October is a scary month...mostly because of Halloween, but also because interest rates have been climbing. How have rates affected your plans to buy or sell? See current rates and trends below. ~Tarasa
FREE PIE GIVEAWAY, I am starting to plan our yearly pie giveaway in November. I’ll be sending out information to previous and active clients. You’ll be able to select a free pie prior to Thanksgiving. But if you’re not yet an active client and you’d like free pie from our team, reach out and I’ll make sure you're sent an order form when it's ready!
Our October tradition is halloween costumes for closings. Here's one from our first closing of the month. Stay tuned next month for the whole set of photos (I'm a Piñata!)
October Home Maintenance Tips: Get grass winter-ready | Clean your furnace
Daily rates are an average across lending institutions. Your rate will vary, depending on your credit, income, the lending institution's pricing, etc. Call if you'd like help finding a lender. (412) 475-8008
Good News Ahead - Possibilities for Lower Rates / Refinance in the Spring
J.P. Morgan Asset Management believes the Fed could pivot by the end of the year due to potential recession indicators.
Morningstar expects the Fed to start cutting rates, pointing to a refocus on economic growth as inflation approaches its 2% target.
A Reuters poll of 97 economists predicts rate cuts in the April-June timeframe
Goldman Sachs anticipates the first-rate cut during Q2, focusing on the target inflation rate of 2%
PITTSBURGH MARKET UPDATE
As of Oct 1st 2023
Number of Listings: 5,906 (up 13.4% from August) Number of Sales: 1,982 (down about 7% August) Days on Market: 20 (1 day more than August) Sales Price to List Price Ratio: 100% (no change) Median Sales Price: $230,000 (down about 4.2%) Price Per Sq Ft: $162 (around the same as August)
The market continues to cool. It is still technically a seller's market, but high interest rates have significantly reduced competition among buyers.
OCTOBER HOME MAINTENANCE TIPS
Get Your Grass Winter-Ready
It's time for some of us to prepare our yards for winter dormancy. The basics: Remove dead leaves so they don't smother the lawn. Mulch or compost them if that's not overwhelming. Then aerate. You can rent a core aerator form the home and garden store, or do it with spiked shoes. Optionally, gently rake fine compost over the lawn afterwards to fill the holes. Finally, overseed the lawn a month or two before you expect the first freeze (or wait until spring after the last freeze).
A Clean Furnace is a Healthy Furnace
It may be time (or past time) to get your furnace winter-ready. Here are the basics: Switch off the power. Vacuum the interior, including the blower compartment. Inspect for corrosion, cracks and other signs of wear. Change the furnace filter. If you feel confident, then oil the motor bearings. If you're not sure how to do any of this yourself, call a licensed HVAC specialist. Especially if you have an older furnace, or if it sound "funny" when running, it's helpful to pay an HVAC specialist to inspect.
It’s not always easy to tell who owns your mortgage. Many mortgage loans are sold multiple times over the 20 or 30 years you're paying it. Plus, you probably pay a servicer who manages the payments, not the mortgage holder, and even that servicer can change, making it harder to tell which entity "owns" your loan.
Unless you're paying close attention to every notice you receive in the mail, you might miss a change-over, since they seamlessly transfer your accounts in a slight of hand that would make any magician proud.
If you find yourself needing to know who owns your mortgage (or if you're simply curious), your best course is to look up the number for your loan servicer, call and ask. You can always reach me for help figuring this sort of thing out: (412) 475-8008. ~Tarasa
October Quiz Question
Why don't zombies eat Halloween candy with their hands?
Send your answer for a chance to win a $5 coffee card! Last month's Q&A: What kind of clothing does a house wear? A-dress (address).Congratulations to last month's winners, Melinda and Sandy!
Why do ghosts haunt houses? Why not haunt Walmarts or Pizza Huts? Well, they could. There are plenty of spooky tales associated with non-houses, such as the London Asylum for the Insane in Ontario, which speaks for itself.
