Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose more than expected in March, suggesting the housing market's downward trend may be close to hitting a bottom.
The National Association of Realtors said sales rose 3.7 percent month over month to an annual rate of 5.10 million units after an upwardly revised 4.92 million unit pace in February.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected sales to rise 2.5 percent to a 5.0 million-unit pace from the previously reported 4.88 million unit rate. Sales have now risen in six of the past eight months.
The median home price fell 5.9 percent in March from a year earlier to $159,600 which shows that the spike in demand for homes is mostly driven by the lower end of the price spectrum as new home buyers are finally entering the market.
Friday, April 22, 2011
- Ensuring seized land is taken only for public use
- Requiring transparency in the process of valuing condemned property
- Paying attorney's fees if a property owner prevails in a hearing for higher property value
- Compensating owners for lack of access
- Enabling property owners to repurchase their land after 10 years if the project has not moved forward
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
Since 2004, the maximum VA loan is the same as the maximum FNMA mortgage which is currently $417,000. Occasionally, a Veteran wants a loan in excess of that amount. If the Veteran will put a 25% down payment on the excess amount, a lender will loan the other 75%.
|Maximum VA Loan||$417,000|
|25% Required Down Payment on Excess||$ 14,500|
VA loans are eligible for veterans of the military with a certificate of eligibility. A Veteran can get a 100% loan up to the maximum VA loan amount and the seller can pay their closing costs which would allow a Vet to get into a home with no down payment and no closing costs. The VA Funding Fee can be rolled into the mortgage or paid by the Seller.
When the Vet sells the home, their VA loan is assumable at the existing interest rates but does require qualification of the new buyer. The benefits would be a possible lower interest rate and lower closing costs.
There's more to finding the "Right" home than driving around looking at houses. A Residential Finance Consultant can help you make better decisions to help you understand the tax advantages, financing alternatives and investment aspects of homeownership.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Many homeowners are overlooking an opportunity to lower their property taxes by not challenging their tax assessment. Property values have decreased in the past two to three years and the assessment may not reflect the current market value.
Deadlines are critical and if the challenge isn't made in a timely fashion, the opportunity to lower the assessment can be lost for the year. You'll need tdo verify the deadlines for your area.
The process for the challenge is relatively simple and can be done by a homeowner or by professional representation. In some cases, if there is an obvious mistake, the state employee may be able to correct it without a hearing.
Check the property assessment record for common mistakes that can include the number of bedrooms, baths, lot size and square footage of the improvements. Documentation is required to verify the errors. If you have an appraisal, such as when you purchased the home, it can serve as proof of the discrepancy.
In other cases, a hearing is required before a panel of citizens who will listen to testimony from the taxpayer and a representative of the assessor's office. Based on the documentation presented, the panel will make a ruling to lower the value, make no change or in some cases, raise the valuation.
Recently closed comparables are the most common proof presented in a hearing. Comparables should be similar in size, condition and location. A knowledgeable real estate professional can filter the results generated in a MLS search to identify the most appropriate.
Your real estate professional can supply the comparables, filing deadlines and other pertinent information needed to make a challenge. Lowering your assessment will result in lower property taxes and more money in your pocket.
Monday, April 4, 2011
- "It's impossible to get low down payment loans." - UNTRUE!
FHA down payments are only 3.5% and VA is 0%. In some areas, there may be some 100% USDA loans available.
- "It takes perfect credit to get a loan." - UNTRUE!
There is a relationship of better rates to better credit but many issues on a credit report may be explained. The way to know for sure is to speak to a reliable lender.
- "If I've had a bankruptcy or foreclosure, I can't qualify." - UNTRUE!
Credit history following a short sale or foreclosure is very important and there can be extenuating circumstances. It only takes a few moments with a reliable lending professional to find out if your individual situation will allow you to qualify.
- "Getting pre-approved is expensive." - UNTRUE!
Usually, the only expense to getting pre-approved is the cost of the credit report which could be around $35. The advantage is that you will know that you qualify for a particular mortgage amount.
- "I should wait to qualify until I find a home." - UNTRUE!
The best interest rates are only available for the highest credit scores. It can take time to qualify for a mortgage especially if there are issues that need to be corrected. It is to your advantage to start the qualifying process early in your home search.
- "All lenders are the same." - UNTRUE!
Reliable lending professionals will explain the entire process before collecting fees, quote fees up-front, have competitive products, do what is necessary to get the loan approved and close at the locked rate and terms. Ask for recommendations from recent borrowers.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Some homeowners who have placed an insurance claim for losses say that they realized something was missing months after they had filed. The inventory can actually serve as a guide to make sure you get compensated for all of your loss.
The best proof of purchase is to have a receipt for the item. The reality of the situation is that most people don't keep receipts. The next best item is to have an inventory and the more details like pictures, the better.
Contact me for a Home Inventory. Once you get it completed, put it somewhere safe so you'll have it when you need it. Saving it in the "Cloud" like Microsoft Office Live is convenient because you can acess it from any computer with Internet access.