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Wednesday, February 29 2012

Existing-home sales rose 4.3 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.57 million, marking the third gain for home sales in the last four months, the National Association of REALTORS® reports.

“The uptrend in home sales is in line with all of the underlying fundamentals – pent-up household formation, record-low mortgage interest rates, bargain home prices, sustained job creation and rising rents,” NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says.

While sales ticked up, inventories of for-sale homes also continued to show improvement, NAR reported. At the end of January, total housing inventory fell 0.4 percent to 2.31 million existing homes for sale, which represents a 6.1-month supply at the current sales pace.

“The broad inventory condition can be described as moving into a rough balance, not favoring buyers or sellers,” Yun says. “Foreclosure sales are moving swiftly with ready home buyers and investors competing in nearly all markets. A government proposal to turn bank-owned properties into rentals on a large scale does not appear to be needed at this time.”

Unsold listed inventory has steadily dropped since reaching a peak of 4.04 million in July 2007. It now is 20.6 percent below where it was a year ago, NAR reports.

Housing Affordability Improves

As home prices have fallen and mortgage rates at all-time record lows, housing affordability is at some of its highest levels on record.

“Word has been spreading about the record high housing affordability conditions and our members are reporting an increase in foot traffic compared with a year ago,” says NAR President Moe Veissi. “With other favorable market factors, these are hopeful indicators leading into the spring home-buying season. We’re cautiously optimistic that an uptrend will continue this year.”

The national median existing-home price for all housing types in January was $154,700, which is down 2 percent year-over-year.

Distressed sales, which tend to sell at steep discounts, continue to hamper home prices nationwide. Foreclosures and short sales accounted for 35 percent of all January home sales, which is up slightly from 32 percent in December.

Still, “home buyers over the past three years have had some of the lowest default rates in history,” Yun said. “Entering the market at a low point and buying at discounted prices have greatly helped in that success.”

Breakdown by Housing Type

Here’s a closer look at how home sales fared by housing type in January:

Single-family home sales: increased 3.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.05 million in January from 3.90 million in December. They are 2.3 percent above the 3.96 million-unit pace a year ago. Median price: $154,400 in January, down 2.6 percent from January 2011.

Existing condominium and co-op sales: rose 8.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 520,000 in January from 480,000 in December. They are 10.3 percent lower than the 580,000-unit level in January 2011. Median price: $156,600 in January, up 2 percent from a year ago.

Home Sales by Region

The following is a breakdown of existing-home sales in January by region:

  • Northeast: increased3.4 percent to an annual pace of 600,000 in January and are 7.1 percent above a year ago. Median price: $225,700, which is 4.2 percent below January 2011.
  • Midwest: increased 1 percent in December to a level of 980,000 and are 3.2 percent higher than January 2011. Median price: $122,000, down 3.9 percent from a year ago.
  • South: rose 3.5 percent to an annual level of 1.76 million in January but are unchanged from a year ago. Median price: $134,800, which is 0.3 percent below January 2011.
  • West: increased 8.8 percent to an annual pace of 1.23 million in January but are 3.1 percent below a spike in January 2011. Median price: $187,100, down 1.8 percent from a year ago.

Contract Delays, Cancellations Remain High

Twenty-one percent of NAR members in January reported delays in contracts, and 33 percent said contracts fell through, according to NAR. The number of contract cancellations remains mostly unchanged from December.

The increase in the past year of contract cancellations or delays has been blamed on more lenders declining mortgage applications from stricter underwriting standards and low appraisals coming in under the agreed upon contract price.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2012/02/23/home-sales-rise-ready-for-spring-buying-season

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, February 28 2012
Great News for housing…FINALLY!
Home sales in the U.S. probably climbed in January to the highest level since May 2010, adding to evidence the housing market is regaining its footing, economists said reports this week will show.

 

Combined purchases of new and existing houses rose to a 4.97 million annual rate from 4.92 million in December, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. Claims for jobless benefits held near the lowest level since 2008, bolstering consumer confidence, other reports may show.

 

A strengthening job market, combined with record affordability driven by the drop in home prices and mortgage rates, will probably keep underpinning demand. Nonetheless, the Federal Reserve and Obama administration are striving to find ways to lend the industry additional assistance amid concern that mounting foreclosures will continue to hinder the recovery.

 

“Home sales have bottomed, and from here on, we should see a moderate pickup,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva, an economist at BNP Paribas in New York. “Hiring is improving slowly, so that’s helping.” More policy efforts are needed as “we still can’t rely on housing to recover on its own,” she said.

