Homeowners who are puzzling over whether to add their property to the Spring Hill Florida home listings this winter (rather than hold back until spring) have more than just timing to factor into their decision. How their offering will stack up alongside the other home listings is a prime consideration.
The residential market has made good progress this year – and a strong majority of pundits expect more of the same for 2013. I deal with the home-buying public all the time, and so get an inside look and listen to what features and qualities wind up having the greatest impact on their buying decisions. Another way is to survey home listings across the nation to track buying trends: the features highlighted in home listings are just about the most market-sensitive indicator of all.
A look at those home listings throughout the past year can be summed up briefly: Homebuyers wanted relatively smaller homes, manageability, lower property taxes and utility bills — in short, they gravitated toward properties that looked as if they would minimize expenses after buying as well as in the purchase itself.
Associated prominent features dealt with location in a number of ways. “Within walking distance” was a frequently appearing phrase. “Walk Score” came into new prominence — to schools, coffee shops, grocery stores, or parks. Importance of financial stability in the surrounding neighborhood can be implied from a number of popular phrases, and I can vouch for that in the attention I saw paid to various areas’ foreclosure rates.
Practically every homebuyer will still be looking for a good deal, but in 2013, we can expect increasing attention to the intangible of future value.
If you are considering selling your Spring Hill Florida home any time in 2013, now is the time to begin putting the idea into action. Understanding buyers’ needs is a sound first step toward placing your home in position to stand out in the Spring Hill Florida home listings — and I am standing by this year to help you do it!
Agent Trust Realty
4117 Mariner Blvd.
Spring Hill FL, 34609
Buy a Home Despite Mortgage Turndowns? It Is In Fact Possible!
Young Adults Face Rising Need for Co-Signers
You are a newlywed couple in your late 20’s with decent jobs, respectable income, and reasonable credit. You’ve started your search to buy a home in Tampa Bay, but when you walk into the bank to pre-qualify for a loan, to your surprise, you find out… NOT!
You’re not alone. The Federal Reserve studied the problem, and found that in the three years between 2009-2011, just 9% of youngsters between the ages of 29-34 were able to qualify for a first-time mortgage. It had been 17% only 10 years earlier.
It’s no wonder that many have sought alternative financing routes to buy a home, which is why mortgage co-signing is becoming more and more common. Yet before buying a home in Tampa Bay via this route, it’s important to have the consequences – good and bad – squarely before you.
The big one is obvious: a Tampa Bay mortgage co-signing may be the only way to buy a home. Importantly, it can also help you secure a better interest rate and the lower monthly mortgage payments that entails.
Once you start making your mortgage payments regularly and on time, a co-signed mortgage can start to help you build (or rebuild) a strong credit rating.
A mortgage co-signing may help you buy a home in Tampa Bay, but it also has immediate and major impacts on both your and your co-signer’s credit. Late payments would affect your co-signer’s credit rating as well as your own. The possibility of adding extra stress to important relationships is potentially very real, since a mortgage lender will attempt to collect payments from your co-signer in the event of a default.
The bottom line? Buying a home is a big step; if you require a co-signer to get approval for a loan in Tampa Bay, it’s important to make sure it is part of a sound long-term financial strategy. I’m here to supply the real estate expertise that helps my clients attain their goals – so if you or your adult children are preparing to buy a home together, do contact me to schedule a sit-down to go over today’s options.
E Loans Mortgage
According to a recent survey, nine out of ten REALTORS® believe that clients who make improvements before selling a house are more likely to secure a successful sale. Why, you may wonder, would anyone take the trouble to run a survey to discover anything that obvious? Possibly because of a follow-up question Realty Times came up with: 65.9% of real estate agents – virtually two out of three – agree that a common mistake among homeowners is not making “the right” home improvements for the Spring Hill Florida market.
