Greg Hanner's Blog

Posted in:Home Ownership and tagged: Homeowners
Posted by Greg Hanner on April 16th, 2020 5:36 PM

Are you a HOMEOWNER paying a mortgage and struggling with making your mortgage payment? RENTER and out of work not able to pay your rent? Are you a LANDLORD not receiving rent from some tenants? Then this info may help you during this COVID-19 crisis.  

Here's the best link I've found on assistance to avoid having your credit hurt and outlining options that may be available to you:  https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/guide-coronavirus-mortgage-relief-options/  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a great list of additional info here:  https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus 

HOMEOWNERS in need:  You MUST take action and you can't sit on your hands without damaging your credit and putting your home at risk. You need to contact your lender! There is the ability to defer making mortgage payments until you return to work. This doesn't mean you don't owe them money, it just means lenders will give you extra time at the end of your mortgage term to pay the months that you don't pay. Great info for homeowners having difficulty with making their mortgage payments: https://portal.ct.gov/DOB/Consumer/Consumer-Help/COVID-19-Mortgage-Relief 

To check if your mortgage is Fannie Mae go here https://www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup and if your mortgage is Freddie Mac go here https://ww3.freddiemac.com/loanlookup/

RENTERS:  Call your landlord if you are struggling. The CT governor has issued another executive order 7X, this one:  

1) Prohibits all landlords from issuing a notice to quit or beginning eviction proceedings before July 1, 2020, except for serious nuisances, such as physically harming another tenant or the landlord.

2) For rent due in April 2020, landlords must grant tenants an automatic, 60-day grace period for payment, instead of the existing 9-day grace period.

3) For rent due in May 2020, landlords must grant a 60-day grace period for payment upon the request of tenants. Under this provision, a tenant must notify the landlord that they have lost a job, lost hours, or otherwise lost revenue or faced significantly increased expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

4) If a tenant has a paid security deposit of more than one month’s rent, the tenant can apply all or part of that excess to April, May, or June rent. Under this provision, the tenant must notify the landlord that they have lost a job, lost hours, or otherwise lost revenue or faced significantly increased expenses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

LANDLORDS:  If you have many tenants not paying rent and that's making it difficult for you to pay your investment property mortgage, you are also able to seek forbearance. Use the mortgage lookup tools above if you think your investment property mortgage may be with one of those to government entities. Can you do me a favor? PLEASE share this info with as many people that may need help.

Happy Easter!!!

Posted by Greg Hanner on April 11th, 2020 4:42 PM

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a great thing you can do from your home and it will give you an edge over other Buyers so that you're in the best possible home buying position when this health crisis is over.

Posted in:Home OwnershipPosted in:Buyers
Posted by Greg Hanner on April 2nd, 2020 4:51 PM

Why the Stock Market Correction Probably Won’t Impact Home Values

Why the Stock Market Correction Probably Won’t Impact Home Values | MyKCM

With the housing crash of 2006-2008 still visible in the rear-view mirror, many are concerned the current correction in the stock market is a sign that home values are also about to tumble. What’s taking place today, however, is nothing like what happened the last time. The S&P 500 did fall by over fifty percent from October 2007 to March 2009, and home values did depreciate in 2007, 2008, and 2009 – but that was because that economic slowdown was mainly caused by a collapsing real estate market and a meltdown in the mortgage market.

This time, the stock market correction is being caused by an outside event (the coronavirus) with no connection to the housing industry. Many experts are saying the current situation is much more reminiscent of the challenges we had when the dot.com crash was immediately followed by 9/11. As an example, David Rosenberg, Chief Economist with Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc., recently explained:

“What 9/11 has in common with what is happening today is that this shock has also generated fear, angst and anxiety among the general public. People avoided crowds then as they believed another terrorist attack was coming and are acting the same today to avoid getting sick. The same parts of the economy are under pressure - airlines, leisure, hospitality, restaurants, entertainment - consumer discretionary services in general.”

Since the current situation resembles the stock market correction in the early 2000s, let’s review what happened to home values during that time.Why the Stock Market Correction Probably Won’t Impact Home Values | MyKCMThe S&P dropped 45% between September 2000 and October 2002. Home prices, on the other hand, appreciated nicely at the same time. That stock market correction proved not to have any negative impact on home values.

Bottom Line

If the current situation is more like the markets in the early 2000s versus the markets during the Great Recession, home values should be minimally affected, if at all.

Posted by Greg Hanner on March 31st, 2020 4:47 PM

Early winter of 2015-2016 has been unseasonably warm here in Eastern CT, but that’s what we had last year until we got hit with a Blizzard and 3 Polar vortexes that put us into a deep freeze with temps struggling to get out of the teens early last February.

