Home Buyer: How Can You Be Better Than the SECU Credit Union?

A client referred his son and daughter-in-law, a new home buyer, to me to finance their first home.

She had spoken with the SECU (State Employees Credit Union) and had
what she thought was an excellent program and rate.

She was calling me as a courtesy to her dad-in-law.

After speaking and finding out her priorities, I gave her two choices.

She took the choice that was .625% lower in interest rate and
adjusted in 10 years rather than five.

After we locked, she asked how can I can be so much better than a big
credit union. She had thought my rates and closing costs would be higher.

She was so surprised.

I explained that there are 4 types of mortgage lending models-
Big Banks, Credit Unions, Mortgage Brokers, and Correspondent Mortgage Bankers,
and that each has it’s own strengths and weaknesses. I explain it on this


For instance, there are things the SECU can do that a traditional agency
lender cannot do. In fact, I have referred buyers to the credit union when
I know they have a better program or benefit for the buyer. (Yes, that can be painful to do!)

The lesson for loyal SECU credit union members is to find out what the
credit union program is, and then, just to be sure, double check with a
lender you can trust for a second opinion. You should be able to get a clear
straight answer and be able to decide for yourself.

If you’re a home buyer and would like a comparison or a mortgage pre-approval,
you can contact me here.



Downtown Durham Music 2014

Downtown Durham Real Estate - Downtown Music

Downtown Durham music series on CCB Plaza Thursdays 7:00-8:30

It’s going to be a great summer of free music in downtown Durham. If you’re lucky enough to own a piece of downtown Durham real estate, the summer will be even better.

To begin, the Find Your Cool Series by DownTownDurham.com led by booking genius Tess Mangum Ocaña.

Shows begin Thursday at 7:00PM and end at 8:30PM on the CCB Plaza on 201 N. Corcoran Street.

The series begins May 8th and ends Thursday August 7th.

Bring the family, including your pets, and be ready
for good music, ice cream across the street at The Parlour, and good brew by Bull City Burgers and Beer. After which you can relax with coffee from Blue Coffee Cafe.

May 8th begins with the South Carolina Broadcasters,
fresh from the MerleFest.

May 15th is Tea Cup Gin

May 29th is Strung like a Horse

June 5th Nikki Hill

June 12th The Chit Nasty Band

Pick up the rest of the schedule while you are there.

Back Porch Music On The Lawn sponsored by American Tobacco
Campus and NC Public Radio – WUNC 91.5 FM

The Durham planners must not think there is enough music on Thursday nights, so beginning May 15th thru September 4th there will be another concert.

May 15th, 2014 opens with Chapel Hill legend Southern Culture on The Skids.

May 28th, 2014 features Mandolin Orange.

June 12th Balsam Range

Pick up the rest of the schedule at the shows.

Brightleaf Square Concert Series 2014 , 7:00-9:00 PM in the Square Courtyard.

Thankfully, they chose Friday nights instead of Thursdays.

May 9th, 2014- Little Windows

May 16th, 2014 – Bull City Syndicate

Shows continue through September 20th.

Not to forget,

Music on Main (The Streets at Southpoint)

Blues on the Plaza (Northgate Mall)

And this is just the Free Music in Durham. It’s going to be a nice summer of music in the Triangle.

As the music begins to flow, you may get the urge to buy a home or refinance in Durham. If that’s the case, message me and I’ll connect you to the best agent in the area for all your Downtown Durham Real Estate needs.




Home Buyer Alert: Conventional 97 Mortgage Loans are ending Nov. 15th, 2013

Conventional 97 Mortgage Loans with 3% down payment are ending Nov. 15th, 2013

When it comes to your Durham mortgage, this means files must be run through Desktop Underwriter by this date.
Buyers with minimum down payment should get all the details before waiting longer to purchase a home.

FHA 3.5% down VS Conventional 97 with 3% down.                            

Durham Mortgage

FNMA Conventional 97 with 3% Down Payment Loans Soon to Be Extinct.

The FHA good -

- The mortgage interest rate will be significantly lower. This can allow for more of your closing costs and escrows
to be paid with a lender credit.

The Bad -
- Monthly mortgage insurance is higher than conventional loans.
- Monthly Mortgage Insurance Premiums are for the LIFE OF THE LOAN.
They NEVER drop off.
- An additional .005% down payment.

Continue reading “Home Buyer Alert: Conventional 97 Mortgage Loans are ending Nov. 15th, 2013” »

Parade of Homes, Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties

Whether you’re shopping for Durham new homes, homes on the resale market or just curious about homes, the Parade of Homes is something you’re probably interested in.

Review of Durham and Chatham County Parade Homes from $200,000.00-$341,000.00

There was no W.W.F. rating (Wife Wow Factor) as our daughter was in town and it was Hot Pepper Jammin’ time with her girl friend. (If you need a expert taster, please let me know.)

I decided that looking in a specific price range at one time  gave me a better perspective than following the tour map of homes in all price ranges.

First, I must freely admit that it annoys me when I find that the official judges of any contest have as good, or better, taste than I do.

One of the BFO’s I’ve had (blinding flash of the obvious) is that staging, and the interior decorations that creative designers do, can trigger feelings of warmth and hominess, even if that does not correspond to the reality of your own furniture when moved in.

NC Beach homes offered for sale “as is” with all the furnishings in tact. Perhaps that’s the next phase of new home construction. “Leave your old stuff behind and just move in.”

That would actually be pretty tempting to me. Would it be for you?

