Wednesday, July 28, 2010

6 real estate headlines: 7-28

A daily dose of headlines for real estate agents, mortgage lenders and consumers.

What might move mortgage rates in the weeks ahead?
Mortgage News Daily:
The movement of mortgage rates was more reflective of competition and turn times in the primary mortgage market. This has been a theme lately.
Home sales surge in June with inventory at 42-year low
: But downward revisions to sales estimates for April and May left a picture of a weak housing market and perceptions of moderated economic growth.
Americans more trusting of financial industry
The Atlantic: Since the financial crisis, banking, stocks, and the rest of the market have slowly begun to heal. Despite a relatively weak second quarter, Americans are feeling better about finance.
Housing shortage on the horizon?
Smart Money: Take a step back from the current doom and gloom of foreclosures and declining sales and focus on the low construction levels over the past few years, some say a housing shortage might be in the offing.
Dont hold your breath for a bounce in home prices
Forbes: Despite four years of falling prices and recent signs that they were finally bottoming out, homes are expected to lose still more value in many metro areas over the next year.
D.C. law expands no-smoking around buildings
Washington Business Journal
: Building owners and property managers in D.C. as of Tuesday will be allowed to post signs barring smoking within 25 feet of their outer walls.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Governor Crist helps property owners affected by Gulf oil spill

Florida Governor Charlie Crist sent a strong message to Florida legislature to take action on behalf of properties whose values have suffered as a result of the Gulf oil spill.

On July 21, 2010, the day after the Florida Legislature shunned Governor Charlie Crists plan for an oil ban, the Governor attempted to give property owners affected by the oil spill a break by issuing an Executive Order.

The Order states that property appraisers in the affected counties are authorized �to provide interim assessments of any real property in the affected counties that may have suffered a loss in value as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The purpose of this assessment is to document the �current year claims against British Petroleum and any of its agents or subsidiaries responsible for the disaster and other responsible parties.�

These interim assessments are then to be made available to the affected property owners to be used as documentation of any loss in real property value sustained as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil leak to substantiate claims against BP and other responsible parties relating to the loss in value of the property. �

The documentation may also be used to substantiate claims for the economic loss resulting from liability for property taxes, which are based on the January 1, 2010 values despite a disproportionate reduction in the value of the real property caused by the oil spill. �

Although the Governor does not have the authority to issue tax rebates, it sends a clear message to the Florida legislature that action must be taken, at least in the areas of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties which are the counties most affected by the oil spill thus far.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Calculate pro-rated property taxes quickly, accurately

We invite you to test our revamped Sellers Calculator, an easy-to-use tool designed to help real estate agents and home sellers calculate net proceeds from a sale. Its one of many improvements were making to our website in the coming months as we continue to update our technology and make the Federal Title closing experience more efficient than ever before.

The new and improved Sellers Calculator takes the guess work out of determining your Sellers net sales proceeds. Among many other features:

��� �It pro-rates real estate taxes,
��� �Allows you to apportion transfer & recordation taxes between the buyer and seller
��� �Accounts for seller credits to buyers

>>> Go to the Sellers Calculator

To say the last few weeks around our office have been busy would be an understatement. But despite the hectic pace, our very own Todd Ewing was able to take some time out to speak with NPR business reporter Tamara Keith.

The story appeared June 30 during NPRs Morning Edition and aired here in Washington, D.C. and across the country. Heres a link to the story Mad Dash as Homebuyer Tax Deadline Arrives in case you missed it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

6 real estate headlines: 7-21

A daily dose of headlines for real estate agents, mortgage lenders and consumers.

Homesellers have little leverage
Smart Money:
Many are finding that the only real tool they have to lure buyers is the asking price and it isnt providing much leverage.
Builder confidence in new homes lowest in a year
USA Today
: Home builder confidence fell for the second month in a row as an expired federal tax credit and public unease over the economy depressed housing demand.
Real estate doldrums on Gulf Coast beaches
The New York Times: In a beach town, where sales and rentals of vacation homes are the lifes blood of the economy, the economic impact has been deep.
New plans for old Washington Star printing plant
DC Mud: The city will renovate the interior, redesign the exterior and incorporate the largest green roof owned by the District government.
Forget the double-dip, wheres the recovery?
Housing Wire: I dont know that well see a double-dip recession, eitherbut for an entirely different reason. Im not so sure we ever really ended the first one.
Monument Realty to begin Chinatown condo project
Globe St
: Based on the interest it is currently fielding from association groups, more than likely Monument will be developing office condos.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Real estate news update: 7-20

A daily dose of headlines for real estate agents, mortgage lenders and consumers.

