Don’t Pat Yourself on the Back Just Yet
You’ve got $500,000 in liquid assets for your retirement and you’re still 15 years away. All your bills are paid; you have a small mortgage on your home; cars are paid
for and great credit. Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back yet.
People think more about what they’re going to do when they retire than whether they’ll have the funds to do them. Ask anyone who has retired, it takes more money than you thought it did. Let’s look at a hypothetical situation.
To retire with $125,000 income in today’s dollars with a life expectancy of 25 years after retirement, you’ll need to have a net worth of $1.5 million at retirement including what Social Security may provide. Your $500,000 will grow to $1,045,420 in 15 years which will leave you about a half million short. You’ll need to save $24,149 each year for the next 15 years to reach your goal.
Is this surprising? Did you imagine that this example would be that far from its goal? It might seem staggering to save $24,000 each year but there is another way…investing in rentals.
Real estate over the long term has proven to be a solid, predictable investment. Cash flows, appreciation, equity buildup and tax advantages are the components that contribute to the rate of return. Increasing rents, available financing and solid appreciation make rentals particularly attractive in today’s environment.
Call me at (972) 407-1337 to find out more about how rental homes can help you reach your retirement goals.
GaSandra Carlson of Envoy Mortgage talks about the FHA 203 K Loan
GaSandra Carlson of Envoy Mortgage talks about the FHA 203 K Loan. This is a Rehab loan that allows buyers to buy a home that needs some work and borrow enough money to Rehab the home. This loan can also be used a tool to refinance and rehab your home/. After you watch this video. If you have any questions please feel free to contact GaSandra at (503) 967-5099
NMLS # 487425
(503) 967-5099 Office
(503) 351-1802 Cell
Property Tax Deferral for Seniors and People with Disabilities
What is a property tax deferral?
The Oregon Legislature established programs that allow qualifying citizens to delay paying property taxes on their residences – including manufactured homes, houseboats, multi-family, and income-producing properties.
If you qualify for one of the deferral programs, the state will pay your property taxes to the county. A lien will be placed on your property. You will be charged lien recording fees, which are deferred. Interest on the deferred taxes, at 6 percent per year, is also deferred.
How do I qualify for a deferral?
To get more detailed information about how to qualify for a property tax deferral through the Oregon Department of Revenue, visit: Property Tax Deferral for Disabled and Senior Citizens.
Disabled and senior citizens can “borrow” money from the state of Oregon to pay property taxes.
Tips To Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly,
Tips To Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly
Trying to make your home more eco-friendly is easier than you might think. There are several small things you can do, in each room in your house, to make your carbon footprint a much smaller one. The more we do to go green in our homes the better off our environment will be.
With changes in the climate a serious threat to our way of living, it is the responsibility of every person to make changes to their everyday lives that will have a greener impact and help to slow down the effects of global warming. One of the easiest places to start is by making your home more eco-friendly.
Going green at home does not require you to spend lots of money; in fact, it can actually save you money! Whether you take on small projects or large overhauls, every step we take towards being more energy conservative is one step closer to making the world a better place for the next generation. Here are some tips to help you get started and make your home more eco-friendly.
Living Room Energy Savings
The living room is typically one of the most used rooms in the home, and often responsible for a large portion of the energy that your home uses. Make a more energy efficient living space and go greener by following these simple to install tips:
- Replace the light bulbs: Swapping your incandescent bulbs for energy-saving Light-Emitting Diodes (LED) or Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) bulbs will save you money on your electricity bill as well as being better for the environment. It is estimated that CFL bulbs use roughly 70% less energy than traditional incandescent ones.
- Unplug your appliances: Even when your TV or games console is switched off or on standby it uses electricity. Get into the habit of unplugging things at the end of the day to save energy and money. Take a quick walk through your home and it will become abundantly clear how many devices you can unplug to conserve energy.
- Use draft excluders: When all the family is in the living room it is a good idea to heat that room and use a draft excluder to prevent heat escaping under the door. They come in a variety of colors and styles too.
- Have carpets fitted: Carpet will make your living room feel warmer and cozier, but if full carpet is not an option, laying a rug on your wooden floor can have the same effect. The extra insulation can help reduce heating costs.
