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March 2017


Whether you are looking to buy or sell, I can offer the highest levels in real estate expertise and professionalism. Don’t hesitate to contact me and allow me to help guide you through that process!

Ashlyne Borruso
Realtor   |   989.274.3943

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Six Easy Low-cost Energy Savers

According to, the average American household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills, with nearly half of that amount spent on heating and cooling. Here are six easy, low-cost ideas to cut those bills down.

  1. Change your air filters. It’s a chore that’s easily forgotten, so put it on your calendar every one month to three months. Dirty filters slow air flow causing your heat and air units to work harder and break down faster.
  2. Wash clothes in cold water. This one’s a surprise, but claims cold water is just as effective as hot and will get your clothes clean without damaging fabrics.
  3. Seal and insulate your heating and cooling ducts. Air ducts can waste energy, so sealing and insulation can save as much as 20 percent on our energy bill or more.
  4. Seal windows and outside doors. All it takes is a little caulk and you can stop small leaks that add up to big money. Test for leaks on a windy day by lighting a candle and holding it near window seals. If the flame moves, you’ve got a leak.
  5. Upgrade to a programmable thermostat. If you’re gone at the same time every day, a programmable thermostat can lower or raise the temperature which saves energy… and saves, you nearly $200 a year.
  6. Have your HVAC serviced regularly. A service check once in the spring and once in the fall can improve efficiency and possibly prevent equipment breakdowns. The technician will test air flow and parts that may need replacement.


Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Rising Interest Rates

When mortgage interest rates rise, you may be tempted to put your home buying plans on hold, but there are three reasons you shouldn’t let higher interest rates deter your home buying plans.

  1. Interest rates fluctuate. Mortgage interest rates rise and fall based on the lender’s viewpoint toward the economic outlook. News that suggests a slowing economy tends to bring rates down, while a rosy manufacturing or jobs report can send them back up.
  2. Solution? When you shop for rates, shop at least three lenders using the same type of loan – 30-year fixed rate, adjustable, hybrid and so on. Do so at the same time because rates can change as much as several times daily.

  3. You have some control over rates. The rates you see advertised aren’t what you’ll necessarily pay. They’re available only to those with the best credit histories, those who are able to put at least 20 percent down, and those borrowing well within their means.
  4. Solution? Talk with your lender about ways to improve your credit profile. If you’re stretching to buy a home, expect to pay higher interest rates.

  5. Rates are currently a bargain. Between 1972 and 2008, mortgage interest rates averaged about nine percent annually. Today, they’re around four percent. A 1/8th point translates to about $25 or less a month in monthly payments on a conforming loan, or $9,000 over 30 years in tax deductible costs.
  6. The solution? Have some perspective. Home buying conditions change constantly. Focus on building equity with the lifestyle you want instead.


How Much Home Should You Buy?

To buy the home that’s right for your household, you have a lot of decisions to make including, location, size, bedrooms and baths, and features. That’s when you should ask yourself: How much home can you really afford?

Nearly every buyer compromises on something, like getting a fixer-upper house instead of a new home, or buying a smaller home in a more expensive neighborhood. But you have to know how much you can spend before you make those decisions.

Lenders qualify you for a mortgage with a conforming loan standard that uses two ratios – income to mortgage debt, and income to total debt.

To qualify for a federally -insured 30-year fixed rate conforming loan, your income to mortgage debt can be no higher than 31% of your gross annual income, and your debts plus mortgage payment can be no higher than 43% of your gross monthly income, according to

If you make $5,000 gross income per month, under a conforming loan standard, your house payment (principal, interest, mortgage insurance, hazard insurance and taxes) should be no larger than $1,550.

If you’re carrying credit card debt, student loan debt, or paying child support, the monthly debt service must be factored in. To get the income- to-debt ratio, multiply your monthly income by 43%. With an income of $5,000, your total debt including your house payment can be no larger than $2,150.

Once you know how much home you can comfortably afford, it’s easier to choose the neighborhoods and homes that are within your range.


Should You Have An Open House?

Ninety-five percent of homebuyers use the Internet to shop for a home, according to the National Association of REALTORS.® If homebuyers can see your home through multiple photos, videos and virtual tours, why bother with an open house?

An open house can catch buyers early in the home-search process when they’re driving around neighborhoods and getting first impressions. They often choose several homes to drive by, and an open house could tip them favorably toward your neighborhood and home. Open houses allow buyers to view homes without obligation, and an open house helps them form their preferences, compromises and deal-breakers.

An open house is only effective if it shows the home to its fullest advantage. Deep cleaning, de-cluttering, de-personalizing, and staging are imperative, just as they are for showings by appointment. Your pets should be out of the home for the day, and you should make plans to be gone while your home is open to the public.

That said, less than nine percent of buyers chose the home they bought from yard signs and open houses.Instead, 90 percent used the services of a real estate agent, which means an open house is only one piece in the overall marketing plan for selling your home.

Contact me if an open house should be part of your home’s marketing plan. Keep in mind that you may be in a market where homes are selling so quickly that an open house isn’t necessary, but in most markets, you should employ all the ways homebuyers shop for a home.

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