Monthly Archives: June 2009

Existing Homes Sales Rise

Interest rates are still great but rising. If you are on the fence for buying, now is the time to take a serious look and get out there and get moving. Take advantage of this great market of inventory, rates, and tax credit benefits. I was looking through the home stats yesterday to send a client a list of homes in a few different towns, what I found to were a high number that have recently gone under contract.  Buyers are buying, don’t miss out. If you are selling, make sure you have a competitive price.

“Sales of existing homes showed another gain in May, benefiting from favorable affordability conditions and a first-time buyer tax credit, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS ®. May’s increase was the first back-to-back monthly gain since September 2005.


Existing-home sales
– including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – rose 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.77 million units in May from a downwardly revised level of 4.66 million units in April. Sales remained 3.6 percent below the 4.95 million-unit pace in May 2008.”

Quoted from Realtor.org


First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit to Rise?

Lawmakers are hoping for an expansion of the tax credit helping first-time home buyers and current home buyers that have a home to sell. First time home buyers make up about 40% of the current home purchases. This statistic, lawmakers feel, is not stimulating the housing industry enough.

Here are some key points of what lawmakers would like to see happen:

*Â Changing the top Tax Credit amount from $8,000 to $15,000.

* Extend the purchase deadline from November 30, 2009 through to mid year 2010.

*Â Extend the tax credit from first-time home buyers to all home buyers

* Offer another tax credit of up to $3,000 for home owners who refinance.

Remember there are income caps and you do have to stay in your home for 3 years to avoid paying back the tax credit.

Read more in this USA Today article.

Related Posts:

A CONSUMER GUIDE TO THE FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER FEDERAL INCOME TAX CREDIT

First-Time Homebuyer Federal Tax Credit Info

First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Details

Great News! Tax Credit Can Be Used for Down Payment

Frequently Asked Questions for First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit from the National Association of Realtors website, Realtor.org

First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Loans

First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Question

Preparing Your Home for Summer Vacation

Not everyone thinks about how you should leave your home when headed off for summer vacation. Sometimes it is just added details while packing up. Here are some things to consider before leaving:

1) Clean your home as much as you can, get the clutter piles gone. Make sure dishes are washed and food is sealed up. Who wants to come home to a less than clean house or mess. This way it is more relaxing when returning home.

2) Shut off the water main. It is a good idea to shut the main valve of water coming into your home in case a pipe would burst and no one would be there to discover it for a good few days. This may not be a good option if the main is running a sprinkler system.

3) Another things is to shut your water heater off or turn down if it is summer time. Is there any need to heat the water if you are not at home.

4) Unplug all appliances. This can prevent electrical fires and protect your appliances from electrical surges.

5)Â Use light timers to give the appearance of activity at your home.

6) Lock away valuables

7)Â Turn your central air up to a warmer temperature.

8) Have someone collect your mail and newspapers or hold mail at the post office.

Read more tips

Little Green Tomatoes

Little green tomatoes are what I have popping up in my garden already this week. I was in touch with a friend from South Carolina and her tomatoes have not even shown themselves yet.  With that comment, I thought I must be doing a good job with my first garden ever. It is a modest one with (of course) a variety of tomatoes, green and yellow peppers, some cucumbers and pumpkins.

Some how I ended up with two packages of onions – white and red. I decided to plant them all. They ended up taking up half of my gardening space.  They started growing immediately. I thought it was really amazing that I would check them out in the morning and come back later that day and veggies were already increased in size. I did not expect to see that noticeable growth in such short of a time.  I have quite a large onion patch so if anyone needs some, let me know. I hope I have as many tomatoes coming as onions.  I am open for gardening tips.

img_7935-ed-450l

What Buyers are Looking For . . .

I have been observing my buyers lately and getting more of a feel of what some of them really want. This is the key (of course) to finding them the perfect home.  As a buyer you need to really communicate and give your agent as much information as possible. Sometimes the buyer forgets to mention things, but as you go out and show them properties, you can definitely hone in on the specifics.

As I have said before, the staging does woo buyers. They walk in and say oooo or yuck. It is all on how you have it ready for showings.  The agents in my office tour our listings to get other agents in the office familiar with all our properties. When we go on tour, you can tell the same thing. The agents are oooing at some of the decor. The ones that are not staged so good, don’t have many comments.

