Lowest Mortgage Rates Since 1971!

December 18, 2008

This week marks a new low for mortgage rates. Mortgage rates are at a 37 year low. Rates have not been this low since 1971. The federal government decreased interest rates for the seventh consecutive week. This is an all out attempt to bring home buyers into the market and take some inventory off the shelf.

The thought is lower interest rates will bring home buyers out from the bushes and the side lines. It will also help the many home owners who have home equity lines of credit on their homes. HELC interest rates usually move up or down with the prime interest rates.

This week housing permit data also came out, with good news and bad. The results state November as the lowest housing permit month in history since 1975. The good news from this data is less homes being built mean some of the existing homes sitting vacant on the market will be purchased. The bad news is if home building permits are going down, it suggests local economies are struggling and decreasing as well.

It takes many trades and people to build homes. Plumbers, electricians, framers, engineers, designers, project managers, and the list goes on. With less homes being built these people have no where to work and that is not good or the economy.

So with all the bad news about the real estate market many questions come to mind. When will the real estate market find a bottom? When will we stop seeing more foreclosures across the nation? When will many of americans largest investments start seeing positive returns rather than declines in the double digits?

There is no one or two pieces of data that can lead you to the answer of when the real estate market is going to turn around. There are however a few economic factors that you can track locally to determine where your local market sits. Here are a few economic factors I suggest you track on a monthly basis. Rate of new house building permits, rate of existing homes sales, rate of foreclosures, and interest rates.

If you track these items on a monthly basis you should have a pretty good idea of when the real estate market will hit bottom, or when it does. When building permits increase, and existing homes sales increase it is a sign that better times are ahead.

For now if you are in a home that seems impossible to sell I suggest contacting a local home buyer or we buy houses representative in your area. They exist in every major city in the nation. They are not real estate agents but investors who are professional home buyers. You can talk with them at no cost and they can give you great advice about your best home selling options.


Sell A House Quick In A Slow Real Estate Market

October 2, 2008

The real estate market has not just slowed down, it is almost standing still. Each and every month there are more houses on the market for sale and les homes are sold. So how do you sell a house fast in the very slow real estate market? You have to find and receive an offer from the right home buyer for your house.

When it comes to selling your home you have very few options, especially if you need a quick sale. You can try to sell your house by yourself with a for sale with owner company. You can list your home with a real estate agent who will put your home on the multiple listing service and hope for a buyer. Or you can sell your home to a real estate investor who buys homes fast from motivated home sellers.

There are many reasons home owners need to sell their house quickly, hare are just a few.
Going through a divorce
Need to stop foreclosure fast
Inherited a property
Your house needs fixed up
You are being transferred by your job
You do not have enough equity to pay realtor commissions
You mortgage is going to adjust and you will not be able to afford the payment
Recent loss of job

The real estate market is very slow across the nation. The home that you used to love can quickly become a huge life anchor limiting you from happiness. This is why I recommend receiving a free, confidential, no obligation offer for your house from a local home buyer. They exist in every major metro market in the nation and they buy houses fast.

Not all real estate investors are out to take advantage of home owners. Many are hard working individuals who make a living from solving complicated real estate situations.
So in order to sell a house in this current economy I suggest using the sometime less obvious way to sell your house, your local home buyer. You will not have to pay any money and you can move from your house quickly.


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.


Frannie Mae and Freddie Mac are Finding Help

July 16, 2008

In an effort to find more and more assistance with the current real estate problems, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are in talks with the Treasury, White House officials and the Federal Reserve. In essence, both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are looking for ways to give additional financing for the struggling mortgage companies whose financial problems and ammount of homes in foreclosure are one of the bigger issues in the real estate sector.

What is one of the ways that Freddie Mac will help with their money problems? They are scheduled to sell roughly $3 billion in short term notes starting July 14th. In case they cannot find enough investors, they are negotiating for a backup plan.

Henry Paulson, the Treasury Secretary, is likely to make a planned announcement to reinforce his support for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae as both companies lost roughly 45% of their value in the past week alone. Since both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are an integral part of the success of the real estate market, their stability is essential. Both companies guarantee roughly half of the $12 trillion left in outstanding home mortgages in the United States.

In addition to the current sale of $3 billion in short term funds, the talks are looking at additional ways to fund the companies in case the businesses are unable to raise the capital in the future. One option involves company recapitalization, although neither Frannie Mae nor Freddie Mac want this much government involvement. The Treasurys main focus is to support Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae throughout their current financial state.

Currently, real estate experts estimate that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would have about $77 billion in losses before the government could step in for assistance. However, the plans and talks now are an effort to stem losses before they get any worse in the housing market. The auction scheduled by Freddie Mac will have both three month and six month reference bills in an effort to raise monies. The money will be used in mortgagee securities in future transactions. Unfortunately, the issuances do not have any asset backing, which prompts a great deal of speculation in the marketplace as to the potential for future loss and financial catastrophe. To compare, the mortgage backed securities are less likely to collapse since they are backed by home loans and additional assets.

There are additional hopes for financial investing in the future for both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. They have a number of different venues for capital and liquidity that they could access to stabilize the current financial status of these companies. In addition, they could gain access to a discount window offered by the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve would be able to jump in to assist in stemming the losses from these businesses and therefore help to stabilize a failing real estate marketand house values. However, the Federal Reserve spokesperson declares that the Federal Treasury has not yet had any talks about accessing funds for a direct loan from the central bank.


The Right Contractor to Prepare my House to Sell

June 24, 2008

Home improvement has become a hot topic and even hotter investment over the years. Many people are adding on and upgrading, educating themselves on the right home improvements and additions that will make their home and financial investment stronger so they can sell their house fast.

One of the top tricks to home improvement, however, is labor. From the start of the project to the end result, if you do not have a lot of experience in home construction, the best suggestion is to get the right contractor. If you do have experience in home construction, but will want a helping hand, the right contractor on your project can make all the difference.

It used to be that contractors would only entertain the idea of working with you if you had a lot of money or were a celebrity of sorts. Nowadays, however, with fewer and fewer people making significant hundreds of thousands of dollars types of home improvements, contractors have become easier to find. Many contractors now specialize in the side upgrades and improvements that the average homeowner is interested in to help improve your homes assessment. However, just because the contractor calls you back does not mean that he or she is the best person for the job. How can you tell if you have found the right contractor for your home?

What’s his reputation? Before you allow a contractor to make any serious changes to your house, it pays to see what he has done before. Call up other construction companies or other local industry experts like your favorite plumber to see what the contractor has done before. Use search engines to google his or her name to see if there are any comments online. One important thing to consider is how many references he has. Even a bad contractor could convince some clients that he did a good job. If the contractor has a long list of references, they are both experienced and well-liked. Doing your research now can save you future heartache when you go to sell your house and avoid foreclosure.

Does his business card have a local address? If the contractor gives you his physical address, he is much less likely to skip town and drop the job at your home. If he has a post office box, don’t immediately dismiss him, but you will need to get more information on this individual before you begin.

What are some things that should concern you? If the contractor wants cash up front and only cash will do, warning noises should be going off in your head. If he wants cash, he is most likely avoiding taxes and possibly doing other illegal actions like hiring illegal employees and other mischievous problems. If he balks at applying for the permit or would rather have you do it, do not hire him. Permits are a complicated and serious task and one of the top reasons you hire a contractor. If he is asking you to do it, it could mean that he does not have the right licensing or has been barred from doing it due to past indiscretions on other home jobs. No matter what, this is a bad sign for a future employee of yours.