Extra credit checks make some lenders anxious
Washington Post:
People who applied for a mortgage as of June 1 might notice their debt under renewed scrutiny days before they are scheduled to complete a home purchase.
Little, no money down mortgages still available
Washington Examiner: Homebuyers with little money for a down payment are finding more home loans available for a low, or even no, down payment.
Debunking rumors of housing sales tax
Washington Post: The levy is aimed at high-income taxpayers, leaving most people untouched. And it will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2013.
How we sold a house
Wall Street Journal: The worst of the home-price nosedive may be over, but selling a home can still feel like an agonizing stalemate.
Homebuilders less confident in housing market
Washington Times: Homebuilders confidence in the housing market has sunk to the lowest level in more than a year, more evidence that the economic recovery is slowing.
Uncle Sam still saving D.C. real estate
Washington Business Journal
: A shift from the planning stages of stimulus and regulation initiatives to full-scale implementation yielded robust gains for Metro D.C.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Give me back my money: Releasing an earnest money deposit

You have been searching for months and have found your dream home, but suddenly something goes wrong and you want out.� Before you do that, you want to make sure you can get back your earnest money deposit.

It is not easy for a purchaser to get back an earnest money deposit, after all, if it was, what would be the point?� An earnest money deposit, or EMD, proves to the seller that the purchaser is serious about purchasing the property, since it provides a level of comfort to the seller that the purchaser is intending to complete the transaction. �

Typically the deposit is held by either the title company or the real estate broker and is credited back to the purchaser on the HUD-1 Settlement Statement at closing.

However, when something goes wrong, the question often arises, how do I get my deposit back?� The process is explained in Paragraph 4.B. of the GCAAR Regional Sales Contract. �

The quickest and easiest solution is for both parties to sign a release of contract and provide in the release written instructions on the manner in which the deposit should be disbursed.� If the two parties do not agree on how to release the funds, the matter must go before a court of competent jurisdiction, which will provide an order on how funds are to be released. �

* Please note that neither the settlement company nor the real estate broker can determine who is right or wrong and release the deposit. They either need agreed upon written instructions by both parties or a court determination. �

Even if it is obvious that one party is right and deserves the deposit, it cannot be released without one of the above.� This may sound unfair, especially to a buyer who is clearly deserving of receiving back a deposit, but if the buyer and seller cannot agree, they need to have the court decide the outcome, not the settlement company.

Fortunately, in my experiences, the two parties typically come to an agreement before having to go to court since often it is not worth the time or expense to fight it out.� However, it is a good idea for the purchasers to know that their deposit can be tied up for up to several months if things turn ugly.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What does the homebuyer tax credit extension mean for homebuyers?

On July 2, President Obama signed the Homebuyer Assistance and Improvement Act of 2010. A principal provision in the Act affects those who entered into a binding purchase and sale contract on or before April 30, 2010 to buy a credit-qualified home. �

The Act extends the deadline to close from the original June 30, 2010 deadline to September 30, 2010.

The change in the law did not extend the time to actually buy a home. It simply extended the deadline to close on a purchase contract that met the April 30, 2010 binding contract date.

This extension of time was granted because the rush of purchase contracts that met the April 30, 2010 deadline overloaded lenders with paperwork they could not process by the June 30, 2010 finalization date. Taxpayers that have not previously entered into a pending contract to buy a qualifying residence by April 30, 2010, would not qualify for the Homebuyer Credit unless Congress extends that deadline.

IRS Information Release 2010-080 discusses this homebuyer tax credit extension to September 30, 2010, and it alerts taxpayers to the documentation required to be attached to their tax returns in addition to completing Form 5405, First Time Homebuyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit.

Real estate news update: 7-07

A daily dose of headlines for real estate agents, mortgage lenders and consumers.