- Install dimmer switches: Turning the lights down low creates a nice cozy atmosphere and uses less energy, which will also save you money. The savings are dependent on how dimly you light the room and the type of light bulbs you use.
- Open the drapes: During the day when the sun is shining, open the drapes and let the sun warm your home naturally; this even works in winter. Using natural lighting is an easy approach to conserving energy.
- Close the drapes: When the sun goes down and your heating comes on, close the drapes to prevent heat from being lost through the windows. This simple step can reduce heat loss by as much as 15% in an average home.
Kitchen Energy Tips
The kitchen is the hub of many American homes, and it is often packed full of energy-guzzling gadgets and appliances. Here are some ways you can cut down your kitchen energy usage:
- Cook in batches: Cooking meals in batches and freezing portions will save energy, time, and money. Defrost and reheat the meals in the microwave throughout the week because microwaves use less energy than conventional stoves. How much less? The energy savings typically start at 30 percent and go up based on usage.
- Choose low energy appliances: Many older models of dishwashers, fridges, and freezers are not very energy-efficient. When they need replacing, opt for low energy ones instead. Look for the Energy Star logo to improve energy efficiency, maximize your eco-friendly efforts, and have the kitchen you always wanted.
- Clean your refrigerator coils: Dust and grime can build up on the coils, preventing your fridge from working as efficiently as it should. Clean the grime away and it will use less energy.
- Place your refrigerator in the shade: If your fridge is in direct sunlight it will be a couple of degrees warmer, have to work harder, and use more energy to stay cool inside. Every little bit of energy conservation helps.
- Fill your dishwasher: Running your dishwasher uses around half the water it takes to wash the dishes by hand. Ensuring it is full before running will be more time and energy efficient. Using it in energy-savings mode, if available, will help cut consumption even more.
- Compost your food waste: Rather than throwing your leftovers and food scraps down the garbage disposal, collect them in a small bin in the kitchen, and invest in a compost bin for your garden. It will help keep you on track with your outside eco-friendly options.
- Keep your freezer full: A full freezer will run more efficiently than a half-empty one. Try filling it with those batch-cooked meals to save time throughout the week.
Bedroom Eco-Friendly Advice
The bedroom is another room that you spend a lot of your time in, both sleeping and relaxing, so make sure you follow these tips to keep things eco-friendly in there:
- Use eco paints: When it comes to redecorating your bedroom choose eco-friendly paints with low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Eco-friendly paints are better for the environment and better for your health. Water based paints contain less VOCs than oil based paints.
- Choose a non-toxic mattress: When it is time to replace your old mattress (every 7 to 10 years), choose a new one that has not been treated with synthetic chemicals or toxic materials. Choosing one made with organic cotton, wool, or latex made from rubber tree sap, is a good way to be more eco-friendly and still get a good nights sleep.
- Choose organic linens: Non-organic cotton accounts for around 25% of the world’s insecticide use, so switching to organically grown cotton sheets, or those made from sustainable bamboo fibers, is much better for the environment. They are also softer to the touch.
- Ditch the air purifier: An air purifier makes the air in your bedroom cleaner to breath, but it also uses a lot of energy. Unless you have allergies or asthma, a houseplant or two in your bedroom will clean the air just as well without the constant hum.
- Unplug your phone charger: Most of us charge our phones overnight next to our beds, and leave them plugged in constantly. Try to get into the habit of unplugging your charger each morning as it will still draw electricity from the grid whether it is charging your phone or not.
Bathroom Energy Efficiency
A great deal of energy is used in the purification of water before it reaches your bathroom faucets and shower. By cutting down on water usage you can help the environment. Here are tips to help you conserve energy in the bathroom:
- Turn the faucet off: When you are brushing your teeth, do not leave the water running. Instead, fill a glass with water, turn off the faucet, and use the glass of water to rinse your mouth and wash your toothbrush. According to the EPA, this simple step can save up to 8 gallons of water each time you brush your teeth.
- Fix that leaky faucet: Did you know that up to 48 gallons of water can be lost each week from a leaky faucet? All the more reason to get it fixed as soon as you notice it is leaking in order to prevent that water from unnecessarily being wasted.
