22. January 2010 10:10
Q. We are having our house appraised next month. What do I need to know beforehand, especially if the appraisal is too low?
A. The purpose of a real estate appraisal is to establish a property’s value for financing purposes. This is different from a comparative market analysis (CMA), which real estate agents use to estimate a true market value. Professional appraisers are licensed and regulated by each state and follow federal guidelines.
The appraisal is a detailed report that is required by a lender to secure a loan. The appraiser’s job is to determine the valuation of a property by inspecting the property, taking measurements, examining the location of the property, comparing it to at least three similar properties, and evaluating the real estate market in the area. It’s important to note that an appraisal is not a home inspection.
If the appraisal comes in too low…keep your cool. If the house appraisal is lower than the sales price, the loan may not be approved. Many times there are several things you can do to fix or correct any problems and flaws that may have been found.
Learn How To Maximize The Value Of Your Home!
Did you know there’s a free consumer report showing which repairs and fix-ups will net you the most value for your home? It’s call the “Homeseller’s Guide To Money-Making Fix-Ups,” and it’s great even if you’re not planning on selling soon. You can get a free copy by visiting our webstie at…
19. January 2010 06:10
Saving money is easier than you think. In fact, you can find “66 Ways You Can Save” (from transportation, mortgages, banking, housing, energy, to insurance and more) at www.ftc.gov - Facts for Consumers. Here are a few simple ideas you’ll find:
- Skip the ATM. It’s amazing how many people burn up cash in a short time using the ATM.
- Track Your Monthly Spending. When you know where you’re spending your money, you can make adjustments where necessary.
- Pay Cash. You’ll save money by not paying interest on credit cards, and when you’re out of cash…you’ll stop spending.
- Reduce Your Debt. Pay off your smallest balance first, then move to the next smallest debt, double the payment, and continue on until you’ve paid off your debt.
- Lower Household Expenses. Combine trips to save on fuel, and eat more meals at home. Turn the thermostat down in the winter to save on home heating bills and you can save a bundle.
- Look for the Deals. Shop discounts and closeout sales, and keep an eye out for coupons and rebates on items you plan to purchase.
More Free Real Estate Tips!
Find TONS of free information about our local Richmond real estate market. Visit my site at:
29. December 2009 08:27
Q. What are the new trends in home building?
A. Every new home buyer has their own personal preferences, but according to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, there are some new trends in the new home building market.
Buyers surveyed wanted spacious garages with lots of storage, and many buyers wanted space for a workshop. New home buyers want high-tech wiring for sound systems, computer networks, and entertainment. One of biggest shifts is buyers are looking for fewer open floor plans, and preferred partial walls that separate areas. Activity rooms were also important to new buyers. This included space for a home office, game rooms, exercise areas, home entertainment areas, or a family room/den.
Storage areas (kitchen pantry, walk-up attic, large closets, and special cabinets) were particularly important to new buyers. New home buyers also wanted homes with lots of natural light. Fewer buyers were interested in two story homes and preferred the master suite on the main floor with a walk-in shower stall.
If you are buying or selling a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me, Marc Austin Highfill, at (804) 527-EXIT.
18. December 2009 07:43
Do you find yourself getting that urge to drop-into Open Houses, even when you’re busy? You’re not alone. Many homeowners visit open houses to get design ideas, or to see how their home compares in the neighborhood.
But if you find yourself attracted to Open Houses frequently, you might want to ask yourself “why.” You might just find that, even though you’re happy with your current home, you might be subconsciously searching for your dream home. Perhaps you want a bigger yard. A quieter street. A gourmet kitchen.
Whatever the reason, there are sophisticated tools that can help. A computerized “Home Search” system can scour the market finding the exact home you want – automatically. It can get you daily updates on the newest homes on the market, and since it is a computerized system there’s never any pressure from working with a person, just great service. Even if you’re just “thinking” and want to know what’s “out there,” consider giving it a try. Feel free to go to my website and sign up at http://www.marcshomes.com or call (804) 527-3948.
4. December 2009 15:43
The news came Tuesday afternoon that Bank of America will repay the $45 billion it received as part of the U.S. government's Troubled Asset Relief Program. BOA's move might be a good sign for the recovering housing market and the overall economy.
First, it signals that the nation's largest mortgage lender has gotten itself back into decent shape. Whether that means more lending to home buyers remains to be seen, but it stands to reason that a healthier bank is in a better position to lend money.
Think of it this way: Would you rather have the nation's largest mortgage lender able to repay $45 billion or have it buckling under the weight of its acquisition of Merrill Lynch, which was in such bad shape that BOA hinted at backing out of the merger.
Although it's true that the move HAS to have something to do with its search for a CEO to replace out-going chief Ken Lewis -- the repayment will get BOA out from under the government's restrictions on CEO compensation -- the move is also good news for a couple of other obvious reasons.
First, the bank plans to raise capital to help pay for the repayment. This means selling stocks, which means it's counting on investors to be confident enough to pony up. And investors, as the bank probably hoped, are showing confidence already. Shares of BOA stock went up 2.2 percent after the announcement. Shares are around $16 after having hit a low of little more than $3 in March.
