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Is Paying Your Mortgage Bi-Weekly or Monthly a Better Option for You

bi weekly1If you have a mortgage, you’re probably looking for the best option to pay it off. Monthly mortgage payments are an easy-to-manage way to pay for your house – in fact, they’re the most common form of mortgage payment – but now, many homeowners are discovering that biweekly payments offer them better results.

So is a biweekly payment the better option for you? Which payment strategy best fits your individual circumstances? Here’s what you need to know.

Biweekly Payments: Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster and Save on Interest

Biweekly payments are becoming increasingly popular for a variety of reasons. With a biweekly payment, you’ll pay less money in total interest payments over the course of the whole mortgage, and you’ll pay your mortgage off faster. Biweekly payments also make it bi weekly2easier to budget for your mortgage because they coincide with your paycheck, and the biweekly payment system forces you to make extra payments toward your principal.

That said, biweekly payments also have some disadvantages. If you’ve bought a home at the very top tier of what you can afford, you might not have the budget flexibility for extra payments. Your lender may also force you to pay a $300 setup fee or a processing fee for each payment.

Monthly Payments: Easier to Afford for Large Homes

bi weekly3Paying your mortgage off on a monthly basis has long been the standard, for a variety of reasons – for instance, most homeowners are typically more comfortable with monthly payments as they were the norm during the owner’s years as a renter. It may also be easier to manage monthly payments if you work as an independent contractor and don’t always get paid every two weeks.

Monthly mortgage payments are more affordable for owners of larger homes, which typically come with larger mortgages. A monthly payment schedule also means you make one less payment per year, and for those on a strict budget, this can help to make the daily necessities of life more affordable.

Monthly mortgage payments were once the expected norm, but now, a lot of homeowners are choosing to make biweekly payments in order to pay off their mortgages faster and better budget their money. Monthly payments still remain though for various reasons.

If you have any questions regarding home mortgages or other advice about selling your home, feel free to call me directly at 215-519-1399.



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As fall fades away and the winter weather approaches, Bucks County has just what you need to stay warm and get ready for the holidays. From festivals featuring everything apple to dazzling holiday light displays, there are plenty of reasons to explore the countryside this month.

For more fun planning ideas this month, be sure to check out our calendar of events or our Holiday Winter Happenings!early nov1

• November 4-22 - Join Bristol Riverside Theatre for “Mountain: The Journey of Justice Douglas,” the story of William O. Douglas, one of the most accomplished and controversial justices ever to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Directed by Susan D. Atkinson and starring Keith Baker, learn about how Douglas struggled to find the meaning of his life.

• November 6-21 - See Kris Kringle, an old man in a retirement home, get a job working as Santa for Macy’s during the Town and Country Players presentation of Miracle on 34th Street. Find out what happens after Kris unleashes waves of good will on customers, even as he’s seen as deluded and dangerous.

November 14 - Step back in time and celebrate Fall Fling at Historic. This historic and beautiful “Village That Time Forgot” is the perfect backdrop to your fall festivities! The evening starts with a cocktail hour followed by a delectable buffet and an auction early nov2immediately following.

• November 15 - Join Sand Castle Winery for the annual Bonfire! Sample barbecue style food with Alpine Spice wine. The winery will also be offering full tastings.

• November 18 - Enjoy a taste of Crossing Vineyards’ award-winning wines while learning how to create the perfect fall flower arrangement during A Rose by Any Other Name. Take something beautiful home and learn a little bit more about wine, too! Reservations include tasting, floral materials and instruction.

**Courtesy of

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How to Impress Potential Buyers in a Last Minute Home Showing

open house1The idea of impressing potential buyers can be a matter rife with stress, but there are a few things you can do before a viewing to ensure your home is seen in the best light.
If you’ve recently put your house on the market and you’re looking for some fast and easy fix-ups, here are a handful of ways you can be sure to create a positive first impression.

