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Prepping Your Fireplace

by Mary Gilbert


On a cool evening, there’s almost nothing better than sitting by the warmth of a fire with a cup of cocoa.  If you’re a new homeowner who is new to having a fireplace or woodstove, you may be a bit apprehensive about using it.  There are some things you sh
ould know before you fire it up, and this guide will give you the confidence to use this feature during the cold months. 

 

  • - Call a pro to inspect and clean your chimney before using it, especially if this is your first Winter in the house. 
     

  • - Check the damper to be sure it opens and closes properly, and make sure the doors are secure, as well as being certain the glass isn’t loose and has no cracks. 
     

  • - Examine a woodstove’s chimney pipe for any loose sections and clean any accumulated soot or ashes.  The door should open easily, close very tight, and the handle should lock into place once the door is shut. 
     

  • - When purchasing a mat or rug to place in front of the hearth, be certain it’s certified fireproof. 

  • Wood shouldn’t be brought inside until it’s ready for use.  Find out why you should keep it outside and other great tips about storing firewood here. 
     

  • - Gas fireplaces require a little less maintenance, but it’s important to be familiar with the operation.  If you can’t find an owner’s manual for your type of fireplace, see if online editions are available, or call the company to have one mailed to you. 
     

  • - If you see dust and cobwebs, turn off the gas off, and vacuum using the hose attachment. 

  • Ceramic logs or lava rocks inside a gas fireplace may need sprucing up as well. How to Clean Stuff.net guides us through this process in a few simple steps. 
     

  • - Soot can collect on the glass doors, and it’s best to keep them clean.  When the doors are cool, spray them with window cleaner, (have newspaper or old towels under them to catch dripping grime), and use a cleaning brush or crumpled newspaper to remove as much of the soot as possible.  Follow up with a soft cloth dampened with clean warm water to remove any film left behind.   

 

If you’re even the slightest bit unsure about prepping your fireplace, don’t hesitate to call a professional!  Many specialty stores know who you should contact and may even have a technician available.  Not only do you want to stay warm, you want your home safe. 
 

Contact the experts on The Mary Gilbert Group for all your Real Estate needs! 541.371.5500 or [email protected] 

Photo credit: telegraph.co.uk

What’s New in Legislation for Homeowners?

by Mary Gilbert


Owning a home can be expensive, though the benefits of home ownership typically outweigh the cost. Occasionally, changes to the law at either the state or national level can affect how these benefits and costs affect you. This is especially true if you’re still considering whether or not to buy a house, since knowing how the law stands can have a big impact on your final decision.

 

Some legislation affecting homeowners is enacted at the federal level, while other bits of legislation come from the state. Because of the significant differences in the reach of these different types of legislation, it can be hard to cover all of the changes in law that affect homeowners from year to year. To help keep you informed, though, here are some fairly recent legislation trends that may be worth looking into.
 

Tax Break Changes

One big change that’s hitting a lot of homeowners hard is the elimination of some tax breaks that were formerly offered for home ownership. While this doesn’t directly affect the cost of owning a home, it can have a significant impact on your tax return if you were expecting to qualify for one of these expired breaks. Tax law is complex and can change from one year to the next, so it’s possible that these breaks (or others like them) will see a return in future years. However, it’s important to check each year before filing your taxes to make sure that you haven’t gotten mixed up by tax break changes or missed a break that you could have qualified for.
 

Roof Replacement Costs

In some areas, the law allowed homeowners to replace their roof without all of the costs normally associated with such a big job. This was due to contractors being allowed to waive a portion of their fees equal to the deductible on the customer’s homeowner’s insurance. Unfortunately, changes in the law are starting to shut this down. States like Texas are changing the law so that contractors caught waiving the deductible could face fines or even jail time. Homeowners obviously aren’t big fans of such changes, since they result in more out-of-pocket expenses when having to use their homeowner’s insurance.
 

