Tenisha Davis' Blog
So in the vast majority of home sales, buyer and seller never connect in person, never talk, and never exchange insights or information except in the most formal, written formats - despite being effective business colleagues in one of the single most important transactions of their lives. And here’s the rub: buyers sit on a wealth of knowledge that sellers crave to know, most of which could be filed under how to attract buyers and make them want to buy a home (or at least, not turn them off). So, since buyers and sellers can’t get together, allow me to reveal a handful of helpful insider insights that the buyers I’ve worked with and connected with over the years would reveal to sellers, if they could.
1. You should see what your home looks like online. No, really. If you did your due diligence before listing your home for sale, met with agents and reviewed their marketing plan they use for their listings, chances are good that you chose an agent who takes online marketing very seriously and said as much during your listing interview. But somehow, there are still hundreds of listings in every major city that receive a failing grade on their online presence, once the home has actually been listed.
By Monica O’Neill
Many homebuyers now and into the foreseeable future will face tight lending standards and the need to improve their credit score to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for mortgages. Be aware of the following steps your prospects can take for some speedy credit repair to gain lender approval and the best possible rates, especially if they are months away from a purchase:
Credit Card Wisdom
• Paying revolving credit cards down is generally more beneficial than paying down student, mortgage or auto loans.
• Always leave a 30 percent or higher gap between what you owe on the card and the card’s limit. Lenders look for this minimum gap.
• Use cards with care even if you pay off balances each month. Depending upon statement dates, the lender may see big balances.
• Pay down the cards closest to their limits first for speedier credit repair. The lending bank will then see the “gap” it wants to see.
• Do not ask a creditor to lower credit limits. Generally, carrying smaller balances on several cards is better than one large balance on one card.
• Check your credit card limits to make sure the report is correct. Limits may not be reported on all cards.
• Never make a late payment on credit cards or any loan.
• Protest any unjust negatives such as late payments, collections that are not yours and any items not reported as “paid as agreed” if you paid on time and in full.
• Protest items listed as unpaid that were included in a bankruptcy, and items older than seven years (10 for bankruptcy).
• Focus first on the larger, newer negatives listed on the report.
Don’t worry about smaller items like incorrect address information or an old employer listed as current unless there’s the possibility of identity theft or the file is mixed with someone else’s.
Investment opinions are like, um, noses: Everyone has one. Buy stocks, sell bonds? Go long steel and short copper? Buy sheep, sell deer?Investing
Bill Sikes, AP
A sign advertises a pending residential real estate sale in Framingham, Mass.Enlarge
Bill Sikes, AP
A sign advertises a pending residential real estate sale in Framingham, Mass.Sponsored Links
It's pretty easy to see both sides of an investment argument. But it's hard to argue against buying a house now, assuming you can get a loan.
The housing cycle is a long one, in part because buying a house moves at a glacial pace, at least compared with the time it takes to buy a stock or bond. If you're not pre-approved for a mortgage, you have to submit to a credit check, which, these days, is only slightly less intrusive than a CIA background check. You have to get the home inspected. You have to figure out the various fees your bank charges, including the one marked "Just because we can."STORY: Mortgage rates top 3.5% for a second week COLUMN: Timber could be growth industry if housing soars
How long is a housing cycle? Pretty long. A relatively modest housing bubble, by today's standards, occurred in Boston in the late 1980s. Average home prices, adjusted for inflation, hit $310,000 in October 1987. Home prices didn't hit that level again until May of 2000. Someone who bought at the high had a long wait to get even — particularly in light of the standard broker's commission of 6%.
Home prices bottomed, however, in March 1993 — roughly six years after the top. History doesn't repeat itself precisely, but it's interesting to note that the top of the last housing bubble was six years ago, in 2006.
A Great article from my friend Monika over at Benchmark Lending. Borrowers and Mortgage "Getters" this is for you:
Another frequent question borrowers ask is "When should I Lock my loan?" What sounds simple is actually not so simple. Here some things to consider and discuss with your loan officer:
What's the market saying about the future of rates? As discuss before, mortgages are bundled and sold into the secondary market as Mortgage Backed Securities (MBSs). As such, MBSs are investments that need to attract investors. Because there is a finite amount of cash in the world, many different investments (stocks, bonds, commodities, etc.) are all vying for those monies. So, a simple guideline is bad economic news (that would scare people from the stock market) like high unemployment or country's defaulting in Europe, drive the money into MBSs. More people want to buy MBSs, the lower the rate of return, those investors will demand...and therefore, lower rates. Brush up on your economic knowledge, or better yet, work with a loan officer who can help you. The duration of the lock. Most lenders can offer you a variety of lock periods (typically 7 days, 15 days, 30 days, 45 days and 60 days are the most common). The shorter time period you lock for, the more aggressive a lender can be with pricing; therefore, waiting can be beneficial. The duration of the lock- Part 2. When deciding how long a lock to take, try and make sure your projected closing date is accurate. Ask about any underwriting and title issues that may be outstanding, as well as confirming that your seller is on the same page. The duration of the lock- Part 3-Even if you believe 30 days is a comfortable time for your loan to close, ask your LO the difference in price for a 45 (or even 60) day lock.