It’s all about the Smellopen house2
It may seem like purchasing a home is all about appearance, but you shouldn’t underestimate the power of scent when it comes to the overall impact of your home viewing. Instead of leaving this invisible factor up to chance, consider giving the house a quick spray with a pleasant scent or even baking something that will be sure to remind potential buyers of the familiar comforts of home.

Take Away the Family Portraits
While it won’t be necessary to clear away everything of personal value, a large number of photographs in the home can actually remind potential homebuyers that it’s not their home and may make them feel like they’re a visitor in a place they want to live. By removing the photos that adorn the fridge and the side tables, you can eliminate distractions for potential homebuyers and keep them focused on what the home might come to mean for house3

Clear Away Any Clutter
This might seem like the most common sense of points, but it’s very important that your house is clean so that viewers can see your home in its best light and will easily be able to imagine themselves living in it. While it’s important for giving your house the best possible presentation, it will also make your house look more spacious than it would with a lot of unkempt clutter.

Highlight Your Favorite Features
open house4With potential home buyers viewing a lot of different houses, having a few key features in your home that will help it stand out from the pack can be a definite benefit. Whether you have a fabulous Jacuzzi in the master bathroom or unique kitchen tiles that you installed yourself, ensuring that these features are noticed may help your home stick in the mind of its viewers.

Showing your home can be stressful, but a few quick tips can ensure a successful showing with potential buyers. If you need other ideas that will help impress potential buyers with showing your home talk to a local real estate agent.

If you have any questions about buying a new home, or are selling your home and need advice on staging tips for your home, feel free to call me directly at 215-519-1399.



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Shopping for a New Mortgage without Hurting Your Credit Score

credit1It’s difficult to begin shopping around for a new mortgage without the facts on how this can affect your FICO score.

Anybody who is holding off for fear that their credit score will be ruined by multiple credit checks has nothing to worry about. Mortgage brokers require this information to give an accurate quote, so many credit checks by different companies will have a miniscule effect on credit scores.

The system has been designed this way because a mortgage is not considered to be ‘bad debt’ by lenders and consumers should have the right to shop around without fear of their credit being destroyed by it.

Understanding the ‘Tiers’ Of Credit Checks

FICO scores are affected each time a credit inquiry is requested to check a borrower’s credit report. This makes sense, as every time somebody searches for new credit they increase their ability to acquire significant debt.credit2

Thankfully, not all credit checks are created equal and they do not affect FICO scores in the same way. A mortgage loan is not considered remotely close to store credit cards, which allow a person to get into more debt. Debts on mortgages only get lower as time goes on, ranking them very low on the list of things lenders consider bad credit.

The One Thing to Know Before Shopping For a New Mortgage

credit3Every time a credit card company or consumer loan company pulls a credit check, the borrower’s FICO score will fall, but this will not happen when multiple mortgage lenders pull the same person’s credit score.

This is because each credit card has the chance to accumulate debt, whereas only one mortgage will be taken out. So once a mortgage lender pulls your credit score, you will only receive one ‘ding’ even if other lenders pull your score afterwards.

Here is the important part: there is only a 14-day window from the first credit check where all other credit inquiries will be ignored. So it is imperative to plan ahead and shop around within a two week period to limit the impact on your FICO score.

Shopping around when looking for a new mortgage is a necessary step to getting the best possible deal, and thankfully the system is designed around not punishing people for doing this.

If you have any questions regarding home mortgages or other advice about selling your home, feel free to call me directly at 215-519-1399.


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Haunted Lodging in Bucks County

Looking for some spooky fun this Halloween Weekend maybe spend the night at a haunted Inn or Hotel.

Bucks County’s rich historical past has left behind some chilling haunted tales at its various historic attractions and lodging venues. Could it be that many of the inns’ house guests never checked out? We encourage travelers to experience a hair-raising slumber at one of

haunted inn2

the county’s most haunted locations… if you dare:

• Spend an eerie night in Room Six of the Logan Inn. It has been rumored to house four individual ghosts, each with their own unique tale. The female ghost likes to linger while you sleep. The male ghost likes to appear in the bathroom mirror and the two children enjoy
waking you up with their chilling cries. Smell lavender? That usually means one of the spirits is near.

