State College Real Estate and Community News

Aug. 15, 2023

Navigating the Waters of Current Mortgage Rates: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating the Waters of Current Mortgage Rates: A Comprehensive Guide


In the ever-changing landscape of the real estate market, one key factor that plays a significant role in homebuying decisions is the current mortgage rates. These rates can have a substantial impact on your overall financial picture, influencing the affordability of your dream home and shaping your long-term investment strategy. In this blog post, we'll dive into the intricacies of current mortgage rates, helping you understand how they work and how to make informed decisions.

Understanding Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates are the interest rates that lenders charge on home loans. They determine how much you'll pay on top of the principal amount borrowed. Mortgage rates fluctuate due to a variety of economic factors, including inflation, monetary policy decisions, and the overall health of the economy.

The Current Mortgage Rate Landscape

As of August 2023, mortgage rates are 7.25% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, 6.75% for an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), and 7% for jumbo loans. These rates are slightly higher than the previous month's average, reflecting the ongoing ebb and flow of economic conditions.

Factors Influencing Mortgage Rates

  1. Economic Indicators: Mortgage rates are closely tied to broader economic indicators such as GDP growth, unemployment rates, and consumer confidence. Strong economic performance often leads to higher rates, while weaker economic conditions can result in lower rates.

  2. Inflation: When inflation is on the rise, lenders tend to increase mortgage rates to protect their returns against the diminishing purchasing power of money.

  3. Federal Reserve Policies: The Federal Reserve's decisions regarding its benchmark interest rate (federal funds rate) can indirectly affect mortgage rates. When the Fed raises rates, borrowing costs across the economy, including mortgage rates, might increase.

  4. Market Competition: Lenders compete for borrowers, and their rates can vary accordingly. It's essential to shop around and compare offers from different lenders to secure the most favorable rate.

The Impact on Homebuyers

Even a slight variation in mortgage rates can significantly impact your monthly payments and the overall cost of your loan. For instance, a difference of just 1% in interest rates on a $250,000 loan can lead to thousands of dollars in savings or extra expenses over the life of the loan.

Strategies for Navigating Current Rates

  1. Stay Informed: Keep an eye on financial news and economic indicators. Understanding the broader economic landscape can help you anticipate potential changes in mortgage rates.

  2. Work on Your Credit Score: Lenders offer the best rates to borrowers with higher credit scores. By improving your credit score, you can position yourself for more favorable loan terms.

  3. Lock-In Rates: Some lenders offer rate-lock options that allow you to secure a specific rate for a set period. This can protect you from sudden rate spikes while you finalize your home purchase.

  4. Consult Mortgage Professionals: Mortgage brokers and loan officers can provide expert advice tailored to your financial situation. They can guide you through available options and help you find the best rates.


In the complex world of real estate, understanding the nuances of current mortgage rates is crucial for making informed decisions. By keeping an eye on economic trends, improving your financial profile, and seeking expert guidance, you can navigate the ever-changing landscape of mortgage rates and secure a home loan that aligns with your long-term goals. Remember, your mortgage rate isn't just a number; it's a vital factor that can shape your financial future.


Posted in Market Updates
March 10, 2023

First Time Home Buyer? No Problem!

Buying your first home can be a daunting and exciting experience at the same time. It is a significant financial decision that requires careful planning, research, and patience. As a first-time homebuyer, you will likely encounter many challenges and questions throughout the process. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips to help make the homebuying process smoother and less stressful.

  1. Determine your budget

Before you start house hunting, it's essential to know how much you can afford. Create a budget that considers your income, expenses, and debt. Be sure to factor in all the costs associated with homeownership, including mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance.

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a crucial step in the homebuying process. It will help you determine the maximum amount you can borrow and what type of home you can afford. Additionally, having a pre-approval letter from a lender can make you a more attractive buyer in a competitive market.

  1. Work with a real estate agent

A real estate agent can be a valuable asset in your homebuying journey. They have the expertise and resources to help you find homes that meet your criteria and negotiate the best deal on your behalf. Be sure to choose an agent who has experience working with first-time homebuyers and who is familiar with the local market. The Sell it Faster with McMaster team has over 25 years of combined experience in this market!

  1. Research neighborhoods

Take the time to research neighborhoods that interest you. Consider factors such as proximity to work, schools, shopping, and public transportation. Visit neighborhoods at different times of the day and on weekends to get a feel for the community.