By Megan Gates
Buying a home is an important decision and that step should not be taken without doing your research. An educated buyer is in the best position to make the right decision about this major purchase. If you are knowledgeable about the housing market and procedures your transaction will go much smoother.
The best advice for prospective homebuyers is to hire a real estatebroker. Again, research the brokers in your area. Talk to several and go with one you feel has a grasp of what you are really looking for in a home. Three items to look for are; an understanding of the market, knowing their client’s needs and finding properties that are great investments. A good broker will take the guesswork out of purchasing a home.
One item your broker can do for you is to help you understand property evaluation. A recent broadcast of “Eye on Real Estate with Dottie Herman” discussed the three most important aspects to buying a home. Herman is the CEO and President of Prudential Douglas Elliman.
The value of a home is different for each buyer based on how they are planning to use it. Herman states that lifestyle, transportation needs and schools. This value will be different for a family with children or a family with no children. The value in their eyes will be different.
Herman states that many sellers believe the cost of the house is what they paid for it plus improvements and renovations made during their tenure. By improving the home they are increasing the value of the home even though the cost of the home may remain the same. Herman emphasizes, “Cost and value are not what the price of the home should be or shouldn’t be.”
Price/Fair Market Value
The fair market value price is what the property is worth at today’s financial level.
By Steve Cook
It’s still a buyer’s market for properties selling for more than half a million. Tight inventories driven by negative equity and slow foreclosure processing and rising prices are having much less impact on luxury homes than on less expensive homes.
According to the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing’s weekly market report, the average days on market were 186 for luxury homes. Inventories for the luxury segment are about the same as they were in November. Median prices in the 31 markets that ILHM tracks have stayed fairly stable. Days on market range from a low of 111 days in Silicon Valley to 268 in New York.
By contrast, the national median age of all homes in the June REALTOR.com® inventory dropped to 84 days in June, down -9.67 percent on an annual basis. The size of REALTOR.com’s ® inventory of homes for sale was 19.35 percent below a year ago. Prices are up 2.68 percent on a year-over-year basis, according to the Realtor.com Trend Data released today. List prices increased in 101 markets of the 146 markets covered by REALTOR.com®, held steady in 26 markets, and declined in just 19 markets.
Several factors are causing the inventory drawn down among lower price properties. Negative equity is keeping many potential sellers out of the market, which keeps a lid on inventory and complied with the reduced flow of REO properties has led to much tighter market conditions for lower priced properties, particularly in the hardest hit markets, according to CoreLogic Economist Sam Khater. Khater estimates that lower tier properties are appreciating three times faster than expensive homes as a result of tighter inventories.
Luxury brokers around the nation report little change in their markets in recent months, unlike the tight inventories and rising prices among entry-level homes found in almost market in the country.
By Kevin G. Hall
(MCT)—A new survey of U.S. family finances released by the Federal Reserve on Monday documents in painful detail just how deeply the Great Recession and its aftermath has been felt in family budgets across America.
The Survey of Consumer Finances, conducted every three years and covering a span from 2007 to 2010, documents steep declines in family income that correspond to what many Americans already know about their own declining net worth.
It also shows how the U.S. South and West have felt more pain than the rest of the country because of the severity of the housing sector’s downturn there, and provides evidence that the self-employed and business owners have taken it on the chin in recent years.
The survey findings provide fodder for both the re-election efforts of President Barack Obama and the campaign of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Obama can use the data to show what a terrible economy he inherited, while Romney can use the data to show how bad things remain.
The Fed survey found that the median value of family income, when adjusted for inflation and before taxes, fell by 7.7 percent—from $49,600 in 2007 to $45,800 in 2010. The median is the midpoint of all family income, and while it fell in all four corners, it fell most in the South and West.
“The decline in median income was widespread across demographic groups, with only a few groups experiencing stable or rising incomes,” the Fed survey said. “Most noticeably, median incomes moved higher for retirees and other non-working families. The decline in median income was most pronounced among more highly educated families…and families living in the South and West regions.”
The Fed found that median net worth fell 38.9 percent—from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010.
By Norman Winter
(MCT)—On more than one occasion I have been guilty of warning gardeners the perils of being out phloxed by their neighbors. If this happens the neighbors will certainly have the most dazzling landscapes in the neighborhood. Should you feel that this danger is creeping upon you and your flower border, then-remember the variety Intensia.
