Saturday, February 28, 2009

Real Estate Success

By:Alcides Hoy Jr.

In todays world everybody feels like buying real estate is just that simple. Many times it is the backstage tips that will allow us to flruish when it comes to property buying and selling. You have to ask yourself before WHAT DO I REALLY KNOW ABOUT REAL ESTATE? Here are some tips that could possibly change your life or better yet change the way you look and react toward buying and selling property.
When selling a home people minds are trained to search for the highest value. But in reality when we are in an economy that is so vulnerable hiking up the price will only hurt you. Your best bet is to keep your house at an affordable price so that you can seal the deal which is the main objctive. The longer it sits in the houses for sale pool, the more the price could be forced to drop. Also when selling make sure that the walk from the driveway to the inside of the front door sets the tone. Many times people want to see the appeal on the exterior in order to want to see the interior.
There are some sellers but almost twice as many buyers in the world. Many times you want to set the trend of the askign price. Do your reasearch to find out what the going price is on a the type of house you are buying and how long has it been sitting on the market. And lastly dont expect the unexpected because you could set yourself up for dissapointment. Overall as a home buyer and seller you need to have a strong business plan so that if one thing goes wrong you will have a counteraction for to get as close to success as possible.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

January existing home sales fall by 5.3 percent

Posted by Yen Ho
Written by Alan Zibel

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sales of existing homes unexpectedly plunged in January to the lowest level in nearly 12 years as pessimism about the economy grew and buyers waited for President Barack Obama's plan to help revive the U.S. housing market.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that sales of existing homes fell 5.3 percent to an annual rate of 4.49 million last month, from 4.74 million in December. It was the weakest showing since July 1997, and some analysts don't see sales bottoming out until later this year as prices continue to sink. Sales had been expected to rise to an annual pace of 4.79 million homes, according to Thomson Reuters.

"If Americans are worried they won't have a job next month, next quarter, or next year, you've got a real problem," Mike Larson, a real estate analyst with Weiss Research, wrote in a research note.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Taking Advantage of the U.S. Housing Slump

Posted By: Andrew Cho

As the US housing market slumps and the Canadian dollar rises, many Canadians are looking to buy a home in US vacation areas. Ozzie Jurock gives some tips for Canadians looking to buy south of the border.

Commercial Property Prices in U.S. Fell 15% in 2008

By Hui-yong Yu

Posted by Yen Ho

Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Commercial real estate prices in the U.S. dropped by almost 15 percent in 2008, more than home prices, with fourth-quarter depreciation the greatest in the national apartment market, Moody’s Investors Service said in a report.

The price decline eliminated the gains seen in 2006 and 2007 and returned values to 2005 levels, according to the Moody’s/REAL Commercial Property Price Indices. Prices fell 2.2 percent in December from November, said New York-based Moody’s.

Commercial values are now down more than 16 percent from their peak in October 2007, said Moody’s. The deepening recession is causing tenants to cut jobs and vacate space, bringing down building incomes, while the credit freeze is making it difficult to finance property purchases.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Capitalize On Foreclosures

By: Alcides Hoy Jr.

Put Some Skin In The Game

by D. Babbs

It seems like everyone wants to live the American Dream. They want the picket fences, high paying job, spouse, 2.5 kids, and of course, a house they can call home. However, getting a house is not an easy process and getting a mortgage loan, especially as a first time buyer, can be very complicated. One should consider putting a down payment on a home and not fall victim to those zero down payment plans.

Commonly referred to as “skin”, a down payment on a home has several benefits including the ability to qualify for a loan, borrowing less money to buy the home, getting a lower interest rate, and paying less for mortgage insurance. In addition, homebuyers will be able to take advantage of smaller monthly payments with a higher down payment. The amount of the mortgage down payment may vary, but generally you must make a down payment that equals at least 3 percent of the purchase price. Of course, the more you put down, the better, as along you have cash for emergencies and monthly expenses. Homebuyers will also need money for closing costs, which are about 3% to 5% of the purchase price.

