National Real Estate Blog
Closing short sales has been quite a challenge for real estate professionals since the real estate industry has been struggling, however Fannie Mae has introduced a new tool to help ensure a fair sales price during the process.
The Fannie Mae website provides many useful tips, FAQ's and helpful resources.
While the economy is struggling across the nation, many consumers are looking for ways to cut costs.One significant area that can be reviewed is your home insurance policy.
By making a few changes and tweaks here and there you could save yourself hundreds of dollars while improving your home value. According to a 2011 survey conducted by Trusted Choice, over 34% of the respondents were unaware of homeowners insurance discounts.
The following list is dependent upon the insurance provider:
1. Home security - If you live in a gated community you may be entitled to a discount, as gated communities have a lower rate of home invasion crimes. Having a security system in place or sometimes even just a deadbolt lock can knock off a few bucks!
2. Fire Safety - Installing smoke detectors is not just important for the safety of your family, but it can also lead to a discount on your homeowners insurance policy. Sprinkler systems and heat detectors are another possible discount on your insurance policy.
3. Disaster Resistance - Another important safety feature for your home that could bring you an insurance discount. Storm shutters, shatter-proof glass and roof reinforcement can often lead to a mitigation discount. In addition to these items, modernizing your plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems can reduce the risk of fire and water damage and makes underwriters smile.
4. Policyholder Discounts - If you haven't filed a insurance claim on your homeowners insurance in the last 10 years, ask about a discount. This can often lead to a 20% deduction; again this is dependent upon your insurance provider. Some providers even often discounts if you have been a long-time customer.
5. Other Discounts - Not all discount levels are the same in all of the states. Prices can vary from provider to provider, for example, while some companies offer senior discounts, some do not. It is always a good idea to ask your agent or representative what types of discounts they offer.
Compare your rates each year, just to make sure that you are getting the best deal out there. It's a competitive market and prices can change just as easily as our lives do.
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) report, mortgage applications dropped by 7.3%, applications for refinancing dropped 8% and the purchase index fell 4%.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Low interest rates have attracted new buyers and persuaded many home owners to refinance their mortgages, however, tightened credit restrictions still bar many borrowers from filing loan applications.
Further reports by the MBA state that the average rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose to 3.67% from 3.59% the week before.
Although home prices across the nation are still 29% below their peak, they jumped 8.1% during the 12 months that ended in January, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller 20-city home price index.
The steady home price increases are enabling recovery in the housing industry in an effort to add to the economic growth throughout the country. These higher home prices are believed to encourage potential home buyers into purchasing a home before the prices continue to rise. Another contributing factor to the increase in home sales is the record low mortgage rates.
According to Jonathan Basile, director of economics at Credit Suisse, Over time, persistently rising house prices also boost household wealth, make lenders more willing to lend because the asset theyre underwriting is appreciating, and ease pressure on local government budgets that get revenue from property taxes.
According to the summer 2012 Rent vs. Buy Report released by Trulia, buying homes is a better deal than renting considering all the top 100 cities across the country.
The study included a comparison of homes for sale and homes for rent on the Trulia site between June 1st and August 31, 2012. Taking into consideration a 3% mortgage, itemized income tax deductions and a 7 year time horizon before the home is sold Trulia says that "homeownership wins hands down".
According to Jed Kolko, Turlia's chief economist, "Homeownership is cheaper than renting in all of the 100 largest metros by a wide margin. Rents continue to rise faster than prices, and mortgage rates are near record lows. However, it is difficult to take advantage of homeownership in today's market, as the down payments are high and it takes a high credit score to qualify for a mortgage.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is currently working with mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to create new guidelines that will expand the eligibility criteria for the short sale process.
These new guidelines will include a more "streamlined" approach for homeowners that are in the most need. The new guidelines will also allow lenders to quickly and easily qualify homeowners for a short sale that are current on their mortgage payments, however are suffering from certain hardships, such as job relocation, unemployment and disability.
According to the NAR president, Moe Veissi, As the leading advocate for homeownership, Realtors know that when a family is absolutely unable to keep their home, a short sale is often the best option for homeowners hoping to avoid foreclosure. Realtors appreciate FHFAs efforts to increase the number of short sale approvals, which limit the losses incurred by homeowners, lenders, the federal government and taxpayers.
The implementation of the new guidelines should begin on November 1, 2012.
Bank of America released Thursday, that it will begin to test a foreclosure alternative pilot program in three states. This program is called the Mortgage to Lease program and will allow current underwater homeowners to transfer ownership back to Bank of America and in turn be allowed to stay in their homes and lease the property for up to 3 years. The homeowners outstanding mortgage debt will be forgiven and they will not be responsible for the taxes and insurance. The rental amount will be based off of current rental rates that are in the area, which may be considerably lower than the homeowners current mortgage payment. To qualify the homeowners must be at least 60 day past due on their mortgage payments and owe more than what their home is worth. At this point Bank of America is only testing about 1,000 properties in Arizona, Nevada and New York.
This pilot will help determine whether conversion from homeownership to rental is something our customers, the community and investors will support, Ron Sturzenegger, an asset servicing executive of Bank of America, stated in a released statement. If the community, customers, and investors support this then Bank of America will begin to sell these properties to investors, that agree to keep the occupants as tenants.
If this proves to work, this may be another alternative than the customary alternatives homeowners are offered such as a loan modification, deed in lieu, or a short sale. Many people believe that this is a good thing as it will slow the amount of foreclosed properties hitting the market and will allow property values to start to stabilize. What are your thoughts about this pilot program?
Tropic Shores Realty
Homeownership is experiencing the lowest rates seen in 13 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau Reports. The homeownership rate reached a record high of 69.2% during the second and fourth quarters of 2004, a sight not seen in 7 years. In June of this year they dropped to a low of 65.9%, in an annual comparison.
There is talk of the Obama Administration considering a plan that would not only take a large portion of the foreclosed homes off the market, but will provide more homes available to rent. This move is in an effort to prevent the drop of home values, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Existing home sales dropped in June by .08%, however home prices took a slight incline, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The gains in the Midwest and the South offset the loss in the Northeast and West.
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