I visited the following 2013 Parade Of Homes:

Chesapeak Homes – (D4) 1807 Rustica Dr.,in Rustica Oaks, Durham – $250,900.00
Lennar Caolinas – (D22) 406 Ravenstone Lane, Meadows at Ravenstone, Durham – $240,995.00
Saussy Burbank  – (C20) 273 Tobacco Farm Way, Briar Chapel, Chapel Hill – $282,900.00
Saussy Burbank  – (C18) 73 Pokesberry Bend Dr., Briar Chapel, Chapel Hill – $289,900.00
Garman Homes    – (C22) 2381 Briar Chapel Parkway, Chapel Hill – $316,865.00
MI Homes-         (C23) Revisited – 23 Heatherwood Dr., Briar Chapel, Chapel Hill -$332,704.00
D.R. Horton      -(D18) 1722 Waddell Court,Brightleaf at the Park, Durham, Nc – $340,973.00

Here are are my 2013 Parade of Homes observations–

-Saussy Burbank has the best first floor flooring. They are natural
hardwoods, stained a couple to three times, and look much better than manufactured
flooring. The two bathrooms I visited were light, airey, and well laid out.
Even though the window view were at the corner of Main Street and Vine. Thank goodness for curtains.
A+ on bathrooms. The second floor layout was pretty good for working in a small space.

-Garmen Homes, C22- One of the unique features was the non attached garage
which was connected to the house with a nice deck and outdoor firepit,
that was quite cozy. The bathroom had marble counter top and a very nice tile floor.
And on a side note, the sales rep remembered me and asked where my wife
was. So, an A+ for memory and personal sales.

-D.R. Horton, (D18) on 1722 Waddell Court, Durham, NC at Brightleaf at the Park,
has a open and flowing left side room layout that “L” shapes into the kitchen.
Very liveable. This was my second favorite home in this price range.

MI Homes, (C23) on 23 Heatherwood Dr. Briar Chapel, made 1,999 square feet look and feel
much bigger than it is.

Finally, the home that I was most impressed with the design and flow, that offered the most value,
..even with the more than tasteful staging that I recognized almost clouded my crystal clear vision…was

Lennar Homes (D22) at 406 Ravenstone Lane, Durham, NC in Meadows at Ravenstone Subdivision.

This house is worth a trip to see.

Which homes were your favorites in this years Parade of Homes?

Parade of Homes in Orange and Chatham Counties 2013

Last weekend Donna and I visited Parade Homes in Orange and Chatham counties that were clustered together in Winmore and Briar Chapel subdivisions first, then other homes that would be interesting for us.

How do you judge a Parade Home?

After many solo visits and with Donna to open homes, I’ve determined that my taste and hers are different, and that she has a better feel for homes and flow and decorations than I do.

As a result, when visiting homes, I withhold my rankings for a few minutes until I get a read on The W.W.Factor. Continue reading “Parade of Homes, Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties” »

October 4, 2013 : Government Shutdown and Your Home Mortgage Closing Update

As a Chapel Hill Mortgage Lender, I am always looking out for the latest news to help my clients. One more of our lenders said they will waive the IRS Tax Transcript requirement for now.

If you were lending your own money, would this fine print concern you? “We will obtain tax transcripts on all loans when the federal government shutdown ends. Once tax transcripts are received, we will compare the income documents to the transcripts and loans with discrepancies may be subject to repurchase.” Certainly some risk and reward going on for lenders who close loans without Tax Transcripts. Chapel Hill Mortgage Lender Continue reading “October 4, 2013 : Government Shutdown and Your Home Mortgage Closing Update” »

Mortgage Rate History |Raleigh|Durham|Chapel Hill| NC|27614

Are Mortgage Rates High Today? Yes, mortgage rates have jumped up to 4.5 %-ish  in the last 60 days. Check out this 1987 mortgage rate sheet for historical perspective. Somehow, homebuyers did just fine. What do you think? Continue reading “Mortgage Rate History |Raleigh|Durham|Chapel Hill| NC|27614” »

Real Estate and Mortgage Tips for Triangle NC Buyers and Sellers

When it comes to mortgage tips, there is one  TIP that is not spoken of often. Not all mortgage lenders do it, and most of the big mortgage banks definitely do not do it.

It is glossed over by those who do not as a non-factor due to the virtual nature of business, the cloud, and technology.

Don’t believe that.

Mortgage Tips - Approved Locally

Have your mortgage approved locally.

The Critical Mortgage Factor is……LOCATION.       Continue reading “Real Estate and Mortgage Tips for Triangle NC Buyers and Sellers” »

About Your Raleigh Mortgage Loan Approval

The waiting period to buy again has been reduced from three years to one year…for those who qualify.

This is a great first step by FHA that potentially has a major impact on the housing recovery.
There will be many bugs to work out during the first 6-12 months of the program. Perhaps longer. Continue reading “About Your Raleigh Mortgage Loan Approval” »

Home Mortgage Refinancing

This interview was done with Jesse Wojdylo after mortgage rates began to increase.
As rates continue to increase, being aware of potential savings become even more important.


Continue reading “Home Mortgage Refinancing” »

30 Year Jumbo Mortgage in Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill, NC

Jumbo Mortgage


My name is Dr. Jim Hilkey. I am a long-time resident of Chapel Hill. We moved to Chapel Hill in 1975. Employed as a forensic clinical psychologist here in Chapel Hill. We just finished refinancing with Jim Enright,  with Corporate Investors Mortgage. Continue reading “30 Year Jumbo Mortgage in Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill, NC” »