Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund

Every now and then I come across some information that can save my clients lots of money. Here is a good one. There has been a program in place in Maryland since 2004 that provides significant incentives to upgrade existing septic systems anywhere in the state. We live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which means that all rivers flow into the Chesapeake. With population densities as high as they are, waste water effluent along with urban and agricultural runoff are the most common contributors to nutrient discharge into the Bay. The Bay Restoration Fund was created to help address that issue by introducing new systems that do a better job of removing phosphorus and nitrogen from waste water effluent. These new systems basically function like mini sewage treatment plants and do a much better job of removing the unwanted elements.

The Bay Restoration Fund Pays for:
  • removal of the old tank
  • installation of the new tank

This means that homeowners who would like to upgrade their septic systems are eligible to receive a gift that would cover costs that could amount to as much as $15,000. The new technology involves some electrical and pump components so it is a little more involved than the old-style systems that simply had two chambers and used gravity to do all the work.

If you or someone you know is interested in finding out more about this plan, here are a couple of resources that you might access:

Septic Service Providers

I spoke to a representative from the state about the program and their biggest concern is that not enough people are aware of it. On a recent home inspection a Septic Contractor took my clients and me through the ins and outs of the program and how it works and I find it hard to think of any negatives associated with this initiative. Check it out. It could save you a lot of money. The Bay Restoration Fund pays for the replacement of an outdated septic system and you get to help the Chesapeake Bay at the same time. A classic win-win.

An interesting note - there are no natural lakes in Maryland. Due to our topography all water (creeks and rivers) run quickly to the bay and all lakes are man made.

Thanks for helping me better serve our Real Estate Community

In Flanders' Fields

As a young boy growing up in Canada, Remembrance Day (Veteran's Day here in the US) was always a big event. Every year on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11:00 a.m. Canadians observe two minutes of silence as we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedoms. As young Cub Scouts we had the assignment to attend services at the local Canadian Legion or VFW and participate in the ceremonies and the laying of wreaths. It was a very solemn experience. I remember many WWI and WWII veterans dressed in their uniforms paying respects to their fallen comrades as wreaths were placed on the cenotaph.

November 11th always seemed to be a cold and dreary day. We young Cub Scouts would shiver and try to stay warm. Because we were in uniform we were not always dressed well for the weather. Standing in the cold rain or even snow was not a pleasant experience for me, but even at that young age I thought my discomfort was a small price to pay for others who had sacrificed so much more.
In grade school every child was required to memorize the poem written by Colonel John McCrae entitled "In Flanders' Fields" The poem is very simple, yet captures the magnitude and responsibility associated with the sacrifice made by so very many.

In Flanders' Fields

In Flanders' Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders' Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders' Fields.

Lest We Forget Lest We Forget

Every year I wear my poppy and refresh the poem in my mind. As I do so, I gain new respect and appreciation for sacrifices made on my behalf so I can enjoy my freedom. A wise person noted that "freedom is never free." I always do my best to remember that.

Thanks for helping me better serve our Real Estate Community.

Credit: How to Repair and Improve It

There’s a lot of talk these days about credit scores and the need to get and keep good credit. I have noticed that many people are uncertain of how to obtain accurate credit ratings for themselves and how to repair or improve their credit ratings. There seems to be a lot of mystery involved with this. Here is some information I obtained from some of the lenders I work with that might help demystify this process.

How do I find out what my credit score is?

There are some sources who actually charge people to view their credit report. You should never have to pay for this nor should you waste time using sites that provide only partial information. Here are some good sites.

How do I repair and improve my credit scores?

Here are a few tips:

Late Payments- If you are at least 30 days late on any revolving or installment accounts (credit card, car loan) you are reported and it impacts your score negatively. You will continue to be reported for each additional 30 days that you are late (60, 90, or even 120 days late is shown). Get back on schedule and eliminate the late pays. This is an easy first step.

Maxed Out Credit - If your credit is “maxed out” it will have a negative impact on your score. Many people are unaware of this, and they use one card for everything. This can be bad because your score is based on a ratio of debt outstanding to credit available. If you have cards that you do not use, or that have no balance, it can be helpful to keep these accounts open and unused. This can actually help your credit scores.

It’s important to show long-standing accounts. Creditors like to see accounts have been open for long periods of time with no trouble (no late payments). It’s better to keep a credit card or account that you have had for a number of years open with no balance, rather than closing it outright.

Installment Loans - Creditors like to see that you have had installment loans that have been paid off on time. This includes car loans, student loans, etc.

Mortgage Loans - The biggest plus that you can have on your credit report is a timely mortgage. The most important “trade-line” on the credit report is the mortgage. A mortgage account that has been open for a long period of time with no late payments will boost the scores. You should NEVER be reported 30 days late on a mortgage if at all possible. It is MUCH BETTER to be late on any other type of account, if you have no possible options, then to be reported late on a mortgage. A mortgage loan that shows late payments, in some cases, will damage credit scores, but can also prevent you from refinancing a home or even getting approved for a new loan.

How long does it take to repair bad credit?

The following statute of limitations has been provided by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

10 years from the date of entry of the order for relief

Suits / Judgments:
7 years from date of entry or expiration of applicable statute of limitations, whichever is longer

Tax Liens – Paid:
7 years from date of payment

Tax Liens – Unpaid:
No limitation

Credit Inquiries- The number of times that your credit is checked will impact your scores. This typically is a small impact, perhaps a few points on your overall score, and it’s not a big deal for borrowers that have excellent credit, but it can be a bad thing if your credit scores are in the mid-to-low 600’s and you drop down a couple of points. Most of the time your score will recover those few points in the following weeks or months as you continue with on-time payments and the inquiries stop.

If you have any questions about your credit and would like some additional information, please give me a call. I would be happy to put you in touch with a good lender who can give you some helpful counsel and advice on what you can do to repair or improve your credit.

Thanks for helping me better serve our Real Estate Community.