Advice For Potential First-Time Home Buyers

By admin on June 16, 2011

There has been much improvement in home sales this past quarter. According to the National Association of Realtors almost every state in the country has seen positive movement towards recovery. This has been mainly among single-family homes and condos sales, which have seen a rise of 8.3 percent overall. Many investors and economists have attributed the improvement in sales to the added pressure that’s being placed on home prices. This pressure to increase sales but has concurrently driven down home sale prices. It’s believed that this development has encouraged many who were previously waiting to buy, to act promptly.

The real estate market drop has certainly taken the casual approach out of the home buying process. Many first-time homebuyers have faced tighter restrictions on home loans but it’s also allowed for increased stability in sales. It’s been even more important for homebuyers to clearly define the parameters of their housing hunt. Realtor associations and Internet searches are still making the hunt user friendly. With more effective lending approaches, homebuyers must become well informed as to how much house they can actually afford. It’s very important for any homebuyer to get preapproved for a home loan so they are fully aware of their limitations.

On average, buyers will see several options before making any decisions. It’s best for these buyers to work closely with an agent so they can put you in touch with options that specifically fall within the buyers’ parameters. A good agent will only showcase the options that can be afforded. Buyers should never feel pressured to come up with extra cash towards an offer that they’re already stretched on. It’s essential to separate wants versus needs when purchasing a home. This will prove a much stronger and solid foundation in the end.

Sales among first time homebuyers hasn’t been the only reason the market has seen such movement. An FHA Streamline Refinance process has allowed existing homeowners to manage their monthly mortgage payments to greater effect. There’s been much market action to get people interested in buying homes. Competitive interest rates and fiscally responsible industry has drafted the framework for a more stable economy. The growth may not be as quick as economists had hoped for but it’s definitely a stronger one.

Either way, this is hopeful news that, as sales increase, so will confidence in the market. It’s just important for any home buyer to consider all of their options, as well as their limitations before buying a home. This is the best financial advice that far too many people didn’t adhere to in recent years. As long as we’re approaching our home purchases with greater responsibility, Perhaps then our country can finally leave bad economic times to the pages of history.

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The Feds Want Green Farms

By admin on May 31, 2011

The right combination and utilization of increasing ranch and farm real estate opportunities, government green grants, and FSA farm ownership loans can make the road to running your own environmentally friendly agricultural enterprise smoother than you think. It demands only a taste for adventure and a will to work hard on finding and filling out the right paper work. That’s on top of a previously decided desire to commit to the arduous task of managing your own farm or ranch of course.

Traditional farming and livestock raising techniques are notoriously devastating on the environment. The government knows this, and is very interested in curbing the long-term threats of the unprecedented massive state of the American agricultural industry. They’re admittedly mostly interested in getting a proper legislative handle on the amount of ecological damage is caused by the mega farming and livestock operations of major corporations. But therein lies the opportunity for independent farmers and ranchers: the federal government knows that in order to prevent the unbridled dominance of the environmentally indifferent mega farms from continuing on a path toward irreversibly ruining our nation’s air, water, and soil they have to encourage independent farming and ranching operations. But not only that, they want to make sure these sprouting projects have their genesis in energy efficiency and environmental consideration.

Smaller agricultural operations have less incentive to violate the environment, because the profit margins are too small to be affected by the kinds of anti-ecological actions that big farms save millions by allowing to occur. They also by the nature of their size are incapable of the large-scale environmental assaults bigger ventures can execute with hardly any effort. Texas Ranch Homes For Sale with lots of land near Dallas, Houston, or Austin, or farmland close to railways connecting to major population centers anywhere in the country, are ideal places for not only you to start an independent agricultural operation but for the government to invest in one. There will be a time, sometime soon, when the fuel costs associated with shipping foodstuffs with tractor-trailers is going to be impractical. Local agriculture will be ideal.

Look into federally offered Texas Ranch farm ownership loans for first time farmers and ranchers and/or those struggling to get a traditional bank loan. But more importantly see if your farming or ranching plans qualify you for Rural Energy for America Programs – REAP – that range from grants to loan guarantees paid towards farms and ranches to be energy efficient. It’s a long road ahead to nationwide energy efficiency for our agricultural ventures, but if you wish to take the route, the ride has never been easier.

