“It is the nature of thought to find its way into action.” – Christian Nevell Bovee: Was an American author and lawyers in the late 1800s
2011 TAX CREDITS AVAILABLE FOR ‘GREEN’ UPDATES
Adding “green” technology into a home can help home owners save in a long run but some home owners may not be able to afford the costly upfront investment. Several tax credits are available to help home owners–and buyers–save on “green” updates.
Here are two main tax credits available for those interested in making energy efficient improvements to their homes:
1. Wind, Solar, Geothermal and Fuel Cell Tax Credit: This tax credit is available for both existing homes and new construction. Home owners can receive a credit up to 30 percent off the cost of their improvements between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 of this year. The following “green” updates qualify: Geothermal heat pumps, solar panels, solar water heaters, small wind energy systems, and fuel cells.
2. Qualified Energy Efficiency Improvements: This credit gives a 10 percent tax credit for purchases that were “placed in service” between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2011. According to the National Association of Home Builders: “The maximum credit for a taxpayer for all taxable years being $500, and no more than $200 of such credit may be attributable to expenditures on windows. This rule means that taxpayers who have claimed $500 or more of this tax credit in prior years, particularly 2009 and 2010, can no longer participate in the program.”
HUD WANTS HOUSING COUNSELING FUNDS BACK
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is asking Congress to restore funding for its housing counseling program, which it says is “important to the recovery and stability of our housing markets.”
The program faced major cuts in April. Congress slashed $88 million in HUD nonprofit counseling funds for 2011.
“This cut jeopardizes the vital consumer protections housing counselors provide nationwide, and restoration of these funds is important to the recovery and stability of our housing markets,” Deborah Holston, HUD’s acting deputy assistant secretary for single family housing, told a House subcommittee Wednesday.
About half of the clients in the counseling program in 2009 and 2010 sought foreclosure prevention assistance. HUD points to research such as from the Government Accountability Office that found counseling resulted in fewer defaults. Also, borrowers who received National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling program funds before a loan modification had a 53 percent better chance of bringing their mortgage up-to-date.
“This program has far-reaching effects throughout our economy, and the services it supports will continue to be vital to the ongoing recovery,” Holston told the subcommittee.
HOW TO PICK YOUR LENDER
In the whirl wind that surrounds the home buying and mortgage process, how can a consumer be sure that they are working with the right lender? I mean there are so many choices…here’s some things to consider:
What type of company is it?
There are mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers and banks/credit unions. Mortgage brokers have been hamstrung by many of the recent regulatory changes and typically lack the actual ability to approve and/or lock a loan. Banks are usually limited in program choices and hamstrung by tighter underwriting. Mortgage bankers have the financial stability and direct lending capability of the bank coupled with the wide product menu and expertise of the mortgage broker. From a global perspective, I see mortgage bankers as a clear winner.
How does the company operate?
Many people are dismayed when they find out where their loan is processed or underwritten…or where the appraiser is from. It is important to work with a company (and their affiliates) who understand the nuances of your local market. Asking the questions up front can save you headaches down the road.
What about the individual loan officer?
Your relationship with your LO (and their processor/assistant) becomes the most important ingredient to a successful transaction. How well do they educate you about the process, the requirements…the factors that determine your approval or the interest rate you will get? Many LOs are “order takers”. Others are weak in follow up or communication. This is difficult to determine on your own which is why the referral from another person who used them or your real estate agent has far more value than most people know (until it’s too late).
Too many people stay focused on quoted rates and fees and neglect to see the whole picture of what is needed from a lender. Look for great communication, superior information and education, understanding of the local market and someone who looks at your application as something more than a number. Be prepared to pay a little more to get a better experience (even though it might not cost you any more)….in the long run, lowering stress can be more important.
ZACKRY COOPER & TEAM
**WORKING WITH ZACKRY COOPER & TEAM EMPOWERMENT YOU WILL FIND THAT YOU WILL BE PRESENTED WITH QUALITY CUSTOMER SERVICE. OUR TEAM PROVIDES YOU WITH A WEEKLY UPDATE (WORLD CLASS WEDNESDAY UPDATES) WHILE IN CONTRACT SO ALL PARTIES INVOLVED KNOWS WHAT’S GOING ON. ZACKRY WORKS TO HELP EDCUATE NOT ONLY YOU AS THE REALTOR BUT YOUR BUYERS ON WHAT LOAN PROGRAMS ARE AVAILABLE TO THEM AND WHAT WORKS BEST FOR THEM AS WE STRIVE TO MEET THEIR PURCHASING GOALS TOGETHER. AS YOUR PURCHASE LENDING TEAM WE ARE PROVIDED WITH IN-HOUSE UNDERWRITERS, PROCESSORS AND APPRAISERS. CONTACT ZACKRY COOPER TODAY ABOUT CLOSING YOUR PURCHASE WITHIN 25 DAYS**
DEFAULTS SOAR 33%, BIGGEST MONTHLY GAIN IN 4 YEARS
A new wave of foreclosures hit in August, as banks picked up the pace in taking action against home owners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments, RealtyTrac Inc. reported Thursday.
The number of U.S. homes that receiving an initial default notice rose 33 percent in August from July. That increase represents the biggest monthly gain in four years, according to RealtyTrac.
“This is really the first time we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of new foreclosure actions,” says Rick Sharga, a senior vice president at RealtyTrac. “It’s still possible this is a blip, but I think it’s much more likely we’re seeing the beginning of a trend here.”
The uptick in foreclosure activity follows after months of a slowdown in foreclosures, which started last fall, with banks reviewing foreclosure policies and paperwork after facing lawsuits and criticism over how they processed foreclosures. Some banks even temporarily halted their foreclosures as they more carefully reviewed pending cases. The slowdown was also blamed on court delays in some states.
But some housing experts say the increase in foreclosure activity actually could be good for the housing market. A faster turnaround in foreclosures could help clear the glut of shadow inventory hovering over the market, which many say has caused home values to plummet.
The “bloated foreclosure pipeline now presents the greatest obstacle to a housing market recovery,” said Josh Levin, a Citi analyst. About 3.7 million more homes are in some stage of foreclosure than in a normal housing market, Levin said.
Banks are on track to repossess about 800,000 homes this year – down from more than 1 million last year, Sharga said.
Overall, 228,098 U.S. homes – or one in every 570 U.S. households – received a foreclosure-related notice in August, a 7 percent increase from July. However, that represents a 33 percent decline from August 2010.
SELLERS SAY THEIR HOMES ARE WORTH MORE
Seventy-five percent of home owners say their homes are worth more than the recommended listing price, according to real estate professionals recently surveyed by HomeGain. On the other hand, 68 percent of home buyers say homes are overpriced.
However, home owners may be getting more realistic about falling home values. Forty-five percent of home owners say they expect home values to decrease within the next six months, while 47 percent of real estate professionals say they expect values to also decrease within that time period.
HomeGain surveyed more than 500 real estate professionals and 2,200 home owners for its third quarter home values survey.
Top 5 States Where Home Prices Will Rise in the Next 6 Months
Real estate professionals surveyed were most optimistic about these housing markets to see a rise in home values in the next six months:
Top 5 States Where Home Prices Will Fall in the Next 6 Months
Real estate professionals surveyed expected these housing markets to see a drop in home values in the next six months:
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
OPEN HOUSE FLYER EXAMPLE
Need an open house flyer for the upcoming weekend? If so, contact my assistant, Sherrell Ayers before 3:00 pm TODAY to get one created for your open house!