DON’T FORGET … TILA changes take effect July 30, 2009

Lenders will be subject to new disclosure requirements for mortgage loans under the Federal Reserve Board Truth in Lending Regulation (Reg Z). The new requirements apply to loan applications filed on or after July 30, 2009.

The new rules are complex and compliance will be a challenge for lenders. REALTORS® will want to learn the basics so they can advise clients of potential delays and the new procedures. Here are key highlights of the changes:

* The new requirements apply to all mortgages secured by a borrower’s home, including primary and second homes and refinancings. Investor loans continue to be exempt.
# Lenders must give good faith estimates of mortgage loan costs within 3 business days after the consumer applies for a loan (early disclosure). The lender may not collect any fees before the disclosure is provided, except for a reasonable fee for obtaining a credit report.
# The closing may not take place until expiration of a 7 day waiting period after the consumer receives the early disclosure.
# If the annual percentage rate (APR) increases by more than 0.125 percent, the lender must provide a corrected disclosure to the borrower and wait an additional 3 business days before closing the loan. The APR includes not only the interest rate on the loan but certain other costs related to settlement, so it will be important for any fees that affect the APR to be as accurate as possible, as early as possible, to minimize the need for a corrected TILA disclosure.
# The consumer may modify or waive both waiting periods for a documented personal financial emergency, but must receive the disclosures no later than the time of the modification or waiver.

More details….

Front Gate Properties, We’re selling the BEST Real Estate in Aiken, SC.

Landscaping correctly helps keep summer heat out of the house.

By KEN SHEINKOPF
McClatchy-Tribune

Q: We moved into a new development a couple of years ago and while we love our home, the barren landscape really looks terrible. We haven’t been able to afford putting in all the landscaping we’d like, but we want to start this summer. Our biggest problem is keeping heat out of the house, so where should we begin?

A: I gave a talk to some students and began by telling them that I thought Johnny Appleseed was one of the true pioneers of energy efficiency in this country. You probably know the legend about the guy who traveled around the country planning apple trees everywhere, but you may not realize that he was a real person. John Chapman spent 50 years planting apple trees around the country in the early 1800s, and I think that qualifies him as a true energy pioneer.

Trees do a terrific job of cutting down on heat and improving the air quality, primarily in the heat islands that are a special problem in urban areas.

The problem is that heat from the sun gets trapped by buildings, pavement, asphalt and other dark areas that absorb rather than reflect it. Regardless of what the weatherman says the temperature is in hot weather, areas around buildings can be 6 to 8 degrees hotter. You not only end up using more air conditioning to cool off your home, but the higher temperatures can make people uncomfortable and can also lead to health problems like heat exhaustion or breathing ailments like asthma.

A study in New Jersey a few years ago found that temperatures in Newark, for example, were as much as 11 degrees higher than they found in the city’s suburbs. While the problem of heat islands is usually worse in big cities, it is still a factor in most urban settings.

This is where we get back to Mr. Appleseed. Planting trees is a great way to provide shade on the roof and walls of your home, helping keep temperatures lower. In your case, if you start planting trees in your yard now, you’ll notice increasing benefit from the shade as the trees get bigger every year. Remember what you learned about evapotranspiration back in school – trees give off water droplets that draw heat as they evaporate, and this helps keep the area around them cooler. Research has found a properly watered tree reaching a crown of 30 feet can give off as much as 40 gallons of water every day, an amount equal to getting rid of all the heat that would come from using a small electric space heater for four hours.

Trees are also great at absorbing carbon dioxide and filtering pollutants from the air, absorbing sound, helping prevent erosion, and giving birds and small animals places to live. I also recommend trees as a first step in any home landscaping project because they can block strong winter winds and help channel summer breezes into the home.

Once you get trees planted, there are a variety of bushes, shrubs and ground covers that can help improve the appearance of your home while providing shade and protection from the winds. I think it’s important to use native plants and grasses (a strategy called xeriscaping) when possible to minimize maintenance and watering.

There’s a good website on heat islands (www.eetd.lbl.gov/heatisland) that will tell you more about the benefits of trees in improving the comfort level in your home.

In just a few years, trees planted today can provide shade and comfort, and help minimize the effect of heat islands and air problems.

Front Gate Properties, We’re selling the BEST Real Estate in Aiken, SC.