Getting busy outside your home NOW will pay dividends in reduced hassles and may even avoid expensive repairs. Here’s a quick things to double check before outside temps plunge sapping your enthusiasm to get things done.

Yard:

·         Check for positive grade away from foundation. If the ground settled anywhere and there’s a chance that water can puddle against your foundation, make a change NOW before your basement becomes flooded in the spring. I’ve seen mulch at the planting beads look like there’s pitch away from the home, but then if you pulled back the mulch (which floats!) the soil actually pitches toward the foundation of a home. You can buy small bags of soil and then regrade next to your foundation BEFORE the ground freezes. This can help minimize foundation leaks during storms.

·         Make sure footing/gutter drains daylight terminations (if you have one) are clear of leaves and yard debris. You might think that’s obviously something that you wouldn’t let happen, but I’ve had clients find those terminations covered and frozen after trying to figure out why a previously dry basement all of a sudden became flooded during a major storm event.

·         Seal Driveway Cracks – To prevent water flowing into them as that causes frost heaves and will accelerate your driveway’s deterioration.

·         Look at where rain waters flow NOW before snow is on the ground. Snow drifts can impede the flow of water in the swales around your home and the end result can be water flooding your basement! Knowing what areas of your yard which should be cleared if we get a deep snow pack is important. A great video on that topic is HERE:

Home Exterior

·         Check and confirm your gutters are clear of leaves. Remember the ice damning that you or others may have had last year? Clogged gutters are a start to creating an ice damning problem. Their root cause is often the lack of insulation and air sealing in older homes along with lack of “water & ice” barrier under the roofing.

·         Check Caulking At Windows/Doors/Penetrations – Caulking deteriorates over time. If you see caulking that’s cracked it’s only going to allow driving rain to enter the home AND it’s going to be a source of drafts.

·         Remove hoses from outside faucets – Frost-free faucets are NOT freeze proof unless a hose is disconnected to allow the water to flow out of the valve.

·         Have Ice Melt Available – You should not apply “Rock Salt” to concrete walks, porches and driveways as the salt will break down the concrete!  That’s a great product for asphalt driveways but not concrete surfaces.  Use Calcium Chloride on concrete surfaces.

·         Snow Removal Resource – If you plan on having snow removal done by a contractor, have those arrangements made NOW before a storm hits. You’ll be hard pressed to find someone to do snow removal right after a blizzard and you’ll pay a lot more if you are not a regular customer for the contractor removing the snow.

Home Interior

·         Heating System Annual Service – That should be done every year for oil burning furnaces and boilers.  Change air filters and turn on humidifiers

·         Windows – All windows should be locked. If you have storm windows, they should all be now closed so that there’s storm window’s glass at top/bottom sashes. If you still have your window A/C unit in your window, you are in serious need of a home maintenance plan!  Get it out of the window and stored as it’s just a big hole in your wall costing you money due to heat loss and the room it is in will feel a lot cooler than the rest of your home.

·         Frozen Pipes – You should really never have them.  If you are on vacation, set your thermostat no lower than 50 degrees. HERE are some tips if you ever get a frozen pipe.

I hope this info helps you get your house in order so that you can cut back what needs to be done when we finally see Old Man Winter again here in CT! Happy New Year!

Posted by Greg Hanner on December 26th, 2015 12:20 PM

Whether you rent or own, this is interesting data just released by the US Censis Bureau as it shows how living arrangements have changed over time. Business Insider just reviewed that data.

The results show that marriage is in decline, and other types of households have been steadily becoming more common.

In 1967, a full 70.3% of American adults over the age of 18 lived with a married spouse. By 2014, that proportion had dropped to a bare majority of 51.7%. Meanwhile, the percentage of adults who lived on their own nearly doubled, from 7.6% in 1967 to 14.3% in 2014.

The most dramatic jump was in households made up of unmarried romantic partners. Cohabitation was nearly nonexistent in 1967, with just 0.4% of householders living with an unmarried partner. In 2014, about 7.3% of adults lived with a partner.
Living Arrangements, 1967-2014

Here's the most interesting part of the data from my read of the Business Insider article: While the proportion of all adults over 18 who live in their parents’ household has remained fairly steady over the years, ranging between about 10% and 12% of the population, looking at younger adults shows a different picture. The proportion of adults between the ages of 25-34 living at home has steadily gone up since the early 2000s (that's almost a 44% increase!!).  My question is why?:

Posted by Greg Hanner on July 13th, 2015 9:02 PM
Before you go and buy a vacant building lot to build your dream home on, you should stop and consider a few things.  

  • Is what I want to build affordable?  That's easy to find out by consulting with a local builder who should be able to let you know what things cost provided they have a history of delivering homes to clients for the same costs that are originally quoted.