The following list contains a few options to help homebuyers come up with their down payment:

· Set up an automatic saving plan.

· Take a loan from your 401(k) retirement plan and repay yourself with interest

· Sell a car, boat, motorcycle, collectibles or other assets.

· Liquidate stocks, mutual funds, savings bonds or other investments.

There are also several government programs that assist individuals in affording a down payment. These programs are for people who struggle to save a down payment, if the seller is motivated to contribute. However homebuyers should make sure they can afford monthly payments.

As with any major decision, one should do a lot of research. Take the time to educate yourself on the home buying process and compare any mortgage options to understand their pros and cons.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Biggest Cheerleader for Real-Estate Auctions

Posted By C. Brown
A $500-a-seat charity fund-raiser was sputtering in the hands of an amateur auctioneer, so a guest named Steven L. Good rose from his table and took the stage at the Ritz Carlton in Chicago. Relieving the amateur, Mr. Good talked a mile a minute, entertaining and cajoling a fortune out of the well-heeled crowd.

As a real-estate chief executive, Mr. Good was a self-promoter in the tradition of his role model, Donald Trump, but he promoted more than himself. Determined to dissociate real-estate auctioneers from livestock peddlers and used-car salesmen, Mr. Good strove to link his profession to high-end auctioneers such as Sotheby's and Christie's. Those efforts helped elevate the real-estate auction, long the last resort of desperate sellers, to a way of marketing premier properties.
"It can knock the top out of a good property, and Steve really helped develop that motif," says Mark Hale, a Chicago-area banker who sold countless properties through Mr. Good's firm, Sheldon Good & Co.
This month, the real-estate auction lost its biggest cheerleader. On Jan. 5, Mr. Good drove his red Jaguar into a forest reserve outside Chicago and shot himself. He was 52 years old. Relatives, friends and business associates say they don't know why he did it.

To Read More Click Here:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Foreclosed Homes - Not So Great!!!

by D. Babbs

Give people enough incentive, and they might take a risk on a home, says Brion Grant, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). His organization just released a study that sought to find out just how interested people might be in snatching up one of the rapidly growing number of foreclosed homes on the market, and found that two-thirds of Americans said they would consider buying a foreclosed home, even though only 2% had ever done so. Cheap houses abound, Grant said, as banks seek to unload the backlog of foreclosed houses.

Sun Belt states like California, Arizona and Nevada top the foreclosure lists, but even in Wisconsin, Madison real-estate agent Jennifer Lutzke said the number of foreclosures she's trying to sell has tripled in the past couple of years. To unload all these unwanted homes, she said, some banks have begun to change their deals. Many formerly allowed prospective buyers to pull an offer off the table if a home inspection found a major defect. Now, a few are switching to as-is deals, no longer allowing offers to be rescinded. "They want [the houses] off their books," she said.

Click here to read more

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Compass internet systems and U.S. bank announce“sales stimulus plan”for agents

Posted by Yen Ho

RISMEDIA, February 17, 2009-It doesn’t take a government proclamation to know that the Internet is where 84% of all residential real estate sales begin today, or that 92% of Internet buyers find their agent through a major search engine.

Unfortunately, however, the prolonged economic slump in the real estate business has many agents delaying key marketing decisions and otherwise holding on with every resource they can muster to get through this recession.

Besides being demoralizing, this also delays recovery for those agents who cannot budget the funds to put CompassSearch to work for them and enable them to start on the path to becoming an Internet Realtor. When this happens, the agents cannot develop the new source of leads that the Internet produces, nor can they adapt their sites to be found under specialties that are really hopping right now: things like short sales and foreclosures.

