While Southern Maryland mortgage rates sizzle, it's also a hot time to buy your next home here with their affordable prices and good levels of inventory on hand.Are you looking for a home in Huntingtown, Chesapeake Beach, Prince Frederick, Lusby, North Beach or Solomons?  You better start your search now because prices are expected to continue increasing as the real estate market begins to catch up from its meteoric rise and tremendous fall over the past decade.  Southern Maryland mortgage rates sizzle…just like the temperatures lately.

Southern Maryland Real Estate Market

Search the MLS to find your next Southern Maryland homeJust how much do Southern Maryland mortgage rates sizzle?  Well, we started off 2013 at 3.4% for a 30 year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM), 2.64% for a 15 year FRM and 2.57 for a 1 year adjustable rate mortgage (ARM).  The stayed pretty steady, with slight fluctuations over the first few months.  However, the latest national average for these interest rates have just struck their highest levels all year.  As of 6/28/13, the 30 year FRM hit an average of 4.46%, the 15 year FRM is at 3.5% and the 1 year ARM is at 2.66%.  While the 1 year ARM hasn’t increased much over the past six months (+0.09%), the fixed-rate mortgages have seen a much more significant increase (+1.06% for the 30 year and +0.96% for the 15 year).

The FRM loans are still very affordable options for a new homeowner.  Rather than get into an adjustable rate loan that will only increase as rates continue to increase, a fixed-rate mortgage loan will stay the same rate for the entire life of the loan.  You don’t have to guess what you payment will be in one, two, five or ten years.  It’s always the same.  This makes budgeting a lot easier.

While Southern Maryland mortgage rates sizzle, its still a hot time to get into your next home.  There is enough inventory for you to find exactly what you want.  Yes, rates are beginning to increase.  However, real estate experts agree that this is a correction to the volatile market we’ve seen over the past few years…not a bubble waiting to burst.  When you’re ready to find your next Southern Maryland home, just give me a call!

Bonnie Augostino, your Southern Maryland real estate specialist

Originally posted on my South Maryland real estate blog here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/3775697/southern-maryland-mortgage-rates-sizzle.

Smart sellers use specific comparable sales figures to determine the listing price for their Southern Maryland home.They say the most important thing about real estate is location, location, location.  However, when it comes to selling your Southern Maryland home, you really need to focus on the price, price, price.  Price a home too high and you run the risk of turning away buyers.  Price it too low and you’re losing valuable profit.  How do you know if you are properly pricing your Southern Maryland home to sell?

Search the MLS to find your next Southern Maryland homeYou can list your home at any price point you want.  It is your house.  However, sellers don’t actually determine what a home eventually sells for…the market does.  In that same vein, the market determines what your Southern Maryland home is worth.  Even if you’ve got tons of upgrades and are easily the nicest home on the block, you may not get all the money back that you have put into your home if your neighbors have not kept up with their updating, too.

This is where your REALTOR® proves their worth.  They have been in the trenches.  While you may be an expert on your home, they have seen other homes in the area, they have talked to other agents in the field and they know what’s going on in the Southern Maryland market.  They can pull reports on the most recent sales of homes that are comparable to yours.  Not only do prices vary from city to city, but they can also be completely different from neighborhood to neighborhood.  That’s why it’s so important to have “comps” pulled for homes that have sold in your immediate surrounding area.

Also, sales figures should not be more than 60-90 days old, since prices can change so dramatically in a short amount of time.  From that list, look at the Southern Maryland homes that are similar in size (bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, acreage, etc), amenities (pool, fenced yard, finished basement), age and style.  What kinds of upgrades did they have?  Were they foreclosures/short sales?  How long did it take to sell from when it first listed and how much did it sell for compared to what it was originally listed for?  These are all questions your REALTOR® can help answer.

Once you have gathered all this information, you will be able to determine a fair and realistic listing price.  Keep emotions out of the process.  You may have raised a family in your home and had many years of fantastic memories, but a buyer isn’t going to see that.  This is just business.  Pricing your Southern Maryland home to sell is one of the most important parts of a successful real estate transaction.  Trust your real estate agent to know what they are doing.  After all, this is what you hired them to do.

Bonnie Augostino, your Southern Maryland real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Southern Maryland real estate blog here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/3747633/pricing-your-southern-maryland-home-to-sell.

