Mortgage Rates Dip to New Record Lows

Mortgage Rates Dip to New Record Lows

 Mortgage rates moved into record low territory again last week, with the average rate on the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate ticking lower to 4.09 percent, according to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.43 discount and origination points.

The average 15-year fixed mortgage rate pulled back to 3.28 percent—also a record low t—while the jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage held at 4.61 percent. Adjustable mortgage rates were mixed, with the average 3-year adjustable down for a third consecutive week to a new low of 3.06 percent, while the 7-year and 10-year ARMs both inched higher, to 3.20 percent and 3.53 percent, respectively.

Although corporate earnings have been strong, recent economic data has been more suspect and the European debt crisis is an ongoing saga. Together, these are keeping both bond yields and mortgage rates at historic lows. Mortgage rates are closely related to yields on long-term government debt.

The last time mortgage rates were above 6 percent was Nov. 2008. At the time, the average 30-year fixed rate was 6.33 percent, meaning a $200,000 loan would have carried a monthly payment of $1,241.86. With the average rate now 4.09 percent, the monthly payment for the same size loan would be $965.24, a difference of $276 per month for anyone refinancing now.

For a full analysis of this week’s move in mortgage rates, go to http://www.bankrate.com

I have a handful of great lenders I can refer you to.  Give me a call!

Joel Thompson RE/MAXAlliance

joelathompson@hotmail.com 303-877-0060

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Boulder Area Markets Continue Rebound

Boulder Area Markets Continue Rebound

March 2012 single family home sales in Boulder area markets improved significantly from February 2012; 270 compared to 172 respectively, up 57%. When compared to the 212 single family home sales in March 2011 there is a strong 27% increase. Condo and Townhome sales improved in March 2012 over February 2012 by more than 42%, 88 units versus 62. And, when compared to March 2011’s 75 units sold, March 2012 saw a 17% increase in units sold. Go to http://www.baraonline.com/sites/bara/files/statistics/March12stats.pdf to view stats.  http://www.baraonline.com/sites/bara/files/statistics/March12PricePoints.pdf to view sales by price point.

Joel Thompson RE/MAXAlliance

joelathompson@hotmail.com 303-877-0060

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Homeowner Vacancy: Tightest Housing Markets in the U.S.

Homeowner Vacancy: Tightest Housing Markets in the U.S.

A simple measure of tightness in a market for owner-occupied housing is the homeowner vacancy rate (number of homes for sale divided by the number either for sale or owner-occupied). Builders are often interested in markets that are tight by this measure, because it indicates prospective buyers will have difficulty finding a suitable home among the available existing units.

Several federal government surveys provide homeowner vacancy rates, but the one with the greatest geographic detail by far is the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). In a recent study, NAHB tabulated the most recent (2010) ACS this data for all metropolitan areas in the country.

Overall, the tightest markets tend to be relatively small: Corvallis, Ore. (with a homeowner vacancy rate of 0.23 percent), Lebanon, Pa. (0.49 percent), Billings, Mont. (0.54 percent), San Angelo, Texas (0.61 percent), and Eau Claire, Wis. (also 0.61 percent).

The two tightest large markets in 2010—Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y. and Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif.—were also the two tightest large markets the last time NAHB looked at the ACS data in 2008.

The NAHB study provides a rundown of the top-10 metros according to nine key measures, including: owner-occupied housing units; homeownership rate; home owner vacancy rate; share of single-family detached homes; value of homes owned; home owner incomes; growth in stock of single-family detached homes; and share of homes built recently. It also has a spreadsheet that shows how more than 350 other metro areas stack up in each category.

Read the original article at the National Association of Home Builder blog, Eye on Housing

Joel Thompson RE/MAXAlliance

joelathompson@hotmail.com 303-877-0060

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Do Your Part: Top 5 Easiest Foods to Grow at Home

Do Your Part: Top 5 Easiest Foods to Grow at Home

 Want to join the grow-your-own food movement but just don’t know where to start? Don’t fear. Spring is here and it’s the perfect time to start growing delicious foods right where you live. Why not begin with foods that are nearly fail-proof? Here are my top 5 foods to grow at home whether you have a lot of space or just a sunny window. A spot with six hours or more of sunlight is all you need to Do Your Part for fresher foods.

