Here's a small sample of what's happening.

Jun 20th, 2012

Buy Low, Sell High: How to flip that house the right way!

Some REALTORS® look at the short sales market and see the Wild, Wild West. But there’s no denying that short sales, foreclosures, distressed homes and flipped houses make up a good percentage of the real estate landscape in 2012. In an effort to stabilize housing prices and unload some of the foreclosures flooding the marketplace, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) extended a waiver of its anti-flipping regulations through 2012, suspending regulations that prohibit agencies from insuring mortgages to purchase homes that are bought and resold in less than 90 days. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) also announced a new directive that directs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to align their guidelines for servicing delinquent mortgages they own or guarantee. These regulations, as well as current economic conditions, have led to a steady quantity of distressed and foreclosed homes. In the first quarter of 2012, sales of homes that were in some stage of foreclosure or bank-owned accounted for 26% of all U.S. residential sales – up from 22% of all sales in the fourth quarter of 2011 and up from 25 percent of all sales in the first quarter of 2011. The price of bank-owned homes is stabilizing or even increasing in some cases where a restricted supply of bank-owned homes. Real estate flippers aren’t bad for the market, if they do it the right way. Buyers often rehab distressed homes before reselling, improving conditions in neighborhoods where foreclosures and distressed properties make up a higher percentage of the retail market. In major metro areas like Atlanta, Detroit and Sacramento, these purchases are helping rehab neighborhoods, making areas more attractive to live in, work in and raise a family. Patience is one of the most important things when buying foreclosed and real estate owned (REO) properties. Don’t depend on a tight closing schedule and pre-plan for mix-ups with paperwork or administrative delays. Short sale transactions can take 30 days, but sometimes the process can extend for months, so stay in it for the long haul. It’s also important to know who you’re dealing with when you purchase. Many times low-level bank employees will be involved in the day-to-day operations and they won’t have the experience or the motivation to make a sale work. Get to know higher-ups at the banks you’ll be dealing with, make some relationships and then make your case. If the bank declines an offer, counter with confidence. The Realtors Property Resource™ can help REALTORS® in the information gathering process, providing current and historical information, including the largest database of foreclosure information by county in the industry. It’s of paramount importance that you tally up all the costs involved in these transactions and factor those in when projecting potential return on investment. Incidental fees like unpaid utilities and survey fees can add up, and a surprise finding during a home inspection can tilt the ledger into the red. Since buyers will also sink money into a property before flipping, make sure to also factor in costs of everything from some pretty flowers for the backyard to potentially a new roof. REALTORS® specializing in short sales and REOs need to work in volume. Some REALTORS® juggle 20 listings at a time due to the lengthy procedures involved, and they always keep their purchase and sales funnels full to avoid long gaps in work. The short sales market can be tricky, but if you arm yourself with the right tools and ride a fast horse, you’ll find that the benefits outweigh the hardships. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® offers Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource (SFR®) certification to lend REALTORS® training in the market and help manage tricky transactions Article from REALTOR.ORG

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Feb 20th, 2012

Don't Skip a Home Inspection for New Construction

The truth is…there is no such thing as a perfect house, not even a brand new construction…so hiring an inspector the do a complete inspection of your home is a critical step that should not be overlooked. This one simple step can save you money and prevent headaches down the road. Some of the items an inspector will check: Foundation/Drainage Roof/Siding Windows and Doors Damaged systems and finishes Mechanical Systems/Plumbing/Electrical and appliances Possible code violations Incomplete work and safety concerns Taking a proactive approach can prevent costly problems in the future. All new home should be inspected for your peace of mind and to insure that you home will provide you with many years of enjoyment!

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Aug 25th, 2011

Five Inexpensive Home Updates to Consider Before Listing Your Home.

RISMEDIA, August 11, 2011—There is no perfect formula for selling your home efficiently, but by following these five tips prior to listing you can increase your chances to close quickly at a higher price. 1. Update your old garage door(s). Garage doors seem like a non-issue, but many times they make up a significant percentage of the front of a home. Because of this, they are one of the first things that buyers notice when they pull in the drive way. Replacing, or even just painting, these central fixtures will do wonders when it comes to instantly impressing perspective buyers and standing apart from your competition. The market has changed drastically since many of us purchased our homes here in town. I frequently hear buyers say that they have taken a house off their list because of the lack of curb appeal. This issue is especially important to people on busier streets, corner lots, or near a neighborhood eyesore. 2. Replace old windows. Outdated windows age a home significantly, and you can often upgrade standard windows to vinyl for a reasonable $300 per window. The average home has 8 windows, so this upgrade doesn’t cost nearly as much as you might think and it will make a huge difference to the value perceived by prospective buyers. Key point to remember is that when buyers view a home they love, if they see it has older windows, they consider it a time consuming and costly headache. First time buyers have never replaced windows and often dramatically overestimate the cost to cure this issue. By replacing pre-listing you an actually save money. A well priced, move-in condition home will sell for far more than one with windows in need of repair. 3. Assess your floors. If you have hardwood flooring, it’s worth the investment to have them refinished considering buyers put an extremely high value on them; you’ll get the most bang for your buck if they are refurbished. Carpets should be shampooed and replaced if they are stained or look worn. You don’t need to spend large amounts of money on the highest grade or most modern name but something inexpensive and neutral will certainly bring you a return on the investment. Even the smell of new carpet will make buyers set your home apart from the comparables. 4. Paint the trim. If you can’t afford the daunting task of painting your entire house, painting just the trim will still make a big difference when it comes to curb appeal. Painting the whole house can be expensive, time consuming, and delayed by weather conditions; painting just the trim will give your home a fresher look. Interior trim is equally as important. 5. Update fixtures. Keep an eye out for sales at home improvement stores and replace outdated lighting, plumbing and hardware fixtures. Simple replacing lighting fixtures and knobs in the bathroom or kitchen can update the entire look of the room. You can find many modern brand name fixtures online on contractor supply websites by just searching for terms like sale faucets, sale plumbing fixtures etc.

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