I think that there are still challenges in today’s real estate market in either buying or selling a house. Suffice it to say that there are a lot of folks who owe more than what their home is worth (“underwater”). There are enough people who have credit problems because of the recession that started in 2007. Lots of recent college graduates are strapped with student debt and no jobs and living at home. The economic “recovery” has begun but it is taking forever. And certainly the banks and mortgage companies have not eased up that much on underwriting criteria for buyers. An average credit score to get a conventional mortgage is still almost in the mid 700s. FHA and VA are still options but I think we need to do a better job in spreading the word on those programs and how they work. Plus there are concerns regarding FHA continuous funding. FHA mortgage insurance premium is the highest of any program and never goes away until you finally sell.
I would speculate that with the uncertainty of the economy, that customers are just reluctant to take the risk in owning.
I’ll offer a few alternatives that you might consider in getting into the housing market. I mean you have to live somewhere. Might as well be a place of your own. Here are three for your consideration.
1. Rent with an option to buy. Probably the most well-known and popular. However it can be the most misunderstood program. An “option” is exactly that. You enter into a lease to rent a home and you agree with the owner that at some point in time you will, or will not, exercise the option to buy the house at an agreed upon price. You may or may not have put up any money toward that option at the lease signing. You and the landlord may have decided that a portion of the rent goes toward the purchase price or the option. Just remember if you don’t exercise the option, you just remain a tenant and have no ownership rights. Whether you get any money back is determined by the terms of the option agreement.
2. Lease purchase , land contract or installment contract. Buyer and Seller enter into an agreement of sale for the purchase of property. The sellers maintain the title to the property during the term of the contract and the buyers have an equitable interest. A note of caution here to both parties. If the seller has an existing mortgage on the property there may be and probably is a “Due on Sale ” clause in the mortgage documents. This will indicate that if any transfer of equity occurs then the entire loan will become due in full immediately. Depending on the size of the existing loan, this could cause some major problems for both buyer and seller. Any real estate agent worth their salt will check all recorded documents before proceeding with a proposal. A good real estate attorney needs to be involved for each party. If there is no mortgage , then the owner can act as the bank and transfer title to the buyer . Depending on any down money and credit obligations the equity build up is subject to negotiations at the time of the offer. Again I would recommend a good real estate attorney get involved with any preparation for both buyer and seller.
One nice benefit of this type of transaction is that the buyers can get the tax benefits of home ownership.
3. New program. Just heard about this one. A company buys the home for you and the client enters into an agreement of sale to purchase the property within a certain period of time, i.e 5 years. You put up a down payment of 5 or 10% and pay a 3% admin fee to the company at the time of occupancy. You get the house and its yours to live in as a renter at an agreed upon monthly rent and purchase price. The big difference between this and the rent with option is if you do not get a mortgage by the end of the term you get your down payment back. They keep the 3%. You also agree to a 2-3 % annual rent increase during the term. Again this program is for people who have not been able to qualify for a normal mortgage because of unusual catastrophic circumstances. Lost a job, unusually high medical bills, and then lost a home through foreclosure or just had some hard times and are trying to work yourself back. That’s why you agree to a 5+ term. And of course if you can a mortgage sooner, there is no prepayment penalty. There are some additional features. Give me a call and we can discuss some additional details.
A few “options” to think about. Just leave me a comment. Contact me via Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter or the old fashion ways of email, email@example.com or cell phone 6107372310
Haven’t played Jeopardy in a while or watched it on TV. But I always thought that the premise was a good one. Give someone the answer and see if they can come up with the right question. It occurred to me that I am usually walking around with what I think are all the right answers to all kinds of questions. I guess I might now recognize that I am somewhat pretentious in my conclusion. I guess I need your help. How about I give you some answers and you give me what you think are the right questions. Hopefully, I can learn something with you and become a better agent.
