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There are some proposed upcoming changes coming to the Mortgage industry that may affect people looking to buy real estate. The Treasury Department provided three options last Friday for a housing finance system to replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
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There was an interesting article in the Salt Lake Tribune in Sunday's Money section which discussed why many people are holding off on buying homes, when now may be the time to buy. Entitled: Scared to buy a home? You are not alone. This article was written by Lesley Mitchell and made some very interesting points as to why some people are waiting and why now may be the time to purchase a home.
She pointed out that interest rates are near historic lows. That real estate is more affordable than it was three years ago and that the inventory of homes for sale gives buyers more choices than they've had in years. I couldn't agree with these points more. The statistics show that these are all true.
So the question is, why aren't people buying? Lesley points out that some potential buyers can no longer qualify for loans under today's lending criteria and that others can't because of pay cuts and other recessionary hardships. I will point out that you hear a lot in the news and media that Banks are not lending money these days and that it is impossible to get a loan. This isn't necessarily a correct view of today's mortgage industry. Yes, the lending criteria is stricter, but that is a good thing. If you meet certain criteria you can get a loan to purchase a home and these criteria are not as strict as you may think. I have been contacted by potential clients who are looking to buy and were unsure about their ability to qualify for a mortgage simply based on what they had heard in the news. After speaking to a mortgage consultant these clients were able to qualify for a home mortgage and they were surprised that it was easier than they were lead to believe.
Clearly consumer confidence is low. But it shouldn't be. Now really is the time to buy. Mortgage rates are going up but still remain low, Home prices are down and some economists believe the market has hit bottom at least along the Wasatch Front. Utah's economy is improving, jobs are returning and there are tremendous home values available.
If you are in the market to purchase a home in the Greater Salt Lake City Metro Area please feel free to contact us at Spectrum Real Estate. We would be more than happy to consult with you and guide you in the right direction.
Your credit score (FICO Score) plays a significant role when you apply for a loan. Higher credit scores allow you more loan options and better interest rates. If you've had credit difficulties in the past, you may still qualify for some mortgage programs, but these usually cost more, depending on the severity of your credit problems.
A broker price opinion commonly referred to as a BPO involves a process very similar to an appraisal. Many real estate agents are familiar with CMA's or a "comparative market analysis". However, a BPO is different. A BPO is a more detailed report and valuation. Companies hire a real estate broker to prepare an opinion of value. A real estate agent, compares three similar properties that have recently sold to the subject property and adjusts up or down for differences. The final result in an opinion of market value. Companies typically pay $65-$125 for interior BPOs and $35-$65 for exterior only or drive-by BPO's. Usually the lender has their own form and criteria for how the valuation will be verified and most use online forms.
If you are a real estate agent interested in doing BPOs make sure you do research on the BPO companies first before you sign up and accept any work orders. There are many good companies out there and a few to stay clear of. Ask fellow agents who they suggest and check online forums and look at the companies complaint history with the BBB, Better Business Bureau.
Here are some BPO companies that I have had success with. They pay within 30-45 days, if not sooner and their online forms are very easy to use.
Here are 7 questions to ask a prospective buyer's agent if you're buying a foreclosure:
Are you a licensed, full-time agent?
Are most of your clientele buyers or sellers?
How long have you worked with foreclosure real estate?
Do you have former clients I can contact as references?
How will you help me contact owners in default?
Are you familiar with the foreclosure laws in the area?
How much commission will I pay as a buyer?
Set up some ground rules for how you want to work together, such as times you are available to view homes, expectations regarding the agent previewing properties on your behalf, and courtesies expected by both parties.
Keep in mind that even the most intuitive agents are not mind readers. You need to make your preferences, priorities and spending limits clear up front, so neither party wastes valuable time looking at properties that don't meet your needs.
Working with a Buyers Agent can often result in a net savings on property purchases—whether traditional resale homes or foreclosure properties, and can also help inexperienced home buyers from making costly mistakes in negotiations, contract terms and property research.
Measure continues effort to boost home values and accelerate resale of vacant properties:
In an effort to continue stabilizing home values and improve conditions in communities experiencing high foreclosure activity, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner David H. Stevens today extended FHA's temporary waiver of the agency's 'anti-flipping rule.' The extension announced today is intended to accelerate the resale of foreclosed upon homes in neighborhoods struggling to overcome possible property abandonment and blight.
With certain exceptions, FHA regulations prohibit insuring a mortgage on a home owned by the seller for less than 90 days. Early last year, FHA temporarily waived this regulation through January 31, 2011. FHA today posted a notice extending this waiver through the remainder of 2011. This action will permit buyers to continue to use FHA-insured financing to purchase HUD-owned properties, bank-owned properties, or properties resold through private sales. It will allow homes to resell as quickly as possible, helping to stabilize real estate prices and to revitalize neighborhoods and communities.
"As I noted when we first announced this policy change early last year, because of the tightened credit market, FHA-insured mortgage financing is often the only means of financing available to potential homebuyers," said Stevens. "Today I can report that this policy change has been effective. Since the original waiver went into effect on last February, FHA has insured more than 21,000 mortgages worth over $3.6 billion on properties resold within 90 days of acquisition."
FHA research finds that in today's market, acquiring, rehabilitating and reselling these properties to prospective homeowners often takes less than 90 days. Prohibiting the use of FHA mortgage insurance for a subsequent resale within 90 days of acquisition adversely impacts the willingness of sellers to allow contracts from potential FHA buyers because they must consider holding costs and the risk of vandalism associated with allowing a property to sit vacant over a 90-day period of time.
Stevens added, "Because of past restrictions, FHA borrowers have often been shut out from buying affordable properties. This action enables our borrowers, especially first-time buyers, to take advantage of this opportunity and buy a home that has recently been rehabilitated. It will also help to move more foreclosed properties off the market and reduce the number of vacant homes in neighborhoods throughout this country."
The extension announced today is effective through December 31, 2011, unless otherwise extended or withdrawn by FHA. All other terms of the waiver will remain the same, and HUD continues to invite public comment on it. The waiver contains strict conditions and guidelines to assure that predatory practices are not allowed.
To protect FHA borrowers against predatory practices of "flipping" where properties are quickly resold at inflated prices to unsuspecting borrowers, this waiver continues to be limited to those sales meeting the following general conditions:
• All transactions must be arms-length, with no identity of interest between the buyer and seller or other parties participating in the sales transaction.
• In cases in which the sales price of the property is 20 percent or more above the seller's acquisition cost, the waiver will only apply if the lender meets specific conditions.
The waiver is limited to forward mortgages, and does not apply to the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for purchase program.