Tag Archives: real-estate

9 Out of 10 Home Buyers Seek Energy-Efficiency!

According to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 9 out of 10 Buyers look for energy-efficient and environmentally friendly features in their search for a new home. This is especially true in the north and south where extreme temperatures occur on a regular basis and homeowners in the north are bracing for this winter’s higher utility bills. Continue reading

Are Short Sales Coming To An End?

Earlier this week I attended a “Case Management” hearing with one of my Short Sale Sellers.  The Seller had received a notice to appear in a room at the courthouse at 8:30 AM.  As I walked down the hall to the assigned room I noticed a large number of people outside the door.  Once closer I saw people flipping through page after page of names to determine where they were on the docket.  It was my turn to look for my Sellers’ name even though I had seen them inside the courtroom waiting.  I leafed through 13 pages of cases set for hearings the same morning, approximately 105 cases in all.  I was unable to find the Sellers’ case number on the docket so I thought I would look through the dockets posted on the room next door which was supposed to be the “pre-foreclosure” courtroom. Continue reading

Fed Renews Vow to Keep Interest Rates Low

From the Daily Real Estate News:

The Fed voted last week to continue its near-zero interest rate policy for the next quarter and likely much longer. The move will keep mortgage rates low in the coming months, if not years.

In recent weeks, mortgage rates have hovered around record lows, which has helped increase home buyer purchasing power as well as helped refinancers trim their monthly mortgage payments.

Last summer, the Fed made a rare move in vowing to keep the key rate near zero through late 2014. The move has been criticized by some who say it will cause inflation and awards spenders, not savers. Critics have pushed the Fed to reverse its policy.

However, the Fed says the subdued outlook for inflation has not warranted a change in its policies.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, following the Fed’s policy-making committee meeting this week, affirmed the Fed’s intention to continue keeping short-term interest rates down until late 2014—and possibly even longer.

The Fed has kept short-term interest rates near zero since late 2008. The Fed has also acted to reduce long-term rates by purchasing Treasury securities and mortgage bonds.

The Fed’s policy-making committee also released its economic forecast, projecting moderate economic growth in the coming months before a steady pick up, as well as a gradual drop in unemployment. The committee also projects for inflation to remain under control, despite the recent rise in oil prices.

“If there’s a substantial change in the economic outlook in either direction, then there would be a change in the outlook,” Bernanke said. “But for now, I think the committee is comfortable.”

Top 10 Home Buying Mistakes – #1

Photo: HGTV's FrontDoor News

Mistake #1: Waiting for the market to improve or not buying at all

Reading and listening to all the real estate “gurus” cannot tell you when the market will improve, whether it has reached the bottom or how much a home will appreciate in the future.  Buying a home at “fair market” value when you are emotionally and financially ready to make the move is still a very good investment.

Many smart real estate agents have been purchasing properties during this down time and are already reaping benefits from their purchases.  Follow the lead of real estate professionals and buy your home any time in the near future.  Once you own your home you can begin to enjoy the benefits of home ownership with tax deductions and equity building.  If you think about the 1-2% return you are getting on your money in the bank and don’t expect much more from your home appreciation you will be ahead of the game.  You may very well be pleasantly surprised by the higher appreciation over the years you own the home!  And, if investment real estate is appealing, now is a great time to purchase an investment property.  The rental markets are at some of the highest levels in many years.

Find a qualified real estate professional to help you with buying a good value property now.

Top 10 Home Buying Mistakes – #3

Photo: HGTV's FrontDoor News

Mistake #3: Not getting a home inspection

No matter how perfect a house looks inside and out, it is very important to have a home inspection performed.  Every home has flaws and it’s own “personality”, no matter what the age and you are better off knowing about these things before you purchase the house instead of after.

The red flags in a home inspection would be structural, related to the HVAC (heating and cooling system) or roof related and may be covered under a repair clause in the contract which means the Seller will have to repair the item.  Many items which show up on a home inspection may just be minor or cosmetic.

If you use your home inspection as a maintenance guide you can be prepared for major repairs down the road by budgeting for them in advance.  Your home inspection report should provide you with a “map” of your home’s systems with years of life expectancy remaining.

Cause For Optimism in the 2013 Housing Market

US GreenBrokers

The Urban Land Institute recently released their forecast and statistics for the housing industry in 2013.    A turnaround beginning this year, albeit a slow beginning with 2013 showing more positive increases in value.

WASHINGTON (March 28, 2012) — A new Urban Land Institute survey of 38 leading real estate economists and analysts from across the United States projects broad improvements for the nation’s economy, real estate capital markets, real estate fundamentals and the housing industry through 2014. The findings, released today, mark the start of a semi-annual survey of economists, the ULI Real Estate Consensus Forecast, being conducted by the ULI Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate. The survey results show reason for optimism throughout much of the real estate industry. Over the next three years:

  • Commercial property transaction volume is expected to increase by nearly 50 percent
  • Issuance of commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) is expected to…

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Top 10 Home Buying Mistakes – #5

Photo: HGTV's FrontDoor News

Mistake #5: Impulse Home Buying

Frequently first-time home buyers tell me “We’ll know the ‘house’ when we walk in” as we begin our house-hunting journey and, when we walk into the first one, they exclaim “This is the one!”.  While this may be the house they do decide to buy, I still encourage them to look at all the properties I selected based on the parameters they shared with me.

It just makes sense to look at several properties.  Many first-time home buyers may have one of the two just in love with the idea of owning a home with a loved one and the other partner gets swept up in that feeling of elation.  Looking at all the homes your real estate professional has selected solidifies your decision as truly the best house for your needs.  “Buyers remorse”, as the professionals call it, usually occurs when first-time home buyers don’t follow the advice of their real estate agent.  So, to find the best house for you and avoid that feeling of “what did we do?”,  follow your professional’s lead by looking at all the homes scheduled for your viewing so you can compare.

Top 10 Home Buying Mistakes – #6

Photo: HGTV's FrontDoor News

Mistake #6: Buying a house you can’t afford

Just because a lender is willing to loan you more money than you thought you wanted to borrow, that doesn’t mean you should change your home buying plans. Buying more home, or anything else you really can’t afford can quickly lead to headaches, stress and money worries.  Keep in mind you are buying a shelter for yourself which will probably appreciate in time but don’t forget you will still need money for other things.

As a rule of thumb, I would recommend your mortgage payment be less than 25% of your gross monthly income unless you buy an energy-efficient home or one with a HERS index rating of less than 60.  Obviously, the higher your utility bills the higher that percentage gets to where it can become 40-50% of your gross monthly income.  Besides your mortgage payment and utilities, you need to be prepared for additional costs of homeownership, such as homeowners insurance, property taxes and maintenance which could be more on a wood structure vs. concrete block depending on the area you buy.

Consider scaling back on the size of the home you’re looking for in order to make  the whole investment fit into your budget.   Keep in mind you want to own the house and not have the house own you so you can’t afford to do anything else or you take on credit card debt for vacations or emergencies.