 

The National Association of Realtors will release data on existinghouse sales on Feb. 22. Purchases increased 0.9 percent to a 4.65 million annual rate, following a 4.61 million pace in December, according to the Bloomberg survey median.

 

Sales of new homes climbed to a 315,000 annual rate from 307,000 the prior month, the survey median showed. The report is due from the Commerce Department on Feb. 24. Last year marked a record low for the industry in data going back to 1963, as builders sold 302,000 homes, down 6.2 percent from 2010.

 

More Homebuilding

 

Reports last week indicated housing is on the mend. Builders broke ground on more homes than forecast in January, helped by warmer weather, and construction permits also advanced. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of builder confidence climbed in February to the highest level since May 2007.

 

Beazer Homes USA Inc. (BZH) reported that orders jumped 36 percent in the final three months of 2011 from a year earlier, and closings on new houses surged more than 60 percent. The Atlanta-based builder said it expects to sell more properties this year than last.

 

“While our visibility into the economic conditions for the remainder of the year is limited, I believe that we will benefit from a gradually improving housing market,” Allan Merrill, chief executive officer, said on an earnings call on Feb. 2.

 

Build Shares

 

Investors also are upbeat about prospects. The Standard & Poor’s SupercompositeHomebuilding Index (S15HOME) has advanced 21 percent since the end of last year, outpacing an 8.2 percent gain in the broader S&P 500.

 

Policy makers are working to help distressed homeowners. The top five mortgage lenders this month reached a $25 billion settlement with 49 states and the U.S. government over the use of faulty paperwork in foreclosures.

 

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank’s efforts to spur growth are being blunted by impediments to mortgage lending, and called for more steps to heal the housing industry.

 

“The economic recovery has been disappointing in part because U.S. housing markets remain out of balance,” Bernanke told homebuilders on Feb. 10 in Orlando, Florida. “We need to continue to develop and implement policies that will help the housing sector get back on its feet.”

 

One asset has been the improvement in employment. The jobless rate fell in January to a three-year low of 8.3 percent, and payrolls rose by 243,000 workers.

 

Fewer Firings

 

Firings are also waning, Labor Department figures may show on Feb. 23. Initial joblessclaims rose last week to 355,000 after reaching a four-year low the prior week, according to the median forecast in the Bloomberg survey.

 

Greater affordability is also supporting home demand. The National Association of Realtors’measure of whether households earning the median income can afford a median-priced house at current interest rates reached a record in the last three months of 2011.

 

Among other reports this week, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment rose to 72.8 in February from a preliminary reading of 72.5, economists in the Bloomberg survey predicted. The data will be released Feb. 24.

                        Bloomberg Survey

==============================================================
                        Release    Period    Prior     Median
Indicator                 Date               Value    Forecast
==============================================================
Exist Homes Mlns          2/22      Jan.      4.61      4.65
Exist Homes MOM%          2/22      Jan.      5.0%      0.9%
Initial Claims ,000’s     2/23     18-Feb     348       355
U of Mich Conf. Index     2/24     Feb. F     72.5      72.8
New Home Sales ,000’s     2/24      Jan.      307       315
New Home Sales MOM%       2/24      Jan.     -2.2%      2.6%
==============================================================
Source: Bloomberg http://www.crackerjackagent.com/blogs/1787/167/spring-2012-homes-sales-expected
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, February 27 2012
We have all been reading about how mortgage rates fell again in January. It seems as if half the time news like that is accompanied by some phrase like, “encouraging new buyers to dip their toes into the housing market."
 
Checking into it, I found that the average interest rate on conventional 30-year mortgage loans decreased eight basis points (to 4.32%) in December. That came from FHFA in their last full report. And by February 17th 2012, their site showed it was down to 3.87%. It looks like some of that toe-dipping might be about to start in earnest!
 
Just in case you are one of those ‘new buyers’ who might be feeling some of that ‘encouraging’, sooner or later you will learn that the government’s national rate is not the final word on everyone’s situation. It’s why I would suggest you consider making a call to one of our Evansville mortgage brokers. Here are some reasons why that’s a good idea:
 
A great mortgage broker can help you unearth the best mortgage; go rate shopping on your behalf. They spend their days keeping track of banks, credit unions and other sources of finance on behalf of their clients, so they are perfectly placed to access a wealth of mortgage data.
 
