Friday, May 21, 2010

Weekend Update: Wine Festival, Dash Game and Spring Cleaning...

Always one to try and keep you abreast of community happenings, I'll let you know of a few activities taking place this weekend in the Cashion household.

The Salute wine festival began on Thursday, May 20 with several restaurants and local vineyards pairing to bring you customized menus/selections that feature the best of wine and food the Triad has to offer. If you are new to this event the dinners are certainly something to check out. They start at $60pp which is a bargain if you view the selections. If you can't enjoy the dinner portion, then take a moment on Saturday to come to downtown Winston to take part in the actual "street festival" portion of the event. There will be tons of wineries offering tastings and selling their products along with live music and various entertainment. Stay for the after-party which I hope to attend, that will start around 6ish and will host one of my all-time favorite bands Absolute 80's.

Tonight will also be a BIG night in our family, as we are joining some dear friends and attending our first Dash game as a family. Both Jake and I have been to the games, but never together and Maddie has yet to see a game at the new stadium. One of the highlights of the evening, besides spending this gorgeous Carolina night with friends, will be one of our friends' son singing as entertainment with his chorus. As my friend declared, to these kids, it might as well be Yankee stadium...can't wait to hear the performance!

To round out our weekend, because the weather looks to turn nasty, we are going to make a push to Spring clean. Trying to de-clutter to possibly get ready to put our home on the market is a real chore. Slowly, we have made progress getting some of our TO DO list knocked to all of my listing clients out there--I FEEL YOUR PAIN! We have painted our exterior trim, replaced front porch post columns, landscaped, pine strawed, had windows cleaned, painted, had carpets cleaned and the list still has several items that need to be knocked out. Goodwill here we come!

Have a great weekend and I hope that you take the time to enjoy your family and friends regardless of your activity! If you know of anything else fabulous going on in our area, feel free to post for the rest of us to enjoy!


Monday, May 17, 2010

Tax Credit Opportunity Over...Step by Step to the Closing Deadline

I believe this has been the longest break I have taken from blogging since I began this journey over a year ago. However, with the demands of the tax credit and deadlines looming, it has been a necessary evil. I would like to share with you a synopsis of the path from contract to close and how it will effect those trying to obtain the tax-credit.

As a review, the buyers and sellers taking advantage of the tax credit had to be under contract by April 30 and now the clock is ticking for them to close by June 30 which is fast approaching. What that means is that several hurdles have to be crossed for closings to be successful, which reflects on the ability of the Realtor, the lender and the financial viability of the buyer and seller. What in the world does that entail you ask?

Well for starters, after the contract is executed (which our team was doing up until midnight of the deadline!), the clock starts ticking for the buyer to obtain inspections, including a general home inspection, wood-destroying insect, radon, structural, etc. Upon completion of the inspection, the buyer can submit a written request to the seller for broken items to be repaired. This is usually one of the major sticking points of the negotiation process. However, now with these first-time credit eligible buyers, they have lost some of their ability to negotiate these repairs effectively with the seller. Meaning that the seller can say no to the request and if the buyer walks from the contract to find a more suitable home and begins this process over again, they are no longer eligible for the credit. I believe that you will find more and more buyers sucking up some of these minor repairs, unless they exceed their "cost of repair contingency" or exceed the $8000 credit threshold in repairs. Certainly, this is an interesting and new position for buyers to be in, to say the least.

Once the inspections are behind the buyer, the paperwork is continually being submitted on their behalf to the lenders for loan approval. This process normally takes 30-45 days in a natural real estate setting, but with the large influx of loans those buyers under contract on April 30 may now be facing a longer "wait" period, pushing them precariously close to the deadline to close of June 30. Agents such as myself, added language that makes the contract null and void, with earnest money returned, if the deadline is missed, should the buyer desire. My belief is that these kind of statements being added to contracts are few and far between, as far as the deadline performance is concerned. Now, don't get me wrong, I have several buyers that qualify for the credit, but would purchase regardless because their housing needs require such--therefore, that particular language was not necessary.

Another layer of buyer-loan approval is now the additional information that is required per new and existing Federal regulations. This could mean, verification of condo v. townhouse, how many rentals are in a particular subdivision, if the home meets FHA/VA guidelines for condition, if there have been any deposits in the past 30 days that are out of the norm, verification of employment, well and septic testing, lead-based paint testing, structural letters for any previous termite activity whether treated and repaired or not, name verification, marital status verification, primary-residence verification, and the like....THEN AND ONLY THEN after all of these items and more are met, does the package go to the closing department for a once-over and get sent to the attorney for organization and closing.

Yet, here's a new hurdle for these tax-credit buyers given the state of the economy...short sales. By now you have all heard of short-sales and understand the basic concept of the process. So keep in mind that a good deal of these buyers are attempting to purchase properties that are going to require "third-party" approval, better known as bank-approval. In most cases this requires bank approval from two separate banks on a first and second mortgage! The typical time was 120 days, but with the recently passed legislation that bonuses banks and sellers to expedite short sales, we are hoping that this can cut the time down to the less than 60 day window we were looking at with the tax credit deadline.

As you can certainly see the pieces have to fall into the right places for the tax-credit buyers to enjoy success and this takes monitoring of the transaction, pre-planning, watching for red-flags and the like...but with diligence, the majority of these buyers and sellers will close on or before the June 30 deadline.

When details matter...experience certainly does count!