Archive for October, 2013

It’s Time to Change Home-Buying Strategies!

It’s that time of year again, there’s a slight chill in the air, the leaves are turning vibrant colors, and its pumpkin spice everything. Autumn is upon us. It’s time for the seasons to change, and if you are a homebuyer, many real estate experts say it is also time to change your home-buying strategies.

Although, the fall real estate market sees less activity than the summer selling season, there are still numerous ways for buyers to get a great home for a great price.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of fall buying, and discover a few ways to minimize the drawbacks.

1: Mortgage rates are at a historical low

This fall, the home buying market is unique because current mortgage rates are still sitting at historic lows.

Therefore, don’t be discouraged from making a move in the fall because interest rates have increased, they’re still at a historic low. Plus, there’s always a chance that next year they won’t stay this low.

2: Less choice BUT less competition

One of the top reasons that real estate activity slows down in the fall is due to the beginning of the school year. Buyers with young children stop looking for new homes because they don’t want to force their children to switch schools.

But, this can actually turn out to be an advantage. You now have a significantly smaller amount of competition! This creates more wiggle room for the buyer and gives the opportunity to buy the home of your dreams for a price that you can afford.

3: Buyers and sellers make sacrifices

 Unfortunately, the amount of houses for sale does decrease. This means that if you make an offer, but can’t come to terms with the seller and the deal falls through, there won’t be a bunch of other houses that have exactly what you want. Therefore, you may have to loosen your requirements or wait until another suitable house goes up for sale.

Nevertheless, sellers will most likely be more flexible in terms of price reductions. So grasp this opportunity and take a serious look at the homes that are available, because sellers are l more motivated to make a deal in the fall. They might even be willing to pay some of the buyer’s closing costs or strongly consider lower offers.

4: Stray away from being greedy

A seller may accept a lower offer, but try not to be greedy. Even though the fall market is smaller, it’s important to remember that there are still serious buyers out there. Just as sellers become more motivated at this time of year, buyers who are seeing their options reduced, are also becoming more serious. Not only that, looming cold weather and busy holiday schedules also contribute to the general buyer motivation, to close before winter’s arrival.

Fall can be a great time of year to buy a home for a good deal. Since no one can predict future mortgage rates, hurry to lock in a historically low mortgage rate this fall!

Authored by Forth Hoyt | Discussion: No Comments »

Don’t Give Up Hope! Mortgage Programs Available to Help!

If you think you don’t qualify for a mortgage, don’t give up! There may be hope—if you know what to ask your lender.

Currently, there are a variety of  programs that were created in order to help people refinance an existing mortgage or purchase a home. In addition, there are policy changes that have begun opening doors for some borrowers.

Therefore, there are several options to consider, depending on what your situation is.

1. If you are retired:

In the past, a lender would have told a pension-less retiree that they needed to show they were taking regular distributions of a certain amount in order to cover their mortgage payments. But now, balances in retirement accounts can be used to determine mortgage eligibility—without touching the funds. This is because of a recent rule change at Fannie Mae. 

2. If you are a cash-strapped homeowner:

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is a government-issued program that allows people whose home value has declined to refinance so they can have lower, more affordable rates. Homeowners can sometimes owe more on their mortgage than the home is currently worth!

Although this program has been in effect for years, there are many who still could qualify. Some of the people who currently qualify, may have applied for a HARP refinance in the past and had been denied. Since then, the rules have changed and now the program doesn’t require an appraisal. They also have removed the cap on how much a homeowner could be “underwater” on their current mortgage.

In addition, those with a current mortgage backed by the Federal Housing Administration may be eligible for the FHA Streamline program, which has  no income requirement.

3. If you are a fixer-upper:

Lenders market FHA203(k) mortgages more heavily in urban areas, but properties that qualify for these “mini construction” loans can be located anywhere. Essentially, these loans allow people to purchase a home and finance improvements in one mortgage. The mortgage amount is based on the estimated value of the property once the improvement work is completed, while factoring in the cost of the work.

While the program is a benefit for homes like abandoned foreclosure properties, it can also be used for more less dramatic upgrades, such as modernizing the restrooms, or carpeting throughout the house. The main point that you have to remember is that the upgrade must increase the value of the home.

(More information about this program can be accessed at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website)

4. If you don’t have a down payment:

Coming up with the funds for a down payment can be the biggest struggle for first-time home buyers. But there are several ways to seek help. State and local governments, employers and lenders offer assistance funds for home buyers who are expected to be successful as homeowners. In this case, buyers are often asked to complete a homeownership course in return.

Moreover, there is at least one avenue for 100% financing still available for buyers in the more rural areas of the country. That’s the U.S. Department of Agriculture loan program, and you would be surprised who makes the cut.

Therefore, don’t lose hope. When you think all the doors are closed, a window will most surely open. Buckle down and do research

Authored by Forth Hoyt | Discussion: No Comments »

Act Quickly! Sacramento Real Estate Prices on the Rise!


Prices rising

Over the course of the past few months, Sacramento home prices have started rising twice as fast as the national average!  They are rising even faster than the pace set during much of the last housing boom.

The median home price in Sacramento County grew by 22.4 percent, in the time period between January 2012 and January 2013. That’s the second-largest January-to-January Sacramento County home price increase in the last two decades. The last time this happened, it was the 2005 peak of the housing boom.

For the last few decades, Sacramento County has endured successive real estate booms and busts, each one larger every time. It seems as though another boom is upon us. Nevertheless, certain real estate experts have argued previously that another boom isn’t likely for awhile, given tight lending and a very slow economic recovery. They may still be proven right; only time will tell.

Despite the fast growth in prices, most homes in the Sacramento County still sell for 50 percent cheaper than they did during the highest point of the last housing boom.

But, if home prices increase at this pace for much longer, what does this mean for Sacramento homeowners? It means that it’s a good time to sell! While prices are high, it is the best time to sell your home and upgrade to a better one.

So there you have it: short and sweet. Happy Friday!

Authored by Forth Hoyt | Discussion: No Comments »

Have you heard? Sacramento real estate is Booming!

Have you heard? Real estate in Northern California is booming!  Especially in the Sacramento housing market, which was actually among the hardest hit of any in the country during the collapse of the housing bubble.


Over the past year, the Sacramento area has actually had the largest gains of any metro region. Data suggests that sagging housing prices, are  beginning to rebound with incredible strength.

Five of the top 10 cities with the fastest national growth are located in Northern California and two more are in the Southern California.

During much of the 2000s, loose financing had led to an oversupply of housing being built in the San Francisco Bay Area’s far outlying suburbs. Since the crash, there had been very little new construction, so when demand naturally increased due to the  gradually improving economy, supply hadn’t been able to keep up and prices have jumped.

Not only did Sacramento have the biggest gain in home list prices over the course of the past year, but it also had the largest percentage of its listed houses go off the market, an inventory reduction of just over two-thirds. Nevertheless, Sacramento’s median listing price is still well below its mid-bubble 2006 peak.

Wracked by foreclosures and a flood of underwater mortgages, Housing price gains can’t come soon enough for many homeowners in the region.

Many of the other Northern California cities sitting atop the list owe their rapid price increases to a fairly different set of factors than those underlying Sacramento’s swift ascent. San Francisco, Santa Barbara and San Jose, have largely retained their value during the recession and owe the continued strength of their real estate markets to their booming economies where high-income people want to live.

While San Francisco only had the third-highest jump in housing prices over the past year, the report found that the City by the Bay had, far and away, the highest median home sale price in the country of $749,000 — about double the median price of buying a home in New York City.

Authored by Forth Hoyt | Discussion: No Comments »

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