Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fed Giving Borrowers Time to Change Their Minds

The Federal Reserve released a proposal earlier this week to give mortgage applicants three days to change their minds.

The proposal was part of a 930-page document that clarifies and finalizes the new financial reform law.

The Fed's document says that for closed-end loans secured by real property or a dwelling, a creditor must:

  • "Refund any appraisal or other fees paid by the consumer (other than a credit report fee), if the consumer decides not to proceed with a closed-end mortgage transaction within three business days of receiving the early disclosures (fees imposed after this three-day period would not be refundable); and

  • "Disclose the right to a refund of fees to consumers before they apply for a closed-end mortgage loan."

The Fed says this proposal will make it easier and cheaper for consumers to comparison shop. It also acknowledged that borrowers who want to close a transaction in a hurry would be handicapped because most lenders will delay sending out an appraiser for a few days.

Other proposals affecting home buyers included:

  • A ban on yield-spread premiums, which encourage mortgage brokers to push buyers toward more profitable mortgages.

  • A requirement for lenders to tell borrowers when their mortgage is sold or transferred.

  • An explanation of the effects of balloon payments, adjustable loan payment fluctuations, and minimum payments on loan balances.

For more daily Real Estate News, visit my website.

5 Reasons Why Now is a Great Time to Buy

The economy is stabilizing. Home prices are holding. It's not just as good a time as ever to buy a house. It's one of the best times ever. presents five overlooked reasons why now is a great time to buy a house.

1. Low mortgage rates serve as an equity shock absorber. When buyers borrow at today's record-low rates, they start building equity as soon as they close. That means they have a little give to absorb a few ups and downs as the still-recovering housing market gains traction.

2. Houses are in move-in condition. Homeowners have continued to spend on maintenance and repair, according to the Harvard Joint Center on Housing. Homeowners who have been holding back kept their houses in good shape while they waited. As those houses enter the market, they are in marked contrast to tattered foreclosures.

3. Terrific houses are coming on the market. Foreclosures are finally starting to clear the system - and this is just the opportunity that owners of many desirable properties have been waiting for.

4. Appraisal regulations are finally aligned with market realities. Fannie Mae has adjusted its appraisal guidelines...again. Now that appraisers have more flexibility to set values that reflect the current market, today's deals will make it over the finish line.

5. Plenty of programs. Homes are more affordable than they have been for years, but communities have stuck by "workforce housing" programs that encourage middle-class families to buy houses. Buyers who qualify can get a big boost by combining one of these programs with today's low mortgage rates.

Click here for more helpful Tips for Home Buyers.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Making Moving Easier

View ImageWhether you're planning a move across town or across the country, making your move hassle-free is what it is all about. Besides the traditional garage sale and packing of boxes, there are a few details you won't want to forget before you begin loading the truck:

Plan Ahead

Experts recommend scheduling moves at least one month in advance, especially during the peak-moving season between May and September. Some estimates indicate 80 percent of all moving and storage business is done when schools are out. That's when employees are most likely to be transferred.

Ask Questions

Take the time to get as much information as possible from moving companies before selecting one. Check on truck size and availability. Ask about moving supplies, such as boxes, dollies and furniture pads. Find out about protection plans for your possessions. Ask about lost or damaged property claim procedures. Determine price differences in packing the truck yourself or having it professionally packed. Get estimates.

Save Your Receipts

Many of your moving expenses are tax deductible, so hang onto your receipts. Consult with your tax advisor to find out what is deductible, or call the Internal Revenue Service and request Publication 521: "Tax Information On Moving Expenses" to find out which moving expenses are deductible.

Collect Documents

If you're moving out of the area, you'll need to gather your family's personal records. Remember to get your medical and dental records, school transcripts, legal documents, titles, bank records, tax returns, stocks and bonds certificates, birth certificates, passports and insurance documents. Be sure to empty your safe deposit box.

