When Should I Buy My Next House

August 18, 2008

As if the home buying process isnt nerve wracking enough, an unstable market presents unique challenges to future home buyers. With the steady stream of bad news, increased foreclosures and tightened restrictions on mortgages, it can be more difficult to buy a new home now than it has been in the past. Lenders are getting picky and it can spell bad news for those individuals on the house market.

If you already qualify for a mortgage, however, and have a good income with strong credit, you can be in a prime spot to purchase a home. With declining home prices and an established mortgage, the house market is not as treacherous for established homeowners as it can be for first time buyers. There are some tips and tricks, however, to help you stay within a safe area for your future home purchase despite an unstable market scenario.

Do not over reach yourself with a large mortgage. It might be great that you can afford a certain price on paper, but you need to take the time to work out how much your mortgage payments will actually be each month. Can you afford to have this as a monthly expense while still saving for your retirement, college, increased portfolio, or a new car? What are the bills that will accompany a house that is that large? Can you afford those along with your mortgage? What are your annual taxes? Know this information before you get too caught up in a big number that will mean little to you until you break it down in monthly installments.

Real estate agent differences can affect home buying as well. All real estate agents are not the same. Some will call you regularly while others prefer to stay quiet until they have found the exact right house for you. Ask a number of questions to your potential real estate agent to find the one that is best suited to your personality. Do they experience with title searches? Can they help you spot potential problems with the property? Having a good real estate agent that fits your personality will make all the difference in your future home shopping experience.

Even the best real estate agent can miss some things. Look online to find crime statistics, school districts, home prices and comparables. You can find an array of quality information about your future potential neighborhood by taking the time to search online. If you are armed with this extensive knowledge, you can make better deals and know what you are getting into with your future home. Look for virtual house tours and extensive pictures. Check out the neighborhood, the annual taxes, and much more at the touch of your fingers.

Walk the Streets of your future neighborhood. No matter how much information you find online, you cant really know a neighborhood until you spend some time there. Look for open houses in the neighborhood that are not the property you are interested in to see other homes in the area, meet the neighbors. Drive through your future neighborhood at all hours of the day to see what kind of neighbors you would have. Are there a lot of kids, working parents, or older couples? You can find this out through your frequent drives.

Negotiate with the home sellers of your future home. You do not know what the sellers situation might be and it never hurts to try to negotiate a lower price. Although it might insult them and you could lose the house forever, some home buyers have found that asking for more in their offers has been very successful for them. If the seller is under a lot of pressure to sell or has had few offers, they might be more willing to listen to your demands.

Up front, foreclosed properties might seem like a steal. They are much less expensive and can be a great deal when it comes time to sell. However, if the homeowner has been unable to make their mortgage payments, it is highly likely that they have been able to keep up with the general maintenance of the home itself. You will have to purchase a foreclosed property as is many times and you could be stuck with a property that has larger issues than you are willing to deal with.

When you purchase your next house, get into a mortgage you can afford. Especially for first time buyers, getting a good mortgage and knowing which lenders are right for you can be tricky. There are unethical lenders out there offering deals that are literally too good to be true. Finding a good mortgage and lender can ensure the stability of your financial portfolio and home status. If you are caught with an unsavory lender and something bad happens in the future, the status of your home and ability to secure another mortgage will come into question. You could lose everything due to bad choices made now with your mortgage company.

Get a home inspection. You need an unbiased view of the property you are about to buy. In order to ensure that you know of all your propertys potential problems up front, it pays to get a great home inspector. You want to be able to trust the person and know that what he or she says is legitimate. If your home inspection finds problems that far exceed what you are willing to deal with, you have the opportunity to back out before it is too late. The home inspection is the smartest way to buy a home no matter what the economic situation is.

Finally, buy your home with a long term plan in mind. A home purchase is a huge investment and the savvy buyers look to find a house that will fit them now and years down the road. You can invest in your home and make any necessary upgrades to help you grow with the property, but staying with your home will help to increase your investment and make you more financially secure in the future.

If you have bad credit, consider purchasing a house through a lease purchase or rent to own. Now is a great time to purchase a house at a fixed purchase price, and rent the house until you can afford to get your own mortgage. This gives you time to raise your credit score which will lower your monthly payments by getting a better interest rate.


