by: Stefanos Chen and AOL Real Estate

It may sound like a cliche to trot out fire safety tips before the holiday season, but if there’s one statistic that bears repeating, it’s this: Even with adequate smoke alarms, a house fire today can become uncontrollable in less than three minutes.

That’s down from an average 17 minutes in 1975 — a whopping 82 percent difference.

And the reason for the drastic change, according to a report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, isn’t just the type of house you live in, but what you put inside.

“It’s not how old the home is, it’s the furnishings,” Jack Watts, Director of the Fire Safety Institute, told AOL Real Estate.

A spokesperson for the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) said that the worst culprit in home fires is upholstered furniture, because it often contains highly flammable polyurethane foam. These all-too-common materials provide the fuel for what fire experts call the flashover — the point at which everything in the room simultaneously bursts into flames. It doesn’t help that many of today’s homes are built with more open floor plans and modern building materials like wallboard that can lead to faster fires, according to the Wichita Eagle.

The numbers show an alarming trend. In 1977, the first year when data was available, there were 750,000 residential fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. In 2010, there were roughly half that many, thanks in large part to widespread use of smoke detectors. But the incredible speed with which home fires can spread in today’s homes represents a major step backward in fire safety.

The Hot Topic of Sprinklers

The next step in home fire safety, a spokesperson for the NASFM said, is to require fire sprinklers in new residential properties. Home builders bristle at the idea due to the high cost of installation. The national average cost to install sprinklers is $1.60 per square foot, according to the Wichita Eagle. In a 2,000-square-foot home, that comes out to about $3,200.

Another barrier is public opinion. As Yahoo! reported last year, when given the choice between granite countertops and fire sprinklers, respondents overwhelmingly chose the countertops, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

(To find out if your state requires fire sprinklers in new construction, check out the Fire Sprinkler Initiative website.)

Worse still, there are only voluntary flammability regulations for upholstered furniture. Implementing a nationwide standard would go a long way in protecting consumers from purchasing dangerously flammable furnishings, the NASFM spokesperson said.

Regardless of what state legislators decide, though, it all comes down to vigilance, says Fire Safety Institute Director Watts.

If you’ll be using a live Christmas tree this holiday season, make sure to water it regularly and keep an eye on any decorative lighting and candles. And, as always, make sure your house is equipped with working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. For a terrifying glimpse at a Christmas tree “flashover,” watch the video above.

Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc - TeamPrimary is helping to collect raffle prizes for an upcoming event in honor of Rob aka “BBQ Rob” who recently lost his home to an explosion in Coventry, CT. If you’d like more information about the event or how you can help by donating, please contact cdionne@primeres.com or view the event flyer here. We really appreciate all your support!

As you know, you should always try to link to your Facebook pages, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other websites as much as you can. This helps more people to connect with you and it also is great for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Here are the steps to take to add your websites to your LinkedIn Profile:

  1. Log onto you LinkedIn account
  2. Next, under the Profile Tab at the top left, click on Edit Profile
  3. Then scroll down a little until you see Websites and click on Edit
  4. This will bring up another page and you will see Websites and room to put three different websites.
  5. You want to click on the drop down and click on OTHER
  6. Then don’t just type in Facebook Page or Company Website.  Actually type in the link to the website.  So you might put www.FaceBook.com/TeamPrimaryand then in the next box, put the same thing.  This makes it so your website shows on your profile and people can also actually click it and it will bring them right to your facebook page, etc.

LinkedIn will let you add three websites, so put in as many as you can.  Some examples might be your facebook page, your twitter, your youtube account and your company website.  If you don’t have your own website, go to your company website and get yourself to the page where your personal profile is listed and copy the URL at the top of the page and copy and paste it to your LinkedIn!

For your mortgage needs, visit Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc – TeamPrimary!

 

A Very Special Thank You to our Team of Employees!

On Sunday, September 25th, The Hartford Courant is publishing “The Hartford Courant and FOXCT Top Workplaces 2011” – a list of the best places to work in the Hartford region. I am delighted to let you know that Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. – Team Primary has been named to the list. On Sunday, you will be able to see us named in a special section of The Hartford Courant and online at www.courant.com.

