California for-sale inventory at 2005 levels – great article – had to share…

California for-sale inventory at 2005 levels

Homes on the market in May represented just 3.5 months of supply

By Inman News

Inventories of homes for sale in California continued to shrink in May, as the highest pace of sales since February 2009 reduced the supply of available homes to just 3.5 months — down from 4.2 months in April and 5.7 months at the same time a year ago.

Many housing analysts view a six-month supply of homes as a good balance of supply and demand — anything less means there are not enough homes to meet demand.

“Low housing inventory continues to be the critical issue in the California market,” said California Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young in a statement accompanying the release of the latest numbers. “Inventory levels have not been this low since December 2005, when the supply matched the current level.”

Sales of existing, single-family detached homes were up 3.4 percent from April, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 572,260 in May, CAR said. That’s the fastest pace of sales since February 2009, when homes were selling at a seasonally adjusted rate of 598,770 per year.

The San Francisco Bay Area had the greatest shortage of homes for sale, with inventory levels in the two- to three-month range for Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa counties, Appleton-Young said. A seven-month supply is normal, CAR said in releasing data from more than 90 REALTOR® associations and multiple listing services.

The inventory figures could provide ammunition to critics of plans to allow bulk sales of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac real estate owned (REO) properties. The National Association of REALTORS® has urged that such programs be “implemented on a strictly limited, as-needed basis,” citing estimates by analysts at Barclays Capital that private investors are converting 800,000 homes a year into rentals.

Fannie and Freddie’s federal regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA), has said it will approve bulk sales only in markets where there’s a glut of properties on the market.

The first “REO to rental” sale of 2,490 Fannie Mae “real estate owned” (REO) properties will be limited to eight markets: Atlanta (572 properties); Los Angeles-Riverside, Calif. (484 properties); Phoenix (341 properties); Las Vegas (219 properties); Chicago (99 properties); Southeast Florida (418 properties); Central and Northeast Florida (190 properties); and Western Florida (167 properties).

But last month, California REALTORS® got behind a bill introduced by Rep. Gary Miller, R-Brea, that would prohibit bulk sales of Fannie Mae REO homes in the state.

For housing statistics please visit the link below:

I read this article at:  http://lowes.inman.com/newsletter/2012/06/19/news/191356

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Advantages of Preapproval – great article had to share…

The Advantages of Preapproval

By VICKIE ELMER

WITH the housing market warming up in many areas, and multiple offers becoming more commonplace, buyers who want an advantage in the bidding process will need more than a mortgage prequalification. They will need a preapproval.

The difference is significant. Prequalifying for a mortgage is based solely on what you disclose to the loan officer or broker about your earnings, credit score and total assets, including what is available for a down payment.

“It’s verbal — it doesn’t really mean anything,” beyond providing some basic guidance on the range of prices you may be able to afford, said Kevin Chittenden, a vice president and regional sales manager in Paramus, N.J., for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

A preapproval, by contrast, requires borrowers to provide documentation of their income and their assets.

The lender typically pulls your credit report and score, and you should gather together almost everything you will need for the actual mortgage underwriting: W-2 wage statements; 1099s, which show things like dividends and interest income; recent pay stubs; bank statements; and statements from Individual Retirement Accounts and 401(k)s and other assets that could show you have the resources to buy and maintain a home.

At Wells Fargo, one of the country’s largest mortgage lenders, the first quick review provided by an underwriter constitutes an agreement to lend. “It’s a real commitment, a commitment to lend,” Mr. Chittenden said.

Other lenders may treat preapprovals as more of an opinion on the person’s ability to borrow, not a guarantee to lend, said Jack Guttentag, who runs the Mortgage Professor Web site. Generally, borrowers need to have chosen a property and have it appraised before they can expect a firm commitment from a lender, he said.

Still, a preapproval is more important now, with so many more homes receiving multiple bids, and because the housing market in many parts of the New York region has been getting stronger.