Sell My House In Houston Texas

August 11, 2008

Home prices in Houston Texas have held steady while the rest of the nation is seeing an over 7 percent decrease in home prices. In the 1st quarter of the year Houston Texas saw an increase in home prices of approximately 0.8 percent. The median home price is now 148,400. This is good news if you live in Houston.

Although there is good news if you are a home owner in Houston, 0.8 percent is not much of an increase and if you purchased your house at the peak of the real estate market you can be sure that this slight increase has not had much affect in your home value. In fact even with the slight increase in home appreciation there are still many home owners who can not afford their mortgage and are falling into foreclosure.

If you are from Houston Texas than you know the hard situation you are faced with if you need to sell your house. If you purchased your home recently you probably owe more for your house than what it is worth. You can not afford your house so you know you need to sell it, the problem is who do you sell to?

Well believe it or not there are home buyers who are buying houses in Houston. Many people do not know that professional home buyers or real estate investors buy houses throughout the nation. Home buyers are real estate investors who some times buy properties and hold for long term investments, thus allowing them to pay more for your house.

If you owe more for your Houston Texas house than what it is worth then you should consider selling your house to a professional home buyer. They will negotiate with the bank to get your name released from the mortgage and complete a successful short sale. This way you will not get a foreclosure status on your credit report, which will save you lots of money and hassle in your future.

You should also consider contacting a professional home buyer if you need to sell your home fast. If you are behind on your mortgage payments, being relocated by your job, inherited a house and now want to sell it, going through a divorce, or have family health problems and need to sell your home.

There are many ways to sell your house. You can sell it For Sale By Owner, list your home with a real estate agent, or you can sell your house fast to a local home buyer. Some times the fastest and best way to sell your house is to sell to a real estate investors. This allows you to get your equity from your house fast and move on.

So if you own a Houston house, or any house for that matter and are near foreclosure, or need to sell your house for one reason or another, do not give up. Contact your local home buyer and get a free consultation on your home selling options. There is no charge for any services provided by professional home buyers so you have nothing to loose.


Falling Houseing Prices Continue to Rule The Economic World

August 6, 2008

When will the falling house prices finally plateau? This question is on the lips of a number of real estate market analysts and investors who are looking for the promised turnaround in a housing sector that continues to disappoint. Although regulations are becoming more stringent in the lending market and the real estate sector has seen some overall positive trends, the big factors of foreclosures and a reticent buyer attitude has continued to make property prices fall.

Some home analysts are wondering where the bottom prices are. For millions of American homeowners, the same question is being analyzed. With a stalled real estate market, homeowners are sitting tight, waiting for the storm of failing prices to past. While they wait, their home equity is slowly sliding by and the value of their home dips more and more. Many potential home buyers have decided to wait on the sidelines rather than risk selling their home for too little of a profit. And for those individuals who are in the market for their first homes, the unsteady market has played a role for these non-homeowners as well. The ability to secure a mortgage, and establish a good rate, has proven to be trickier as the market continues to spiral downward.

Last week, the National Association of Realtors stated that the median price of homes decreased 6.1% compared to a year ago. Sales from the previous month had also fallen 2.6%, which was a higher percentage than had been previously estimated by experts.

What hope lies on the horizon for home buyers and sellers alike? Fortunately, there are major housing packages that are currently in Congress that can help to turn the situation around. A beneficial package was passed by the House last week that would boost the market by assisting first-time home buyers.

However, analysts state that there are a number of factors that could make the housing market go up or continue to fall in the future. One of these factors is foreclosures. The increased wave of foreclosures has given banks a higher inventory of these properties. In turn, the banks have become eager sellers, wanting to get their foreclosed properties off the books as quickly as possible before prices fall again. However, the surplus of motivated sellers and a stale feeling coming from the potential buyers has locked a number of potential sales. As long as the lock continues, the prices on the properties themselves continue to drop down.

Rising energy and fuel costs coupled with poor mortgage situations have been to blame for the rise in foreclosures. However, so long as this trend continues, the drop in prices will follow suit. In addition, there is the question of over-saturation. During the real estate boom years, new housing developments sprang up quickly and were bought even faster. With the halt in the housing market, however, these projects are now additional surplus with reluctant buyers, leaving these homes vacant or worse, unfinished. As long as these trends continue, the prices in properties will continue to drop until more positive steps are taken.