The evaluation for the Top Workplaces program is based upon feedback from an employee survey that many of you completed a few months ago. We are honored to be included. Particularly as the judges were you, our employees!

We were also recognized with a special award for being named the organization with standout scores in Communication among all the companies surveyed out of 793 employers invited to the survey.

Thank you, to each and every one on our team! You have our commitment to continually find ways to improve and make our organization even better.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene the Federal Government has declared that all Counties of Connecticut are Disaster areas. So what does that mean to prospective buyers and current homeowners?

If you are the process of applying for a mortgage this can add time to your loan process. Your lender will be required to have a re-inspection done on the property typically by the appraiser to verify the home was not damaged. This could easily add 2 to 5 days to your loan process as appraisers throughout the state are now handling their current workload plus the re-inspections. If your closing is delayed, make sure to contact your loan officer to check if this will in any way affect your rate lock. You also want to make sure contractually that all agents and the sellers are aware of any delays to the closing as a result of the Hurricane.  

If you are a current homeowner in Connecticut and your home was damaged you can apply for disaster assistance with FEMA. Disaster assistance is money or direct assistance for an individual, family or business in an area whose property has been damaged or destroyed and whose losses are not covered by insurance.

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Now with Labor Day approaching, and people seeking to soak up as much summer fun as possible, Capitol DisPatch asked state legislators to weigh in about their favorite places. Here, in alphabetical order:

State Rep. James Albis, a Democrat representing East Haven in the 99th House: “Having grown up in East Haven I love the beach. I think Connecticut has some of the greatest beaches.” Albis also loves golf.

State Sen. Toni Boucher, a Republican representing Bethel, Redding, Ridgefield, New Canaan, Weston, Westport and Wilton in the 26th Senate District: Sitting on stone walls at Weir farm. “It overlooks so much beauty, it’s picturesque, and you can see why artists came to paint here.” The beaches: Sherwood Island, Compo Beach and Calf Pasture Beach. The drives: especially along Route 53 along the Aspetuck Reservoir and along Route 58 to Putnam Park. “We have some of most beautiful scenery,” Boucher said.

State Rep. Larry Cafero, a Republican representing Norwalk in the 142nd House District: Hands down – Bayley Beach in Rowayton. “On a beautiful day with boats and glistening water it’s like you’re on vacation,” Cafero said.

State Rep. Paul Davis, a Republican representing Milford, Orange and West Haven in the 117th House District: Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison; Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden and the aquariums in Norwalk and Mystic. “I like the science aspect of it,” Davis said.

State Rep. Kim Fawcett, a Democrat representing Fairfield and Westport in the 133rd House District: Jennings Beach where “a favorite thing to do is walk on the beach in the evening around 6pm or 7pm.”

State Rep. John Frey, a Republican representing Ridgefield in the 111th House District: Frey said he has a tough time choosing with so many great places from Beardsley Zoo to the Stamford Nature Center. But for Frey, his heart belongs to Ridgefield: “We’re spoiled here,” Frey said listing Books on the Common, Deborah Ann’s and the Ridgefield Playhouse as great places. 

State Rep. John Hetherington, a Republican representing New Canaan in the 125th House District: He loves Norwalk’s Maritime Aquarium.

State Sen. John Kissel a Republican representing East Granby, Enfield, Granby, Somers, Suffield, Windsor and Windsor Locks in the 7th Senate District: Kissel has a penchant for the more pastoral parts of the state. He loves the ride to Storrs and likes the Mark Twain House and the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford too. 

State Rep. Gail Lavielle, a Republican representing Norwalk and Wilton in the 143rd House District: Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk is a favorite spot and she also loves taking a drive to and through Litchfield County.

State Sen. Carlo Leone, a Democrat representing Stamford and Darien in the 27th Senate Distric:. “I’m glad they finally increased the budget from $1 to a nominal budget. Apparently for every $1 spend on tourism get $3 back, so we should have done this a long time ago,” Leone said. In his district: Cove Island Park is “a little gem for us.” Leone also likes the Bartlett Arboretum, Palace Theater, Rich Forum, Stepping Stones Museum and Maritime Aquarium.

