hanging something heavy, make sure the hook or dowel is installed in a stud so it can support the weight. If you have many small items you want to hang, consider using a pegboard.
7. Elevate It
Shelves are a great storage tool, whether you have items you want on display, or out of the way. Shelves can be integrated into any room in the home for books, artworks, or keepsakes. If you have items that you only need on occasion, like holiday decorations, you can install shelving in a closet above or behind other items.
8. Compartmentalize It
Almost any shelf, drawer or cabinet can be further compartmentalized to increase organization and maximize space. Stack boxes or bins on shelves, put dividers in drawers, and install pull-out drawers in cabinets.
Even in the face of COVID-19, the real estate market in Shenandoah Valley remains active. Funkhouser Group has put several precautions in place so potential buyers and sellers can continue to purchase or sell homes while social distancing. At this time, buyers should do the following before scheduling a tour:
These guidelines are listed on a yard sign that is available to all sellers working with Funkhouser Group. Additionally, there are safety measures listed for property tours as well. These include:
Mortgages for purchase have now surpassed 2019! This is a great indication for the market. More information on this in the video below.
DIY projects can save money, increase the value of your home, and make you feel good about what you’ve accomplished. A kitchen remodel is a significant project that can add a great deal of value to a home. However, DIY projects can be risky, especially if you are new to them, as mistakes are inevitable. It’s important to learn which mistakes to avoid. According to Bill Gassett of Maximum Real Estate Exposure, "Poor-quality workmanship . . . can easily decrease a home's value." Here are 10 common DIY mistakes people make during a kitchen remodel that are easy to avoid.
1. Not Asking For Help
Before you start planning your remodel, talk to someone with expertise in kitchen remodeling.Show them your plans and ask for advice.They will think of things that you would not have come up with on your own. They can guide you in the right direction on details like which materials and appliance brands to use. They can also help you ensure that your design fits your actual needs for the space.
2. Gaps Between Walls and Cabinetry
No home is perfectly level, however, you try to make cabinets level when you hang them. But because of this, gaps occur next to the wall. To fix this problem, use a wood shim to fill the gap. It’s the same principle as putting something under the leg of a table to stop it from rocking back and forth. Then, you can use the same molding that covers the rest of the room to hide the shim.
3. Poorly Placed Lighting Fixtures
People who aren’t experienced with remodeling often don't think about lighting fixtures and don’t budget for them. Instead, they just keep the old lighting, but it may not match the new kitchen design. Lighting fixtures should line up over the sink, countertops or kitchen island.To avoid this problem integrate lighting fixtures into the overall kitchen design from the beginning. Budget to hire an electrician (get multiple bids). One thing you can do yourself is to repair the ceiling after the electrician has installed the lightning. For safety, you should let the electrician handle the wiring.
4. Badly Laid Floor Tiles
According to Gassett, if the subfloor is uneven or there is something wrong with the underlayment, tiles laid on the floor can crack or shift. First, do a test to see if the subfloor is even. Then secure the subfloor to the floor joists. Use the appropriate type of underlayment for the type of tile you’re using. For example, use liquid underlayment for porcelain or concrete tile. If this sounds unfamiliar, don’t worry, the tile supplier you work with can explain how to do this. The underlayment will compensate for any unevenness in the floor and prevent the tiles from cracking.
5. Painting Without Prepping
If you try to cut corners and do your paint job as quickly as possible it will show in the results.Telltale signs of an amatuer paint job include, paint on light switches and imperfections in the wall that are poorly covered, like cracks and dents. To avoid these mistakes, spend the time to prep and clean your surfaces properly.
Before you start painting, be sure to do the following:
6. Not Protecting the Rest of Your Home
During your remodel, you will need to take measures to keep the rest of your home clean and free from dust and paint. This way you will avoid a major clean-up job when the renovation is finished. You can use plastic sheeting and tape to seal off the kitchen area from the rest of the house. You can even add an adhesive backed zipper to create an entryway into the work space. Take steps to protect your new kitchen as you go, for example, cover your countertops with cardboard secured in place by painter’s tape to protect them until the remodel is finished.
7. Poorly Planned Tiling
Common problems with poorly planned tile work are large gaps filled with grout and pieces that don’t fit together well. For a professional look, use grid-paper to make a “map” of the area you’re going to tile. Put electrical outlets, door frames, and other obstacles on the map. Then lay out your tile on the map, starting in the center. Test out your calculations by laying some tile in a non-conspicuous area first.
8. Leaving a Space Between the Wall and Floor
If the baseboard or shoe molding wasn’t removed before laying a new floor, a gap between the floor and the wall will result. Before putting down new flooring, remove any existing molding first. Then put down the new flooring. You should use the manufacturers recommendations to determine how close the flooring should be to the walls or cabinets in your kitchen. After that, you can lay a baseboard or shoe molding to cover the area where the floor and wall meets.
9. Forgetting about Workflow
Your new kitchen may look great, but if you forget to organize the space to fit the way you work in it, or your workflow, you will be missing out. The three busiest areas of a kitchen are the stove, sink, and refrigerator. This is referred to as the kitchen “work triangle”. Make sure to place these areas close together in a way that enables you to move efficiently between them.
10. Not Looking at the Big Picture
Don’t forget to think about how all the elements of your new kitchen fit together. Key elements to include as you plan your grand kitchen design include paint colors, appliances, cabinetry, hardware, and flooring. If you take the time to consider each of these elements in relation to each other, you’ll end up with a much more cohesive and appealing design.
As I discuss in the video below, we are seeing the 30 year mortgage application rate almost fully recover to where it was last year. This is encouraging news!
Weekly Statistics Updates
If you are closing on a house as a purchaser or seller, you may be wondering what that process looks like during the COVID-19 outbreak. Settlement agencies have been in operation during the pandemic as they are an essential business but many of them have had to readjust their typical settlement procedures to ensure the safety of their staff and clients.
New Practices Under Virginia's Stay-at-Home Order
Certain procedures will vary between title agencies as each company decides what is best for their office. West View Title Agency has temporarily closed the office to the public and is handling closings over the phone while the seller or purchaser signs the documents from their car or a table in the parking lot, still within sight of a processor who can notarize the documents. According to Stewart Title’s website, they are limiting who attends closings, disinfecting between all clients, and maintaining 6 feet of distance (in addition to other safety precautions). Other agencies may require you wear a mask at closing or email photocopies of your driver’s license prior to settlement. If you aren’t sure what your own settlement agency’s policies are, a quick call can help you prepare for a contact-less/ limited-contact closing.
Closing in the Future as the State Slowly Re-opens
While the new practices for closing are not ideal, they are in place to prevent coronavirus from spreading. Setting aside the health ramifications, it’s important to keep in mind that if one employee gets sick at a title agency (particularly a smaller agency where the employees work closely together), it could require several people in the office to quarantine for two weeks which would slow down transactions. In the case of West View Title Agency, future closings will likely be handled differently than they were pre-pandemic. Buyers and sellers will close separately and only those who are signing documents would be allowed in so social distancing is still observed. Masks will probably be required as well. Regardless of how a title agency decides to operate, preventing the spread of COVID-19 is still up to every individual and we should all continue to follow recommendations from the WHO and CDC.