If you are thinking how can I sell my house fast to get out from under this large mortgage, contact your local we buy houses professional. They existing in every major metro area and will give you an offer for your home. Their service is free and there is no obligation for you to accept their offer.


The Trouble with Mortgages

August 4, 2008

Have you been looking for a new home lately? If you are one of the lower numbers of Americans looking for a new home and a new mortgage, you might be in for a surprise. New mortgages have gotten more difficult to secure as the housing sector fights to eliminate the defaulting mortgage disasters that have dictated the market activity lately.

While new mortgages might be more scarce, the long-term impact of more stable mortgages cannot be underestimated. Much of the trouble in the housing market currently is due to poor choices by uneducated home buyers and shady practices by lending businesses who were looking for a quick profit without regard to the overall impact these unstable mortgages would have on the economy.

The recent troubles of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are in direct result to the ailing mortgage market. Borrowers are paying for the mistakes of others by paying roughly 10% more in monthly mortgage costs. Why the higher costs for people that have not defaulted on their own payments? These additional costs are the answer to the lack of confidence in the real estate market. In other words, not only are new mortgages more scarce, they cost more as well, doubly hitting new home buyers. Unfortunately, these negative aspects do nothing to stimulate the stagnant real estate market as a whole.

The cost of borrowing money has increased as businesses like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have had to borrow money in the bond market to pay for the current mortgages they have received from lenders. As the negative financial situation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sustains, the additional costs are filtered down to lenders looking to establish a new home mortgage. Also, as it is more expensive for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to obtain mortgages, it will increase overall mortgage rates as well.

Last summer, the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was roughly 1.5% higher than the yield on a 10-year Treasury note. Now, the rate is about 2.5% points and have increased .3% since late June alone as a reflection of the troubles of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

More and more lenders are tightening their standards, either because of their own reluctance to get brought into the current mortgage mess or because of new government standards that will most likely dictate the new regulations. Some of the new standards include escrow accounts for taxes and a more thorough review of the future home buyers income and ability to pay the full mortgage payment each month. As more and more lenders are scared they will lose mortgages, they are demanding that current applicants provide a very clean and precise application to avoid future complications.

Initially, when the mortgages problems began, the government called on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to help with assisting lenders whose loans were defaulting. Now with the questionable status of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac government sponsors, there is a risky and worried feeling in the marketplace, calling into question the ability of these sponsors to help lenders at all.


The Pain of Home Over-Improvement

August 3, 2008

Upgrade your kitchen and master bath and you will instantly see a high financial payout is the common wisdom in the home improvement market. But putting in high-end appliances and upgrades to your home does not instantly ensure a full recoup of the costs plus profit. There are other factors involved in a smart home improvement plan.

Updating a kitchen with all of the latest high-end materials like granite countertops and cherry cabinets used to be a sure-fire way to improve a home, and its price on the market. Nowadays, however, home sellers are discovering that they might have taken on too many home improvements and priced themselves out of their neighborhood.

There is much more inventory on the market currently than there was during the real estate boom. For this reason, home buyers are less and less impressed with granite countertops and custom design work. However, for the sellers who have spent thousands with the hope that the improvements would help them sell their homes fast and for more money, a nightmare awaits. Upscale renovations are now returning roughly 70% of their initial costs, giving many home sellers a startling shock. Sellers who have thought their upgrades to be a sure thing are instead left wondering what went wrong.

The danger and pain of over-improving a home is growing. Fewer and fewer high-end projects are seeing the profits that were promised and investors are not seeing the return they expect.

An upscale bathroom renovation can cost an average of $50,590. However, analysts estimate that only $34,588 can be added to a home value, making only a 68.4% return. In 2006, bathroom renovations would show a 72.8% return. Kitchens can have a better return overall with roughly 74.1%.

If a homeowner is making the changes only to help with the home sale and price, the results might not be what they expect. However, if the homeowner wants to upgrade the kitchen, bath or overall layout of the home for themselves as well as future home sales, these renovations are the smarter move. These homeowners can enjoy the upgrades and recoup their costs in future sales years after the renovations have been completed. In other words, if you do upgrades for your home for yourself and your family, you are making the smart investment. If you are making these changes only for a no-name sellers increased interest, you will not see a big return on your investment.