State Sen. Edward Meyer, a Democrat representing Branford, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison and North Branford in the 12th Senate District: Meyer likes the shoreline and the farms, from Hammonasset Beach State Park to paddling a canoe to Faulkner Island that lies off the coast of Guilford. Loves the Durham State Fair and the growing art community of Killingworth. “Within Connecticut we find lots of fun choices,” Meyer said.

State Rep. Kim Rose, a Democrat representing Milford in the 188th House District.  Rose enjoys taking her camper to East Haddam on the weekends. She also “always loves Gillette Castle and local theater.” 

State Rep. John Shaban, a Republican representing Easton, Redding and Weston in the 135th House Distric: Shaban likes hiking in Devil’s Den and sailing on Long Island Sound, sometimes to the Thimble Islands off the coast of Branford.

State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, a Democrat representing Westport in the 136th House District:  “You don’t have to hop on a plane to go to some exotic location,” Steinberg said. He likes Sherwood Island State Park, which he said is underused by Westport residents. He calls Compo Beach a true blessing. And Steinberg has a “warm spot” for Lake Waramaug, it’s where he proposed to his wife. Steinberg said he wants to further explore the northeast part of the state because he’s amazed and impressed by how diverse the state is in terms of geology and topography.

State Rep. Terrie Wood, a Republican representing Norwalk in the 141st House District: Kayaking at Downunder Kayaking in Rowayton right on Five Mile River. They have classes of all kinds to include the new SUP (Stand up Paddling). She also enjoys dining by the water at Sails, Rowayton Market or The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood, the beaches of Hammonsett State Park in Madison, and Lyman Orchards in Middlefield.

State Rep. Diana Urban, a Democrat representing North Stonington and Stonington in the 43rd Senate District: Urban loves the Mystic Aquarium where she said she can sit for hours watching the sting rays and the new jellyfish exhibit.

Where’s your favorite place to get away without getting too far from home?

Article courtesy of Stonington.Patch.com

Are you or someone you know looking to purchase or refinance a home in connecticut? For your mortgage needs, visit Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc – TeamPrimary or find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TeamPrimary! We love your refferals! :-D

If you have never owned a home and had a mortgage, it can be a little confusing to see what makes up your monthly mortgage payment. Every lender has their own methods when it comes to collecting your monthly mortgage payment, but generally speaking the breakdown of a mortgage payment is pretty standard.

The first component of your mortgage payment is often referred to as P/I or Principal and Interest. The principal and interest component is simple to calculate and even the simplest of mortgage calculators will let you input the loan amount, term of the loan and interest rate and calculate the P/I payment over the term of the loan.

Generally speaking with most mortgage loans, the first payments you make will be mostly interest and the last few payments you make will be mostly principal.

The second component of your mortgage payment is often referred to as T or Taxes. Your property taxes are assessed by the county you live in and are typically collected as part of your mortgage payment by your lender who then pays your taxes on your behalf when they are due (typically twice each year). In some areas of the country, property taxes are high and in some they are low — but generally speaking your property taxes are paid into an escrow account at your lender and held there until paid.

The third component of your mortgage payment is I or Insurance. Insurance refers to your homeowners insurance. Like your taxes, it is common for your lender to have an escrow account set up for you for your insurance premiums. You pay 1/12th of the annual premium each month as part of your mortgage payment and your lender then pays your insurance company once each year.

Depending on how much money you put down as a down payment and what type of loan program you have, you may or may not have M/I or Mortgage Insurance. Mortgage insurance is different than Insurance. Mortgage insurance is paid by the borrower to the lender and the lender pays that to private MI companies who agree to pay the lender in the event the borrower defaults.

Mortgage Payment Breakdown: A Simple Example

Here is a simple example mortgage payment breakdown for a $200,000 loan at a 5% interest rate with a $1,200 annual property tax bill and a $1,200 annual insurance policy premium to insure the home with no mortgage insurance.

Principal / Interest = $1,074
Taxes = $100
Insurance = $100
Total PITI Payment = $1,274

What makes up your monthly mortgage payment?