You know, years ago when I first got into the Real Estate business, I had a Broker who told me “Sam, you don’t sell real estate, you solve people’s problems”. That’s stuck with me and I think I have done a pretty good job in asking the right questions to solve those problems. But I think its time to get the customer’s take on this and get you to ask some questions. Anyway, lets see where we go with this and work together. I’ll give you the answer. You let me know what the questions should be. I’ll look at your questions and post them later to get some other folks to chime in if they think you are right wron. Let me give you an example. 3.5% down payment is the answer. The question might be,” What is an FHA mortgage ? ” Okay, lets give it a try.
1. Seller Assist is the answer. What is the question? This is the format which I won’t repeat every time. You’ll get the drift.
2. No down payment required
4. Buyer’s Agent
5. Seller’s Agent
6. Multiple Listing Service
8. Radon Gas
9. Short Sale
10. Transunion, Experian, Equifax
11. Title Insurance
13. 2 years worth of tax returns
14. A real estate agent
15. Purchase offer
Okay, that’s enough for now. Give it a shot. Either comment below with your questions or email me if you like. The more I think about it there can be several different questions for the answers. In addition here is a podcast that will explain how one might go about purchasing a multi family home where you can live in and collect rent to help pay for your mortgage. If you would like to pursue that let me know. It can be challenging , but it can be the start of a pretty good investment portfolio.
Contact me at 610-737-2310 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Appreciate it.
I’m not one who just takes recent economic news as gospel. But having said that, it does look like we are moving forward with a better housing market. Just take a look at this recent post by Don DeZube of the National Association of Realtors. Spring Market. You have to admit its pretty positive. The increases are slight but are running ahead of last year. The office that I manage is up about 6% over last year. That includes all categories: average sale price, less time on the market, list price of homes, total volume sold and total listing volume.
If there is one problem, it’s that we do not have enough good salable properties on the market. The buyer demand is there and we find ourselves in multiple offer situations. The sellers are happy but the buyers are not. One cause for the shortage certainly can be attributed in part to thousands of properties still”underwater”, that is, the owners owe more than the house is worth. Banks are slow in approving possible short sales. Also the Feds have not extended the “debt forgiveness ” provision that allowed sellers to escape the tax consequences of such a sale. There is also some implication that lenders are holding back millions of stalled foreclosures from the market in the hope that rising prices will allow the lenders to recoup a larger return of dollars at the “Sheriff Sale”. Who knows…Plus under the new QM rules (Qualified Mortgage), underwriting guidelines are making it much harder for the average home purchaser to qualify for a mortgage.
Lenders are trying to address the above issues by loosing up certain underwriting criteria. Credit scores of 620 and in some cases 550 will get you into a home. The fact that mortgage applications for all types of loans are off in some cases 60% from last year might be one reason that lenders are looking for business with less than a truant officer’s mentality. If they don’t lend it, they are not going to make it. Not rocket science.
Here is an explanation to help you better understand the “QM” rules.
One last thing that I have mentioned several times. If you are in financial trouble, wondering about whether you can stay in your home because you are behind in your mortgage, are considering bankruptcy or in a reverse mortgage and you have any questions, please give me a call. Don’t do anything drastic until you have a chance to talk to a professional. I can recommend several that can help. Call me at 6107372310. No obligation.
I don’t have a clue. Used to be able to gauge the housing market by what’s going on in the Stock Market.
I gave up on that comparison a long time ago. To me it makes absolutely no sense. How can a barometer of the economy change so fast. I mean really, up 200 points one day, down 225 the next. I saw a pundit on a business show the other day that said traders are now using computer programs that make changes in a nano second. How is that possible? They buy, sell and set the tone for the market before you or I even have a chance to act before our first cup of coffee. Crazy…. There is a thing called “Penny Stocks”. Companies that are looking for money and issue stocks that are worth literally less than a penny a share. Okay…… I’ll buy a hundred shares for a dollar? Still sounds like a night at the Casinos to me. Kinda like playing the penny slot machines. Maybe I’ll hit it big and get a 1000% return.