Uh-oh! Remodeling in the wrong direction can cost you twice! If it’s such a common mistake, it’s safe to say it might be best to consult an agent before rolling up your sleeves (or opening your checkbook). Active Spring Hill Florida agents are constantly noting what features are popular with prospective buyers and which improvements are making a difference in today’s market. Knowing what sells — and why — is fundamental information when home improvement decisions are about to be made.
Also important is the changing nature of an effective marketing roll out. Yesterday’s sign on the front lawn and paragraph in the newspaper are no longer sufficient. Pocket listings, preview open houses, and social media promotion are all elements that now can be brought into a multi-tiered marketing plan geared to create awareness (“buzz”) around a property’s debut.
Yet, the new market retains at least one unchanging fundamental. To achieve the highest return when selling a house in Hernando County, it has to be priced right. Real estate commentator Barbara Corcoran puts it succinctly: “You could spend all the money in the world fixing up and marketing your house,” she says, “but the wrong price on the right house guarantees no sale.”
If you are thinking of selling a house in Spring Hill Florida this winter, a Professional Realtor can help you meet that goal. A Good Source for information and starting the search for a professional is Agent Trust Realty located right in the heart of Spring Hill FL.
For more info about selling a home in Spring Hill call:
352-688-7022 or 727-946-2348.
Hernando County Open House Time is Teamwork Time
According to the best estimate, something like 45% of home buyers use an open house viewing before making their purchase decision. I think that sounds about right – it might even be higher here in Spring Hill Florida. With such a high proportion of serious prospects choosing to drop by an open house, it’s important that we – client and agent — get it right. Under-preparing is seldom an issue: we all want to put our best foot forward when we invite the public into our home.
Yet while it may be tempting to go into overdrive for that preparation, overdoing it can be a problem, too – one that can actually turn off buyers. Some guidelines worth noting:
· Avoid Information Overload. It’s common practice to set out a few brochures or pamphlets that let potential buyers know something about the area. But if your flier presentation looks like it belongs in the Florida Tourist Welcome Center, or you’ve put together a local restaurant guide that comes off like a comprehensive college prospectus, your buyer may not have enough time to focus on the home while there.
· Don’t Kill the Mood. Like many agents, I like to try to set a certain ambiance for potential buyers attending an open house. Yet I also know that when a potential buyer walks through a Spring Hill FL home, he or she needs to be able to project a personal image of the future onto it. In practice, this means that soft music is nice — top 40 is too much. Subtle and neutral details are a plus: too much color or too many photos can be overkill. To cater to all demographics, be sure the house is clean and uncluttered — as minimalistic as practical.
· Keep Refreshments to a Minimum. Ensuring that potential buyers feel comfortable in your open house is the goal, so you and your agent need to draw a line between hosting a mini-buffet and being gracious but businesslike hosts. You want to provide pleasant and positive refreshments, but an elaborate spread taking over the kitchen and wafting all variety of aromas through the house is distracting. I’ve always been a fan of the classic cheese and crackers display (though I’ve sometimes found it appropriate to add a cookbook propped open to bring to emphasize an especially well thought-out kitchen design).
When you plan your own Spring Hill FL open house, you and your agent should make the most of the strong points of your offering – being careful not to upstage them. Call me anytime if you are looking for one of those kinds of agents. I am one who will be your strong partner from the moment you list until the last closing doc is signed!
4117 Mariner Blvd
Spring Hill FL, 34609
When you want to sell your house, you want it to bring in top dollar. That means you want to find a Realtor in Spring Hill Florida who has the characteristics of a top performer. He or she may or may not have last month’s highest sales volume, may or may not have page after page of onscreen MLS listings. However, there are characteristics you can look for that are bound to point to the best candidate to represent your home in your neighborhood.
1) Understanding You: the Client
I agree withRealtor Magazine:
“One of the strongest ways to increase likability and foster a connection is to demonstrate that [the Realtor] understands someone else’s needs, and is happy to help fulfill them.”