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International Bond Funds: A Great Way to Prepare for Retirement

By admin on April 5, 2011

The U.S economy is slowly recovering, however, consumer spending isn’t growing at a quick rate, which is leaving many companies with less growth than expected. For the everyday investor, a company’s slow growth means a potentially lower return than expected, and for those nearing retirement, this could leave them with less in their bank account than expected.

To create a stronger retirement portfolio, many investors are beginning to consider investing in international bond funds, which are funds that invest in the bonds released by foreign governments and corporations. Many foreign governments actually offer higher interest rates on bonds than the U.S. does, as do many foreign companies. For investors, this means that they may be able to diversify their 401k retirement portfolio to produce higher, more stable returns. They may also be able to invest in a hedge against the USD, which can create a win-win situation for investors.

Many are wary of investing in international markets, due to various worldwide political and economic factors that can easily affect these markets. Although foreign markets are more volatile, professional managers are generally able to help investors limit risk by closely analyzing market developments and by hedging against currency exchange rates.

International bond funds come in four main types: single country, single region, global, and foreign. Global international bond funds include U.S. bonds while foreign do not. Investors also have the option of investing in industry and sector international bond funds, which include utilities, government, and telecommunications.

Other international bonds invest in emerging market bonds. These types of bonds have greater risk, but just like investing in a start-up company, can also have higher rewards. While these types of markets have risks similar to regular international bonds, they are more susceptible to risks associated with their smaller size, lesser liquidity, and high inflation rates.

The main benefit for investing internationally is diversification. If interest rates in the U.S. are low, they may rise in other countries around the world. If they are high in the U.S., they may be lower elsewhere. By investing both nationally and internationally, investors prevent themselves from putting all their retirement investments in one basket.

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My FHA Mortgage Blog

By admin on August 26, 2009

I just stumbled across this blog today, My FHA Mortgage Blog and thought they had a lot of great information to provide borrowers and lenders alike.

The concept of the site is really great. It allows for members of the lending community a chance to blog and speak up about their particular markets.

Be sure to check them out and catch up with a lender in your particular market today.

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What is the Good Neighbor Next Door Program?

By admin on March 12, 2009

The Good Neighbor Next Door Program is a HUD program for new buyers designed to aid in the revitalization of certain communities. In this program teachers of grades pre-K through 12, law enforcement officers, and firefighters/emergency medical technicians are offered incentives to purchase a home and live full time in communities dedicated to revitalization.

Eligible single family homes in revitalization areas are listed exclusively for sale through the Good Neighbor Next Door Program for five days. Those professionals eligible to purchase a home under the Good Neighbor Next Door Fund are able to purchase the home during this time period at 50% of the list price of the home.

In exchange for the greatly reduced purchase price, the buyer agrees to live in the home as a primary residence for a period of 36 months (3 years). Additionally, the buyer must sign a “silent second” mortgage agreement, equal to the remaining 50% of the list price of the home. No payment will ever be paid on the “silent second” provided the buyer remains in the home for the agreed upon 36 months.

To make the HUD Good Neighbor Next Door home even more affordable, the new homeowner may apply for an FHA-insured mortgage with a down payment as low as $100. They may also finance all closing costs.

The list of available properties changes weekly and is limited. Contact a HUD/FHA counselor for further information.

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It’s Official…

By admin on November 19, 2008

The limits for FHA loan amounts have been set for 2009.

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 includes one provision that has set permanent increases to FHA loan limits.
The following are the increased limits:

$625,500 in high-cost areas
$271,050 in low-cost areas

$417,000 national limit on reverse mortgages (according to HUD)

$800,775 for duplexes in high-cost areas
$967,950 for triplexes in high-cost areas

$1,202,925 for four-unit properties in high-cost areas
$521,250 for four-unit properties in low-cost areas

$938,250 for a single-family residence in Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands

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Do Your Research

By admin on October 11, 2008

Before you’re issued a driver’s license, you have to take a test. And whether you study by reading a manual or getting behind the wheel with a knowledgeable adult, you must first do your research, right? Otherwise you could end up in all sorts of problems, such as failing the test or even worse — getting in a car accident.
The same goes for getting a home loan.