The second part of good news is that it would appear the government's moves to shore up the financial industry last year were the right ones. By helping to prop up BOA, which acquired Merrill and Countrywide Financial, the government helped the financial sector avert further meltdown. Yes, the $700 billion TARP was painful spending of taxpayers' dollars, but in hindsight, it appears to have been vital to the economy's overall health.
"We appreciate the critical role that the U.S. government played last fall in helping to stabilize financial markets," Lewis remarked in a BOA news release.
Now, some critics will argue that this repayment will be bad for consumers -- that the repayment will lift some restrictions on the company imposed by the government on banks that received TARP money. True, it will again let BOA decide on its own executive pay and bonuses -- topics that got big banks in hot water -- but the repayment will leave in place an element that is probably more important.
BOA, even in repayment, will have to maintain higher capital levels required by the government of all institutions receiving TARP money. Not having enough capital on hand -- banks were much less restricted earlier this decade -- is what got financial institutions in trouble when the credit crunch hit. And not-good-enough capital levels are blows to a bank's ability to lend money.
That the country's biggest mortgage bank is strong enough to repay its TARP money, is able to raise the money to do it and that it will be able to maintain healthy capital levels are good signs for the tight credit market.
30. November 2009 16:14
The next time you hear a politician use the word “billion” in a casual manner, think about whether you want the “politicians” spending your tax money. A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its releases.
A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
A billion days ago no one walked on the earth on two feet.
A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.
Yikes! Certainly makes you think!
19. November 2009 07:44
Would you like the keys to financial freedom? Mary Farrell’s Beyond the Basics, outlines the characteristics of people who have achieved their financial goals. It’s no secret that people who achieve their goals have a plan – they set financial goals, save and invest their money, and they keep an eye on their investments. Here are five strategies from Fortune magazine for building wealth:
Start early and save. If you save $1K a year at 25, you’ll have about five times what you would have than starting at age 45.
Invest in index funds rather than individual stocks. They’re easier and safer for the average investor with little time for research.
If your employer has a 401(k) plan, use it. Your employer’s contribution is like free money.
Avoid mutual funds with a management fee higher than 1 percent.
Get rid of your credit card and consumer debt. Pay off the highest rate card first, then work through your lower rate cards.
Learn How To Maximize The Value Of Your Home!
Did you know there’s a free consumer report showing which repairs and fix-ups will net you the most value for your home? It’s call the “Homeseller’s Guide To Money-Making Fix-Ups,” and it’s great even if you’re not planning on selling soon. You can get a free copy by visiting our website at…
29. October 2009 06:17
Q. We are thinking about selling our home soon. How do we select the best real estate agent?
A. Before you hire a real estate agent there are several things you want to think about. While it might be nice to have cousin Sal list your house or your best friend’s husband, remember this is a business decision. You want to hire the best person for the job.
First, interview several agents with at least 3-4 years of experience and a solid record of sold properties. They should be knowledgeable about your neighborhood, community, and houses similar to yours. They should have good pricing skills and know the current market conditions. Be sure to ask for references! Next, compare marketing plans and resources used for selling your home. Look for innovative ways the agent uses to target and attract the right kind of buyer for your home. The more traffic they can generate, the higher your odds of getting your home sold fast and for the best price. Next, select an agent who is affiliated with a reputable company with good community exposure. Finally, you want an agent who is compatible with you and who communicates well.
If you are buying or selling a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 804-527-3948.
14. October 2009 14:12
Are you a smart consumer? Each year millions of dollars are lost from unscrupulous people and businesses who take advantage of unaware homeowners. The Better Business Bureau of the U.S. and Canada recently published four “red flags” that could prevent you from being taken by a scam artist:
Identity Theft. ID theft has become a serious threat to consumers. Thieves can gain access to your personal information by sifting through your trash and recycling bins, stealing your mail, sending you unsolicited emails pretending to be a financial institution (called “phishing”). Check with your bank or financial institutions by telephone before responding to unsolicited emails. Shred all personal and financial information before putting it in the trash. Lastly, never give out any personal information from unsolicited phone calls.
Door-to-door tricks. Beware of uninvited door-to-door sales people. They may have a product or service they are trying to sell to you that is overpriced, and you may feel pressured to purchase.
Mortgage fraud. Mortgage fraud is a serious concern. Typically, a “rip-off” artist buys a property and then artificially increases its value through a series of sales with another scam artist. A mortgage is then secured at the higher mortgage price.
The renovation racket. The BBB receives more complaints about home improvement contractors than any other profession. Obtain at least three bids before having any work done on your home. Pay little or no money upfront for renovation work. Resist pressure to sign a contract, or have it reviewed by an attorney before signing. Check with your local BBB and Registrar of Contractors to see if the company has had any complaints.
Being alert goes a long way. Check with your local Better Business Bureau, or online at www.bbb.org for more information.
FREE Consumer Help Is Just A Phone Call Away!
Learn valuable secrets for saving thousands and avoiding costly mistakes when buying, selling or refinancing a home. Best of all, it’s FREE. See my “Free Resources Page” at www.MarcsHomes.Com
A Success Website® Solution. ® and © owned by ConsulNet Computing Inc. 1998-2013.(All rights reserved)