Solar and Alt Energy Incentives

There were a number of solar and alternative energy incentives available to homeowners at both the state and federal level, but some of these have been altered, were negated or simply expired without renewal in the last year or two. In some cases, federal programs have been replaced by state programs that provide similar incentives. In other cases, the incentives have been revamped and renewed later. Not all tax breaks and other incentives have been renewed, though, so it’s important for homeowners to confirm that specific programs still exist before depending upon them to add alternative energy solutions to their homes.
 

Home Loan Changes

It seems like there are significant changes to home loans every few years – and recent years have been no exception. Fortunately for those wanting to buy a new home or refinance an existing loan, some recent bits of legislation have expanded on borrowing limits for certain types of loans without adding new restrictions. Unfortunately, many of these laws affect lending through state-level programs instead of making adjustments to loans at the federal level. Some also only affect certain types of homes or houses that are built for specific uses. If you’re waiting for changes to federal loan programs, you may have to wait a bit longer before those programs see major updates.
 

Consult the Experts

It’s hard to stay on top of the changes in laws from one year to the next. Having a lawyer or real estate expert to help you sort through all of it can be a great way to keep from being caught unprepared by these new laws. Contact The Mary Gilbert Group at 541.371.5500 or [email protected]

 

By: Homekeepr, Rob Morelli 

Do You Really Need New Cabinets?

by Mary Gilbert


Are you in the market for some new cabinets? While it might seem like a good idea at first, replacing your cabinets might end up being more of a hassle than you expect. Take heart, though! You may be able to give your cabinets a refresh for a lot less money (and stress!) than getting full replacement cabinets. If you’re not happy with your cabinets, here are a few options to consider before you rip them out completely.

 

Adding a Coat of Paint

One of the simplest fixes you can make when it comes to your cabinets is simply adding a new coat of paint. So long as the cabinets themselves are still in decent shape, painting them can completely renew your kitchen and turn drab or ugly cabinets into virtual works of art. This can help you to match your cabinets to new appliances or a new decorating style and is also a huge help if your cabinets are a bit old and have simply faded or peeled with time. Just make sure that you take the time to do this job right; slapping new paint on top of a peeling finish without sanding or trying to cover stains and discolorations without a coat or two of primer is just asking for trouble.
 

New Doors and Fixtures

If your cabinets need a little more than just a coat of paint, consider upgrading their hardware as well. Handles, hinges and other fixtures are easy to replace and can completely change the look of your cabinets with relatively little work. You can also replace latches or cabinet locks while you’re at it, helping those cabinets that always seem to hang open to finally stay shut when you close them. If your problems are a bit more severe and you have damaged, warped or otherwise bad-looking cabinet doors, you can change them as well! New doors will completely revitalize your old cabinets and can be a great solution if the cabinet body and shelving is still in good shape. Best of all, if you still want to add a coat of paint you can easily paint the new doors before mounting them – much easier than doing it after they’ve been hung.
 

Refacing Your Cabinets

Ok, so maybe your cabinets need a little more work than just new doors but the shelves and interiors are still in good shape. This is where refacing comes in. When you reface your cabinets, you’ll not only replace the doors and fixtures but you’ll also add veneer or other coverings to the outside of the cabinet body as well. This will cover up any cracks or other damage as well as unsightly stains, giving you the look of a fresh install at a fraction of the work. You won’t have to actually remove the cabinets but everyone who enters your kitchen will think that you did!
 

Do You Need New Cabinets?

If the interiors or the shelves in your cabinets are warped, damaged or otherwise in rough shape, you might have to go ahead and replace the full cabinets. The process is fairly straightforward, insofar as it just involves removing the old cabinets and putting new ones in. It may cost more than you expect, though, and the process is often a little more involved than that basic description makes it sound. If the cabinets need to go, though, don’t settle for substandard cabinetry just because you don’t want to do a full replacement. The solutions above are great when they work, but if your problems are too severe for them then by all means get some new cabinets in there.

 

Contact The Mary Gilbert Group at 541.371.5500 or [email protected] for ALL your Real Estate needs! 

