At this year’s Go Mount Airy Gala, Mount Airy USA awarded real estate developer Bancroft Green Project of the Year for their work developing 520 Carpenter, a LEED-certified condominium project, listed by Elfant Wissahickon REALTORS agent Wendy Schwartz and John Wicks of the Schwartz Nealy Team!
Big congratulations to Scott Seibert, G.C. Seibert, and Mike Strickland!
Actually, I’d like to hang out with the coolest person I know, my 5 year old daughter Sydney. My husband and I like to take her to plays, museums or to the movies, her excitement about everything is contagious and puts us both in a great mood! If it’s summer though, we like to go swimming or hiking/camping.
I would like to say relaxing, but I have a hard time doing that. I’m really an on-the-go person, so adventurous is really more my style. I love to try new things, places, new foods and anything else that sounds fun!
What is your favorite season of the year?
I am a Spring and Summer person. I love the warm weather! Puts me in a great mood and gets me up and running. I HATE the cold, although I like season changes, so I’m ok with Fall, but once the holidays are over I am DONE with the cold and I count the days until Spring.
Why did you decide to become a realtor?
I have ALWAYS loved houses. A lot of my family is in different aspects of the business so I was exposed to it at an early age. I was a touring musician for 20 years and when it came time to settle down in one place it was a no-brainer for me to just transition to Real Estate. I also have to say it was a no-brainer to come to Elfant Wissahickon as well. They treat us like family and I would never work anywhere else!
What is your favorite part of being a realtor?
I love the puzzles this job puts in front of you. In selling, the puzzle of finding the best way to market a property so that it goes quickly at the best price or initially figuring out what a client wants out of their Realtor, whether it be a friend/hand holder or a business-minded shark. In buying, I love the people-puzzle. Figuring out what EXACTLY they want in their perfect home and then finding it for them is so much fun for me. I hate sending people a bunch of properties that they have to wade through to get to the right one, so really figuring out what they think is best for them so I can vet through them first is always the most fun to puzzle out.
Without a doubt, working with people. No two are alike and everyone requires something different. This keeps me interested, I can’t stand monotony and working every day, directly with people is a great way to avoid it!
Where are you working today/where are your appointments:
It is an exciting beginning to the year, and my schedule today reflects that. I am spending some time at the office, but have already been to Ardmore, Mount Airy and Wyndmoor. Both listing homes and walking a client through the inspection process.
Well, one of those two days I will be showing houses, which is always fun. At home, our granddaughter Cece will be joining us for a sleepover, with first a walk at the Morris Arboretum, and then Frozenand popcorn. The next day Martha and I will get the canoe out or head to the Shore for a few hours. Dinner is likely to be at Phil’s in Blue Bell. Incidentally, Phil’s has the best martinis in the area. You’re welcome.
I love people, all types, in all stages of life. There is not a better way to get to know people closely than real estate. The relationships, which are built out of an intense experience, can last and last. Every deal is different, the people involved have different motivations and vision. Guiding folks through either the process of buying or selling is exciting, and every day is new and completely different than the day before. Clients become friends and then clients again as they proceed through their lives. I have done many things in my life… Peace Corps volunteer, teacher, librarian, elected official… nothing has been as satisfying.
By knowing how much mortgage you can handle, you can ensure that homeownership will fit in your budget.
Homeownership should make you feel safe and secure, and that includes financially. Be sure you can afford your home by calculating how much of a mortgage you can safely fit into your budget.
Why not just take out the biggest mortgage a lender says you can have? Because your lender bases that number on a formula that doesn’t consider your current and future financial and personal goals.
Think ahead to major life events and consider how those might influence your budget. Do you want to return to school for an advanced degree? Will a new child add day care to your monthly expenses? Does a relative plan to eventually live with you and contribute to the mortgage?
Consider those lifestyle issues as you check out these four methods for estimating the amount of mortgage you can afford.
1. Prepare a Detailed Budget
The oldest rule of thumb says you can typically afford a home priced two to three times your gross income. So, if you earn $100,000, you can typically afford a home between $200,000 and $300,000.
But that’s not the best method because it doesn’t take into account your monthly expenses and debts. Those costs greatly influence how much you can afford. Let’s say you earn $100,000 a year but have $1,000 in monthly payments for student debt, car loans, and credit card minimum payments. You don’t have as much money to pay your mortgage as someone earning the same income with no debts.
Better option: Prepare a family budget that tallies your ongoing monthly bills for everything — credit cards, car and student loans, lunch at work, day care, date night, vacations, and savings.
See what’s left over to spend on homeownership costs, like your mortgage, property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and community association fees, if applicable.
2. Factor in Your Downpayment
How much money do you have for a downpayment? The higher your downpayment, the lower your monthly payments will be. If you put down at least 20% of the home’s cost, you may not have to get private mortgage insurance, which protects the lender if you default and costs hundreds each month. That leaves more money for your mortgage payment.
The lower your downpayment, the higher the loan amount you’ll need to qualify for and the higher your monthly mortgage payment.
But, if interest rates and/or home prices are rising and you wait to buy until you accumulate a bigger downpayment, you may end up paying more for your home.
3. Consider Your Overall Debt
Lenders generally follow the 43% rule. Your monthly mortgage payments covering your home loan principal, interest, taxes and insurance, plus all your other bills, like car loans, utilities, and credit cards, shouldn’t exceed 43% of your gross annual income.
Here’s an example of how the 43% calculation works for a homebuyer making $100,000 a year before taxes:
Your gross annual income is $100,000.
Multiply $100,000 by 43% to get $43,000 in annual income.
Divide $43,000 by 12 months to convert the annual 43% limit into a monthly upper limit of $3,583.
All your monthly bills including your potential mortgage can’t go above $3,583 per month.
You might find a lender willing to give you a mortgage with a payment that goes above the 43% line, but consider carefully before you take it. Evidence from studies of mortgage loans suggest that borrowers who go over the limit are more likely to run into trouble making monthly payments, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau warns.
4. Use Your Rent as a Mortgage Guide
The tax benefits of homeownership generally allow you to afford a mortgage payment — including taxes and insurance — of about one-third more than your current rent payment without changing your lifestyle. So you can multiply your current rent by 1.33 to arrive at a rough estimate of a mortgage payment.
Here’s an example: If you currently pay $1,500 per month in rent, you should be able to comfortably afford a $2,000 monthly mortgage payment after factoring in the tax benefits of homeownership.
However, if you’re struggling to keep up with your rent, buy a home that will give you the same payment rather than going up to a higher monthly payment. You’ll have additional costs for homeownership that your landlord now covers, like property taxes and repairs. If there’s no room in your budget for those extras, you could become financially stressed.
Also consider whether or not you’ll itemize your deductions. If you take the standard deduction, you can’t also deduct mortgage interest payments. Talking to a tax adviser, or using a tax software program to do a “what if” tax return, can help you see your tax situation more clearly.