1) Tomatoes
Did you know that tomatoes are the most popular piece of produce to grow at home? Besides being delicious, tomatoes are fairly simple to grow. There are thousands of varieties to choose from. You can grow tomatoes in containers, raised garden bed, upside down, or in a traditional garden.

2) Herbs
Talk about instant gratification! Herbs are fast growing so you can experience their flavors in no time. Herbs such as parsley, mint, basil, chives, and more can be grown in a sunny window indoors. They also thrive outdoors in containers and are attractive when mixed with potted flowers.

3) Lettuce
Lettuce will get you the biggest bang for your buck plus it’s super simple to grow. Think about it. If you spend a couple bucks to plant lettuce, you’ll make that money back the first time you make a salad from your garden. Lettuce is a cool season crop and needs just six inches of soil to grow.

4) Strawberries
Strawberries are the perfect fruit to grow at home and will return year after year without a whole lot of work. Just remember a few things with strawberries. They need regular watering and fresh fertilizer every few weeks. Strawberries grow best in the spring or late fall.

5) Peas & Beans
There are many options when it comes to peas and beans. Think green beans, snow peas, sugar peas, wax beans, and so many more. Peas are a cool season crop and most bean varieties are warm season crops but both grow on vines. This makes them perfect for a small space because you can train them to grow up a trellis, stakes and string, or a fence.

There are many reasons to grow foods at home. You’ll know exactly what went into growing them and you’ll be saving money—all at the same time. But best of all are the tasty rewards enjoyed with family and friends.

 Article printed by www.rismedia.com

Joel Thompson RE/MAXAlliance

joelathompson@hotmail.com 303-877-0060

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Successful Short Sales: Giving the Lender What They Want

Successful Short Sales: Giving the Lender What They Want

Short sales are enjoying a much-needed resurgence as lenders become more motivated to move short sale transactions through the pipeline more quickly. So, if you’ve soured on short sale business, now is the time to rethink your position as the lending landscape begins to change.

Your approach to successful short sales must be focused in two areas: making sure the seller is truly a short sale candidate  and making sure you foster the right relationship with the lender.

A little secret nobody realizes is that many lenders are desperately looking for a competent real estate partner in the short sale arena. I walked into my local bank, for example, and discovered that they were getting barraged with calls from clients inquiring about a short sale on their property. While a lot of us think that banks are against short sales, the reality is, they just don’t have the time to handle the volume.

This is where huge opportunity lies for real estate professionals. Take the time to build a relationship with your local lenders, understand exactly what they need in order to process a short sale, and then be the conduit throughout the entire process. In other words, work with your clients to give lenders what they want. This will eliminate notorious delays and save you, your client and the lender precious time.

Following is the lender package that I require all short sale clients to complete. When it comes to short sales, the devil is truly in the details.

Required Items: Before the Sales Contract
1. Cover letter
2. Table of contents (this lets the lender know right away that everything they need is included)
3. Third-party authorization
4. Seller’s tax returns from the previous two years
5. Seller’s bank statements from the previous two months (six months is even better)
6. Most recent paystubs
7. Seller’s hardship letter
8. Bank worksheets (financial situation)
a. Current
b. Projected in next three months
c. Projected in next six months
9. Listing agreement

Required Items: After the Sales Contract
10. Necessary short sale addendums
11. History of listing – market report
12. Sales activity report
13. Local community economic report
14. CMA/absorption rate
15. Sales contract
16. HUD-1
17. Buyer’s pre-approval letters
18. Earnest money verification
19. Damage report with photos
20. Carry cost estimate
21. Agent personal letter

By providing banks with the right information, you are helping them push through the glut of short sale requests. Make sure you become their partner in this effort.

Short sales aren’t as complicated as you may think. Let me help walk you through the process.