- Install a low flow shower head: You will not notice the difference in water flow, and you will still be as clean as a whistle, but you will be using a lot less water with each shower you take.
- Install a water saving toilet: Or use a cistern displacement device to reduce the amount of water that gets flushed away each time. Depending on the model you replace, your savings could be up to 4 gallons per flush.
- Do not flush every time: It is not always necessary to flush the toilet after every single use. If there is just you and your family in the house, flush it after every two or three trips instead and you will use a lot less water. Use common sense if you use this option.
- Open the window: After showering, crack the window open to let the excess humidity escape. If it stays in the room it can lead to mold, which then creates a situation that may involve using harsh chemicals to clean away the mold or mildew.
- Shower instead of bathing: Taking showers instead of baths typically uses up to 14% less water. It also takes less energy to heat the water for a shower than it does to run a hot bath.
Going Green Around the House
There are so many other ways that you and your family can make your home life much more eco-friendly. Some of these go green in the home tips include:
- Recycle: There are so many everyday items that can be recycled, including all types of paper and cardboard, plastic bottles, glass bottles and jars, and aluminum cans. If you live in one of the eleven states with bottle bills, you can even redeem plastic bottles and aluminum cans for cash!
- Have double glazing installed: Up to 25% of heat can be lost through the windows, but having double glazed windowsinstalled throughout your home will keep a lot more of the heat in, making your home feel much more cozy without the need to crank up the thermostat.
- Wash clothes on a cold cycle: Using the cold cycle on your washing machine will still wash your clothes effectively, but it will save you energy and money too. The results might surprise you so give it a try.
- Hang the laundry out to dry: Using a dryer is obviously a quicker way to dry your clothes, but they use a lot of energy. Make the most of warm or windy weather and hang your laundry outside to dry naturally.
- Layer up before turning the heating up: If you are feeling cold, throw on a sweater or get under a blanket before you reach to turn the heating on or turn it up. Keep throws or blankets handy so you are not tempted to reach to the thermostat.
- Switch to paperless billing: Choose to receive credit card statements and utilities bills via email rather than in the mail. Many companies even offer a discount on their services if you choose to view and pay your bills online. You can even get much of your snail mail delivered online if you ask.
- Cut down on chemical use: Opt for chemical-free cleaning products, or better still, make your own! Ingredients that you already have in the cupboards, like baking soda, vinegar, olive oil, and lemon juice can be used to make a variety of cleaning solutions.
- Install solar panels: They are not cheap, and it can take years to recoup the upfront costs, but if you live in a sunny climate and plan on living in the home long-term, they could be a great option. A decent reduction of power consumption is what you can expect if you install solar panels.
There are lots of other ways that you can live a greener lifestyle, both in and out of the home, but adopting a few of the tips shared above is a great way to start. If you have children, try to get them into eco-friendly habits from an early age, as they are the ones that will benefit the most from taking care of the planet in the long run.
FHA EASES CONDOMINIUM PROJECT APPROVAL REQUIREMENTS: Temporary guidelines will increase number of condominium projects eligible for FHA approval
WASHINGTON – The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) today published new guidelines under its condominium approval process intended to increase affordable housing options for first-time and low- to moderate-income homebuyers. Effective immediately, FHA’s temporary guidance will streamline the agency’s condominium recertification process and expand the eligibility of acceptable ‘owner-occupied’ units to include second homes that are not investor-owned. Read FHA’s mortgagee letter.
These provisions will expire in one year and serve to revise FHA’s condominium approval process until the agency can implement a more comprehensive condominium rule change. Today’s guidance:
- Modifies the requirements for condominium project recertification;
- Revises the calculation of FHA’s required owner-occupancy percentage; and
- Expands eligible condominium project insurance coverages.
Streamline Condominium Recertification
FHA-approved condominium projects require recertification after two years to ensure that the project is still in compliance with FHA’s eligibility requirements and that no conditions currently exist which would present an unacceptable risk to FHA. For existing condominium projects seeking recertification, FHA will now only require applicants to submit documents reflecting any substantive changes since the project’s prior approval.