A great Realtor in Spring Hill Florida is inherently a great salesperson, and as such, automatically adapts his or her selling skills to each client. The evidence comes through demonstrating that if the need arises to step back, he or she will do so. Likewise, when a client needs a push, he or she knows how to give them that push — gracefully.
You can test this. When you are interviewing to find a Realtor, don’t just quietly nod and agree with everything you hear. Offer a few objections, even if they are only theoretical. See how seamlessly the candidate handles the change of direction. The ability to discern and adapt to various types of clients is the same ability that will help a skilled Realtor present a positive impression of your property.
It is essential to find a Realtor in Spring Hillwho is a true professional – one who has the ability to approach your home from an unbiased perspective. Being able to provide analytical, accurate and fact-based market information is vital. It is this ability that is the basis for establishing a market position that helps sell your house for its maximum value…and in the shortest timeframe.
A great Realtor is able to successfully negotiate price and terms between you and your buyer. No matter what, there is likely to be an emotional component involved, so maximum success takes not only keen business acumen, but strong intrapersonal skills, too.
When you are ready to find a Realtor for your Hernando County property, look for experience, a full skill set, and confidence. Add in a touch of panache, and together you will make up a team that is fully armed to come to market. I hope you will consider me for your candidate list: I work tirelessly to help every one of my clients meet their own selling goals. Give us a call to hear what my marketing plan can do for you.
4117 Mariner Blvd.
Spring Hill FL, 34609
The media has it all wrong – securing mortgage approval and satisfying credit underwriting guidelines are not the difficulties plaguing mortgage consumers. It’s in meeting the rigorous documentation requirements that most people fall flat. The good news is, the fix is simple. Just scan, photocopy, fax, and deliver every aspect of your financial life. Then, shortly before closing, check everything again.
Mortgage consumers who enter the mortgage approval process ready to battle their chosen mortgage lender will come out with a nightmare story to tell. As the process, requirements, and guidelines are the same for everybody, your mindset is the game-changer. Accepting the redundant documentation necessary for lender approval will make everyone’s life easier.
When I was a kid, my father occasionally issued directives that I naturally thought were superfluous, and when asked why I needed to do whatever it was he wanted me to do, his answer was often: “Because I said so.” This never seemed to address my query but always left me without a retort, and I would usually comply. This is exactly what consumers should do during the mortgage approval process. When your lender requests what seems to be over-documentation and you wonder why you need it, accept the simple edict – “because I said so.” You will find the mortgage approval process much less frustrating.
So, what’s the perfect loan? Well, it’s one that (a) pays back the lender and (b) pays back the lender on time. Underwriting the perfect loan is not the goal that mortgage lenders aspire to today.
The real goal is the perfect loan file.
Mortgage lenders have suffered staggering losses and gone out of business because of the dreaded loan repurchase. As mortgage delinquencies increased, FannieMae and FreddieMac began to audit mortgage loans they had purchased and discovered substandard and fraudulent underwriting practices that violated representations and warranties made, stating these were high quality loans. Fannie and Freddie began forcing the originating lenders of these “bad” loans to buy them back. So a small correspondent mortgage lender is forced to buy back a single mortgage loan in the amount of $250,000. This becomes a $250,000 loss to a small mortgage business for a single loan, because it will never be repaid.
It doesn’t take many of these bad loan buybacks to close the doors on many small mortgage operations. The lending houses suffered billions of dollars of losses repurchasing loans from Fannie and Freddie, and began to do the same thing for loans they had purchased from smaller originators.
The small and medium sized mortgage originators that survived created underwriting guidelines and procedures to eliminate the threat of future loan repurchase losses. The answer? The perfect loan file.
It’s no longer necessary to have excellent credit, a big down payment and stable employment with income sufficient to support your debt service to guarantee your loan approval. However, you must have a borrower profile that meets the credit underwriting guidelines for the loan you are requesting. And, more importantly, you have to be able to hard-copy-guideline-document your profile.
