Archive for February, 2010


TAX CREDIT DEADLINE – Know the facts

February 24, 2010


To qualify for the first-time home buyer tax credit and repeat buyer credit you must have a WRITTEN AND EXECUTED CONTRACT by April 30th with the closing scheduled by July 1st. That means that short sales and foreclosed homes WILL NOT WORK – you are running out of time.

The maximum allowable credit for first-time homebuyers is $8,000 with repeat buyers getting $6,500.

The property must be your PRIMARY RESIDENCE, in other words…you main home.

Your income can not exceed $125,000 for individuals or $225,000 for joint filers. Those with higher income do NOT qualify.

Call me for more details but whatever you do, don’t wait – I’m not sure if Congress will extend this tax credit again.


Looking at REAL ESTATE and life with rose colored glasses and no excuses!

February 20, 2010

For the record, I know the real estate market has a LONG way to go to make a significant improvement but I also know that things are getting ROSIER and BRIGHTER.

I have seen more improvement in real estate since January 2010 than I saw in the last six months of 2009. There are more buyers, more realistic sellers and MORE DEALS closing.

We have a long way to go. Most importantly, banks need to facilitate closings – LOAN MONEY TO CREDIT WORTHY BORROWERS. Sellers need to keep pricing their homes with the realization that runaway pricing is long gone but they will reap a tax benefit and a personal benefit in buying another home at today’s prices. In short, you may lose on your current house but you will more than make up for it on your next home. It will be a bargain.

Foreclosures are bottoming although they do account for almost a 1/4 of the market at this time. That’s the scariest unknown for real estate agents – just how bad is it going to be when the banks finally admit how many homeowners are behind on their payments.

But any way you look at this – we are going to improve. Life will get better and I expect 2010 to be the year the market changes and improves. Looking at life through rose colored glasses? Not really – just years of experience through the cycles of real estate tell me we are turning a corner.


Its not just your Home; its your Sanctuary Coldwell Banker Residential RE – Linda Hutchinson

February 15, 2010


via Its not just your Home; its your Sanctuary Coldwell Banker Residential RE – Linda Hutchinson.


Are there bargains in today’s market? Not exactly…read on…

February 15, 2010

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Feb. 12, 2010 – Think there are all kinds of crazy deals to be had in today’s real estate market?

That’s what 31-year-old Jason Bellak thought, too – a year ago. He’s been searching that long for something in the $150,000 price range in Palm Beach County. Short sale, condo, townhouse, foreclosure – he’s looked at them all, made offers on several, but is still living with his parents in Royal Palm Beach.

Despite a perception that three-bedroom, two-bath beauties with granite countertops and good schools can be yours for a song – or at least for 20 percent down – it’s not a market reality, say frustrated homebuyers and their Realtors.

Cash investors, sluggish banks and thorny financing are limiting the options for your average homebuyer, who, by the way, is sick of hearing, “It’s a buyers’ market.”

“I was like most people, thinking there were a lot of deals out there,” Bellak said. “But it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t going to be such an easy process.”

Competition is highest now in the $150,000 to $250,000 price range, said market analyst Jack McCabe of McCabe Research and Consulting in Deerfield Beach.

The median single-family home in Palm Beach County sold for $238,000 in January – 9 percent higher than in 2009, according to the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches. Inventory in January was down to eight months, less than half of what it was in January 2009.

“Most people still think we’re in this terrible market, but the inventory tells a different story,” said Realtor Scott Smith, who has clients struggling to find homes in the Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens area even though they’re willing to spend between $350,000 and $400,000.

Bellak can’t even recall the details of all the offers he’s made on homes in the past year. He bid on a three-bedroom townhouse in foreclosure but lost. He made an offer on a short sale condo – meeting the $141,000 asking price – waited three months, but then couldn’t get financing because the homeowners association had too many delinquent accounts.

In most cases, for a buyer to get a Federal Housing Administration-backed loan for a condominium, no more than 15 percent of the units can be more than 30 days past due on association fees.

Now Bellak has his heart set on a two-bedroom Jupiter townhouse.

“I think if this one doesn’t go through, I may hold off for now,” said Bellak, who has been working with Realtor Craig Fialkowski of Herman Group Real Estate in Palm Beach Gardens.

Realtors say part of the problem is that people hear the hype about the down market and expect to find a steal in a great neighborhood.

Last year, more than 500,000 Florida homes received some type of foreclosure notice, according to the Irvine, Calif.-based company RealtyTrac.

But while foreclosures are usually priced low, they’re not always good deals. They could be tagged with liens, have missing appliances or be in general disrepair.

