Four Tips for Making Smart Real Estate Moves in 20133/4/2013
One of the biggest issues in the real estate market across the country is that houses are being snapped up before interested buyers have a chance to act. What should you do when the home you have fallen in love with is listed as contingent or pending? Should you take a chance? Theres no hard and fast rule because every home sale is different and every agent is different. Depending on the home and the offer, a backup offer may be welcomed or ignored.
If you see a house you love but its out of your price range, add it to your saved searches on Realtor.com anyway. That way you will know if the price drops and the home that was once only a dream could become a reality.
Doing The Two House Juggle Is Tougher Than Ever.
If you have to sell your house before buying a new one, you may be at a disadvantage. In a hot market its often a deal killer to include in your offer to buy a new home, a contingency to sell your existing home. Sellers will simply take their pick of offers not burdened by such a contingency, says Lee Dworshak. Depending on your local market it may make sense to put your existing house on the market before you begin the hunt for a new home. An agent can advise you on whether or not this makes sense for you based on the average time on market for homes in your area. If your financial situation allows it, you could also rent your current house out if it doesnt make sense to sell currently.
Haggle With Care.
Knowing what to offer can often be a delicate dance. Too low and may ruin the deal forever and not seem like a serious potential buyer. Too high and you may miss out on a chance to save some money. Sometimes even if a house seems overpriced, you may have to walk away.In the end there are only a couple of things that matter to a seller. First and foremost is what they are putting in their pocket. I knew one seller that waited five years until the market finally caught up to his price. I never even talked to the guy about listing, because he wanted so much. About six or seven other agents had his home listed over that time period, but only the last one sold the home. I just suggest making your best offer, and move on. Oh, the second thing sellers like is an easy closing, so make the offer as-is and get your inspections and financing tied up as quickly as possible, advises David Welch, Realtor® with Re/Max 200 Realty.
Bear in mind also that there may be other factors influencing the price that the sellers have put on the home . There is a reason that agents often put the words motivated seller in a listing description. The truth is that not all sellers are desperate to sell immediately. If the sellers do not have to move, they will not be incented to take less than they want. If the sellers have that much into the home, they will not want to take less. Comps are what buyers use, but sellers always have a reason why their house is better than the comps. One technique I find helpful is to present a very reasonable offer with a cover letter (or in person if possible) extolling the virtues of the home and saying how wonderful it is but expressing concern that the appraisal process might hamper the realization of the price. I then provide comps, excellent evidence of financial strength, and end by saying: We realize we may not be the right buyer for your lovely home, but we would certainly love to be the new owner. That last point makes the sellers think twice about who WOULD be the right buyer, says Linda Walters, a Realtor® with Sage Realty.
Timing Your Life Is As Important As Timing The Market.
Its easy to drive yourself mad trying to predict the market. Should I buy now, should I sell now? Is there a right time of the year to buy or sell? The only truth is that when it is right for you, it is right for you. Make your decisions based on your financial and personal situation not on what you think may or may not happen. It is very difficult to time exactly when it is best to sell so I always recommend to clients and friends to sell when you know you want to sell. Traditionally, springtime is a very popular time of year to sell ones home, as the weather enables potential buyers to travel and view listings on weekends with their families. The price of the property is based on income, location, and condition, states Arlene Gonnella, a Realtor® in Short Hills New Jersey.
Forget Black Friday - Detroit Historical Museum reopening today after $12M upgrade11/23/2012
Detroit Forget Black Friday, head downtown for the grand reopening of the Detroit Historical Museum.
At 9:30 a.m. today, the museum throws open its doors after closing six months ago for a $12 million renovation and expansion of its exhibits. Long a favorite of Metro Detroit history lovers, the museum will remain open nonstop through 5 p.m. Sunday to celebrate its rebirth and return.
"We closed at the end of May and decided we were due for a change, but not just an incremental change, but a drastic change," said Bob Bury, executive director and CEO of the museum. "We wanted to tell people not only about Detroit's past, but its future. We want visitors to see the impact Detroit has had on the world and the world has had on Detroit."
The museum has added five new exhibits including: Kid Rock Music Lab, Allesee Gallery of Culture, Gallery of Innovation, Detroit: The Arsenal of Democracy, and Doorway to Freedom: Detroit and the Underground Railroad.
