The Countdown to March 31st

There’s only a few days left until The Fed exits the Mortgage Back Securities Purchase market…..and there is no shortage of opinions of what that means for mortgage rates available to consumers. In one camp are those who believe that when the only purchaser of any product (whether they be mortgages or pencils) decides to […]

5 Good Reasons to Buy that Home NOW!!

If you are considering whether or not to purchase a home in the near future, let us discuss why this might be the optimal time to do so. There are five excellent reasons to buy a home now instead of waiting until later. Let’s go over them quickly in this post. 1.) The Homebuyer’s Tax […]

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Bedside Manner or Skilled Hands?

Imagine for a moment that you have been told that you need surgery.  You have a choice between two surgeons: The first has a wonderful disposition.  He holds your hand as he explains the procedure, the risks, the rewards, and the likelihood of success.  He may even shed a tear as you deal with the […]

Interest Rates in the Post Fed-Purchase World

Many experts believe that 30 year mortgage rates will rise quickly and dramatically once the Fed ends their policy of purchasing mortgage-backed-securities at the end of this month. However, as we get closer to the Fed’s exit there seems to be debate as to how much of an impact it will have. On one side […]

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What is Today’s Luxury Buyer Thinking?

Whenever you are selling anything, it helps to have an idea what your customer is thinking. I had the opportunity to attend a session at the Luxury Portfolio Summit in Las Vegas which covered the findings of the Survey of Affluence and Wealth in America 2010 produced by American Express Publishing and the Harrison Group. […]

Is the JUMBO Market Loosening up?

There has been an improvement in the interest rates available for Jumbo Mortgages, and that is encouraging news.  In addition, some lenders are even lowering the amount of down payment required in the Jumbo loan programs- which is even more good news. Let’s begin with some basics. Jumbo mortgages are those mortgages which exceed the […]

FHA 203(k) – Understanding Its Real Value – Part 2

Here is Part 2 of Skip Schenker’s two part series on understanding the FHA 203(k) and its real value. In case you missed yesterday’s, here is a link to Part 1. How Is the Appraisal Completed? The appraiser is given a detailed report from either a licensed contractor [for the “Streamline” 203(k)]; or from an […]

FHA 203(k) – Understanding Its Real Value – Part 1

Many readers have requested a post on the FHA 203k program. I was lucky to meet Skip Schenker, a national expert and instructor on the subject, while we were both speaking at a conference in Dallas last month. I asked him to share some of his thoughts. Here is his contribution. – Steve Harney The […]

The Silver Lining in Today’s Cloudy Market

There is no doubt that the immediate future of today’s housing market is, at best, cloudy. However, there is at least one silver lining which oft times goes unmentioned – affordability. We sometimes tend to concentrate on the seller in this market. There is no doubt that many sellers have seen much, if not all, […]

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Buyers and Sellers Team Up on Financing- Part 2

Last week, we began with a premise…that Buyers have a WANT (the lowest monthly payment, even more than the lowest Sales Price) and Sellers have a NEED (to differentiate their home from all the others on the market), and that creative approaches to financing is a method to satisfy both Buyers and Sellers.  Part I […]

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Buyers and Sellers Team Up on Financing

Let’s start with the premise that buyers do NOT buy big ticket items (like a home or a car) based on its sales price; rather, they buy based on their proposed monthly payment (or cost). Additionally, when looking to sell your home with so much availability of homes on the market, the biggest challenge a […]

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Homeownership: Still the American Dream

There seems to be a long held American belief currently under attack. For over two hundred years, homeownership in this country was a desire of almost every American family.  Recently however, more and more people have been pontificating on the fact that owning your own home should never have been held in such high regard. […]

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Fed Flip-Flops on House Flips

Finally, some good news from the FHA. Effective February 1st, the FHA is waiving their requirement of the “90 day holding period” before home sellers (predominantly real estate investors and speculators) can resell a piece of real estate to a buyer who uses FHA Insured financing.  Given the recent increase of the UFMIP, coming reduction […]

The Fed Exit Raises Interest… Literally

I have been reading some interesting things this week in regard to the effect of the Fed exiting from their program of buying mortgage backed securities (MBS) on March 31 this year as they announced they would last Wednesday. There seems to be some people who do not believe that the Fed’s exit will have […]

The Fed Sends Mixed Messages

First, let’s look at today’s announcements by the Fed…. As expected, they held the Fed Funds Rate constant (more on what that means later). They re-affirmed their prior pledge to stop purchasing Mortgage Backed Securities by March 31. They said that they expect rates to stay in this range for an extended time. As was […]

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What Happens When the Fed Exits the Market?

The Fed is scheduled to exit the housing market this spring. The Home Buyer Tax Credit ends on April 30, 2010 (the date the house must be in contract). The Fed has already announced that their program purchasing mortgage-backed securities will expire on March 31, 2010. Most anticipate a quick and dramatic rise in interest […]

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New FHA Rules

Today, after weeks of speculation, the FHA announced their plan to secure the solvency of the Insurance Fund.  And it is NOT good news for Homebuyers, and therefore, NOT good news for sellers either.  I’ll discuss the particulars in a minute; but first, let’s look at how this is the THIRD nail in the coffin […]

How Interest Rates Affect Your Mortgage Payment

Yesterday, I posted on the fact that my son is in the process of buying a home. I gave my reasons for agreeing with his decision. However, some have questioned whether purchasing real estate at this time makes sense. Let me give more support to the point that this is the best time to buy […]

Why My Son Bought a House TODAY

My son received word today that the sellers of the house he loved accepted his purchase offer. Our whole family is very excited. Not just because he is taking the first step toward home ownership, but instead, because he is purchasing a home at the best time to buy residential property in American real estate […]

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Is Your Deal Dying? Find a Real Estate Doctor.

Operating in the current real estate market is no easy task. Whether you are selling a house, buying one, or doing both, it requires the skill of a surgeon to carefully slice through the layers of information available in order to get to the core issues. At the same time, you must have the insight […]

6 Questions You Should Ask Your Lender

This article is brought to you by guest blogger and mortgage planning specialist, Dean Hartman.  Feel free to leave Dean any questions or comments below. More and more, consumers are learning that there is much more to getting a mortgage than just the interest rate and points.  A good mortgage planner is more in the […]

Interest Rates Balloon! Up, Up and Away?

News Update: Mortgage Rates have increased from 4.71 to 5.14 in 4 weeks. As Steve Harney has said, the cost of a home has two major components: the price and the expense of the financing. Unless you are paying cash for the house, the mortgage interest rate is a key determining factor in what the home will […]

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Real Estate 2010: New Year, Less Fear

“Fear always springs from ignorance.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson Unlike last year, we are better prepared for the challenges ahead of us.  Knowing how the market is moving will help us in the decisions we make.  Here are a few things to consider when making your move into the New Year: Mortgaging Interest Rates – Rates remained […]

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Looking Back: Top 10 Real Estate Stories of 2009

The last week of December is always an interesting time. As we plan for the next year, we like to look back on all the important stories and events of the last year. We will gather around the television or paper and endlessly quiz each other on the multitude of Top 10 Lists that inevitably appear. Here […]

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OMG! Is that a Luxury Home Buyer I See?

Yesterday, we reported on the differences between two major housing reports that were released last week. Today, I want to comment on something both reports had in common but has been vastly under-reported: the sudden increase in sales of luxury homes. The past several months have shown a tremendous uptick in buyer activity. And, though […]