Be Smart

Is it more difficult to get a loan today than it was a year or two ago? That's a good question. The answer depends on many things ---- but for starters make sure you are getting your advice from someone you trust. If you don't trust your lender, find another one.

In the past couple of weeks I've had three people ask me about reverse mortgages. I've always cautioned my clients to make sure they understand the costs associated with this type of loan. A reverse mortgage is available to someone 62 or older who is interested in financing their residence. The AARP has a number of articles on reverse mortgages.

There are counselors approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development who can help you.

I'll say it again. Work with someone you trust. Questions? I'll be happy to point you in the right direction.


Tax Credit Update

The home buying tax credit has been extended. It has also been updated to include a wider range of home buyers. No longer do you need to be a "first time home buyer" to take advantage of the tax credit program.

The quick version is the "First Time Homebuyer" credit has been extended until April 30, 2010. These home buyers, who have not owned a home in the past three years, must have a signed contract on a home by April 30th, 2010 and settle on the home before July 1, 2010. They may receive up to an $8,000 tax credit.

The real big change is allowing home buyers who have owned a home for 5 consecutive years (out of the last 8 years) to purchase a home and receive up to a $6,500 tax credit. The income limits have also been increased. Our Military also receives some special consideration including a longer buying window and other exceptions.

It's not to late to start your search.

Contact me for more up to date information.

Market Update

Here's a quick one. Some optimistic news, as well as some humorous/scary information at the end --- depending on how you look at it. Some highlights:

- Home sales increased in September

- Nationwide, sales are up 24% from January

- 4 Year old applies for tax credit

Find the article here.


Stay Positive

Hold your head up. Things are looking good.

I'm not conceited enough to think that my job, and Real Estate in general is the only true measure of our country's economic and psychological ups and downs. Other important measures include the state of Jon and Kate, Brad Lidges walk to strikeout ratio and the number of times the two political parties disagree every 15 minutes. But seriously, Real Estate matters.

I think most of us would agree that if consumers are consuming --- that's a good thing. Well, they are. They're buying homes. Pending home sales have risen for the past 6 straight months*. That's more than has ever been recorded. The National Association of Realtors have only kept that stat since 2001 ---- but there were some pretty busy Real Estate years in there if you remember.

Keep in mind that I live and work in an area of the country that has weathered the storm we are seeing on the news pretty good. It's one of the reasons I'm still here. Oh, that and chicken corn soup. Maybe that's what other parts of the country need. Chicken corn soup. Anyone have the number for the White House?
*Pending home sale stats are reported by The National Association of Realtors. More info here.


One Floor Living : An Investment

Housing styles in South Central PA make it easy to guess an age of a home. If it's a ranch, my bet would be on 1960's to 1970's. Bi-level or Split level? Go with the 80's. Traditional two-story? 90's to present day. The good news if you are the owner of an older ranch home your house may be in demand. Many home buyers, from young to old, are considering one-floor living. The benefits may include heating and cooling costs, access, and upkeep.

Some advice: If you have a ranch house, keep it in shape. For starters, fix that old roof. Tear up the worn out carpet and finish those wood floors. Don't forget the kitchen and bathrooms. Every home and situation is different, so ask me or your local Realtor what they suggest before jumping into a bunch of projects.

Looking for a home or to sell the one you have? I'd be happy to talk to you about it.

Homebuyer Tax Credit

Time. There's only so much of it.

Money, apparently there's enough of it to give away. Eight Thousand Dollars. Nothing to sneeze at!

It's simple logic. If someone is thinking of buying a home over the next couple of years, it may be prudent to move on that prior to December 1, 2009. Everyone has heard of the First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit, but there is some confusion on who is eligible and how the credit is applied.

Generally speaking, if someone has not owned or sold a home in the past three years --- they have a good chance of being eligible for the tax credit of up to $8,000. For more information, contact me or your Realtor directly. In the meantime, here are the nuts and bolts of it as posted on the National Home Builders Association website.


Buying Land and Building a Home

There's something American and very romantic about owning a piece of land and then building a home. It's a dream that many of us have. The opportunity to design and build your home is not a new one, but it sure is a good time to do it. I'm getting tired of saying it but interest rates are really, really low.

Purchasing raw land is different from buying a house. Everything from the mortgage, to the time-frame, to design decisions and more. It's not hard, but it is different. Having a new home built might not work for everyone - but I encourage you to consider it.

Contact me if you have questions about where to start, or even if it is feasible for your situation.

The picture above shows a small portion of 1.7 acres available in Dillsburg. It's a great site, which may be perfect for a home with a walk-out basement. I encourage W/O basements, as they tend to be quicker to resell, in my experience. Or not! That's the great thing. It's your house.