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Six Tips For First Time Home Buyer

by Ashlie DuCros

Six Tips For First Time Home Buyer

by Guest Author @ Realty BizNews

 

Buying a first home is often fraught with uncertainty and stress. The home buying process may be made easier and less stressful with a few tips from the first time buyer.

 

1. Don’t Stretch Your Budget:

 

Figure out how much you are able to comfortably afford before looking for a home. A $1000 a month rent payment does not mean that you are able to afford the same mortgage payment. Owning a home has increased costs over a home. Taxes, insurance and unforeseen maintenance costs will add up to higher expenses. Consider all of thee factors when deciding on a home budget. A mortgage calculator will help determine these costs.

2. Find A Realtor:

 

Find a reputable realtor. Real estate agents will help a prospective buyer find the perfect home. Good realtors know the local marketplace and whether the house is a good price. They will be aware of what is available and how much is a fair price for the amenities within the home. Seasoned realtors will help walk the home buyer through the negotiating process to ensure the best possible purchase price.

3. Buy A Foreclosure:

 

Foreclosure properties are available with huge savings. Buying a foreclosure often allows a buyer to purchase a home in a better neighborhood and receive more home for their money. Foreclosures will often have instant equity as soon as the purchase is completed.

4. Obtain Mortgage Pre-approval:

 

Have financing in place before stepping foot into any home. Pre-approval is different from pre-qualified. Pre-approval means that financing up to a set amount is guaranteed by the lender. Pre-approval letters from the mortgage company offer the buyer an advantage in the negotiating point of the home purchase. Potential buyers will be able to show they are serious and have funding in place. This allows them leverage over another potential buyer who does not have mortgage pre-approval.

5. Have A Home Inspection:

 

Home inspection is a vital part of purchasing a property. A good inspector will look for a variety of issues to help determine if there are any problems within the home. Issues found by an inspector will allow the buyer the ability to renegotiate price. Buyers may walk away from the house if severe issues are discovered and they do not feel capable of dealing with the problems.

6. Remember Closing Costs:

 

First time home buyers need to remember closing costs. These fees typically range from two to four percent of the total loan amount. Closing costs depend on how many fees the lender is charging for the loan. Some realtors may be able to help a buyer negotiate closing costs with the seller paying some or all of these fees. Use a closing cost calculator to help determine your closing costs.


For more information or questions, please contact me at 714-743-9778 or log on to www.AshlieDucros.com

Mortgage Rates Fall to Record Lows

by Ashlie DuCros

What a great time to buy! Check out this low rate you can lock in now!

 

Mortgage Rates Fall to Record Lows

By Les Christie @CNNMoney December 15, 2011

 

 

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Mortgage rates sunk to record lows again this week.

The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.94%, matching the all-time low hit in early October, according to Freddie Mac's weekly mortgage rate survey. Meanwhile, 15-year fixed-rate loans hit a new record low of 3.21%, surpassing the record set on October 6.

Five-year adjustable rate mortgages also plumbed new depths, hitting 2.86% for the week.

"We've been hanging around record lows for a few months now and we finally hit another one," said Keith Gumbinger of HSH Associates, a provider of mortgage data.

Low-interest mortgages will be available at least through mid-2012, according to Freddie Mac's chief economist, Frank Nothaft.

Where homes are affordable

The low rates can translate into big savings for home buyers. Five years ago, a home buyer would have been lucky to land a 5% rate on a 15-year loan. On a $200,000 mortgage, that would have meant the borrower would have paid $1,582 a month. Should a borrower land a 3.2% rate on a $200,000 loan now, the monthly mortgage payment would come to $1,400 -- a savings of $182 a month.

Mortgage rates tend to closely track Treasury bond yields, which have also been very low lately. For the past three months, 10-year Treasury notes have often fallen below the 2% mark as bond investors steer clear of Europe and its debt woes and buy U.S. Treasuries instead.

Parents helping kids buy homes

"There's been a flight to quality out of Eurobonds and into Treasuries," said Gumbinger. On Thursday, the 10-year Treasury stood at 1.92%.

The rock-bottom interest rates, combined with the lowest housing prices in years, have made home buying extremely affordable right now. Although most borrowers are looking to refinance existing loans rather than buy.

10 cheap homes for sale by Uncle Sam

Last week, mortgage applications climbed 4.1%, driven by a surge of home buyers trying to refinance to record-low rates. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association's latest Market Composite Index, close to 80% of loan applications were to refinance existing loans.   

