January 2024 Newsletter

Find your purpose in 2024 | Using credit cards to pay the mortgage | More

"If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes." —Andrew Carnegie
Pittsburgh is Home
Tarasa Hurley Team
(412) 475-8008
Keller Williams

Happy New Year! As we step into 2024, full of new possibilities and opportunities, we at the Tarasa Hurley Team are excited to share with you the latest news, trends, and insights from the world of real estate.

We start with a picture of Michelle Ayala's adorable dog, Archie, enjoying the snow!

Spotlight Event: 412 Gives Back Gala Success!

We are thrilled to kick off this edition by celebrating the tremendous success of the 412 Gives Back Gala, held at the Fox Chapel Golf Club. As proud sponsors of this heartwarming event, we witnessed the incredible generosity of our community, coming together to support a noble cause. The gala was a resounding success, raising $90,000 for Make-A-Wish! This generous contribution will make dreams come true for 18 deserving children, bringing hope and joy to their lives. "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

Welcome Lauren!

We are absolutely thrilled to announce the newest addition to our incredible team: Lauren Borres, our new administrator!
Lauren brings...
📅 Organizational wizardry to keep everything running smoothly
🔍 A passion for details – because every detail matters in real estate!
🤝 Prompt and friendly assistance whenever you need it
🌈 A commitment to making your real estate dreams a reality
Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Lauren! We can't wait to see the amazing contributions she will make to our team and the lives of our clients.

Our Team

  • Team Lead: Tarasa Hurley
  • Administrator: Lauren Borres
  • Transaction Coordinator: Laurie Pfaff
  • Client Care: Reba Salinas
  • Buyer's Agent: Michelle Ayala
  • Buyer's Agent: Mylasia Sherrell

Team Stats (All of 2023)

  • Volume Closed: $18.3M
  • 89 completed transactions!
Happy New Year! It’s that time of year again where we turn our attention to soul-searching and goal setting. If you're inspired by the quote above, you're not alone. Many of us want to feel a greater sense of purpose driving us forward each day. It’s a wonderful feeling, but it can be surprisingly hard to discover, much less develop and give away.

According to Anthony Robbins, two things prevent people from finding their purpose: Predictability, which helps us stay comfortable but can keep us in unfulfilling jobs and relationships, and limiting beliefs, which are stories we tell ourselves about our capabilities. 

For instance, a woman might be brilliant at math but stuck in an accounting job she doesn't enjoy. The security of her job prevents her from moving on. She tells herself she can't do any other job anyway and doesn't have time (limiting beliefs). This brings to mind the poem by Marianne Williamson, starting "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." Read it here.

Not everyone experiences "purpose" the same way. The accountant could feel passionate about serving corporate clients, or she could feel a need to help low-income micro-businesses. Or perhaps she can contribute more as the CFO of a political campaign, or maybe as a math teacher helping kids. One of those will inspire her more than the others.

Of course, there's a practical side to all this. You must make money. The adage "Do what you love, and the money will follow" isn't always accurate. You need to discover your gift, then develop it in a direction that helps you earn a living by doing something that others will value. The trick is to find environments that fill you with excitement, then explore your gift in those contexts. Focus outward, not just on what you love, but on what the world would value getting from you. 

Wishing you a year filled with passion and purpose...Happy New Year! 
➤ Rates at the time of publication are 6.66%. Click above for today's rate.
➤ According to a recent Zillow survey, more than 80% of home shoppers now consider climate risks when looking for a new home.
➤ In another survey, over half of Millennial and Gen Z buyers say that house hacking is a “very” or “extremely” important strategy for their home buying plans. House hacking refers to renting out a portion of the home to defray costs. 
➤ In 2024, regular home buyers will continue to compete with home flippers for the best deals on fixers. Buyers should explore options for paying cash, including companies that will help them make all-cash offers and other alternative financing.


As of Dec 31th 2023

Number of Listings:
 5,107 (down 10% from November)
Number of Sales: 1,699 1,723 (down about 1.4% from November)
Days on Market: 30 (4 days more than November)
Sales Price to List Price Ratio: 98.2% (down 0.4%)
Median Sales Price: $220,750 (up about 3.9%)
Price Per Sq Ft: $148 $171 (down 13.5%)

If you’re a buyer
Typically the early winter months are the slowest moving months. Rates have dropped a bit and continue to drop, so this is a good time to try to find a property before rates drop further and we reach the spring frenzy. Right now competition is limited. Waiting until spring may cause you to overpay.

If you’re a seller
Buyers are coming back into the market due to decreased rates. So it's a solid time time to list. If you are both buying and selling, this may be an opportunity to avoid too much competition on the buying end. If you only have a property to sell, you may benefit by the spring market which is anticipated to be strong.