Calculation of Owner-Occupancy
The procedure for calculating the required owner-occupancy percentage (50 percent) is modified to allow units that are not investor-owned to be considered owner-occupied for the purpose of Condominium Project approval. A condominium is considered to be owner-occupied provided they are not:
- Tenant Occupied;
- Vacant and listed for rent;
- Existing (previously occupied), vacant and listed for sale; or
- Under contract to a purchaser who does not intend to occupy the unit as a Principal Residence or Secondary Residence. The term Principal Residence and Secondary Residence have the same meaning.
Expansion of Eligible Condominium Project Insurance Coverage
Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) are required to maintain adequate “master” or “blanket” property insurance in an amount equal to 100% of current replacement cost of the condominium (exclusive of land, foundation, excavation and other items normally excluded from coverage). Insurance coverage for condominium project approval that consists of pooled policies for affiliated projects, state-run plans, or contains coinsurance obligations on the part of the policy holder is now permitted to satisfy this requirement.
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet
at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov.
You can also connect with HUD on social media and follow Secretary Castro on
Twitter and Facebook or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s Email List.
The Advantage of Property Management, By Troy Rappold
In business, the slogan “Just Do It!” rings true and will serve you well. In the world of Property Management this is applicable as well. After all, we are trying to grow our business and be successful when we manage your asset wisely and efficiently. However, more often than not our slogan is “Just Do the Right Thing!”
As property managers we work with many vendors who complete work on our properties. We want quick, quality repairs, and at a good price for our clients. Sometimes this requires tough conversations. Navigating this world is our expertise and it is part of why you rely on us. Our fiduciary responsibility is always you, the client.
The other piece of the puzzle we have to navigate is relations with tenants. Our job is to provide clean, safe, well-maintained housing. However, and this might come as a shock, sometimes tenants can have expectations that are out of line. Just because a kitchen counter has a scratch on it doesn’t mean we need to replace the entire counter top with new, beautiful granite from Brazil. Often times a property manager has to say “no” in the most professional and courteous way possible.
Real Estate management is an active, engaging industry. One cannot just buy an investment property and watch it appreciate or mature, like treasury bonds. Having the right management in place is just as important as buying the right property at the right price. We have the expertise and experience to navigate the difficulties and pitfalls for you. Here at Rappold Property Management we take our job very seriously and we manage your property as if it were our own.
Rappold Property Management, LLC
1125 SE Madison Street, suite #201
Portland, OR 97214
Asking Prices and Inventory for Homes in Portland Oregon
As of April 08 2013 there were about 8,039 single family and condo homes listed for sale in Portland Oregon. The median asking price of these homes was approximately $274,000. Since this time last year, the inventory of homes for sale has decreased by 24.4% and the median price has increased by 9.6%.
|April 08, 2013||Month/Month||Year/Year|
|Median Asking Price||$274,000||+3.4%||+9.6%|
Recent Asking Price and Inventory History for Portland
|Date||Single Family & Condo
Portland Asking Price History
The median asking price for homes in Portland peaked in April 2007 at $354,740 and is now $82,790 (23.3%) lower. From a low of $239,125 in February 2011, the median asking price in Portland has increased by $32,825 (13.7%).
25th, Median (50th) and 75th Percentile Asking Prices for Portland Oregon
Portland Housing Inventory History
Housing inventory in Portland, which is typically highest in the spring/summer and lowest in the fall/winter, peaked at 23,354 in July 2008. The lowest housing inventory level seen was 7,938 in April 2013.
Housing Inventory for Portland Oregon
Portland Asking Price and Inventory History
|Date||Single Family & Condo
Department of Numbers
The Department of Numbers contextualizes public data so that individuals can form independent opinions on everyday social and economic matters.
3 Common First Time Home Buyer Mistakes Can Cost Thousands, by Steph Noble
Buying real estate for the first time is a very exciting step in life.
It is likely to be one of the biggest financial commitments that you make, so it’s very important to navigate the purchasing process wisely.
Many first-time home buyers make rookie mistakes that bring on negative consequences and a lot of frustration.
Outlined below are common errors home buyers make, so you can learn from their missteps and avoid them yourself.
1. Buying More Than What You Can Truly Afford
Just because the bank says that you qualify a certain amount for a mortgage doesn’t mean that you have to choose a house at the very top of this price range.
Many people get carried away and buy the most expensive house that they qualify for.