Read more

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mortgage Rates Fall

by Mike Hughes
During the past week, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell from 5.70% to 5.34%. The rate has fallen more than a full percentage point in three months. Additionally, the average 15-year fixed mortgage rate fell from 5.31% to 5.03%, and the average jumbo 30-year sank from 7.12% to 6.98%. Lastly adjustable rate mortgages dropped over the past week falling to 5.67% from 5.73% and the 5/1 ARM sinking to 5.37% from 5.5%. As mortgage rates edged off their six-week high set during the week of February 4th; investors began to sell stocks and buy Treasury’s, which lowered the yields and pulling down mortgage rates. According to Greg McBride, "We're going to continue to see volatility in mortgage rates between 5% and 6%. There's a tug of war between the Fed and the Treasury trying to push rates lower, and the volume of government debt issuances that pushes rates higher."

Demand for U.S. mortgage applications fell nearly 25% last week, as requests for loans to buy homes sank to an eight-year low. The Mortgage Bankers Association's seasonally adjusted home purchase applications index slid 9.8% in the past week, which is at its lowest level since the end of 2000. "In addition to waiting for the rate, you have home prices continuing to come down, so why would I pay $200,000 today when I can pay maybe $180,000 in a couple months or even $150,000," said Daniel Penrod, industry analyst for the California Credit Union League. Penrod also commented that due to the current state of unemployment, there is still a downward slope for non-foreclosure sales and prices. Analysts had also been predicting that at least a third of homeowners applying to cut costs by refinancing would be turned down because of more rigid lending standards, job loss or because their home values have fallen below the size of existing mortgages. On the upside, the $15,000 homebuyer tax credit that is part of the economic stimulus program adopted by the U.S. Senate would create nearly 500,000 home sales and add 255,000 jobs in the coming year.

Some big banks have cut back on doing business with mortgage brokers, and if this trend continues, many mortgage brokers could close down. However, fewer brokers could lead to a less competitive marketplace and more expensive home loans. Brokers say they perform a needed consumer service by monitoring offers from an array of lenders, picking and choosing the best deals, keeping rates low. Marc Savitt, president of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, suspects that banks like Chase thinks they can increase profits by cutting out the middlemen, but the added costs of bricks-and-mortar operations will ultimately make the business less efficient.

Rents Drop Nationwide as Vacancies Spike

by Prashant Gopal

Posted by Mike Hughes
The economic crisis has opened up opportunities for apartment tenants. The inventory of vacant apartments is expanding, and rents are dropping quickly in major metros across the country.
For renters with leases about to expire, it's time to negotiate. Landlords are working extra hard these days to keep units filled.
Of course, your ability to hold on to an apartment—especially a luxury unit—depends on how secure you feel about your own job. Americans lost about 2.6 million jobs in 2008 (mostly in the final quarter of the year) and are likely to lose millions more this year. They are losing money on stocks and other investments and are cutting back on costs by downsizing and moving in with family members or roommates as they hunker down for a deep recession.
Landlords, as a result, are forced to offer discounts to fill vacancies. Apartment vacancies spiked in September after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the eruption of the financial crisis.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Signs of Strong Housing Market

by D. Babbs

With lower home prices and attractive mortgage rates, 2009 will present plenty of bargains for real-estate shoppers. But as the historic bust continues, Americans everywhere are learning a painful lesson about homebuying: Property values don't always increase. People looking to purchase a home this year should make sure they're buying into a community that can support long-term value. With the help of housing experts, U.S. News & World Report compiled a list of the top six ingredients of strong housing markets:

1. A well-groomed neighborhood: Well-maintained homes and landscaping have a positive effect on property values in that community, says Joshua Dorkin, founder and CEO of, a real-estate networking and information site. By caring for the appearance of their homes, residents help to create a more aesthetically pleasing environment that future real-estate hunters will want to buy into. So when you're eyeing a home, make sure to take a drive through the entire neighborhood. Take note of how the neighbors care for their homes, lawns and gardens. "Run-down houses and abandoned cars are big red flags," Dorkin says.

Click here to read more

Mortgage Borrowing Today: What You Need to Know

Posted by Andrew Moran

NEW YORK ( -- If you're shopping for a mortgage these days, it's a whole new world out there.