Brokers keep mortgage rates competitive by providing multiple points of view and offering alternatives when needed. Were it not for the efforts of diligent mortgage brokers, banks and financial institutions would be able to keep their rates higher. And in this climate of falling mortgage rates, they can save you a lot of the time it would take to go shopping for a great deal.

Good mortgage brokers are there to work to for you. They organize your financial picture, credit rating and future plans to come up with the mortgage that is right for you. They are motivated to work on your behalf because they know that at the end of the day it is by doing a great job for their clients that they are going to earn the reputation and word-of-mouth that keeps them in business.
 
If you are intrigued by the recent falling mortgage rates and are considering buying a home in the Evansville area, call me for a complimentary, no-obligation buyer’s consultation.   I can introduce you to a great mortgage broker -- and we can help you to get prequalified. We can run the numbers that will help you decide if now might indeed be the right time for you to get into this market! You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or by email at Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, February 23 2012
Market Watch
January 2012 closed volume was the best January our market had seen in four years. Closed sales in January 2009 through 2012 have been; 197, 198, 220 and 241. Although January is typically the slowest month of the year for real estate closings this 9.5% increase in 2012 following the 11.1% increase in 2011 suggests that our market is showing steady improvement. Our local figures mirror the nation which also had a bump in January volume. 
Although resale home sales are off to a good start new home construction is still slow.  Just a little over 300,000 new homes were built nationwide last year. Prior to the financial crisis new home construction had not been less than 1 million units for 15 consecutive years. This slowdown will also improve. The short explanation is that there is too much supply and too little demand.  There are currently about 1 ¾ million vacant homes in the U.S. Until the number of vacant homes declines there is not enough demand to warrant significant new home construction. A normal number would be in the 1 ¼ million range. The good news is that the number of vacant homes continues to decline. I believe we are 12-18 months from getting back to normal levels. In the meantime I expect continued but gradual improvement the real estate market.
Recently our MLS (multiple listing service) became a BLC (broker listing cooperative). The reason for this change is that national aggregators of real estate information have, in many cases, hijacked the term MLS. REALTOR organizations did not trademark the term decades ago and it is now too late. By switching to a BLC we will be better able to assure the public that our information is both complete and accurate. Many national companies advertise and solicit leads through their websites. They offer valuation data and show homes for sale. Unfortunately their data is almost always incomplete and frequently inaccurate. The best way to get accurate, complete real estate information is to contact me or go to FCTuckerEmge.com or TuckerMobile.com I can help you with any real estate information you need and you can be sure the information is complete and accurate.
You can reach me by phone at 812-499-9234 or by email at Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, February 22 2012
If you are a newcomer to Evansville real estate investing, finding your first income-generating property can seem like a fairly daunting task. How can you be sure that a property will generate enough cash flow? How will you estimate your costs to put potential homes for rent into the profit column? Altogether, how will you know when you find the right opportunity?
 
First, you have to view the competitive landscape in Evansville this spring, which means doing some targeted research. You might start by attending local seminars or looking into a local property club. These types of groups can help arm you with the economic trends that will serve as a guide. You will also want to call one or two reputable Evansville property management companies to get a general idea of the costs you should expect when listing homes for rent with their firms.
 
In today’s market, the demand for quality homes for rent and the rents they command are generally up. Given an increased demand for rental properties, it is reasonable to predict that even as a new investor you should be able to find qualified potential tenants within a reasonable timeframe. However, the tenant qualification process can be tricky. It is peppered with legal and Fair Housing rules, so you should be prepared to either educate yourself thoroughly on the laws or hire a professional property manager or leasing agent to handle this aspect. 
 
Overall, the market in homes for rent has trended higher, but your new business will prosper or not based on the cash flow for the property type you choose to enter. Many neophyte real estate investors consider beginning with a condominium, and for practical reasons. Homes for rent can bring with them a multiplicity of unique –sometimes unexpected-- problems, whereas most condos come with HOAs that handle roof, exterior maintenance, and even many more problem-preventing features.
 
Experienced real estate agents are there to help you find prospective properties and to furnish professional advice along the way. Please feel free to call me anytime for market advice if you have ever considered looking into homes for the rental market. We have a dedicated property manager who would be more than happy to assist you with your rental needs. If you are interested, call me at 812-499-9234 or you can reach me by email at Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 01:53 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, February 20 2012
 
The question at the top of Evansville homebuyers and Evansville sellers is familiar: where are home prices heading? Realistically, the truth this February is the same as always: it is no less risky to predict the real estate market than it is to predict the stock market.
 