In a seller's market, giving your Southern Maryland home purchase the personal touch can make you stand out above the crowd, especially if there is a bidding war.It may be hard to believe after the last few tumultuous years, but the Southern Maryland real estate market seems to be turning around.  Many experts believe that 2013 is going to be a great year for home prices.  Demand for homes is expected to increase now that the inventory of foreclosures and short sales has gone done.  That’s fantastic news for sellers who have been struggling with the idea of whether or not to sell.  For buyers, this has created bidding wars in some markets.  One way you can make yourself stand out above the others is to give your Southern Maryland home offer the personal touch.

Search the MLS to find your next Southern Maryland homeFirst and foremost, keep it simple.  That doesn’t mean you should ignore the things that are truly important to you in the offer.  Instead, you may want to let the little things go, such as the broken doorbell or ripped window screens.  Don’t let a small repair stand in the way of owning your dream South Maryland home.

Put pen to paper.  Write an honest letter to the owner about how much you love their Southern Maryland home, the years of enjoyment you believe you and your family will get living here and that it’s perfect for your needs.  Don’t include anything negative, such as how you plan to totally gut the kitchen and tear up the backyard.  Remember, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  The owners will most likely still have an emotional attachment to the home even though they are selling.

Deliver the offer in person.  Talk to your real estate agent to see if they might consider presenting your offer directly to the Southern Maryland listing agent.  In this day and age where instant messaging, text messages and emails have taken over, your offer is more likely to stand out if you add a personal touch.  Of course, this isn’t always possible.  However, talk to your agent anyway to see what can be done.

Finally, once the offer is submitted, ask your loan officer to follow up with the listing agent.  They can let the listing agent know that you have funding in place.  Hearing this from a loan officer directly can really have an impact on whether your offer is given serious consideration or not.

Give your Southern Maryland home offer the personal touch.  This will help your offer stand out above any others.  Always be polite, positive and considerate of the seller’s feelings and you may be the next owner of that magnificent Southern Maryland home.

Bonnie Augostino, your Southern Maryland real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Southern Maryland real estate blog here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/3719380/give-your-southern-maryland-home-offer-the-personal-touch.

Take advantage of the beautiful spring weather in Calvert County to get outdoors and enjoy life. You may even be able to help others in the process!Spring is in the air.  Now that the weather is warming up, it’s time to head outside for some fun in the sun.  Need something to occupy your time?  Look no further!  Here is a list of the April 2013 Calvert County celebrations to keep you busy:

Search the MLS to find your next Southern Maryland home10th Annual JazzFest – April 5th & 6th, College of Southern Maryland’s Fine Arts Center (8730 Mitchell Rd, La Plata, MD).  Enjoy the smooth sounds of jazz funk at this two day festival.  Performances take place at 8pm each evening.  For more info, please call (301) 934-7828.

Patuxent River Clean Up – April 6th, Solomons Bridge, Solomons Island, 9am to 12pm.  We need your help to keep the Patuxent River area beautiful.  Volunteers will meet under the Solomons Bridge.  Make sure you bring your boots so you can help clean the boat ramp and pier as well as other places along the scenic Solomons Beach.

Free Rabies Clinic – April 6th, Northern High School (2950 Chaneyville Rd, Owings, MD), 10am to 12pm.  It’s important to keep your pets healthy.  Maintaining their immunizations is key.  This free clinic is open to cats, dogs and ferrets.  Muzzles and leashes are highly recommended, if necessary.  Just bring proof of prior vaccinations.  For more info, please call (410) 535-3922.

Fashion & Talent Show – April 13th, Huntingtown High School (4125 Solomons Island Rd, Huntingtown, MD), 5pm to 8pm.  The Barstow Acres Children’s Center is holding a special fashion and talent show to raise money for their Therapeutic Summer Day Camp.  For more info, please call (410) 414-9901.

St Mary’s County Indoor Flea Market – April 20th, St Mary’s County Fairgounds, 8am to 12pm.

Bay CSS Walk, Run & Roll – April 27th, St Mary’s City (18751 Hogaboom Ln), 7am.  No matter what age or fitness level you are, you will have lots of fun at this inaugural event.  Proceeds from the day will benefit people with disabilities in Maryland.  For more info, please call Brandy Blackstone at (443) 336-7588.