Where houses are best to buy
One of the most respected gauges of housing market value is the Price-to-Rent ratio, calculated by Moodys
High-rise or house with a yard
The New York Times: If the deciding factor is the relative cost of each, the answer is quantifiable, even if it not immediately obvious given the different tax rates and other variables.
Low rates arent helping the housing market
MSNBC: Mortgage rates have sunk to levels not seen in more than a half-century, yet brokers and lenders report not a flood but a trickle of customers.
More home sellers cut asking prices
Reuters: June marked the third month in a row that the percentage of home sellers who reduced their asking price increased from the previous month.
DC residences that offer great views - for a price
Washington Post: A home with a view doesnt come cheap. A fine view adds 20 percent to 25 percent to the homes value, and thats erring on the side of caution.
Fears grow recovery is stalling
Globe St
: Fears that the economy may be headed for a double-dip recession appear to be overblown, for the moment at least.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Real estate news update: 7-02

A daily dose of headlines for real estate agents, mortgage lenders and consumers.

Mortgage rates drop to a new low
Washington Post:
Thats down from the previous record of 4.69 percent set last week and the lowest since the Fannie Mae began keeping records in 1971.
Home price data very misleading
Real Estate Consulting: Executive decision makers want to know whether prices are trending up or down. When forced to answer, we say most home prices are reverting to 2003 prices.
Jobless rates drop in two-thirds of metros
CNBC: Unemployment rates in roughly two-thirds of the nations largest metropolitan areas dipped in May as the gradual economic recovery spurred some hiring.
Demand for homebuying near 13-year low
MSNBC: The U.S. housing market continued to deflate after a spring sales spree, fueled by now-expired federal tax credits of up to $8,000, robbed from summer home buying.
Mortgage applications on the rise
Forbes: Overall applications increased nearly 9 percent from a week earlier, but growth in borrowing came from applications to refinance home loans and not to make new purchases.
Lockheed Martin extends stay in SE DC
CoStar Group
: Lockheed Martin renewed its lease at 300 M St. SE. The defense contractor, which has occupied 73,808 square feet in the building since 2001, signed for another five years.

Friday, July 2, 2010

HDTV casting call for listing agents

The popular primetime HGTV show My First Sale is looking for first-time home sellers and their real estate agents in the Washington DC/Arlington VA area.

We are looking for fun, high-energy people who are just starting the process of selling their first place� Our cameras will be there to capture all the trials and tribulations, stress and success of prepping for sale, pricing, negotiating, and ultimately selling a home for the first time.

Taping will begin in Spring 2010 and will continue through Winter 2010.� Ideal candidates will be motivated, financially candid people who want to share the experience and the purchase details with HGTV and their audience.� Singles, couples and families are all invited to apply

If selected to appear on an episode of My First Sale, home sellers will receive a DVD copy of the episode to enjoy for years to come. Real estate agents will also receive a DVD of the episode. If this sounds like fun, first-time sellers should apply now for immediate consideration� �

For more information or an application contact:

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Senate votes to extend tax credit dealine for some homebuyers

Tens of thousands of home buyers who risked losing out on an $8,000 tax credit may get a reprieve, NPRs Tamara Keith reports. Last night, the Senate passed a bill that would extend the closing deadline by several months, according to the NPR news blog.

Ms. Keith recently stopped by the office of Federal Title to discuss the June 30 tax credit deadline for homebuyers.

The fix could help as many as 180,000 people who signed contracts to buy homes earlier this year, but then faced delays in closing the sale.

Lucien Salvant, a spokesman for the National Association of Realtors, told Keith that the pipelines for lots of lenders got jammed up, so these folks were going to be denied the tax credit through no fault of their own, and thats a shame.

The bill was passed earlier this week by the House of Representatives, and it was approved unanimously by the Senate.

Full story...

Real estate news update: 7-01

A daily dose of headlines for real estate agents, mortgage lenders and consumers.

Where home prices are strongest now
Smart Money:
While its difficult to call an absolute bottom for home prices, �prices are still low enough� that buyers dont need to worry about further declines.
Sellers and buyers disagree on home values
Real Estate Economy Watch:Three out of four homeowners think their homes are worth more, and 63 percent of agents and brokers say buyers think homes are overpriced.
Foreclosures sell at 30% discount
CNN Money: Part of the reason for the bigger price cut is many of them come to the market in poor condition, their previous owners either unable to or unwilling to maintain them.
DC area home prices gains in April best in U.S.
Washington Business Journal: Only four cities in the index posted better annual gains, led by San Francisco where prices advanced 18 percent in the last year.
What Wall Street reform means for your mortgage
CNN Money: Predatory lending would likely become a thing of the past and that may mean that mortgages get more expensive and more difficult to get, lenders warn.
Vacant DC properties on the chopping block
DC Mud
: Buyers can include only prospective home owners that will occupy the property, non-profits and Certified Business Enterprises CBE registered with the District.