Real Estate Tips: Make a List & Check it Twice…

  A personal property list that is. With this being the time of year for giving and receiving gifts, we just wanted remind you about your personal property coverage. Your insurance policy is designed to cover your personal property items such as your television, clothing, electronics, jewelry, etc….
  • Make sure to have the items that you and your family own documented in one way or another!
 
  • Some families prefer to walk through their home with a video camera taping their personal property, then giving the tape to a family member to hold onto in case of a loss.
 
  • Others prefer digital photos of each item with serial number and brand on back.
If a loss was to occur at your home it is very unlikely that you would remember everything you owned! Please make sure to have your items recorded in one way or another!   Just a friendly reminder from The Lee Ann Miller Team.  

Real Estate Market: Tax Credit Closing Date & Flood Insurance Extended

 

Which is great news for the real estate market!

After a close brush with the deadline, Congress has passed an  extension of the Homebuyer Tax Credit closing deadline, the Homebuyer Assistance and Improvement Act (H.R. 5623). The extension  applies only to transactions that have ratified contracts in place  as of April 30, 2010 and have not yet closed.  The legislation is
designed to create a seamless extension with the new closing deadline  September 30, 2010 for all eligible transactions.  There will
be no gap between June 30 and the date the President signs the
bill into law.

NAR worked closely with Congressional leaders on both sides of the
aisle to enact this important legislation. Extending the Tax Credit
Closing deadline will help provide additional stability to real
estate markets across the nation. Good news for all of us!

For additional information on the extension visit
www.realtor.org/government_affairs

Additionally, the United States Senate has passed the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2010  (H.R. 5569) an extension of
the National Flood Insurance Program until September 30, 2010.  This
will allow transactions to move forward.  The bill is retroactive
and covers the lapse period from June 1, 2010 to the date of
enactment of the extension. More good news!

For more information on the flood insurance program visit
www.realtor.org/government_affairs

.

Real Estate Market: FHA Changes You Should Know About

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has announced major changes to its home lending programs that may affect you as you shop for a home. These changes are effective for all loans received on or after April 5, 2010. The first change is an increase in the upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) from the current 1.75 percent to 2.25 percent. That means on $100,000 loan, the MIP will increase from $1,750 to $2,250. The good news is that since the MIP can be financed in the mortgage, the increase will not affect your out-of-pocket cash. On a $100,000 loan financed at a 5 percent interest rate, your monthly mortgage payment would increase from $546.22 to $548.90, a difference of just $2.68 a month. The new FHA rules will also reduce allowable seller concession from 6 percent to 3 percent. Seller concessions may cover items such as closing costs, home repairs, etc. Usually, closing costs will fall within the 3 percent seller concession amount, but not always, so be sure to contact me as you explore your options. The last of the FHA changes to directly affect homebuyers concerns credit scores. If your credit score is below 580 at the time of qualifying, you are now required to put down at least 10 percent of your loan amount. If your credit score is 580 or higher, you will still be allowed to put down as little as 3.5 percent. Give us a call today or visit our website www.LeeAnnMiller.com to check out the current loan rates.

2009 Housing Market Ends on a High Note!

Extra Extra

 

 As 2009 comes to a close, we want to share plenty of good news with you on the residential real estate front.

 

First, we are thrilled to see the federal government pass the extension and the enhancements to the home buyer’s tax credit.  This will significantly help the real estate market lead the economy into stronger times.  To summarize the new program:
  • First-time buyers are eligible for up to an $8,000 credit and now have until April 30, 2010 to be under contract (and close by June 30, 2010).
  • Repeat buyers who have lived in their current home for at least five consecutive years of the past eight years are eligible for a tax credit up to $6,500.
  • Higher income limits – Both first-timers and repeat buyers may purchase a principal residence up to $800,000. Income limits to qualify have been increased to $125,000 for single tax filers and $225,000 for joint filers.
  • Credits are effective NOW – The new legislation replaces the former tax credit scheduled to expire November 30.
  • Credits do not need to be repaid – The credits for both first-time buyers and repeat buyers are true credits and do not need to be repaid unless the home is sold within three years of purchase. The credits are claimed on the buyer’s federal income tax return filed for the year they purchase their home.
  • Interest rates are still historically low and selection is excellent. The rates are likely to rise in March when the Feds will pull back on the purchase of mortgage-based securities. Act now to lock in those low rates.
In 2009, we saw a true benefit from the previous “First time buyer’s tax credit” which this program has replaced and enhanced.  We are very optimistic the new program will prove to spur even more sales activity – a true catalyst to economic improvement. Additionally, the Lake Norman market has continued to show signs of improvement.  While 2009 activity will end the year behind 2008, the second half of 2009 was stronger than 2008.  We expect this trend to continue and my forecast is for 2010 to be markedly improved over 2009.  There will be one critical impact in 2010 – interest rates are expected to rise in the second quarter as the Fed has indicated an intention to reduce their financial support for mortgage-backed securities which are keeping rates artificially low to spur economic growth.  The time to buy or trade residential real estate will never be better than now through April 30, 2010. Lastly, I expect prices to stabilize somewhat.  While foreclosure activity remains high, the demand will improve and that inventory will be absorbed.  We do not see prices rebounding to previous highs in the near future. We look forward to assisting you with your real estate needs.  Feel free to call us or visit our website at www.LeeAnnMiller.com  where you will find more than 130,000 homes searchable throughout the Carolinas. Best wishes for a very happy holiday season and New Year.

