10 Things That Make a Home a Good Home

Author: admin / Category: Blog

Pretty good article here from Brendon Desimone at Zillow about things that make a home a good choice. Take a look below and give me a call today to starting finding YOUR new home!
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Original Article

Buyers spend a lot of time looking at properties online, touring homes on the Sunday open house circuit, and talking to their real estate agent. They’re laser-focused on finding the best home that meets their needs. The problem is, buyers sometimes don’t take the long view of a property. They’re only looking at a home as a potential buyer — and not as someone who, years down the road, may also have to sell the property. Given that homes are such a big investment, there should be a little inside your head, picking away at your options and decisions.

As the home buying market starts to heat up again, here are ten things you should consider when choosing your next home.

1. Location, location, location

Perhaps nothing is more important than the three L’s, and there’s a reason why it’s said three times.

Location is extremely important when it comes time to sell. You can have the worst house in the world with the ugliest kitchen and bath. But put it on a great block or in a good school district, and your home will be coveted.

Location location location matters on so many different levels. At the highest level is the town where the house is located, then the school district, then the neighborhood and the block — right down to the location of the lot on the block. Keep all of this in mind when shopping. Also remember that while real estate markets rise and fall, no one can take a great location away from you.

2. The school district

The school district is right up there on the list of what’s most important to many buyers. It’s not uncommon for buyers to start their search based solely on the school district they want to be in. Parents want their kids to go to the best school, which can drive up prices of homes in those districts. Even though you might not have children, buying a home in a good school district is always smart. If the schools are desirable, homes tend to hold their value. As a homeowner, you should always be aware of how the schools are doing, not unlike being aware of your roof’s condition, the neighborhood development or city government.

3. The home’s position on the lot

Where the home sits on the lot in relation to the street or the overgrown oak are key elements in picking out a home. In the case of a condo, an end unit vs. an interior unit is a key consideration. You may have chosen the most beautifully renovated home in the best school district and figure all is good. But if the main living areas are shaded by a neighbor’s extension or the master bedroom looks into the neighbors’ family room, you may have a location problem. Light or privacy may not be a hot button for you, but chances are, they might be concerns for a future buyer.

4. Crime

It’s a good idea to check the latest crime figures for a neighborhood. It can give you a good snapshot about the number and severity of crimes over a time period. So much information is online nowadays that when you find your perfect home, a quick Internet search on the area should provide you with the much-needed information.

Most municipalities post their police blotters or crime statistics online these days. Don’t freak out if you notice more crime than what you’d have expected. Crime, especially petty crime, is everywhere. If you’re new to the area, consult with your real estate agent if you have concerns.

5. Walkability

More than ever, ‘walkability’ is becoming a key factor in the search process. There are entire websites, apps and algorithms that help people figure out how walkable their future home is. As a matter of fact, Zillow even has a Walk Score for most homes. As people get out of their cars and slip into their Keds, they want a home in a walkable neighborhood. People put high value on the ability to walk to a store, school, work or public transportation. The more we move away from cars and the more we see invested in public transportation over the coming decades, the more of a huge value-add walkability will become.

6. The neighborhood’s character

You may have found the absolute most perfect home, on the best block, in the best school district and on a great lot. But there could be circumstances outside your control that may give you pause — specifically, the character of the surrounding neighborhood.

Check out the area late at night, early morning and in the middle of the day. See if there are any odd weather or traffic patterns and try to observe some of the neighbors. You may even go so far as talking to some neighbors. It’s important to walk around, open your eyes and ears and make sure there isn’t anything you’re overlooking. That next-door neighbor practicing drums in the garage at 9 p.m. could be a source of immediate neighbor conflict. Go into it with eyes wide open.

7. Don’t buy the best house on the block

Simply put, avoid buying the best house on the block because there may not be any room for your investment to grow (unless you physically have the house moved to a better neighborhood). It’s better to buy the worst house on the best block, because you can improve the house to add value to an already great location.