As you can see, there is something for everyone to do in Calvert County throughout April 2013.  Get outside and enjoy the fresh air.  Spring has sprung!

Bonnie Augostino, your Southern Maryland real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Southern Maryland real estate blog here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/3681496/april-2013-calvert-county-celebrations.


Spring is the perfect time to find your next Southern Maryland home. With some planning, a little homework and finding the right agent, you will be a happy homeowner in no time.Spring is just around the corner, with the first day of Spring officially occurring on March 20th. We’ll all be setting our clocks forward an hour this weekend as Daylight Savings Time begins. So, it seems that now is the perfect time to spring into Southern Maryland homeownership.

Search the MLS to find your next Southern Maryland homeInterest rates have begun to rise again, although very slightly. They are still at the bargain basement level, though: an average of 3.56% for 30 year fixed, 2.77% for 15 year fixed and 2.65% for a 1 year adjustable at the time of the writing of this post. Experts are predicting that demand for homes is going to increase throughout the upcoming year. With the decrease in availability of foreclosures, that means that the chances of multiple offers on the Southern Maryland home you are interested in may be a serious possibility.

In order to avoid “buyer’s remorse”, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  1. Make a “wants/needs” list. Decide what you absolutely must have, ie, number of bathrooms, size of garage, single-story vs multi-level, etc. Determine what options you would like to have but that aren’t necessarily detrimental. This will help you stay focused on which Southern Maryland properties you want to look at.
  2. Interview several Southern Maryland real estate agents. Don’t just go with the first name you see in the phone book or whomever tops the list on Google. Talk to several agents either face-to-face or over the phone. You’ll be able to see whether you “mesh” with a person when you deal with them on a personal level. Since you will be working closely with this person for several weeks to come, you want to feel comfortable with them.
  3. Do your homework. An experienced Southern Maryland real estate agent is a huge asset. However, you are the one investing your money. Investigate the neighborhood. Have your agent run comps on homes recently sold in the area to determine how much you should offer for the home you’re interested in.
  4. Ask questions before you sign. The only stupid question is the one you didn’t ask. Before you sign ANY paperwork, go over it thoroughly. Make sure you understand every part of any document before you sign.

The best investment is the one you are happy with. When you spring into Southern Maryland homeownership, be smart, proactive and utilize the expertise of your real estate professional. That way, you can avoid buyer’s remorse later on.


3380 Silverton Ln, Chesapeake Beach, MD - Cilck here to find out more about this Southern Maryland townhome for sale

Please click here for more info on this beautiful Southern Maryland home.

Bonnie Augostino, your Southern Maryland real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Southern Maryland real estate blog here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/3648437/spring-into-southern-maryland-homeownership.

Calvert County is offering several free document shredding events for Calvert County residents throughout the year. Prevent identity theft by shredding your financial papers.There is no question that the advances in technology have made our lives much easier than our forefathers could ever have imagined.  Unfortunately, the same technology has also been used by identity thieves to steal our credit and sully our good names.  Don’t be a victim of identity theft. There are steps you can take to prevent this.  One of them is to shred old financial documents instead of just throwing them out in the trash.  Fortunately, Calvert County’s Division of Solid Waste has several free document shredding events they will be holding over the upcoming year.

  • February 16, 2013 – Huntingtown High School (4125 Solomons island Rd, Huntingtown)
  • March 16, 2013 – Appeal Landfill (401 Sweetwater Rd, Lusby)
  • April 6, 2013 – Northern High School (2950 Chaneyville Rd, Owings)
  • May 11, 2013 – Huntingtown High School (4125 Solomons island Rd, Huntingtown)
  • June 29, 2013 – Appeal Landfill (401 Sweetwater Rd, Lusby)

These document shredding events will take place from 8am to 12pm come rain or shine.  Only Calvert County residents (no businesses) will be allowed to bring their paper documents for shredding.  However on June 8th, a special data shredding event is planned, where both Calvert County residents AND businesses can bring their old floppy disks, CDs, flash drives, zip disks, credit cards and cassette and VHS tapes to the Appeal Landfill to have them completely destroyed.  No hard drives will be accepted.