Nonetheless, keeping up with national trends and the media chatter means staying abreast of the factors that ultimately affect Southwest Indiana home prices. And a few smiles are appearing on the faces of those who have waited a very long time to read anygood news. 
 
The backdrop was not pretty. No one could miss the majority of last month’s End Of Year headlines. Last year finished with reports of a steeper-than-expected drop in home prices in November despite a steady rise in consumer confidence. In fact, Reuters reported that prices in 20 metro areas dropped 0.7 percent for the second month in row, which was 0.2 percent greater for November than economists had predicted. 

But increasingly, spots of optimism are appearing in the national press. The Wall Street Journal recently quoted Capital Economics’ economist Paul Dale’s comments on the 5% month-over-month gain in December. To Dale, “it is clear that a housing recovery is now well underway.” Then, by the start of February, Nielsen reported that consumer confidence had jumped six points to 83.
 
Another measure that seems to argue for a strengthening future is the inventory of previously owned homes. At the end of the year, 2.38 million homes were listed. That is the equivalent of a 6.2 months’ supply -- within hailing distance of the 6 months that is considered a healthy level.
 
Adding to that view is The National Association of Home Builders/First American Market Index which shows that the number of improving local markets doubled from December 2011 to January 2012. Even keeping in mind where these markets had started from, the direction is the right one.
 
The National Association of Realtors is not alone in pointing out the special opportunities that now exist for both buyers and sellers. First-time buyers know that today they stand to benefit by purchasing at record lows. Move-up buyers are more able to take a price hit on the homes they are selling because of the low prices and substantial interest rate savings at the other end of the transaction. 
 
Of course, home prices are only one factor in a sale, as are the compensating intangibles like comfort and lifestyle. If you are thinking of buying or selling a property, call me today for a complimentary consultation. You can reach me on my cell phone at 812-499-9234 or email me
 
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, February 17 2012

A Factsheet on Home Electrical Fire Prevention

 

Electrical fires in our homes claim the lives of 280 Americans each year and injure 1,000 more. Some of these fires are caused by electrical system failures, but many more are caused by incorrectly installed wiring and overloaded circuits and extension cords.

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) would like consumers to know that there are simple steps you can take to prevent the loss of life and property resulting from electrical fires.

Put a Freeze on Winter Fires

The Problem

During a typical year, home electrical problems account for 26,100 fires and $1 billion in property losses. About half of all residential electrical fires involve electrical wiring.

December and January are the most dangerous months for electrical fires. Fire deaths are highest in winter months which call for more indoor activities and increases in lighting, heating, and appliance use. The bedroom is the leading area of fire origin for residential building electrical fires. However, electrical fires that begin in the living room/family room/den areas result in the most deaths.

The Cause

  • Most electrical distribution fires result from problems with "fixed wiring" such as faulty electrical outlets and old wiring. Problems with cords (such as extension and appliance cords), plugs, receptacles, and switches also cause many home electrical fires.
  • Light fixtures and lamps/light bulbs are also leading causes of electrical fires.
  • Many avoidable electrical fires can be traced to misuse of electric cords, such as overloading circuits, poor maintenance, and running the cords under rugs or in high traffic areas.

Safety Precautions

  • Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring.
  • Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately.
  • Replace any electrical tool if it causes even small electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out, or gives off smoke or sparks.
  • Keep electrical appliances away from wet floors and counters; pay special care to electrical appliances in the bathroom and kitchen.
  • Buy electrical products evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory.
  • Keep clothes, curtains, and other potentially combustible items at least three feet from all heaters.
  • If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
  • Don't allow children to play with or around electrical appliances like space heaters, irons, and hair dryers.
  • Use safety closures to "child-proof" electrical outlets.
  • Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets.
  • Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.

Finally, having a working smoke alarm dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. And remember to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family

Source: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/home_fire_prev/electrical.shtm

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, February 16 2012

Improving walls and ceilings is an excellent way to bring back the life of your home and great for maintaining equity on one of the biggest investments in your life.

Many of the wall upgrades can be handled by an experienced do-it-yourselfer with a bit of know-how and the time to undertake the projects.

If you have dents in the walls or ceilings and/or holes, you will need to have scrapers, plaster, knife, spackle, cloth, sandpaper and paint. You may also need the patches that come with plastering kits in the event some of the holes require additional attention.