8. Is it a fixer-upper?

If you’re buying a fixer-upper, make sure you understand what you’re getting into. Did you set out to buy a home that needed work? Or does the home just happen to be in the most desirable neighborhood, the block of your dreams?

Do your homework upfront. If you want to build an extension or add another story to the property, make sure it is within local zoning or building codes. Have the property inspected so that you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Sometimes, what appears to be a simple kitchen needing cosmetic work turns out to be a huge project. Ask yourself repeatedly if your life can support a home renovation. Not only does a renovation take money, it takes time, energy and emotional stress.

9. Will the home hold its value?

A good real estate agent who’s been working the neighborhood for some time can vouch for the long-term value or investment potential of the property. But be sure to find ways to add value, or at least be certain the home will hold its value.

The market may be strong when you purchase, but ask yourself, “Am I in a seller’s market?” “What would happen to this property if the market changed tomorrow”? Check out the median home value in the neighborhood as it compares to neighborhoods around it. The Zillow Home Value Index gives you one, five, and 10-year snapshots of how home values have gone up or down in neighborhoods and cities.

10. Taxes, dues and fees

Many people overlook the monthly fees associated with homeownership. Nearly every property will have taxes, and any sort of planned community or homeowners association (HOA) will have regular assessments.

Be sure that the amount of property tax and assessments are clear from the get-go. If in doubt, go to city hall or do research online. If you’d be buying into a condo complex, be sure to get your hands on the meeting minutes, financials of the HOA and the condo documents. Any mention of changes coming down the pike? Does the HOA seem well funded? It could take one quick $10K assessment to immediately affect property values if you need to turn around and sell your new home. And any uncertainty about the building, its integrity or the financials could scare off buyers when it’s time to sell.

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4 Ways to Hater-Proof Your Listing

Author: admin / Category: Blog

Another great article by Tara-Nicholle Nelson over at Trulia on how to “hater-proof” your listing! Ready to get your home sold? Give me a call today!!!

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In my experience, there’s one fundamental truth about haters: you can never fully escape them. The only way to live a 100% hater-free life is to never stick your neck out, and never do anything because, as the saying goes, you simply cannot please all of the people all of the time.

And this is particularly true with real estate and putting your listings on the market – because homes, locations, aesthetics and such are so much a matter of personal preference, some people will find something to criticize about even the most perfectly staged, priciest properties on the market.

As a listing agent, your job is not to try to make your listings be all things to all people – but you do want it to appeal to enough buyers that you get one great offer (and multiple offers never hurt anybody, either). That said, you don’t want your listing to be the house that nearly every buyer and broker sees, rolls their eyes and utters the same few, predictable deal-killing criticisms.

Fortunately, what is predictable is avoidable. Unfortunately, many of the things that make a listing susceptible to haters are issues on the seller’sside of the property preparation responsibilities. Let’s explore the most common things buyers hate about listings they see. In the process, you’ll get equipped with things you can say to your sellers to help sidestep those issues and, in large part, hater-proof your own listing.

House Hater Complaint #1: Odors.

You might think I’m beating a dead horse, here, or even preaching to the choir. But as long as house hunters keep emailing me to ask why, in the name of all that is sacred, they keep seeing homes that smell like all sorts of madness and mayhem, I’m going to keep repeating this message.

Viewing a home sounds like it’s all about the visual of the experience. And visuals are critical – your listing should be in its Sunday best, so to speak, when it’s being shown, in terms of being spruced, staged and clutter-free. But when a buyer comes to see your listing, they don’t turn off the rest of their senses. And there is nothing that can turn a buyer off from a home they’d otherwise like more quickly than a powerfully bad odor.

In particular, cigarette and pet odors in a house that seems to have been well-cleaned create the concern that they might be permanent and that the buyer might not be able to get rid of them without dropping some serious cash on cleaning or even removing wall, window and floor coverings.