The Intensia phlox has certainly put the fun of growing color back into the everyday garden. The series has been out for a while but is still the one that others aspire to. Each day on the way to work I pass by a glorious bed of Intensia Blueberry. When this one hit the trial circuit a couple of years ago it captured numerous awards from Wisconsin to Florida and Oregon to Illinois.
My experience is that all of the Intensia phlox bloom virtually all summer. With a little deadheading In August I have had them simply amazing gardeners into October. This is most rare for a phlox of any species. There are eight colors in the series with other favorites Cabernet and Neon Pink. They will reach around 15 inches tall and as wide.
Spring is really the preferred time to plant. To be honest if I saw some healthy 6-inch containers at the garden center I would give them a try no matter where I lived. Select a site with fertile, well-drained soil giving them plenty of sun for best blooming. Even though those close to my home have been troopers in full sun and temperatures off the charts, they are certainly tolerant of a little afternoon shade or filtered light.
Everyone loves a bargain, the bigger the better. And arguably the biggest bargains of all can be found with distressed real estate.
“There’s evidence that home values have begun to solidify in many local markets,” says Wendy Forsythe, executive vice president and head of global operations at Atlantic & Pacific Real Estate, a full-service real estate brokerage with offices in 22 states. “However, the marketplace remains saturated with distressed properties and such homes are routinely available at significant discounts.”
The National Association of REALTORS® reported that in May distressed properties represented a quarter of all existing homes sold. Fifteen percent were foreclosures and the typical discount was 19 percent. Short sales represented 10 percent of May existing sales and the usual discount was 14 percent.
Forsythe also points out that discounts are not the only factor to consider when looking at real estate.
“There’s no doubt that discounts are a big attraction,” she said. “But distressed properties are different when compared with homes which are not distressed. Condition can be an issue and distressed transactions are often complex. Atlantic & Pacific Real Estate sales professionals specialize in these properties and can help buyers understand the issues.”
Properties become “distressed” when owners fail to make their mortgage payments. Once payments are missed there are typically four stages of distress.
Delinquency: Here the owner has missed one or more payments but the lender has not foreclosed. Delinquencies can be “cured” by bringing mortgages current or modifying loan terms to make the property more affordable.
Short Sales: In a short sale the owner makes a deal to sell the property to a purchaser for less than the amount due on the home loan. Because of this, these sales require lender approval.
Foreclosures: Unless the loan is made current, or the property sold via short sale the home will be auctioned off.
Here are some ways your home can help you retire, thanks Tara @ Trulia for this wonderful article, enjoy!
6 Ways Your Home Can Help You Retire
Once upon a time (i.e., 2006) in a magical place called the Bay Area, the real estate market got so heated that it became commonplace to hear coffee shop patrons trading stories about their little old million-dollar houses. It became equally commonplace for this excess of home equity to create a false sense of financial security, causing many a homeowner to save less for the future than they might have otherwise. This practice was just as inadvisable as it was common, as evidenced by a retirement planner’s primely located billboard at the time, which read:
“My house is worth a million dollars” is NOT a retirement plan.
But many people treated it like it was, to their detriment.
Relying upon your home equity for retirement requires that you sell the place at some point, cashing out and moving to someplace cheaper (and potentially less desirable) to live, when you stop working. That said, there are a number of other, less risky ways you can use your home 5, 10, even 20 years in advance of your planned retirement date to:
save cash now, so you can add it to your investments increase your income now, also adding it to your retirement nest egg, and/or reduce your expenses later, which might allow you to retire sooner (at a time when retiring at all is a true feat).
Here are six sets of strategies for using your home to help you retire - without having to sell the place and retire in Timbuktu:
1. Put your spare space to work. Depending on where you live and whether you have room, you may be able to rent your home out, a little bit at a time.
By Jared James
The mega brand Nike is known worldwide for its catchy slogan “Just Do It!” I think this is partly because so many of us want to feel like we relate to this phrase and it in some way speaks to us, but my experience as a speaker and trainer tells me different.
I recently attended a REIA meeting (Real Estate Investors Association), which take place all over the country and is a great place to find quality investors (a portion of the market that is way underutilized by the REALTOR® community in my opinion).
What struck me about this meeting were the similarities I found in the attendees now compared to last meeting I attended almost three years ago. At one point, the host asked the crowd a very important question, “How many of you have purchased at least one property in the last year?”
It sounds like a pretty simple question for a group of investors but I was amazed to see that, just like the crowd I witnessed three years ago, only about 10 percent of the crowd raised their hands. I started thinking about this and my experiences with literally tens of thousands of REALTORS® and sales people over the past years and I came to three conclusions.
First, people love to learn new things. We love to expand our knowledge wherever possible.
Second, people love to plan.