Friday, August 28, 2009

Conflicting Policies and Promotions...Just Like Washington...

I have had a flood of first-time buyers call or email in the past couple of weeks. Whether they are finally coming to the realization that the $8000 tax credit may really expire and they need to get on board or they have heard that there are additional credits and assistance for those buyers willing to purchase foreclosures, the interest has been phenomenal. That being said, you can almost see the smile disappear from their face when they realize that most of the incentives and policies are extremely contradictory to what they are saying they want to achieve.

Take for example the first-time buyer wanting the tax credit. The buyer cannot make but $75,000 per year as an individual or $150,000 combined as a couple. That does sound like a bit of money in this day and time, but these are some of the only folks who have the minimum 3.5% down required for an FHA loan and even then, they cannot purchase a home in our area for over $277K. Most folks who make less than that are not able to buy because they have little or no cash reserves for the down payment, much less the additional 3% in closing costs that would be required.

If the credit applied to everyone, regardless of income or first-time, second-time, vacation, investment, etc. the inventory would be drastically reduced, thus stabilizing prices and putting contractors back to work on homes that need a little TLC because they have been on the market for so long or have been bank-owned.

Speaking for foreclosures...there are apparently programs out there from local municipalities on up that are offering down-payment assistance or breaks for purchasing foreclosures. I am assuming this is being done in an effort to reduce the inventory as well. However, with the buyers that are calling, most of them being first-time buyers and having barely enough to cover their down-payment, meaning they are doing FHA or VA loans...these foreclosures are not even in condition to pass the guidelines for these loan programs. Sounds good, but it just doesn't work. Everything has a catch...once again, a great example of not being able to take everything you hear in soundbites at face value.

If you are trying to buy before the deadline or you think that you may qualify for some of these programs, give me a call or shoot an email and we can sit down face to face and find out what exactly is going to work for you, what you qualify for and how you can get the most bang for your buck on this major investment.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Absorption Rates...

I have blogged recently about the number of months that certain price points are staying on the market. As a result of that blog, the question has been asked, "How exactly do you come up with those numbers?"

Those "numbers" or months of inventory are figured by using an absorption rate formula. Relatively easy, here's how it goes:

Take your subject neighborhood or micro area...let's say it has 20 listings on the market and 4 that have sold in the past 6 months...

Take the supply (4 sales divided by 6 months) = .66
Divide those 20 active listings by .66 = 30.30 months

That means that if there are no new listings, it will take over 2 years to sell the existing inventory if no new listings come onto the market...

So let's do another:

As of today in Abington there are 16 active listings and 11 have closed in the past 6 months.
11 sales divided by 6 months = 1.83
16 listings divided by 1.83 = 8.74

Which means that currently it would take close to 9 months to sell all of the listings currently listed in Abington.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Well Wishes Chief Stockton, aka Superman...

An icon in our community is retiring...most of you who are not living under rocks have heard that our very own Chief Stockton, who has been with the Kernersville Police Department for 36 years is retiring.

His reception was held last night at First Christian Church with approximately 800 in attendance. The Chief was received by many well-wishers who enjoyed recalling some of the funnier moments in the Chief's career. There was a video of folks in town with numerous accounts and the end of the evening was definitely highlighted by a video produced by Derek Crews featuring Damien Marotz and Keith Mason. I for one, hope that this production debuts on was a riot!

Thank you Chief Stockton for all that you have done for our community by making the quality of life second to none in North Carolina!

Please feel free to leave comments to this post for the Chief and I will make sure they are passed along!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Those That Bear Down The Hardest...

Any of you guys who know me personally know that it is difficult for me to take "no" or "that's not going to work" for an answer. Sometimes, my delivery methods may be a little skewed or abrasive, but all in all, I chalk it up to good ol' fashioned American drive and work constantly on softening the delivery while keeping the message intact. That being said, I was at an attorney's office for a closing last week, when the attorney made a comment that was very apropos to life in general.

Most of you have seen the bumper sticker that says "Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History". How true that statement is. I am not an women's activist by any means, but I do expect equal treatment of my ideas and ability if they are worth it. ( I guess that could be pretty subjective :)) Anyhow, his comment was based on the following and I thought it was a neat illustration of why you need to be involved and stay at the forefront of causes you feel passionately about.

So, the story goes:

My client was signing a ton of paperwork for his loan and noticed that because there was no glass on the conference table, that the impression of his name was being engraved into the wood of the table over and over. He started his apology to the attorney and commented on how many other names joined his on the table. The attorney replied,

"Those folks that bear down the hardest, always seem to leave an impression."

Now, the attorney was talking about the physical consequence of the pen. But, I think that this applies aptly in life where those who speak up, speak out, go against the grain, etc. make the impressions that are to last. However, in the life-lesson of the comment, it doesn't indicate whether the impression was good or bad, just lasting.

I've had my share of both and it's up to us individually whether we will work toward making future impressions as we bear down the hardest for the things that touch us the most.


Where to Buy? Helpful Hints...

In a recent article published in the August edition of Money magazine, the author highlights the common elements that certain markets of stable value have. Everyone wants to purchase a home in a location that is going to maintain it's value and most of us (I'm guessing YOU) want to buy a home in an area that appreciates over time, since the purchase is usually one of the largest investments we will ever make.

Most buyers I work with are very concerned with proximity to their work, the spatial qualifications of the home (# of bedrooms and baths, square footage), the condition and what the area looks like maintenance-wise. But as the article suggests there are more things that you and your "seasoned" Realtor should be looking at. Some of the items in Money magazine are:

Proximity-High gas prices, long one wants to drive further than they have to.

Great Schools-Home prices in areas with great school systems tend to be more stable and hold up best during downturns according to the article. You should consider this item even if you don't have children because whoever buys your home next, may.

Strict Limits on New Construction-Studies show and the article points out, that towns that have stricter zoning regulations and limited supply hold their value better. Also, towns that have limited growth areas, such as towns situated between metro areas or bordering natural barriers such as mountains or lakes.

Plenty of Commerce-Money says that towns with stores, banks, theatres and white collar employers tend to hold up best.

Lots of Flower Boxes-Carefully manicured lawns, entrances, parks and streets are responsible for the values of the surrounding neighborhoods and properties. Checking out the number of foreclosures in an area as compared to other areas of consideration can also play into the sustainability of pricing.

Very interesting article, some of these items we have discussed here before on the blog...but always good to keep you up to date on these things as you and your friends and family are out there looking for real estate investments. To view the article in it's entirety you can go online or purchase the August 09 copy of Money magazine.

Have a great week!