“It’s not like everything just became half-price overnight with no repercussions,” said Realtor Shannon Brink of Re/Max Prestige Realty in downtown West Palm Beach. “Plus, many banks still sell homes off at auction or to capital investors, so not everything even hits the open market.”

Crystal Paul and her fiancé, Antonio Hester, both 25, have been working with Brink since December to find a home for about $150,000.

They’ve looked at a dozen or more properties and have made some offers. But they’ve lost out to investors with ready cash, which is more attractive to banks.

“You find a house you think you can live in, but then you lose it,” Paul said. “The cash investors have the upper hand and here we are just trying to get started.”

When a short sale off Military Trail popped up last week for $139,900, Paul and Hester made an offer that the homeowner accepted. But he owes more than $230,000 on the house, and in the end it’s up to the bank to OK the sale.

Brink said banks will sometimes set a low asking price on a short sale to attract buyers, but with no plans to actually settle for that price.

While short sales have traditionally taken months to settle, new federal guidelines that go into effect in April require banks to respond to short sale offers within 10 days.

More good news for buyers this year is the prediction of an increase in foreclosures that could further reduce prices.

G. Stacy Sirmans, a real estate professor at Florida State University, said the market hasn’t hit bottom and won’t for at least another year.

“It’s definitely a buyers’ market,” Sirmans said.

Copyright © 2010 The Palm Beach Post, Fla., Kimberly Miller. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.


4 Reasons Why It Is a Good Time To sell your Home!

February 10, 2010

reasons to sell now
ORLANDO, Fla. – Feb. 9, 2010 – Selling a property in this tough market can seem like a challenge. Here are four factors that actually make this a good time to post a For Sale sign:

• Sell low and buy low.
Because all property values are down, the loss on the property a homeowner sells is really only a paper loss because the next property he buys also will be a bargain. If he buys smartly, when prices come back up in a few years, he’ll be in better shape.

• Down payment help is widely available. While nothing-down loans have disappeared, it’s easy to find down payment assistance for lower-income and first-time homebuyers. Programs vary all over the country, but one good way to find them is to search online for “down payment assistance programs” and the name of your region.

• Your Uncle Sam has money to share.
Besides the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit and the $6,500 move-up credit, there are an array of energy tax credits that can make home improvements pay off in cash.

Good help is available. Really talented real estate practitioners, contractors and designers are available and eager for business.

Source: McClatchy Tribune, Kate Forgach (02/07/2010)

© Copyright 2010 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD


Hey Good Lookin’ – on being model perfect

February 5, 2010


Real estate is an interesting study into what makes people “tick” and “act” on emotional and yet practical decisions. What makes buyers buy? What is the motivating factor? I have had a lot of time to think through this and last week only further cemented my thoughts on this matter.What makes buyers buy? It’s pretty simply really – good looks sell. A model perfect home is always a winner. A home the buyer thinks they can just move in and hang up their clothes. A home that reaffirms the way they “see” themselves living and they see a PERFECT home for their PERFECT lives.

I had the opportunity to show seven homes this past week to the same couple. When first approached, the clients were looking for a bargain buy and in a certain price range. I was more than happy to help them achieve their goals.

After looking at the first two stellar bargain homes – it became obvious that price was no longer important but the condition of the home now mattered. They didn’t want to remove wallpaper, paint the homes, replace carpeting, etc. They wanted a good buy for a PERFECT home. We changed our price range.

While we looked at homes that were low priced with great views and large square footage; the clients decided on a home that looked like it jumped off the pages of Architectural Digest. The home they selected was perfect in so many ways. The paint colors were charming and contemporary (and NOT ALL BROWN). The furniture was well placed for maximum flow and not too oversized for the room. The blinds were gorgeous (not cheap) and the kitchen was absolutely heavenly. Nothing about this house was really trendy or what we call seller specific – the Sellers did not go for a unique look – they went classic and timeless and it paid off. The views from this home were of another home (not your best feature) and the room sizes were smaller but the Sellers showcased this house with design and style. IT SOLD THE HOME.

There were no strong odors, proper lighting, lovely colors, and tasteful furniture that did not match perfectly but with pieces that complimented each other. The bed looked fresh and inviting and did I say the kitchen was tasteful, clean and well done with lovely colors and no countertop clutter. These Sellers knew what was stylish and it showed. The buyer actually gasped when she walked in the house.

You can overcome location, and you can overcome price and size. You can NOT overcome condition. If the house looks lovely, is tastefully decorated and inviting – you will sell your home and you will sell it fast. If you don’t know what I’m talking about – get help. It’s worth the money.