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Category Archives: purchase a home

HOME OWNERSHIP RATES: ARE THEY CRASHING?

“You can make all the excuses you want, but if you are not mentally tough, and you’re not prepared to play every night, you’re not going to win. “ ~ Larry Bird

 

Homeownership Rates: Are They Crashing? | Keeping Current Matters

The Census recently released their 2014 Home ownership Statistics, and many began to worry that Americans have taken a step back from the notion of home ownership.

Easy… Chicken Little

The national homeownership rate peaked in 2004, representing a 69.2% of Americans who bought vs. rented their primary residence. Many have noticed a decline in rates since then and taken that as a bad sign.

However, if you look at the national rate over the last 30 years (1984-2014), you can see that the current homeownership rate has returned closer to the historic norm. 2014 ended the year with a rate of 64% just under the rate in 1985 and 1995.

Homeownership Rates Historically | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

With interest rates and prices still below where experts predict, evaluate your ability to purchase a home with a local real estate professional.

REAL ESTATE HEADING IN THE “RIGHT DIRECTION”

“If you view all the things that happen to you, both good and bad, as opportunities, then you operate out of a higher level of consciousness.” ~ Les Brown

Real Estate Heading in the “Right Direction” | Keeping Current Matters

The housing market has taken a great turn toward recovery over the last few years. The opinions of the American public toward real estate took longer to recover, until recently.

For the first time since 2006, Americans have an overall positive view of real estate, giving the industry a 12% positive ranking in a Gallup poll.

Americans were asked to rate 24 different business sectors and industries on a five-point scale ranging from “very positive” to “very negative.” The poll was first conducted in 2001, and has been used as an indicator of “Americans’ overall attitudes toward each industry”.

America's View on Real Estate | Keeping Current Matters

Americans’ view of the real estate industry worsened from 2003 to the -40% plummet of 2008.  Gallup offers some insight into the reason for decline:

Prices Dropped

“In late 2006, real estate prices in the U.S. began falling rapidly, and continued to drop. Many homeowners saw their home values plummet, likely contributing to real estate’s image taking a hard hit.”

Housing Bubble

“The large drops in the positive images of banking and real estate in 2008 and 2009 reflect both industries’ close ties to the recession, which was precipitated in large part because of the mortgage-related housing bubble.”

Bottom Line

“Although the image of real estate remains below the average of 24 industries Gallup has tracked, the sharp recovery from previous extreme low points suggests it is heading in the right direction.”

If the news of recovery has you considering homeownership, meet with a local real estate professional to discuss the opportunities that exist in today’s market.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE MULTIPLE OFFERS ON YOUR HOME

“We all have ability. The difference is how we use it.”~ Stevie Wonder

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6 TIPS FOR CHOOSING THE BEST OFFER FOR YOUR HOME

Have a plan for reviewing purchase offers so you don’t let the best slip through your fingers.

You’ve worked hard to get your home ready for sale and to price it properly. With any luck, offers will come quickly. You’ll need to review each carefully to determine its strengths and drawbacks and pick one to accept. Here’s a plan for evaluating offers.

1. Understand the process.

All offers are negotiable, as your agent will tell you. When you receive an offer, you can accept it, reject it, or respond by asking that terms be modified, which is called making a counteroffer.

2. Set baselines.

Decide in advance what terms are most important to you. For instance, if price is most important, you may need to be flexible on your closing date. Or if you want certainty that the transaction won’t fall apart because the buyer can’t get a mortgage, require a pre-qualified or cash buyer.

3. Create an offer review process.

If you think your home will receive multiple offers, work with your agent to establish a time frame during which buyers must submit offers. That gives your agent time to market your home to as many potential buyers as possible, and you time to review all the offers you receive.

4. Don’t take offers personally.

Selling your home can be emotional. But it’s simply a business transaction, and you should treat it that way. If your agent tells you a buyer complained that your kitchen is horribly outdated, justifying a lowball offer, don’t be offended. Consider it a sign the buyer is interested and understand that those comments are a negotiating tactic. Negotiate in kind.

5. Review every term.

Carefully evaluate all the terms of each offer. Price is important, but so are other terms. Is the buyer asking for property or fixtures — such as appliances, furniture, or window treatments — to be included in the sale that you plan to take with you?

Is the amount of earnest money the buyer proposes to deposit toward the down payment sufficient? The lower the earnest money, the less painful it will be for the buyer to forfeit those funds by walking away from the purchase if problems arise.

Have the buyers attach a pre-qualification or pre-approval letter, which means they’ve already been approved for financing? Or does the offer include a financing or other contingency? If so, the buyers can walk away from the deal if they can’t get a mortgage, and they’ll take their earnest money back, too. Are you comfortable with that uncertainty?

