Friday, April 18, 2014

Open House Next Weekend!

Come Join us This Saturday 4/12/14, 1-4pm 
105 Wyoming Ave, Portsmouth, VA 23701 
For more info call 757-535-4884

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Your Dream Kitchen For $5000!

Got a bottomless budget for your dream kitchen?  You could pay for the sleekest pro-style appliances, the most luxurious stone countertop, and the trendiest hardwood flooring and still end up paying again to fix things that break down, crack, or dent. Or you could use our advice to make every dollar count by sidestepping high-priced pitfalls in the first place.
 



 

Monday, April 14, 2014

HOUSING UPDATE: RELIEF FOR UNDERWATER SELLERS EXTENDED?

Important housing update: The Senate Finance Committee has passed a two year extension of tax relief for home owners who have had mortgage debt forgiven by a lender as part of a short sale, loan modification or foreclosure. This bill would be retroactive to January 1st, 2014, when the law expired.

The tax relief provision expired at the end of last year, and unless both the United States Senate and House of Representatives approve the extension, homeowners may have to pay tax on the forgiven debt.

“Even though the housing update for the real estate market has recovered from the housing crash, many homeowners still remain under water.  Home Owners and those advising them need to know that this tax on forgiven debt does not just apply to short sales and loan modifications.  It also applies to foreclosures, so ignoring the problem and just letting your home foreclose will not protect you from being liable for the tax. Home Owners need to pay attention and consult with a tax preparer on the IRS tax consequences of forgiven debt”. Says David Blank, CPA Founder of Homehelpusa.org.
NAR President Steve Brown says. “We applaud the Senate Finance Committee for approving a bipartisan compromise bill today This is, at its core, an issue that’s all about fairness. It is unfair to ask homeowners who are underwater on their mortgage and who make the prudent decision to do a short sale instead of allowing their mortgage to go into foreclosure to pay tax on the forgiven amount of the loan.”

The mortgage forgiveness tax relief act provided in the past has been one of Congress’ bipartisan success stories, and there’s a good chance an extension will pass Congress this year, too, analysts say.
Some 350,000 households could be affected by the tax if relief isn’t extended, because that’s the number of households who sold their house last year as a short sale. “And we expect a large number of short sales [an estimated 300,000 to 350,000] this year,” says Brown.
To read up on the tax law go to http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/The-Mortgage-Forgiveness-Debt-Relief-Act-and-Debt-Cancellation.


 

Friday, April 11, 2014

OPEN HOUSE!


Come Join us This Saturday 4/12/14, 1-4pm 

5906 MCGINNIS CIRCLE, NORFOLK, VA 23502

For more info call 757-535-4884

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Positive Signs Crop Up Heading into Spring Homebuying Season

Recent month-to-month volatility in the housing market has softened the ongoing recovery. However, the majority of the Fannie Mae National Housing Survey indicators on consumer attitudes have continued to move in a positive direction during the past year, which may portend a pick-up in homebuying and selling activity this spring. According to Fannie Mae's March 2014 National Housing Survey results, the share of survey respondents who say it is a good time to sell a home climbed to 38 percent last month, compared to 26 percent at the same time last year. In addition, the share who believe it would be easy to get a mortgage today increased to 52 percent, compared to 47 a year ago, and tying the all-time survey high. Americans' attitudes regarding their personal finances have also improved those who expect their financial situation to worsen during the next 12 months decreased to 12 percent, a significant drop from 21 percent at the same time last year, and the share who say their personal financial situation improved during the past year reached an all-time survey high of 40 percent.

"The housing recovery continues to proceed in fits and starts. Rising mortgage rates and a lack of supply have dampened housing market momentum," says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. "However, we see several positive signs going into this year's spring homebuying season, compared with last year. For example, consumers are less pessimistic about their personal finances, and more optimistic about the current selling environment and their ability to get a mortgage. Still, those who are pessimistic about buying or selling a home today tend to point to economic conditions as the primary issue, and most consumers continue to say the economy is on the wrong track. Looking forward, we expect to see a pick-up in economic growth later in the year, and this may boost the confidence of prospective buyers and sellers."

Homeownership and Renting

The average 12-month home price change expectation decreased from last month, to 2.7 percent.

The share of respondents who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months decreased slightly to 48 percent, while the share who say home prices will go down decreased to 5 percent, an all-time survey low.

The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up in the next 12 months decreased to 54 percent, and those who say they will go down fell to 3 percent, tying the all-time survey low.

Those who say it is a good time to buy a house increased slightly from last month to 69 percent and those who say it is a good time to sell a house increased 4 percentage points from last month to 38 percent.

The average 12-month rental price change expectation decreased slightly from last month to 4.2 percent.

Fifty-two percent of those surveyed say home rental prices will go up in the next 12 months, a slight increase from last month.

Fifty-two percent of respondents thought it would be easy for them to get a home mortgage today, tying the all-time survey high first reached in January.

The share who say they would buy if they were going to move increased 2 percentage points to 68 percent.

The Economy and Household Finances

The share of respondents who say the economy is on the right track continued on a downward trend decreasing 2 percentage points from last month to 33 percent.