Wall street might be a dead-end for the average family. But then there is the housing market. The great banking debacle of 2007 seems like a generation ago. Mention to a millennial that their grandparents actually had double-digit interest rates when they bought their first house, they look at you like you have two heads. But it’s 2014 and there is a zero point 30 year fixed rate at 4.875%. Pretty good. The values of homes are rising again and home owners are looking at increased equity. Buyers are coming out of hibernation but are still a little unsure of how to go about that purchase. One thing that is a must, is that both buyers and sellers have to be reasonable in negotiating.
Credit is still a concern but there are programs to address the buyer with as little as 580 credit score. How can that be? I have always said that there are only a few ways that banks can make money. The main way is to lend it. The refinance boom is over for lenders. That means they have to go after purchasers of homes who need mortgages. Now is a great time to be a buyer and negotiate with a lender for a great rate. For a really concise explanation of the current market and what you might need for a down payment and minimum credit scores for potential buyers, listen to this podcast.
There is no getting away from the financial trauma we all experienced over the last several years, but the housing market is coming back and there is no better investment for the average family. The volatility of the stock market is something that a lot of us just don’t want to risk, at least not right now. There’s something about an”Inverted Yield Curve” that leaves me wondering what it all means. Call me for housing info at 6107372310. Or email me at my new email address email@example.com
I think you know what I mean. Its inevitable. But I guess I anticipate the tax portion of this phrase with utmost dread every year. April 15, or some day real close when the government comes a calling and tells me to pay up. God I hate it. and I always pay. Oh I know what some you are thinking… you always get money back. How come I don’t. Well because I basically don’t want to give the government the use of my money interest free all year-long. That what it is. They take it out of my paycheck send it in and then those spend happy bureaucrats use it all year-long without so much as a thank you let alone any interest on it. Where’s the fairness in that?
No, I’ll take my chances in taking as many exemptions as I can to get as much cash as I can in my paycheck. I’ll pay up once a year and the penalty. But in the meantime I am using the money for me and my family. But ideally I should zero out, no refund, no penalty. I’m working on that.
But regardless,you can’t escape. But the good news is, if you are a home owner and borrowed money to purchase the home ,the mortgage interest is deductible. That, along with any property taxes that you pay. Pray to God that our leaders in Washington stop trying to eliminate these deductions from the average homeowner. That fact that we are almost 18 trillion dollars in debt as a country, leaves little doubt that they will continue to come up with creative waves of separating you from your hard-earned money.
It really is a war. Us fighting to keep it, and them fighting to take it. And even death won’t free you from the tax man. Your federal estate is taxable over 5.4 million dollars and in some states like Pa. the inheritance tax can be as high as 20%.
Because of the terrible economic situation that has occurred since the crash of 2007-2008, many folks have found themselves owing money to the Federal government when they thought they were out of the woods and on the way back to stability. Let me give you some examples.
1. Selling your home short. This is where you received the okay from your lender to sell your home for less than what you owe. Up until the end of 2013, there was no income tax due on debt forgiveness by a lender for an owner occupied single family home. This exclusion expired at the end of 2013 and Congress has shown no interest in extending this provision. So if you sell underwater in 2014 you may owe a big fat tax bill to Uncle Sam. The only way to escape this is to file Bankruptcy or be declared “Insolvent” by the IRS. There is a difference. Talk to a lawyer and an accountant about these alternatives.
2. Forgiveness on credit card debt. This is similar to the above scenario except there has never been an exclusion. I have met several folks who have worked long and hard to rearrange credit card debt only to receive a 1099 C from the credit card company indicating that the debt is forgiven but now report it to the IRS as income.
It really is a shame that folks are trying hard to work out some equitable solution to pay their bills and find out that the hole is some cases is deeper.
Because of situations I mentioned, it is getting harder and harder to reestablish oneself for the possible purchase of a home, let alone pay off debt. But there is hope. Did you know that you can buy a house and get a mortgage after a discharged bankruptcy. Also if you lost a home to foreclosure, yes you can buy another house after a period of time. There are some new credit caveats for sure, but it is possible. If you are in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy your time frame is even quicker. Chapter 13 is when you are actually making payments to a creditor under court supervision.
