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January 2009

A Positive Bit of Economic News for Pennsylvania


Sunshine & Blue Skies (Kinda)

Less than 1% of households in Pennsylvania were affected by bankruptcy and/or foreclosure in 2008. According to statistics compiled on MSN Money, the Keystone State is faring better than 35 other states in the country.

PA has been affected by the economy, of course, but we've not been big players in the bubble and subsequent burst seen in some other states. Our real estate growth has been of the slow and steady variety. This is not to say that we aren't experiencing a challenging real estate market, because we are. But our prospects are much brighter here than in many other places.

What Does This Mean For The Pokies?

Here in the Poconos, we are in the unique position of relying on factors in other states to drive our market. New Jersey (#14 on the list) and New York (#33 on the list) feed us with home buyers looking for properties which offer a good commuting location for primary residences, as well as vacation home purchasers looking for weekend getaways. So we will be keeping a close eye on employment numbers going forward. However, even as we are affected by outside influences a little more than in other areas of the state, we remain, along with the rest of Pennsylvania, a much less volatile market than the (imaginary) 'national real estate market' depicted on the news.

Real estate is local <period>

What do you think?

The Latest Real Estate Myths Explained

You Want the Facts, Right?

Check out this video entitled '5 Biggest Real Estate Myths' which details several of the most common misconceptions surrounding the real estate industry today. Whether you are thinking of buying or selling a home, or refinancing a mortgage in the Poconos or anywhere, this information is invaluable.

Watch it, even if you just want to sound smart at cocktail parties!

Fun Factoids at Your Fingertips (Watch & Learn!)

1. How to spot a desperate home seller
2. Timing your real estate purchase for a great buy
3. How much money you *don't* need for a down payment
4. Why now just might be the right time to sell your property
5. Where to get the best deal on a mortgage loan refinance

Presenting: 5 Biggest Myths of Real Estate

Thank you to Ines Hegedus-Garcia, of and mojito fame, for sharing this at AgentGenius.

And of course...if you have specific questions or concerns about Pocono real estate, don't hesitate to contact me via email [email protected] or phone 570.421.8950 ext. 394.

Nearly New Home In Saw Creek For Sale


Practically a giveaway!

This could be the steal you've been waiting for. Owner is upside down and is negotiating a short sale with their lender.

What does this mean for you? It means you are able to purchase this home for much less than it cost to build, and for less than is owed on the mortgage. The sale price will need to be approved by the seller's bank but the owner will consider all offers!

Check it out:

One of the Poconos' finest communities

Saw Creek is a gated residential community located in Bushkill, PA, and is perfect for those Pocono home buyers considering the purchase of a vacation property or a primary residence. The scope of the amenities here rival those in other communities and include indoor and outdoor pools, playgrounds, a ski slope, an on-site restaurant called 'Top of the World', and more.

For more information on this home, or other properties in Saw Creek Estates, contact Lisa via email at [email protected], or via phone at 570.421.8950 ext. 394. Alternatively, you can get an overview of the Saw Creek real estate market by using my special Pocono MLS / IDX Real Estate Search.

FHA Mortgage Loans Keeping the Dream Alive


Wishing For a House?

No, you don't need perfect credit and a 20% down payment to buy a house. Despite what you may hear, there are still loan programs available for people with minor credit blemishes and lower balances in their down-payment piggy bank. I've heard rumors of some conventional mortgage programs being available, but I know for sure that FHA offers a solid option for first time home buyers and others who need an affordable inroad to home ownership. FHA loans offer competitive rate, too...these are not those nasty sub prime loans we've all heard way too much about lately.

Dreams Come True-You Can Own Your Own Home

If you have a good job history, documented income, plan to live in the house, and a debt load that still allows you to comfortably pay a mortgage payment, consider FHA financing. Credit history requirements, as I said, are a bit more flexible and this kind of mortgage requires only 3.5% down.

(Renters Note: This is about as much as it would cost you in up-front costs associated with renting a home. Consider the benefit of investing this money in your own home!)

Closing costs, which include title insurance and other expenses over and above the down payment, can be offset with a seller contribution of up to 6% of the sale price. This is often enough to cover all of these expenses.

Please note that this information is provided as an overview of the program and is not an offer of financing. Your individual circumstances as provided on your mortgage application will determine your qualification for an FHA loan.

How Much Can You Borrow?

Requirements for these mortgages change fairly often, even more so recently as the government tries to stimulate the housing market through various means, so it is important to have up-to-date information on down payment requirements and mortgage loan limits for FHA financing to avoid pain and aggravation as you proceed in pursuing your home ownership dream.

Every county in the country has its own FHA loan limit, based on some strange formula involving area classification, median sale price and the phase of the moon. Monroe County, which is the Pocono county closest to New Jersey and the Route 80 corridor, has a low-ish limit compared to other areas and even compared to neighboring counties. Keep this in mind as you contemplate your purchase.

You can find out what the 2009 FHA mortgage loan limit is in any area in the country here, or check out this handy-dandy list of 2009 Pocono Mountain area, single-family home, FHA loan limits:

Monroe County: $271,050
Carbon County: $305,900
Pike County: $625,500
Wayne County: $271,050

For information on lenders who participate in FHA loan programs and other facets of your Pocono home buying experience, don't hesitate to contact me through this website, via email [email protected], or by phone 570.421.8950 ext 394.

Related Reading

Refinancing a Sub Prime Mortgage

Happy Home Buyers Did Homework First!

I Love the F Word

Top Ten Home-Selling Tips

This video provides some great advice for selling your home, in the Poconos or anywhere. It's a good idea to start preparing now if you plan on putting your house on the market in the Spring, and this little production is just the ticket to get you headed in the right direction. Yes, I know it's only January, but a well-prepared seller is a happy seller with a sold home in her future!

Oh, and if you're a big Elvis fan, you might want to sit down before hitting 'Play' ;)

If you have any questions or need some detailed and personalized advice on preparing your home for sale, don't hesitate to contact me via email [email protected] or phone 570.421.8950 ext. 394.

(A big thank you to Lani Rosales at Agent Genius for finding this gem and making me post it!!)