Peter Greer’s New Book “40/40 Vision”

25 November 2015

40/40 VisionAt midlife, our perspectives can become hazy and our uncertainty can creep up on us. However, midlife is an opportunity to not only evaluate and reflect on our life, but to give us a chance to refocus on new magnitudes of character and reflect on our life purpose. In Peter Greer’s new book, 40/40 Vision: Clarifying Your Vision in Midlife, Peter Greer and  his friend Greg Lafferty provide biblical and practical insights on how to sort through issues as undiscovered potential, busyness, and the pursuit of gratification, wisdom, injustice, and identity.

Peter Greer is President and CEO of HOPE International, a global Christ-centered microenterprise development organization serving throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Prior to joining HOPE, Peter worked internationally as a microfinance advisor in Cambodia, technical advisor for Self-Help Development Foundation in Zimbabwe, and managing director for Urwego Community Bank in Rwanda. As an advocate for the Church’s role in missions and alleviating extreme poverty, Peter has been a speaker at a number of conferences, and he has been featured by Forbes, CNN, RELEVANT, and more. (more…)

The Pennsylvania Housing Market Ends Third Quarter on the Rise

18 November 2015

Jeff RuttWith the downturn of the housing market, it’s hard to be optimistic. However, as the national market continues to push forward, various regional markets continue to see positive growth. Parts of Pennsylvania are within this positive growth area.

According to the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® (PAR), the Pennsylvania housing market has “continued its healthy trend in the third quarter with a 12 percent leap in closed sales.” Numbers don’t lie. Closed sales numbered 47,910 in the third quarter of 2015 as compared to 42,671 in Q3 2014.  Year-over-year, homes are selling in Pennsylvania. (more…)

Buying a New Versus a Used Home

26 October 2015

If you are in the process of looking for your dream home, you might be wondering if it’s best to buy a new home or a used home. Today’s new homes offer more benefits than ever before, and Keystone Custom Homes is encouraging buying new in its latest infographic, “Why Should You Buy New? New vs. Used Homes.”

The “New vs. Used Homes” infographic shares information simple to understand using bright, colorful illustration. Featuring a tall house with bite-sized facts in compartments or rooms, this new infographic showcases how purchasing a new home saves a lot of money overtime.

A new home can be maintained for 96 percent less than a used home built prior to 1980. Additionally, a new home bought at $300,000 and a used home bought at $208,000 will have the same monthly payment of approximately $2,000 due to maintenance and heating costs for the older home. Today’s new homes are engineered specifically to minimize maintenance requirements. Due to more efficient heating and cooling equipment, new homes are twice as energy efficient as used homes. This saves you more money on maintenance costs than used homes, and gives you more for your dollar. (more…)

Interest Rates are Low; Don’t Wait for the Rise

7 October 2015

Jeff RuttAs a result of the latest FED meeting, interest rates are continuing to stay low. Some people are taking advantage of the low interest rates by investing in real estate now; however, many others are still hesitant. These same people are asking themselves and the lending experts, “When will rates go up? Should I invest or wait?”

While these questions and concerns for the market are valid, in all reality, there is no time like the present! Rates are still at an all time low! Banks are borrowing money for the price of money at zero percent interest and lending at outrageously low numbers such as three, four and five percent. If you’re looking to borrow and buy a new home, but you’re questioning whether interest rates will rise, why not invest now. (more…)

Multi-generational Housing Makes a Comeback

26 August 2015

Jeff RuttMy wife and I have friends with older parents and adult children moving back in with them, but they don’t always have the space to accommodate everyone. In talking with them about various housing options that might be suitable for their situation, family is important to them, and they want the best for everyone. With multi-generational homes, they can now move into a home that suits everyone’s needs and doesn’t cramp their lifestyle.

Multi-generational homes are becoming more and more popular throughout the U.S. These homes offer a range of floor plans and layouts that will suit your family nicely, and each one is different. Some homes feature a separate “apartment” on the first floor, which retracts from the rest of the family in the evenings. Others have one bedroom and bathroom on the first floor geared for older generations. Due to the economy, sometimes it is easier for families to live together in one home.

Many trends have triggered this new move among families, according an article in New Home Source by Susan Bady, “Multigenerational Homes: Multigenerational Living is Back”. The generations of families with older parents would rather not put them in assistant living homes; instead provide them a place where they feel at home. Also, newer and younger families cannot always afford to have their own home and decide to move back in with their parents. Either way, multi-generational homes are allowing home builders to expand their floor plans and provide the necessary means for the multi-generational family. (more…)

Thoughts on the Housing Market in Lancaster PA

26 August 2015

Jeff RuttAs all of us in the real estate industry know, housing and real estate values have suffered in the last few of years. Thankfully, that trend has taken a turn for the better, and in the past year, the Lancaster market, especially, has improved dramatically.

According to, the 12 month forecast of trends in the Lancaster market is up, overall. The site publishes trends for forecasts in 380 metropolitan statistical areas. Ending with the third quarter of 2015, the forecast for the Lancaster housing market is UP with an accuracy rating of 84%.

What exactly does the accuracy rating mean? When tested against historical statistical data of housing market trends, this forecast is accurate 84% of the time. Based on the housing statistics and its accuracy when tested against historical data, estimates a rise in home prices in Lancaster making home prices in third quarter of 2015 higher than in third quarter of 2014.

Furthermore, predicts that the Lancaster housing market will continue to appreciate over the next three years ending in third quarter of 2017. This trend’s prediction accuracy is 86%, which means that it matched historical housing data 86% of the time. (more…)

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…)

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