Many of the new exhibits are interactive so visitors can be entertained while they learn.
"I remember that," said Detroit resident Chrystell Cherry, pointing to a brass drinking fountain. "You pushed a handle to make the water appear. They had it at the old Hudson store downtown. My mother used to take us there to see Santa Claus.
"There are so many things in here that remind me of growing up in Detroit."
There are literally thousands of items at the museum that drip of Detroit-ness, including: Joe Louis' bronzed boxing glove, Motown review posters, a Tommy gun from the Prohibition era, license plates, a working Cadillac assembly line, Detroit TV favorites including Milky, Soupy and Pookie, photos of the 1967 riot and the '68 Tigers and much, much more.
Admission for the long weekend grand opening is free; in fact, the Detroit Historical Museum has adopted a free admission policy for its regular Tuesday through Sunday schedule.
The grand reopening will also offer raffles, refreshments and giveaways throughout the weekend.
Movie buffs can also take their pick of a number of classic Metro Detroit-themed movies Friday and Saturday nights in the Booth Auditorium, including:
10 p.m.: "Detroit Rock City"
2:30 a.m.: "8 Mile"
5 a.m.: "Out of Sight"
7:30 a.m.: "Grosse Pointe Blank"
Wait, there's more. At 9 a.m. Sunday, iconic Detroit TV pontificator emeritus Bill Bonds will cast his hands and signature in concrete at the museum's Detroit Legends Plaza.
Entrance to the museum is free for the entire 56-hour grand reopening, so feel free to duck in as often as you like to see the five brand-new permanent exhibits.
Courtesy of the Detroit News
Residential Construction Spending Surges on New Construction and Remodeling11/14/2012
Private residential construction spending jumped 2.8% on a month-to-month basis during September 2012. The preliminary estimates for July and August were revised higher as well, from previous prints of -0.1% and 0.9% to 1.3% and 1.2%, respectively. Nominal spending activity on private residential construction has expanded in 13 of the last 14 months, putting it nearly 21% above September 2011 and at its highest dollar value since the end of 2008.
The new single-family homes spending category saw growth accelerate in September, gaining 3.9% from the previous month and 26% from last year. Save for a one month downward blip in March 2012, construction spending on new single-family housing has increased solidly since last summer and risen more than 50% since hitting rock bottom during the second quarter of 2009. Data sources such as housing starts and NAHBs own HMI continue to offer evidence that construction of new single-family homes is on the mend and given that building permits are at their highest level since mid-2008, construction activity is expected to rise for the foreseeable future.
Multifamily construction spending registered its 12th consecutive month-to-month increase, gaining 1.3% over August 2012. Although the multifamily sector has posted the largest percentage increase in spending activity compared to its cyclical low (73%), the overall trend in spending growth has slowed in each of the last three months. While this might represent a lull, spending should continue to expand over the near term as multifamily starts have exceeded 200,000 units in 8 of the last 9 months and permits for 5+ units surged to a four-year high in September.
Nominal spending on home improvement activity increased 2%, more than recouping the 1.1% month-to-month drop that was reported in August. While remodeling has bounced around for much of the past two years, the level of spending activity has trended appreciably higher over the past few months and is now sitting at a 4-year high. Indeed, NAHBs Remodeling Market Index (RMI) indicated professional remodelers perceptions of current market conditions are at their highest levels since 2005.
Source - National Association of Home Builders
February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day2/17/2012
RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS Website
HELP OTHERS Website
LEARNING TO GIVE Website
Robo-Signing Settlement Finalized2/10/2012
Robo-Signing Settlement Finalized
See the full story at Source - DSNews
Mortgage Modification Expanded to Investors2/9/2012
Mortgage modification program expanded to investors, others
The Obama administration on Friday announced it would significantly broaden the pool of consumers eligible for mortgage modifications by opening its program to owners of rental properties and homeowners burdened by medical and credit card bills and second mortgages.