"There have been a huge number of changes over the past few years in mortgage borrowing," said Gibran Nicholas, founder of the CMPS Institute, which trains and certifies mortgage advisors.

Of course, many of the subprime loans that helped fuel the housing boom - those that didn't require borrowers to show any proof of income, or that let homeowners make minimum payments - are are simply no longer available.

But even buyers looking for a traditional mortgage are now faced with different factors to consider.

Here is what you need to know:

Click here to continue reading...

Real Estate Appraisal

-Lionel Creech
This is the first of six Quicken Loan videos on real estate appraisal. They give you a simple outline of why you need to appraise your home properly and how to go about it.

My Home Is Worth What?!

Post by Yen Ho

With property values dropping and personal budgets tightening, the new tax assessments arriving in mailboxes throughout the Washington region are drawing close scrutiny from homeowners. If early appeals are any indication, more people will be seeking to get a break by having their home valuations reduced.

However, assessors point out that a stumbling real estate market may not translate to lower property taxes.

Appeals are already up sharply in Maryland, officials said. Assessments were sent Dec. 31 to Maryland homeowners whose properties were up for reevaluation. They have until Friday to appeal for this year. Most Virginia cities and counties and the District will mail their notices by March 1, and they generally give homeowners 30 to 45 days to appeal.

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Stimulus Bill Stokes Housing Hopes

By Joseph Alberici

A tax credit for home purchases is raising the hopes of the real-estate industry, which believes the credit could be just the stimulus needed to stabilize the housing market and get hesitant buyers to take the plunge.

A provision included in the Senate version of the recently passed stimulus bill would provide a tax credit for 10% of the purchase price of a home, up to a maximum $15,000. The measure would have to win backing from the House, which last week voted to repeal a provision that requires an existing $7,500 tax credit to be repaid over 15 years. That credit, which has income limits, applies only to first-time homebuyers, who last year accounted for about 40% of all buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The idea behind the broader Senate plan is to lure fence-sitting potential homebuyers like John Westerdale, a 47-year-old information-technology worker who has been shopping for a home for a year but has been reluctant to finalize a deal because of falling home prices. Sunday, he planned to visit a four-bedroom home listed at more than $500,000 in Ringwood, N.J., and said that if the credit is included in the final package, he'll speed up his plans to make his first home purchase. The tax break, he says, could help offset the possibility of further declines in home values. "The problem is, if you buy a house you'll have lost value in two months," he says.

Click here to continue reading.

Real Estate Myths

Sarah Horner
February 16, 2009

In this Article Barbara Corcoran discusses some of the myths many Real Estate buyers and sellers tend to believe.

"Buyer myth No. 1: The longer the house is on the market, the more you can negotiate."

"Buyer myth No. 3: You can’t buy a home today with less than 20 percent down."

Click Here to Read all 10 Real state myths.

Foreclosure FIX-Obama Administration

By: Corey Mutterperl

NEW YORK ( -- A day after Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said it would be a few weeks before he unveils a solution for the housing crisis, regulators and lawmakers pressed financial institutions to suspend foreclosures until the plan comes out.

Geithner, who laid out a broad overview of the Obama administration's plan to attack the financial meltdown, said Tuesday that the federal government would commit $50 billion to preventing foreclosures by reducing monthly payments. Details would be forthcoming, he said.

Until that loan modification plan is released, foreclosures should be halted, some say.

"I would ask all of you now to please make sure that we have a moratorium in effect," Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., told top bank executives at a hearing Wednesday. "It would be until we get that program, and until you know if people can qualify. Having someone suffer foreclosure because two weeks hadn't gone by for this program would be unacceptable."

The chief executives of Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) and Citigroup, (C, Fortune 500) two of the nation's largest servicers, told lawmakers they would agree to halt foreclosures temporarily. The head of Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) said it already has a moratorium in effect for loans serviced by Wachovia, which Wells Fargo acquired last year.

