Articles Posted in Residential Home Purchases

Selling your home can be a very stressful and time-consuming process, but in the end it will all be worth it. Here are some tips to help alleviate some of the stress you may be under while selling your home.

First, it is important to choose the right realtor. It helps to have someone who is knowledgeable about the market and will represent your interests the best. You also want to find someone who will be honest and upfront with you about everything. The market is not always “the perfect time for selling” and you need someone who will be realistic.

Next, it is important to know what to expect throughout the transaction. Have a discussion with your broker about your expectations regarding showings, open houses and marketing techniques. After the broker, it is extremely important to choose a local, experienced real estate attorney. Having a good attorney will save time, money and alleviate stress.

Buying a house is a major commitment, and you want to ensure that you have covered all of the bases before signing on the dotted line. There are many common mistakes that buyers have made in the past, so here are a few tips to save you from those troubles.

1. Borrowing Mistakes: Be careful to completely calculate your total monthly costs. Loan officers often quote the cost of principal and interest, but do not include the tax and insurance since those numbers vary, but this could leave you with an additional $500 or more a month that you did not account for. Also, shop around. Consult two or more lenders to make sure that you are getting a competitive loan.

2. Hiring a Real Estate Agent: Make sure you hire the right kind of agent that will be able to provide sufficient support and service throughout your entire buying process. It is also important that the agent has your interests in mind and works with you as a partner, instead of projecting their views onto you. Again, be sure to shop around. Look for experience, good reputation, and knowledge of the local area.

Mortgages interest rates are the lowest they have been since the 1960s, so now is the time to buy. To get the lowest possible price for a home, follow Leitman Bailey’s 5 tips:

1. Perform a Credit Check on Yourself: Before you start shopping for a home, you should check your credit report and try to reconcile any mistakes. You should challenge any negative remarks in your credit report, because federal law states that if the company that place the negative remark on your credit report does not respond within thirty days then the remark must be removed.

2. Know Your Maximum Budget: Do not home shop without it! Your budget should include the total purchase price of the house, moving costs as well as total expenses. You must also remember real estate and local taxes and the policies that could affect changes in the taxes. Once you have calculated your budget, you may begin shopping for a loan, so feel free to contact lenders and also learn about different way in which you can finance your home.

For the thirteenth straight month, the number of single-family homes and condominiums placed undersales agreement rose in Massachusetts. The rise in sales agreements indicates rising sales activity in the overall real estate market.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR) stated that pending sales are a principal indicator of actual housing sales for the subsequent two to three months. MAR President, Trisha McCarthy, stated, “May was the first month that more than 5,000 homes were put under agreement since we started tracking pending sales data in January 2009. This is excellent news for the market going forward as closed sales should also continue to go up. Buyer confidence will remain the determining factor in how the market performs in the second half of the year.”

In relation to last year, the number of single-family homes put under agreement in the month of May rose 32 percent (3, 986 homes in 2011 to 5,267 in 2012). This is the first time that pending sales have reached the 5,000 milestone since the Association started tracking pending sales in 2009. May also saw a ten percent increase from April, which had 4,784 single-family homes under agreement.

In a recent Massachusetts case, Witkowski v. Endlar Ins. Agency & First American Title Ins. Co., the judge reversed a previous summary judgment decision for Endlar regarding a certificate of insurance for the plaintiff’s condominium unit.

Plaintiff, Witkowski, purchased a basement unit of a residential condominium in Andover, MA. The condominium is located in a floodplain area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as an area of special flood hazard. Federal law, 42 U.S.C. § 4012a(b)(1) (2006), states that any lending officer or agency shall not approve any financial assistance for acquisition or construction purposes in any area that has been deemed as having special flood hazards, unless the building is covered by flood insurance.

Witkowski discovered that the building was located in a special flood hazard area and that in order to obtain a mortgage he would need to provide proof of flood insurance for the unit as a condition of closing. Endlar provided a certificate including the plaintiff’s name and unit number, as well as the two flood insurance policies in the amounts of $2.5 million and $9.8 million, with a signature confirming the information.