By: Homekeepr, David Weinstein

Home and Garden Prep Before Cold Weather Arrives

by Mary Gilbert


The signs that Fall is here are obvious in the things we see:  pumpkins, sweaters, and boots in store ads, and slow cooker recipes clog our social media feeds.  It may not feel so cool, but now is the time to get some cold-weather prep done 
before it gets too cold to be out!  Here are eight jobs to DIY while it’s still comfortable outside: 

 

  • - Check smoke/carbon monoxide detector batteries, and test the smoke detector itself to be sure it’s working properly.  If you don’t have a family fire plan in place, please create one and go over the plan at a family meeting.
     

  • - Get your mudroom ready for wet Winter weather with plastic bins for shoes and boots, and extra hangers for cold-weather clothing.  Creating a mudroom near the entry your family uses most is easy with a sturdy indoor/outdoor area rug, doormats on both sides of the door, and shoe trays to store wet, muddy footwear. 
     

  • - Your air conditioning may still be in use, but have your furnace inspected and serviced now before you need it.   
     

  • - Walkway and driveway cracks should be filled and repaired while it’s still warm; the materials used for this job may not work as well once outside temps drop. 
     

  • - Clean outdoor furniture and leave to dry completely in the warm sun. When it’s time to store it, you’ll have one less thing to do. 
     

  • - Some plants are better off when you divide them in Autumn:  hostas, daylilies, Spring-blooming bulbs, peonies, and shrubbery are just a few that will be happier if divided and replanted now instead of in Spring.   
     

  • - What to do with all the garden trimmings and leave you’ll be raking soon?  Create a compost pile!  You’ll save on soil improvements and fertilizer next Spring. 
     

  • - If you’re not ready to give up gardening to the elementsplant a Fall garden!  You’ll be rewarded with fresh greens and other vegetables for those slow-cooker recipes! 

 

Don’t wait until a cold snap is bearing down on you before you get these necessary jobs done.  Take a weekend, get everyone involved, and you’ll be set for the Winter. 

 

Contact The Mary Gilbert Group at 541.371.5500 or [email protected] for ALL your Real Estate needs! 

Photo credit: pinterest

What Do You Get with a Home Warranty?

by Mary Gilbert


By now, you’ve likely seen the ads, gotten the emails and maybe even hung up on a few robocalls going on and on about the benefits of a home warranty. Are they actually worth getting, though? Let’s take a closer look at home warranties and what they really have to offer. This will help you to decide if a home warranty is right for you or if it would just be a waste of your money.

 

What Is a Home Warranty?

First of all, just what is a home warranty? This is an important question, because many people don’t actually know what a home warranty is for. A common assumption is that a home warranty is like some version of homeowners’ insurance, perhaps offering short-term coverage after closing on a home. While the timing aspect is pretty close, a home warranty is actually significantly different than a homeowners’ insurance policy. Instead, a home warranty covers certain things within the home to allow for their replacement in case they break soon after buying the property.
 

What Does a Home Warranty Include?

The specifics of what a home warranty covers can vary a bit depending on the specific home warranty plan you purchase. In general, though, home warranties are designed to cover major systems and appliances within the home. When you’re buying a home, your home warranty will have you covered if something like the refrigerator or water heater breaks down a few months after you move in. In most cases, major systems such as plumbing and HVAC are covered as well. The policy functions like most standard warranties, allowing you to get needed repairs or replacements while the warranty is still in effect.
 

What’s Not Covered?

Unless it’s specifically mentioned in your home warranty, general home repairs or other maintenance are not included in the warranty. This means that something like a broken window, a weak spot in the floor or peeling paint would have to be repaired as an out-of-pocket expense if they aren’t covered under your homeowners’ insurance. The home warranty is designed to cover only your new home’s appliances and major systems.
 

How Long Do Home Warranties Last?

Again, the term of a home warranty depends on the specific warranty policy you take out. One of the most common warranty periods is one year, giving you a full year’s worth of peace of mind after you take out the policy. Depending on your needs, however, you may be able to get a home warranty for shorter or longer periods as well.
 

Can You Add Extra Services?