If something unexpected happens, they may find it difficult to keep up with their monthly mortgage payments later on.
Remember that you will also have student loan payments, vehicle costs, credit card bills, health insurance, groceries, retirement savings and other expenses, so make sure that your mortgage payments will comfortably fit within your budget.
2. Failing To Get A Home Inspection
Before buying a house, you should always have a professional inspection done. Not doing so is a big mistake.
You don’t want to get stuck with hidden damage that could saddle you with the expense of ongoing repairs.
Hiring a professional to assess the home’s condition is absolutely essential before making your final decision.
3. Disregarding Your Future
When you are buying real estate, don’t just think about how the home will work for you in the immediate future.
Also consider what your needs will be five, ten or even 20 years from now.
Find out the development plans for the neighborhood.
Look for reputable schools if you intend to start a family.
And consider whether the street’s home values are likely to increase or decline in the future.
Your Next Steps
Don’t let the home-buying process overwhelm you!
Learn from these common first-time home buyers’ mistakes, so you can avoid them.
A great next step toward planning for your first home purchase is to consult with a trusted, licensed mortgage professional who is trained in providing the best advice on how a new home will affect your budget.
Great Staging Tips To Set A Buyer’s Mood At Your Home For Sale, by Steph Noble
Staging is the art of preparing your home for sale before showing it to prospective buyers.
The point of staging is to highlight the house’s strengths, downplay its weaknesses and make it more appealing.
With the right decorating techniques, you can win buyers over the moment they step through the door.
Below are a few staging tips to help make your house irresistible to potential buyers.
Put Everything Away
The first step is to put away anything that is not essential. This will open up the house so that it appears more spacious.
Even if you have to rent a storage unit, finding a new home for all of your family’s projects and collections should clear some space and help buyers imagine their own belongings in your home for sale.
Pay special attention to entryways and narrow hallways to improve your prospective buyer’s sense of spaciousness.
Get Rid Of Clutter
Be sure to clear off the things that gather on kitchen counters and surfaces, such as old magazines and stacks of mail.
Also, emptying out your closets of half of the things inside them will make them look much roomier.
Use this time as an opportunity to thin the number of largely unused items that your family has collected over the years.
And look on the bright side; moving into a new house will be much easier after you have donated your unneeded items to a charity.
Fresh Scents Make Sense
You would be surprised by how much the sense of smell comes into play when buyers are viewing a house.
To avoid turning buyers off with pet or smoke odors, make sure you give each room a deep clean, including the air vents and carpeting.
Just covering up stale odors with air fresheners won’t do the job.
Let In The Light
Buyers are looking for spacious rooms with a lot of natural light, so make sure you open the blinds and turn on all the lights.
If you have rooms that are a bit dark, you can add floor lamps to make them brighter or flowers to suggest sunlight.
Home staging can make a big difference in how potential buyers see your home for sale, so make sure you set the mood to make it as attractive as possible.
3 Stress-Free Packing Tips For Moving Into Your New Home, by Steph Noble
Moving everything in your house to your new |Oregon| home can be an overwhelming task.
You never realize how much stuff you actually own until you try to fit it all into boxes and move it somewhere new.
When you are packing up your things to relocate, here are some helpful tips to make your moving experience much easier:
Start Packing In Advance
You don’t have to wait until the day before you move to start packing everything in your house!
As soon as you find out that you are moving, you can start packing the items you don’t often use, such as your seasonal decorations, photo albums and family keepsakes.
If you pack a few items per week, you’ll have almost everything packed by the time you are ready to go except for the essentials you use every day.
Establish A System
Rather than randomly throwing every item you see into a box, think ahead and create a logical plan for your packing.
Before you start, develop a simple record-keeping system.
Give every box you pack a number and write a corresponding list detailing the items in that box.
This way, when you arrive you will know exactly where to find each item.
You will want to keep all of the items from each area of the house together so they can be unpacked easily.
For example, keep all of the boxes of kitchen supplies together and then put them straight into the kitchen when you arrive at your new home.
You could even designate a color for each room in the house and put colored stickers on the boxes so that the movers or anyone helping you can easily determine in which room a box belongs.
