Open House On April 10th, today till 3:30pm

Stop on by and see this wonderful 4 bedroom 3 full bath home located in the Oakmont Village off Kuykendahl and The Preserves. Look forward to seeing you.

Tax Credit being offered on FHA Loans to First Time Home Buyers

Have you heard about the tax credit recently created to help first time home buyers or buyers that have not owned a home in over 3 years. This is only on FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loans and according to the secretary of H.U.D., home buyers will be allowed to use the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit towards their DOWN PAYMENT on purchases financed by FHA loans. FHA will allow approved lenders, nonprofits, and government agencies to advance the funds in the form of interest free bridge loans that buyers would use for down payments. Buyers would repay the loans after they receive their tax refunds. More information is to come from FHA soon.

If you are interested in this new tax credit or have questions regarding real estate send me a email/comment and I will work to answer your question.

Looking to Relocate To Texas?

Houston, Texas and its surrounding area has seen a slight decline in sales and home prices but compared to other cities across the country our great town of Houston is doing well.  There are lots of places to visit such as the Space Center, The Aquarium both in downtown Houston, and Kemah. The Houston Zoo. There is also Moody Gardens in Galveston and many other spectacular eating places.

Houston is the workplace for many hospitals and medical research facilities along with the oil and gas industry and Space center facilities.

If you would like more information regarding Houston, Spring, The Woodlands, Lake Conroe please feel free to email me at patti@PattiMace.com (patti null@null PattiMace NULL.com).

Should you Rent or Buy

 I was just reading an excerpt that gave reasons why a person should rent instead of buying a home.   I agree with this statement to rent only for people first starting out in a new job or a new relationship.  But realistically renting is like throwing your money away because you see no return on the money you pay out every month. 

The United States tax policy rewards house buyers who borrow, not renters.  The “dream of homeownership” gives hope and the goal of a future endeavor.  When couples first wed they dream of starting a family and that dream of owning their first home.

 I find it amazing that anyone would suggest that people should rent instead of ever buying, he must be an investor making money off people who are renting.  It takes a special set of people to go out on the limb and purchase the property for others to rent.

 I would like to hear what your thoughts are on whether it is time to Rent or Purchase a home.  Whether you choose to rent or purchase a home I will be glad to assist you in your housing needs www.PattiMace.com (http://www NULL.PattiMace NULL.com).

Facing Foreclosure?

Are you in need of Foreclosure Assistance

NeighborWorks/HOPE NOW/Homeownership Preservation Foundation Hotline
Homeowners facing foreclosure can call a tollfree hotline at (888) 995-HOPE, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Federal Housing Administration
Government-insured refinancing for credit-worthy borrowers who went into default after their ARMs reset may be available by calling (800) 225-5342 or by visiting http://www.fha.gov (http://www NULL.fha NULL.gov/).

 

Other Resources

Avoid Foreclosure Rescue Scams (http://www NULL.ftc NULL.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/homes/rea11 NULL.shtm)
Federal Trade Commission

Equity Stripping & Loan Flipping  –  If you agree to a loan that’s based on the equity you have in your home, you may be putting your most valuable asset at risk. Certain abusive or exploitative lenders target borrowers, who unwittingly may be putting their home on the line. These abusive lending practices range from equity stripping and loan flipping to hiding loan terms and packing a loan with extra charges.

Foreclosure Rescue
(https://www NULL.masshousing NULL.com/portal/server NULL.pt?open=514&objID=2563&parentname=CommunityPage&parentid=0&mode=2&in_hi_userid=2&cached=true)
MassHousing

Foreclosure Resources for Consumers
(http://www NULL.federalreserve NULL.gov/pubs/foreclosure/default NULL.htm)
Federal Reserve Board of Governors

HomeOwnership Preservation Foundation (http://www NULL.995hope NULL.org/)

Private Mortgage Insurance

I read this article today and wanted to share it regarding The Private Mortgage Industry’s Role in the Current Mortgage Crisis

by Jack M. Guttentag (http://finance NULL.yahoo NULL.com/expert/archive/mortgage/jack-guttentag/1)

The blame game for the development of the current mortgage crisis is now in full swing, and, with one exception, no major participant escapes unscathed:

1. Lenders and investment bankers drastically relaxed their underwriting standards in response to the euphoria associated with rapidly rising home prices during 2000-2006. They approved loans that could not possibly be repaid without an indefinite continuation of house price inflation.

2. Bank regulators ignored the breakdown of underwriting standards until it was much too late to take effective action.

3. Mortgage brokers and loan officers encouraged borrowers to buy more house than they could afford, and to accept toxic mortgages that they did not fully understand.

4. Consumers allowed themselves to be seduced into buying houses they couldn’t afford, into purchasing second and third homes on speculation, and into depleting their existing equity through cash-out refinances, in order to maintain lifestyles they could not sustain.

5. Rating agencies provided AAA and AA ratings to securities issued against pools of new types of extremely risky loans, when they had no adequate statistical basis for estimating potential losses on the loans.

6. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac invested in such securities, taking large losses and weakening their capacity to be a source of strength during the crisis period.

7. The Federal Reserve kept interest rates low well past the point where they should have raised them, and, as a regulator, was as asleep at the same switch as all the other regulatory agencies.

The exception is the private mortgage insurance (PMI) industry. It is the one sector that has not been cited as contributing to the crisis.