Before you start with the spackling, make sure the area is clear of dust and other debris. Apply a coat of spackle to the area and wait until it dries. Then sandpaper the area and dust it again to remove any remaining particles.

If you are peeling off old paint, use a putty knife or paint-scraper to remove as much of the material as possible. Spackle around the edge of the chipping paint and then sand down the area and dust it thoroughly before applying new paint.

Removing stains will require solvents; some require nothing more than a damp sponge; you can also try dish soap in small quantity. Tougher stains will obviously require a stronger cleanser. If mildew has collected, particularly mold spores, this should be cleansed with a bleach solution to prevent it from reappearing right away.

A larger quantity of nail holes or other more significant damage may require re-plastering an entire area. Obviously, this is a much larger undertaking, not necessarily beyond your ability to do it, but it’s well worth considering if, at this time, you would be better served by engaging the services of a professional remodeler/repairman.

In any event, maintaining the upkeep and look of your walls and ceilings has more than just cosmetic value; it keeps the integrity of your home at its best, as well.

Source: http://www.handymanmatters.com/st-louis/painting/improving-walls-and-ceilings/

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, February 14 2012
Technically speaking, April 15th is tax day. But for Americans who expect a refund - including many homeowners who want to cash in on real estate-related tax perks - filing sooner holds the promise of getting that check in hand, stat. If you count yourself in that number, here’s a handy guide for 9 pieces of paper you should be sure to round up as you prepare to file, in order to reap every penny of the tax rewards you’ve earned by virtue of owning a home.
 
1.Mortgage Interest Statement
 IRS Form 1098. The meatiest real estate tax deduction on the books is the one that allows you to deduct 100 percent of the mortgage interest you paid in a year - including prepaid interest or points you might have paid at close of escrow, if you bought a home last year. By now, you should have received in the mail a Form 1098 from your mortgage lender that reports how much that interest totaled up to in 2011. If you itemize your taxes and claim a mortgage interest deduction, you must include this form with your tax form when you file.
 (If you haven’t received yours yet, most lenders that have online account management services also post the form digitally in your secure account on the web. Just login like you would to make your monthly payment, and look for a notice that says you can now download your 2011 Form 1098.)
 
2.Property Tax Statements
In addition to deducting your mortgage interest, if you own a home you are eligible to deduct the property taxes you pay to your local city, county and/or state. You are not allowed to deduct some of the other miscellaneous expenses that some localities bundle up with the taxes they collect, like waste management and local assessments for things like street lighting, libraries and sidewalk construction. To get this deduction right, the best practice is to have your property tax statements at hand and make sure you’re only deducting what’s allowed.
 If you bought your home this year, it’s highly possible that you might not even have received a property tax statement yet - if that’s the case, look to #3, below.
 
3.Uniform Settlement Statement (HUD-1)
If you bought or sold a home last year, right after closing you should have received a form called the HUD-1 Settlement Statement (hint: it’s usually on legal-sized paper and contains an accounting of credits and debits for you and your home’s buyer or seller). That form documents a number of line items which might help you out at tax time, including prepaid interest, the prorated property taxes you paid at closing, and closing costs like original fees and discount points. Some states offer tax credits for buying a foreclosure; check with your tax pro to find out if any such credits apply to you. If so, this statement might be your ticket to lower taxes.
 And here’s another handy hint - if you can’t find your copy, you might have gotten it on a disk - and you can always email your real estate or escrow agent for a copy, as well.
 
4.Moving Expense Receipts
Moving expenses are tax deductible, if your move is closely related, both in time and in place, to the start of work at a new or changed job location and you meet the IRS’ time and distance tests. Long story short, your new home must be at least 50 miles farther from your new workplace than your old home was from your prior place of work, and you must work essentially full-time. So, if you bought or sold a home and moved in 2011, you’ll need to include receipts from expenses you incurred making the move (meals not included) in your tax prep paperwork.
 
 5.Cancellation of Debt Statement - IRS Form 1099. Homeowners who lost a home to foreclosure, or divested of one by negotiating a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure with their lender might receive some version of Form 1099 from their lenders, charging them with income in the amount of the mortgage debt that has been cancelled. You see, if you borrow money from someone, then they cancel the debt, that money you originally borrowed becomes income in the eyes of the IRS - and income is, as you know, taxable.
 