Black Bass Hotel’s revamped exterior cannot hide the remnants of its chilling past. Previous owner of the hotel, Hans, met his demise during a squabble with canal workers. It is said that Hans’s ghost still hangs around the Empire Room in the hotel. The hotel has recently undergone a beautiful renovation and is open to overnight and dining guests.

haunted inn2


Wedgwood Inn Bed & Breakfast was once a part of the Underground Railroad and housed many runaway slaves during the 19th century. It is believed that a 12-year-old ex-slave, Sarah, still takes refuge at the inn. Her ghost has appeared at numerous occasions to various 12-year-old girls visiting the inn telling her story of slavery and escape.

*Photo of Logan Inn, courtesy of Mandee Kuenzel
**Photo of Wedgwood Inn, courtesy of Wedgwood Inn
***Article courtesy of


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3 Mobile Apps That Will Help Make Your Next Move Much Easier

Moving is stressful. Don’t worry. There is an app for that. Technology makes moving easier than ever. Here are three mobile apps that help sellers manage their moves efficiently and with minimum stress.

Move Advisor App

app2First on the list is Move Advisor. This app not only received top reviews from users, it is free. The easy-to-use interface walks sellers through the moving process with four features.

Move Advisor provides users with a comprehensive moving timeline, a home inventory checklist, a moving company locator, and a moving quote.

The moving timeline lets users put in their moving date and any other information. The app then creates a personalized to do list. Each week is broken down into tasks to ease stress and prevent last minute panic.

The home inventory helps itemize the household. The app allows users to easily map out their homes room by room. The app keeps track of what needs to be moved, the volume and weight of the shipment, and how many boxes, furniture blankets, and moving vehicles are needed to move.

Finding a mover is easy with this app. It provides a list of local movers and quotes to make the selection process stress free.

My Move App

app3My Move is another free app that streamlines the moving process. It focuses on informing users about what to expect from a move, finding a moving company, and properly organizing the move.

Information is invaluable. The app provides access to blogs about moving as well as an in-depth article about what to expect from a move on the app homepage.

The professional relocation assistance searches the top moving companies by state or name and includes reviews to help users make informed decisions. The quote process is as easy as a few taps of a finger. The relocation checklist is easily customized and straightforward, simplifying the packing process.

State Farm Move Tools App

app4State Farm insurance company offers a highly interactive and visually appealing moving app designed to provide organizational assistance during the move. It comes with a to-do list, a packing tool, a label tool, an inventory, and many helpful moving tips.

Moving is easy with these three apps. Simplify the moving process by downloading one or all today. For more useful tips, contact a real estate agent for professional advice about moving, buying, and selling a home.

If you have any questions regarding home mortgages or other advice about selling your home, feel free to call me directly at 215-519-1399.



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The Village that Time Forgot Historic – Fallinsington PA

Long a way point in the history of American development and now hard by the pressures of modern suburbia, Fallsington PA has become The Village that Time Forgot.

Nestled in the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania, just north of Philadelphia, at the falls of the Delaware River, the Village had retained its 18th Century character as a seat of Quaker living, worship, and commerce, until the early 1950’s.  Then development in the fallsingtonadjacent Levittown and Fairless Hills threatened to end that forever. Historic Fallsington, Inc. was formed to protect the heritage of the Village.

The three hundred year old Village of Fallsington today represents an enduring Quaker community and an architectural heritage that is uniquely American. Today, Meetinghouse Square appears as it did almost 200 years ago. Historic meeting houses and commercial and residential buildings have been restored and intrusive development has been stayed. At the same time, Historic Fallsington is part of the fabric of Lower Bucks County. Fallsington is a living community of 17th through 20th century homes of varying architectural styles and a small number of other buildings that represents the march of time through the last two hundred years. Fallsington is important today not because it was the site of world-shaking events or the home of famous people but because it has survived to tell its story.

Stand in the Square and gaze at a vista largely unchanged for scores of years. Join one of the tours of the buildings preserved and protected by Historic Fallsington. Observe the graceful way in which this small, unspoiled spot dovetails with the surrounding communities.

