Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Reason Why I am in Real Estate

There are many reasons why I chose to work in the real estate industry, but today I was reminded of my #1 reason. After forty-five grueling days of contract negotiations, inspections, signing disclosures, and coordinating movers, I delivered my Seller's house keys to their new owners - The Chillous'. While I don't know anything about the buyers, other than they have three beautiful children, work in the Air Force, and are purchasing their first property, I was overcome with joy, watching their children eagerly rush up the front stairs and screaming at the top of their lungs calling out each of their rooms. On top of that, seeing the wife's smile (ear to ear) as she tried calming her children down was also gratifying. However, the moment that put me over the top was seeing a note left behind by my Seller to the new homeowners. The note read, "Thank you for your service" and it was posted on a flat screen TV and surround sound stereo system he left behind for the new buyers. The new homeowners looked like they had just won the lottery and couldn't even enunciate "Thank you" because they were so overcome with happiness and surprise. I, too, was overcome with happiness; as I not only helped my Seller, sell his home in less than a month and a half (and for over asking), but I know that I chose the right buyers for this home, who will thoroughly enjoy living there and appreciate all that was given to them.

Thank you, Craig, for allowing me to sell your home. And thank you, Chillous', for reminding me why I love what I do!

In case you were wondering, here is the old virtual tour of the property: www.2018Tsushima.com

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Wells Fargo lowers credit score requirement for FHA mortgages

Wells Fargo recently announced that effective Jan. 15, 2011, it will accept FHA-insured mortgages for borrowers with credit scores as low as 500. For borrowers with credit scores ranging from 500 to 579, a 10 percent down payment is required, and the down payment may not be a gift or be part of a down payment assistance program. Borrowers with credit scores of 580 to 599 are required to put down 5 percent, and the down payment may not be a gift or part of a down payment assistance program. Borrowers with a credit score of 600 or higher are required to have a 3.5 percent down payment, and a gift is acceptable. For all borrowers, seller concessions are limited to 3 percent.

Source: CAR Newsline (February 9, 2011)

Monday, December 06, 2010

Foreclosure Freeze through the Holidays

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are freezing all foreclosure evictions on the mortgage loans they own or back from Dec. 20 through Jan. 3.

"If the property is occupied, our foreclosure attorneys will suspend the eviction to provide a greater measure of certainty to families during the holidays," says Anthony Renzi, executive vice president of single family portfolio management at Freddie Mac.

Most of the large banks, including Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, already observe a moratorium through the New Year, unless the foreclosure involves an investor who chooses not to observe the holiday policy.

Source: CNNMoney, Les Christie (12/03/2010)

Monday, October 25, 2010

5 Steps to Remodeling Done Right

Here are five steps to developing a great relationship with a remodeling contractor.

1. Let the contractor know if you are ready to remodel or just kicking the tires. Gary Palmer, a Charlotte, N.C.-based general contractor, says seeking multiple bids is fine, but don’t waste his or her time by letting the bidding process drag on for weeks.

2. Do your homework. Before seeking bids, develop two files. One should include information, including photos, of what you like. The other should include a list of what you don’t like.

3. Listen to the experts. A good contractor can tell you whether the project is feasible and what the pay off will be.

4. Communicate your budget. Let the contractor know up front how much money you intend to spend.

5. Be realistic and patient. Every remodeling project is messy and all of them are going to be frustrating somewhere along the way.

Source: Charlotte Observer, Barbara S. Russell (10/23/2010)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Four Tips for Setting the right price

It’s a difficult disconnect that makes selling properties a challenge. Successfully marketing a home requires that the price be set carefully -- or it will languish on the market. Among the considerations:

* How many homes are for sale in the neighborhood? The more homes on the market, the more important it is to list at the lower end of the scale. "I want buyers to ask why is this house priced so competitively," said NAR President-elect Ron Phipps of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. "I want the answer to be an offer."

* Take short sales and foreclosures into consideration when pricing. If the competing properties are in lousy condition, they are less of an issue, but if they are well taken care of, yet priced 25 percent below market, they can be a serious factor.

* Negotiate decisively. "Buyers are not interested in back-and-forth negotiations these days," Phipps said. "They are less emotional and more disciplined. They will walk away."

* Cut the price when you have to. If no one shows up for an open house, if no one calls and if there are no offers, then the price is too high. That means it's time to make a meaningful price cut.

Source: The Washington Post, Associated Press (09/18/2010)

Friday, September 17, 2010

10 Reasons to Buy a Home

Time magazine is being overly pessimistic in its recent cover piece that called into question the benefits of homeownership. In fact, now is a great time to buy. And, what's more, tomorrow will be a great time to own, because the fundamental strength of homeownership hasn't changed.

Why is now a great time to buy? Here are 10 reasons:

1. You can get a good deal. Prices are down 30 percent on average. They're at a level that makes sense for people's income.
2. Mortgages are cheap. At 4.3 percent on average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, your costs to own are down by a fifth from two years ago.
3. You can save on taxes. When you add up the deductions for mortgage interest and others, the cost of owning can drop below renting for a comparable place.
4. It'll be yours. The one benefit to owning that never changes is that you can paint your walls orange if you want (generally speaking; there might be some community restrictions). How many landlords will let you do that?
5. You can get a better home. In some markets, it's simply the case that the nicest places are for-sale homes and condos.
6. It offers some inflation protection. Historically, appreciation over time outpaces inflation.
7. It's risk capital. If the economy picks up, you stand to benefit from that, even if you're goal is just to have a nice place to live.
8. It's forced savings. A part of your payment each month goes to equity.
9. There is a lot to choose from. There are some 4 million homes available today, about a year's supply. Now's the time to find something you like and get it.
10. Sooner or later the market will clear. The U.S. is expected to grow by another 100 million people in 40 years. They have to live somewhere. Demand will eventually outpace supply.

Source: Wall Street Journal, Brett Arends (9/16/10)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Investment Property: Four Considerations

Real estate entrepreneur Ryan Moeller offers these four tips for anyone considering a consumer real estate investment:

1. Don’t count on appreciation. Appreciation is a bonus.

2. Watch the loan-to-value ratio. Ideally, the total cost of the purchase, fees, and repairs should be no more than 70 percent of the appraised value of property in good condition.

3. Maximize annual return. Aim for properties that can be rented for at least 1.5 percent to 3 percent of the purchase price. For example, plan to pay no more than $50,000 for a property that can be rented for $750 per month.

4. Have an exit strategy. Seek properties that are attractive enough to have value no matter what happens to the market – as rentals, for sale to other investors, or for sale to somebody who plans to live there via conventional financing or lease purchase.

Source: BiggerPockets.com, Ryan Moeller (09/01/2010)