News, Photos & Up-Comming Events of the CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes Sales & Marketing Team
Thursday, October 30, 2008
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) includes 1 million brokers and salespeople, individuals bound together with a strong Code of Ethics, extensive training opportunities and a wealth of community information. NAR members are routinely active in PTAs, local government committees and a variety of neighborhood organizations. Being actively involved in community affairs provides REALTORS® with a better understanding of the area in which they are selling.
Why?Buying and selling real estate is a complex matter. At first it might seem that by checking local picture books or online sites you could quickly find the right home at the right price.
But a basic rule in real estate is that all properties are unique. No two properties -- even two identical models on the same street -- are precisely and exactly alike. Homes differ and so do contract terms, financing options, inspection requirements and closing costs. Also, no two transactions are alike.
In this maze of forms, financing, inspections, marketing, pricing and negotiating, it makes sense to work with professionals who know the community and much more. Those professionals are the local REALTORS® who serve your area.
How do you choose?In every community you're likely to find a number of realty brokerages. Because there is heated competition, local REALTORS® must fight hard to succeed in your community.
The best place to find a local REALTOR® is from REALTOR.com's® extensive listing of community professionals and properties. Other sources include open houses, local advertising, Web sites, referrals from other REALTORS®, recommendations from neighbors and suggestions from lenders, attorneys, financial planners and CPAs. The experiences and recommendations of past clients can be invaluable.
In many cases buyers will interview several REALTORS® before selecting one professional with whom to work. These interviews represent a good opportunity to consider such issues as training, experience, representation and professional certifications.
What should you expect? (Working with a REALTOR®)Once you select a REALTOR® you will want to establish a proper business relationship. You likely know that some REALTORS® represent sellers while others represent buyers. Each REALTOR® will explain the options available, describe how he or she typically works with individuals and provide you with complete agency disclosures (the ins and outs of your relationship with the agent) as required in your state.
Once hired for the job, the REALTOR® will provide you with information detailing current market conditions, financing options and negotiating issues that might apply to a given situation. Remember: Because market conditions can change and the strategies that apply in one negotiation may be inappropriate in another, this information should not be set in stone. During your time in the marketplace REALTORS® will keep you updated and alert you to each step in the transaction process.
CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes takes pride that its agents are part of the REALTOR community. To speak to a CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes REALTOR, contact us today at 626.358.1858 / Monrovia and 626.963.7621 in Glendora. or visit us online at www.c21ab.net
Monday, October 20, 2008
- Do You Know What You Want? - Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or entering the marketplace as a repeat buyer, you need to ask why you want to buy. Are you planning to move to a new community due to a lifestyle change or is buying an option and not a requirement? What would you like in terms of real estate that you do not now have? Do you have a purchasing timeframe?
Whatever your answers, the more you know about the real estate marketplace, the more likely you are to effectively define your goals. As an interesting exercise, it can be worthwhile to look at the questions above and to then discuss them in detail when meeting with local REALTORS®.
- Do You Have The Money? - Homes and financing are closely intertwined. (Financing is the difference between the purchase price and the downpayment, commonly referred to as debt or the mortgage.) The good news is that over the years new and innovative loan programs have evolved which require a 5 percent downpayment or less. In fact, a number of programs now allow purchasers to buy real estate with nothing down.
In addition to a down payment, purchasers also need cash for closing costs (the final costs associated with closing the loan). Several newly emerging loan programs not only allow the purchase of a home with no money down, but also underwrite closing costs.
Not everyone, however, elects to purchase with little or no money down. Less money down means higher monthly mortgage payments, so most homebuyers choose to buy with some cash up front.
As to closing costs, in markets where buyers have leverage, it may be possible to negotiate an offer for a home that requires the owner to pay some or all of your settlement expenses. Speak with local REALTORS® for details.
- Is Your Financial House in Order? - Those great loans with little or nothing down are not available to everyone: You need good credit. For at least one year prior to purchasing a home, you should assure that every credit card bill, rent check, car payment and other debt is paid in full and on time.
Monday, October 13, 2008
BUSH ADMINISTRATION LAUNCHES "HOPE FOR HOMEOWNERS" PROGRAM TO HELP MORE STRUGGLING FAMILIES KEEP THEIR HOMES
"For families struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments, this program will be another resource to refinance into a loan they can afford," said HUD Secretary Steve Preston. "FHA remains a safe and affordable alternative to the high-priced mortgage loans that threaten homeowners' ability to retain their homes. We strongly encourage borrowers to work with their lenders to determine if HOPE for Homeowners is the right program for them."
The HOPE for Homeowners program was authorized by the Economic and Housing Recovery Act of 2008. Since the President signed this vital legislation into law on July 30, 2008, the HOPE for Homeowners Board of Directors has worked diligently to develop and implement the program as directed by Congress. The Board was charged with establishing underwriting standards to ensure borrowers, after any write-down in principal, have a reasonable ability to repay their new FHA-insured mortgage.