I am excited to provide my clients with complimentary move management services! If you are moving long distance, across state lines or internationally I can provide you with FREE access to the Move Advocate. Click here for more information!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sellers ~ Create a Lasting First Impression

As the summer buying and selling season is nearing its end, it is even more important to create a lasting first impression with potential buyers. Here are 8 simple tips that will help your home stand out from the crowd.

Clean up the yard. Curb appeal is so important. Many buyers will drive by a home and determine if they want to take the time to see the inside. Cut back overgrown shrubs, particularly those that obscure windows or make it difficult to get to the front door. Mow the grass, rake or pick up downed leaves and branches, put away lawn tools, kids' toys and discard or store any outdoor furniture that is rusty or ragged. Plant colorful annuals or put a few nicely planted containers on or near the front porch.

Open the drapes and blinds. Sunshine is the world's best decorator and nothing is more depressing than walking into a home where shades, curtains and drapes are closed.

Wash the windows
- inside and out. For the same reasons as above, no other small improvement will give you more bang than this.

Clutter Control. De-cluttering and organizing your home is very important and not just to make the place look neat. A cluttered home looks smaller and less airy. All of the pictures, knick-knacks, even an exquisite art collection are distracting to many buyers.

Clean your kitchen and bathrooms - Be sure to pay attention to the kitchen and bathrooms. The kitchen may be old but it can still sparkle. Clean the stovetop with a good degreaser and all countertops to remove stains and discoloration. Wash the front of all cupboards and appliances and keep the floor swept and scrubbed for as long as the home is on the market. De-clutter here too, especially the refrigerator door. Ditch countertop appliances, canisters, etc and keep cupboard doors and drawers closed if your hand is not actually in them. It is critical that the bathrooms sparkle. Old bathrooms can be charming and a new shower curtain or fresh flowers on the counter may be all you need. Put out your best towels and, if you have young children, enforce the flush rule.

Refinish hardwood floors.
These are a major selling point when selling your home and sometimes a home's most compelling feature. Often they don't need complete refinishing, just to be roughed up and polyurethaned to obtain that killer shine.

Paint/Repaint Your Home.
If your taste in decorating is a bit strong, it may pay to hire a professional to tone down some of the more dramatic color rooms. Neutral colors are best for marketing your home for sale.

Buy, borrow or rent what you need
. If your furniture shows the effect of raising five kids or if pets have ruined the rugs and upholstery, think about storing or getting rid of your existing furniture and finding just enough more attractive stuff to get by. If your nest is empty and the kids' rooms are beaten up, throw out the furniture, give the walls a quick wash coat of paint and put one or two small flea market pieces - a hobby horse, a bean-bag chair, the old bassinette from the attic - in the room to merely suggest its use.

Visit my website for more helpful Home Seller Tips.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Need a Portable Storage Unit?

Portable storage units for moving and storage have increased in availability and popularity in recent years. Portable storage units are a great alternative to traditional self storage and are perfect for a home remodeling project.

Consider a portable storage unit the next time you need to do any of the following:

Getting Rid of Clutter - Whether selling your home or hosting family for extended visits - a storage unit lets you temporarily store non-essential stuff and declutter your living space.

Consolidating - Use a storage unit to store extra furniture or boxes when downsizing a home or office. Take your time in deciding what to do with your extra stuff.

Moving - Take your time packing and unpacking, without the hassle of a moving van. After you load the storage unit, 1-800-PACK-RAT moves it to your new home or office.

Renovations - Protect your belongings during repairs or upgrades. A storage unit helps you keep your furniture, electronics and other valuables safe and out of the way, so you can reclaim space from intrusive home renovations.

Salvaging - Speed recovery from fire or water damage with a delivered storage unit. Store salvaged items on-site so you can get to them while work is being done, or let 1-800-PACK-RAT store them in a secure, climate-controlled warehouse.

Archiving - Make record retention a cinch with a storage unit delivered right to your office. We bring it back on a regular basis so you can add new records or search for needed paperwork. Special rates help make long-term record storage affordable.

Visit my website to get $50 OFF Local Storage or Moving Rentals or 10% OFF Long Distance Moving.