“Preapproval carries more weight when you go to negotiate a deal,” said Ray Mignone, a certified financial planner in Little Neck, Queens. “It gives them bargaining power.”

Borrowers should ask the lender to provide a good-faith estimate on closing costs and fees along with the preapproval. Many will provide this only once you have a home under contract, but some will give you an estimate of those costs, said Sofi Cordero, a senior housing counselor with La Casa De Don Pedro, which works on affordable housing and neighborhood development in Newark.

The preapproval letter should include the amount a borrower is qualified to borrow, as well as the loan officer’s contact information. Some letters may have an estimated monthly payment. But details about the loan type and interest rate will not be included; those are filled in when you are ready to receive the loan, experts say.

Timing is important. Buyers should aim for obtaining a preapproval letter from a lender within 30 to 60 days of the expected purchase date, Ms. Cordero said. That is because some letters expire in 90 days or so. (Wells Fargo’s, for instance, last for 120 days.)

Your income and bank statements may also need to be updated if it has been a few months between preapproval and the signed contract for buying, Mr. Chittenden said.

Wells Fargo charges would-be borrowers $18 for the credit report for a preapproval; the other costs of the mortgage start once you have a purchase agreement, he said.

Other lenders may waive the preapproval and application fees because they want to sign you on as a customer, Ms. Cordero noted, adding that if you find another lender with better terms, you are under no obligation to use the lender that provided the preapproval.

I read this article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/10/realestate/mortgages-the-advantages-of-preapproval.html?_r=2&ref=realestate

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Sharing a Terrific Article on 4 Ways a Buyer Can Compete In Today’s Market By Dian Hymer

Hello Blog Readers.  Sabrina here –  had to share this right away.  I’ve been meaning to write my own blog update about our local real estate market when I can came across this article.  Please enjoy – Dian is spot on for the SF Peninsula Real Estate market.

Enjoy, Sabrina

 

4 Ways Buyers Can Compete In Today’s Market

Don’t be intimidated by all-cash offers

By Dian Hymer

Inventories of homes for sale are dropping in areas where they’ve recently been high like in Oakland, Calif., Phoenix and Miami. Interest rates are approximately 0.75 percent lower than they were a year ago. It seems like a good time to get off the fence and into the action if you can find a house that reasonably matches your wish list and you don’t find yourself bucking other buyers who have the same idea.

Months’ supply of inventory is an estimate of how long it would take to sell all of the homes in a given market at the current sales pace. A six-month supply of unsold inventory is thought to represent a balanced market.

In California, there was a 4.2-month supply of inventory in April 2012, down from 5.6 months a year ago. When buyer demand increases, the unsold inventory drops, and multiple offers often enter the picture — sometimes in a big way.

In the hills above Berkeley, Calif., buyers are chasing too few homes for sale. But not all homes are coveted. The best homes that are priced right for the market are drawing attention. The multiple-offer activity can be fierce. Recently, a home that was perhaps underpriced for the market was bid up significantly with 17 offers. Four of the top offers included no contingencies.

The first step to successfully compete in a sizzling market is to know the inventory. Pricing low to generate multiple offers is a strategy commonly used in a low-inventory, high-demand market. You need to be familiar with how much listings in your area are selling for in order to determine if a listing is priced at, above or below market value.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: You might have only one opportunity to grab the sellers’ attention, which means that your first offer may need to be your best. You need to feel confident that the price you’re offering — particularly if it’s significantly over the list price — is reasonable in terms of your long-term housing needs and in light of the fact that the current uptick in many segments of the market may not be a sustained recovery.

Before writing an offer, find out how many offers the agent anticipates. If you can barely afford the asking price and there are seven offers, you might reconsider and wait for an opportunity that will allow you to move up in price, if necessary.

It’s hard to compete with an all-cash offer if you need to qualify for a mortgage. Make sure to get preapproved for the financing you need. Some sellers will accept an offer with a loan contingency from a well-qualified buyer over a cash offer if the price is higher. A large cash down payment makes your offer more attractive.

