Well, I won’t lie, guild the Lily or beat around the bush. It is a confusing time in the wonderful world of real estate. Heck, it is a confusing time in the wonderful world period! Things we thought we could count on are disappearing and things we never expected to happen are happening. But, here’s the thing… with all growth there is change and changes can be very uncomfortable indeed. As anyone who ever watches the old Dick Van Dyke show sees time and time again, Laura moves the ottoman, Dick trots into the room, expecting things to be where they were when he left that morning and BAM! He goes shin first head over heals into his living room in front of all his friends and family.
It is scary out there for a lot of people. Prospective buyer’s are afraid to enter the market because they are worried that if they buy a home now the prices may continue to fall and they won’t get the best deal. Homeowner’s are worried that they may not be able to keep the homes they love because they may be facing job loss, their mortgage rates may be getting ready to reset or they may have seen their credit card payments and interest rates suddenly soar. Lender’s are worried that even if they get every tax return, bank statement, and paycheck stub a person has ever had for the last 30 years of their life, and even if that person also has a midline FICO score that is 800+ they might make a loan which won’t be paid back.
So what to do? I won’t presume to have all the answers, geez, I won’t even presume to have most of them (there are a whole lot of questions out there but I do have some of them so here goes…
If you have been thinking about buying a home but wanted to wait until prices “hit bottom”, while I can’t tell you when that will happen, I can tell you when you will know it has. You will know we have hit bottom when you can look down, see where bottom was and go “Oh… there it is”. The Real Estate market is like one of those bungee jump rides at the fair, the only thing you can be sure of is if you decide to get in and take the ride, you will know when it tops out as soon as you start to descend and you will know you have hit bottom when you are on your way back up again.
I am about to play an old saw here… prices are historically low, as are interest rates. FHA lending is a very viable resource since the loan limits are temporarily increased. Conventional, conservative, predictable fixed rate financing is in fashion again and there are homes available to buy.
I am now dropping the old saw and picking up an electric guitar (a Vintage Fender Telecaster with Tobacco Sunburst or perhaps a Jagstang in Red…). The $8,000 first time buyer’s credit available from the Federal Government is here until November 30, 2009 for any home purchase, new or resale. First time buyer’s are defined as people who have not owned or been on title to any home, anywhere for three years or more. So, if you sold your last house in January of ’06 and haven’t owned anything else between then and now… Congratulations! You are a first time buyer, again .
If you are thinking about buying a brand spankin’ new home from the builder that has never been lived in before, in addition to the $8,000 from the Feds, you may be able to get in on the $10,000 available from the State of California. But to get the $10,000 you need to get moving as there is a limited pool of money available and it is about half gone. More good news on the new home front is that the builder’s are offering incentives in most cases, which can range from giving you granite countertops and stainless steel appliances (including refrigerators) to washer’s and dryers and even paying your first year’s HOA dues.
And here’s a really awesome benefit which really deserves an article all it’s own (and which will get one but you’re here now so…) If you use a Realtor (like me which is someone who holds a valid California Real Estate license and is also a member of the National Association of Realtors and the California Association of Realtors, to represent you in your purchase, in addition to my knowledge, skill and a good firm hand to hold when things get rough (and even in the best of transactions they always do, somewhere) you get the Housing Affordability Fund Mortgage Protection Program free for the first year!
What this is is an insurance program that will pay up to $1,500 of your mortgage should you be involuntarily unemployed, accidentally disabled. There are restrictions but it really is a great program and a great comfort to those who may need it.
Another thing to remember is that while the housing market is and remains volatile, investing in a home is different than investing in, say stocks, bonds or even gold. All can fluctuate in value, all can be “good” or “bad” investments depending upon which side of the fence you are on, but one and only one can be the place where you raise your family, celebrate holidays and build memories. A home is the only investment you can live in.
So, for everyone who has ever said “Boy, I sure wish I would have been able to get into the housing market before the boom”, your wishes have been granted and your chance is here, right now.
Please contact me if you want additional information about any of the programs I have mentioned I will happily oblige.
Take care all, help lots of people and have a wonderful day!
I.V.P.G. - Inland Valley Professional Group Powered by Keller Williams in Claremont/Upland/Rancho Cucamonga, California
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