         The Lee Ann Miller Team

 

 Lee Ann Miller Team Logo w/Tate

704-896-5141 Office

www.LeeAnnMiller.com

October Home Sales Results Are In…

Cheering RE market

 

 

 Carolina Multiple Listing Service (CMLS) recently released the results for the month of October, $20 million sold and $20 million closed for the Carolinas real estate market. Also, happy to report that the sales volume is up 129% (yes more than double) from October 2008 and closed volume up 44% from October 2008.  We think we are starting to see a turnaround.  It may be a slow & gradual rebound, but let’s be thankful for the rebound!

 

Contact The Lee Ann Miller Team today to begin your journey in this positive real estate market.

 Lee Ann Miller Team Logo w/Tate

704-896-5141 Office

www.LeeAnnMiller.com       

The Most Important Questions in Real Estate Today

  Common Sense Answers from Real Estate Expert Steve Harney   How do I price my house to sell in today’s market? Your Allen Tate Realtor® is your best resource in helping you understand what it will take to sell your home timely and at the maximum value. Your Realtor can provide you with a comparative market analysis of recent home sales in your area, and offer helpful tips to market your home in top condition. Successful sellers are willing to price their home at or below market value, and reduce their listing price accordingly if it remains on the market. Research shows the longer a home is on the market, the lower the sales price when the home sells.*   How do I know that now is the right time to buy? If you are employed, have decent credit and some money set aside for a down payment, then this is one of the best times in history to purchase a home.  Interest rates are at an all-time low; there’s a great inventory of homes, priced to sell; and there are a wide variety of loan programs available. Additionally, first-time home buyers with adjusted gross incomes of $75,000 for single filers and $150,000 for joint filers are eligible for an $8,000 federal tax credit for homes purchased in 2009. That’s a great opportunity.   How do I sell my house at the price I need to move up? If you have equity in your existing home, you can leverage that equity to move up. Most North and South Carolina home owners who purchased their homes before 2005 will still be able to recoup their investment and potentially see some return. Sellers need to understand that if they are willing to take less on their existing home, they will very likely be able to purchase a new home at the same discount or better. Sellers simply need to get past the mindset that they “deserve” the same price as their neighbor, who sold his home two or three years ago. It’s a different market today, and it is very unlikely that will happen.   Will interest rates continue to fall? Low interest rates are designed to stimulate the economy by encouraging consumer confidence. The interest rates we’ve been seeing since last summer are at a 25-year low. So when interest rates begin to rise, it’s a sign that the economy is improving. We’re already seeing some small increases in interest rates. Buyers who are waiting for “the bottom” may find themselves disappointed when their ideal home is sold to a more eager buyer. The reality is that we will not know when we have hit “bottom” until it has passed.   What do I need to know about mortgages? Contrary to popular belief, mortgage money is still available, but more documentation is required than ever before. You’ll also need a down payment, but there are several loan programs which require only 3-to-5 percent down. There are several excellent programs targeted to first-time buyers, as well as federal loan programs, if you qualify. As always, it makes good sense to pre-qualify for a mortgage before you start shopping, so you know how much home you can afford. Your Allen Tate Mortgage Consultant would be happy to answer your mortgage questions and guide you through the pre-qualification process.

*National Association of Realtors 2008 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers                                   

           For information Contact The Lee Ann Miller Team         

LAMT&ATClogo  704-896-5141 Office

                                                        www.LeeAnnMiller.com

What’s All the Huffing and Puffing About in North Carolina?

                                                                                                                                                                  

Will It Blow Our Houses Down and Our Insurance Companies Away?

Just as President-Elect Obama has the economy to keep him awake at night, our newly elected North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance, Wayne Goodwin, has inherited an issue sure to cause nightmares.  What do you do with a $70 billion coastal property exposure growing at the rate of $900,000.00 per month but not enough insurance to put it all back if hit with a Katrina?

Most homes insured along our coastline are covered for wind and hail through the NC Beach Plan, also called the Wind Pool, sometimes called the Last Resort.  This is a result of insurance companies excluding wind and hail on homeowners policies because of the huge exposure.   This plan currently has around $2.4 billion in reserves, or money available to pay claims.    Do the math.  $70 billion minus $2.4 billion equals NOT NEARLY ENOUGH MONEY.  What happens if (or when) our coast has a major storm?  When the $2.4 billion is handed out and more is needed the state will begin to access all licensed property insurers in NC according to their percentage of the market.  For example, Hurricane Floyd hit the coast in 1999 and a carrier could have easily been assessed $30 million.  If a major storm hits the coast their cut of the damage today would exceed six times that amount.  So even though companies may choose to exclude the coverage, they still have to help pay for the claims.  And if some companies declared bankruptcy as a result of a major storm the remaining companies would be assessed again.  How does this impact us?  Many options are being explored: • Increase homeowner premiums for coastal property. • Increase wind and hail deductibles for coastal property. • Increase homeowner premiums across the state. • Many of our companies are already asking for a better spread of risks; they want agencies to write auto and other lines of business as well as homeowners, or we may be forced to move the homeowners only client to another company. What’s the worst that could happen?  Companies could begin a mass exodus out of North Carolina.  Farmers Insurance has already left the state.  Encompass, an independent market of Allstate, has declared a moratorium on new property insurance.   Nationwide announced they will stop writing new “wind and hail policies” in North Carolina. As with the economy there is no quick fix, just the hope that the wind doesn’t blow for a few more years until this can be resolved.   In the meantime, I will let you know of any changes that may affect you or your clients.      

Annette White  (704-957-2764)  annette.white@allentate.com

                                                                                                      704-896-5141     Allen Tate Company      www.LeeAnnMiller.com