Mortgage lenders ease rules and increase confidence in the housing market

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Lenders have started to accept lower credit scores and reduce down payments. This is a clear sign of mortgage lenders being in ease and more confident in the housing market.

Topping the list, we have TD Bank. Which on last Friday began accepting down payments as low as 3% through an initiative called “right step” this program was designed to aid first-time homebuyers and low-and-moderate income buyers. “Right Step” by TD Bank does not require insurance and down payment can come from family, the state, or nonprofit groups.

Furthermore, the mortgage industry is transforming and going through some changes. More in depth lenders are recognizing that refinancing old mortgages is nearly tapped out. Now lenders are exploring new ways to generate profits, such as expanding their credit box.

Industry leaders are: community banks, credit unions, and other lenders. Moreover, over the past year more than one in six loans made outside of the Federal Housing Administration, also known as FHA included down payments of less than 10%.

Smaller lenders are also trying to appeal to first-time buyers, and are now offering less strict terms and lower down payments. While larger lenders are aggressively presenting attractive terms for first-time buyers and reducing down payments for jumbo loans as well. For instance Ever Bank began accepting down payments of 10.1% for Jumbo borrowers down from 20% the previous year, and wells Fargo reduced to 15% from 20% its minimum down payment for Jumbos last year. Lastly Bank Of America also adjusted and made some changes for mortgages of up to $ 1 million.

Credit is finally loosening! First-time buyers now have greater possibilities to make their dreams come true and have a place that they can call home.

For assistance in the purchasing process call Abner 305-222-7513. We are the Real Experts when it come to Real Estate.

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What To Do If You Get a Tax Lien on Your Property.

If you receive a tax lien against your property you could be very reasonably concerned and worried. This article will give you more information on what to do if you get a tax lien imposed against your home.

What is a tax lien? A tax lien is a document filed with the county government alerting the public that you have unpaid debt. If your property is sold, the government debt owed is deducted and you will receive the rest of the amount. There are different types of tax liens, it could be a Federal Tax Lien, a State Tax Lien or a Super Lien which is when you are behind on homeowner’s association fees.

You could also be asking yourself how serious a Federal Tax Lien can be, well the IRS, for all the fear it instills in taxpayers, is well known for working with those who owe a lot of back taxes. If you also owe taxes to a smaller government entity, such as your state or municipality, it can be an even bigger problem. In some states, as crazy as it sounds, people have lost homes for owing just a few hundred dollars in back county and city taxes. As a general rule, you should worry about paying back the smaller government debts first. However it is also very serious. If the debt is not paid it could result in you losing your home.

A Tax Lien however could be worked out until you pay off the debt but a tax levy is something different entirely and is much worse. A lien is simply a legal claim against the property. A levy is a legal seizure that actually takes the property to satisfy the tax debt, A lien on what you have is bad enough, but receiving later in the process a Notice of Intent to Levy and Notice of Your Right to a Hearing means you are now in deep trouble. Even if your house isn’t taken, other assets could be, according to Lassar. “If a taxpayer refuses to pay an amount owed, her wages, bank account, other federal payments, house, car or other property may be levied.

However if you are proactive you can avoid a tax lien. Contact the number on the paperwork you receive informing you that you owe money to the government. You may be able to work out something better than you expect. For instance, sometimes the IRS will allow subordination, which lets other creditors like financial lenders take their debts before the IRS. This can make it easier to get a loan or mortgage. Sometimes the IRS will also allow an Offer in Compromise, which allows the taxpayer to satisfy the debt with a smaller amount.

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Simple Tips to Upkeep Your Home

 If you are looking to sell your home you need to make improvements to your home. Making improvements to your home will make it more attractive to buyers and keep the value of your home where it should be.

Bringing your home up to speed doesn’t have to mean a massive, six-figure renovation. Small-scale projects that address some typical flaws of older homes can do double duty: They’ll make your home more attractive when it’s time to sell, and turn it into a more comfortable place for you to live.

One improvement can be to expand your closets, that process could be as simple as buying a few additional rods, shelves, baskets, available in hardware or other big box retailers.

Another improvement can be to open up your kitchen. Many older properties have smaller kitchens that are closed off from dining and living areas. Say you’re already planning to renovate or at least freshen up your kitchen with new counter-tops or appliances; you may want to expand the project to include removing the wall between the kitchen and dining or living area.

Another idea would be to renovate the laundry room and keep it closer to the living and bedrooms so the trip to the laundry machine isn’t so daunting and far for the new buyers.

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New Home Buyers Getting Priced out by Foreign Investors

Rising prices across the country along with lessening inventory and foreign investors buying properties with cash are keeping many American Home buyers out of the housing market.

 In cities like Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, prices have climbed by as much as 20% or more in the past year, well above the national average of 13%, according to Case Shiller. Plus mortgage rates are up by nearly a point to 4.3%, so borrowers today are paying 25% more than they would have a year ago.

Even people who are able to afford a property can be out bid by a cash only foreign investor. Nationwide, about 35% of all offers were in cash in February, a nearly 30% increase from a year earlier, according to RealtyTrac. In February, more than 71% of sales in the Miami area were all-cash deals. Many of these cash investors are coming from Venezuela who are looking for safe investments due to the political situation in their country. Another major group of investors are from Brazil who are increasingly buying properties due to their oil wealth. 

Inventory is another reason why many buyers are being excluded because new construction is still below normal levels and many sellers are hesitant to include their property on the market because they are afraid they will not be able to find a new place to live.