The impact of these reports on negative returns on upscale improvements has shown a decline in the demand for high-end materials. The demand for luxury appliances declined from 65% to 47% in 2007. Items like wine refrigerators decreased from 53% to 49%.

Where are the upgrades that make the most sense for your property? Increasing curb appeal is always a smart move. With a strong curb appeal, the property is more apt to get serious buyers who are interested in the home. The return on these investments can be up to 88%, but if the curb appeal secures your future sale, it is worth every penny.


Smart Real Estate Improvements – Windows

July 29, 2008

There are a number of quick and easy tips and tricks you can do to improve your home. Before you start making changes, however, analyze if the change you want to make will have the impact that you are looking for. After all, sales pitches can sometimes fall short of your reality and knowing what you are getting into beforehand can help you make the right choices for your budget.

Changing old single-pane windows to the new double-pane ones can be a smart upgrade for most homes. However, you may hear the enticing statistic that just by changing your old windows to the new, more efficient versions you will cut your heating and cooling bills by 50%.

While the new double-pane windows will be twice as efficient for your home, windows only make up a portion of your homes frame. If you have fewer windows, your energy savings will be proportional to the space covered by these new double-panes. If you have just a fraction of your home using window space, your energy savings might only be 25%. Considering that the price of installing new windows can run as high as $1,200 per window, you will be long gone before your new windows pay for themselves in saved energy costs.

On the other hand, if you need new windows, it makes sense to get the more energy efficient ones. Also, you can use the double-paned items as a future selling point if you plan sell property in upcoming years. For this reason, the choice for double-pane windows would be a smart move. However, if you are installing the windows in a home with less window space only to enjoy reduce energy costs, the price might not be worth it for you.

A recent study from the 2007 National Association of Realtors showed that many sellers got close to 80% of the cost of new windows back with the sale of their home. However, character can make a big difference. If you put in the wrong windows and lose some of your homes architectural style, you can see the loss when it comes time to sell your home.

Look at the current pattern of your windows. If they are multiple pieces of glass separated by dividers, you should consider putting in new windows that feature the same pattern. If the cost of true divided windows is too much for your budget (custom windows can start at $2,000), look into the standard solution of snap-on grilles that give the appearance of divided glass from the inside.

Keeping the character of your home overall is a very important step when considering upgrades and changes to your house. Removing built-in cabinets or mantelpieces can strip the home of the intrinsic value that future buyers are looking for, so before you make any upgrades that involve removing some of the older details of the home, think about the future. Downscale the home and you will be downscale the price as well.


The Lack of Foreclosure Help – Sell My House in Georgia

July 23, 2008

Its been debated. Its been argued. Now, after more than a year of debating, Congress seems set on passing a bill that will help to stop the increasing numbers of home foreclosures in the real estate market. This bill would hopefully stabilize a very shaky real estate and housing market, and benefiting the economy as a whole.

The impact of the rising foreclosures on the overall economy has been widespread and wholly negative. Cities like McDonough Georgia, Stockbridge Georgia, Atlanta, and Augusta Georgia, are far from being affected. As more and more homeowners realize they cannot afford the ticking time bombs that define their mortgages, the number of defaulted mortgages increases. The government has decided to finally step in and provide assistance that will prevent more foreclosures in the future, as well as assisting those individuals in need of help right now.

However, housing expert analysts state that even if the latest bill passes in Congress, the most optimistic forecasts show that only 400,000 of the ailing 3 million homeowners will be saved. The rest will still be stuck in the poor economic state they have found themselves in. In other words, the bill will alleviate some of the troubles, but will certainly not be enough to stem the tide of foreclosures overall.

The latest news coming from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have complicated matters for the bill and for homeowners alike. The Bush administration has added on assistance for these government backed sponsors to the housing bill, which has caused some negative reactions within the government, particularly among Republicans.

The increase in foreclosures has caused an overall decline in home prices. Since the majority of a homeowners overall financial portfolio is in their home equity, a downturn in home prices has dictated a loss in overall economies for families across the country. The addition of vacant homes and slower housing market has also left many construction companies and development planning business in the lurch as fewer and fewer new home sales are being reported.