Is the buyer asking you to make concessions, like covering some closing costs? Are you willing, and can you afford to do that? Does the buyer’s proposed closing date mesh with your timeline?

With each factor, ask yourself: Is this a deal breaker, or can I compromise to achieve my ultimate goal of closing the sale?

6. Be creative.

If you’ve received an unacceptable offer through your agent, ask questions to determine what’s most important to the buyer and see if you can meet that need. You may learn the buyer has to move quickly. That may allow you to stand firm on price but offer to close quickly. The key to successfully negotiating the sale is to remain flexible.

By: G. M. Filisko

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has survived several closings. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

WOW, LET’S CLEAN UP THE PLANET!

“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding on the 20th” –  Julie Andrews

Image

Here is another example of a recycled home! Wow, if people started building this way, we would have a much cleaner planet!

To read the entire article, click on the following link:  http://themindunleashed.org/2013/12/america-end-homelessness-one-year.html

12 THINGS YOUR AGENT MUST DO TO MAXIMIZE YOUR PROFITS!

12 THINGS YOUR AGENT MUST DO TO MAXIMIZE YOUR PROFITS!

“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” – Jim Rohn

Ready to List With A Real Estate Agent?

Do you understand the process of selling your home — all the “little” details? Before you list with an agent, educate yourself about all the possible things you could face. Be as informed as possible, so you can make the absolute best business decision. After all, the sale of your home is a business decision.

Most of us are not tuned in to the trends and fluctuations of the real estate market. Additionally, we are not aware of the steps necessary to maximize profits from the sale of your home. Typically, you rely heavily on an agent to lead you down the most profitable path. Well, when you consider your home is probably your largest financial asset, doesn’t it make sense to list with someone who will maximize your profits? But how do you find that agent?

This report is designed to empower you with critical information necessary to evaluate an agent’s qualifications and help you identify the professional top producer. The more involved you become, the better chance you have of choosing the right agent and consequently, the higher your profits will be!

Start by doing some research. Who are the most active agents in your market? Look at advertising to see how professional it is, ask friends and family, drive around the neighborhood looking for yard signs, then compile a list of agents.

1. The Phone Interview – Place a call to each of the agents on your list. Document how quickly they returned your call; keep in mind, they will be returning calls to your prospective home buyers. Do an initial ‘feel-out’ interview over the phone so when you meet, you will both be prepared.

2. Request a Complete Plan – From title to escrow, request a complete plan of all the services they will provide you when you list with them.

3. Evaluate Their Team – Top producers will have established relationships with lenders, title reps, inspectors, etc. These professionals are there for your benefit. If they are ill-prepared to handle all the steps of your transaction, look elsewhere!

4. Alternative Report – Request a complete report of alternatives to the home sale. What would current market leases generate? Rentals? Responsibilities attached with leasing? Have your agent educate you about all your options.

5. Insist on Pre-Qualification – Don’t waste valuable time negotiating or showing your property to unqualified prospects. Insist that your agent pre-qualify candidates to screen out all unwanted prospects.

6. A Net Sheet – See in writing a complete net sheet, minus commissions and fees, showing your exact proceeds at the time of sale.

7. A Marketing Plan – This is the heart of your agent’s overall strategy. Require a step-by-step plan with innovative new ways to attract home buyers.

8. Telemarketing Efforts – Investigate the agent’s telemarketing team. Do they just cold call? Or do they have a strategy to create proactive leads and call on those prospects.

9. Direct Mail – Investigate the agent’s capacity to send direct mail. How often do prospects receive mail? Is it professional? Does the mail piece motivate prospects to pick up the phone and call?

10. Advertising – Is it well written and professional? How many ad venues do they utilize? They should be advertising to as many on-line , community or local newspaper, and yard signs. Remember, the quality of the advertising will directly influence how well your home will be perceived.

11. Negotiation Strategy – Have a written, well-conceived, negotiation strategy. The old adage “You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate,” rings very true in real estate. Insist on a sound negotiation strategy before you entertain buyers.

12. Closing Strategy – Be sure to get a written closing checklist. You need to know in detail how you will conclude the sale of your home. This should provide a step-by-step procedure that will be easy to understand and follow.

My hope with this report has been to educate you and help you avoid the pitfalls many home sellers go through. I hope you found the ideas valuable and if there is every any way I can be of service to you or anyone you care about, please contact my office. Your initial consultation is always free and you are under no obligation of any kind. I’d love to hear from you!

