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How to Assist a Hoarder When Selling

April 17, 2014

hoarding problems with seniorsThe percentage of those over the age of 70 who are now putting their homes on the market in hopes of selling them is growing rapidly. One unique challenge in these situations is that with age usually comes an accumulation of material possessions.

In most cases, items can be sorted through and prioritized in terms of what to keep, sell, give, or throw away. But occasionally Realtors run across compulsive hoarders whose homes are packed from top to bottom with a lifetime’s worth of “things” that will make showing the home an absolute nightmare. What should be done in these instances?

First, let’s take a look at the statistics. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), in 2013 at least 1 in 4 home sellers was over the age of 65 – and 14% were over age 75. While hoarding behaviors often begin during the teen years, they increase with age and generally worsen by age 55, often to an extreme state.

After understanding the scope of the problem, Realtors will often try to enlist the help of supportive family members who may be able to assist. If it is your parent in this situation, the Realtor will first need to get permission to contact you. You may be able to help shed light on other issues, or direct the Realtor toward another organization that can help. Read more…

Recent Mortgage Rate Lows Not Likely to Reappear

April 10, 2014

rising mortgage ratesAs we approach the busy spring real estate season, many prospective Buyers are holding out in hopes that mortgage rates will dip back down again to recent lows, such as a 30-year mortgage for less than 4%.

On March 24, 2014, Freddie Mac stated that “one thing seems certain: we aren’t likely to see average 30-year fixed mortgage rates return to the historic lows experienced in 2012.”

In fact, there’s a greater chance that rates will climb back up to the greater than 6% range from the previous decade than that they will return to the less than 3.5% rate of 2012.

Freddie Mac tries to put things in perspective, though, by explaining that current rates are still extremely low compared to historic averages. In their words, we’ve simply gone from “very cheap” to “cheap”. Read more…

Surviving or Thriving? The Housing Market in 2014

April 3, 2014

improving housing marketAlthough the overall economy continues to improve, consumers’ attitudes towards the real estate market remain ambivalent.

In large part, that’s because in there minds there is a discrepancy in the fact that over the last few months, housing sales have gone down compared to this time last year.

What they aren’t realizing is that this is largely because there are fewer short sales and foreclosures being sold this year, and current inventory of regularly priced homes is still on the low side. There simply aren’t enough houses to meet the demand right now.

Below are three good reasons why you should expect that not only will the housing market growth survive in 2014, but will also thrive: Read more…

Buying a Home is Still Cheaper than Renting – By as Much as 38%!

March 27, 2014

for rentIn Trulia’s recent Rent vs. Buy Report, it was reported that homeownership remains cheaper than renting nationally and in all of the 100 largest metro areas.

Right now, the 30-year fixed rate of 4.5% brings buying in at 38% cheaper than renting, down a bit from the 44% cheaper rate of a year ago. According to the index, the gap has been narrowed due to rising home prices and mortgage rates (thought these trends have slowed recently).

Trulia’s interactive Rent vs. Buy Map shows how the numbers change under varying assumptions for the mortgage rate, income tax bracket for tax deductions, and number of years you stay in the home. Their Rent vs. Buy Calculator lets you personalize your decision by comparing the cost of renting and buying based on whatever assumptions and scenarios you like.

Though home prices have climbed steeply in some markets over the past year, so have rents in many cases, and lower mortgage rates have kept buying in a more affordable range than renting. In fact, not until mortgage rates hit 10.6% does renting begin to get cheaper than buying – and rates haven’t been that high since 1989. Read more…

Why Proper Pricing is Critical When Selling

March 20, 2014

real estate pricesWhen searching for real estate to purchase, price trumps location most of the time. Price alone may be enough to determine how long it takes for a piece of property to sell.

When many Sellers put their homes on the market, they mistakenly ask much more than current comps would indicate is prudent. Their rationale is that they should leave a little wiggle room, since they imagine most Buyers will make aggressively low bids in the first round, regardless of the asking price.

Not only is this not true in the majority of cases, but this faulty strategy could actually hurt you significantly in the long run, both in terms of how long it takes you to sell your home and also in how much you eventually get for it. Read more…

With Short Sales, Who Owns the Loan?

March 13, 2014

who owns short sale loansWhile short sales are still fairly common these days, most people don’t understand what actually goes into the process until they go through it themselves. It can be a lot more complex than expected, in part because every bank and investor has a slightly different program and set of guidelines they follow.

To best understand the situation you are getting into if you are in need of a short sale, find out ahead of time who actually owns your loan, not just who services it. This process has changed over the last few years. Before, mortgages were typically originated by a servicer such as Wells Fargo, then sold between big mortgage investors like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In contrast, today you are most likely working with a servicer like Bank of America or Wells Fargo who doesn’t actually own the loan. In most cases, the bank who originally lent the money doesn’t still own it, unless you’re working with a small community or regional bank. Read more…

Yes, Tapering Will Continue – And Rates Will Rise

March 6, 2014

rising interest ratesThere is a cause-and-effect relationship between the Fed cutting back (i.e., tapering) on bond purchases and long-term mortgage rates continuing to increase. This has been felt in recent months.

Janet Yellen recently replaced Ben Bernanke as Fed Chair. Many believed that she would cut back on the established level of bond purchase tapering. To the contrary, however, she has publicly stated that she will continue the current pace of tapering.

In fact, in a recent testimony before the Financial Services Committee, she said: Read more…

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