One proponent of the new housing bill suggests that 4 billion should be spent in communities with a high number of vacant homes to buy and refurnish these properties. The idea behind the funding would allow these properties to be rented and keep them from becoming the new homes of vagrants, drug dealers and homeless people. The presence of these empty homes can bring down the overall value of a neighborhood, affecting even those homeowners that have not defaulted on their mortgages.

Opponents to the bill argue that putting tax dollars to buy foreclosed homes helps only the ailing lenders, but not the overall homeowners who have lost their home and equity. At the end of the day, the 4 billion would go towards these businesses rather than the citizens and homeowners who need it most. A better use of the money, opponents state, is to revise mortgage costs and help them to refinance their mortgages to keep their homes and stay afloat in the troubled market. Overall, efforts are being considered to help the failing housing market and those homeowners struggling to make their monthly payments.

If you are currently thinking, how can I sell my house in McDonough Georgia, sell my house in Stockbridge Georgia, sell my house in Atlanta, or sell my house in Augusta Georgia, then consider contacting your local home buyer. These professionals exist in every major metro area and are real estate professionals. They are real estate investors who solve complicated real estate selling situations and offer hope to those Georgia home owners who are about to loose their house.


The Pain of Closing Costs

July 21, 2008

Closing costs can be one of the trickiest things new home buyers face when purchasing a property. It is the hidden costs and surprise jack-in-the-box that pops up just as your hopes that the purchase is finally complete and have been set in place. Closing costs are the reason that many people turn to alternative methods for selling or buying a home, such as with For Sale By Owner or just listing it on a free advertising space online like Craigslist.

While it might seem silly to let your home sale be dependent upon a website like Craigslist, it can be a successful, and more affordable way to sell or buy your home by avoiding closing costs.

Closing costs are the fees that the seller and buyer pay during the closing process, including the costs that the seller will pay to both their realtor and the realtor that you use to find their home. The savvy home seller will factor these closing costs into the final price for their property, making the price increase. If you can find a home that is being offered through an alternative method of sale like For Sale By Owner, you can forego these closing costs and save thousands of dollars in realtor fees. Of course, on the other hand, you will not have the expertise and assistance of the realtor throughout your home buying or home selling experience.

In addition to the realtor closing costs, the fees that are put into a mortgage at the last hour can also add up. For this reason, the final cost of a new home might be significantly larger on closing day than the home buyer expected. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has been monitoring ways to regulate how lenders can put these additional fees into the mortgage as a way to safeguard future homebuyers from these unexpected increases. Since all of the little pieces add up, regulating the final closing costs can become yet another way the real estate and lending market will stabilize after all of the recent slumps and uncertainty.

If you are looking to refinance your home, you should call your existing lender first. By calling the lender with whom you already have an existing relationship, you will be able to streamline the process since they already have all of your information, saving a lot of paperwork and additional fees. You can save as much as 50% on title insurance if you ask for a reissue rate from your lender as well.

If you are buying a new home, try petitioning your existing home lender. They will be anxious to keep your business and assuming you have a good working relationship, you might get a better-than-market offer from them.

Pay attention to the fees associated with your final closing costs. There will be more than a dozen fees associated with your closing statement, including the application fee, appraisal fee, document preparation fee, recording, underwriting and more. Lenders are required to give a good-faith estimate on the closing costs within three days of the loan application. Look over these numbers to see what you can negotiate ahead of time to say money.


The Fight over Mortgage Rules

July 20, 2008

Considering the current state of the real estate market, it came as no surprise that the Federal Reserve would swoop in to regulate and tighten allowances on mortgages for homebuyers. The overhaul of the mortgage lending system is in full swing with consumer groups and lenders on both sides of the arguments. The hope is that these regulations will put the current mortgage lending industry in a more stable and profitable situation in the long-run. Currently, the extension of credit to homebuyers that are incapable of fulfilling their end of the deal harm the lending company, the homebuyer and the real estate market in general.