None the less the market is slowly improving and the cash only foreign investors are also encouraging developers to build new properties, expanding the market. 

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Investments Pouring Into U.S. Commercial Real Estate

Top real estate economists expect that commercial property transactions will rise over the next two years to levels not seen since before the recession – exceeding the volumes hit in 2006.

Total transaction volume will reach $430 billion by 2016, according to a new forecast by the Urban Land Institute and Ernst & Young. The just-released report is more optimistic than last fall’s industry outlook.

A good portion of this foreign capital is originating from China.

Greenland, like other Chinese companies, is committing to a growing number of multibillion-dollar developments outside of its home market. Chinese investments in U.S. commercial properties jumped almost 10-fold last year from 2012, with Manhattan the biggest area for purchases, followed by other New York City boroughs and Los Angeles, according to research firm Real Capital Analytics Inc.

In San Francisco, China Vanke Co., the nation’s biggest publicly traded developer, teamed with New York-based Tishman Speyer Properties LP to develop the 655-unit Lumina high-rise towers in the South of Market area. Vanke, with investment partner Aby Rosen, broke ground in February on a luxury midtown Manhattan condominium tower for its first New York City project.

Chinese builders are seeking the stability and predictable population growth offered by major U.S. cities, and are taking advantage of the Chinese government’s loosening of rules on direct investment overseas.

As the money continues to pour in from foreign investors the US Commercial Real Estate market is continuing to grow and strengthen.

 

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How to Accurately Understand the Case Shiller Housing Data

There are many conflicting headlines about the Case Shiller Housing Data and whether the numbers show the market growing steadily, or slightly cooling. The answer is actually somewhat both. It all depends on how you look at the data and which set of data you are actually looking at. Whether you interpret the market to be going up or down depends on whether you are looking at non-seasonally adjusted numbers (the raw data from that month) or seasonally adjusted (with seasonal peaks and valleys smoothed out). 

It turns out that in January, housing prices (not seasonally adjusted) across 20 major American metros collectively dipped by one tenth of 1% compared to the prior month. In both December and November, that was also true: home prices dipped by 0.1% compared to the prior months then as well. 

But when that same data is looked at through a seasonally-adjusted lens (with seasonal peaks and valleys smoothed out), it turns out that prices in January actually increased 0.8% across the nation. 

The season in real estate makes a huge difference. Forecasters understand that weather patterns in the winter months causes sales to slow down a bit. Case-Shiller factors that in and adjusts its numbers to account for that predictable change and report more even monthly data. The difference in the smoothed-out (seasonally-adjusted) versus raw (not seasonally adjusted) data is also pretty significant when considering the true state of market conditions.

It is still important to view the non seasonally adjusted data to compare it year by year to see if the market is truly growing.  year-over year prices (not seasonally adjusted) are also up significantly. In January, the 10-City index rose 13.5% year-over-year, while the 20-City index rose 13.2% (both indices track single-family homes). While the (seasonally adjusted) figures indicate that the housing market is continuing its overall recovery, January’s (not seasonally adjusted) numbers compared to February’s for the 20-City Composite show a bit of a winter chill on prices.

The major cities whose weather has been cold have seen slight decreases in home prices over the winter months. Las Vegas, on the other hand, posted the largest monthly price increase at +1.1%, its 22nd consecutive monthly gain. Nonetheless, Las Vegas prices are still 45% below their August 2006 peak. Miami also saw a January increase of 0.7%, San Diego, 0.6%. San Francisco and Tampa posted gains of 0.5% and 0.4%, respectively.

Overall the market is still on its way to recovering and once you really understand the data you can understand that the coming months will see an increase in prices as the weather warms and the spring season causes more buyers to begin their real estate search.

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Steps to Cut Your Real Estate Taxes

1. Pay your tax bill: In most jurisdictions to preserve the right to appeal the price of your property tax bill you must have paid in full.

2. Research the Appeals window: Each region has different regulations as to when and how long you can appeal your tax bill. It could be 25 days after you pay your tax bill. Find out what regulations are appeals are and what the regulations for submitting evidence are.

3. Find out the Assessment Date: It could be Jan. 1 or Oct. 1 or another date. In any case, there is a time lag between the assessment date and the date you get your tax bill. If your property has gone down in value in that time period, that doesn’t help you. It’s the value as of the assessment date that matters.

4. Determine the Assessment Cycle: Some municipalities reassess properties every year while others reassess every few years. Therefore if you have a multi-assessment cycle winning a reduction in the first year can help lock in the tax rate for multiple years.

5. Locate your Property Tax: Each property has a card with assessment details for each property. Sometimes this information is online. Find the card and correct any information that can be incorrect. Incomplete or incorrect information can sometimes drive up the price of the assessment.

6. Find the Comparables: In most States property taxes are a matter of the Public record. Find the property tax information for your neighborhood and compare that with your own tax bill to find out if you are paying too much in taxes.

7. Look for Homestead Breaks: Some municipalities have exemptions, lower tax rates, or other savings for homeowners who are full time residents or have lived in their homes a certain number of years. Research your local laws to find out if you could qualify for a homestead break or exemptions.

8. Search for other discounts: Some states have other exemptions and tax savings for Veterans, Seniors, and other groups. You often need to apply for these exemptions so research the laws and application requirements.

All of these tips require a little bit of research and time however the savings may be well worth the time and effort expended to research and find savings on your property taxes. 

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