  • I'm told the building lot is approved, so why should I spend money testing it again? An approved lot is largely a lot that meets zoning and health requirements and it's not necessarily a guarantee that the home you want will fit on the lot, that the lot can support a septic system for the size of the home you want or that you won't encounter costly unforeseen expenses like rock/ledge removal, high ground water or costly utility connections.

  • I thought I couldn't work on a vacant lot until I buy it? After you purchase a vacant building lot, it's yours and you can't give it back to the seller. If you put a testing contingency in any offer that you make, then you have the option to back out of the purchase and to get your deposit back.
Here's a quick 1 minute video on deep hole testing which is really important. Perc tests are really nothing more than measuring how fast the soil can accept water - they are not the only thing that you should consider. In the video below, you'll see what deep hole testing is all about:

Posted in:Land Development and tagged: Buying Land
Posted by Greg Hanner on June 27th, 2015 1:27 PM
We all know the damage that storms can cause for homeowners via flooding and fires. Often overlooked is the damage that trees can cause from high winds. Preventative maintenance is the best insurance and way to avoid damage to your home or auto.

When homes are built, the trees around a home are normally cleared away from the home far enough for the construction activity to get done.  Over the years, the trees grow back and the canopy (the high branches of the trees) slowly get bigger and closer to your home. 

http://www.aandbtreeservice.com/

In the photo above, the tree experts at AB Tree Service, LLC are "walling" off the trees along the garage of this home.  Left uncut, the trees would slowly threaten the home during high wind storm events.  Bob York, Owner of AB Tree Service says "Doing routine trimming with me is much cheaper than calling me after a major storm event which results in my phone ringing off the hook. Calling then is like trying to call around to get your driveway plowed after a blizzard".  If you are one that suffers property damage to your home from a tree during a storm, the worst part may be a high wind deductible and the added frustration that the building repairs will take time and energy that's better spent doing anything other than restoring a home back to the way it was before the storm event. 

Tree trimming also has the added benefit of allowing light to get to your lawn and garden areas. Some call it "raising the canopy" and it can give a nice look to any yard and home which increases your property value.  

So in summary, instead of paying your insurance deductible AFTER damage occurs, spending a little on preventative tree trimming maintenance will give your home a better look and help reduce the headaches of property damage in the future.
Posted in:Home Ownership and tagged: Tree Trimming
Posted by Greg Hanner on April 27th, 2015 11:21 AM
OK, we've had an historic winter here in New England and with the combination of persistent sub-freezing temperatures and numerous substantial snow events we now find ourselves with snow depths measured in feet not inches.  Before we know it, we'll be enjoying temperatures above freezing and we'll soon see our yards again.

The transition between harsh winter and welcomed spring weather brings a HUGE threat to homeowners who have basements.  The issue is that we've go so much snow on the ground, the natural swales (low spots in our yards) where rain water would flow around and away from our homes or off driveways are now blocked with snow.  Taking advantage of the cold weather now to clear paths for the future water flow is a top priority of you want to avoid water damage to your home in the form of a flooded basement.

Here's a quick video explaining what you need to do now before the rains come and the melting starts:



Bottom line, clear paths for the water to run through the snow pack downhill and away from your home.  Check to confirm the paths that rain waters normally flow are clear (this includes off sides of driveways, footing and gutter drain outlets to daylight, etc.).  If you ignore this advice and find your basement flooded, then your priority will be to get the water out as fast as possible and dry out the basement quickly in order to avoid mold and mildew growing.  Professionals at ServPro of Norwich and Windham Counties (priority service will be provided if you mention you saw this blog/video) and other flood/fire damage experts are the go to professionals if the damage becomes overwhelming.

Hope this info helps!
Posted by Greg Hanner on February 21st, 2015 2:13 PM
Thinking of doing some home improvements before selling your home?  Which home upgrades score big with buyers? REALTORS® in markets across the country each year judge the effects of 35 home improvement projects on sales prices in Remodeling magazine's annual Cost vs. Value Report, done in cooperation with REALTOR® Magazine.

Find out what the results from the 2014-15 survey tell us about today's housing market. Thanks to all those who participated, using their local knowledge to help demonstrate real insights from REALTORS® about the value of home improvements.

Last year's report revealed which projects open the door to buyers and where remodeling dollars stretch the furthest. It was also the second year in a row that all 35 projects in Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report saw more home improvement dollars recouped upon resale of a home than the previous year.  The following link is for New England market but you can navigate to other regions of the country if you want to learn more about values in other areas.  Enjoy!!

http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2015/new-england/
Posted by Greg Hanner on February 17th, 2015 4:53 PM

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