Identity theft can be devastating for anyone.  It ruins your credit and can take years to recover.  Get rid of your old financial documents in a safe manner by attending one of the free document shredding events in Calvert County this year. Don’t give identity thieves the upper hand.


3380 Silverton Ln, Chesapeake Beach, MD - Cilck here to find out more about this Southern Maryland townhome for sale

Please click here for more info on this beautiful Southern Maryland home.

Bonnie Augostino, your Southern Maryland real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Southern Maryland real estate blog here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/3614000/free-document-shredding-in-calvert-county.

Mortgage rates for Southern Maryland homes remained at or near historic lows throughout 2012.Mortgage rates for 2012 have remained at historically low levels all year long.  In fact, they ended the year near their lowest levels ever.  Let me give you my mortgage rate year end review.

The 30 year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) ended 2012 at 3.35%.  This was slightly less than the previous week’s 3.37% and 0.60% less than the same time last year (3.95%).  The 15 year FRM ended 2012 at 2.65%, which was exactly how much it was the previous week and 0.59% less than at the end of 2011 (3.24%).  The 5 year adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) ended 2012 at 2.70%, down only slightly from the previous week’s 2.71% and 0.18% less than the same time last year (2.88%).  The 1 year ARM ended the year at 2.56%, edging slightly up from the previous week’s 2.52%.  It was still 0.22% less than at the end of 2011 (2.78%).

When choosing the terms for your Southern Maryland home mortgage, you need to keep a couple things in mind. First, while an adjustable rate mortgage will give you a smaller mortgage payment per month, making it more “affordable” initially, the rate will change.  Because it is adjustable, your payment can balloon quickly within the first few years alone, depending on how interest rates are faring at the time of your adjustment period. Fixed-rate loans, on the hand, stay the same for the life of the loan.  That means, the payment you start off with is the same payment you will have for the duration of the loan.

Secondly, if you choose an adjustable-rate mortgage for your Southern Maryland home, you should give some serious thought to the 15 year option rather than the 30 year one.  Yes, a 30 year FRM will get your payment lower.  However, you pay off a 15 year FRM in half the time and can save as much as 2/3 in interest payments over the life of the loan.  In fact, if you purchase a $300,000 home in Southern Maryland and qualify for the rates mentioned above, you will pay more than $13,500 more in interest in just the first five years alone with the 30 year FRM ($47,721 vs $34,203) and more than $112,000 in total insurance over the life of the loan.  That’s a lot of dough!

Mortgage rates ended the year near their lowest levels ever.  That doesn’t mean they will stay low, though.  Home prices are beginning to rise and interest rates may soon follow.  When you’re ready to look for a new Southern Maryland home, please contact me.  I’ll be happy to show you around.

Bonnie Augostino, your Southern Maryland real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Southern Maryland real estate blog here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/3570103/mortgage-rates-end-the-year-near-lowest-levels-ever.

Calvert County's Garden in Lights starts this Friday, Dec 7th at the Annmarie Scuplture Garden & Arts Center in Dowell, MD.Can you believe it’s December? Another year almost gone. The end of the year holidays are always my favorite time. One way you can enjoy the twinkling lights is the annual Calvert County Garden in Lights.

In what has become a time-honored tradition in Calvert County, the Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center in Dowell will begin holding its Garden in Lights display beginning this Friday, December 7th. With the exception of December 10th, 11th, 24th and 25th, Annmarie’s Garden in Lights will be open from 6pm to 9pm every evening until New Year’s Day. Guests will travel along a guided path through the winter wonderland filled with unique depictions of pirates, dinosaurs, circus folk, mythical creatures and wild animals created specifically by the people at Annmarie. You won’t see anything else like it anywhere.

The fun begins in the Art Building, where you can pick up your own “Holiday I Spy” program and shop for special ornaments for your family’s tree. A shiny green shamrock will be hidden somewhere in each display vignette. Find all seven and you’ve mastered the “Holiday I Spy” game. Each night will be filled with live entertainment, special exhibits as well as treats available at the Dream Weaver’s Holiday Cafe. You’ll soon see why Calvert County’s Garden in Lights was honored with Maryland Life Magazine’s Finest Holiday Tradition Award.