Depending on the home warranty provider you choose, there may be add-ons that you can include with your warranty service for an additional cost. These can include things like swimming pool maintenance and repair, well maintenance and expanded services such as maintenance tune-ups for your HVAC system. Some providers even use add-ons to create customizable warranty plans, offering up a basic general plan and then expanding it to meet your needs by letting you add only the features you want.
 

Do You Need a Home Warranty?

Whether you actually need a home warranty or not is kind of a big question. The answer depends on a lot of factors including the age of the home that you’re buying, the amount of coverage you get from your homeowners’ insurance and even what you have in the house that would be covered by the home warranty. The price of the warranty plan should also be a consideration, since this can vary by several hundred dollars depending on the provider and the amount of coverage included. The right home warranty can be a good buy, but it’s worth looking at the cost and coverage to make sure the plan is actually what you need.
 

Solid Home Warranty Advice

Whether you’re in the market for a home warranty or still on the fence, The Mary Gilbert Group is here to answer all of your questions. Contact us at 541.371.5500 or [email protected]

 

By: Homekeepr, Rob Morelli

Fall Cleanup Tips and Tricks

by Mary Gilbert


Periodic home maintenance is essential, both to keep your house looking its best and to prevent problems that could worsen over time. One of the best times to clean up and maintain your home is during the fall, when temperatures start to drop but winter freezes are still a little way off. Fall cleaning can be a big job, so here are a few tips on how to tackle it in ways that you might not have considered.

 

Watch Your Flower Beds

A lot of people let leaves and other plant material build up over flower beds in the fall, working under the assumption that doing so will get the beds off to a good start in the spring. After all, won’t the leaves break down over the winter and give the soil a natural boost of fertilizer? The problem with this is that the piled leaves can also give insects and other pests a place to bed down in the winter and possibly gain access to your home. If you have rose beds, diseases and fungal infections may also stick around on those leaves, only to resurface in the spring.
 

Start Garden Prep Early

What can you do with those unwanted leaves, then? Drag them over to your garden! Spread fallen leaves, compost and any other material that will break down over the winter and cover your garden soil with it. Run a tiller over the whole area, breaking up the soil and driving that compostable material into the soil. This will take care of your leaves and other material AND make starting your garden easier in the spring!
 

Wash, Then Dry

It’s fairly common practice to unhook and stow your hoses in the fall before cold temperatures set in. Before you do that, though, give them a workout! Give your house a good wash before you unhook the hoses, removing as much dirt and other debris from the siding or bricks as possible. Once you’re done, unhook the hoses and allow them to dry thoroughly before storing them for winter.
 

Make Leaf Cleanup a Breeze

If you have a lot of leaves to deal with, get a few tarps and spread them out under your trees before the leaves start to fall. Let them get a good coverage of leaves, then drag the tarps over to your leaf pile or other area that you’ve set aside for them. You’ll probably still have a few leaves to rake, but this will take care of the lion’s share of the work!
 

Aerate for Winter

If you have drainage problems in the winter, fall is a good time to aerate your yard. While you can do this using hand tools, a lot of outdoor and hardware stores have machine aerators that you can rent at a decent price. The aerator will break through the packed-down topsoil, giving water an easier route to drain in the event of a wet autumn or winter season. Best of all, grass will grow better in the spring so you can easily cover up any thin or bald patches in the yard.
 

Break Out the Mower

Even though the grass stops growing in the fall, there’s still a good case for giving your yard one final mow. Wait until a lot of your yard tasks are finished, then run over the yard with the blade set low. Use a mulching guard and/or mulching blade for even better effect. This will not only nab any stray leaves that might have fallen after your clean-up but it will also ensure that your grass has a nice even cut before it starts growing again in the spring.
 

Call In the Calvary

If you don’t have the time or equipment to properly take care of all of these tips, consider calling in a house cleaner or landscaping professional to get your home in tip-top shape this fall. 

 

Contact The Mary Gilbert Group at 541.371.5500 or [email protected] for ALL your Real Estate needs! 

