Sunday, September 27, 2009

Is the Recession is Over?

So, the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board himself has said it publicly that it looks like the recession is over. Here comes the recovery!

But there was a significant footnote in Bernanke's speech on the economy last week in Washington: Don't look for a dramatic recovery. Bernanke expects that it will be a slow moving, plodding sort of improvement where the economy inches toward expansion and that there won't be a sudden, dramatic return to economic boom anytime soon.

Bernanke's point about the end of the recession was underscored by a 2.7 percent jump in retail sales for the month of August. This is an important indicator because the key to stimulating the economy again is to get consumers spending, which appears to be happening. Not just for auto sales, which got a big boost in August from the government's "cash for clunkers" program, but also for other important categories, like food and clothing purchases, department store retail, entertainment and restaurant spending, sporting goods. All of these categories were up for the month, after having been down for well over a year.

This is good news! People feel more confident about the direction of the economy in the months ahead. They see the stock market up, so their retirement funds and 401 K plans are bouncing back. They see home values stabilizing or growing in most areas, so their equity is beginning to increase again.

It seems as though, perhaps, the recession is over!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tips for First-Time Home Buyers in 2009

A year after the financial collapse of 2008, the housing market is very different than it was before the foreclosure crisis. Here are seven bits of wisdom from economists and financial planners for anyone contemplating a home purchase today:
  • Old-fashioned basics are more important than ever. The safest way to purchase a home is to put down 20 percent on a fixed-rate, 30-year (or less) mortgage.

  • Don’t become overconfident about income growth. Even though buyers in their 20s and 30s will likely see their incomes grow more quickly than previous generations, it is important to act sensibly when borrowing.

  • Anyone contemplating adding children to the family should calculate whether they could live on one income because having both halves of a couple work may turn out to be impractical.

  • Include a maintenance budget. Even new homes need upkeep and repairs.
    Buyers who can't afford their dream home now should opt for a starter home where they can save money each month for what they really want.

  • Consider a property that can be expanded and improved down the road when money is available.

  • No two buyers are the same, but they should all feel confident with the loan they enter into, no matter the size of the mortgage.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Home Buyer Tax Credit Countdown is Here!

The first-time home buyers tax credit ends November 30th. Is it possible to buy in the next two weeks and still close in time to collect it?

Scheduled to end on December 1st, the time is running short to get your FREE CASH. The demand is going to be huge and the process is likely to take longer than usual.

But is NOT too late! In order to receive this credit, you must get moving! To guarantee you don't miss out, do your best to aim for these dates:
  1. Try to Close by November 15th. Thanksgiving is at the end of November and will cause additional delays. There will be much less stress if you aim to close before the holidays. Those who wait until the end of November could find themselves losing out on the credit.

  2. Complete Due Diligence by November 1st. This means all your inspections, appraisals, title review, and MORTGAGE PAPERWORK needs to be complete by this time.

  3. Under Contract by October 15th. You need to have a home picked out and under contract by this date. If you delay beyond this date, you may find the rest of your time line rather challenging.

  4. Start Your Home Search NOW. Give yourself a few weeks to search for the perfect home. It can be done quicker, but it may be very challenging.

So, get moving before it's too late! There is still time!