The HOPE for Homeowners program begins today and ends September 30, 2011. The program is available only to owner occupants and will offer 30-year fixed rate mortgages - so the borrower's last payment will be the same as the first payment. In many cases, to avoid what would be an even costlier foreclosure, banks will have to write down the existing mortgage to 90 percent of the new appraised value of the home.
Borrowers are encouraged to contact their lender to determine eligibility, but may be eligible if, among other factors:
- The home is their primary residence, and they have no ownership interest in any other residential property, such as second homes.
- Their existing mortgage was originated on or before January 1, 2008, and they have made at least six payments.
- They are not able to pay their existing mortgage without help.
- As of March 2008, their total monthly mortgage payments due were more than 31 percent of their gross monthly income.
- They certify they have not been convicted of fraud in the past 10 years, intentionally defaulted on debts, and did not knowingly or willingly provide material false information to obtain their existing mortgage(s).
How the HOPE for Homeowners program works.
"HOPE for Homeowners will add to HUD's existing efforts to make FHA refinancing available to homeowners who need it most," said FHA Commissioner Brian D. Montgomery. "One year ago, FHA expanded refinancing into its FHASecure program. Since that time, we have helped more than 360,000 families keep their homes by refinancing with FHA, and we will assist a total of 500,000 families by the end of this year."
The Board expects that the primary way homeowners will participate in the program is by working with their current lender. HOPE for Homeowners will serve as another loss mitigation tool available to distressed borrowers.
HOPE for Homeowners also includes the following provisions:
- The loan amount may not exceed a maximum of $550,440.
- The new mortgage will be no more than 90 percent of the new appraised value including any financed Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium.
- The Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium is 3 percent and the Annual Mortgage Insurance Premium is 1.5 percent.
- The holders of existing mortgage liens must waive all prepayment penalties and late payment fees.
- The existing first mortgage must accept the proceeds of the HOPE for Homeowners loan as full settlement of all outstanding indebtedness.
- Existing subordinate lenders must release their outstanding mortgage liens.
- Standard FHA policy regarding closing costs applies, and they may be:
Financed into the new loan provided the value of the mortgage (including the Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium) does not exceed 90 percent of the new appraised value of the home.
Paid from the borrowers' own assets.
Paid by the servicing lender or third party (e.g., federal, state, or local program).
Paid by the originating lender through premium pricing.
- The borrower must agree to share with FHA both the equity created at the beginning of this new mortgage and any future appreciation in the value of the home.
- The borrower cannot take out a second mortgage for the first five years of the loan, except under certain circumstances for emergency repairs.
The lender will disclose to the homeowner the benefits of the program including home retention, a new affordable mortgage based on the current appraised value, and 10 percent equity.
The lender will also explain the prohibition against new junior liens against the property unless directly related to property maintenance, and a minimum of 50 percent equity and appreciation sharing with the Federal government.
The costs to the homeowner include the upfront and annual insurance premiums, as well as a share of the equity created by the write-down associated with the HOPE for Homeowners mortgage and any future appreciation in the value of the home. At settlement, subordinate lien holders will receive a certificate that evidences their interest as an obligation backed by HUD, with payment conditional on the value of HUD's appreciation share.
If the home is sold or refinanced, the homeowner will share the equity with FHA on a sliding scale ranging from a 100 percent FHA share after the first year to a minimum of 50 percent after five years. The lien holder that previously held the highest priority will receive payment up to a proportion of its original interest, not to exceed the amount of available appreciation. This type of delayed payoff will take place until all prior lien holders are satisfied or the amount of available appreciation is exhausted. All remaining appreciation is remitted to FHA.
The HOPE for Homeowners Board of Directors includes HUD Secretary Steve Preston, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, and FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair. They have named the following people to serve on the board as their designees: FHA Commissioner and Chairman of the Board Brian Montgomery, Federal Reserve Board Governor Elizabeth Duke, Treasury Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy Phillip Swagel, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Director Tom Curry.
Read more about HOPE for Homeowners at www.hud.gov/hopeforhomeowners
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
- Façade dominated by one or more prominent cross gables, sometimes with half-timbering.
- Massive chimneys, commonly crowned by decorative chimney pots.
- Tall, narrow windows, commonly in multiple groups and with multiplane glazing.
- Steeply pitched roof, usually side-gabled.
- Entry has rounded arch or flattened, pointed (Tudor) arch.
Source: REALTOR.com with Permission
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
“CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes is pleased to recognize Baker & Snider with this honor. Their efforts as leaders and innovators have empowered local homebuyers and sellers with valuable information, helping them to make informed real estate decisions,” said General Manager Hugo Torres of CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes.
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