6.Utility statements for home office. For the average everyday homeowner who works at their employer’s place of business, utilities are not deductible (sorry!). But if there is a part of your home that is “regularly and exclusively” used for business, you might be able to claim that portion of your home as a home office, and deduct some portion of your home utilities and costs of painting and repairs, as a result. Talk with your tax provider about what expenses are allowable to be claimed under your home office deduction, and whether or not you should take it.
 
 7.Income and Expense statements from rental properties. Some of you have elevated the art of home ownership to a business! If you are a landlord, your tax situation is more complicated than that of the average bear; you’ll need to have complete income and expense statements when you put your tax returns together. It might actually behoove you to consult with a tax professional to make sure you are appropriately depreciating the property over time and not taking deductions that will expose you to the risk of audits, as well as to begin cultivating a long-term tax strategy for your real estate portfolio.
 
 8.Contractor receipts from energy efficient home improvements. Under the Nonbusiness Energy Tax Credit, homeowners who have made improvements to their homes that fall within a list of energy efficient upgrades might be eligible to claim tax credits. If, during 2011, you installed energy efficient improvements such as insulation, new dual-paned windows and furnaces, you might be eligible for a tax credit of 10 percent of the cost of these upgrades, up to $500 - only $200 of which may be used to offset the cost of windows.
 
 9.Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC). If you own a home you bought in the last few years using a Mortgage Credit Certificate issued by a local housing authority, that Certificate may entitle you to a pretty hefty tax credit, based on a percentage of the mortgage interest you paid - on top of your mortgage interest deduction. MCCs apply as long as you live in the home and have a mortgage on it, but they only apply to defray taxes you actually owe - you can’t use them to get a refund. In any event, your mortgage credit certificate, if you have one, is a must-have document as you start putting your tax prep plan in play.
 
 No matter what your tax situation is, if you own a home, it absolutely cannot hurt to get some professional help and advice to make sure you maximize your deductions, while minimizing your exposure to audit. And you should always consult with a tax attorney or certified public accountant regarding your tax liabilities and implications when you buy, sell, short sell or lose a home to foreclosure.
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, February 10 2012
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, Inc. (TMMI) announced plans today to expand its operations here, creating approximately 400 new jobs by 2013.

The company will invest $400 million total with $131 million going directly to its Princeton plant to consolidate its Highlander mid-size SUV production to this location, including both hybrid and export versions. Production is expected to begin in late-2013 with annual Highlander production volume expected to increase by approximately 50,000 units at TMMI.

“The Hoosier State has made great strides towards providing the best possible business climate in the nation and having a multi-national company like Toyota consolidate operations to Indiana and produce one of our state’s first hybrid vehicles is evidence to the success we’ve achieved,” said Governor Mitch Daniels.

Established in Gibson County in 1996, Toyota’s Princeton plant was the second recognized wholly-owned Toyota plant in North America. TMMI currently employs 4,800 associates, of which 4,000 are Hoosiers, and builds the Highlander, Sequoia full-size SUV and Sienna minivan at its Princeton facility. The hiring of new manufacturing associates will coincide with facility and machinery upgrades.

“This project allows for better utilization of the Indiana plant, and will help Toyota capitalize on the improving North American and global auto market,” said Steve St. Angelo, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. “In addition to new jobs at the Indiana plant, this project will increase opportunities and jobs for our North American supply base.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, Inc. up to $2.7 million in conditional tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. Gibson County will consider additional incentives at the request of the Gibson County Economic Development Corporation.

“Toyota has been an integral part of the Princeton community, not only with the employment of our residents but also with the infusion of millions of dollars into the local community,” said Princeton Mayor Robert Hurst. “The company’s charitable donations have also been significant with more than $13 million given to local charities and schools and for that we are very grateful.”