The average interest rate on mortgages in the United States has hit a new record low. According to mortgage purchaser Freddie Mac, the interest rate on 30-year home loans is now 3.84 percent. The rate on 15-year fixed-rate home loans is only 3.07 percent. The interest rates are the lowest on record since long-term mortgage loans began being sold in the 1950′s.

Additional fees, or points, are also normally required by lenders in order to receive the lowest interest rates. One point is one percent of the amount borrowed. On average, lenders are currently charging about 0.8 points for a fixed-rate 30-year loan and .07 points for a fixed-rate 15-year loan. The interest rate for one-year adjustable rate mortgages is currently down to 2.7 percent with a fee of 0.6 points.

Since December 2011, fixed mortgage interest rates were under four percent every week except one. The historically low rates are likely to drive up home sales and also encourage current homeowners to refinance. Although Boston has experienced increasing sales in the residential real estate market, this is not necessarily the case in many cities as home prices continue to fall in some markets. In fact, homeownership across the nation recently reached a 15-year low. Currently, only 65.4 percent of U.S. households own the home they reside in. The nationwide housing market still appears to be looking up, however, as homeowner and rental vacancies dropped during the first three months of 2012. During the first quarter of this year, foreclosure filings were also at their lowest rate since 2007.

A recently released federal report says distressed homeowners in the United States were more likely to stay in their residences after their mortgages were modified. In fact, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency found nearly three-fourths of homeowners who received a loan modification in 2011 are currently in good standing on their new mortgage. In 2009, only 37 percent of distressed borrowers held onto their homes after a loan adjustment. According to the study, lenders were increasingly willing to reduce the monthly payments for borrowers who were behind on their loans in 2011. This reportedly played a significant role in the higher success rate for mortgage modifications made last year.

The Attorney General of Massachusetts, Martha Coakley, believes the study demonstrates why the Commonwealth of Massachusetts should impose a loan modification requirement on mortgage lenders who attempt to foreclose on residences in the state. Coakley believes loan modifications are good for both borrowers and lenders. She has sponsored Massachusetts legislation that would require mortgage lenders to offer alternatives to homeowners if it would be more profitable for the lender than foreclosing. The requirement would also extend to borrowers with risky subprime loans.

House Bill 1219 is now pending in the Joint Committee on Financial Services. Coakley stated the proposed legislation would halt unnecessary foreclosures in the state and provide a boost to the nation’s faltering economy. According to the Massachusetts Bankers Association, lender requirements included in the bill are too broad. The organization’s Executive Vice President, Kevin Kiley, stated the Bankers Association has strong objections to the bill as it is written. The proposed legislation would purportedly financially punish lenders if they did not achieve a positive outcome.

Despite regular news reports of a depressed housing market and underwater mortgages, most homeowners in the United States are happy with their purchase. According to a recent survey conducted by HomeGain, about three out of four homeowners in the country are happy to be an owner. The Northeast, including Massachusetts, enjoys the highest level of homeowner happiness in the nation at 77 percent. Meanwhile, in the sunny Southwest, only about 73 percent of homeowners are satisfied with their purchase.

According to some homeowners, their levels of satisfaction felt have less to do with the price of their homes than with the control they have over upgrades and other housing-related matters. Additionally, pride of ownership also purportedly factors into the level of joy felt by most owners. About 66 percent of unhappy homeowners were dissatisfied largely due to the low prices associated with the country’s current real estate market.

According to the survey, money does play a factor in homeowner satisfaction. Those who spent more than $800,000 are the least satisfied homeowners in the nation. Meanwhile, individuals whose home cost less than $75,000 enjoy the highest level of ownership satisfaction. Also, those homeowners who that felt they purchased a bargain via a foreclosure or short sale appeared to be more satisfied than those who closed on their property during the height of the housing bubble.

Contact Information