This Sunday October 25, 2015 is The Spirits of the Past Tours you will experience the unimaginable, ghostly visitations and tales from the past! Meet a host of village spirits from the 18th century as you are Lantern-led through the historic village of Fallsington. The tours Begin at 6:00 p.m. at the Gillingham Store, 4 Yardley Avenue, going out every 15 minutes, last tour offered is at 8:00 p.m. There is limited space for the tours and only prepaid tickets. Adults are $7.00 and Children 12 and under are $3.00.
Call 215-295-6567.

**Courtesy of

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Why Your Mortgage Lender Might Ask for Your Tax Returns

tax return 1After you have completed the initial loan application and have signed the preliminary loan disclosures, your mortgage loan application will generally receive a preliminary prequalification. This prequalification will be based in large part on your ability to provide documentation to support your statements on your loan application, including your stated income and assets. Typically, a lender will include a request for least the last two to three years of your income tax returns with this documentation. There are several reasons why a lender may need to review your tax returns and why you should provide requested documentation as soon it is requested.

To View All Sources of Income
Your mortgage lender will typically request a copy of your W2 tax forms, which will show your salary and compensation from your employer. However, the W2 form will not show all sources of income that you may receive. For example, rental property income, dividend income and even alimony or child support are just some of the many types of income that you can document through your tax returns.

To Average Income from Self-Employmenttax return 2
Most lenders will require self-employed borrowers to document their income through their tax returns. They will receive income as well as business-related expenses on the tax return. It is common for mortgage lenders to average this type of income for the previous two to three years. Typically, this is the only way that self-employed income is verified for mortgage purposes.

To Comply With Underwriting Guidelines
tax return 3There are various types of mortgage loans that you may apply for, including stated income loans and low documentation loans. While not every type of loan that you apply for will require you to submit tax returns, some loans will have this as a firm requirement. Your loan request simply will not be reviewed and approved until you provide the required documentation to the lender.

If you want to be approved for your mortgage, it is important to comply with lender requirements. Providing documentation as soon as it is requested can speed the application process up, and your personal income tax returns may only be some of several documents that you will be required to submit to the underwriter for your loan request. You can speak with your mortgage representative about questions you have regarding required documentation, and you can work diligently to comply with underwriting information requests.

If you have any questions regarding home mortgages or other advice about selling your home, feel free to call me directly at 215-519-1399.


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What is ‘HARP 2.0’ And How Do I Know If I Qualify for HARP?

If you’re looking for home refinancing options, you may have had difficulty in the past – especially if you owe more than your home’s value on your mortgage. Getting refinancing consumes much of your home equity, which is in short supply for people who already have a mortgage.

But with the government’s extension of the HARP Program, you can now refinance your home with a variety of lenders – even if you owe more on your mortgage than your home is worth. This ‘HARP 2.0’ is a great way for responsible borrowers to find mortgage relief.

But how does the program work, and who’s eligible for it? Here’s what you need to know.

harp 1


HARP: Affordable Refinancing For Low-Equity Borrowers

HARP, the Home Affordable Refinance Program, is a government initiative that was created in 2011. The program is designed to help homeowners who owe mortgages worth more than their home equity – so-called “underwater” homeowners. Under the original HARP program, homeowners with little or no home equity could refinance their home and benefit from lower interest rates – something that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

HARP 2.0, an updated program, was released in 2012. HARP 2.0 is different from the original program in two critical ways. First, it allows borrowers who have mortgage insurance to refinance their homes. Second, it absolves lenders of any responsibility for fraud on previous loans (which removes barriers to issuing new loans).

Do You Qualify? Eligibility Requirements for the HARP 2.0 Program

HARP 2.0 lists several criteria that applicants must meet in order to be eligible for refinancing.

harp 2


In order for you to be eligible for HARP 2.0, your mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. If you signed your mortgage with another provider, it must have been sold to Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae either on or before May 31, 2009. You must also have no previous refinances under HARP.