Bonus Tip: Sometimes Less Is More
One final consideration that can make your move easier is to use your move as an opportunity to pare down your unused belongings.
Plus, you won’t be left wondering why you decided to move things from one home to another once you start unpacking.
As with many things, the more organized you are when packing, the less stressful it will be when you arrive and at your new house.
As Inventories Shrink, So Do Seller Concessions, by RisMedia
With inventories down and prices up, sellers are ending the costly incentives they have been forced to offer buyers during the six-year long buyers’ market. Concession-free transactions make deal-making simple on both sides of the table.
There’s no better gauge of the onset of a seller’s market than the demise of concessions that were considered essential to attract buyer interest just a few months ago. The National Association of REALTORS®’ December REALTOR® Confidence Outlook reported that the market has steadily moved towards a seller’s market with buyers more willing to bear closing costs, in some cases paying for half or more of the closing cost. Tight inventories of homes for sale are making markets increasingly competitive.
NAR reports that last year 60 percent of all sellers offered incentives to attract buyers. The most popular was a free home warranty policy, which costs about $500, offered by 22 percent of sellers, but 17 percent upped the ante by paying a portion of buyers’ closing costs and 7 percent contributed to remodeling or repairs.
Concessions linger where inventories are still adequate and sales slow, but in tight markets like Washington D.C., the times when buyers can expect concessions are already over.
“Buyers are discovering, to their dismay that homes they wanted to see or possibly buy have already been snatched up before they even get a chance to see or make an offer on the property. This area’s unprecedented low inventory levels are slowly driving up home prices and making sellers reluctant to cede little if any concessions to buyers. Realtors are warning (or should in some cases) buyers to be prepared to act that day if they are interested in a property,” reporters a local broker.
In Albuquerque, supply is dwindling and sales are moving to a more balanced market. “Buyers can expect sellers to offer less concessions and sales prices will be close to list price,” reports broker Archie Saiz.
In Seattle, not only are concessions a thing of the past, desperate buyers are even resorting to writing “love letters” to win over sellers in competitive situations. Lena Maul, a broker/owner in Lynnwood, reports a successful letter-writing effort last month by one of her office’s clients. Those buyers, who were using FHA financing, wrote a letter introducing themselves to the seller and explaining why they liked the home so much. After reviewing 13 offers, including one from an all-cash investor, the seller chose the letter-writer’s offer.
New regulations enacted last year by the Federal Housing Administration to limit its exposure to risk forced many sellers to cut back on the amount of assistance on buyers’ closing costs. Sellers are now limited to no more than six percent of the loan amount.
Underwriting standards on conventional mortgages also have the effect of limiting the amount sellers can contribute.
In recent years many lenders have disallowed seller paid closing costs on 100 percent financed home loans because of the high foreclosure rate.
However, seller paid closing costs are typically limited to 6 percent of the loan amount at 90 percent loan-to-value or lower, 3 percent between 90-95 percent, and then usually 3 percent for 100 percent loan-to-value.
Some sellers bump up the home sales price to pay for concessions. However the buyer will need to get the higher amount he will need to borrow covered by the appraisal and he will have to meet increased debt-to-income ratio in order to close his loan.
The demise of concessions will make buying and selling a little simpler and more rational. As one observed asked, “Why would anyone selling a home pay the home buyer to buy it?”
For more information, visit www.realestateeconomywatch.com
Declining Home Inventory Affecting Sales, by Mortgage Implode Blog
This past week, several reports were released, all of which showed that declining home inventory is affecting sales. This decline is creating a seller’s market in which multiple bids are being made to purchase homes. According to the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales fell 1% in December, but were still at the second highest level since November, 2009. Inventory of homes for sale fell 8.5 from November, the lowest level since January of 2001, and are down 21.6% from December of 2011.
Following that lead, pending home sales dropped 4.34% in December to 101.7 from 106.3 in November, yet was 6.9% higher than December, 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors. The Chief Economist at NAR stated that “supplies of homes costing less than $100,000 are tight in much of the country, especially in the West, so first time buyers have fewer options”. Mortgage ratesare still low, affordability is still there, but the available homes are dwindling. In the meantime, home prices are increasing at a faster pace. According to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller index for November, property values rose 5.5% from November of 2011 which was the highest year over year increase since August of 2006.
