Economy · Enviroment · News · Real Estate

Public Transportation…

With all the economic and environmental concerns we have today, public transportation is a hot topic.  When shopping for real estate, public transportation may be something you want to consider.  Staying informed about C-Tran’s 20 Year Transit Development Plan could play an important part in deciding where you want to live and invest in real estate. Knowing where C-Tran is going to put a new transit center, add or eliminate a route, or where they are going to close a transit center could effect your decision to buy a property. This information could also effect the salability and/or value of your current home if you are considering selling.

Public transportation plays an important role in our community. C-Tran has been providing public transportation within Clark County for 29 years, connecting Vancouver, Camas, Washougal, Battle Ground, Yacolt, Ridgefield, La Center, and Portland (Oregon).

For more information, check out C-Tran’s website at: http://www.c-tran.com

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Law/Regulations · Mortgage · News · Real Estate

FHA Financing Changes…

Most of the changes have to do with tightening the regulations on the lenders.  The key changes that directly effect the FHA buyer are:

  • FHA upfront mortgage premium will increase to 2.25% from 1.75%.
  • If a borrower has a credit score below 580 they will be required to have a 10% down payment, while the minimum down payment for all other qualified buyers will be 3.5%.
  • Sellers concessions will be reduced from from 6% to 3%.
  • Feb. 1, 2010 the 90 holding rule on properties is being lifted for 1 year (some restrictions still apply, refer to HUD for more information).

In my opinion, the best loan out there is the VA Home Loan.  If you’re VA eligible, it’s the way to go right now. An eligible vet can purchase a home with ZERO down provided they qualify for the loan (income to debt, credit score, work history, etc.).

There’s still time to take advantage of the tax credit. Let’s talk!

For more info about FHA loans, check out hud.gov.

Real Estate

Time is ticking on…

There’s an urgency in the air. If you’re keeping up with the real estate market at all, you know that time is running out to get in on the $8000 income tax credit.

The closer we get to the deadline, the less time a buyer has to close a deal in time. Lenders are getting busy, they are running out of time to work the loans in time for the deadline.

Thinking of buying a short sale before the deadline? You might as well forget it unless you’re already in line at the bank. They take a long time with no guarantee the bank will look at your offer in time, much less make a decision. And if the bank doesn’t take your offer after all your waiting, you have no deal and then you have to start over again–with less time. On top of all that, most short sale homes already have multiple offers waiting in line at the bank. Key word: “WAITING.” Waiting means time and as we know, time is running out.

Yes, I’m being blunt. When you are running out of time, you have to focus your search efforts and look for the deal you know you can close.

It’s all a timing and waiting game.  I’m reminded of the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, …I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date. No time to say “Hello!” “Good bye!” I’m late, I’m late, I’m late… 🙂

Of course there is the option of not caring if you get the $8000. In that case, you can spend your time searching for the perfect deal.  Maybe you will get a short sale for such a good price that getting the $8000 becomes insignificant because of the amount of money you saved on the house.

Honestly, the deals are out there. Getting the $8000 can be less significant if you save a lot of money on the price. Of course, then there’s the issue of interest rates going up and down!  UGH!  It is always something.

It’s all about perspective (how you look at things) and where you place your priorities. Perfect timing shows itself after it happens!

Determine your needs and wants.  Do you need the $8000 to buy? Do you need a good interest rate? Do you need the lowest price? Do you need to buy now?

Do you want to buy in the Clark County area? I’m available to discuss the buying opportunities here–pressure free!

News · Real Estate

Big Improvement to First-Time Buyer Tax Credit Proposed

According to the National Association of Realtors:

Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, on Tuesday, May 12, 2009, said that the Federal Housing Administration is going to permit its lenders to allow home buyers to use the $8,000 tax credit as a down payment.

Previously, most buyers wouldn’t receive the funds until after they filed their tax return, and that deterred some people from using the credit. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has been calling for the change.

“We all want to enable FHA consumers to access the home buyer tax credit funds when they close on their home loans so that the cash can be used as a down payment,” Donovan says. His remarks came in an address to several thousand REALTORS® gathered Tuesday morning at “The Real Estate Summit: Advancing the U.S. Economy,” at the 2009 REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C..

He says FHA’s approved lenders will be permitted to “monetize” the tax credit through short-term bridge loans. This will allow eligible home buyers to access the funds immediately at the closing table.

More details are expected this week!  If you’d like more information about this program as it unfolds, contact me.

Statistics

U.S. Monthly House Price Index Estimates 0.7% Increase from January to February

Be encouraged! The Pacific NW real estate market appears to be doing the BEST out of the entire nation!

If you’re buying or selling real estate and you live in the Pacific NW, you’re in the best market to be in according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).  Check out the numbers:  U.S. Monthly House Price Index

Prices and interest rates are historically low and the $8000 tax credit for first time buyers is available if you close by December, 2009.  If you have not owned a home in the last 3 years, you may qualify as a first time buyer.

If you want to take advantage of these great opportunities in the Pacific NW, contact me.  I’m interested in talking directly to customers that are serious about buying or selling.

Please Note: It is NOT okay to contact me to solicit lists of potential buyers to me!!!

Real Estate

The numbers are looking up…

Clark County’s February real estate market numbers are up over January!  Sure, they’re down from 2008, but let’s focus on the fact, up is up!!!

We saw an 11.7% increase in pending sales and 10.3% increase in closed sales.  Meanwhile, new listing dropped 15.1%.  That means that less houses went on the market, which means that at the rate homes are selling our inventory will last approximately 18.6 months, down from 21 months in January.

The average housing sale price and median sale price went up in February over January.  Average sale price went up 7% and median sale price up 6.8!!!  Again this increase is lower than last year at this time, but it still reflects a positive move in the real estate market around here.  For buyers, interest rates are incredibly low and there’s an $8000 tax credit available for first time buyers.

Sellers should note that the average market time to sell a house is 165 days compared to 104 day last year at this time.  Remember, it’s a supply and demand thing.  The more houses on the market, the longer it takes a house to sell.  Pricing ahead of the market is everything.  If you’re selling, make sure your house is priced to sell.

Stats provided by RMLS for SW Washington.