Home Sales Heating Up

22 July 2015

Jeff RuttSummer is one of the best times of the year to buy a new home. Over the past year, the buyers’ market is seeing an increase in traffic and sales. First time home buyers have been one of the key reasons in successful sales this year.

Now is the time to buy, as mortgage rates are at an all-time low. According to the article, “5 Housing Trends: Heating Up this Summer” from Bankrate, mortgage rates will be on the rise into the end of the year. Through the first half of 2015, interest rates have remained stable at 3.92 percent. By the end of the year, interest rates are set to increase to 4.5 percent. Since the economy is growing, interest rates will continue to rise, and it would be a wise decision to buy a home now before they reach 4.5 percent. As with interest rates, prices are increasing, but you’re in luck in the northeast. Prices have increased just under 5 percent, while the west coast has increased prices by 10 percent. (more…)

Mortgage Deduction

15 July 2015

Harford County new homeHaving a mortgage can be a nerve-racking undertaking, but nothing can compare to walking in the door of your own home after a long day. Thinking about paying a mortgage for 30 years can be daunting. Yet, you can deduct your mortgage debt/interest, which is a blessing when tax season rolls around, after making mortgage payments all year. Mortgage to “buy, build, or improve your home”, otherwise known as home acquisition debt, cannot be more than $1,000,000, if you want to deduct your interests. As long as you have less than this amount, deductions should be a little easier on your pocket.

According to the IRS, you must have some type of “home”, be it your first home, a vacation home, condominium, mobile home, etc., in order for you to deduct some of your mortgage. It might seem obvious, but the IRS states you need to have sleeping quarters, cooking areas, and toilet facilities in the same “home.” If your home follows these conditions, you have three types of mortgages you can deduct for your home: (more…)

Get to Know Your Neighborhood

14 July 2015

Jeff RuttAre you looking for a new home in a brand new community, but not sure if it is the perfect fit for you? A neighborhood widget might be the thing you need! Neighborhood widgets are great to learn more about a county and the people that live there. These widgets provide percentages on age groups, housing costs, graduation rates, transportation, climate changes, and political parties. Each piece of information has its own tab with details highlighting each aspect of the tab. With this tool, you can scour zip codes from all over the United States and “get to know your neighborhood.”

One of Keystone Custom Homes’ new communities is Kingston Hill in Montgomery County, PA. By using the tool on the website, you can see the demographics, housing, and education of the community. Montgomery County has around 14,000 people with most of the population ranging from 35 to 55. If you have kids, don’t worry; there is a good percentage of children throughout the county, and many might reside in Kingston Hill already. By moving to Kingston Hill, your children will be making friends before you finish unpacking your new home! (more…)

HOPE International Continues to Grow

13 July 2015

Jeff RuttSince I began my journey at HOPE International, I have been amazed at the growth and success of families around the world. I always wanted to give back to communities, and HOPE gives me the opportunity to support others and establish business relationships with those receiving economic hardship in their familial relationships and community. Recently, I traveled to Malawi, a small country in Southern Africa, where I met with different groups of people enrolled in HOPE programs to help them save money for their families and businesses.

On the morning of June 25, I met with one group in particular, known as “We Have Arrived.” This group was made up of twenty-five men and women from the community. One person I met in the “We Have Arrived” group was Austin. Since 1988, Austin has been a home builder for his community, building homes that are worth $800. Unfortunately, he has not been able to save any of his income…until he joined a savings group a few months ago. Austin has been making his own bricks for the homes he builds, and he is glad to work for others in his community. (more…)

Don’t Shift Away From Your Mission

27 May 2015

Mission DriftFaith-based organizations often experience shifts away from their original mission, changing their programs, services and activities in a way that takes the focus away from the organizations’ fundamental roots.

HOPE International executives Peter Greer and Chris Horst explain this phenomenon and what organizations can do about it in the 2015 Christianity Today award-winning book Mission Drift. The book is recommended for staff, board members, donors, volunteers and other leadership, to address organizational mission-wandering.

The book describes how to build succession into organization to keep the churches priorities in line. The description of the book starts off: “Without careful attention, faith-based organizations drift from their founding mission. It’s that simple. It will happen. Why do so many organizations wander from their mission, while others remain Mission True? Can drift be prevented?” (more…)

The Importance of Written Goals

8 May 2015
Keystone Study

A study: The Perfect Place to Write Your Goals

We all have goals in our lives, but how many of those goals do we remember setting and actually achieve? A study conducted on the 1979 Harvard MBA program asked graduate students: “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?”  The results of this study show that merely three percent of the students had written goals and plans, 13 percent had goals, but not in writing, and 84 percent had no goals at all. The same group of individuals was interviewed 10 years later, and the 13 percent of people who had goals but did not put them in writing was earning twice the amount of the 84 percent of people who had no goals. The three percent of people who had written goals were earning approximately 10 times as much as the rest of the class combined.

Clearly, based off this study, creating clear, measurable goals, and putting them in writing is a recipe for success.

The following are helpful tips to creating clear and measurable goals: (more…)

Be Confident When Buying Your First Home

30 December 2014

Lancaster HomeLooking to purchase your first home is an exciting experience, but can be a stressful process. Keystone Custom Homes makes finding a new home not only easy, but educational as well. For first time buyers, Keystone offers a FREE seminar for preparation. Start the New Year stress-free when you take this class on Saturday, Jan. 31 from 10 a.m. to noon.

This seminar will discuss the ABCs of building, buying and financing a new home. Topics that will be discussed include:

•    How to purchase a Lancaster home with no money down with a responsible financing plan (more…)

Resolving Conflicts into Peaceful Relationships

29 December 2014

Resolving Everyday ConflictWhether it is with a family member, colleague, friend or even a stranger, everyone encounters conflict at one point or another. For instance, as a business owner, there are times when conflicts rise. It’s important to be a leader in those situations. That’s why I am reading a new book by Ken Sande and Kevin Johnson, Resolving Everyday Conflict.

As I read, I am constantly reminded of the verse in Romans:

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 (more…)

Keystone Custom Homes Announces Winner of Pinterest Contest

28 November 2014

Keystone Custom HomesDid you say “I do” to Keystone Custom Homes’ recent Pinterest contest? Held October 1 to November 21, 2014, Say “I Do” to Your New Home gave pinners a chance to win a $250 Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card while learning about our wedding program.

All participants had to do to enter the contest was create a Pinterest board named #SayIDoKCHContest and re-pin items they would purchase for their new Keystone home. We saw a variety of amazing boards, including the winner’s board full of gold home décor and wedding details. The theme caught our eye and made us think wedding. (more…)

Meet: Grigore and Nadejda Mamadjanov

26 November 2014

Grigore and Nadejda of MoldovaSmall and unobtrusive, the country of Moldova sits between Romania and the Ukraine in southeastern Europe. Smaller still is the village of Crasnoarmeiscoe. Lying near the Romanian border and west of the capital city, this village is home to Grigore and Nadejda Mamadjanov whose heart for others has spilled into their community and touched dozens of lives.

Hard workers and successful farmers, the Mamadjanovs operate a thriving farm with the help of their six grown children, constantly trying to improve their efficiency and increase product quality for their customers.

Their main focus, however, is not on their farm, but on serving God with their lives. Studying Scripture over the years, Grigore and Nadejda felt the Lord imprint Matthew 25:35-36 on their hearts and become the calling of their lives: (more…)

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