Are Adjustable Rate Mortgages for You?

Over the past couple of weeks, we have untangled the rumors surrounding Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) products and put common misconceptions to rest. But, regardless of the integrity of the ARM products, they are not for everyone. For others, they equate to an incredible savings when purchasing Pennsylvania new homes.

Let’s first talk about who they work for:

  • First-Time Buyers – The average first-time buyer only lives in their first home for 3-5 years. Saving anywhere from $1,000 – $5,000 a year is pretty attractive for someone just getting started.
  • Relocaters – You know who you are. If you want to keep climbing the corporate ladder, then it may take a few cities and offices to get there. If you know your job will force you to move every 3-5 years, then an ARM makes perfect sense.
  • The Average Home Buyer – Again, the average person (not first-time) lives in a residence for 5-7 years. The problem is predicting this timing. As jobs change, kids come, or kids living needs change, those “forever” PA or WV new homes quickly become outdated and homeowners are left looking for more (or less). If only we had a crystal ball, then it would be much easier to know if we should go fixed mortgage or adjustable rate! Read More

Housing Bust? Not for Pittsburgh New Homes

We have to admit, it is refreshing to open up the Wall Street Journal and actually find encouraging news about the housing market – at least in our area. On Monday, the Journal featured an article entitled “Housing Bust? What Housing Bust?” and cites a diverse economy and an unemployment rate 2 points below the national average as two of the reasons Pittsburgh, PA continues to experience a conservative, but steady climb in home prices while many of the nation’s larger metropolitan areas have not been so fortunate. The article even features a graph which shows the steady price appreciation of Pittsburgh new homes since 2000 (up 42% according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency actually). Read More


Adjustable Rate Mortgages: The Good, The Bad and…The Reality

Last week, we discussed the fact that Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) can work for some buyers of PA new homes and not others. Today, we will talk about what an ARM specifically is and how it works. Next week, we will explore which subset of buyers should most consider an ARM product when considering various loan products.

  1. ARMs are fixed for the first few years of the product. The number at the front of the ARM (i.e. 5/1 = 5 Years) indicates the number of years the interest rate stays fixed. At the end of the fixed term, an ARM can adjust up OR down, depending on where interest rates are at that time. The adjustable period on a 30-year product lasts from Years 6-30 and the interest rate will adjust ONCE A YEAR each of those years to whatever the interest rate is at each of those years. This number can be lower or higher than the initial rate during the fixed year.
  2. The adjusted interest rate does have a lifetime cap. Most Wells Fargo rates (our preferred lender) offer a lifetime cap of 5%, some lifetime caps are 6%. What does this mean? It means that a 5/1 ARM with a 2.75% interest rate that has a 5% lifetime cap can never go higher than 7.75% at any point during the loan term. So, you can rest easy – your interest rate isn’t going to shoot up to 18% if you have a lifetime cap of 7.75%. Read More

Food, Fun & Friends!

Do you seek custom living close to downtown Pittsburgh? Say no more…we have your answer. Burwood Acres, a brand new community that is nestled in the hillside above Robinson Town Centre, is a unique enclave of custom Pittsburgh new homes that will give you reprieve from your daily grind.

Located in the Montour school district, Burwood Acres differs from most high-end communities only in price. Home sites feature incredible views, desirable cul-de-sac locations and wooded tree lines. Prices start as low as the $320’s and home styles range from cape-style ranch plans to the more traditional two-story estate homes.

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, join us for a weekend of events to celebrate the Grand Opening of this prestigious community of PA new homes! No matter which day you stop in, you will have an opportunity to walk through our decorated model home, sign up for a free VIP kitchen appliance package and snack on some good eats with the S&A team! Read More


PA New Homes at Cedarfield

Amidst the bustling backdrop of historic Gettysburg is a community like no other in the area. Just 5 minutes from the downtown area is Cedarfield, a low-maintenance living community of carriage homes. With the obvious benefit of low prices starting in the $150’s, those coming from the Maryland area will be happy to know that their tax dollars can stay in their pocket up in Pennsylvania too. Residents have no shortgage of recreation – golf courses, Gettysburg shopping and historic battlefields play host to festivals throughout the summer. All of these things are just a few short miles from our Cedarfield community.

Today, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., you will have an opportunity to tour some of our select Designer’s Choice homes and enjoy refreshments and beverages with your potential future neighbors! The homes feature first-floor owner’s suites, two-car garages, open kitchens and spacious bedrooms and range in price from the $150’s to the $170’s.

Visit the S&A Homes website for directions or contact Kristen Yohn at 717-830-0971.


Get a KISS this Weekend!

Here at S&A Homes, we are all about keeping it simple and straightforward which we affectionately refer to as a KISS!  So here it is:

  • The Simple: Purchase any of our nearly finished PA new homes between now and June 30 in the State College/Bellefonte area and settle on or before August 31, 2011.
  • The Straightforward: Receive a $7,500 gift card to Wolf’s Furniture so you can begin furnishing your home

This weekend only, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, we are hosting an S&A Parade of Homes so that you can come in and get a KISS yourself! We will have 5 quick delivery State College new homes available to tour three and four bedroom homes from the $210’s to the $340’s throughout the area. For direction and floor plans, please click on the links below.

Brynwood #58 – $229,900

Steeplechase #186 – $219,900

Hunter’s Chase #8 – $285,900

Foxpointe #57 – $345,900

Village at Penn State: Ivy Ridge #332 – $329,900


Adjustable Rate Mortgages – Good or Bad?

Well, the simple answer is that there is not a “one answer fits all” to the above question. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (commonly referred to as ARMs) are good for some buyers of WV and PA new homes and not for others. Over the next two weeks we will write a 3-Part series about Adjustable Rate Mortgages to ensure you have all of the 411 you need to understand these mortgage products and why they work for some homeowners and not for others.

Consider the below story (based on my own real life experience):

  • 2003 – Matt and Sara purchase their first home.
  • 2004 – One year later, Matt’s office relocates to the other side of the city and they are forced to sell their townhouse, and they build their first single-family home on the other side of the city.
  • 2007 – Baby #1 comes and Matt and Sara decide to sell their home near the city and move to their hometown to be closer to their parents and extended family.
  • 2011 – Matt’s job is eliminated and Matt and Sara are forced to relocate to the other side of the U.S. Read More