The number one thing I notice on agent tour and with buyers is the colors. The homes with the neutral and versatile colors get the comments and make people remember the house. It makes them feel cozy, comfortable and at home . . . and that is what you want. You want them to feel like it could be their home and that their furniture and decor could fit it with out much effort or no effort. If a buyer has to paint over that red accent wall, or that dark blue on all four walls in the bedrooms ( a recent encounter ), that may just be too much bother for the buyer. I know it sounds silly but some trivial things have turned off buyers. Most buyers want to just move in and have the least amount of things to deal with – life is just too busy. Just moving to a new residence can be enough to deal with.

Another thing is to get rid of the clutter. A couple of houses that I went into recently just had too much clutter and tons of personal photos. Sellers need to get rid of as much of this as possible. Since you, the seller, are moving – pack it up now. It will come back out later in your new home. If you can afford it, get storage unit or even borrow some space at a friend’s house if possible.

One of my buyers even prefers and empty home, she said it helps her visualize where she can put her furniture. So if your home is over cluttered with furniture and unnecessary items, it will definitely effect the buyer.  Re-evaluate what your home looks like inside to the potential buyer, it could be one of the reasons it is still on the market.

More Tax Credit Info Surfacing

Each day I am reading more and more information on the first time home buyer tax credit. The most recent issue are on how a first time home buyer can use the tax credit as a down payment.

“Short-term bridge loans are now available from a variety of lenders so that buyers can tap the benefits of the $8,000 Federal Housing Tax Credit for First-Time Home Buyers upfront. If your clients are eligible for the tax credit, these bridge loans will enable them to use the money for their down payment and closing costs with the credit as collateral. Consumers will have to pay the money back after they’ve filed their tax return and received a refund.” Quoted from Realtor.org

This article discusses four sources of financing and they vary.
1. State HFA Bridge Loans

2. Local Government or Nonprofit Loans

3. Local HFAs

4. FHA-approved Lenders

*****

At our office meeting this morning, our loan officer discussed how rates in the last week have gone up about 1/2 of a percent. Take advantage of the market. It is a wonderful buyers market. Good inventory is going fast and I am seeing it first hand. I have take a couple of different buyers out recently and many of the homes they are interested in are going under contract very quickly. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity. The tax credit ends November 30, 2009. Buy today!

Related Posts:

A CONSUMER GUIDE TO THE FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER FEDERAL INCOME TAX CREDIT

First-Time Homebuyer Federal Tax Credit Info

First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Details

Great News! Tax Credit Can Be Used for Down Payment

Frequently Asked Questions for First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit from the National Association of Realtors website, Realtor.org

First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Loans

First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Question

First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Question

Q: “My name is Ken. I was interested in your listing. However, I had a question on the tax credit. Does this home qualify for the entire tax credit and do I need to take out a mortgage in order to apply tax credit towards purchase? I currently own a business property which I would like to sell. I then wanted to apply the tax credit and pay cash on the balance. Can it be done this way? Your feedback would be appreciated.”
Sincerely
Kenneth

A: Hi Ken, Thanks for your question. The first time home buyer tax credit is based on your income not on the price of the home that your purchase. There is no stipulation on receiving the tax credit whether you have a mortgage or you pay cash for your property.

Below is a chart and some related posts that will help you learn more about the first time home buyer tax credit. I would discuss loan options with your mortgage officer or accountant to see if a cash purchase or loan would be more financially beneficial. You may also want to ask your loan officer if your business property would disqualify you for this program. According to the consumer guide, you cannot have owned a principal residence in three years.


A CONSUMER GUIDE TO THE FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER FEDERAL INCOME TAX CREDIT

First-Time Homebuyer Federal Tax Credit Info

First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Details

Great News! Tax Credit Can Be Used for Down Payment

Frequently Asked Questions for First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit from the National Association of Realtors website, Realtor.org

First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Loans


Personal Mortgage Insurance

Q:Â What is PMI (Personal Mortgage Insurance)?

A: When purchasing your first home or future home and your down payment is not significant, you will most likely pay PMI Personal Mortgage Insurance. If you do not have up to 20% equity in the property you are purchasing, your lender will require you to pay Personal Mortgage Insurance. This is fee can be added into your monthly mortgage payment or sometimes paid in advance.

This Personal Mortgage Insurance is protecting the lender not you. In case you would default on your mortgage, your lender would be compensated. Once you have 20% equity, you often times, can get your PMI payment removed.

Here is some additional information to give further explanation:

“Personal Mortgage Insurance offers protection only for the lender. This insurance pays off the lender in the event the borrower defaults on the mortgage. Lenders generally require PMI whenever the down payment on a purchase is less that 20 percent of the purchase price. PMI premiums can be expensive. Usually, advance payment of the first year’s premium is due, in one lump sum, upon purchase. A monthly premium is then added to the mortgage payment”

Quoted From this link