The cause of the low inventory can be attributed to several factors. For the week ending January 18th, loan applications increased 7.0% on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Mortgage Banker’s Association. The Refinance Index rose 8% with refinances representing 82% of all applications. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index rose 3%, the highest level since May, 2010. Many homeowners have chosen a mortgage refinance instead of moving to another home which is one reason that inventory is down. In addition, many underwater homeowners have refinanced through the HARP program which is available for loans that were sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prior to June 1, 2009. These homeowners may not yet be in a position to sell their homes until they have gained back enough equity. As home prices increase, this will eventually happen. The same can be said for those who refinanced through the FHA streamline program which is offering reduced fees for loans that were endorsed prior to June 1, 2009. Refinancing through these two government programs, both available until the end of 2013, hit all time highs in 2012.
Home builders are busy, but not currently building new homes at the rate that was seen during the housing boom. According to the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, total new homes sales in 2012 hit the highest level seen since 2009 and were up 19.9% from 2011. There was much progress made in 2012, but sales for new homes fell 7.3% in December.
On the down side, the Census Bureau reported that homeownership fell 0.6% to 65.4% during December, down from 65.5% at the end of October and 66% at the end of 2011. Homeownership reached a peak of 69.2% in 2004 and has been falling since that time. The latest Consumer Confidence index dropped to 58.6 which is the weakest since November of 2011. It was previously at a revised 66.7 in December. This fell more than expected and is due to the higher payroll tax that is taking more out of the pockets of consumers.
The housing market, which is still in recovery, remains fragile. The lack of inventory and the rise of home prices may affect its progress this year. As home prices increase, fewer consumers will be able to qualify for a home loan. Existing homeowners may choose to refinance remain where they are instead of purchasing another home. While jobless claims have fallen, there are still many consumers who are out of work or are working lower paid jobs. The housing market is dependent on jobs, not just for salaries, but for consumer movement from one area to another.
FreeRateUpdate.com surveys more than two dozen wholesale and direct lenders’ rate sheets to determine the most accurate mortgage rates available to well qualified consumers at about a 1 point origination fee.
Reasons To Attend Your Own Home Inspection, by Steph Nobel
As a home buyer , you can get a feel for whether a home’s systems and appliances are in working order. However, you can’t know for certain until after the home’s been inspected.
This is why real estate agents recommend that buyers hire a licensed home inspectors immediately after going into contract. It’s the best way to really know the home which you’re buying.
By definition, a home inspection is a top-to-bottom check-up of a home’s physical condition and systems, including a review of the structure, and its plumbing and electrical systems. Home inspections are not the same as a home appraisal, which is a valuation of the property.
When you commission a home inspection, you should be present for it. Here are 3 reasons why :
Seeing For Yourself There’s a big difference between reading a report and seeing “live” what may be right or wrong with a home. With first-hand knowledge of a potential issue, you’ll be in a better position to determine whether a problem warrants contract cancellation, or whether it’s an additional negotiation point.
Discovering The Home Via a home inspection, you will learn where the systems reside within a home (e.g.; boiler room, garage), and how to operate them. This is a valuable educational opportunity and most inspectors are happy to share what they know. It’s also a chance to ask questions about maintenance and upkeep.
Better Understanding A home inspector’s job is to review and disclose the condition of the home. The inspector’s report, however, is just a summary on paper. In being present for the inspection, a buyer will be able to visualize and understand the report’s conclusions more clearly. This can make for more effective re-negotiations with the seller, in the event that damage or distress is identified.
So, what should you do during the home inspection? Your primary tasks are to watch, listen, learn and ask questions. A professional home inspector will welcome your participation in the process.
- Home Inspection Checklist – MilitaryVALoan.com (militaryvaloan.com)
- Mold Inspections and Services for Home Sellers (bizblawg.com)
- Mold Inspections and Services for Home Sellers (outwestlubbock.com)
- Portland home inspection saving homeowners thousands (casselhomeinspection.wordpress.com)
MultnomahForeclosures.com Updated with New Notice of Default Lists
Visit MultnomahForeclosures.com for the notice of default lists (Homes in Foreclosure) for Multnomah County and other Oregon counties.
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