Look, we all have problems. Some are financial, some are medical, some are emotional. But I am one of those guys that feels if you recognize your limitations and mistakes and are willing to keep on plugging for you and your family, then don’t give up the dream. That’s why I’m here, to discuss the options and give you some advice. Those experts that I can suggest you meet with will help you, not for free, but they won’t break the bank for you again.You owe it to yourself and those you love. But you have to take the initiative. Call me and get started. 6107372310. The first meeting with me is on the house. Click here for some additional 2013 tax tips.
Internet, smart phone,voice mail, email,Facebook. What do they all have in common? Heck this one is easy. They all allow so-called communication between two or more people without any overt face to face interaction. No, you can’t count Skype.You know you all have heard or seen the story, or perhaps you actually participated in the event, where two or more people are at some location, function, or event, where or at least the majority of people are transfixed on their cell phones and everyone is texting, emailing or Facebooking to someone else and are not even looking or speaking at the person next to them. By the way is Facebooking really a verb?
I’ll probably be accused of paranoia or at a minimum some old senior member of the real estate community who just doesn’t quite get it. They will say this is not the wave of the future but it is the present. It’s reality, and get on board. Well I think, notwithstanding my age, I get around pretty good in the Digital Age. I am Linked In, Facebooked, Pinned, Twittered and am blogging away. But I know from my long life in the Real Estate profession, that after searching online for their dream house, buyers want to talk to somebody for advice, they want to go out and look at the house, drive by the neighborhood, go inside, look at the carpeting, paint and room sizes. They want to smell the air inside to see if there were smokers in the house, if it smells like, cat, dog or a beauty salon. A Buyer is not going to get the “feel” for those things just looking online. And most importantly, they want to be with a professional who can provide decent council about the house. Here are some additional tips on preparing yourself before you buy. Tips
If you are a seller , can you really be objective about the house where your kids were born, or where you grew up? Maybe you really liked all of that Flock wallpaper when you lived there. Or those metal kitchen cabinets that you painted 3 times different colors over the last 20 years. And 1 and half baths were just fine for your family of 5 and you never had any problems with the 20 year stove, refrigerator or the dark walnut paneling in the family room or finished basement. You get the drift. If you are honest with your self, if you are a seller, here are some examples of things you can do to get your house ready. Click here.
I guess what I am saying that if you want to sell or buy a home and you think you can do it by yourself using only digital and social media marketing; then maybe you might want to rethink your purchasing and selling strategy. Go with an agent and touch the house, feel it, see it and ask a million questions. If your selling home sweet home, look that agent straight in the eye and make him give you no baloney answers on what you need to do to get it sold. You might have to spend a few dollars, but it might save you some eye strain staring at those digital devices. And you might make a connection with someone who will become a trusted adviser.
Did you know that you need to have good credit to apply for a mortgage? Did you know that you have to have a job to get a mortgage? Did you know that you have to have a down payment to get a mortgage? Surprised??? Well you might be if you are one of those folks who witnessed and participated in the debacle that occurred in 2007-2008.
Yes, it was loose lending. It seemed like anyone could get financing if they needed it. I won’t go into actual cases right now. I’ll save that for another blog or a beer at a local gin mill. Suffice it to say, it was nuts. There were companies that were even giving home equity loans in addition to first mortgages at a closing with a credit card to top off the craziness.
Well now we have Dodd-Frank which are new rules and regulationss passed by Congress and signed by the President to govern how lenders must apply stricter standards for getting new mortgages by a consumer. Dodd-Frank also established the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, to make sure that the financial mess doesn’t occur again. It provides an avenue for a consumer to file a complaint against a lender if they feel they are being cheated or question how the process is being utilized as they attempt to get a loan of any kind. You can visit them at their web site at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/The goal is admirable but they have no oversight. They are basically an independent organization working through the Federal Reserve, which has no Congressional oversight. A problem I think which needs to change in a hurry. They have to be responsible to somebody!
So what can you expect if you need a mortgage.
