Monthly Archives: March 2009

Mortgage Rates Hit Historic Record in 2009

There are so many great reasons to buy a home now. Mortgage rates were at a historic low already this year and are still great. There is also the first-time home buyer credit and a large amount of inventory. With all the incentives, you won’t want to pass this point in time without buying that home.

Check out a recent news statement on the mortgage market:

“Share Loan Apps Rise as Rates Dip Below 5 Percent
Average mortgage rates dipped below 5 percent last week, driving mortgage application volume up 11.3 percent to 723.4 from 649.7 the previous week on an adjusted basis, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association weekly survey.

On an unadjusted basis, the index increased 11.6 percent compared with the previous week and was up 5.7 percent compared with the same week a year ago.

The increase was reflected in the government purchase index (mostly FHA), which rose 10.4 percent. The overall purchase index was up 7.1 percent. The refinance share increased to 67.9 percent, up slightly from the previous week when it was at 66.9 percent.

Mortgage rates were down to the second-lowest rate in the history of the survey, with the record low being 4.89 percent for the week ending Jan. 9, 2009.

30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.96 percent from 5.14 percent
15-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.54 percent from 4.73 percent
1-year ARMs increased to 6.21 percent

Source: Mortgage Bankers Association (03/11/2009)”

Quoted from: Realtor Magazine at Realtor.org

Five Top Points Buyers Dislike About a Home

Smell is the first thing that buyers will complain about when Looking at home. Dog smell, pet odors and odd cooking aromas or some the main reasons that they will turn around and leave. The home owner tends to not be always aware of the smell because when they are living around it daily. Often times you do not smell the odors in your own home because you are so used to it.

Cleanliness is the next big thing. I have had many buyers look around and disgust and shock that some sellers did not even bother to clean up. This does not mean home staging, it is more about the dirty dishes in sink.

You know I had a buyer once that often would say they thought a home we were viewing was dirty, but I had the hardest time convincing them to clean up their own while trying to sell it and theirs was dirtier. I received constant comments about this seller’s home. It is a great idea listen to tips that your agent gives you. Most of the time is it coming from the buyers feedback.

Another thing is try to not be in the home when buyers are viewing it. It is the third thing that buyers complain about. Buyers are just not comfortable with the seller in the home. Most of the time the buyer will be quick to view the home and not take the time to see all the features.

The fourth complaint is cleanliness. Try putting the clutter pile in a cubard and picking up the laundry. This is not just because it looks neater, but also because they can then see all the things that might have been covered up. If you have a storage issue that is going to be easily detected. Many sellers will move less used items to a storage facility.

The fifth spot goes to unfinished projects. The last thing buyers want to see is a home-improvement project not completed. It just gives a bad impression when a wall may be half painted. If you did not finish painting, what else may not be done or done correctly?

These things are not so much that important though if your home is priced above market value. Buyers do not like to see a house that is not reasonably priced. It makes the seller look as though they are not that reasonable to deal with and are unrealistic. If you have your home over priced for the market, it will sit longer, and cost you and your agent a lot of extra time.

If you have a home that is priced properly for the market and follow these suggest items, it will stand out among the crowd.

Reasons to Own A Home

There are a lot of great reasons to own a home – such as tax incentives, investment reasons, building worth, having a stable monthly payment (if your interest rate is fixed). You can remodel and decorate how you choose and be a long term part of a neighborhood community. Best of all you have something in the end, of course, that you would not if you rent.

So if you are debating whether to buy, as a first time home buyer, below you will see some great reasons and details from Realtor Magazine from the National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) . Again don’t forget about this year’s First-time Home Buyer Tax Credit.

“1. Tax breaks. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, as well as some of the costs involved in buying your home.

2. Appreciation. Real estate has long-term, stable growth in value. While year-to-year fluctuations are normal, median existing-home sale prices have increased on average 6.5 percent each year from 1972 through 2005, and increased 88.5 percent over the last 10 years, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.

3. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.

4. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.

5. Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will increase.

6. Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and benefit from your investment for as long as you own the home.

7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years gives you a chance to participate in community activities, lets you and your family establish lasting friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational continuity.

Online resources: To calculate whether buying is the best financial option for you, use the “Buy vs. Rent” calculator at www.GinnieMae.gov.”