The percentage of respondents who expect their personal financial situation to stay the same over the next 12 months increased 4 percentage points to 45 percent, tying a survey all-time high.

The share of respondents who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago decreased 3 percentage points, to 21 percent.

The share of respondents who say their household expenses are significantly lower than they were 12 months ago fell one percentage point to 8 percent, tying the all-time survey low.

For more information, visit http://www.fanniemae.com/progress.


 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Get Off the Fence Before Higher Rates Are Here!

We are entering the spring time and rates tend to rise of their own accord without the nudging of the fed.  Add a little fed talk and we will see volatility with an upward bias.    It is going to become a frothy seller’s market and some CNBC rocket scientist is going to say that is a sure sign of a strong economy and inflation is on the horizon (just cannot see it right now).  Perfect formula for volatility. Business Digest 4/4/14



 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

5 Myths and 5 Truths About Selling Your Home

Seems everyone has advice to offer about the real estate market. Unfortunately, not all that unsolicited information is true.

Misinformation can waste your time and cost you money. When it comes time to list your home, you’ll need to do your research so you can separate fact from fiction. Real estate agents participating in Zillow’s 2014 Home-Selling Season Survey identified five top real estate myths; the debunking of them should put you on the fast-track to selling your property:

Myth No. 1: I need to redo my kitchen and bathroom before selling.


Truth:
While kitchens and bathrooms can increase the value of a home, you won’t get a large return on investment if you do a major renovation just before selling.
Minor renovations, on the other hand, may help you sell your home for a higher price. New countertops or new appliances may be just the kind of bait you need to reel in a buyer. Check out comparable listings in your neighborhood and see what work you need to do to compete in the market.


Myth No. 2: The outside of my home isn’t as important as the inside.

Truth: Home buyers often make snap judgments, often based simply on a home’s exterior. Therefore, curb appeal is very important.
“A lot of buyers I work with have done some preliminary online searches or they’ve driven by properties before they even enlist my services,” says Bic DeCaro, a real estate agent Westgate Realty Group in Falls Church, VA. “If a property looks bad, if the yard is cluttered or the driveway is all broken up, there’s a chance they won’t ever enter the house – they’ll just keep driving.”

Curb Appeal -The great news is that it doesn’t cost a bundle to make some big changes to your home’s exterior appearance. Start by cutting the grass, trimming the hedges and clearing away any clutter. Then, for less than $50, you could put up new house numbers, paint the front door, plant some flowers or install a new, more stylish porch light. 


Myth No. 3: If my house is clean, I don’t need to stage my home.


Truth:
Clean and tidy is a good first step, but as more and more home sellers across the country have enlisted the services of professional home stagers, the bar has risen. It’s not enough anymore to toss dirty laundry in the closet and sweep the front steps.

Stagers strive to make homes appeal to a broad range of tastes. They can skillfully identify ways to highlight your home’s best features and compensate for its shortcomings. A stager might, for example, recommend removing blinds from a window that has a great view or replacing a double bed with a twin to make a bedroom look bigger. It’s common for stagers to de-clutter and depersonalize homes by putting furniture and family photos into storage. Or, if you’ve already moved out, a stager can move in furniture to give potential buyers a sense of how rooms might be used.

You don’t have to hire a professional stager
. But if you don’t, you better be ready to use some of their tactics to get your home ready for sale. If staging is a trend where you live, an unstaged house will pale when compared to others on the market. And if staging is not yet something buyers in your area are used to seeing, your results will be even more impressive.


Myth No. 4: Granite and stainless steel appliances are no longer “in.”

Truth: The majority of home shoppers still want granite counters and stainless steel appliances. Quartz, marble and concrete counters also have wide appeal.Granite countertops are still highly desirable. “Most shoppers just want to steer away from anything that looks dated,” says Dru Bloomfield, a real estate agent with the Realty ONE Group in Scottsdale, AZ. “When you a design a space, you need to decide: ‘Am I doing this for myself or for resale?’
If you’re not planning to move anytime soon, you can decorate any way you like. If it’s likely your house will be going on the market within the next couple years, stick to elements that have mass appeal: neutral paint and tile colors, matching appliances or top-of-the line appliances.

“I recently sold a house where the kitchen had been remodeled 12 years ago and everybody thought it had just been done because the owners had chosen timeless elements: dark maple cabinets, granite counters and stainless appliances.”


Myth No. 5: Home shoppers can look past paint colors they don’t like.


Truth:
Moving is a lot of work and, while many home buyers realize they could take on the task of painting walls, they simply don’t want to.

That’s why one of the most important things you can do to update your home is to apply a fresh coat of neutral paint. Neutral colors also help a property standout in online photographs – which is where most potential buyers will get their first impression of your property.

Hiring a professional to paint the interior of a 2,000 square-foot house likely will cost $3,000 to $6,000, depending upon labor costs in your region. You could buy the paint and do the job yourself for $300 to $500. Either way, if a fresh coat of paint helps your home stand out in a crowded market, it’s probably a worthwhile investment.