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Archive for January, 2010

Great low rates are still going on. Whether you are thinking about buying a new home or refinancing to get a fresh start in 2010, it may be worth to take a look.

Here are the latest numbers from Wells Fargo:

30 Year conventional, $250,000, credit score  of 720, fixed rate: 5%

30 Year FHA, $250,000, credit score of only 600, fixed rate:  5.25%

Wells Fargo is one of only a handful of banks that still accepts a credit score of below 640 for the FHA loans.

For a quick and honest information you can contact:

  • Lisa Sozio at Wells Fargo, 215-801-2949, lisa.sozio@wellsfargo.com OR

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HGTV’s House Hunters show is coming to Bucks and Montgomery Counties and is looking for buyers who are actively and seriously looking to purchase a home.  This show follows buyers and their agents  on the hunt as they find just the right house for them- and every story is different.  Let’s share your joy with millions of people, as they cheer you on!  Please contact me to get started!

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Under the new law, an eligible taxpayer must buy, or enter into a binding contract to buy, a principal residence on or before April 30, 2010 and close on the home by June 30, 2010. For qualifying purchases in 2010, taxpayers have the option of claiming the credit on either their 2009 or 2010 return.

A credit of up to $8,000 will apply to qualifying first time buyers, and a smaller credit of up to $6,500 will now apply to families that have lived in their homes for at least 5 years and wish to step up to a new home.



The new law extends a similar credit until May 2011 for members of the uniformed services who duty takes them overseas.

The credit:

  1. Applies only to homes used as a taxpayer’s principal residence.

  2. Reduces a taxpayer’s tax bill or increases his or her refund, dollar for dollar.

  3. Is fully refundable, meaning the credit will be paid out to eligible taxpayers, even if they owe no tax or the credit is more than the tax owed.

  4. The credit is reduced or eliminated for higher-income taxpayers. The credit is phased out based on your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). Different income limits apply to purchases on or before Nov. 6, 2009 and those after that date.

For purchases on or before Nov. 6, 2009, for a married couple filing a joint return, the phase-out range is $150,000 to $170,000. For other taxpayers, the phase-out range is $75,000 to $95,000. This means that the full credit is available for married couples filing a joint return whose MAGI is $150,000 or less and for other taxpayers whose MAGI is $75,000 or less.
For purchases after Nov. 6, 2009, for a married couple filing a joint return, the phase-out range is $225,000 to $245,000. For other taxpayers, the phase-out range is $125,000 to $145,000. This means that the full credit is available for married couples filing a joint return whose MAGI is $225,000 or less and for other taxpayers whose MAGI is $125,000 or less.

For more details, please log on to www.irs.gov

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In addition to new general benefits there are new benefits for members of the military:

  • Members of the military and certain other federal employees serving outside the U.S. have an extra year to buy a principal residence in the U.S. and qualify for the credit. Thus, an eligible taxpayer must buy, or enter into a binding contract to buy, a principal residence on or before April 30, 2011. If a binding contract is entered into by that date, the taxpayer has until June 30, 2011, to close on the purchase. Members of the uniformed services, members of the Foreign Service and employees of the intelligence community are eligible for this special rule. It applies to any individual (and, if married, the individual’s spouse) who serves on qualified official extended duty service outside of the United States for at least 90 days during the period beginning after Dec. 31, 2008, and ending before May 1, 2010.
  • In many cases, the credit repayment (recapture) requirement is waived for members of the uniformed services, members of the Foreign Service and employees of the intelligence community. This relief applies where a home is sold or stops being the taxpayer’s principal residence after Dec. 31, 2008, in connection with government orders received by the individual (or the individual’s spouse) for qualified official extended duty service. The credit is still allowable even if this happens during the year of purchase. Qualified official extended duty is any period of extended duty while serving at a place of duty at least 50 miles away from the taxpayer’s principal residence (whether inside or outside the U.S.) or while residing under government orders in government quarters. Extended duty is defined as any period of duty pursuant to a call or order to such duty for a period in excess of 90 days or for an indefinite period.

