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January 2008

Bob Hay, 2008 PAR President

Tonight is the Inaugural Ball for 2008 Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS(r) President (and my Broker), Bob Hay. Since I am unable to be there to share in this moment with him, I thought I'd pay a little homage to him here on my blog.

I have been lucky to work with Bob for the past ten and a half years and I've watched his transition from local Association work here in the Pocono Mountains Association of REALTORS(r) to his treks to PAR for all of the quarterly meetings, expanding his volunteer work to the state level. I've seen him participate in organization after organization in his quest for a better community. From Chamber of Commerce to Industrial Development Authority to several Transportation Organizations, Bob has always seemed to me to have his hand in everything.

I've witnessed a commitment to our area and to our industry that is unmatched.

Thriving on change and enjoying the stimulus of learning new things and applying them to his business and volunteer efforts, Bob has always been on the cutting edge of everything real estate, especially when it comes to technology.  I remember cringing :) every time he came back from a conference or convention because inevitably it meant a new program or new processes to implement. But it was always exciting watching him be excited about all the new things being introduced to our industry.

Bob was one of the first in our area to embrace the internet as the future of our business and forged ahead in making his website one of the best in the Poconos even in the face of nay-saying peers.

I guess the point I'd most like to make here is, we're in good hands. Bob is a real visionary who has no problem in following his instincts, and is an ideal leader for PAR.

Thank you, Bob, for all you do for all of us!

Expo_web_2 <--- Bob and his wife, Bev, at our Chamber Expo booth a few years ago 'Your guides through the real estate jungle!'

For more info about Bob, check out my daughter's 8th grade research paper.

Think you have good credit? Better think again.

What has previously been thought of as a decent credit score is about to change.  At least from a mortgage application perspective.  I've asked PREB (Poconos Real Estate Blog) Guest Author, Andy Williams, to explain the details.

The days of unethical sales practices by some of the less-reputable mortgage representatives are numbered as the home financing market gets another dose of reality. Practices such as less than full disclosure about the cost of loans through the hiding of fees and rate manipulation have been very common in the past.  Hopefully this most recent change will make this 'sales tactic' much harder to pull off and level the playing field a bit. Consumers should find it easier to compare apples to apples and spot the rotten ones more easily and earlier on in the process.  This way they can direct their business back toward the good guys like Andy where it belongs. - L

From the Desk of:
Abacus Regional Mortgage


All Fannie Mae lenders will be changing to tiered pricing.  Some have already changed and others will follow by the 2nd quarter of 2008.  The tiered pricing effects borrowers with credit scores below 680.  The pricing refers to the points charged by a lender. If a borrFicoower has a score lower than 680, the pricing will be roughly as follows:

< 620         +2.0 points
620-660      +1.75 points
661-679      + .75 points

Remember, 1 point equals 1% of the mortgage amount, so on a $200,000 mortgage for a borrower with a credit score of 650, the loan could cost $3,500 more.

If the borrower doesn't have the money to pay the points, they can opt to pay a higher interest rate to absorb the cost of the points.  The cost of .5 in price equates to roughly .125% in interest rate.  For example, if they score a 619, the 2.0 pt. add-on may be absorbed into the interest rate by adding .5% to the interest rate.  If the going rate is 6.25%, adding .5% would increase the rate to 6.75%.

This may only effect the Fannie Mae lenders, with the local banks still not charging any sort of surcharges for credit scores lower than 680.  We will have to wait and see how this all plays out.

Now more than ever it is important to choose your mortgage broker very carefully.  I am proud to offer proven market expertise and I am dedicated to helping you determine what loan is right for you. Call me for the straight answers. - Andy

LaBar Village - A Retirement Community With Options

Labar_signLabar Village is a gated, over 55 community in Stroudsburg that was developed in the mid-1980's. It offers potential residents choices in both price and style, as it is comprised of 127 townhouse units and 63 condominiums. Each style offers options, providing a nice selection to a prospective buyer.

The townhouses range in price from about $150,000 to $200,000 with models from 900 sq. ft. to 1400 sq. ft., with and without garages. Some units have decks and others have screened porches or sunrooms.
The condos vary from under $100,000 to $170,000 or so for everything from an efficiency style unit around 460 sq. ft. to a two-story 1600 sq. ft. unit. A balcony or screened/enclosed porch are often included. There are garages in the lower level which are included with some of the units, and there are also storage facilities available.

Amenities in this ideal retirement location include beautiful, park-like grounds, recreational activities, snow removal, lawn maintenance, trash collection, shuttle bus servicLabar_village_townhouse2e to take residents on their errands, and an on-site restaurant. All units have panic buttons to summon help should it be needed, and the gated community entrance enhances peace of mind for residents.

Expenses at the Village are affordable, with the total for real estate taxes and Association/Condo Fees in the $5,000 to $8,000 range.

The location of the community is ideal for the active senior, as it is only a minute or two to Route 80, Stroudsburg's Downtown, and only a little further to all of the other shopping and recreational offerings the Poconos is known for.

Please click on the 'Comment' link directly under this article and post any questions you have about this community so I can share my response with all of my readers.

If you are interested in learning about specific offerings available in LaBar Village or other Pocono areas, please email me

Your New Year's Resolutions and Your Retirement Plan

Maxine_diet_2If you are like me, you need a lot of incentive to keep those major Resolutions on track.  Check out this article written by a friend which gives another reason to stick to it for real this time-it can affect your retirement planning!  A fit body and a sharp mind go hand in hand, apparently.  But fortunately for me, Maxine and my fellow cheaters, it's only one of the five things you need to do to unclog your brain and make sure your decision-making abilities don't suffer.  Whew!!

Seniors in the Poconos

I think there is a void out here on the internet on information for seniors in the Pocono Mountain Region.  There is a glut of info for seniors in general, but when it comes toRetirement locale-specific topics I haven't seen much.  Would seniors find this valuable?  What kind of information would be useful to the over 55 set?  Obviously I would gear my posts to real estate related stuff, but that still leave the subject potential pretty wide open.  I am thinking of things like:  housing choices pre- and post-retirement, issues related to being 'snowbirds', tax issues for seniors, things to do around here, and of course lots of links to useful websites geared toward the mature population. 

I'd love to hear what you readers think would be quality content - please click the 'Comment' link immediately below this article and share your thoughts!