Admission for “kids” ages 5 and older is just $6 per person. Children under 5 and all Annmarie members are allowed to visit for free. For more information on special discounts and theme nights, please call 410-326-4640. The Calvert County Garden in Lights is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season for kids of all ages!


993 Fall Pointe, Huntingtown, MD - Click here for a virtual tour of this beautiful home for sale

Please click here for more info on this beautiful Southern Maryland home.

Bonnie Augostino, your Southern Maryland real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Southern Maryland real estate blog here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/3543110/calvert-county-garden-in-lights.

You can dispose of green and tree debris from Hurricane Sandy for free in Calvert County at the Appeal and Barstow Landfills throughout November.In an effort to help area residents recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Calvert County residents can dispose of their tree and other green debris at two landfills throughout the county. The Appeal Landfill in Lusby and the Barstow Landfill in Barstow will be accepting debris from 7am to 5pm throughout the entire month of November absolutely free of charge. From December 1st on, only the Appeal Landfill will be accepting refuse at a rate of $67.23 per ton.

What constitutes tree/green debris for Calvert County landfills? Leaves, trees, tree limbs, branches, brush, shrubs, etc. All debris must be brought to the landfill unbagged. Any commercial vehicles carrying tree/green debris will be diverted to the Appeal Landfill, where they will be charged a commercial rate for disposal. The free disposal only refers to Calvert County household clean-up that is unbagged.

If you have any questions or would like more information about the free green debris disposal in Calvert County, please call (410) 326-0210 or email thomasma@co.cal.md.us. You can also get more information by visiting the Calvert County government website. I certainly hope that your family stayed safe during Hurricane Sandy and am thankful to the county for providing this small bit of relief during the cleanup.


3330 Lancer, Dunkirk, MD - Click here for more info on this beautiful Southern Maryland home for sale

Please click here for more info on this beautiful Southern Maryland home.

Bonnie Augostino, your Southern Maryland real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Southern Maryland real estate blog here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/3505374/free-green-debris-disposal-in-calvert-county.

Before you buy a Southern Maryland home, ask yourself these important questions.Being a homeowner can be a rewarding experience. Of course, Southern Maryland homeowners must remember that it also comes with some serious responsibility. You don’t want to overextend yourself and end up losing something you worked so hard to get. Just take a look at the amount of foreclosures we’ve seen in recent years. To avoid having a problem in the future, what are some of the questions to ask before buying a Southern Maryland home?

How much home can we really afford? This doesn’t mean just the downpayment or monthly payment, but the real costs: closing costs, insurance, maintenance and repairs, taxes, etc. You will be responsible for any and all costs associated with your Southern Maryland home.

What is my credit score? Banks use this as the basis to determine what your interest rate will be. An excellent credit score will get you the best interest rate. As of last week, the average interest rate was 3.59% for a 30 year fixed-rate loan and 2.63% for a 15 year fixed-rate loan. You are legally entitled to a free credit report from each of the three reporting agencies every twelve months. Request a copy be sent to you and correct any mistakes on it so that your credit score is as good as it can be before you apply for a loan on your Southern Maryland home.

Should I get pre-qualified or pre-approved? Pre-qualifying only takes a few minutes but isn’t a guarantee of a loan. Pre-approval, however, is getting approved for a specific amount of money. This will give you an exact idea of what you really will be able to spend, according to a bank. With a pre-approval, there is no worrying about whether or not you will receive a loan on that Southern Maryland home you are interested in because you are already OK’d. It also gives you an edge if there is more than one buyer interested in the same property. Sellers tend to be more interested in buyers who already have funding in place rather than those who still have to go through the process.

How much should I save? Financial experts recommend putting 20% down on a Southern Maryland home. Not only does this show how serious you are about being responsible for the property, but it also saves you from paying PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance). However, if that’s too high of a number at the moment, you may still qualify for a home without 20% down. In addition to the downpayment, there are closing costs, inspection costs, document fees, title fees and more. Speak to your real estate agent to find out what you should expect.

Buying a Southern Maryland home may very well be the biggest financial decision you make. Ask yourself these important questions before buying a home. The answers to them may determine whether you are really ready to purchase a home or not.


Please click here for more info on this beautiful Southern Maryland home.

Bonnie Augostino, your Southern Maryland real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Southern Maryland Real Estate blog here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/3431941/questions-to-ask-before-buying-a-home.