 

For more information or questions, please contact me at 714-743-9778 or log on to www. AshlieDucros.com

Residential Housing Ready to Awaken?

by Ashlie DuCros


CNBC – Fri, Dec 9, 2011

After half a decade of withering sales and slumping prices, there are strong and diverse signs that the single-family housing market is poised for a rebound.

In some metropolitan areas, the market has bottomed, with both sales and prices on the rise and foreclosures on the decline.

This contrarian - and largely overlooked - thesis flies in the face of the persistent gloom that has nagged the industry since 2007, when the subprime crisis flared.

Industry analysts and players cite a number of reasons - some traditional (employment), others unique to the post-credit bubble era (foreclosures)  - for the long-awaited sea change. An analysis of industry and government data also support the forecast.

"It has become increasingly apparent to us that the pieces for a housing rebound next year are beginning to fall into place," declared Barclays Capital analyst Stephen Kim in a recent note to investors.

Proponents admit that the nascent rebound could easily be derailed, but stress that after years of government efforts to support sales and prices as well as the volatile impact of foreclosures, the market has regained a measure of normalcy.

"With the exception of really hard-hit markets, the vast majority is ready to turn around," adds Jerry Howard, president and CEO of the National Association of Home Builders, NAHB. "The Washington, D.C., area is not only ripe for recovery, they need to start building units."

The iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction Index Fund (NYSE Arca: itb), for example, is up some 38 percent, while the S&P 500 is up about 21 percent.

Nevertheless, skeptics overwhelmingly outnumber the optimists, given the false-starts of previous years, the economy's sub-par performance, a new wave of distressed properties and the capacity for the European debt crisis to spook business, consumers and investors.

"I think it's premature," says Richard Smith, CEO of Realogy, the nation's largest real estate company, whose brands include Century 21, Coldwell Banker and Sotheby's International. "We see little indications here and there. Transaction volume is improving. Prices are still under pressure. This isn't going to be one of those spiked robust recoveries."

Smith is echoing the conventional industry calculus: that price increases follow sales growth amid consistently strengthening demand.

There's been little conventional, however, about this housing slump, which is one reason it's had so many false bottoms. Among its many firsts - housing starts fell through 1 million annual units, foreclosures topped 2 million in three consecutive years, and home prices declined on a national basis.

The catalysts to recovery are mostly the same: for potential buyers, residential rents have now risen enough to consider buying; existing-home inventory is the lowest in five years, while that of new homes is at a 40-year low; affordability is at a record high; delinquencies have peaked;consumer confidence is on the rise ; and job growth is accelerating.

For investors, with a continuation of the gold rally in question, real estate is beginning to look like a viable inflation hedge alternative, while rising rents mean greater profits.

That thinking may help explain why the iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction Index Fund(NYSE Arca: itb), a broad barometer for the housing market, is up some 38 percent from the stock market's October bottom, while the S&P 500 is up about 21 percent.

Finally, there's the intangible fatigue with bad news, and a desire to end the negative feedback loop.

"We believe there is sizable housing demand that could be released into the market," says Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, NAR.

The NAR is forecasting existing home sales will rise 5 percent in both 2012 and 2013; prices will edge up 2 percent in each of those two years, then 4 percent in 2014.

The NAHB is forecasting a 5.1-percent increase in new home sales and a 10-percent increase for new home starts in 2012.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

A turnaround in the housing market will require continued improvement in the job market.

The economy has created jobs 13 months in a row for a total of almost 1.9 million. Weekly jobless claims have been routinely below the key level of 400,000, and the national jobless rate is down to 8.6 percent.

There are already signs in some markets that an improving employment picture is boosting housing demand and sale prices.

In cities such as Tampa, Fla., South Bend, Ind., Grand Rapids, Mich., Raleigh, N.C., Wichita, Kan., and Green Bay, Wis.., the median sales price of an existing single family home increased 1-2 percent in the third quarter, during which time the jobless rate and/or payrolls growth improved dramatically.

Even in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla. metropolitan area - considered the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis a few years ago - prices were just 1.4 percent lower in the third quarter than the previous year.

A new index by the NAHB and First American, the Improving Markets Index, IMI, launched in September, tracks housing markets throughout the country that are showing signs of improving economic health. Thirty cities - including San Jose, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Winston-Salem, N.C. - are showing growth in permits, sales and employment.

