Breaking News
More () »

WNEP.com | News, Weather & Sports from WNEP-TV — Proud to Serve Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania

Mortgage rates hit historic low and local real estate market soars

If you’ve been on the hunt for a new home, experts say now is a prime time to buy with record-low mortgage rates.

As the economy and many continue to struggle, there’s something soaring behind the scenes during the pandemic. It’s a positive and welcome sight for homeowners and home buyers. 

Mortgage rates have hit an all-time record low across the country and here at home. 

Newswatch 16’s Ryan Leckey teamed up with local real estate agents and financial pros at Fidelity Bank. They offered tips and ideas from Pittston on everything from refinancing and what to know if you’re looking for a new home.

The following tips are courtesy of Fidelity Bank:

What to know about refinancing:

  1. In most cases, a new appraisal will be required as well as costs involved. Consider it an investment in long term savings
  2. When refinancing consider the different terms that are available. 30-15-20-10 years as an example. It is important to have a thorough discussion with your mortgage consultant of your long term financial plans. In most cases, consumers refinance for a lower payment. However, it may make sense to shorten the term of your loan to pay it off quicker and save total interest over the life of the loan
  3. You can refinance for various reasons. Lower rate, home improvement, debt consolidation, cash out for other purposes such as investing monies in the stock market as borrowing costs are at historic lows.
  4. Understand this is a whole new loan which means you have to requalify based on your income and credit history.
  5. Credit history has an impact on the rate that you may offer by your lender.

What’s Changed with Home Buying During COVID-19:

    1. Understand that a full appraisal may be required where an appraiser would need to go into your home. In some cases however an external only appraisal can be completed.
    2. Lenders can provide all documentation to be signed electronically if there are concerns about face to face interaction. Understand however when it comes time for closing, face to face interaction needs to take place.
    3. Inspect the inspection – ask for videos and virtual tours
      a) When you can’t attend an inspection due to coronavirus from many people moving through in and out of houses, carefully inspect all photos, videos, and reports you can retrieve from the inspector. It’s vital to get a thorough understanding of the house that is being looked at without having in-person contact.
      b) Do a virtual tour!

The following home selling tips are courtesy of Carey Smith from Century 21 Covered Bridges Realty, Inc. in the Bloomsburg area.

Credit: Century 21 Covered Bridges Realty, Inc.

Carey also suggests talking with your realtor about adding an “Escalation Clause” to your contract:

An escalation clause is a real estate contract that lets a home buyer say: "I will pay x price for this home, but if the seller receives another offer that's higher than mine, I'm willing to increase my offer to y price." This form is submitted at the time of an offer and used in a multiple offer situation, increasing the chances of that buyer securing the property.

Carey can be reached at (570) 594-1578 or carey@careysmithc21.com