The economy has taken quite the hit, and although finances are tight, people still want to purchase homes. An especially appealing option is an FHA loan, which does not require the borrower have stellar credit or a substantial down payment. Now the word is out, and FHA loans are on the rise. But borrowers beware: Experts are urging that you be on the lookout for lenders without much experience in issuing FHA loans, because although they might tell you what you want to hear, what they’re not telling you is that they haven’t even read the manual. Some of them might not even have a copy.

Before the market fell and was still in a semi-reasonable state, many lenders weren’t dealing much with FHA loans and only had a handful of FHA specialists. Now suddenly more and more people are looking to finance their home with an FHA loan, and these lenders had to compensate in order to handle the demand — the result is more loans issued under lenders lacking significant FHA knowledge.

But don’t worry — if you’ve done your homework and are confident with the lender you’ve chosen, then you should be in for a smooth ride.
Daniel Jacobs, the chief executive of 1st Metropolitan Mortgage Co. said: “FHA loans will perform better than subprime loans have for one major reason: The agency requires borrowers to document their income and occupy the home, so it excludes speculators, who played a significant role in subprime defaults.” In other words, if the underwriter doesn’t find that you meet the criteria, then you won’t be issued a loan. Which might not sound like a good thing, but trust me — it is: You don’t want to end up like the many people who were issued subprime loans when they shouldn’t have been issued a loan at all. So before you get in the passenger’s seat, make sure that the driver has read the manual and knows to first release the parking brake.
Bottom line — do your research.

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FHA Modernization proposed

By admin on July 24, 2008

Housing Tax Credit Program proposed by the HUD to modernize the FHA. Changes proposed include providing flexibility and cut costs.

“I want to thank FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery and John Garvin, his Senior Advisor and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing Programs, for taking a leadership role on this issue. This will assist the tax credit market by removing some of the impediments to financing with FHA insurance as well as eliminating unnecessary costs in the program,” said Kieran P. Quinn, CMB, Chairman of the MBA. “This is a major step forward in modernizing and enhancing FHA processes and will make it much easier to combine tax credits with FHA insurance, producing more affordable housing at a lower cost.”

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Now wait just a minute

By admin on July 10, 2008

Check out this article out of Washington.

A few excerpts:

From Sen. Christopher Dodd,

“My hope would have been that this bill we’ll send them is something the House could support — that’s still my hope,” said Dodd, who crafted the bill with Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, the panel’s senior Republican. “We’re getting down to the time here where we may not get a bill if this thing goes on much longer.”

A response by Rep. Maxine Waters,

“We’re going to fight on this,” said Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who made an impassioned plea for the funds in a closed-door meeting of House Democrats this week. “It’s extremely important that we fight to help the communities that are being devastated in this subprime (mortgage loan) meltdown.”

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Legislative Help

By admin on July 8, 2008

Many homeowners are beyond help so says Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Foreclosure will occur in the foreseeable future for many homeowners as high housing prices and shady lending practices allowed for many of these individuals to purchase homes that they could not afford.

“Many of today’s unusually high number of foreclosures are not preventable,” he said in prepared remarks to a mortgage-lending forum meeting in Arlington, Va. “There is little public policy-makers can, or should, do to compensate for untenable financial decisions.”

It is estimated that 2.5 million homes will begin the process of being foreclosed when is all said and done. The Bush administration has been focused on reducing the number of foreclosures with the lending companies and is tring to salvage what they can of the forecloser cases.

According to Paulson, there have been 1.7 million homeowners helped since July 2007. Congress is currently working on a bill that will allow for the FHA to provide cheaper mortgages to help even more homeowners keep their home.

However legislative differences between the House and Senate could prevent a timely passage. Similarly the White House has said it would veto any bill that comes through its office.

“We haven’t waited for Congress,” Housing and Urban Development Secretary Steve Preston told reporters.

Preston said he was concerned that the Senate’s foreclosure rescue would block the FHA from charging riskier borrowers higher premiums and that the House plan would require the agency to insure mortgages in which the down payment is paid by the seller. Both moves could mean big losses for the FHA, he said.

“Taxpayers should not have to absorb preventable, foreseeable losses,” Preston said.

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