5 EVENTS THAT ROCKED HOUSING IN 2011

5 EVENTS THAT ROCKED HOUSING IN 2011

“A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.” –  Bob Hope

Re-printed from Trulia
January 3, 2012|Tools & Trends|No Comments
Jed Kolko, Trulia’s Chief Economist

5 events that rocked housing  in 2011; by Jed Kolko

Government, lending changes, and forces of nature all shook the housing market in 2011. They had both an immediate impact and slow-burning effects. They set the stage for a bumpy 2012 with more foreclosures, political battles and local market risks – which will affect the industry and how agents do business.

1) Robo-Signing Reverberations

The “robo-signing” scandal – where banks were accused of approving foreclosures with incomplete or incorrect documentation – exploded in October 2010, but where are we now? Banks want a settlement in order to avoid costly, drawn-out lawsuits. One is shaping up that could reduce loan balances or interest rates for current homeowners, give payments to people who lost their homes and establish new mortgage servicing standards for the future.

Even if you think there’s money coming to you because you lost your home, don’t start spending against your settlement windfall just yet. One estimate from the Wall Street Journal is for a settlement of $25 billion if all states participate. Another report from TIME says that will translate into $1,500-$2,000 for households who were mistreated in the foreclosure process. A couple thousand dollars will give people some breathing room, but it won’t change anyone’s financial lives. And, be patient: it could be months before a deal is reached, an administrator is in place and the details are finalized.

Until that’s all figured out, here’s the immediate drama: who’s in and who’s out? Some states might hold out for a better deal or decide to sue these mortgage servicers directly, as Massachusetts has. California was the first and most vocal state to back out, and New York, Delaware, and Nevada have spoken out, too.

What Really Mattered: The threat of robo-signing lawsuits made banks gun-shy about pursuing foreclosures in 2011, which left many homes stuck in the foreclosure process. But once a settlement is reached, we’ll see a rush of foreclosures in 2012.

What It Means for Agents: More foreclosures will hurt prices and consumer confidence. Short sales could be harder to get approved if the foreclosure process gets easier.

2) The Debt Ceiling and the Budget Deficit

The federal government is running a deficit — it is spending more than it collects in taxes and other revenue – so it borrows to cover the gap by issuing debt. When there’s a deficit, we add to the pile of debt. To shrink this pile, the government needs to collect more than it spends (or, if you prefer, spend less than it collects) and use the surplus to reduce the debt.

In August, the government played a game of chicken over whether to raise the debt ceiling – which is really just a formality acknowledging that the deficit requires issuing debt to keep the government going. However, the right way to deal with the debt is to reduce the deficit – not by fighting over the debt ceiling.

Long before the debt ceiling debate and Standard & Poor’s federal credit-rating downgrade, we all knew that the federal budget was in bad shape. The debt ceiling debate rattled the markets and consumer confidence temporarily but interest rates stayed low. The important effect was that Congress created a bipartisan supercommittee to tackle the deficit – but it couldn’t reach agreement by its November deadline.

What Really Mattered: The deficit-reduction supercommittee teased us with some policy proposals that will surely rear their heads again. One idea that both Republicans and Democrats didn’t totally disagree about was reducing the mortgage interest and other tax deductions. If and when that happens, high-income homeowners with mortgages would pay a lot more in taxes.

What It Means for Agents: Scaling back the mortgage interest deduction would lower the offers buyers – especially high-income buyers – will make on homes. And some buyers will drop out of the market if the deduction, which favors homeownership, shrinks or vanishes.

3) The Expansion of HARP

In October, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) said seriously underwater homeowners will be able to refinance through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). Originally, refinancing under HARP required a loan-to-value of less than 125% — that is, you couldn’t be more than 25% underwater – but that rule goes away for fixed-rate mortgages. But there’s a catch! Loans must be guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and – more importantly – borrowers must be current on their payments and must not have missed a payment in the last 6 months.

What Really Mattered: Some seriously underwater borrowers who fell behind on their payments in hopes of negotiating a loan modification are now kicking themselves because those missed payments make them ineligible to refinance. But those who can and do refinance will have lower monthly payments and extra money to spend — which will help stimulate the economy.

What It Means for Agents: Even if easier refinancing may not affect the home-purchase market directly, it will stimulate the economy a bit, which will raise housing demand and give buyers more confidence.

4) Natural Disasters Cause Insurance Disaster?

In 2011, several tornadoes, floodings and a hurricane temporarily halted what little construction there was to begin with, but this was just a short-term slowdown. The bigger long-term effect was the near-collapse of the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Still struggling financially under debt amassed after Hurricane Katrina, the NFIP’s insurance premiums don’t fully cover insurance claims when disaster strikes. August’s Hurricane Irene and its flood damage returned this problem to center-stage.