Currently, many consumer groups are claiming that mortgage regulations are too lax with a variety of loopholes. These loopholes make it too easy to allow reckless lending, which in turn causes more and more instability in the real estate market. However, industry specialists and mortgage lenders argue that these more stringent proposals will become a larger burden on current and future lenders and will reduce the amount of credit they can extend. In essence, a restriction on the amount of credit available is exactly what the Federal Reserve is analyzing the need for. After all, the number of homebuyers who gained credit through unsteady means has put the real estate market in its current unbalanced slump.

Analysts are interested to see which way the Federal Reserve heads. More than 2,500 comments had been submitted on proposals that had prompted a review of the current mortgage lending situation. However, any revisions on the mortgage lending industry now will not help current homeowners who have already fallen behind on their mortgage payments and trying to avoid foreclosure. However, the idea is that with revised mortgage restrictions, they can prevent the current real estate crisis from occurring again in the near future. In particular, the aim is to prevent the real estate crisis on subprime mortgages.

The hope is to have responsible mortgage lending and home purchases to encourage stable lending and a stronger economy overall. However, the Federal Reserve wants to restrict mortgage availability with credit lenders while simultaneously offering plenty of credit to stable qualifiers.

There are four new rules for lending that the Federal Reserve will consider, including some of the following:

  • Preventing lenders from engaging in a practice that will make loans difficult to afford
  • Limiting prepayment penalties
  • Requiring lenders to establish an escrow account for taxes and insurance of the property
  • Verifying income and assets for all potential lending candidates 

These rules would make mortgage lending more stable across the board, although lenders state that these restrictions would make future lending more difficult. In addition, the regulations would disallow banks that pay brokers for steering homeowners into higher-priced loans, rather than the more appropriate loans they can afford. The brokers would also be unable to coerce appraisers into stating the home value for less than it currently is for the mortgage lending process. Unfortunately, these practices all contributed to the current demise of our real estate market situation.


Mortgage Rules and Regulations: More is Needed

July 18, 2008

The Federal Reserve is reviewing the rules and regulations for the mortgage industry. The proposed regulations come after thousands of people have requested a review of the requirements lenders follow when establishing credit for home purchases.

With the revised proposal and a look at revisions in the lending requirements, the Federal Reserve are trying to answer critics who have said that changes needed to be made years ago. Many lending experts have stated that if the Federal Reserve had stepped in when the instable lending situation was being created years ago, the unscrupulous lenders could have been stopped, stifling the real estate boom, but also preventing the currently poor lending situation.

Many experts have stated that if a range of rules had been put in place years ago, many of the things that are currently happening in the lending and real estate sector would not have occurred. In fact, a former Federal Reserve governor, the late Edward Gramlich pushed for a stronger regulation in the mortgage industry, to no avail.

However, despite the current proposed regulations that would be enforced with future mortgage lending, consumer groups say that more needs to be done. Some of these regulations include verifying the homebuyers income and establishing an escrow account for taxes and insurance. However, some consumer groups argue that more needs to be done to prevent foreclosure.

Some consumer groups say that the Federal Reserve should prevent lenders from establishing credit without looking at the borrower’s ability to pay. By looking at the ability to repay the debt on the credit extended, the lender can prevent a pattern of extending credit to homebuyers who cannot afford it. The rules and regulations would prevent the potential for misbehaving lenders who concentrate more on their bottom lines and commissions than the future financial situation of these loans. With housing experts claiming that our economy is experiencing one of the worst housing collapses in the last 50 years, the rules and regulations would prevent the situation from occurring again.

Prepayment penalties would be abolished with the current mortgage lending regulations. The rule would prevent lenders from increasing payments towards the mortgage at least 60 days before the monthly payments increased. In addition, hidden additional fees cause confusion for the consumer and are advocated to be removed as well.

However, there are arguments against these proposed regulations. At minimum, experts argue that there would be fewer homeownership as less and less mortgages could be approved. As many people have the majority of their equity in their homeownership, the reduced number of properties able to be purchased would affect current homeowners looking to sell their home as well as the portfolio for thousands of individuals.

The biggest mortgage regulation would fall towards subprime mortgages. There should be more clear guidelines on lenders who will evaluate how borrowers will be able to pay back their financial debt. The combination of these regulations will help to restore the housing market and economy overall, preventing future foreclosures and instability.