Under an expansion of the Home Affordable Modification Program, investors can seek mortgage loan modifications for rental properties, regardless of whether the home is occupied by a tenant or it is vacant but the owner plans to rent it. Previously, only owner-occupants were eligible for loan modifications under the government's plan, but officials said they decided to take this step because foreclosed rental properties were having a particularly detrimental effect on low- and moderate-income renters.
"The whole purpose of HAMP is to try and prevent foreclosures," said Treasury Assistant Secretary Tim Massad in a conference call with reporters Friday afternoon. "We're expanding it to investor-owned properties for the same reason. If your neighbor is foreclosed on, whether they're an owner or a tenant, that affects you and all your neighbors. We're allowing them to get modifications. They still have to prove a hardship and go through a protocol that proves this is a good use of taxpayer money."
Roughly 700,000 rental properties nationally may be eligible for loan modifications, he added.
"They're finally recognizing that this is a part of the housing market that needs stabilization," said Geoff Smith, executive director of DePaul University's Institute for Housing Studies. "These small multifamily buildings make up a big part of the housing stock in Chicago so any effort to stabilize them would be helpful. But one of the reasons that HAMP didn't target rentals was at some level these are businesspeople and why would you want to incentive them for taking too much risk on an investment."
Federal officials also said HAMP would begin evaluating borrowers who may face large medical, credit card or second lien payments but up to now have been ineligible for mortgage modifications because the debt-to-income ratio on their first mortgages was below 31 percent.
HAMP, which was set to expire in December, now has been extended until Dec. 31. 2013. There will be no additional costs to taxpayers for the expanded program, officials said. It will be funded from the $29 billion already set aside mortgage modification efforts.
Part of the administration's Making Home Affordable effort that was announced shortly after President Barack Obama took office, HAMP has been criticized as falling woefully short of its goal of helping 3 million to 4 million homeowners. Of the more than 1.7 million trial mortgage modifications begun under the program since its March 2010 start, only about 43 percent had resulted in permanent loan modifications through November.
The government has withheld $131 million in servicer incentive payments from Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase for poor compliance with the program.
Also announced was a tripling of the financial incentives awarded to mortgage investors whose modifications include principal writedowns in cases where the homeowner owes significantly more on the mortgage than the value of the underlying property. The current rate of between 6 cents and 21 cents on the dollar will be increased to between 18 and 63 cents. Officials said they had already briefed mortgage servicers on the new incentive plan.
Principal reduction incentives also will be offered to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac if they use them in loan modifications on mortgages they own or insure.
Administration Announces Changes to HAMP1/29/2012
The Obama administration has announced changes to its flagship foreclosure prevention initiative the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Among the changes, borrowers who are struggling because of debt beyond their mortgage will be eligible for a secondary evaluation with more flexible debt-to-income criteria, andeligibility will be extended to investor-owned homes that are used as rental properties. The administration is also giving principal reductions a bigger role within the program, tripling incentives for investors that agree to write down an underwater borrowers principal balance and offering these same incentives to the nations two biggest mortgage investors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Surprising 2011 Cash Home Purchases1/9/2012
Despite record low mortgage rates, 2011 has seen a surprisingly high level of cash home purchases, according to the real estate research firm Hanley Wood Market Intelligence.
Jonathan Dienhart and Ken Lee, two analysts with the company, say between tight lending standards and a desperate search for yield by investors, cash purchases of homes particularly for distressed properties became even more common in 2011 than last year.
Dienhart and Lee analyzed data collected through Hanley Woods Housing IntelligencePro, and shared their findings in a blog post.
The two discovered that 38 percent of homes purchased in 2011 were bought with all cash. Thats up from 34 percent in 2010, and double the 19 percent rate in 2006.
According to Dienhart and Lee, this trend is likely to continue in the near term. They note that cash-paying investors are responsible for an increasing share of home purchases nowadays as prior homeowners abandon the ownership market and head back to rentals.
Thanksgiving Decorating Ideas for the Table11/13/2011
You don't have to be a pro to make your home look up-to-date and in style. Use what you have, and remove the clutter. Display your items or pack them away for a clean and organized feeling. It's the holidays, after all! Gail makes sure she's organized heading into the holidays. That way she can enjoy them while having time to entertain, too.
If your home is for sale, decorations are okay. Simple is elegant, less is more!