What Really Mattered: In flood-prone areas, you can’t get a mortgage if you don’t have flood insurance. Without NFIP, housing markets in these areas would skid to a stop. Could the program actually expire? It could, but as part of last week’s payroll tax agreement, the program got a last-minute extension until May 2012. No doubt, the political fight over this program’s long-term future will continue in into next year.

What It Means for Agents: Those working in flood-prone areas should be aware of private-sector flood insurance options for buyers in case the federal program lapses after May. And agents in these areas should follow the debate over NFIP on websites and blogs that cover the insurance industry.

5) Lowering the Conforming Loan Limit

Starting in October, the government lowered the upper limit for loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) from $729,750 to $625,500. Why? Government agencies now back or insure most loans, but it’s time to make the housing market less dependent on the feds. Lowering loan limits is one step in that direction; however, the real estate industry has urged the government to push the loan limits back up. And you know what? They scored a half-win in November, raising the loan limit back up for FHA loans but not for Fannie and Freddie.

What Really Mattered: Mortgage lenders are willing to charge lower rates for loans that are backed by Fannie or Freddie; with a lower conforming loan limit, a small number of loans that used to qualify for federal backing no longer do. As a result, homes that are now on the wrong side of the conforming loan limit will see fewer potential buyers and lower sales prices. This will matter more in California, New York, and other high-cost areas.

What It Means for Agents: Agents need to know the local loan limits, which may be different for FHA insurance and Fannie/Freddie backing. Homes for which loans will be above the new limits might see less buyer interest and price reductions.

XERISCAPING – A FUNNY WORD!

XERISCAPING – A FUNNY WORD!
“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”  – Khalil Gibran

According to Wikipedia, Xeriscaping “refers to landscaping and gardening in ways that reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water from irrigation. It is promoted in regions that do not have easily accessible, plentiful, or reliable supplies of fresh water, and is gaining acceptance in other areas as climate patterns shift.”

Xeri, comes from the Greek “xeros,” meaning dry, and “scape,”  is a kind of view or scene. When you put the two words together you have a  landscape with slow-growing, drought-tolerant plants to conserve water and establish a waste-efficient landscape.  Xeriscaping will also reduce the high cost of your water bills and comes in very handy during the drought periods we sometimes have in Florida.

For an in-depth explanation with lots of suggestions for choosing plants please click on the following link – xeriscaping. This link will bring you to the IFAS website, which looks like a newsletter.  There is a plethora of helpful information other than gardening and landscaping.  For example, you can find helpful information on energy, water conservation, waste management, wildlife, natural history, food and other local information.

There is a home on NW 8th Avenue in Gainesville that makes use of one aspect of xeriscaping.  All the plants have been strategically planted so that the water runoff on the property goes to these plants. It is truly a zero maintenance yard in spite of the variety of plants growing there.This home sits next to Rattlesnake creek and boasts a magnificent variety of trees such as:

  • Japanese persimmon
  • grapefruit
  • Orange
  • Satsuma tangerine
  • an avocado tree from Mexico and
  • Three varieties of olive trees
    1. green olive
    2. black olive
    3. brown olive
  • a Hong Kong Orchid tree and/or Mountain Ebony
  • camellias
  • two kinds of Bougainville’s
  • Paw Paw trees, and of course
  • Saw Palmettos

If having all this fruit isn’t enough, the home itself is an architects’ delight with  2 story soaring windows in the family room, an updated kitchen, a mother-in-law suite, a loft overlooking the pool area and a free form salt water pool.

There is a ravine along the back portion of the property, where rattlesnake creek runs, which has a cross-country trail system running through it.   This ravine sustains the life of, and breeding habits of, 60 of the 65 varieties of dragon flies found in Florida.

This home has over 3000 square feet of heated and cooled living space and is located only 8 blocks from the University of Florida in Gainesville. This is not only a great home, but you can purchase it at the great price of only $219,000.00.  This is a pre-approved short sale and the home will not last long on the market. For more information about this great home, please click on the following link: MLS# 329532.

Regarding the slide show below, the smaller pictures are of the home cleaned up when someone who cared about the property was living there.  The larger pictures are of the home in its current condition.  It can very easily be restored to the way it used to look – all it needs is some elbow grease and trimming of the yard. If you would like to take a tour of this property, please call for an appointment at the numbers below.

Jocelyne Grandjean-Brown

CDPE Trained

RE/MAX Professionals

Gainesville, FL 32606

Office: 352-375-1002

Cell: 352-870-9929

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