Every nook and cranny of your financial life has to be corroborated, double- and triple-checked, and reviewed again before closing. This way, if the originating lender has created a loan file that is exactly consistent with published underwriting guidelines and has documented while adhering to those guidelines, the chances are that your loan will not be subject to repurchase.
Borrowers also need to prepare for processing and underwriting. Processors and underwriters are the people trained and charged with gathering (processors), all of your required-for-approval financial documents, and then approving (underwriters), your loan. You can assume these people are well trained and very experienced, as they are tasked with assembling and approving a high-quality-these-people-will-pay-us-back loan file. But just how do they go about that?
The process begins with the filter – the loan originator (a.k.a loan officer, mortgage consultant, mortgage adviser, etc.) – tasked to match the qualifications of a particular mortgage deal to the appropriate underwriting guidelines. It is the filter’s job to determine if a loan scenario is approvable and to gather the documentation to support that determination. It is here, at the beginning of the approval process, where the deal is made or broken. The rest of the approval process is just papering the file.
The filter determines whether the information provided by the borrower can be validated and documented. This is simple, since most mortgages are approved by automated underwriting engines such as Desktop Underwriter, and the automated approval generates a list of the documents needed to paper the loan file. An underwriter can, at this stage, request additional supporting documentation evidence at their discretion, as not all circumstances neatly fit into the prescribed underwriting box. If the filter creates a loan file with accurate information, then secures the documentation resulting from the automated underwriting findings, the loan will close uneventfully.
So, let’s begin with the pre-approval call. Mortgage pre-approval is typically accomplished with a telephone interview. A prospective borrower calls a mortgage rep (filter), and the questions begin. There will be lots of questions as this critical phase of the process is akin to the discovery period in a trial – you’ll need to disclose everything. Expect to answer queries on what you do for a living, how long you’ve been employed in your current field, and what your salary is. If there is a co-borrower, they will have to answer the same questions.
Every dollar in checking, savings, investments and retirement accounts, also known as assets to close, as well as gifts from relatives and non-profit grants, has to be accounted for. Essentially everything appearing on a borrower’s asset-radar-screen has to be documented and explained.
If you were previously a homeowner and sold your home in a short sale, or if you own a home now and plan to keep it as an investment or rental property, there are new and specific underwriting guidelines created just for you. In these cases, full disclosure of your credit and homeownership past can potentially eliminate unforeseen mortgage approval woes. For instance, FannieMae has a new underwriting guideline called “Buy-and-Bail,” for current homeowners’ planning on keeping their existing home as an investment/rental property. Properties not meeting the 30% equity test for “Buy-and-Bail” result in additional asset requirements to purchase a new home. Buyers with a short sale history may have to wait two to three years before they are eligible for mortgage financing again. Full vetting of your previous mortgage life will save you the dreaded we-have-a-problem call from your mortgage lender.
It all comes down to your proof. If the lender asks for a specific document, give them exactly what they are asking for, not what “should be OK,” – because it won’t be. This is where the approval process tends to go off the rails, when the lender asks for specific documentation and the borrower supplies something else. Here, too, is where both sides get frustrated. So if the lender asks for a bank statement and there are 5 pages for that bank statement, send them all 5 pages, and not just the summary. If you send them the summary page and they ask again, don’t complain that the lender keeps asking for the same thing when you never sent it in the first place. This may sound elementary, but the vast majority of mortgage approval process woes stem from scenarios just like this.
The reason the mortgage approval process is now so rigorous is simple. Avoiding defaults and loan buybacks has become the primary goal of mortgage lenders. Higher standards are reducing loan defaults, which should mean fewer foreclosures in the future. Government data shows that less than 2% of loans originated in 2009, that were resold to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae went into default after 18 months, down from more than 22% default rates for 2007 loans.
So when your lender requests specific documents from you, give it them just “because they said so.”
As more underwater homeowners pursue short sales and principal reductions, they may not realize they are facing a deadline.
If debt you owe on your primary home is forgiven by Dec. 31, you will not have to pay federal income tax on that forgiven debt, as long as it was used to “buy, build or substantially improve your principal residence.”
