To Turf or Not to Turf
Yard care is a big consideration for homeowners. Real grass is high maintenance, a water hog, and expensive to replace. Artificial grass may be a good alternative for some households. Here are some of the pros and cons of turf:
Pro: No maintenance.
Artificial grass does not require mowing, edging, seeding, or watering. Once you lay it down, you’re done.
Con: Initial expense.
Turf prices range from $8–14 per square foot. You can find some sales and deals, but keep in mind that you get what you pay for. The upside is you won’t need to replace or re-seed it.
Pro: Long-term durability.
“The life expectancy of artificial turf can be upwards of 25 years,” says Gardenista, “making it a less costly alternative to real turf over its life span.”
Con: It might be against the rules.
If you live in a community with a Homeowner’s Association (HOA), be sure to get permission first. Turf is becoming more common, which is convincing more HOAs to approve its use, but check first. You don't want to make a big investment in turf only to be told you have to rip it out and replace it with grass.
Pro: It’s eco-friendly.
The water savings element is huge if you’re looking to live a little greener. Some manufacturers even use recycled materials, such as old tires or plastic bottles.
Con: It’s not biodegradable.
Artificial grass will end up in a landfill some day.
Pro: It’s pet-friendly.
“The good news is that pet waste won’t negatively impact your artificial grass, and turf is easy to clean,” says Purchase Green. There are also specific types of turf that are designed for animals.
Con: It’s hot.
“Real grass has a cooling effect when the air temperature is high. Artificial grass lacks this cooling quality,” says SFGATE. “The grass itself may become hotter than the air and can make the surrounding air feel hotter.”
Pro: It looks great all year round
If you live in an area where the lawn is dormant in the winter, it will be a nice change to see your lush, green (faux) lawn, even in negative temps.
My Loan Was Sold. What Gives?
You've just moved into your new home. You've unpacked, and you're starting to settle in when you receive a letter informing you that your mortgage has been sold and is being serviced by a new institution. Is this allowed? Have the terms of your mortgage changed? Why would your lender sell your mortgage?
Among the many documents, you signed when you first applied for a loan was a Mortgage Servicing Disclosure. This document tells you what percentage of the lender’s loans are sold. More often than not, the majority of loans approved and funded by a particular mortgage company will be sold to someone else. It's important to note that just because your mortgage has been sold, this does not change the terms of your loan. Your loan payment and interest rate will not, and cannot, be impacted.
You’re probably wondering, “Why go through all the effort of originating, approving, and funding a loan just to forgo all the interest that new loan provides?” The answer is surprisingly simple. If not for selling the loan, the lender would soon run out of money to lend.
Mortgage companies today work with a line of credit. It’s not as if the mortgage company approves a loan then opens up a vault full of money to fund your mortgage. When it’s time to fund your loan, the lender taps into the line of credit for the necessary amount. In order to replenish this line of credit, the lender sells the loan to a third party. Once the loan is sold, the lender now has more funds to make more loans. Who is the loan sold to? Many times it’s sold to other mortgage companies, but ultimately the loan is sold either to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
The marketplace for all this loan buying and selling is called the secondary market for mortgages. This secondary market is robust and active and keeps the mortgage market liquid. Without a secondary market, there would be fewer loans issued and still fewer choices. When your loan is sold it’s not because your original lender doesn’t appreciate your business, it’s so they can continue to service other home buyers and make more loans.
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