  1. Get a home inspection

A home inspection is a crucial step in the homebuying process. It can identify any potential issues with the home that may not be visible to the naked eye. A professional home inspector can evaluate the condition of the home's structure, systems, and components, such as the roof, plumbing, and electrical.

  1. Be prepared for closing costs

Closing costs are fees associated with finalizing a real estate transaction. They typically range from 2% to 5% of the purchase price and can include fees for appraisals, inspections, title insurance, and attorney fees. Be sure to budget for closing costs in addition to your down payment and other expenses. Ask Marc and the team how you cna get the seller to pay some of your closing costs.

  1. Take your time

Buying a home is a significant investment that should not be rushed. Take your time to find the right home for you and your family. Don't settle for a home that doesn't meet your needs or feels like a compromise. Remember, you're making a long-term commitment, so it's important to choose a home that you love and can see yourself living in for many years.

In conclusion, buying a home for the first time can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, it's important to approach the process with caution and to be prepared for the challenges that may arise. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of finding the right home and making a sound financial decision. Good luck!

March 8, 2023

State College Market Update

State College, Pennsylvania is a vibrant college town located in the heart of central Pennsylvania. Known for its beautiful tree-lined streets, charming downtown area, and world-class university, State College is a great place to call home.

One of the things that makes State College a unique real estate market is its strong demand for both rental and owner-occupied properties. With a large student population at Penn State University, there is always a steady stream of renters looking for housing. At the same time, the town also attracts families and professionals who appreciate the community's amenities and quality of life.

Over the past year, the real estate market in State College has been very active, with home prices rising and inventory levels remaining low. According to recent data, the median sales price for single-family homes in State College increased by 7% over the past year, while the average sales price for condos and townhomes increased by 6%.

Despite the price increases, State College remains an attractive market for buyers, thanks to low interest rates and the town's strong rental demand. Buyers looking for a property in State College can choose from a range of options, from historic homes in the downtown area to modern townhomes and condos.

If you are considering buying or selling a property in State College, now may be a good time to act. With the market continuing to show strength, sellers may be able to fetch a higher price for their property, while buyers can take advantage of favorable financing conditions.

In summary, State College, PA is a great place to live and invest in real estate. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a current resident looking to sell, there are many opportunities to find the perfect property in this thriving community.

Posted in Market Updates
April 10, 2020

Keeping Up With Your Routines May Benefit Your Health

Staying at home, working remotely, keeping the kids occupied, searching for toilet paper and cooking more than usual leaving you little stressed?

The extended social distancing and stay-at-home orders may have many people feeling at the end of their rope. Psychology experts remind people to focus on what they can control during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tips for things you can control:

  • Create a routine – Beginning your day like you would usually do is helpful. Get up, shower and get dressed. Make a list of things you want to get done.
  • Your immediate environment – Don’t do all of your activities in one place. Try to work and eat in different rooms so you’re not spending all of your time in one environment.
  • Maintain healthy habits – Plan healthy meals, get rest and exercise regularly.
  • Reach out — Take advantage of technology and connect with family, friends and coworkers.
  • Protect yourself – Regularly wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, avoid touching your face and keep six feet of distance between you and anyone else.
  • Limit your news intake – Stay informed about the situation via reliable sources, but limit your news and social media intake to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • Find entertainment – Catch up on TV series, reading or completing projects you’ve had on your to-do list to stay mentally active.
  • Be positive – Focus on good news stories and take things one day at a time.


June 26, 2019

Your State College Survival Guide

The McMaster Team is happy to be the first to welcome you to Happy Valley. Here are some of our personal recommendations from around town to make your first few days a little easier.


·       Four Ways Pub & Eatery – This amazing little restaurant in Bellefonte is a unanimous favorite of the McMaster Team. You’ll probably run into at least one of us there.

·      Champs Sports Bar & Grill – Champs has 2 locations. Downtown Champs has a basement bar full of arcade games and awesome happy hour specials. The original Champs is a great place to go with a big group or to watch a game. (Fun fact: Justin used to manage Champs!)

·       The Field Burger & Tap – The Field’s Happy Hour includes ½ off fries and other appetizers, plus drink specials! The burgers here are amazing, they even have different types of patties for every taste from venison, to wagyu, to veggie!

·       Happy Valley Brewing Co. – You haven’t lived until you’ve tried the brisket nachos. These nachos are a State College treasure.

·       Plaza Mexican – The only place in town where you can get table-side guac!

Breakfast & Brunch:

·       The Naked Egg Café – Located in Pine Grove Mills, this quiet breakfast spot is great for a coffee or espresso lover. The Naked Egg has your classic breakfast foods and some not-so-classics if you’re feeling adventurous!