Quoted from Realtor Magazine

Common First Time Home Buyer Mistakes

When dealing with first time home buyers, I often have many questions asked of me. It is a good thing for a buyer to ask a lot of questions because buying a home is a major life’s decision.  You will see from the list below it is important to shop around, find a good agent, and be ready to make an offer quickly and part of being able to make in offer quickly is have your pre-approval ready.

Here are home buying mistakes that Realtor Magazine lists as the most common:

“5 Common First Time Home Buyer Mistakes

1. They don’t ask enough questions of their lender and end up missing out on the best deal.

2. They don’t act quickly enough to make a decision and someone else buys the house.

3. They don’t find the right agent who’s willing to help them through the homebuying process.

4. They don’t do enough to make their offer look appealing to a seller.

5. They don’t think about resale before they buy. The average first-time buyer only stays in a home for four years.”

Quoted from Realtor Magazine

Item number 4 is something that a good agent should help you accomplish. If you really want the house, you should make a strong and healthy offer.

Homes are More Affordable than Ever!

Great News! The National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) says that homes are more affordable than ever.

“NAR’s Housing Affordability Index rose 13.6 percentage points in January to 166.8, a new record high.2 The HAI, a broad index of affordability using consistent values and assumptions over time, shows that the relationship between home prices, mortgage interest rates and family income is the most favorable since tracking began in 1970.

The HAI indicates a median-income family, earning $59,800, could afford a home costing $283,400 in January with a 20 percent down payment, assuming 25 percent of gross income is devoted to mortgage principal and interest; affordability conditions for first-time buyers with the same income and small downpayments are roughly 80 percent of that amount. A year ago, the typical family could afford a home costing $263,300.”

Quoted from the NAR

Several Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Many times homebuyers will not even go inside a home (no matter how gorgeous it is on the inside) if a home does not look good on the outside. Curb appeal is very important when putting a home on the market for sale. If you do not invest on the outside, buyers think you don’t invest on the inside.

I have found some good tips for you to review when selling your home. If you are considering putting your home on the market, you will want to run through these ideas and see if any would make a difference for your home’s appearance.

Here are some great tips from Money Magazine
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Spring is Almost Here and It is Time to Buy!

This is definitely a buyers market. There is still a lot of inventory, prices are low and interest rates are low. Take advantage of this point in time and get in the market. The market is picking up and activity is increasing.

The following is from ReatlyTimes.com article:

“We are seeing a confluence of events that contributes to the increase in the number of closed sales,” said Quincy Virgilio, president of the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors in San Jose, CA.

“Interest rates are at a record low and the affordability index nears a 5-year high. For first-time buyers, rents are skyrocketing and that’s an added incentive to buy a home now,” added Virgilio, also broker-owner of Realty World California Property Network, also in San Jose.”

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photo copyright 2000, Amy S. Myers,

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How Much Can I Afford to Pay for A Home?

Q: I am a first-time Home Buyer, what is the first thing I need to do when getting ready to buy a home?

A: First, if you are committed to finding a home in a specific amount of time, you will want to contact a real estate agent that you can work with on a regular basis and build a relationship with. One thing you don’t want to do is jump around from agent to agent. If you have a business relationship with a Real Estate Agent (and a good agent), you will receive more services and loyalties from them due to your commitment with your agent. Either before or after you have chosen an agent, you will want to get pre-approved for a loan.

The following is some information from the Century 21 website that explains the next step of finding out how much you can afford:

“Once you know what you’re looking for, the next step is figuring out what you can afford. A review of your income, savings, monthly expenses, and debt will be necessary. Early on in the process, you’ll want to get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan, which helps determine how much you can afford. It enables you to move swiftly when you find the right home, especially when there are other interested buyers. It also indicates to the seller that you are serious and can afford to buy the property. A pre-approval is a simple calculation done by a mortgage lender that tells you the amount you’ll be able to finance through a loan and what your monthly payment will be. When you find a home to buy, a pre-approval also reassures the seller that you have the financial means to purchase his or her home. Knowing what you can afford is the first rule of home buying, and that depends on how much income and how much debt you have. It pays to check with several lenders before you start searching for a home. The price you can afford to pay for a home will depend on several factors, such as: gross income the funds you have available for the down payment, closing costs and cash reserves required by the lender your debt your credit history the type of mortgage you select current interest rates.”