Where to Look for Hidden Gems in Real Estate (courtesy of ActiveRain)

Pricing a home is more art than science.

Get beyond the standard information you can search online like square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, year built, etc. Homebuyers should be on the lookout for some of these hidden gems that may undervalued (or not even included) in the listing price.

Data provided by ActiveRain.com. Click to see full article, “Where to Look for Hidden Gems in Real Estate.”

ActiveRain is an online community of real estate professionals who exchange best practices, write real estate blogs, and get free education from the industry and their peers.

Buy a House after a Foreclosure or a Short Sale – Sooner Than You Think!

New FHA Program Announced August 15, 2013:
The Back to Work – Extenuating Circumstances Program

FHA Back to Work Extenuating Circumstances ProgramYou lost your job and were forced into foreclosure or a short sale. You’ve gone back to work, and have been making payments on time for over a year for all of your obligations: rent, credit cards, school loans, etc. You figure it’s going to be at least another year or two before you’ll be eligible to buy a home again, and that it’s a shame you can’t take advantage of the current low interest rates and home prices.

Think again! In August, the FHA announced the Back to Work – Extenuating Circumstances Program, enabling former homeowners who meet certain criteria to qualify for an FHA loan with a 3.5% down payment. You may be able to buy a house as early as a year after a foreclosure or short sale!

Here is what you have to do:

  • Prove that your income declined by 20 percent or more for a six month period and that those circumstances were the result of a negative credit event.
  • Document that the negative credit event qualifies under the “Job lost beyond applicant’s control” category. This might include publicly available information on a reduction in workforce or that a company closed. Applicants can also look to see if they had unemployment compensation.
  • Prove that, over the course of the last twelve months, you haven’t had any credit hiccups like a late installment or any new collections or judgments.
  • Document a clean credit record for the last 12 months. So, you’ll need to show that you’ve had a positive rental history or that if you are living with your parents you haven’t had any other credit issues.
  • Go through Housing Counseling with an approved counselor no later than six months from the application date and no sooner than 30 days from the application date.

Click here to open a PDF with the official HUD mortgagee letter describing the requirements for the FHA Back to Work – Extenuating Circumstances Program.

If you meet the above criteria and are looking to buy a home following a foreclosure or short sale, we can put you in touch with a local lender who can help you confirm your eligibility. As always, we are at your service!

Sharon McAuliffe
Next Stop Paradise of Keller Williams Realty Emerald Coast

Four reasons not to wait to buy a home: Reason #1

Excerpted from an article by Terence Loose | Yahoo Homes – Fri, Sep 20, 2013, received from Teresa Lloyd, Loan Officer with Supreme Lending

Interest Rates - Going Up?As we come up from the bottom of the recent housing market crash, inventories are tight because many sellers are still able to wait to sell. Some potential buyers are uncertain whether or not this is the right time to buy, perhaps feeling that once inventory increases prices may drop again, among other reasons.

“There are several reasons why now is the time to buy,” says Jim Duffy, a mortgage banker with Cole Taylor Mortgage.

Reason #1: Interest Rates Will Rise

One problem with historically low mortgage interest rates is that they have nowhere to go but up. And a few months ago, that’s exactly what started to happen after a June announcement by Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

Bernanke said that he may begin a slow wind-down of QE3 (Quantitative Easing, phase 3). This is the Federal Reserve’s program of buying mortgage-backed securities and treasuries from banks in order to encourage the banks to lower interest rates, and as a result, stimulate the economy. Immediately after Bernanke’s announcement, there was a sharp rise in mortgage interest rates of anywhere from a half to a full percent, says Duffy.

Duffy says Bernanke has backed off that statement a little since he first made it, and interest rates have settled a bit. But Duffy also says the QE3 program must end, and 2014 is the likely time frame for that. “And there’s absolutely no doubt that rates will rise once [Bernanke] does that. Rates only have one way to go when the Fed stops buying altogether, and that’s up.”

Wondering what rates may look like once QE3 does end? Duffy predicts they will be somewhere from 5.5 to 6 percent.

Editor’s note: You may or may not be aware that in the early 1980’s, interest rates peaked over 18%! Don’t let the recent interest rate moves stop you, rates right now are still historically low and any current rate is excellent, especially when viewed from the perspective that your rate can last for 30 years. If you’re sitting on the fence, don’t wait!

Call Tom or Sharon at 888-332-5553 to discuss your real estate needs. We are at your service!

Next Stop Paradise of Keller Williams Realty

This Month In Real Estate – July Edition

This Month In Real Estate - July 2013

Adventures in Home Bath Remodeling… How to Have a Heart Attack in 8 weeks or less!

So you have decided that your current bathroom just isn’t doing the trick anymore and you want to save some money?  There are lots of ways to make this happen and if you are good with your hands doing it yourself can save you money but you can also drive yourself crazy. I recently made our 4 bed / 1.5 bath home into a much more desirable 3 bed / 2 bath home by converting a small 10′ x 10′ room into the master bathroom. The master bedroom had a small toilet and sink (sometimes called a ½ bath) in a room the size of a small closet. By removing the non load-bearing walls we were able to increase the size of the master bedroom while moving the plumbing next door to the small room, creating a full bath.

Over the next few weeks I will be telling you a little about the process and you can follow along with the pictures.

The small 12x15 bedroom that is about to become a bath! next door is the master bedroom with a 1/2 bath the size of a closet.

The small 12×15 bedroom that is about to become a bath! next door is the master bedroom with a 1/2 bath the size of a closet.

Moving the drain from one side of the room to the other was one of the biggest chores... we had to break thru the foundation and dig down 4 feet... with the local code enforcement folks guiding our every move. We also removed a lot of the walls so we could run new water lines using the new Flex-hose.

Moving the drain from one side of the room to the other was one of the biggest chores… we had to break thru the foundation and dig down 4 feet… with the local code enforcement folks guiding our every move. We also removed a lot of the walls so we could run new water lines using the new Flex-hose.

All in all it was a interesting endeavor but when all was said and done our DIY cost was only about 3,000-5,000 less than if we would have had a contractor do it. I now think contractors earn every dime and unless you reeeeeeeally enjoy that sort of work, don’t do it. While I don’t know this as a fact, my having a small heart attack might have been caused by the stress of this project. Never again. The upside is that we now have a custom bath that is both perfect for our needs and truly one of a kind! More to come… and please let me know if you have any questions.

Next time = ‘Drains, Lines and Measurements… Oh My!’

Tom @ NSP Keller Williams Realty