Make the cleanest offer you can without taking on too much risk. Offers made contingent on the sale of the buyers’ home have little chance of being accepted. In the example above, four buyers were willing to make offers without any contingencies. That’s as clean as it gets.

In this case, the buyers preinspected the property. In 2005 and 2006, buyers waived inspection contingencies to compete. Sometime negative consequences such as drainage or foundation problems were discovered after closing.

But if you’re willing to pay to inspect a home before the sellers have accepted your offer, you can gain the information about the property’s condition before moving forward. Be sure to ask for the sellers’ permission before preinspecting their home.

It’s always a good idea to find out as much as possible about the sellers’ situation. This may allow you to offer a perk that could swing the deal your way. Recently, buyers of a Piedmont, Calif., home offered the seller 30 days to rent back at no cost.

THE CLOSING: This clinched the deal.

Dian Hymer, a real estate broker with more than 30 years’ experience, is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist and author of “House Hunting: The Take-Along Workbook for Home Buyers” and “Starting Out, The Complete Home Buyer’s Guide.”

I read this article at:  http://lowes.inman.com/newsletter/2012/06/13/news/190914

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email Sabrina & Susan at:  Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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Thanks for reading – Sabrina

Offer Subject to Inspection – What Does That Mean?

As a Realtor I have a whole dictionary for just real estate jargon.  One of the most confusing terms, and often buyers will get the wrong idea about their agent, is “offer subject to inspection.”  So allow me a moment to explain what on earth this means.

“Offer subject to inspection” is a typical hurdle for buyers to overcome when shopping for homes that are tenant occupied.  The term means – the buyer can physically go in and SEE the home AFTER an offer is accepted.  Sounds a little backwards right?

And no – your agent is NOT trying to strong arm you and force you to buy a home without evening seeing it!

Generally this clause is for homes which are tenant occupied.  In order to preserve the rights of the tenant to have the quite enjoyment of their home – the tenant has the right to refuse prospective buyers to come in and see the home.  That is – until an offer is accepted by the seller, then the buyers has the right to inspect the home.

How does this work you ask?  The buyer must write a REAL offer since the terms are binding once accepted.  When the seller accepts the offer, the buyer will have a certain amount of days which is written into the contract to actually go in and see the home for the first time.  If the home is to their liking and the buyer wants to proceed with the contract – they do.  If the home is NOT to the buyers liking – for just about any reason – during the agreed upon days – the buyer will have the right to cancel the deal and walk away without any harm to both buyer and seller.

So you found a home you like – how do you write an offer?  If there are inspections available before hand – it makes our job of writing the offer a bit easier since we have a good idea of what the condition is.  If there are no inspections, and we haven’t seen the home, we drive by and gather as much info as we can with our eyes from the safety of the car.  We write the offer as best we can with the information provided and once the buyer has seen the home and had inspections we proceed with the new information – either by moving forward or discussing the new information with all parties and find a common and suitable outcome for all parties.

As strange as it seems – it happens more than you know.  For some buyers, they cannot imagine writing an offer for a home without ever seeing the home.  For investment buyers, this very typical and generally have no issues writing up a fair offer to get in.  Of course, what happens after a buyer gets to see the home is a far different story.  I have experienced both follow throughs on the contract and recessions – so truly we cross that bridge together when we get to it.

Which is truly at the root of what us Realtors do.  We are the buyers and sellers guides through Real Estate – what can The Caton Team do for you?

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email us at:

Info@TheCatonTeam.com

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The Home Seller Love Letter – why a buyer should buy YOUR house…

Found another great article from Inman News that I had to share.  A new twist on setting your home to shine on the market.

6 elements of a compelling home seller love letter

Recent reports suggest that the real estate market might be picking up. That said, sellers from coast to coast are still doing everything within their power to differentiate their home from the scads of other competitive listings.