Foreclosures and Declining Home Prices

By: Corey Mutterperl

For the first time in a long while foreclosure filings fell for the month of January 2009.  The decline was a result of foreclosure moratoriums put in place by mortgage holders Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac as well as others lenders.  President Obama’s administration would like to suspend foreclosures for the principle residences of borrowers until a home loan modification program is started as part of the financial bailout program.  It is yet to be determined if this idea will be effective.  While some feel the moratorium will be productive, others feel that the moratorium is just putting off the inevitable.  Past cases have shown a deep drop in foreclosures during the moratorium, only to see them rise as soon as the moratorium is lifted.

Home prices for the fourth quarter of 2008 fell by the largest amount in the past 30 years.  This price decline was driven by foreclosure sales and short sales by banks.  In a lot of states, distressed home selling is accounting for most of the home sales, and is driving down prices.  Banks are sitting with so many properties, and having to maintain these properties, that they are willing to cut prices drastically just to unload them.  In addition, the jumbo mortgage market has dried up causing the sales of higher priced homes to slow considerably.  However, these lower prices are starting to bring new buyers into the market.  It is hoped that the economic stimulus package will help lift the housing market and get the economy back on track.


Real Estate in January 2009

Posted By C. Brown

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Obama Administration weighs plan to lower mortgage rates

Posted by Yen Ho

Written by Alan Zibel

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's administration is considering spending taxpayer dollars to cut monthly payments for homeowners on the verge of foreclosure, according to two people briefed on the proposals.

The deliberations came as lawmakers prepared to enact a new tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time homebuyers that is intended to boost the ailing housing market.

Details of the plans to aid troubled borrowers were not final but were expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks, according to the people who declined to be identified because the details were not yet complete. The effort would be part of a plan to spend $50 billion on foreclosure prevention and establish national standards for modifying home loans.

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Median home prices fell nationwide in 4Q

Posted by Yen Ho

WASHINGTON - Home prices fell in nearly nine out of every 10 U.S. cities in the fourth quarter of last year as low-cost foreclosures flooded the market and the housing market's decline spread nationwide.

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that median sales prices of existing homes declined in 134 out of 153 metropolitan areas compared with the same period in 2007. Sales fell in all but six states.

Nationwide, the median sales price was $180,100, down 12 percent from a year ago. But price declines of 30 percent or more were found in much of California, plus parts of Michigan, Florida, Arizona and Nevada. The biggest drop, of more than 50 percent, was in Fort Myers, Fla.

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Steps to take before you sell your home

5 Important Steps Before Selling a Home

Written By: Liwin Troy Lee

Before you go out and sell your home, it is a good idea to have Home Selling Plan. Otherwise you might be making a mistake by putting a “For Sale Sign” outside your house.

1. 1) Consider your reason to sell the home. If you are not committed or motivated to sell your home, you should not sell it.

1. 2) Look for a new home. Create a list of neighbors you may want to live in and drive there. Go to open houses to check out the homes. You can also look online. From here, decide whether it is better to get a new home or stay at your old place.

1. 3) Find a real estate agent to sell your home. Interview a bunch of agents and ask them their plan for selling your home. Ask about preparing to sell a home, pricing and repairs that needs to be done. Make sure you understand the process.

1. 4) Talk to a mortgage lender in your area. Find out how much loan you would be preapproved for.

1. 5) Sell your home before you buy. It is more profitable that way.

Home buying
Buy and Sell home guide
Home buying process



Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Who is able to refinance

By Michael Boshnack

The last time foreclosures were this prevalent in the United States was during the 1930's. During this time lenders were not willing to refinance outstanding mortgages so the government created the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) which refinanced US citizens, but at the governments risk if the borrower was unable to meet his/her loan obligations. 

A lot of people are trying to refinance given the fact that mortgage rates are unprecedentedly low right now, although it is not always so easy as banks have the same fear that occurred in the 1930s. 

The borrowers that it currently makes sense to refinance are the ones with loan balances over $400,000, due to the fixed costs associated with refinancing, have a credit score of above 800 and have more than 20% equity in their property. 

The reason banks are being so hesitant is because they need to securitize their loans that are often sold to organizations like Freddie and Fannie. Banks need to build the trust of these investment firms by being pickier about whom they give these loans out to. In addition, banks are making more and more borrowers get insurance on their loans to make it more appealing to buyers. 

For more information on this subject click on the links below

Geithner puts foreclosures on hold

By Michael Boshnack

"A day after Tim Geithner said, it would be a few weeks before he unveils a solution to the housing crisis, regulators and lawmakers pressed financial institutions to suspend foreclosures until the plan comes out.

Geithner who laid out a broad overview of the Obama administrations plan to attack the financial meltdown, said Tuesday that the federal government would commit $50 billion to preventing foreclosure by reducing monthly payments. Details would be forthcoming, he said. Until that loan modification plan is released, foreclosures should be halted, some say."

Real Estate Investment Tips

By Xavier Guerrero


My home is worth what?!

Copied and Pasted by Xavier Guerrero

With property values dropping and personal budgets tightening, the new tax assessments arriving in mailboxes throughout the Washington region are drawing close scrutiny from homeowners. If early appeals are any indication, more people will be seeking to get a break by having their home valuations reduced.

However, assessors point out that a stumbling real estate market may not translate to lower property taxes.

Appeals are already up sharply in Maryland, officials said. Assessments were sent Dec. 31 to Maryland homeowners whose properties were up for reevaluation. They have until Friday to appeal for this year. Most Virginia cities and counties and the District will mail their notices by March 1, and they generally give homeowners 30 to 45 days to appeal.

Some of the most headline-grabbing real estate trends, such as the soaring foreclosure rate, only indirectly affect assessments. Assessors usually review home sales records neighborhood by neighborhood and examine pricing patterns to update individual home values. They disregard homes that were foreclosed on, sold at fire sale or otherwise traded hands under what is considered to be duress.

But such transactions tend to pull down values of sales around them, and that shows up. Assessors say they are well aware that real estate prices have been falling and have built that into their latest valuations. For instance, in Fairfax County, officials estimate that assessments for the 340,000 homes on the tax rolls will decline by 10 to 14 percent this year. In the Sterling district of once-booming Loudoun County, the value of existing homes dropped an average of 31.1 percent. There, the trend is so disturbing to homeowners that some who are trying to sell have been calling the county assessor's office, complaining their valuations are too low.

However, it's much more common for homeowners to argue that the values are inflated.

For the conclusion of the article, click here.

Asset Allocation in these Hard Times

February 11, 2009
Sarah Horner

In an article entitled, "Time to redo your asset allocation," Cliff Pletschet talks about the best way to allocate your assets in this terrible economy. 

"An asset allocation, for those who might not know, is the process of apportioning investments among categories, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds and cash as a means of avoiding the risky practice of putting too much money into one type and thus endangering diversification. Diversification the everyday investor's chief ally, equally important as liquidity (the ability to sell investments without cost or delay) and transparency (the ability to track the current value of investments with ease on a regular basis).

For several years, I have suggested 25 percent in growth stocks, 20 percent in stock funds, 25 percent in mortgage funds and real estate investment trusts, 15 percent in electric utility and telecom stocks, 10 percent in Tennessee Valley Authority bonds and 5 percent in cash in money market funds or bank accounts.

Scratch that. My new asset allocation is 40 percent in blue chip growth stocks, ideally with good dividend yields, 15 percent in real estate investment trusts, 15 percent in electric utility and telecom stocks, 15 percent in TVA bonds, 10 percent in Owens Mortgage Investment Fund and 5 percent in cash in banks or money funds.

That loud noise you just heard was several professional advisors hitting the ceiling, ones who swear by a continually fluctuating asset allocation comprised of stocks and bonds. They want young investors to go heavily into stocks and old investors heavily into bonds, period. They want you to continually feel your age and alter your portfolio as your teeth lengthen (or fall out) on the mistaken belief (in my uneducated opinion) that bonds are safer than stocks."

Click here to read more!