If you are listing a home and you know that someone has been habitually smoking in it home or that the seller has had a “challenge,” let’s say, with pet accidents, do not ignore the problem. And do not think that because you had the carpet shampooed or the drapes cleaned, or because YOU can’t smell anything, that the problem is gone.  The human sense of smell very quickly gets used to smells that it lives with or is surrounded with on a regular basis.

It’s one of the tougher parts of your job as an agent to point out bad smells and odors, no matter how painful the conversation and make sure they are eradicated by any means necessary, before you place your listings on the market.

House Hater Complaint #2: Glaringly extreme overpricing.

There’s the kind of overpricing that makes a buyer say, “Hmmm – seems a bit high. Let’s go see it, but we might have to offer a little less than the asking price if we like it.”  Then there’s the kind of overpricing that makes buyer say “I’ll wait until a price reduction” or worse, hold their sides from laughing.

When overpricing is glaring, many buyers and buyer’s brokers will comment on it or inquire about it. What they are less likely to do is actually come out and see the place – especially if they weed it out online after comparing its specs to all the other homes in the area and the price range.  Often, homes this severely overpriced simply don’t sell, or not until after they’ve had some serious price cuts or have been on the market so long buyers begin to feel confident about making lowball offers.

In fact, the goal is the opposite – you want your listing to stand out as a property that is not dirt cheap, but does present a good value for the money – that’s what motivates buyers to get out of their chairs and into the property for a viewing.

Obviously, you don’t set the price of your listings. It’s also obvious that the agent-seller conflict about overpricing is one of those battles that have been fought since Adam and Eve sought to list the Garden of Eden.

Here’s how to hater-proof your home’s listing against this issue: force your sellers to fixate on the comps. Smart sellers deactivate their emotional attachment and very human tendency to overvalue their precious homes by poring over the sales prices (not list prices) of similar, nearby homes that have recently sold. Walk them through this data – don’t forget to show them the overpriced listings that are lagging on the market, and any value-priced listings that have sold for way more than asking.

When you get a seller who simply won’t budge off a dramatically high list price:

(a) get them to sign a reduction addendum that will automatically kick in after 30 or 45 days on the market, and/or

(b) consider whether this listing makes sense to take in the first place.

Also, consider using your broker’s first Open House as an additional hater-proof measure: if the agents overwhelmingly comment that they think the home is significantly overpriced, communicate this feedback to your seller.

House Hater Complaint #3: Dirt and messes.

Possibly the single largest source of House Hater Complaints I’ve ever heard are the dirt, messes, piles and personal belongings that buyers find so distracting, when they walk into a home for a viewing or Open House. Obviously, homes that are filthy from floor to ceiling are fertile fodder for haters, but often those homes are bank-owned or otherwise distressed so that the sellers aren’t likely to do much.  What is underestimated is how often even savvy home buyers are distracted (and disgusted) by relatively clean homes that just have a few outstanding messes, like piles of dirty dishes in the sink, piles of dog poo in the yard or even piles of papers, mail, books or clothes lying out in plain view.

Will one or two such items ruin the sale of your home? Perhaps not. But a few of them (or more) can certainly distract a buyer enough that they fixate on the home’s messes and, in the process, fail to see what is so great about your property.  As I see it, cleaning up, meticulously, before every single showing is free – so it makes no sense to even run the risk of turning off a prospective buyer by letting messes get in the way of their ability to visualize themselves and their families flourishing in your home.

Make sure you brief the sellers in detail on what buyers expect, in the way of cleanliness.  Also, set up a plan for giving them enough notice of showing appointments that they can do a quick, but thorough, house cleaning pass through before every single viewing.

House Hater Complaint #4: Lots of little malfunctions.

All of us tend to think our homes are in fantastic condition.  After all, your sellers have had the furnace maintained regularly, they’ve installed granite and dual paned windows – maybe they even took your advice to have the floors refinished or the walls painted in preparation for putting the place on the market.

