Monday, April 12, 2010

5 Signs a Home Has Potential


The best deals on homes these days are often on properties that aren’t perfect.

Home shoppers looking for a great deal should keep these factors in mind when they are looking for a place with potential:

· Location, location, location. It’s still true that you get a better deal when you buy the worst house in a great neighborhood than you do when you buy a fancy house in a not-so terrific neighborhood.

· Less than 50 years old. Properties older than a half decade are likely to have more fundamental problems — like aging wiring, inadequate plumbing and sagging foundations.

· Livable floor plan. Buyers should select a home with a basic design they can live with. Once they start moving walls, they’re into big money.

· Light. Houses with the most potential have plenty of natural light.

· Good storage. Adding storage isn’t cheap, so it’s smart to choose a property that already has it.

Source: MSN.com, Marilyn Lewis (04/12/2010)  Photo ©Teresa Butler 2010. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

'Speed Decorating' Quickly Improves Property



Anyone planning to sell a home might be advised to read Jill Vegas’ Speed Decorating.” Vegas explains how to redecorate at minimum cost and maximum speed.

“Speed decorating,” she says, “is not about calling in contractors; it's about looking at a room and thinking about what you can do in a couple of hours, a week, to make it better."

Vegas offers these tips for anyone who needs to do a little high impact, low cost upgrading:

  • Clear out the clutter
  • Clean and repaint
  • Define the function of each room and then place furniture to accentuate that purpose  
  • Improve the lighting, adding bright light to work areas and soft light to bed and dining rooms
  • Use art and accessories to add drama and personality

Source: CNNMoney.com, Les Christie (03/17/2010) Photo ©Teresa Butler 2010. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 05, 2010

A Good Time to Buy a High-End Home


Some of the best housing deals are on high-end homes, many over $1 million. Some of them need TLC or they aren’t in the most-coveted locations. But there are plenty of desirable properties and lots of sellers who are getting impatient.

Buyers with cash have the best opportunities. Buyers who need a mortgage should move especially quickly. With the Federal Reserve ending its purchases of mortgage securities this month, the mortgage market is likely to rise from its current low level. Even if prices fall further, the rising cost of borrowing could eliminate any savings.

As Kenneth Rosen, chairman of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics at the University of California, says, this is a "very good time to be a buyer at the high end."

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Nick Timiraos and James R. Hagerty (03/27/2010)
Key Features of the New Housing Rescue Plan



The government’s newest housing rescue effort, which was announced Friday, includes these key tenets:
· As much as $14 billion of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) will be made available to pay for writing down second liens for loans whose borrowers refinance through the Federal Housing Administration.

· Lenders that facilitate refinances through the FHA will be required to write down the principal of the first mortgage by at least 10 percent so the home owner has a loan-to-value ratio no higher than 97.75 percent.

· Lenders of second liens will be offered incentives of 10 cents to 21 cents per dollar of principal they write down in connection with an FHA refinance.

· Borrowers who lose their jobs can apply to have their mortgage payments reduced for three to six months while they search for a new job.

· Borrowers with a payment still greater than 31 percent of income after they find a job will be considered for a permanent loan modification.

· To encourage more short sales and “deed in lieu” of foreclosure transactions in which the lender settles the loan for less than is owed, the government will double assistance to borrowers to $3,000 and increase incentives to subordinate lien holders and investors to $6,000.

Source: Reuters News (03/26/2010)