As someone who has been inside probably thousands of homes with buyers over the years, I’ve always thought there was one super-simple, vastly underrated marketing technique for homes that are having a hard time standing out from the rest of the market: the seller love letter.

A seller love letter is a note, personally written or typed up by the home’s seller. Among other things, it expresses the love the seller’s family has had for the home, and explains the facts and events underlying that sentiment.

I’ve seen these be as short as a single page, and as long as a binder containing a 10-page letter and a collection of supporting pictures and other documents.

If the power of staging lies in depersonalizing the property so buyers can picture their own family living out their own lives in the home, the power of a seller love letter is that it leaves buyers with a warm feeling that the home has a positive energy and history, which is especially desirable on today’s distressed property-riddled market.

Here are six things smart sellers should consider including in their love letters about their homes to their buyers:

1. Fond family memories. Now, there’s no reason to get all “TMI” (too much information) about it, but the fact is that buyers do love to hear sweet, fond family memories about a property. I’ve watched with my own two eyes as buyers who liked a 100-year-old home fell desperately in love with it as they read about the seller’s parents’ building the home, and then raising a flourishing family there.

Even much newer homes can have their own endearing stories, whether they be about a hard-charging professional bachelor who is moving out of a loft to start a family; about retirees who raised their kids there and are now moving to downsize and be near their grandkids; or about a smart, single woman who was the first person in her family to own a home.

The goal here is to create warm fuzzies while you satisfy the buyer’s craving to know why on earth anyone would want to move from such a lovely place. And if you can tell a happy story, you can kill another bird with a single stone – distinguishing your place from all the tragic stories and sadness surrounding the short sales and foreclosures with which your home is competing.

2. Favorite neighborhood vendors and local businesses. One reason people dread moving so much is that it forces them to find new vendors for everything, especially for the practicalities and minutiae that can derail our schedules and lives if they don’t run well. If you have neighborhood businesses you love, making a list of them and including them with your love letter is very much appreciated by buyers.

Take care to include things like: dry cleaners, house cleaners, landscapers, carpet cleaners, produce markets and butchers, and especially restaurants that have great take-out and delivery services.

You get extra points if you know the proprietor and authorize the buyer to drop your name, or you include menus with your list of restaurants that deliver to the property address.

3. Lifestyle amenities that map to local buyer wish lists. Give some thought to the sorts of things people looking to buy a home like yours might be looking for, from a lifestyle perspective, and include notes about any of those amenities in the neighborhood that you and your family or housemates have especially enjoyed. Things like dog parks, playgrounds, running trails, yoga studios, libraries and bookstores, museums and outdoor recreational opportunities make great fodder for this list.

4. History of upgrades. Of course, your state-required disclosure forms will include a pithy section for relating the repairs and upgrades you’ve done in the time you owned the property, but you can take that to a new level in your seller love letter with a free-form description of the work, color commentary (if it makes sense) around why and how you had it done, and a little appendix that includes any relevant plans, permits warranties, receipts, service contracts and the like.

(Obviously, you don’t want to include the originals of these items if this love letter document will be left out in the property during showings.)

If there are any issues or repairs that are likely to come up in the buyer’s inspection reports that you want to explain in more detail, the love letter can give you your chance to do just that.

5. Property details and tricks. If you have a detailed landscape plan that identifies all the plants and trees in your yards, tricks for how to work the heating and cooling timer or the tricky downstairs doors, details on when the neighborhood trash pickup happens, or info about your alarm, termite or other service contracts, prospective buyers will feel well taken care of if you compile and include all this information with your love letter and let them see it before they even make an offer.

6. Neighbors. If you have particularly close and friendly relationships with any specific neighbors, or there are block parties, online or email Listservs, homeowners association (HOA) or neighborhood watch meetings or other favorites, ones with kids, block party, watch meetings, other things being planned/organized, let the buyers know.