·       The Gardens – Located inside the Penn Stater Hotel, The Gardens features an upscale brunch buffet perfect for special occasions! Every brunch includes a free mimosa for guests 21+

·       Barrel 21 – Barrel 21 is a small distillery adjacent to Otto’s Brewery that’s known for delicious Bloody Mary’s and a fabulous Brunch Buffet

Vegetarian & Vegan:

·       Otto’s Pub – Otto’s has weekly vegan and vegetarian specials that are ever-changing and always using fresh and local ingredients!

·       Rey Azteca – If you love Mexican food, Rey Azteca has a Vegetarian menu and lots of great meatless lunch specials too!

·       Whiskers – Located inside the Nittany Lion Inn, Whiskers has unique vegan and vegetarian options for every taste. If you’re a pescatarian, you don’t want to miss out on the Lobster Bisque.


·       Tussey Mountain – With everything from go-karts to batting cages, there is always something to do at Tussey! Home to Wingfest in the Summertime and the slopes in the winter, keep an eye out for all sorts of community events in between.

·       Whipple Dam – The  perfect State Park for summer fun! Whipple’s has paddle board & boat rentals, fishing, camping, hiking and swimming! Doan’s Bones BBQ is located just outside the park’s entrance for a quick bite after a long day. There are even paddle-board yoga classes in the summer!

·       2000° - Unleash your inner artist and paint some pottery! 2000° is a great place for date night, birthday parties or just a rainy day.


·       Escape Artist – State College has 2 Escape Rooms! BYOB for even more fun.


·       Café Lemont – Locally made coffee and a very relaxing atmosphere.

·       The Pump Station – This little café in Boalsburg was once a gas station, but don’t be fooled it’s still one of the best places to get a quick bite and some coffee.

·       Rothrock Coffee – Bright and clean, Rothrock is a cool place to hang out if you can find a spot!


·       Hi-Way Pizza – Try the Red Stuffed Pizza and thank us later!

·       Home Delivery/Robin Hood Brewing Co – Any pizza any size just $11.99 after 9pm! There is a State College & Bellefonte location so you can avoid town on busy football weekends if you want.

·       The View – This restaurant is located inside the Wyndham Hotel. Their best kept secret is the amazing pizza!


·       Use GrubHub, DoorDash, goPuff or Uber Eats to have almost anything delivered right to your door! If you live a little further out, some places may be out of range but Papa John’s delivers almost anywhere!




·       Otto’s – Amazing food and drinks with ever-changing locally sourced vegan and vegetarian options. Call ahead to make sure there’s room!

·       VooDoo – This new brewery is beer only but usually has a host of food trucks outside. It’s right next to Happy Valley Brewing Co, but DO NOT park in the Happy Valley parking lot. You WILL be towed. Trust us!

·       Shy Bear – This brewery is a little further from town, but worth the drive! Amazing food and beer that will have you wanting to go back every weekend.


·       Local Whiskey (“The Second”) – Local Whiskey is located right above the popular college bar “The Phyrst” but has a more sophisticated atmosphere with their specialty being Whiskey “on the ball”

·       The Saloon – Everybody needs to try a ‘Monkey Boy’ once in their life

·       Champs Downtown – Usually crowded but always a good time!

·       Pickles – The perfect bar for any occasion. And Long Islands are always $2!

·       Mad Mex – The BEST Margs in town. Amazing Happy Hour specials. $6 Burritos and Margaritas on Mondays!!

Hair & Beauty:

·       Ulta – A one-stop shop for all of your beauty needs! Whether you need some highlights, a mani-pedi or your favorite makeup supplies, Ulta has it all.

·       Looks Hair Design – Located Downtown, Looks is a fan-favorite salon! You can choose from master stylists or whoever is available. You won’t be disappointed!

·       O Nails – O Nails has been around forever, they are the best in town! Always quick and fairly priced.

Health & Wellness:

·       Planet Fitness – With memberships starting at $10 a month, Planet Fitness is affordable and open 24/7

·       East Coast Health & Fitness – This health club offers great facilities, classes and more!


·       Salt Water Spa – Clear your mind with a relaxing massage or take a relaxing float in Salt Water. The customer service at this Spa is truly unbeatable. No other spa in State College will come close to the experience Sara and her team provide. Memberships available!


·       Giant – The new Giant in the South Atherton Plaza includes a beer & wine café and a Starbucks!