 

By: Homekeepr, Saro Cutri

Tips for Surviving a Remodel

by Mary Gilbert


Remodeling your home is a major project. Most people don’t realize just HOW major of a project it is until they’re deep into it, however. If you aren’t careful, a remodel can cover everything with dust, throw off your day-to-day plans and leave you feeling more frazzled than you’ve ever been. More than one homeowner has found themselves wondering, well before the job was complete, why they ever decided to undertake such a monumental task. Whether you’re already hip deep in a remodel or you’re just considering one, here are a few ways to keep you from experiencing this same sense of mid-remodel regret.

 

Start Small

While it’s tempting to launch into a full remodel and get everything done at once, taking the time to prioritize certain aspects of the remodel can make it much less disruptive and easier to control the budget. Consider which issues are the most pressing as well as which would be the most difficult to pull off. Avoid projects that are excessively difficult such as moving plumbing unless there’s a good reason to take them on. Prioritize everything else so you can complete each project in turn and move in on the big picture over time.
 

Respect the Construction Zone

Remodeling creates a LOT of dust, debris and noxious odors. Many contractors will put up plastic sheets and take other precautions to try and keep all of this out of parts of the house where they aren’t working, but there’s only so much that can be done in this regard. Try to plan your time at home so that you aren’t there during the worst of the noise and fumes. Pick up an air filtration system or two that you can put near the work areas to grab as much dust as possible. Pack up belongings that you don’t want exposed like you would if you were moving, putting them in boxes and sealing them with tape. This lets the remodel proceed as quickly as possible without giving you such a huge mess to clean up afterward.
 

Stick to the Budget

One big issue when remodeling is that the budget tends to spiral out of control. Once you get going, you may find that there are extra bits of spending that are needed to finish the job. There’s also the temptation to upgrade some of your plans since the newer version wouldn’t cost that much more. Unfortunately, changing your plans or upgrading your purchases can really add up over time. Make a budget for what you want, add about 20% to 25% to account for the unexpected, then stick with it. If there’s anything that you REALLY want to upgrade but aren’t sure that the budget can handle it, save it until as close to the end as possible before authorizing the cost.
 

Talk It Out

Communication with your contractors is a key component to making it through a remodel unscathed. This doesn’t mean that you should require them to report every little thing back to you, of course; unless there’s a problem that they need your insight or authorization for, you’ll be best served to let the pros do their job. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check in and see how things are progressing, especially if you need to structure part of your day around the work that’s being done. Talking with your contractors regularly helps you to plan your life better around the remodel and saves them the trouble of tracking you down when they need to check with you about something.

 

Contact the experts on The Mary Gilbert Group for all your Real Estate needs! 541.371.5500 or[email protected] 

 

By: Homekeepr, Saro Cutri

Care and Feeding of Brick Siding

by Mary Gilbert


Having brick siding installed on your house gives it a classic look. Unfortunately, a lot of people view brick as an install-it-and-forget-it option and allow that look to deteriorate over time. Brick homes require basic maintenance and care just like vinyl and wood siding do, though the specifics of maintenance may be a little bit different. It’s just like with anything: If you want the look, you have to put in the work to keep it up.
 

Fortunately, maintaining your brick isn’t that difficult. Even better, the maintenance you do now can help prevent your brick siding needing major repairs in the future. So long as you’re willing to put forth a little effort, you should be able to keep your home looking great for years to come.
 

Cleaning Your Brick

The brick on your home is exposed to the elements on a 24/7 basis, and the rough surface of most bricks make them ideal for picking up dust and dirt. This can lead to damage over time, so once or twice a year you should take the time to clean your bricks. Most of the time this is as simple as spraying them down with a garden hose to remove any dirt and grime that’s built up on your home, though particularly tough spots and areas may need a scrub brush with soapy water as well. Avoid the temptation to use a power washer as the high water pressure can damage the brick.
 

Vegetation and Mildew Removal

While some plants such as ivy provide what some consider a dignified look, any vegetation that grows on your brick will damage it. Remove any vines, moss or other plants that you notice growing up your brick wall, making sure to wear gloves in case the plant is something that you don’t want to touch like poison ivy. You should also periodically check your brick for signs of mildew or mold, both of which can damage the brick surface as they grow. Scrub the area where you notice these growing, spraying them with a diluted solution of bleach and water to kill off any remaining remnants or spores. It’s a good idea to wet down the brick before you spray it, though, as this will prevent bleach from collecting in deeper contours of the brick and causing discoloration.
 

