tips, news, and information about or pertaining to first-time homebuyers

Today is the deadline for participating banks and mortgage servicing companies to implement the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program, otherwise known as HAFA. Starting today, the HAFA program may make a short sale (or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure) a much more viable option than ever before for homeowners who are "upside-down" on their homes. Will HAFA merely shine a ray of hope on the glut of short sale inventory or will it be a panacea for most short sales?

A short sale is a transaction in which the lender (or lenders) agree to accept less than the mortgage amount owed by the homeowner, thus potentially enabling a homeowner to avoid foreclosure. The HAFA Program, which takes effect today, April 5 2010, and sunsets on December 31st 2012,…

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For those who have been considering buying a house, the month of April is shaping up to be the best time to do it. In fact, those who purchase a home in April are poised to save thousands or possibly tens of thousands of dollars when compared to those who wait until May. Therefore, for anyone who has been thinking about purchasing a home, April is the month to make it happen.
There are many reasons to seriously consider purchasing a home in April, but perhaps the biggest is the Home Buyer Credit. For those who qualify, the program can provide up to $8,000 worth of tax credits. Although the program has been extended through the month of June, homebuyers need to sign a purchase contract by the end of April in order to receive the credit. Since most buyers…

2383 Views, 2 Comments

As of January 21, 2010, the FHA is changing their upfront funding fee from 1.75% to 2.25%. This is the fee the borrower can finance directly into their loan without making any changes to the purchase price. It doesn't affect the amount of cash required to close a loan and it won't change borrowers' mortgage payments very much but the change is getting a lot of attention nonetheless. Here's what's really going on:

The FHA is essentially going back to what it used to charge consumers years ago before it lowered its fee from 2.25% to 1.5%, and then increased it to the current 1.75%.

 So while this is definitely an increase, it's not really that big of a deal. Also, it won't impact very many borrowers because few lenders are doing loans with credit scores…

2308 Views, 5 Comments

An unpleasant scenario is starting to emerge regarding the mortgage rate picture for 2010. All my lender friends are telling me that the Fed is going to be winding down their purchase of mortgage-backed securities and will be all finished with the buying by the end of March 2010. Ouch. The experts don't see the Fed extending their buying spree so, although we aren't exactly sure what that's going to mean for mortgage rates, logic would seem to dictate that when you suddenly get dramatically decreased demand prices will have to drop in order for supply and demand to get back into equilibrium. As you may know, when it comes to mortgage-backed securities rates and prices move in opposite directions. So when demand for mortgage-backed securities diminishes and…

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On November 6, 2009, President Obama signed a bill to extend the tax credit for first-time homebuyers (FTHBs) through June 30, 2010. The bill also opens up opportunities for others who are not buying a home for the first time. In response to the many questions I've been getting, I've put together the tax credit overview below so you can bring the new tax credit into focus and learn what may mean to you.

Who Gets What?

First-Time Homebuyers (FTHBs): First-time homebuyers (that is, people who have not owned a homewithin the last three years) may be eligible for the tax credit. The credit forFTHBs is 10% of the purchase price of the home, with a maximum available creditof $8,000.

Single taxpayers and married couples filing a joint return may…

3991 Views, 1 Comments

Happy Halloween from Lake & City Homes Realty! Check out this amazing pumpkin carving website and choose your favorite from the pumpkin carving gallery. Then comment on anything you see in my blog (including this post) and you'll be eligible to win a $10 sign-up promo code from (no affiliation). The drawing will take place at Lake & City Homes Realty on Friday, November 6th, 2009.

When I realized that the creator of these amazing pumpkin carvings, Scott Cummins, only spends 1-2 hours on each carving, I was inspired to figure out how I too might start working smarter, not harder! So, whether you're buying or selling, here's some tips (as opposed to dirty tricks!) for working smarter in today's real estate market to get the kind of results you…

2459 Views, 3 Comments

The countdown to the November 30th deadline for the first-time homebuyer's tax credit is underway and the debate rages on as to whether the $8K tax credit should be extended and even expanded. In a recent poll of 1000 real estate agents conducted by Weichert, 97% favored extending the tax credit (the majority want to extend it until 12/31/10). Below we share other illuminating statistics from the Weichert study and two other recent polls about the first-time homebuyer's tax credit:

  1. proof positive of the degree of success the tax credit has had thus far

  2. the positive impact on sales that extending the credit is projected to have

  3. the perceived negative effect on the housing market that not extending the credit is likely to have

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We've all been there. Whether it's sharing an apartment with a total slob, enduring your upstairs neighbor's cowboy boots (don't you just love hardwood floors?), or the sheer awkwardness of still living at Mom & Dad's, there comes a time in life when you really, truly need your own space. So to encourage all you first-time homebuyers out there to get cracking on that $8K tax credit before it expires November 30th, here's a comedic take on that annoying roommate of your's.




To get started on the path to home ownership and take advantage of the first-time homebuyer's $8K tax credit by November 30th, please call Lake & City Homes broker/owner Jolenta Averill at 608.230.5553 today. It's late in the game but if you act fast, you can still get in …

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As both a Realtor and consumer, it would be hard not to notice what an overwhelming success the first-time homebuyer's $8K tax credit has been both nationally and on the Madison real estate market. Both homebuyer interest and housing sales shot through the roof before the ink was even dry on the legislation. Although lower prices and historically low interest rates have certainly been a huge draw, it's clear the $8K tax credit is primarily responsible for consumers' renewed interest in homeownership in the midst of the massive mortgage meltdown and ensuing housing crisis.

But progress may come to a screeching halt unless Congress extends the credit through 2010. Without an extension of the legislation, many people will miss out. Those who couldn't…

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ABC News Good Morning America recently named Madison, WI one of the top 10 places in the country to buy a home. The following statistical data was provided as positives for the Madison WI housing market:

  • Median Home Value: $207,600, down 4% from a year ago.
  • Property values are flat compared with five years ago.
  • Houses cost an average of $113 per square foot.
  • Buyers are paying 3% less than listing price.

As always, such statistics have to be taken with a grain of salt as they are based on a very broad area (in recent years Madison has been expanding in several directions at a rapid clip). It is also important to note that Madison, WI is comprised of a wide diversity of different neighborhoods, North, South, East, West, and downtown,…

1947 Views, 4 Comments