You see, a good seller love letter is equal parts lovey-dovey and logistical, but the care that goes into preparing it and the love that is evident in its content can be a significant selling point to buyers weary of dealing with bank sellers or stressful short-sale situations.

Whatever you do, if you decide to write a seller love letter for your home, review your plans and thoughts about what to include with your local agent first. You want to make sure not to run afoul of any equal opportunity housing laws or disclosure laws.

As well, waxing rhapsodic about all the weekends you invested in the terrible mural on the wall might be more concerning than compelling to buyers who think they could live in your home easily — assuming they paint over the mural on day one as the new owners.

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email us at:

Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Visit our website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

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Home Buying – Much Cheaper than Renting in 2012…

On the San Francisco Peninsula I have to agree with this statement – Buying makes more sense than Renting these days.

I’ve had many requests this year to help clients find a rental.  Sadly, when I get the budget and what they need – the search results come up nill.  These days, for a studio (that means one room / no bedroom) rents on the peninsula start at $1500 and go up from there.  Looking to rent a two bedroom?  Better fork over at least $2000 a month – want a house, $3200+ easy – in choice areas.  My eyes jump out of the  head – $3000 a month – now that’s a mortgage payment!

Why are rents increasing?  With the local Real Estate market hit with short sales and bank owned homes, many buyers are afraid to take the purchase plunge since buyers are unsure if we hit bottom. So instead of buying – they are renting.  When demand for rentals rise above the supply of rental property – we see an increase in rents.  It changes all the time.  Real Estate is truly cyclical.   As a Realtor – I can certainly say that Yes, on the SF peninsula we hit bottom in 2009/2010 for the single family homes market.  Condos and Townhomes are on a different level – though they too will recover.

With the future changes in FHA lending, more up front mortgage fees, buying a home now will truly be less expensive for a buyer than in the near future.  Right now Interest Rates are lovely and low – and as they increase, a buyers purchase power decreases.

So if you are on the fence, come in and chat with us.  We’ll connect you with a lender who can give you your purchase price and then The Caton Team takes it from there – finding a home where your mortgage interest is tax-deductible, instead of a renting and paying too much!

Don’t just take my word for it – below is great article from CNN Money.

http://money.cnn.com/2012/03/21/real_estate/homes-buy-rent/index.htm?iid=HP_LN&hpt=hp_t3

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email us at Info@TheCatonTeam.com or visit our website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

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10 things to know about mortgage debt forgiveness

Came across this great article I had to share…

 

10 things to know about mortgage debt forgiveness

Over the past several years, millions of homeowners have had billions of dollars in mortgage debt forgiven, either through foreclosure, refinancing or short sales. It’s important for real estate professionals and homeowners to understand that mortgage debt forgiveness has significant tax consequences.

Here are 10 things the Internal Revenue Service says you should know about mortgage debt forgiveness:

1. Normally, when a lender forgives a debt — that is, relieves the borrower from having to pay it back — the amount of the debt is taxable income to the borrower. Thus, a homeowner who had $100,000 in mortgage debt forgiven through a short sale would have to pay income tax on that $100,000, as an example.

Fortunately, under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, you may be able to exclude from your taxable income up to $2 million of debt forgiven on your principal residence from 2007 through 2012. This means you don’t have to pay income tax on the forgiven debt.

2. The limit is $1 million for a married person filing a separate return.

3. You may exclude from your taxable income debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in a foreclosure.

4. To qualify, the debt must have been used to buy, build or substantially improve your principal residence and be secured by that residence.

5. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act applies to home improvement mortgages you take out to substantially improve your principal residence — that is, they also qualify for the exclusion.

6. Second or third mortgages you used for purposes other than home improvement — for example, to pay off credit card debt — do not qualify for the exclusion.

7. If you qualify, claim the special exclusion by filling out Form 982: Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness , and attach it to your federal income tax return for the tax year in which the debt was forgiven.