In San Diego - where in the last year the jobless rate has fallen from 10.4 percent to 9.7 percent and 24,000 jobs have been added - home inventory is down to two months; in some areas of San Francisco (9.4 vs. 10.3 percent), it is one month.

More broadly, 40 percent of all states showed existing home sale increases on both a quarterly and annual basis in the third quarter, according to National Association of Realtors data. That includes high foreclosure-rate states, such as California, Georgia, Michigan and Utah. All but six states showed double-digit gains year over year.

Location, Location, Location

There's even a strong case to be made that the foreclosure crisis is easing.

"The pipeline of distressed property is plentiful but less than last year," when foreclosure activity hit a record 2.18 million, says Yun.

For the first nine months of 2011, foreclosure activity is down sharply from the same period last year (26.59 percent), whether it is the worst-off states - (Florida, 54.98 percent; California, 31.51 percent; Utah, 27.41 percent) - or better-off ones (New York, 46.57 percent; Mississippi, 33.25 percent; South Dakota, 26.59 percent), according to RealtyTrac, which tracks the data.

Third-quarter foreclosures (610,337) were up 1 percent from the previous quarter but down 34 percent from the year-ago period.

The wild card right now is an impending wave of new foreclosed properties on the market, following the removal of state moratoria and the settlement of state and federal lawsuits with lenders and loan servicers.

It's unclear how many properties will hit the market, but conservative estimates put the number at over a million.

Still, of the top 20 markets in the new wave, nine are in California, five in Florida and two in Ohio, according RealtyTrac, so the impact will be fairly concentated.

Another question is whether that wave will be a tsunami or merely a breaker. If the market is in fact recovering, why would banks want to weaken it again by deluging it with cheap properties.

"You could see them trying to gauge the market like speculators," answers Howard.

Kim of Barclays is among those who say the threat is exaggerated, perhaps misunderstood. He estimates that 40 percent of the foreclosed properties haven't had a payment made on them in two years, which means they are in poor condition and thus unattractive to many buyers.

"The deterioration has been great," he says. "It flies in the face of all the bearish arguments."

Kim's thesis is that there are now two kinds of buyers in the market; those who'll take a chance on a bargain-priced, distressed property and those who'll only make a conventional transaction. He says it helps explain why the Core Logic data he used for his latest report shows non-distressed prices flat or slightly higher in the past year.

"Even if the banks decide to move their inventory more aggressively, and I suspect they will, it's OK because the buyer is making a distinction," explains Kim.

"There's a ready appetite for it," adds Smith of Realogy, who agrees that there's substantial pent-up demand for housing in general but also great uncertainty. "If you can relieve consumers of some of that uncertainty, then I can see a nice little recovery."

That's the psychological dimension of the wild card - the negative feedback loop that has plagued housing.

Optimists say most of the uncertainty and fear is gone.

"The major driver of negative sentiment was that prices were going down across the market by large amounts," says Kim of Barclays. "Buyers need to see a stabilization."

A contributing element to that is the unwinding of government intervention - whether to artificially spur demand - as was the case with the first-time buyer tax incentive program of 2009 and 2010 - and/or to retard and prevent foreclosures.

Many regard those efforts as largely ineffective, if not counter-productive because they delayed the inevitable - a deep descent to a market bottom, which has finally been touched.

"The numbers you're looking at you can trust," says Kim. "There are no exogenous factors."

Though tight lending conditions and forthcoming regulations of the Dodd-Frank legislation are still an issue for some, sweeping housing finance reform is off the agenda for at least the next year.

"You're back to the natural forces of the market," says Howard of the builders association.

 

For more information or questions, please contact me at 714-743-9778 or log on to www.AshlieDucros.com

December 2011- Orange County Stats

by Ashlie DuCros

December 2011- Orange County Stats

December  2011 Orange County Stats: # Of Homes For Sale vs. Homes In Escrow

City:

For Sale:

 In Escrow:

Yorba Linda

261

158

Brea

91

54

Fullerton

355

200

Anaheim Hills

152

100

Newport Coast

117

32

Orange

382

228

Irvine

677

360

Laguna Beach

North Tustin

Anaheim

268

75

519

61

19

439

 

For questions please contact me at 714-743-9778 or log on to www.AshlieDucros.com 

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Ashlie DuCros & Associates
Coldwell Banker Previews Global Luxury
21580 Yorba Linda Blvd.
Yorba Linda CA 92887
714-743-9778
Fax: 714-849-5489