That’s all fantastic – all the non-cosmetic work that’s been done to maintain and improve your listing should be trumpeted in your marketing materials, and the cosmetic items will (or should) speak for themselves. But here’s the thing: houe hunters won’t be running the dishwasher or testing the furnace (at least not until inspections).

What they will do – almost unconsciously – is:

• flick light and fan switches

• open or close window coverings, closet, room and entry doors,

• open and close drawers, cupboards, gates and fences and

• hold the handrails as they walk up and down the stairs.

They will hear leaky faucets and point out water spots from long-ago repaired leaks, and they will notice (or potentially trip on) uneven exterior tiles, paths and walkways. And even though these items might be vastly less expensive to fix than the roof or sewer line you had replaced, they are much more visible and noticeable to a buyer.  In fact, buyers don’t always even know that the little malfunctions and repairs that need doing are little or inexpensive. And when they notice a bunch of these sorts of things in a single property, they can jump to the conclusion that the whole place is rickety.

Since these little fixes are inexpensive to make, have them completed before you list, if at all possible. You might even ask your seller to walk through the property with you, pinpoint all the necessary little fixes and offer the a handyperson reference for someone you know works efficiently.

Tara-Nicholle NelsonWRITTEN BYTara-Nicholle Nelson

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Real Estate and the Internet – Is your agent online?

Author: admin / Category: Blog

The below study shows that real estate searches online have grown 253 percent over the past four years. Many agents in the market have been selling homes in the area for a LONG time and quite frankly have not embraced the internet to the degree they need to in today’s market. As an agent I use the internet and social media in any way possible to market my listings and assist my buyers. Are you ready to take advantage of the sales programs of an agent that embraces the internet age? Lets talk today!
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Real estate-related searches on Google.com have grown 253 percent over the past four years, according to a joint study from the National Association of REALTORS® and Google.

“These results parallel the trends shown in NAR’s economic research reports,” says NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif. “As home sales and prices continue to trend up, more people are regaining confidence to invest in their future through homeownership.”

The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate [2] is a joint report from NAR and Google that examines the connection between consumer Internet use and online home search and shopping patterns. The study leverages NAR’s custom research and Google’s proprietary and third-party research. Google collaborated with Compete in 2011 and 2012 to survey and analyze the behaviors of people in the market for new and existing homes. That research focused on people who had completed an online “conversion”– taking the next step of contacting an agent or requesting additional information from a real estate brand’s website.

According to the analysis, buyers used specific online tools at different points during their home search process. Buyers tend to rely on search engines and general websites when they begin their search, use maps more in the middle of the process, and engage mobile applications most toward the end of their search.

In their online search queries, first-time buyers frequently searched terms like “FHA loan,” “FHA,” “home grants,” “home loan,” and “home buyer assistance.” Last year, more than four out of 10 first-time buyers purchased their homes with a Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgage.

“The fact that first-time buyers are looking for information about FHA loan programs and home buyer assistance underscores some of the challenges today’s home buyers face in today’s tight credit environment,” says Thomas. “REALTORS® are excellent sources of information and can help buyers navigate the mortgage financing process.”

Both first-time and repeat buyers rely on REALTORS® in their home search. According to the 2012 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers [3], multiple listing service websites and REALTOR.com were the top two websites used in recent home searches. Realtor.com, NAR’s official property listing website, attracts an average of more than 20 million unique visitors per month. Mirroring the Google/NAR study, search activity on Realtor.com has picked up significantly in recent months – a 31 percent increase nationwide between March and October of this year.

According to Google internal data, the five states with the highest number of online queries from people who can be presumed to be first-time buyers were Delaware, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Dakota and Wyoming. Queries related to retirement homes were highest in Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia and Washington. For vacation home searches, the top five states were Florida, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina and South Dakota.

According to data from REALTOR.com, today’s buyers search most frequently on numbers of bedrooms and bathrooms; square footage; garages; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; and swimming pools. These home features represent 70 percent of all searched features on the site.