Checking for Damage

There are two types of damage you should check for at least once per year when you have a brick home. The first is impact damage, resulting from something hitting the brick and causing cracks, chips or other damage to it. This can come from a variety of sources, including things as ordinary as a lawnmower throwing a rock. The second type of damage to look for is water damage, which occurs when rain or splashing water repeatedly hits an area of the brick and starts to wear it away. Both of these can damage not only the bricks but the surrounding mortar as well. When damage is found, scrub the area to remove any loose material and keep an eye on the area to see if the damage gets worse over time. If the damage is caused by splashing water or other environmental issues, you might also adjust your landscaping or install additional drainage to redirect water and prevent further damage.
 

Repointing and Repair

As brick and mortar become damaged, you may need to make repairs from time to time. If the damage is just to the mortar, scrape and chisel away any damaged portions and apply new mortar to the entire area where wear and damage is present; this is typically known as repointing. If there are bricks that are damaged to the point that they need to be replaced, chisel away the mortar surrounding those bricks until they can be removed. Apply fresh mortar and new bricks to fill the damaged area.

 

Contact the experts on The Mary Gilbert Group for all your Real Estate needs! 541.371.5500 or[email protected] 

By: Homekeepr, Rob Morelli

Decoding Your New Windows

by Mary Gilbert


New windows can make a huge impact on your home. Not only can installing new windows make your place look better, but those windows can also make it a lot easier to heat and cool as well. Sure, replacing old windows can eliminate drafts, but that’s only a small part of how installing new windows can increase your home’s energy efficiency.

 

Information about the efficiency of new windows is printed on a sticker that’s attached right to the glass. Unfortunately, if you don’t know what you’re looking at then these stickers may raise more questions than anything. If you need a little help understanding exactly what you’re looking at on your window sticker, here’s a rundown of everything you need to know.
 

What’s the U-Factor?

When looking at window stickers, two values are listed as “Energy Performance Ratings.” The first of these is the U-Factor, which provides information about the insulating ability of the window. This is similar to the R-Value that you find on insulation, and the U-Factor value will usually be somewhere between 0.20 and 1.20 on new windows. The lower this value is, the better the window is at insulating your home and preventing heat transfer between the inside and outside. If you want to think about this in terms of R-Value instead, simply divide 1 by your U-Factor value and you’ll end up with the corresponding R-Value (so a U-Factor of 0.20 would correspond to an R-Value of 1 ÷ 0.20 = 5, while a U-Factor of 1.20 would correspond to an R-Value of 1 ÷ 1.20 = 0.83.)
 

What About Solar Heat Gain Coefficient?

The other value listed under “Energy Performance Ratings” is the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). This measures how much heat is transferred through the window from sunlight (as opposed to the air heat transfer that is indicated by U-Factor.) The SHGC scales between 0 and 1, with lower values indicating a greater ability to block heat transfer from sunlight.
 

What Is the Visible Transmittance?

Beyond the “Energy Performance Ratings” entries on a window sticker, three other values are also provided to help you choose the window that best fits your needs. One important listing among these additional performance ratings is Visible Transmittance (VT). As with SHGC, the VT of a window scales between 0 and 1. In most cases you will want a high VT, however, as it indicates how much light passes through the window glass to provide daylight for your home.
 

What’s the Condensation Resistance Rating?

As the name suggests, the Condensation Resistance (CR) rating of a window indicates how well it can resist the formation of condensation on its surface. This not only indicates how likely you are to experience “fogging” and liquid condensation but can also indicate the likelihood of frost formation in the winter as well. This rating ranges from 1 to 100, with higher CR numbers indicating a greater resistance to condensation.
 

What Does Air Leakage Mean?

