Get your crabs curbside at Phillips Inner Harbor location

— It’s difficult to live in Maryland and not know about Phillips restaurants.

This summer, Phillips has spiced things up by introducing “Curbside Crabs!”

Phillips crabs are well known all over Maryland with locations at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor; Annapolis; Ocean City; and Arundel Mills just to name a few. Their menu features fresh seafood caught in the Chesapeake Bay.

Curbside Crabs is an easy process, which is available at the Baltimore Inner Harbor location. It allows customers to pre-order crabs and have them brought out to their car.

When the order is ready, a text is sent to the customer let them know and the customer replies upon arrival. Then the order is taken out to the customer— it’s that easy!

The crabs are $55 a dozen for medium crabs. Other size crabs are available on request. This price is in effect until September 30, 2015.

Before operating the restaurants, A.E Phillip and Son caught crabs, fish and oysters and brought them to be sold at Lexington Market. Business was booming and the idea for a restaurant came about. Their first restaurant was built in 1956 in Ocean City, Maryland, and is still open today.

Shirley Phillip, the wife of A.E. Phillip created memorable recipes including: crabcakes and Maryland crab soup, which have been passed down from chef-to-chef and are still being served today.

Recently, I had a chance to enjoy the wonderful crabs and crab cakes at Phillips located at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The service was great and Phillips caters to their guests in a swift and professional manner. So the next you are thinking of eating some crabs, take advantage of the Curbside Crabs before the summer ends!

Tips to consider when refinancing your home

Buying a home is a great thing, but what happens after the big purchase? Now that the walls are painted and the bedrooms are all in place, it’s not unusual for homeowners to think about refinancing. For this article, I spoke to Mortgage Loan Officer Denise M. Flynn from PNC Bank. Flynn was able to discuss with me some of the key things a homeowner needs to know when refinancing on their home.

Commonly, people receive phone calls or letters in the mail about refinancing. It may sound like a good idea, but it all depends on the your financial situation. If you want to lower your mortgage payment or to shorten the length of a mortgage, talk to a mortgage loan officer first. Prior to taking refinancing into serious consideration, it’s good to wait at least a year or two to build equity. When enough equity is built in the escrow account, it’s possible you won’t have to deal with closing costs. If you have to pay closing costs out of pocket, there are programs for homeowners who want to refinance. Therefore talking to a mortgage loan officer is a must. Go into a bank (preferably your current bank) and ask for a mortgage check up. Bring in your mortgage bill and see what a mortgage loan officer can do for you. It’s important to also maintain a good credit score, and credit history prior to refinancing. But just in case you were curious, refinancing it doesn’t hurt or help your credit, it just benefits the homeowner.

Life happens and financial situations occur all the time, and if there’s anyway money can be saved look into refinancing. It’s also okay to refinance more than once. It’s always good to free up some money when you can. If you have an adjustable interest rate when you purchased you home, you can turn it into a fixed interest rate. How awesome is that? For additional information listed below is a link you can copy and paste into the web browser that also explains what how refinancing works.

For more information about refinancing your home, visit: https://www.pnc.com/homehq/en/home/refinance-my-home/refinancing-demystified.html.

What to do when you’re thinking about buying a house

— Buying a home for the first time is never easy. It’s one of the biggest purchases you will make in your life. Needless to say there are tons of documents to sign, language to learn, in addition to knowing what home is perfect for you and your family. Watching Virgin Properties, or House Hunters will only get you so far, and even after watching those shows can leave you perplexed and overwhelmed.

Lourdes Montes-Greenan, vice president and community consultant for Community Development Banking and Franklin N. McNeil, Jr., Community Consultant, Greater Maryland Community Development Banking, PNC Bank explained some of the first steps to take when buying a home.

The best time to purchase a home is when you are financially ready. Think about your credit history and ask yourself if you are ready for this life-changing decision. Purchasing a home is serious business and should never be taken lightly. Understand the debt that is owed, and be aware of what you can afford. A homeowner needs to have financial stability before and after purchasing a home. You don’t want to be broke by the end of the month! When living with a spouse, or significant other the decision of buying a home needs to be unanimous, especially if both names are going to be on the mortgage loan.

After you decide that you want to purchase a home, and everyone is in agreement. The next step is to talk to a HUD Certified Counselor. A counselor can be located at a HUD Certified Counseling Center. It’s important for a potential homeowner to be educated on the home buying process. There are a lot of programs in Baltimore, and in surrounding counties that are available to assist people on purchasing a home. These HUD Certified Counseling Centers have trained counselors who know all the incentives that will help a potential homeowner get the most for their money.

Most HUD Certified Counseling Centers require you to have at least a 680 credit score, to receive help from the home buying programs. Be sure to talk to a counselor even if the credit score is below 680. There are other programs that will assist you with purchasing a home, and the counselor can inform you on what you need to do, to raise your credit score. The HUD programs have sessions with and weekend sessions. Once the group sessions are completed, you will meet with a counselor one-on -one to discuss your finances and the programs that are best fit for you. Once the program is completed you will receive a certificate, be sure to show your realtor this certificate because all of the programs require you to show it in order to receive incentives.

For starters here are a few Housing Counseling Centers in Baltimore City and County:

  • Southeast CDC: http://www.southeastcdc.org/buy-a-home/home-buying-counseling-in-baltimore-city/ (online counseling available)
  • Neighborhood Housing Services of Baltimore Maryland: http://www.nhsbaltimore.org (online counseling available)
  • Bel-Air Edison Housing Services: http://www.belair-edison.org
  • Harbel Housing Partnership: http://harbel.org/housingPartnership.html
  • Park Heights Renaissance, Inc: http://boldnewheights.org/housing-counseling/home-buying-workshops/
  • St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center: http://stambros.org/pages/homeownership.html (online counseling available)

If you decide not to purchase a house after attending the sessions, that is okay! Do not feel pressured. It’s important that you feel comfortable when making this decision. There will be some anxiety because its something new and different, but if your gut is telling you not to do it— then don’t! However being educated is a priority and you want your home buying experience to be an exciting and not a disastrous one. Take a moment and click on the links to see what programs you may qualify for can sign up for today.