But if that debt is forgiven after 2012, borrowers will once again owe income tax on that amount. If you do a short sale and your lender writes off $100,000 of what you owed, that could mean a hefty tax bill. The same goes for foreclosure, in some states, or principal reductions that are part of mortgage modifications.
David Dayen, in an article at Salon, does the math: “A $100,000 principal reduction for a family making the median adjusted gross income of $32,393 would calculate to an additional tax bill of roughly $21,200.”
But in 2007, Congress passed the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, which temporarily exempted debt used to acquire or renovate a principal residence. The exemption does not apply to mortgage refinancing in which the cash taken out was used for purposes other than buying, building or renovating a home. It also does not apply to investment property. (Borrowers in those situations can escape tax on the forgiven debt if they can prove insolvency or the debt is discharged through bankruptcy.)
If you plan to pursue a short sale, you might want to start now, though it may already be too late. While new rules have sped up the pace of some short sales, others still drag on for months.
Some members of Congress believe that the tax break should be extended, at least through 2013. A bill to extend the tax forgiveness through 2013 has already passed the Senate Finance Committee, but a vote has not yet been scheduled in the full Senate. The Obama administration supports extending the provision.
If you are organized and willing to put in some serious spadework, buying a Lakewood Ranch foreclosure can save you thousands of dollars. A new wave of foreclosures could be heading our way later this year. According to RealtyTrac, the leading source of foreclosure statistics, one in every 665 national housing units received a foreclosure filing in June. More foreclosures mean more opportunities; but it also means that more buyers will begin to think seriously about going after them. In other words – more competition.
If you have never looked into what is involved in snagging one of the foreclosures in our area, a few basics will greatly improve your chances for success:
Do Your Research So You Can Act Quickly.
The foreclosure market performs differently from the traditional market. Arming yourself with accurate comps and knowledge of Lakewood Ranch trends will enable you to recognize the right opportunity as soon as it arises – ideally, before other buyers catch wind of it. Working with a knowledgeable agent who keeps you informed is the quickest way to get up to speed. It will help you avoid being dragged into bidding wars with other deal-shopping buyers. Since under-bidding will cause you to miss the best opportunities, and over-bidding will defeat your whole purpose, up-to-the-moment market knowledge is essential for formulating a canny offer.
Weigh in With Cash.
Time is an important factor in buying a Lakewood Ranch foreclosure. Your goal is the same as the seller’s: to close the sale as quickly as possible. Naturally, paying cash up front is the simplest route to a speedy closing. If you are buying as an investment, that means targeting only properties that are within your financial reach. As Ron Peltier of HomeServices of America puts it, “A cash buyer who can close in 10 days can certainly get the best deal.” Since closing on a house via traditional mortgage can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days, it is clear which route sellers prefer.
3. Create Clean Offers.
If, like many of my clients, you can’t really afford to propose an all-cash deal, you can still create an offer that lands your foreclosure. Writing a clean offer – one with simple terms and serious cash down — can bring a favorable reaction. Let’s face it: bank officers don’t want to fuss with complicated terms or repairs. A buyer with 20% down, a confirming loan and an “as-is” offer will get a lot more consideration than a buyer with an FHA loan and a minimal deposit. Success means targeting foreclosures at a price point where you can afford to put as much down as possible…then being ready to get dirty and make any needed repairs yourself.
As with any vigorous market, participants need to play by the rules or else be stuck on the sidelines. If you are considering buying a Lakewood Ranch foreclosure and are looking for an experienced agent to stand by your side, call me — and let’s get to work!
Your Lakewood Ranch home is in perfect shape – all set to go on the market. You’ve enlisted an experienced real estate agent with a solid track record. Now all that’s left is…what?
What’s that next step?
