Capital Region Market Update: March 2010

Posted on Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 10:56AM by Registered CommenterMelissa Cartier | Comments1 Comment | EmailEmail

Market Update: 3rd Quarter 2009

The year of the first-time home buyer continues with fervent energy. This past quarter was a busy one and the next quarter should show record growth as well.

The number of homes on the market decreased to 865 from 1,133, but the number of sold increased to 471 which represented 54%! The average sale price jumped as well to $286,011 from $269,116.

The days on market stayed fairly steady at 89 days. Sellers have been working harder to attract first-time buyers knowing the Nov. 30th deadline is approaching. The next quarter will reflect the final push for sales to first-timers. There is still a lot of inventory and sellers will likely consider reducing their price further to elicit last minute offers. Click here for tips for a speedy purchase if you're still hoping to meet the deadline!

The area searched for these statistics includes the city of Saratoga Springs, Town of Saratoga, Town of Ballston, Greenfield, Wilton, Milton, Schuylerville, Galway, Charlton, Moreau, Greenwich, and Clifton Park.

Would you like to see the stats from your town, neighborhood or street? E-mail me at mcartier@realtyusa.com and I’ll send you a customized report. Or, if you want a specific stat you think others might like to see please post a comment and I'll respond with the information.

Posted on Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 11:09PM by Registered CommenterMelissa Cartier | Comments1 Comment | EmailEmail

Need to rush your home purchase? Here's how

Share this useful article from SmartMoney with any first-time buyers you know that still haven’t found a home.

The $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit runs out Nov. 30, but it can take 45-60 days to close on a home. Here are 4 ways to expedite your home purchase so you can take advantage of this federal freebie.

By Lisa Scherzer of SmartMoney
 
The days are numbered for the $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers.
The credit expires on Nov. 30 — a deadline that’s putting pressure on would-be homeowners trying to take advantage of a real-estate market on the mend.

“Most first-time homebuyers understand that time is running out. Now they need to understand how little time is left to get into action,” says Jay Papasan, the vice president of publishing for Keller Williams Realty and co-author of “Your First Home: The Proven Path to Ownership.”

In the current housing market, it takes about 45 to 60 days to close on a home from the time you have an accepted offer, Papasan says. So buyers should have their offer accepted no later than mid-October if they’re trying to make the Nov. 30 deadline. (For information on who can qualify for the credit, check the IRS Web site.)

Several bills have been introduced in Congress to extend the credit by six months to give the real-estate market another boost, though they are still up for debate. The National Association of Realtors estimates that the credit has generated 350,000 home sales this year. Moody’s Economy.com puts the number at 400,000.

The process of buying a home is neither quick nor easy. Compiling your financial paperwork, applying for a loan, negotiating an offer and signing contracts can take months. And that’s if everything goes smoothly. There are myriad ways homebuyers — especially novices — can get tripped up by the process.

Here are four strategies that can expedite a closing.

1. Make sure you’re liquid
When it’s time to make a down payment, homebuyers should make sure they have enough cash available. Their funds should not be tied up in a stock portfolio, 401(k) plan or other investment that could delay the money by days.

Using gift money for a down payment is another potential snag for homebuyers. Say your parents gifted you the $60,000 you’d need for a down payment on a new house. The bank underwriting your mortgage needs a paper trail to track the money’s origin, says David Hanna, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors. Money that suddenly shows up in your account can raise a red flag. Buyers should expect a thorough financial examination, a process that “won’t necessarily derail [a] transaction,” Hanna says. “But it will slow it down.”

2. Forget about short sales
A short sale occurs when a homeowner is no longer able to make his mortgage payments and owes more on his home loan than what it can fetch in the current market.
They’re attractive from a price point, but they can take months to close. So if you’re after the tax credit, “you have no business looking at short sales,” says Steven Senter, a real-estate broker and the owner of Keller Williams Fox Valley Realty in St. Charles, Ill. When making an offer on a short sale, not only does the seller have to accept the offer, but the bank must accept and approve it, too — and that can take awhile. “There’s no guarantee on when the bank is going to approve it — it may approve it in 30 days, maybe in 300 days,” Senter says.

3. Don’t go on a shopping spree before you close
Refrain from making big purchases on a credit card before closing on the home and completing the transaction, Papasan says.
  
Big buys can trigger concern because a buyer’s debt-to-income ratio is usually the most important factor lenders use to determine how much they can borrow. This ratio compares the amount you earn to the amount you owe (including credit-card debt, student loans and car loans). Once you enter into the loan application process, that ratio is set. If you’re in the middle of securing financing, buying a $5,000 living room set might throw that balance off. Any increase in credit-card debt can come under scrutiny from a lender, who may be looking at buyers’ credit reports until the day of the closing. It can also prompt an inquiry on your credit report, which then might have a negative impact — albeit a slight one — on your credit score.

4. Be aware of closing costs
Each state has its own closing requirements, and first-time buyers should know in advance what and how much they’re required to cover. For example, in Maryland, the buyer pays the closing costs. In most states, the buyer and seller share the costs. In many states, closing costs must be paid in cash at the closing.

Buyers “need to hold onto every penny until they make sure they get it done,” Papasan says.

Posted on Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 02:58PM by Registered CommenterMelissa Cartier | Comments1 Comment | EmailEmail