P. I. T. I. and sometimes MI.

Courtesy of Zillow.com

For your mortgage needs, visit Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc – TeamPrimary or find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TeamPrimary!

Any loan closed after October 1, 2011 must meet the new FHA Loan Limits for the Maximum Mortgage amount. So what does this mean for our market? Well in general it will have an impact on some of the larger home sales by creating a lower ceiling of what someone who is approved for FHA can afford in a home.  

For example in Hartford County, the current maximum mortgage limit on a single family home is $440,000. On October 1, 2011 it goes down to $320,850. That’s the difference of $119,150 in a mortgage.

That is a big difference! This creates a dilemma for those buyers who would have used FHA to purchase a home in this range. A buyer in this range utilizing the FHA program typically is doing so to take advantage of the 3.5% down payment requirement or has lower credit scores and may be unable to obtain private mortgage insurance. In many cases the FHA loan just offers a lower payment due to a combination of these factors.

Here’s what we can do about it. First and foremost we need to educate the consumers along with mortgage and real estate professionals so that buyers are not sent pre-qualified looking for homes out of their range with an FHA mortgage. In addition, if you have a buyer with an FHA Mortgage in process in this range we suggest you stay in close touch with the lender to assist in any way possible to ensure the loan is closed on time.

There is some light to be seen regarding this subject with private mortgage insurance companies. Recently we have seen many companies making changes to reduce required documentation and ease guidelines to allow more buyers to utilize their programs with 5% down. It will not make up for all of the buyers in this range, but it’s a start.

Click here to access the full listing of changes by county in Connecticut.

You can find TeamPrimary on Facebook too!

Running out of ideas for things to do this summer?

Around mid to late summer is the time when you’ll find fairs popping up all over connecticut. This is a great way of gathering family and friends together for a day of fun. There are so many great activities that fairs have to offer. Activities vary; some include rides, games, animals, crafts, face painting, food, contests, entertainment and more. Although connecticut does not have an official state fair, several town fairs are held throughout. If you are interested in knowing more about upcoming fairs in connecticut, there are a few links provided below, just click on them and begin your search.

Also, if you or someone you know is looking to purchase or refinance a home, visit Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc - TeamPrimary. We love your referrals! :-D

Many economists are predicting with the US debt rating being downgraded that mortgage rates will increase by about one half of one percent. To date, they have not done so. So let’s look at what this means for the consumer in general terms should this happen. As I write this getting a mortgage in the mid 4% range is still very attainable for qualified borrowers. If we see an increase such as the economists predict they would likely move into the low 5% range.  

How many of you reading this think a mortgage rate in the low 5% range is all that bad? Of course you don’t because that is still a great rate. Many of us remember rates in the double digits, some over 15%. So now for a second let’s use a little bit of common sense when we consider if we were to buy or sell a home, would you choose not to do so if the mortgage rate was 4.5% compared to 5%. In most cases the answer would be no. What you may see if rates increase is a slow down within the housing market for a few months as a result of the negative press the increase in mortgage rates will receive. Past experience tells us when the media talks about increasing interest rates, the market seems to slow for 60 to 90 days as the consumer digests the information.

So in a nutshell if what they are predicting is true, we should see a slight increase in mortgage rates, which will affect some consumers looking to refinance but should not influence the purchase housing market locally. With that being said, the negative press the subject receives could slow the market temporarily as consumers digest the information. One thing to remember, rates remain at historic all time lows.

For your mortgage needs, visit Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc – TeamPrimary or find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TeamPrimary!

Farmers Market Great Barn Giveaway

Yankee Barn Homes, Farmers Market Coalition and American Farmland Trust celebrate the commitment of our nation’s farmers markets to local economic development and healthy farms and food with the first-ever Farmers Market Great Barn Giveaway. The national contest invites farmers markets to share their story for a chance to win a post-and-beam barn specially designed and built by Yankee Barn Homes.

Coventry, Connecticut is in the final 3 to win!

Please take a moment to read the Coventry Regional Farmer’s Market story and cast your vote!

Read The Coventry Regional Farmer’s Market Story Here

Vote Here!

We appreciate your help! :-)