1. A down payment. As little as 3 1/2 % down with an FHA mortgage. A credit score minimum of 620, depending on the lender. Conventional loan, 5% down with a minimum credit care in the 700+ area, again depending on the lender.
2. You need to prove your income. W2’s are fine but if you are self employed and are dealing with a lot of cash and you have large write offs, you are going to have to submit copies of your most current income tax filings. I can’t help you if you are showing very little income or substantial losses. The lenders are not going to buy it.
3. All funds have to be tracked even if they are gifted funds. So if uncle Louie is going to give you the money, the lenders are going to want proof that he didn’t borrow it from somebody. You need to get into your account at least 3 months before you need to verify it with a lender. If you are a veteran you can borrow everything including all of the down payment. And by the way thanks for your service. Love you folks.
4. Debt load. The old 28% of your gross monthly income towards principle, interest, insurance and taxes is probably a safe benchmark to determine a monthly maximum payment. You can safely add another 8% of your income to other debt and figure you can still qualify. In some cases lenders will allow you to go as high as 41% on the back end to qualify. I see this mostly in Government loans. But be conservative. You have to make the payment. Talk to me and I’ll give you a range of loans that you can afford based on the type and down payment.
Really what has occurred is that we have returned to a normal mortgage lending situation. A consumer really has to be able to afford the loan. And other than veterans, one really has to have some”skin in the game”that is, a down payment. No more interest only loans, no negative amortization loans, where you are interest short on the payment. No more no documentation loans where all you had to do is tell the loan officer how much you earned without proving written verification. In other words, the truth is back and they are checking to make sure of it. If you need some help in navigating some of these new old rules for getting a loan before you start your home shopping , then give me a call at 6107372310. I’ll be glad to help you. If you are in the market for a home and you meet an agent that does not ask you pre qualifying financial questions and tries to pass you off to a mortgage lender quickly, I would doubt that the agent has the knowledge or the desire to really engage you and provide you with sound financial advice. Keep searching.
Real Estate Agents are always put in a position of representing somebody. Most of us tend to think of an agent as either representing the seller or the buyer. Pennsylvania law requires that once an agent meets a consumer for the first time and there is a “significant discussion of real estate” that we are required to give them a written disclosure regarding the different kinds of representation that we can provide. The client has to acknowledge that disclosure in writing. It doesn’t bind the client to the agent. It’s just that it proves that the agent has done his or her due diligence in complying with the law. There is no contract at this time.
There is also the tricky position an agent is put in if a consumer calls the real estate office for the first time and begins to engage in a “significant discussion regarding real estate”. There is particular language that an agent must use and disclose to the consumer again regarding representation. To say the least it can get to be a little unusual and uncomfortable for both parties especially if the customer is just calling to find out where the property is or whether it has 3 or 4 bedrooms. We are not lawyers but sometimes you wonder how close we come. It really gets complicated if you have to explain the differences between buyer, seller, transaction brokerage(No representation) or Dual or Designated Agency. Dual Agency is when the client purchases the listing agent’s property and Designated Agency is when the client wants to purchase another home through the agent’s office listed by a fellow agent in that office. Oh yeh, that puts the broker of the company in a dual agency position.
Did you get all that? I can assure that even some experienced agents don’t get it. Where does the rapport development come in? Where does the need determination start by the agent? I have to ask you some questions. I don’t want to interrogate you like we are in some court. There is this “dance” that occurs between the agent and the potential client. I want to comply with the law but I don’t want to offend the customer.
Let me get back to that “little secret” that will help you in negotiating with either the buyer or seller in a transaction. When you decide you want to either buy or sell a home and you are checking out agents to assist you. Ask them right up front “Are they going to represent you” In other words are they going to work for you on your behalf. Are the going to keep everything you tell them confidential, are they going to use their negotiating skills to get you the best deal possible. Do this up front and before you give them any information ask them to put that obligation in writing. In the case of the home for sale , a listing contract that will spell out their obligation to work on your behalf to get the highest and best price for your home. In the case of the buyer, a buyer agency contract that obligates the agent to find you the best home for the best price. In either case, you the consumer make the final decision. But the point is, if you do this up front in writing then you have something that you can enforce if you feel that the agent isn’t representing you in your best interests.