Another important performance rating is Air Leakage (AL). As the name implies, this measures how much air can leak through the window and affect the internal climate of your house. These values typically scale between 0.1 and 0.3, with lower values indicating a smaller amount of air leakage. One thing to keep in mind is that this is considered an optional rating, meaning that not all manufacturers will provide AL data; as a result, some window stickers might only have ratings for the other four values.

 

Contact the experts on The Mary Gilbert Group for all your Real Estate needs! 541.371.5500 or [email protected] 

 

By: Homekeepr, Saro Cutri

Are There Benefits to Prepaying Your Mortgage?

by Mary Gilbert


A mortgage is one of the biggest single debts you’re likely to willingly take on. As such, being able to properly manage your mortgage is very important. With so many options when it comes to loans, repayment and refinancing, it can all get a bit confusing. One point in particular that you might hear a lot of talk about is prepaying your mortgage.

 

Should you prepay your mortgage? Should you focus on other things first? Before rushing into prepayment, make sure you have all of the information first. We’ll start by looking at exactly what mortgage prepayment is and how it works.
 

What Is Mortgage Prepayment?

As the name suggests, mortgage prepayment is the act of paying some or all of your mortgage principal before it’s actually due. This can take a number of forms, from paying a higher amount than the actual payment that’s due each month to making additional payments in months where you have money to spare. Some homeowners even make a single large additional payment every year after getting a tax return. Regardless of the specific form that prepayment takes, the end result is the same: More of your outstanding mortgage balance gets paid off, resulting in a decrease in both the amount that you still owe and the amount that interest can be applied to.
 

What Are the Benefits of Prepaying?

There are several benefits to prepaying your mortgage, regardless of how often the payments are made. Consider the following and how they might apply to your mortgage situation:
 

  • Faster repayment of the mortgage loan
  • Decreased cost of the mortgage over time
  • Equity is accrued at a faster rate
  • Prepayment reduces principal, making it easier to qualify for refinancing
     

Essentially, prepayment gives you more control over your loan and helps you to save money, build equity and pay off the loan faster. Because you’re paying it down at a faster rate, you’ll likely have an easier time refinancing for a better interest rate and loan terms down the road as well. And since the prepayment is optional, you can always skip prepayments and simply pay the monthly payment due if money is tight. Because of this, many people choose to incorporate prepayment plans into their overall preparations for retirement.
 

Are There Any Downsides?

While there are definitely benefits to prepaying your mortgage, there are potential downsides as well. Some mortgages, especially those with adjustable rates, are designed to not allow prepayments; if you attempt to prepay on the mortgage, this can trigger a penalty fee. Additionally, some lenders only accept prepayments in certain forms and will apply any other money received as simply an early payment against the next month (which means that the money will go toward interest and principal and not just your principal loan balance.) Attempting to prepay when you have significant debt elsewhere or don’t have a safety net built up for yourself isn’t a good idea, either; your mortgage likely has a lower interest rate than most if not all of your other debts, so you may be better off paying them off and building up savings and retirement funds first before you start worrying about prepaying a mortgage.
 

Should You Prepay Your Mortgage?

Whether or not you should prepay your mortgage depends on a number of factors. You should consider the type of mortgage you have, how much your monthly mortgage payments are and what your interest rate looks like. You should also take a look at your overall finances and how well prepared you are for emergencies and retirement; it’s possible that your money would be better off going elsewhere at the moment. Even if prepayments seem feasible and affordable, make sure that your lender accepts prepayments without penalty and that you know how they prefer to receive prepayments. Those extra payments won’t do much good if your lender simply applies them against interest or charges you a penalty fee because prepayments aren’t allowed by your loan.

 

Making the Right Decision

Deciding whether or not to prepay your mortgage is a big decision. If you’re not comfortable making it alone, let The Mary Gilbert Group help you find a mortgage expert who’ll assist you in weighing all of the pros and cons. 541.371.5500 or [email protected] 

 

By: Homekeepr, David Weinstein

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 122

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Contact Information

Photo of Mary Gilbert Real Estate
Mary Gilbert
Keller Williams Realty Umpqua Valley
2365 NW Kline Street, Suite 201
Roseburg OR 97471
541-371-5500
Fax: 541-371-5501

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