Mobile devices are significantly changing the way people search for homes, as well. According to results from Google’s aforementioned home shopper research with Compete, 48 percent of people who used a mobile device in their home search used the device to get directions to homes for sale, and 45 percent used the device to request more information about specific home features or real estate services.

“Increasingly, online technologies are driving offline behaviors, and home buying is no exception,” says Google Head of Real Estate Patrick Grandinetti. “With 90 percent of homebuyers searching online during their home buying process, the real estate industry is smart to target these people where they look for and consume information – for example through paid search, relevant websites, video environments, and mobile applications.”

“Technology has transformed the way REALTORS® do business, but in real estate, high tech doesn’t come at the expense of high touch,” says Steven Berkowitz, CEO of Move, Inc., which operates REALTOR.com. “Rather than displacing real estate agents, the Internet is actually helping connect them with home buyers. And REALTORS® are responding by leveraging resources like REALTOR.com, Facebook and YouTube to engage buyers and sellers in ever-evolving ways.”

For more information, visit www.REALTOR.com [4].

Article from RISMedia: http://rismedia.com

URL to article: http://rismedia.com/2013-01-07/study-shows-more-people-use-internet-to-research-homes-for-sale/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://rismedia.com/2013-01-07/study-shows-more-people-use-internet-to-research-homes-for-sale/s-2/

[2] The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate: http://www.realtor.org/reports/digital-house-hunt

[3] 2012 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers: http://www.realtor.org/topics/profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers

[4] www.REALTOR.com: http://www.REALTOR.com

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More Americans Believe Economy Headed in Right Direction

Author: admin / Category: Blog

Taking a look at the article below by Pete Bakel and courtesy of RISMedia, Americans are feeling good about the economy. When people feel good about the economy they buy things like homes which are always a great investment! Combine that with record low interest rates and low inventory and now is a great time to sell your home! Let’s sit down and talk today about our listing program and how it can get your home sold sooner!

More Americans Believe Economy Headed in Right Direction
by Pete Bakel
Despite continued uncertainty surrounding the fiscal cliff, Americans are showing increased confidence in the housing market and the direction of the economy. According to results from Fannie Mae’s November 2012 National Housing Survey, such improvement bodes especially well for continued strengthening in the housing sector, which in turn is likely to support overall economic growth.

“Consumer attitudes toward both the economy and the housing market continue to gather momentum, with many of our 11 key National Housing Survey indicators at or near their two-and-a-half-year highs,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae. “On the housing front, attitudes about the current selling environment continue to improve, with a significant increase in those saying it would be a good time to sell. This growing confidence in a housing recovery, in addition to other factors, may reinforce growing consumer optimism regarding the improving direction of the general economy. Those indicating that the economy is on the right track has risen to 44 percent while those saying it’s on the wrong track has fallen to 50 percent, the smallest gap since the survey’s inception.”

The November survey results show significant movement across many of the indicators. The share of respondents who say now is a good time to sell a home jumped 5 percentage points in November to 23 percent – the highest level since the survey began in June 2010 – narrowing the gap with those who say it is a good time to buy. The percentage of respondents who expect mortgage rates to go up increased by 4 percentage points to 41 percent. Those expecting home prices to go down within the next year also rose by 4 percentage points to 14 percent over last month, a rebound from the survey’s record low in the prior month, while the share who believe home prices will go up in the next 12 months edged up to 37 percent, tying the survey high. Of note, 51 percent of respondents now say it would be easy to get a mortgage, marking the highest rate since the survey’s inception (this survey finding is in addition to the 11 National Housing Survey indictors).

When asked about the economy, those who say it is on the wrong track dipped 6 percentage points since October and a total of 25 percentage points in the past year. Respondents expressed some improvement in the status of their current finances; however, due potentially to the looming fiscal cliff, the share who expect their personal financial situation to get worse over the next 12 months rose 5 percentage points to 18 percent – the highest level since December 2011.