But houses are prime locations for hauntings because they're often full of tragedy, including violent death, illness, and bad luck. It used to be common for people to die at home rather than in a hospital, and those people might hang around due to unresolved issues, or just because they're "lost." Children in particular get stuck, as with the 10 year old boy of The Gladiolus Street House, New Orleans, who's said to laugh at the homeowner when she makes silly mistakes like dropping a pot. Other hauntings are more sinister, like the creepy Amityville Horror House in New York, which is said to have oozed black slime and possessed the residents. Fun fact: my mother used to live in Amityville. When she was 16 she snuck into the house, but she didn't see anything particularly scary. But... there was actually a red room in the basement.
Please Disclose Your Hauntings
Are haunted houses real? Likely not, according to examiners who can explain away most of these stories. Still, to hedge our bets, suspected hauntings should be disclosed upon the sale of a home.
The Ghostbusters Ruling
Consider the Ackley House, which enjoyed a number of friendly, but noisy ghosts: When the house sold in 1980, the buyers claimed the owner didn't disclose the ghosts. The buyers were allowed to pull out of the deal in a landmark ruling called “The Ghostbusters Ruling." Similar rulings throughout the US and Canada demand disclosure for a death on the property, or any "latent" (not immediately evident) defect that could harm the buyer's use of the property.
Looking for a house of your own to haunt? Call us to go house haunting...hunting! Tarasa, (412) 475-8008
LIFESTYLE TIPS & CURIOSITIES
Why We're Not Irradiated by Microwave Ovens
Microwave ovens are small Faraday cages. They allow microwaves to frantically bounce around inside the walls of the oven, as well as the mesh on the door, without escaping. The mesh is designed so that the holes are too small for microwaves to penetrate. However, we can still see inside because light waves are small enough to penetrate the holes. The radiation is non-ionizing, which doesn't inflict damage the way an x-ray can, so even if a tiny bit escapes, you won't be affected.
At 97, She's the First Lady of Fitness
Elaine LaLanne, 97, has a simple 20 minute routine that keeps her young. Elaine, along with husband Jack (died at 96), had the first successful modern fitness business in the US starting in 1936. Now her years in the gym have kept her mentally and physically strong. "If you don't move, you become immovable," she says. Her routine starts before she gets up, with a dozen jackknife sit-ups in bed, then a dozen incline pushups at the bathroom sink, and finally a few minutes on a treadmill. What can you incorporate into your day, based on your age, using just gravity to get the blood moving?
Be Cool with Your Phone
Most lithium ion batteries can't function in high temperatures, and other electrical components degrade and become inefficient. For these reasons, your cellphone is designed to shut off when it gets super hot, as a protection. To keep your phone cool, don't leave it on the car seat in the sun, don't leave it near another heat source, and don't wrap it up. For improved life and function, turn off automatic updates to apps that you don't use, delete unused apps, turn off wi-fi when you don't need it, or put it in airplane mode if you plan to use a high-demand app, like a game.
Cheesy Halloween Décor
Nothing says Halloween like home-made decor! Here are two ideas. Hit up Google or Pinterest for a lot more DIY home Halloween decorating ideas.
Using toilet paper or papers towel rolls, cut out eye shapes. Put a glow stick inside. Stick these up in your trees and other dark places.
Open a hand-dispenser of liquid soap. Stick some plastic bugs inside and reseal it. Don't shake it or you'll create bubbles. The kids love this and it's great for parties.
JUST FOR FUN
Halloween Humor for the Whole Household Would you rather have a magic candy bag that refilled by itself - OR - a magic wand that only gave other people candy?
Here's a book of spook-larious laughs with over 220 scary good Would You Rather questions, jokes, riddles, puns, and tongue twisters for kids that’ll keep the whole family in stitches! Check it out here.
Spooky Halloween Story: Ghosted
Last night a friend picked me up to go catch the opening act of a band we liked at a local hangout. After awhile I realized I didn't have my phone. I checked the table we were sitting at, the bar, the bathrooms, and after no luck I used my friend’s phone to call mine. After two rings someone answered, and in a raspy voice said "Wrong number," then giggled and hung up. I called again several times, but they never answered again. I eventually gave it up as a lost cause, figuring someone had swiped my phone. I headed home, and when I got there, I found my phone laying on my nightstand, right where I'd left it.