The written contract is usually not a problem with a listing,that is, an owner who wants to sell his or her home. No one is going to do anything regarding the marketing of that home until there is contract. Representing a buyer is a usually a different story. A lot of buyers do not want to feel obligated to one agent. Fine shop around, but one more little secret,do not disclose any personal information as far as your financial, bottom line pricing or other personal information, until you have a contract with that agent. As far as a fee you can negotiate that in with the Buyer’s Agency Contract , so that the fee can actually come from the seller at the time of settlement.
I guess as a final note and it isn’t any secret , before you pick someone, make the contacts, make sure they provide you with Consumer Notice , understand representation, make the agent commit in writing and then discuss confidential information.
Need some help on this topic and just want to chat about it? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 610-7372310.
I am getting more geekitized the older I get. I really have become fascinated with all aspects of Social Media and the profound ramifications that it has on the practice of my business, which is selling houses and helping buyers find their dream homes. I don’t feel like I am a johnny come lately to this era but it has been a learning experience. Here are some ways that I promise I’ll stay connected with you and get results.
1. Facebook. This blog is linked to my Facebook page and will also provide us with an opportunity for a 2 way communication. I’ll try to keep the blog real estate related but I have to say I can slip out of that on occasion . I love the Military and the men and women who serve and have served. You will pick up my bias.
2. Linked In. Purported to be more of a business venue, I am glad to participate, and though the professions are diverse , they all need advice on real estate. Be glad to give you mine.
3. Twitter. 140 characters to get your point across makes a lot of sense in initiating a conversation. I have to get better at this to get my point across quickly. It will be a tease but then I hope you will contact me for an in depth analysis.
4. Pinterest. I am new to this site but I like the chance to “Pin” and also to provide pictures and video to get a real sense of visual reality of one’s opinion.
5. Google Plus. The big bad boy of internet everything. How can you not be aware of Google and ignore its power.
The fact of the matter it really has a way to go to match Facebook as far as popularity, but can’t be ignored.
There are a plethora of other contact venues but I’ll start with the above to get you to discuss what’s on your mind. I’m pretty easy. And of course I am open and eager to interact with you on any platform that you might think beneficial. In fact, please give me your recommendations. Look forward to hearing from you.
There is nothing I like to do in this world than to be with my grandkids and mess around. I also love my job in helping and advising folks on the purchase or sale of their home. I have been doing it for over 35 years. There is something about watching the excitement in the eyes of the first time home buyer or the satisfaction from a senior citizen (me by the way) when he or she is able to move on, supplement their nest egg and enjoy a nice retirement.
Well, I don’t plan on retiring anytime soon. I like working. Besides, I am not a big hobby guy. I am sure my wife Gloria would get tired of me real fast following her around like some puppy dog while she does her thing with her girlfriends. Forget it.
I gladly prognosticate on the future of the real estate market. What are you waiting for? If you are a buyer, rates are still low. Under 5%. Prices are still reasonable. But they are starting to creep up. Mortgage lenders are aggressively going after FHA and 5% down buyers. Foreclosures are down and a lot of folks are pulling out of their underwater status. And they have to sell.
Now all this doesn’t mean we will have the free for all that we had in the early 2000’s when you didn’t even need a job to get a loan. Thank goodness those days are over. But don’t let those that have a home and are not in my business given you a bunch of baloney that you need an 800 credit score to get a loan. Did you know that you get a new FHA home loan if you filed for Bankruptcy and have been discharged for at least 2 years, and of course if you have been paying your bills on time since then.
Did you know that as a Veteran, you don’t even need a down payment and you can have the owner of the home pay for all of your closing costs. There are also 100% loans available through the USDA , that would be the United States Department of Agriculture. They are loans that are available for single family homes in designated rural areas.
This is for real. Give me a call at 6107372310 or email me at email@example.com to discuss some real possibilities. I’m not kidding.