Survey Highlights

Homeownership and Renting

• Average home price change expectation held steady at 1.7 percent.
• Fourteen percent of those surveyed say that home prices will go down in the next 12 months, a 4 percentage point increase over last month.
• The percentage who think mortgage rates will go up continued to rise, increasing 4 percentage points in November to 41 percent.
• Twenty-three percent of respondents say it is a good time to sell, a 5 percentage point increase over last month, and the highest level since the survey’s inception.
• The average rental price expectation hit 4 percent in November, a 0.9 percent rise over the past two months.
• Forty-eight percent of those surveyed say home rental prices will go up in the next 12 months, a slight decrease from last month.
• The share of respondents who said they would buy if they were going to move held relatively steady at 67 percent.
• Fifty-one percent of respondents now say it would be easy to get a mortgage, marking the highest rate since the survey’s inception.

The Economy and Household Finances

• Hitting 50 percent for the first time since the survey’s inception, the percentage who think the economy is on the wrong track has declined by 25 percentage points over the past year, and by 6 percentage points from last month.
• The percentage who expect their personal financial situation to get worse over the next 12 months rose 5 percentage points to 18 percent, the highest level since December 2011.
• Meanwhile, 21 percent of respondents say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago.
• Household expenses remained stable over the past month, with 56 percent responding that their household expenses stayed the same compared to 12 months ago.

For more information, visit www.fanniemae.com [2].

Article from RISMedia: http://rismedia.com

URL to article: http://rismedia.com/2012-12-10/more-americans-believe-economy-headed-in-right-direction/

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[1] Image: http://rismedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/economic_positive_outlook.jpg

[2] www.fanniemae.com: http://www.fanniemae.com

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Home Values Rise for 12 Straight Months!

Author: admin / Category: Blog

The good news keeps popping up about home values. Below is a repost of a blog entry from the Wall Street Journal’s Nick Timiraos. Take a look and then give me a call and let’s see where your home’s value is today!
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Report: Home Values Post 12 Straight Months of Increases
By Nick Timiraos

National home values rose by 1.1% in October from September, the largest monthly gain in seven years, according to a report released Wednesday by Zillow, the online real-estate information company.

It’s the first time housing markets have posted 12 straight monthly gains in the Zillow survey since the housing sector’s long slide began in 2006. “We’ve reached a milestone,” said Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist.

All of the 30 largest metro areas tracked by Zillow posted gains in October from September except for Chicago.

Nationally, home values were up by 4.7% from one year ago, with some 26 of 30 markets seeing rising values, led by Phoenix’s gain of 22.3%, San Jose, Calif. (11.4%), Denver (10.4%), San Francisco (9.5%) and Miami (8.8%). The only cities with year-over-year declines included Atlanta (-2.4%), Chicago (-2.1%), New York (-1.2%) and Philadelphia (-0.9%).

Home values have lifted off of their depressed levels of one year ago for a variety of reasons. Homes are more affordable, particularly after considering how far mortgage rates have fallen, though affordability has been high for a couple of years now. Job growth, while modest, has stayed positive.

Of course, those conditions were present through much of 2011, when the housing market was still in a major funk.

So what’s changed this year?

Inventories have plunged to their lowest levels in a decade, despite the much-ballyhooed “shadow” inventory of potential foreclosures, as investors moved in to buy up homes for a steal.

And there have been more buyers chasing fewer homes, as rising rents, increased household formation, and improving consumer confidence have kicked demand into higher gear.

At the beginning of the year, Mr. Humphries’ forecast called for a modest decline home prices for 2012. Now, he says, “the bottom line is that homes are more affordable than at any time in recent memory, and buyers are seizing this opportunity.”

Mr. Humphries says he expects demand to pick up even more next year.

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Homeowners Recover 13.5 Percent of Lost Equity Through Q3

Author: admin / Category: Blog

Great article here from RISMEDIA about the rising home values and recovery of lost equity. Want to see what kind of equity you have in your home? Lets sit down today and see what the market in your neighborhood is like. Talk to you soon!