For more details, please visit www.irs.gov.

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Happy New 2010 Year, everyone! Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous year!


Congratulations to Sherry and Ed M. on the purchase of their first home, negotiated to buy with only $6,000 down and an extra 15% equity…

Congratulations to Lynn and Tim K. on the purchase of their first home, negotiated to buy with only $4,000 down…

David L. just put his investment property in N. Phila on the market. He would like to buy a retreat in Puerto Rico for him and his wife…

Ros O. and her husband are looking for a private retreat to rent in Bucks County to be closer to her parents…

John K. has a beautiful townhouse in Yardley on the market…

Ron G. has a great starter home for sale in Levittown…

Anyone looking for investment property for college students near Rider University or The College of New Jersey? There are 2 houses avail: 9 bedroom and 7 bedroom…


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How is our real estate market doing?

Well, we wrapped up a challenging 2009. The final numbers that include December statistics are not in yet. The final 2009 review will be in beginning of February. National real estate market figures can be deceiving as they don’t accurately portray the activity in our local market.  It’s important to know and understand how homes in your county are selling and what buyers are looking for. Knowledge is power.

When analyzing our local market, you have to be aware of inventory accumulation. This figure represents the number of months it would take to exhaust the current supply of listings at current absorption rate (this rate is calculated by taking the average no. of homes sold in the market per month over the previous 12 months). If this figure is below 6 months, we are in sellers’ market (less sellers, more buyers); if this figure is above 6 months, we are in buyers’ market (more sellers, less buyers). This figure is calculated for each township, and is an important consideration in pricing your home for sale as well as in preparing an offer for your buyer. Different townships and school districts will have different inventory accumulation. Here are the average numbers:

Bucks Co, PA: 4 months (sellers’ market!)
Montgomery Co, PA: 5 months (sellers’ market!)
Philadelphia Co: 6 months (balanced market)
Mercer Co, NJ: 7 months (buyers’ market)
Burlington Co, NJ: 10 months (buyers’ market)

Among 5 counties, in the last few months, the average days on the market (DOM, the amount of time it takes to sell a home) is hovering around 90 days.

Bucks County, PA: Dec. 09 DOM: 79 days, 2009 average DOM: 82 days.
Montgomery County, PA: Dec. 09 DOM: 83 days, 2009 av. DOM: 84 days.
Philadelphia County: Dec. 09 DOM: 81 days, 2009 av. DOM: 80.
Mercer County, NJ: Dec. 09 DOM: 97, 2009 av. DOM: 94.
Burlington County, NJ: Dec. 09 DOM: 79, 2009 av. DOM: 82.
These statistics are also available for DE, other PA and NJ counties if needed.

October and November were busy months with higher sales than previous months, as 1st time buyers rushed to take advantage of the $8,000 rebate that was ending on 11/30 and low mortgage rates. This rebate has been extended. Please see more details in a separate article below.

In this market, buyers are mostly looking for homes that are “move-in condition” (homes that don’t need work). Many buyers are also in need of sellers’ assistance to help with closing costs. The maximum amount a buyer can ask for a seller to help with is 6% of the sale price (depending on circumstances).  This credit amount is deducted from net proceeds to the seller at closing. If work is needed and sellers are not able to do the repairs, they need to be prepared to adjust the listing price accordingly, as buyers will be adjusting their offer prices even more. In this challenging market, the only way to compensate for repairs needed in a home is to price it correctly. The other “Must” strategies to prepare for a successful home sale are professional photos, staging, cleaning, organizing, painting and getting rid of clutter.

January and February are the months to start preparing your home if you are thinking about selling it. It takes time to clean, organize and make necessary repairs in your home and properly prepare it for the sale, just in time for Spring Market.

If you want to be ahead of competition, now is the time to place your home on the market. There are fewer homes on the market in the winter, and those buyers who are looking to purchase, are serious, to brave the cold weather.

Would it be helpful to you to be kept up on what’s going on in your neighborhood? What sold, for how much? Let me know: homeswitholga@kw.com.

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