Source: http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=52117

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, February 08 2012
 
While most sales people don’t hold a degree in psychology, that science winds up playing a major role in the sales process. Most highly experienced listing agents not only understand this -- they use it toEvansville sellers’ advantage.
According to a 2010 study by Avid Ratings published in the Los Angeles Times, typical home buyers have a simple hierarchy of preferences: they want it all. Even when pressed to name what they are willing to do without, the typical homebuyer’s long list of “must haves” remains pretty much untouched.
What they are not willing to compromise on are home offices, walking paths, children’s playgrounds and large kitchens.
Large rooms, in fact, sell homes.
Even if your house is full of small rooms, your listing agent can help them appear larger by hiring a home “stager”. Stagers are professional dream makers. Savvy about what today’s homebuyer is looking for, stagers use their designer skills to transform homes from “Can you show us the next house on the list?” to “Stop! I want this house!”
Homebuyers also want a home that’s in turnkey condition. In fact, a study performed by the Maritz marketing research firm found that 63% of the homebuyers polled said they are willing to pay more for a home they perceive to be “move-in ready”. And it’s a properly staged home that is more likely to help buyers get that “move right in” feeling.
Listing agents who provide home staging for their clients understand that a staged home sells faster and for a higher sales price. Some studies show that spending just $550 on home staging nets the seller almost $2,000 more at the close of escrow.
Call me if you are interested to find out more about the home staging service we provide. You can reach me by phone at 812-499-9234 or email: Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, February 07 2012
 
Who can’t use a little time off now and then? Vacation time is not just a welcome reward following long stretches of an otherwise unending repetition of day-to-day obligations, it’s also widely recognized as a necessary relief valve -- a break from the stress of today’s hectic schedules. Vacations, long or short, take us away from our hectic routines. They serve the purpose of breaking up the monotony of the daily grind – often resulting in valuable perspectives that bring renewed vigor and creativity to careers and even relationships.
 
A week at the beach; a couple of days fishing over a weekend; simply spending quality time with family and friends in vacation homes set in picturesque locales – all can serve a valuable purpose. Not to mention just having fun!
 
Whenever we plan a break away from home we can find a broad choice of hotels, inns, villas,and vacation homesfor rent. It is that last choice that’s often overlooked, but for those who have managed to buy themselves a second home near an attractive vacation destination, it’s the hotel cost that is no longer an issue. And with today’s historically low interest rates and rock-bottom sales prices, there is good reason to argue that right now there has never been a better time to consider purchasing one of those vacation homes yourself.
 
One reason that many thoughtful families are beginning to pay attention is the considerable impact owning second homes or vacation homes canmake onreducing retirement expenses. Writing in Interest.com, author Stef Donev points out, “By starting early, you're building equity and reducing your mortgage debt on your…retirement residence. When you retire, the profit from your current home might even be enough to pay off the mortgages on both.”
 
While having a second home can have tax and other financial advantages, what can be even more appealing is the attraction of owning vacation homes near resort or tourist spots – especially for those who vacation at least once a year. In addition to the savings realized from eliminating many sizable hotel and resort charges, it can even become possible to reverse the vacation cash outflow by opening their own vacation home for rental accommodations. By hiring a property management team to take care of the bookings, they generate their own passive income as an offset to dual mortgage and upkeep expenses.
 
If you are newly considering the pros and the cons of purchasing a second home in Southwest Indiana or in another location, do give me a call. You can reach me by phone at 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, February 06 2012

Six stand-out athletes native to Evansville release a video for a good cause. Don Mattingly and his son Preston, Chris Owen, Kipp Schutz, Max Dedmond, and Sean Mooney teamed up to create a video of trick shots to benefit a local non-profit.

Basket after basket, the seven minute video shows more than 25 trick shots performed by six of Evansville's legendary athletes. It kicks off with L.A. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.

"In the opening shot the mascot's wearing a San Francisco Giants hat and that's obviously one of the Dodgers' arch rivals so he does his own special trick shot. He takes care of that particular hat and makes sure Bearwinkle is wearing an L.A. Dodgers hat," says Jamie Morris, Resource Development Director at Boys and Girls Club of Evansville.

The group calls itself team Trickwinkle. Several months ago they came to Boys and Girls Club of Evansville with the idea to make the video as a fundraiser for the non-profit. The team found sponsors for their project, and sold T-shirts bearing the names of the sponsors, and the face of their mascot, Bearwinkle. Their goal was to raise one-thousand dollars. But the now-viral video has already surpassed that.

"The distance and the skill that it takes to get those on all of them it's just really unbelievable and impressive," says Morris.

Team Trickwinkle makes shots from behind, off a fire truck ladder and boat, and even blind over Central Stadium.

"It is 100-percent real. There is no faking. There is no video trickery. Those are all 100-percent real trick shots," says Morris.

The video makes the trick shots look easy. But Morris says, while some shots only took a few tries, others took up to four hours to achieve. He says when the members of Trickwinkle finally make the shot -- their reaction is real.

In one clip -- Chris Owen shoots a football through a McDonalds sign into a basket on the other side. As the team celebrates Owen is heard saying "Ba-da-bab-bah-bah, I'm lovin' it!"