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

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Rising home values have brought homeowner equity to its highest level since the third quarter of 2008 and helped lift 1.3 million families above water. Homeowner equity jumped $406 billion, or 5.9 percent, to $7,275 billion in the second quarter of 2012, according to the Obama Administration’s September Housing Scorecard.

After a sharp first quarter rise, total equity has grown to $863 billion, or 13.5 percent, since the end of 2011. The number of underwater borrowers has declined by 11 percent since the end of last year, from 12.1 million in the 4th quarter of 2011 to 10.8 million in the second quarter of 2012.

Nearly 1.3 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program, while the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offered more than 1.4 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions. The Administration’s programs continue to encourage improved standards and processes in the industry, with HOPE Now lenders offering families and individuals more than three million proprietary mortgage modifications through July.

As of August, more than one million homeowners have received a permanent HAMP modification, saving approximately $539 apiece on their mortgage payments each month, and an estimated $15 billion to date. In August, 81 percent of homeowners with eligible non-GSE mortgages benefitted from principal reduction with their HAMP modification. Eighty-seven percent of homeowners entering the program in the last two years have received a permanent modification.

“As the September housing scorecard indicates, our housing market is showing important signs of recovery – with homeowner equity at a four-year high and summer sales of existing homes at the strongest pace in two years,” says HUD Acting Assistant Secretary Erika Poethig. “The Administration’s efforts to keep housing affordable and refinances strong are critical with so many households still struggling to make ends meet. That is why we continue to ask Congress to approve the President’s refinancing proposal so that more homeowners can secure the help they need.”

Rising home values have brought homeowner equity to its highest level since the third quarter of 2008 and helped lift 1.3 million families above water. Homeowner equity jumped $406 billion, or 5.9 percent, to $7,275 billion in the second quarter of 2012. After a sharp first quarter rise, total equity has grown to $863 billion, or 13.5 percent, since the end of 2011. The number of underwater borrowers has declined by 11 percent since the end of last year, from 12.1 million in the 4th quarter of 2011 to 10.8 million in the second quarter of 2012.

The Administration’s foreclosure programs are providing relief for millions of homeowners as we continue to recover from an unprecedented housing crisis. Nearly 1.3 million homeowner assistance actions have taken place through the Making Home Affordable Program, while the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has offered more than 1.4 million loss mitigation and early delinquency interventions. The Administration’s programs continue to encourage improved standards and processes in the industry, with HOPE Now lenders offering families and individuals more than three million proprietary mortgage modifications through July.

Homeowners entering HAMP continue to benefit from deep and sustainable assistance. As of August, more than one million homeowners have received a permanent HAMP modification, saving approximately $539 on their mortgage payments each month, and an estimated $15 billion to date. In August, 81 percent of homeowners with eligible non-GSE mortgages benefitted from principal reduction with their HAMP modification. Eighty-seven percent of homeowners entering the program in the last two years have received a permanent modification

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5 Things to do When You Move Into Your New Home

Author: admin / Category: Blog

Everyone has a long laundry list of items they like to take care of when they move into a new home. Today’s post takes a look at some things that many people may over look. Ready for that new home yourself? Give me a call today and lets stop looking and start FINDING you a new home!

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2012 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

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Housing Bust Over?

Author: admin / Category: Blog

We are seeing a surge in the Des Moines market that hasn’t been seen in years. Buyers are buying, sellers are selling, and interest rates remain low. This type of trend is growing across the country and as a Realtor and a homeowner I couldn’t be happier. Below is an article by David Wessel of the Wall Street Journal about the bust and recovery. Ready to join the party? Give me a call today and take advantage of the hot market (and hot weather). The time is now to get your home on the market & we have a lot of programs that are just simply not being used by any other agents in town. Talk to you soon!

Original Article

Housing Passes a Milestone
by David Wessel

The housing market has turned—at last.

The U.S. finally has moved beyond attention-grabbing predictions from housing “experts” that housing is bottoming. The numbers are now convincing.