Since the industry was reconstituted in the late 1950s, it has enabled borrowers to obtain conventional loans — those not insured or guaranteed by the federal government — with down payments of less than 20 percent. Insurance premiums were scaled to down payment — the smaller the down payment, the higher the premium.

PMIs must place half of their premium inflow in contingency reserves which can’t be touched for 10 years except to meet unusually large losses. This encourages the companies to set premiums based on estimates of losses over long periods, so premium rates change infrequently. And it severely dampens the temptation to make a lot of money in a short period by taking advantage of ebullient markets. PMIs can’t pay themselves premiums net of losses in the current year, as most lenders and investment banks can.

The PMIs did not fully participate in the euphoria and excess that preceded the crash. They did insure some risky loans that would not have been acceptable to them earlier, but for the most part they stuck to their guns. As a result, their market share declined with the emergence of “piggybacks” (when a home is purchased using more than one mortgage from two or more lenders).

Lenders discovered that they could make 95 percent and even 100 percent loans by getting other lenders to offer second mortgages for the amounts over 80 percent of property value. Piggybacks carried higher rates than the first mortgages, but in many cases the cost to the borrower was smaller than the cost of mortgage insurance. The interest on piggybacks was deductible, while mortgage insurance premiums were not. In addition, borrowers could pay off the second mortgage in full at any time, whereas getting rid of PMI was a hassle.

Of course, the PMIs did not give up market share willingly. They induced Congress to make mortgage insurance premiums deductible, at least for a period, but this had only a small impact.

Had PMIs followed the prevailing pattern during the go-go years, they would have cut their insurance premiums sharply and gone after the riskier loans. But they didn’t, and the piggyback market thrived until the crisis hit. At that point, the market got an object lesson in the value of PMI. First mortgage lenders discovered that piggybacks provided substantially less protection against loss than PMI. As home prices declined and the crisis grew, a large proportion of piggybacks (the market has now virtually vanished) lost all or virtually all of their value.

Borrowers experiencing payment problems discovered that having to deal with two lenders was a substantial barrier to getting loan contracts modified. In contrast, mortgage insurers will often help borrowers negotiate modified contracts with first mortgage lenders.

Nonetheless, the PMIs have been badly hurt. Losses have been eroding their capital and reserves, and their stock prices have tumbled badly. Yet the industry is doing exactly what it was set up to do, which is to cover losses to lenders during a period of stress, out of reserves that they accumulated during periods of prosperity. The industry should play a more prominent role in the very different housing finance system that emerges in the future.

Eco-Friendly “Green” Homes

How knowledgable are you when it comes to your home and the environment?  Should you decide to build a home you may find that your builder is among many that are now using eco-friendly products in the home building process. Building green can be costly, but home buyers are willing to spend this knowing that they are helping to save the environment along with the anticipation to recover some of these expenses through savings on energy and water bills.

If asked, most people want to go green, but how far are they willing to go?. There has to be a compromise somewhere between what’s ‘over the edge’ green and what can get be placed in the housing market so that people can have a home that’s environmentally safe and attractive.

There are several green home building programs across the USA, and organizations ranging from the EPA to the Green Building Council are working to establish ratings and guidelines for eco-friendly homes, making construction more available.
In my next blog I will write about the value of going green and the types of products being used.

Sellers: How can I help you? Why you need a Realtor.

For Sellers

Selling your home shouldn’t be a stressful ordeal. Making the smart move of choosing a REALTOR® is your first step to ensuring that your investment in your home pays off. My services and experience allow you to focus on your move while I manage your home sale from our initial consultation to the closing deal, and beyond. I pride myself on repeat business and hope you’ll come to understand why.

As Your Agent, I Will:

* Complete a comparative market analysis that will compare your home’s value to that of your neighbors.
* Compile a comprehensive plan detailing all the efforts I will employ to sell your home, including Internet and local media.
* Present your home to as many qualified buyers as possible getting your home maximum exposure.
* Help you stage your home and generate curb appeal to ensure you get the highest price.
* Assist with obtaining offers and help you in negotiating the best deal as smoothly as possible.
* Help you find your next home and answer all of your questions about the local market area, including schools, neighborhoods, the local economy, and more.

Recent Home Sales

What are homes selling for on your street? Feel free to contact me to find out what neighborhood homes are selling for, free of charge, or to receive a more detailed analysis of the value of your home.

Getting the Highest Price for Your Home

Curb appeal is key and could make a difference whether people stop and take a flyer, or drive right by. Here are a few tips to increase the curb appeal of your home. Staging your home is important. Many buyers will stay in your home longer if it’s staged appropriately. I have compiled some ideas to present your home in the most effective manner.

Closing Costs to Expect:

* Title insurance fees depend on the sales price of the home.
* Broker’s commission is a full-service fee and will cost anywhere between 5% to 7%.
* Local property transfer tax, country transfer tax, state transfer tax, and state capital gains tax are the charges that you’ll pay for the privilege of selling your home. Credit to the buyer of unpaid real estate taxes for the prior or current year are variable and depend on when you close and when your taxes are due.
* FHA fees and costs are all fees are now negotiable between an FHA buyer and seller.
* Home inspections fees are in some circumstances paid for by the seller and include pest, radon and other inspections.
* Miscellaneous fees can accrue from correcting problems noticed during the home inspection.

Find out how much your closing costs could be. contact me.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: