Saturday, September 20, 2008

This Sunday's Open House

Oops! I had so much fun at the Puyallup Fair yesterday that I forgot to let you know where I'd be for my Open House today! Luckily, I'll be there again tomorrow.

Sunday from 1-4PM I'll be holding open a 4 bd/3.25 bath Contemporary view home in the Puget Ridge area just a few blocks from South Seattle Community College. The address is 5250 16th Ave SW. This 3900 sq. ft., 2-story home also has a fully finished basement and a 2-car garage, all on an 11,000 sq. ft. lot. Listed by my colleagues George Butterfield and Chris Koelling for $775,000. MLS# 28154113 I hope you'll drop by to say hello and tour this great home.

Current loan rates

Here is Troy Chamber's weekly take on the loan rate activity. Troy is a loan officer with Arboretum Mortgage here in Seattle.

"What an amazing week in the market! We saw mortgage rates shoot down near the 5.5% level, and rise sharply back to 6.250%. Things have settled back down, and rates are very good. The Federal Reserve did not lower rates this week, so we are seeing a bit more stability in the market."

"The fact that the government is now “backing” Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae also lends to the
increase in mortgage consumer’s confidence."

"Please let me know if you need anything over the weekend, and if anyone you know is in need of mortgage financing, please call my cell phone at 425-418-5103."

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

Click here to see a table of loan programs/rates.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rent-to-Own is regaining popularity

Reprinted from: Daily Real Estate News September 4, 2008
"Rent-to-own options are becoming popular again after falling out of favor during the last couple of decades when mortgages were easy to get."

"The advantages of rent-to-own to buyers include a way around poor credit, an opportunity to rebuild credit worthiness and a way to try out homeownership without making a costly commitment. For sellers, it offers cash flow from properties that might otherwise just be sitting there."

"In some parts of the country, like Florida, rent-to-own arrangements are fairly commonplace, but in other parts of the country developers are only beginning to experiment with this form of purchase. In the Boston area, Economic Development Financing Corp. (EDFC) and Trinity Financial are two affordable-home developers that have introduced experimental rent-to-own programs."

"Eric Gedstad, spokesman for MassHousing, a state agency that finances housing construction, says his agency is supportive. "As the lender, we are gratified that the developer has cash coming in. It makes sense for potential homeowners. The more time that goes by the better the opportunity for someone to repair his credit."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Reprinted from: Daily Real Estate News September 5, 2008
"The sluggish housing market in the U.K. has an upside: The divorce rate is falling."

"In fact, national figures for the U.K. published in late August show the divorce rate last year was the lowest since 1981.Analysts from real estate services firm Savills say there's a strong correlation between housing prices and the divorce rate. "

"As house prices rise, home owners undoubtedly feel wealthier and our supposition is that they also feel able to afford to get divorced," says Lucian Cook, director of Savills Research. "We forecast that the current falls in property prices will result in fewer divorces, even allowing for the overriding downward trend in the UK's divorce rate."

"However, family law expert Jill Goldman tells London's Daily Mail that financial woes often will cause arguments and put a strain on relationships; so there may be some divorces that are actually caused by dropping home values."

Wonder if this holds true for the U.S. as well?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Where Are Lenders Getting Credit Scores?

Reprinted from: Daily Real Estate News September 4, 2008
"Consumers often mistakenly believe that mortgage lenders use only credit scores from Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, and Fair Isaac's myfico.com to gauge creditworthiness. However, Consumer Reports recently found that lenders also use NextGen FICO scores, FICO Expansion Scores, and Industry Option FICO scores — which take car loans into consideration — as well as custom formulas. Given that these credit scores or scoring models are not available to consumers, experts say that consumers should not rely solely on available credit scores to determine their likelihood of getting a loan. They would be wise to make timely bill payments, make more than the minimum payment, hold down credit card balances, and retain old accounts. Additionally, experts say it might be worth keeping tab on other credit scores, such as Experian's PLUS scores, which are not yet sold to lenders but could be in the future."

Monday, September 15, 2008

ZIP Codes Where Property Is Selling Fastest

Reprinted from: Daily Real Estate News September 8, 2008
"Altos Research, which tracks real estate data all over the country, identified these ZIP codes in which homes for sale spent the fewest days on the market. In cases where communities of relatively fast-selling real estate were clustered, the best ZIP Code in the area was chosen."

"Overall, expensive homes and big bargains are selling with general ease, says Ken Gold, director of the Center for Real Estate Education and Research at Ohio State University. Meanwhile, homes in middle-income neighborhoods are selling the slowest, he says."

"Here's the list of the Top 10 fastest-selling ZIPs:

Sunnyvale, Calif. 94087: 66 days on market
Austin, Texas 78749: 68 days on market
San Diego, Calif. 92131: 70 days on market
Plano, Texas 75075: 75 days on market
Portland, Ore. 97202: 77 days on market
Houston, Texas 77094: 77 days on market
Wakefield, Mass. 01880: 79 days on market
Seattle, Wash. 98117: 86 days on market
Littleton, Colo. 80130: 90 days on market
Atlanta, Ga. 30340: 91 days on market"

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Why This Autumn is a Great Time to Buy

Reprinted from: Daily Real Estate News September 9, 2008

"This fall could be a particularly great time for first-time or buyers long out of the market to jump in, say a variety of real estate professionals.Here are the reasons why:

* Prices are probably as low as they are going to go as the market stabilizes, thanks to the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."

* Interest rates are likely to decline as Freddie and Fannie get government help.
The Federal Housing Administration recently boosted its loan limits to $729,750 in expensive areas. It's going to take some of that back come Jan. 1, when the loan limit will shrink to $625,500.The FHA allows down payments of as little as 3 percent, but that will rise to 3.5 percent as of Oct. 1. People scraping dollars together for a down payment should try to set their closing for the end of this month."

* The tax credit will shave $7,500 off a first-time buyer’s federal tax bill due April 15. Buyers who don't owe tax, will get the money as a refund."

"The government's definition of a first-time buyer is anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the last three years."