8. Debt forgiven on second homes, rental property, business property, credit cards or car loans does not qualify for the tax-relief provision. In some cases, however, other tax-relief provisions — such as bankruptcy — may be applicable. IRS Form 982 provides more details about these provisions.

9. If your debt is reduced or eliminated, you normally will receive a year-end statement, Form 1099-C: Cancellation of Debt, from your lender. By law, this form must show the amount of debt forgiven and the fair market value of any property foreclosed.

10. Examine the Form 1099-C carefully. Notify the lender immediately if any of the information shown is incorrect. You should pay particular attention to the amount of debt forgiven in Box 2 as well as the value listed for your home in Box 7.

The IRS has created a highly useful Interactive Tax Assistant on its website that you can use to determine if your canceled debt is taxable. The tax assistant tool takes you through a series of questions and provides you with responses to tax law questions.

For more information about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, see IRS Publication 4681: Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments. You can get it from the IRS website atirs.gov.

Real Estate Tax Talk

By Stephen Fishman

 

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email us at Info@TheCatonTeam.com or visit our website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

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5 Things Home Buyers Hate… oh this is a funny read especially if you are selling your home…

I had to laugh when I read this article.  Would love to hear what my readers think of this – please comment or share your stories at info@TheCatonTeam.com

5 Things Home Buyers Hate

1. Images that lie

Stretching photos to make rooms appear much larger than they actually are would be banned by listing services, if buyers had anything to do with it. And if your home is pristine and staged during the photo shoot (which it should be), it should still be pristine and staged when buyers come to see it in person.

Taking a photo of just one corner of a room that is shaped strangely or stuffed full of personal items is another way to confuse and irritate buyers, who hate nothing more than to feel like they were misled and tricked into wasting their time to see a place that is nothing like the photos.

* The Caton Team does not stretch our photos on our listings.  We do add extra photos from different angles so internet clients get the best idea of the home before they come and see it

2. Listings with no useful images at all

Listing photos of the piano or a piece of beautiful furniture that is not included in the sale is irritating to online house hunters, who might assume that the house had no other attractive features to furnish. Even worse: Home listings with no photos at all.

Nine times out of ten, when the listing has no photos buyers simply scroll or click right past those homes — even the ones that might perfectly meet their expectations.

Sellers, let’s be clear: Skilled listing agents who are getting homes sold in today’s market are putting 10, 20 even 30 photos of each listing online. That’s your competition. If a buyer only has time to see seven homes on a Sunday, and there are 20 listed in your area and price range, chances are good that those with the best, most numerous pictures will capture those valuable showing slots.

Often, listings with no photos are that way because of technical difficulties. Check on your home’s online listings on various real estate search sites and alert your agent if there’s a problem with the pictures.

* Our MLS allows 25 photos and I add them all.

3. Misleading marketing

Problems in the condition of the home that will be obvious when buyers enter, like a shifting foundation or clearly leaky roof, should be disclosed as such in the listing to minimize the inconvenience to you and those buyers who wouldn’t have bothered to visit if they knew. Disclosing such problems upfront will maximize your chances of finding the right buyer, who is willing to take them on.

Phrases like “immaculate” and “better than new” set you (and your home) up for failure when the buyer walks in and sees even normal wear and tear, or the smells and clutter of daily living.

* The Caton Team provides full up-front disclosures online so any interested party has all the information they need at their fingertips.

4. “Stalkerish” sellers

Sellers who are intrusive or follow buyers around during a showing were No. 1 on my own list, and on the lists of buyers. A seller might love the murals they’ve painted on your kids’ walls or the custom living room crafting area they’ve set up, and want to share their love with prospective buyers.

But the fact is that most buyers just aren’t interested, and would rather be able to discuss their plans to get rid of crazy customizations freely with their spouse and their agent than feel obliged to feign appreciation. (I’ve even had some buyers say they liked a house, but kept looking because they would have hated to pull out the sellers’ beloved personal touches.)

* The best way to sell your home is to not be there when buyers come through.  They are not buying YOUR home, they are buying THIER home.