Joel Thompson RE/MAXAlliance

joelathompson@hotmail.com 303-877-0060

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Survey Finds Women and Men Make Home-Buying Decisions with Head and Heart

Survey Finds Women and Men Make Home-Buying Decisions with Head and Heart

 Square-footage and price are important elements to consider when selecting a home but according to a new survey from Coldwell Banker Real Estate of 1,000 men and women, they both also rely on how they feel and how their lifestyle fits into a home when looking for a place to live. The survey found 28 percent of women and 25 percent of men put more emphasis on their feelings about a home than they do on the layout, square footage, or price. The majority of women (62 percent) and men (61 percent) also know within the first visit if the home is right for them.

“A home is more than square-footage and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and this survey shows just how much emotion can play a role in home buying process,” says Jessica Edwards, Coldwell Banker Real Estate consumer specialist. “When two people are looking for a home together, there are many considerations to take into account. Of course, price and layout matter, but ‘feeling at home’ is an important factor.”

The survey also reveals insights into the roles men and women play at home and finds some interesting differences between age groups.

Women Take Charge of Making a House a Home:

Over half of women (54 percent) say that they take the lead when it comes to decorating.

However, younger men play a larger role in décor decisions than their older counterparts. Forty-eight (48) percent of younger respondents, age 18-44, say decorating is mutual; this decreases to 36 percent for respondents 55 and over.

Women also cook it up in the kitchen. Sixty-eight (68) percent of women say they are the “primary chef” for their household.

Not to be outdone, some men are also putting on the apron—occasionally. Nearly a quarter of men (23 percent) say cooking is their job.

Age Changes How Men and Women Feel “At Home”

Sharing financial decisions may get easier over time. Fifty-four (54) percent of people age 18-44 say major financial decisions are mutual, compared to 60 percent of those 45-54. This increases to 70 percent for people 55 and over.

Interestingly, as age increases, so does contentment with the current status of the home. Almost half (45 percent) of those older than 55 say they are very happy with their home just the way it is, compared to 25 percent of those age 18-44.

More men seem to be focused on making significant changes to the home (9 percent) compared to women (5 percent).

For couples entering the home-buying process, here are Edwards’ tips for harmonious house-hunting:

• Each person should come up with a list of a few things that are most important and then come together as a couple to decide on a list of the top three to five things that are important for the home.

• When looking for a home, communication is key. Consider designating a point person for different aspects of the home-buying process, so that information is not delayed or communicated to just one part of the couple.

• Don’t get too many people involved; typically more people means more stress and what is most important is that the couple is happy with the decisions being made.

• Don’t forget to have fun! Remember that this home will be the place to build memories and a life together.

Article printed by www.rismedia.com

Joel Thompson RE/MAXAlliance

joelathompson@hotmail.com 303-877-0060

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Facing Foreclosure? Know Your Deductions and Credits

 Facing Foreclosure? Know Your Deductions and Credits

 According to NPR, more than half the nation saw a spike in foreclosures last month. With more and more homeowners facing foreclosures, experts at The Tax Institute at H&R Block offer the following information on credits and deductions, which can provide assistance to individuals prior to and after this unfortunate circumstance.

• Mortgage Debt Forgiveness: homeowners who experienced foreclosure on their primary home may be able to exclude the amount of canceled debt from their taxable income if they meet specific criteria.

• Mortgage Interest Deduction: taxpayers are eligible to deduct qualified mortgage interest on their main home and a second home if they itemize deductions on Schedule A.

o They must be legally liable for repayment of the loan to deduct the loan interest.

o For 2011 filings, taxpayers who could not pay at least 20 percent of their down payment may have been required by their lender to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). If the taxpayer qualifies, the PMI may be deductible as mortgage interest.

• Real Estate Taxes: homeowners are able to deduct real estate taxes separately from mortgage interest on Schedule A and from property taxes.

• Non-Business Energy Property Credit: taxpayers may claim energy-efficiency credits for up to 10 percent of the cost of various home energy-efficiency improvements.

• Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit: a nonrefundable personal credit is available for property used to produce energy in a personal residence located in the US .

o The credit is also available for wind energy property and geothermal pumps.

o Real estate taxes must be based on the home’s value and assessed at least annually.

Article printed from RISMedia: http://rismedia.com

 

Joel Thompson RE/MAX Alliance

joelathompson@hotmail.com 303-877-0060

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