In fact, the next step can be all-important: creating a Lakewood Ranch listing that does more than just describe the number of beds and baths. It has to stand out among all the competing listings that will be seen alongside it. That Lakewood Ranch listing is the keystone of the marketing campaign that will ultimately fetch a new owner: its job is to get buyers and agents to take a closer look. To get that job done, it has to be special!
When I sit down to work up an effective listing, I try to pay attention to what creative writers from other forms of advertising advise: first discover what is unique, appealing, attention-getting, then present it with language that captures readers’ imaginations. Formulas are out, since following a set group of mechanical rules can only produce a dull, repetitious result. Even so, there are some useful tips that can help spark an effective listing:
* Keep the context in mind. The job of any Lakewood Ranch listing is to communicate many essential details in a limited amount of space – but there will be photographic information there, too. Highlight features that can’t be told through either its photos or specifications. For example, if a house offers a spectacular view of the sunset from its veranda, the listing should highlight it. Grandeur can be told nowhere else.
* Listing language should be upbeat and tailored to sell, while at the same time, filled with accurate and useful information. It’s a balancing act, and going overboard in either direction can be off-putting. Specific details help bring in readers and build believability (high quality brand names like Sub-Zero or Wolf are good examples). Details build credibility that bolsters less concrete descriptions. I leave out unsupportable claims altogether. It can be tempting to fall in love with flowery language that sails off into its own reality — but accurate information builds trust for the lead-up to a sale.
* Setting the right tone is another important factor. It’s another balancing act. Listings should be upbeat without exaggeration…accommodating without sounding desperate. The right tone can help bring in prospects, just as the wrong one will drive them off or raise suspicions that something is wrong.
A successful Lakewood Ranchagent has demonstrated the knowhow and experience to bring these and other elements together to produce powerful, effective home listings. If you are considering selling your own home in the Manatee County or Sarasota County areas, I hope you will give me a call so we can create a dynamic marketing plan to sell your property!
As usual, the first week of July brought the usual report cards on home sales and other real estate data: the “second quarter stats.” The start of summer signals the beginning of what journalists call the slow news season (in Washington, the ‘silly season’) – a slowdown in the drumbeat of nonstop crises and turbulence in world and national affairs. Sometimes I think the most welcome result is the relief that comes from realizing that we don’t even need to glance at newspapers and TV news. Nothing new is happening. Thank goodness! That’s a mini-vacation all by itself.
One side effect it that it is much more likely that you may have missed some good news that could affect Lakewood Ranch homes sales. And possibly a subtle change in the way that news is beginning to be presented.
Reports from the National Association of Realtors, the Census Bureau and others have been looking up for a while, but reports in the national media have emphasized the caution signals. Lately there seems to be a shift in emphasis, if not content. The New York Times reported on the 19.8% increase in home sales in the last 12 months – and for once, the Grey Lady spent more ink on the ‘upswing’ than on the lagging recovery. “…Real estate was far down the list [of categories] investors had to worry about,” said the Times. Coming from that source, it was the journalistic equivalent of a ticker tape parade.
USA Todayheadlined “HOUSING PRICES RISE IN MOST U.S. CITIES,” and went on to quote economist Maury Harris stressing the importance of positive headlines. “It’s a confidence builder at a time when Americans really need something good happening.” He has a point: in the past, Lakewood Ranch home sales, like those everywhere else, tend to reflect the national temper even though real estate is a very Lakewood Ranch phenomenon.
The Christian Science Monitorreported on the “lift to the long-suffering housing market” provided by the record lows in mortgage rates. They pointed out that previously occupied home sales contract signings matched the “fastest pace in two years,” with prices “rising in most markets.”
The Wall Street Journal sounded a bit more encouraging, as well. “Generally speaking,” they reported, “home prices are rising again in most markets because demand is up strongly from one and two years ago, which the number of homes for sale is down sharply.”
Of course, every neighborhood in Manatee County is unique — and getting accurate home sales information for properties that are similar to yours is a necessary step when you go about evaluating your own family’s home buying or selling plans. For accurate and up-to-date information, feel free to contact us anytime for a consultation.