5. Bizarro showings

Dogs, kids and sleeping residents all made recurrent appearances in the comments to my article. Nothing worse than showing a home and finding dog “leavings” on the interior carpets, and even once joined my out-of-shape clients on a foot chase to catch a wily little dog whose owner had left explicit instructions not to let “Fido” out (but left him roaming around the house, poised to dart out the front door the second I opened it). One reader related a showing in which she opened a hall closet door and out popped a dog that had been cooped up there for the occasion.

A short-sale buyer related the depressing tale of an 8-year-old boy who showed her the whole house, while another distressed property viewer told of the kid who ran after her and her husband, screaming, “You can’t have my house!” Multiple buyers told of walking into rooms where people were changing clothes, eating, frying up food or sleeping during the showing.  I’ve personally walked into a man coming out of the shower – and he was NO Brad Pitt – the scene still burns my retinas.

My heart does go out to the Short Sale Sellers – it is the hardest sale.   But I must be blunt – if you have your home on the market and truly want to get out from under your property – please treat your home as an equity seller would.  Present it in the best possible fashion and when an agent comes through to show this home – please leave.  They’re is nothing more uncomfortable than showing buyers a property and the buyer feeling bad for the sellers situation.  They can’t get excited and write an offer if they feel uncomfortable.

Showing bizarreness is tough for buyers to get past, even if the place is a palace.

I would love to hear your silly real estate stories – don’t be shy!  Email us at Info@TheCaton Team.com

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email us at Info@TheCatonTeam.com or visit our website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:  http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com/

This article is shared from Inman News – Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of “The Savvy Woman’s Homebuying Handbook” and “Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions.” Tara is also the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Trulia.com.

3.8% Sales Tax on Income for Home Sales Starts in 2013

Are you or someone you know thinking about selling their home or investment property next year?  Be aware that effective Janurary 1, 2013 there will be a 3.8% Sales Tax on Home Sales depending on your finiancial situation.  The Caton Team advises our selling clients – that if you are thinking about selling next year – it would be wise to sit down with your financial consultant and weigh the pros and cons of selling in 2013 or selling this year.

For more information please visit : http://www.samcar.org/userfiles/file/GAD_Combo-20120306.pdf

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email us at Info@TheCatonTeam.com or visit our website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:  http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com/

New Changes in FHA Loans

Just got news that the FHA mortgage is changing its up front fee!  Take a read direct from HUD.GOV…

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2012/HUDNo.12-037

Quick Overview…

FHA loans have reported high losses over the last few years, and this has brought up concerns that the FHA program may need a bailout in the future.

In a move to increase their financial standing, on Monday, HUD announced their anticipated increases in the premiums they charge borrowers. The cost of borrowing with FHA is going to go up.

FHA loans, by design, are more liberal in their underwriting guidelines than conventional loan products (in terms of credit, income ratios, required investment from the borrower, and maximum loan amount). HUD is not a lender. Rather, it is a federally-insured insurance company. They insure lenders against default on loans underwritten in compliance with their published guidelines. It is because of this insurance that lenders approve and close loans with more liberal guidelines.

As an insurance company, HUD charges two types of premiums on the FHA mortgages:

•           The UFMIP (Up Front Mortgage Insurance Premium) will be raised effective April 1, 2012 from its current 1% to 1.75%. One advantage to the UFMIP is the fact that it is typically built into the loan amount and does not require additional cash outlay at closing.

•           The MMIP (Monthly Mortgage Insurance Premium) will be raised from 1.15 to 1.25% of the loan amount annually, starting on April 1, 2012 .

On a loan amount of $300,000, we will see an increased monthly payment of $36.41.

Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  Email us at Info@TheCatonTeam.com or visit our website at:   http://thecatonteam.com/

Visit us on Facebook:   http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sabrina-Susan-The-Caton-Team-Realtors/294970377834

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:  http://ajourneythroughhomeownership.wordpress.com/