Don Mattingly closes the video with its only blooper. He tries to hit a Giants hat off mascot Bearwinkle, but instead hits the mascot in the head.

Proceeds from the sponsorships and t-shirts will all go to Boys and Girls Club of Evansville. Watch the video on YouTube.

Source: http://tristatehomepage.com/fulltext-news?nxd_id=486272

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, February 03 2012

When tackling home remodeling projects, you’ll find some projects pay off more than others at times of resale. Remodeling Magazine, in conjunction with REALTOR® Magazine, recently released findings of its annual Cost vs. Value report for 2011-2012, revealing which remodeling projects offer the biggest bang for your buck.

Overall, the trend right now is replacement over remodeling–swapping out the old for the new rather than doing a total gut job, which can be much more costly.

This year’s Cost vs. Value report found that exterior replacement projects–such as new garage doors and a new entry door–offer some of the best returns at resale, allowing home owners to recoup close to 70 percent or more of the costs of the project at times of resale.

The following are the top, mid-range projects from this year’s report, based on what home owners stand to recoup at time of resale:

1. Replacing the entry door to steel

Estimated cost: $1,238

Cost recouped at resale: 73%

2. Attic bedroom (converting unfinished attic space into a bedroom with bathroom and shower)

Estimated cost: $50,148

Cost recouped at resale: 72.5%

3. Minor kitchen remodel (including new cabinets and drawers, countertops, hardware, and appliances)

Estimated cost: $19,588

Cost recouped at resale: 72.1%

4. Garage door replacement

Estimated cost: $1,512

Cost recouped at resale: 71.9%

5. Deck addition (wood)

Estimated cost: $10,350

Cost recouped at resale: 70.1%

6. Siding replacement (vinyl)

Estimated cost: $11,729

Cost recouped at resale: 69.5%

Source: http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2012/01/25/2011-2012-cost-vs-value-which-remodeling-projects-pay-off-the-most/

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, February 01 2012
 
The bedrock of the residential real estate industry is the American Dream of owning your own home. But the current market has seen a rise in another facet of the industry: the ‘strictly business’ opportunity created by the rise in Evansville and Newburgh foreclosure listings. Everyone from first time buyers to seasoned investors are newly aware that housing market conditions warrant a serious look at the unusual bargains that are opening up. 
 
The appeal is understandable due to some commonsense consequences caused by the mortgage meltdown (and the headlines that followed). When banks come into possession offoreclosed properties they find themselves in an unenviable position. Incented to sell them as soon as they can, they aren’t free to wait until the market rises to meet historic price levels. As a result, mounting numbers of those foreclosure listings are carrying price tags that are a fraction of their original market price. 
 
For homeowners who see a second home as a path to create a passive rental income stream, foreclosure listings comprise tempting investment vehicles. And for first time homebuyers, the information in the same foreclosure listings can mean nothing less than a foot in the door of homeownership.
 
In both cases, the first step to buying a bank-owned property comes with finding reliable  foreclosure listings. Looking for a trustworthy source means finding one that features up-to-date and accurate information. Too many dedicated “foreclosure” websites offer endlessly duplicated, incorrect, or woefully outdated information. Relying on them can send would-be buyers on a frustrating series of time-eating wild goose chases that end up locating houses that have already been sold. 
 
One way to test a source of foreclosure listings is to take advantage of free trial subscriptions where they are offered. It’s a money-saving way to determine whether a foreclosure source can be trusted to include attractive properties listed soon after they come on the market. The good news is that the online field is developing rapidly -- so much so that it may even be possible for you or your agent to inquire (or even begin negotiations with the bank) through the Internet.
 
In any case, the opportunities that foreclosure listings represent also carry special characteristics that canny buyers need to take into account. Home inspection rules are one example. Banks are under no obligation to disclose information about a property’s flaws in the same way that regular homeowners must, so it’s imperative to make a physical investigation of a foreclosure listing before proceeding further.
 
If you are curious about your chances of finding a great deal in the foreclosure market, I will be happy to send you theforeclosure listings as well to help you identify any and all that may fit your goals. You can reach me at 812-499-9234 or by email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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The Trentini Team
F.C. Tucker EMGE REALTORS®
7820 Eagle Crest Bvd., Suite 200
Evansville, IN 47715
Office: (812) 479-0801
Cell: (812) 499-9234
Email: Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com


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