(Exception: Fannie Mae loans refinanced under HARP between March 2009 and May 2009 are still eligible for HARP 2.0).

Furthermore, HARP 2.0 is only available for homeowners whose current loan-to-value ratio is 80 percent or higher. You must be up-to-date on your mortgage payment for the month in which you apply and the 11 consecutive months preceding it.

You need to be able to prove your income, employment history, credit history, and assets. There is no legislated minimum credit score required to qualify for HARP 2.0, although some lenders will require that you have a credit score of 620 or higher.

Are you underwater on your mortgage? If you qualify for HARP 2.0, you could refinance your home at a lower interest rate and get the relief you need.

If you have any questions regarding HARP 2 or other advice about buying a home, feel free to call me directly at 215-519-1399.


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Ghosts, ghouls and goblins! Prepare for a hair-raising Halloween season in Bucks County with bewitching attractions. Come face-to-face with historic apparitions and brave your way through heart-racing haunted houses. Stay alert and beware, for Bucks County has nine sure-fire ways to get you scared.

1. Step foot onto Malfate Manor for a house tour of horrors at Midnight Productions’ House in the Hollow in Newtown! The property boasts 17 chilling rooms, a creepy crypt and cemetery. Through the end of October, test your bravery at the Field of Fright and spook1hold tight to your loved ones on the Haunted Hayride; you never know what is coming around the corner!

2. Experience fear like you’ve never felt it before at the Valley of Fear in Feasterville! Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for ghoulish figures. Travel through the dark forest on the Haunted Hayride, watch your nightmares come to life with Scary Tales and escape contamination in the Zombie Escape Maze. Valley of Fear is open for screams and scares through the beginning of November.

3. Discover New Hope after dark on a Ghost Tour of New Hope. This lantern-led tour reveals the historically haunting tales of this quaint borough. Stay on your toes and beware of the Phantom Hitchhiker and floating figure of the late Aaron Burr. Begin the tour at the corner of Main and Ferry Streets and let your unfamiliar moonlit journey begin. Tours are available on Saturdays from June until the third weekend in November; in September and October, tours meet every Friday and Saturday night!

4. Embrace the wacky characters and lively sounds of The Rocky Horror Show movie October 30 and 31 at the Bucks County Playhouse. Follow Brad and Janet’s stormy journey into the chaotic world of Rocky Horror and friends. The Playhouse has been providing visitors with quality entertainment for more than 70 years, and the tradition continues with this cult classic.

5. Walk along the hauntingly exciting halls of the Mercer Museum! Discover the unsettling folklore and mysterious history of this six-story castle. Inspect archaeologist Henry Mercer’s chilling artifacts including a hearse, gallows and a mystical “witch” doctor’s cane. spook2

6. Travel through the 18th century village of Historic Fallsington on October 25 for a chilling Spirits of the Past Tour. Be exposed to the Village’s eerie tales dating back to 1693 coupled with lurking spirits along the way. With connections to William Penn and General George Washington, there is more than meets the eye at Historic Fallsington!

7. Sesame Place is celebrating Halloween all October long at The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular and you are invited! Bring the kids and dress to impress for this not-too spooky Halloween celebration with all of your favorite characters! Get comfy on the character hayride, travel through two winding mazes and attend three Halloween spectacles!

8. Shady Brook Farm is providing visitors with the ultimate Halloween fun at Fall Fest! Attend Pumpkin Fest through Halloween for creative pumpkin carving, a giant corn maze, live entertainment and more. Looking for a dash of frightening excitement? Stick aroundspook3 for Horrorfest open through October 30! Walk through the cryptic Barn of Horror, experience the destructive fields at Carnage, travel through the unsettling woods on the Hayride of Horror and come face-to-face with towering extraterrestrials at the 3-D Alien Encounter.

9. Hop aboard New Hope & Ivyland Railroad throughout the month of October for their spooky Trick or Treat Train Rides. Bring the kids to ride aboard dressed in their favorite Halloween costumes to make the train a scary sight.

**Courtesy of


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