Nearly seven years after the housing bubble burst, most indexes of house prices are bending up. “We finally saw some rising home prices,” S&P’s David Blitzer said a few weeks ago as he reported the first monthly increase in the slow-moving S&P/Case-Shiller house-price data after seven months of declines.

Nearly 10% more existing homes were sold in May than in the same month a year earlier, many purchased by investors who plan to rent them for now and sell them later, an important sign of an inflection point. In something of a surprise, the inventory of existing homes for sale has fallen close to the normal level of six months’ worth despite all the foreclosed homes that lenders own. The fraction of homes that are vacant is at its lowest level since 2006.

The reduced inventory of unsold homes is key, says Mark Fleming, chief economist at CoreLogic, a housing data-analysis firm. For the past couple of years, house prices have risen in the spring and then slumped; the declining supply of houses for sale is reason to believe that won’t happen again this year, he says.

Builders began work on 26% more single-family homes in May 2012 than the depressed levels of May 2011. The stock of unsold newly built homes is back to 2005 levels. In each of the past four quarters, housing construction has added to economic growth. In the first quarter, it accounted for 0.4 percentage points of the meager 1.9% growth rate.

“Even with the overall economy slowing,” Wells Fargo Securities economists said, cautiously, in a note to clients, “the budding recovery in the housing market appears to be gradually gaining momentum.”

Housing is still far from healthy despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to resuscitate it by helping to push mortgage rates to extraordinary lows: 3.62% for a 30-year loan, according to Freddie Mac’s latest survey. Single-family housing starts, though up, remain 60% below the 2002 pre-bubble pace. Americans’ equity in homes is $2 trillion, or 25%, less than it was in 2002 and half what it was at the peak. More than one in every four mortgage borrowers still has a loan bigger than the value of the house, though rising home prices are reducing that fraction slowly.

Still, the upturn in housing is a milestone, a particularly welcome one amid a distressing dearth of jobs. For some time, housing has been one of the biggest causes of economic weakness. It has now—barely—moved to the plus side. “A little tail wind is a lot better than a headwind,” says economist Chip Case, the “Case” in Case-Shiller.

From here on, housing is unlikely to drag the U.S. economy down further. It will instead reflect the strength or weakness of the overall economy: The more jobs, the more confident Americans are about keeping their jobs, the more they are willing to buy houses. “Manufacturing had led growth and construction had lagged,” JPMorgan Chase economists said last week.”Now the roles are reversed: Manufacturing growth has slowed as private construction comes to life.”

Plenty could go wrong. The biggest threat is a large shadow inventory of unsold homes, homes which owners won’t put on the market because they are underwater, homes that will be foreclosed eventually and homes owned by lenders. They have been trickling onto the market, slowed in part by government efforts to delay foreclosures; a flood could reverse the recent rise in prices. Or the still-dysfunctional mortgage market could get worse. Or overly zealous regulators or a post-election change in government policy could unsettle mortgage lenders or home buyers.

But the housing bust is over.

Write to David Wessel at capital@wsj.com

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How to Buy a Grill

Author: admin / Category: Blog

Summer is officially here and so is the grilling season! In the market for a new grill? Whether you are a fan of gas or charcoal take a look at these two buying guides for a ton of great info. Ready for a great new backyard to put that grill? Give me a call and we can start searching for your dream home today!

  • How to Buy a Gas Grill

    With models priced from $29 to $5000 and up outdoor gas grills offer convenience and ease-of-use to fit any budget. Read

  • How to Buy a Charcoal Grill

    With models priced from $35 to $1000 there are charcoal grills to fit the budget of anyone who’s a fan of traditional barbecue. Read

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Copyright 2012 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

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Who are we to argue with Warren Buffet?

Author: admin / Category: Blog

Warren Buffet is one of the most successful investors in the world. Below is a link to an article where he gives the “thumbs up” to homes as a long term investment and other hot housing issues. Ready to join the ranks of responsible investors? Give me a call today and lets get started!

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Copyright 2012 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

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