·       Wal-Mart- Avoid Wal-Mart at all costs during undergrad move-in and parents weekend!

·       Target- The Target downtown is a little more expensive than the big Target on Colonnade.


·       The Student Health Center- Great and convenient care! They personalize a team for you so you can stay familiar with the same doctors and nurses throughout your time at PSU

·       Med-Express- Inexpensive, quick and convenient

·       Geisinger Careworks- Check in online ahead of time to reduce the wait!

Good luck and welcome!

Posted in Agent Profile
April 19, 2018

How to Find the Right Person to Sell Your House

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Feb. 22, 2018

What Should a Seller Look for in a Listing Agent?

What Should a Seller Look for in a Listing Agent?

When it comes time to sell your State College home there are a lot of items that you should look for when selecting an agent to list your home.  More than likely this is the most expensive and valuable asset you own so great care must be taken when selecting a listing agent.  Here are couple tips:

  1. Select a Full-Time agent.  Don't you want an agent that's sole job is to get your home sold?  Would you rather have someone that has a day job and isn't thinking of your house at all during regular business hours?  It's also much easier for professional, full-time agents to deal with other full time agents that don't have to call on their lunch break. 
  2. Select an Agent that understands marketing.  Too many agents do the Three P's. Put a sign in the yard, Put it in the MLS, and Pray.  The market has chanegd and homes need to be actively marketed.  Those 3 things need to be done but it also has to be highlighted on the internet, marketed through direct mail, and also through agent networking.  
  3. Select an Agent with Experience. Do you want to be a new agent's guinea pig with your most valuable asset?  Make sure the agent you select has actually sold a house or two in the past.  Make them produce statistics of homes sold and how long they've been in the business. Don't just select that "friend" that just got their real estate license.

Why should you select the Marc McMaster Team to sell your home?

1. We're full-time real estate agents. This is what we do. All Day. Every Day. 

2. Our marketing plan has over 150 steps to it. Most agents have 2. Sign in the yard and listing in the MLS. 

3. Over 15 years of real estate experience. 1000's of properties closed. Years of industry experience at the Local, State, and National level. 

You should interview a couple of agents and make sure whoever you select is a good fit to get the job done! 

Feb. 22, 2018

What do I do at Closing?

If you're buying a home in State College, PA you may have never actually been to a closing.  In some areas closing is not an actual event but a series of events.  In State College, PA it IS an actual event where the buyers sit down with a settlement agent or attorney and complete and execute all documents related to the settlement of the transaction.  Those items include but not limited to:

  • A promissory note-A promise to pay the money borrowed to buy the home
  • A mortgage-The document that secures the property to the note
  • The HUD-1 Settlement Statement-Final accounting of the transaction
  • A review of the deed for the property
  • A review of the title insurance
  • Review and sign all bank documents

Most times the seller does not attend closing.  Their agent attends closing on their behalf and brings the fully executed deed for the property to the closing.  After all documents are executed and the Closing Disclosure is signed, the keys are passed across the table and you own a home! 

Feb. 22, 2018

How I Give Back

I am a firm believer that as REALTORS we should be invested in the community.  That includes giving back to the community wherever you can. Over the years I've gotten involved in a lot of different ways of giving back to the community.

Several years ago I was asked to serve on the State College Area School District's Community Advisory Committee for Facilities.  This committee helps the facilities director make recommendations to the local school board regarding the buildings and facilities of the school district. Most recently we helped the district work through the referendum process to do a a $115 Million renovation to our high school.  We were only the second school district in Pennsylvania to pass a referendum of this sort since they became required.  Currently we're working on three elementary school renovation/replacement projects as well. 


Another area where I serve is on my local Township's planning commission.  This is also beneficial to my real estate career cince I tend to know what is going on with local regulations, zoning, and development in the works.  This lets me become a source to my clients not only when I'm working with them but afterwards as well. We meet twice a month and not only make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors regarding developments but we also help shape the regulations and ordnances of the township. I served 2 years as Secretary, 2 years as Vice Chairman, and 2 years as Chairman. 


I'm currently the local Association of REALTORS President for the last 2 years.   Serving on the Board of Directors is a way to help guide the way Realtors serve their clients in a professional manner. 

I think that every real estate agent should take it upon themselves to find a cause that they believe in and find a way to give back to their community.  The people you help on those committee may someday wind up being your clients.  All our of customers and clients can benefit from the time that we put in giving back to the community. 

Posted in Agent Profile
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Local Market Stats

Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates