Monday, August 31, 2009

Tips for Painless Appraisals

Although much of what needs to be done before the closing is the responsibility of others - appraisers, loan processors, and inspec­tors. Your remaining involved helps ensure that others do their jobs promptly and correctly and that the closing isn’t jeopardized. This article will give you some great tips for avoiding appraisal problems, five common flaws in residential appraisals, and five helpful strategies on what to do if you appraisal comes in too low. Click here to read.

Assuring Accurate Appraisals

An appraisal of a home is always supposed to be a fair, impartial and professional evaluation of a prop­erty's true value and not under pressure from special interests. The risk-management tool is designed to assure the owner gets a fair price, the buyer pays the right price and the lender's risk in making the loan is commensurate with the property's true value. Appraisers are typically hired by the lender to protect its stake in a home buying transaction. However, both the seller and the buyer can play a role in the appraisal process through a process of due diligence known as looking over the lender's shoulder. Continue reading.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First-Time Buyer Tax Credit Extension Possible

Congress is considering a measure that would extend the first-time home buyer tax credit and potentially raise the maximum credit to $15,000. Read more...

Strong Gain in Existing Home Sales

Existing-home sales increased for the fourth month in a row, the first time in five years that's occurred. Read more...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Short Sales: The Basics

Due to current economic conditions, the number of short sale properties on the market is rising. Clicking here will show you more information on: short sales and their challenges, the government's efforts to address these challenges, and tools to help you navigate the short sale process.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Uptrend Continues in Pending Home Sales

Pending home sales are up for the fifth consecutive month. NAR's forward–looking Pending Home Sales Index for June indicates signed contracts rose 3.6 percent to an index level of 94.6 from an upwardly revised reading of 91.3 in May. The last time there were five consecutive monthly gains was in July 2003. "Historically low mortgage interest rates, affordable home prices, and large selection are encouraging buyers who've been on the sidelines," says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "Activity has been consistently much stronger for lower priced homes." Yun says households thinking about buying should act soon to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers, because they must close on the sale by November 30, which is when the credit expires. Watch and link to a video interview with Yun on the latest index reading

5 Tips when Shopping for a Mortgage

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Tips for Getting a Good Appraisal

The owner of an appraisal firm has some suggestions for getting an accurate assessment of a property's value. Read more >

Tracking Global Housing Prices

Housing prices are a bellwether of economic conditions. The Global Property Guide tracks house price changes for the year ending with the latest quarter for which they have data, compared with price changes for the equivalent previous year-long period. They publish both inflation-adjusted and nominal data. Current data available covers 2008 and through 1Q 2009.

High Risk; High Reward Markets

For those with a high tolerance for risk with the potential for reward, Overseas Property Mall has published a list of five markets identified as among the most lucrative for long-term property investors. They are: Albania, Panama, Brazil, Tunisia and Philippines. For REALTORS® and their clients looking long term, the following countries may offer the best opportunity for a big pay-out. To be selected for this list by Overseas Property Mall, the destination had to have a growing economy, a stable investment environment, and be a great place to vacation. Read more about these growing markets.

July 2009 Real Estate Market Report

Pending sales for detached homes sales in all the Southwest Multiple Listing Service market areas are up .46 percent from the previous year. Closed sales are up 13.25 percent from June 2009 and 4.40 percent from July 2008. Dollar volume of closed sales indicates a -2.89 percent decrease from July 2008, which is a signficant reduction from the -15 to -40 percent range seen over the last 23-months.
Read the full July 2009 Monthly Market Report

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

FHA Program to Help Struggling Home Owners

The newly enhanced FHA Making Home Affordable Loan Modification program will help cash-strapped home owners reduce their monthly mortgage payments and stay in their homes, NAR says. Read more >

Home Sales Still Rising!...

Pending U.S. home sales rose in June for the fifth straight month, another encouraging sign of life for the embattled U.S. housing market, the National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday.
For June, the Realtors group said its pending home sales index rose 3.6 percent to 94.6, from an upwardly revised reading of 91.3 in May. The last time there were five consecutive monthly gains was July 2003.
The results were far better than analysts expected. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the index to come in at 91.2.
The report tracks signed contracts to purchase previously owned homes and is considered a barometer for future home sales. Typically there is a one- to two- month lag between a sales contract and a completed deal.
The jump in pending home sales coincides with other positive trends in the residential real estate market.
"The housing market is healing and the patient is getting healthier at an accelerating pace," said economist Joel L. Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors Inc.
For the first time in five years, home resales have risen for three months in a row, increasing almost 4 percent in June. Low prices, attractive mortgage rates and a first-time homebuyers tax credit of up to $8,000 have kick-started sales.
"Because housing is so affordable in today's market, job security and the first-time buyer tax credit are bigger factors in influencing home sales," said Lawrence Yun, the Realtors group's chief economist, in a statement.
Also Tuesday, homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc. said its fiscal third-quarter losses shrank from the year-ago period, as it took smaller charges against the falling values of its land and unsold homes.
D.R. Horton's results followed similar numbers from Pulte Homes Inc. and Centex Corp., which reported quarterly earnings Monday that showed new-home orders picked up during the first half of the year.
Yun said he expects existing home sales to gradually rise over the balance of the year, with conditions varying around the country.
"It appears home sales are on a sounder footing and inventory is gradually being absorbed," he said.
Regionally, the pending home sales index jumped 7.1 percent to 100.7 in the South and 2.9 percent to 100.4 in the West. The index inched up 0.4 percent to 81.2 in the Northeast, and up 0.8 percent to 89.9 in the Midwest.
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press.

Deed of Trust or Mortgage?

When someone borrows against a piece of Real Property using a Mortgage, they (the borrower) maintain Title to the property, and the Mortgage is a Lien on that property.

When someone borrows against Real Property using a Deed of Trust, the property is deeded to a neutral third party called a Trustee. This Trustee holds title to the property, and distributes title to the property under the terms of the Deed of Trust. If the borrower (called the Trustor) pays off the loan, title is given to the borrower. If the borrower fails to pay as agreed, the Trustee has the power to hold a public auction, and sell the property for the benefit of the lender (called the beneficiary). Just as with the Mortgage, the funds from the sale would go first to paying off the beneficiary (lender) and anything above that would go to the borrower, if there are no junior lien holders (2nd mortgage, ect.).

To foreclose on a mortgage takes 6 months and thousands of dollars, where as a Deed of Trust takes 3 months and an attorney.