As always, real estate is hyperlocal and hyper-situational, so please reach out to us to discuss your specific situation. We’d love to help you and strategize what’s in your best interest!
☐  Put away the Christmas decor.
☐  Declutter closets.
☐  Inspect and replenish medical supplies.
☐  Check for leaks.
☐  Run a security check on all devices. (See phone article below.)
☐  Indoor projects: touch up trim, replace shower heads, change light fixtures, etc.

Can I use a credit card to pay my monthly mortgage?

Making payments with a credit card is possible. But it's probably not worth it for most homeowners. Here’s why:

1. Since mortgage lenders don’t accept credit card payments directly, you'll need to use a third-party app that let's you make mortgage payments from a credit card. You'll need to have the right kind of credit card for this to work, and you'll pay extra fees. Once you make that payment, you'll accrue interest charges on your higher credit balance.

2. You can take a cash advance on your credit line and use it to pay your mortgage. This has consequences. Not only will you pay a cash advance fee (usually 5%), but you’ll start accruing high interest charges (often up to 29.99% APR) on the advance — without the grace period allowed for normal card transactions.

The only "sensible" reason to use a credit card to pay the mortgage is when you want to accrue credit card miles or points, or if you want to gain a credit card bonus for a one-time payment...and you already have the cash available to pay off the card in full before the payment due date. If you’re struggling to make a payment, the best option is to contact the mortgage company for solutions.
Send me your real estate questions.
Two boys have the same parents and were born at the same hour on the same day of the same month, but they are not twins. How can this be? 
Send your answer here
Send your answer for a chance to win a $5 coffee card! Last month's Q&A: What was the first child’s toy to ever be advertised on TV? Mr. Potato Head!
 Congratulations to last month's winner!

Your phone is the key to your life.
What happens if you lose it?

You use your phone for authentication apps, remembering phone numbers for you, opening car doors, accessing banking apps, communicating by text, and more. Most of us never expect to lose or break our phones, but if you did, what would that do to your life? How complicated could things get and how fast could you reestablish your phone's data? Here's how to safeguard your phone access.

Dark Rooms, Bright Idea

Do you have an interior room that no light seems to penetrate? A basement, walk-in closet, or den? Here's an idea you’ll love: Hang an integrated-electric light panel on the wall, then cover with curtains or blinds, just like a window. The illusion works! 
Buy plain light panels at home stores or IKEA, or panels with images of an outdoor scene, as shown. A pricier idea is to hang a Samsung Frame TV and frame it like a window.

All the "Colors of the Year" in One Place

It's that time of year again, when we get all sorts of new year predictions, including the new "color of the year." Have you noticed there are many different colors of the year, depending on where you look? Martha Stewart to the rescue. Here's a Martha Stewart summary of all the 2024 colors of the year (so far), from Fuzzy Peach to Renew Blue.

Why ‘Will Not’ Isn’t Willn’t

As you think about what you will and won’t do this year, pause to wonder why will not = won’t instead of willn’t. Most  other English contractions are direct: they are = they’re; he would = he’d, and so on. So, what happened with will not? In Old English, the verb ‘to will’ was 'wil-' in the present and 'wold-' in the past tense. Centuries later, we still use will for the present. The negative ‘wold-‘ transformed to woll not, then wo-not, which contracts to won’t. Now you know.

Weight Lifting –
the Key to a Long Life?

Here's something interesting. Scientists analyzed the health, hearts, and exercise habits of more than 13,000 adults and found that strength training for 10 minutes per day could reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke by the same amount as 30 minutes per day of aerobic exercise. In fact, they found that lifting weights for less than an hour per week could reduce the risk of a heart attack or a stroke by a staggering 40 percent to 70 percent. Between walking and strength training, we should be able to live forever!

Ring In the New Year with a Few Good Laughs

  1. A boy asked a girl to his high school dance and she said yes. He waited in line at the florist for an hour to get her a corsage. He stood in line for two hours to pick up his tuxedo. He waited in traffic for an hour when driving to her house. They finally got to the dance and the girl said she’d like some punch. So the boy went to get it. To his surprise, there was no punch line.
  2. As a group of robbers entered the bank, their leader went to the manager and asked him to open the vault. He threatened the manager by saying, "If you try to do anything smart, you're fiction." The manager said, "Don't you mean 'You’re history'?" The robber angrily replied, "Don’t change the subject!"
  3. My buddy got arrested on drug charges and because it was his first offense, he thought he would get off lightly, but it turned out his lawyer was one of the worst in the state, and despite having had several successful cases during his early years, he ended up botching my buddy's case by angering the judge, so instead of getting a short term, he ended up getting 40 years without parole! Man, that was a long sentence.
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Tarasa Hurley Team
(412) 475-8008
Keller Williams

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