Saturday, July 26, 2008

This weekend's Open House

This Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 I will be holding open a tastefully remodeled daylight rambler in Gatewood, 3902 SW Holden St. Listed by my Prudential NW colleagues Roy Willanger and Aaron Rysemus, this home has 3 bedrooms and 1.75 baths for a total of approximately 1740 sq. ft. of living space on a 5100 sq. ft. lot. Features include hardwood floors, a fireplace, new kitchen with slab granite countertops and bath with tiled floors and tiled tub surround. Also, new wiring and plumbing. Detached garage with room for RV parking. Listed at $425,000. Come check it out!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Current loan rates

Here is a recap of this past week's loan rate activity as interpretted by Troy Chambers of Arboretum Mortgage here in Seattle.

"After a very bad week last week, and a “not so good” start to this week, the rates recovered a bit yesterday, only to bounce back up a little bit today. It is more crucial now than ever to work with an experienced loan officer who can time this crazy market correctly. Timing is very crucial in the home buying process. The time is right as far as the home prices are concerned, so allow me to time the rate lock correctly for you as well! Let me know how I can be of assistance, as I am working this weekend. Please call my cell at 425-418-5103."

Troy Chambers
Loan Officer
Arboretum Mortgage
Phone: 206-720-6628
Fax: 206-860-9340

Click here to see a table of various loan rates.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cash discounts in real estate, too

Reprinted from Daily Real Estate News July 18, 2008

"Investors With Cash Are Kings in Today's Market. Some are calling this the best market for investors since real estate tanked in the early 1980s. Investors, alone and in groups, are negotiating volume deals as they purchase whole subdivisions and bundles of 10 to 50 defaulted loans for pennies on the dollar. "

""What we're seeing today dwarfs [the 1980s] by five or 10 times," says Bob Leonetti, president of SMI Funding, an Austin, Texas, company that originates and acquires private and conventional mortgages. "There are huge opportunities for investors.""

""People who have cash positions now are going to do very well," says Central Florida real estate practitioner Mike Norvell of Developers Capital Realty in Leesburg, Fla. "It's just crazy the prices you can buy for right now for cash.""

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fannie and Freddie are ok

Reprinted from Daily Real Estate News July 17, 2008

"Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reassured Congress last week that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are in “no danger of failing.” The two mortgage giants are "adequately capitalized," Bernanke said. However, "weakness of market confidence is having an effect" on the companies, making it difficult for them to raise capital."We will work our way through these financial storms," Bernanke said."

"He called the depressed housing market the central economic issue and urged Congress to approve legislation helping consumers refinance out of troubled mortgages, set a stronger regulator for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and approve a new Treasury Department plan to bolster the two firms, which back half of U.S. mortgages."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Congress to the rescue?

Reprinted from Daily Real Estate News - July 14, 2008

"The U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan mortgage rescue bill on Friday (July 11th) that allows the Federal Housing Administration to refinance troubled mortgages – even those that are under water – as long as banks agree to take a loss. The program would allow the FHA to help as many as 400,000 homeowners. Now the bill goes to a bipartisan committee in the House for revision."

"Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the Financial Services Committee chairman and a primary supporter of the bill, says the few but significant revisions House leaders seek could be made in as little as one week."

"The measure includes higher limits for FHA loans and creates a new regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It also would provide $14.5 billion in housing tax breaks, including a credit of up to $8,000 for first-time homebuyers."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What's a Short Sale?

Ever heard of a "Short Sale"? Most people haven't yet, but you're likely to. The article on the front page of the Real Estate section of today's Seattle Times/P-I does a very good job of explaining short sales and their implications. If you have a chance to pick up a copy, I recommend you read it. Unfortunately, they didn't publish it on their website (at least I couldn't find it), so I'll give you a quick introduction here.

In a nutshell, a short sale may occur when the homeowners need to sell their home for less than the amount of their loan. For example, they bought their home a year or two ago when home values were still appreciating at a phenomenal rate (they are still appreciating, just not as quickly). Let's say they paid $400K. Now, for whatever reason, they already need to sell and move, but home values have gone down somewhat in the past year so the current market value of their home is $375K -- roughly $25K less than they owe. A short sale occurs when the bank agrees to accept this lesser amount. The sellers may be required to sign an unsecured note, promising to pay the balance at a future date, or the bank may agree to cut their losses and forgive the difference.

These sales can get complicated because the bank requires that they have final approval of any offer and buyer received. This takes much of the power and authority for the sale out of the hands of the current home owner. It also lengthens the whole sale process because the bank often takes weeks, or even months, to approve the sale.

If this all sounds similar to foreclosure, it is, but there are significant differences which require too much explanation for inclusion in this blog. If you'd like more information, however, feel free to give me a call. 206-708-9800.

Current loan rates

Here is a review of last week's loan rate activity, courtesy of Troy Chambers, Loan Officer for Arboretum Mortgage:

"Not Good!
Bottom line is this … rates got beat up badly in the last three days. The week started off wonderfully …. getting the rates down into the low 6’s, but they took an awful turn on Wednesday, and have been shooting up ever since. They have settled in the high 6’s as of today.
I hoping this is simply a small blip, and that they will settle down in the next few weeks, so that
we can get a little more relief.

Let me know if you need anything, and please pass my contact info along. Feel free to call my
cell this weekend, at 425-418-5103, Troy Chambers, Loan Officer"

Click here to see a table of loan rates.

Another way to reduce waste!

This is an article reprinted from the August 2008 edition of NWREporter.

"It's free. It's grassroots. It's worldwide and its members share the goal of keeping good stuff out of landfills."

"Called The Freecycle Network™, the nonprofit Web-based gifting movement boasts more than 4,500 groups and 5 million-plus members in towns across the globe. More than 40 groups are situated in Washington state."

"The organization's mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that "reduces waste, saves precious resources and eases the burden on our landfills while enabling members to benefit from the strength of a larger community." "

"Using Freecyling, individuals can gift and reuse useful items in their local communities, rather than throw them away. By helping participants find new homes for things they no longer use, or acquire needed items free, freecycling keeps more than 400 tons out of landfills every day, according to the organization's research."

"Of particular interest to real estate industry professionals and their clients: Freecycle is a great place for finding moving boxes or posting the availability of such containers for others to re-use."

"Membership is free and everything posted must be free, tangible, legal and appropriate for all ages. Members must abide by certain basic "no strings attached" guidelines (e.g., no services, no trades/barter/money)."

"To view items being given away or sought in a particular area, you must be a member of the local group and abide by guidelines. (In Seattle, for example, FreecycleSeattle members must live or work daily inside the city limits.) Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer. To find a local group, visit http://freecycle.org"

"The Freecycle Network was started in May 2003 to promote waste reduction in Tucson's downtown and to help save desert landscape from being taken over by landfills. The Network provides individuals and non-profits an electronic forum to "recycle" unwanted items. One person's trash can truly be another's treasure! "

"Lending credence to their motto of "changing the world one gift at a time," the amount of items gifted in the past year is the equivalent of over four times the height of Mt. Everest when stacked in garbage trucks – over 300 million pounds."