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Friday, December 23 2011
Last year, 27 percent of first-time home buyers received a financial gift from relatives or friends that they applied toward a down payment on a new home — up from 22 percent in 2009, according to data from the National Association of REALTORS®.

While gift-giving a down payment has increased, those who receive such gifts need to make sure they follow IRS and banks’ gift-giving rules.

1. Home owners still need to come up with at least some of the down payment on their own. A spokesperson with Freddie Mac told Newsday that loans backed by Freddie Mac require that when the loan-to-value is greater than 80 percent, the buyer will need to come up with at least 5 percent of the purchase price from his or her own funds. For Fannie Mae loans, Fannie allows all down payment funds to come as a gift on one-unit principal residences. “The thing that is tricky about this is that few people know whether the loan will get sold to Fannie or Freddie,” the Newsday article notes.

2. You may need to document where the down payment money came from. “A gift letter should be signed and dated and include the giver’s name, address, and telephone number, along with his or her relationship to the borrower,” according to Total Mortgage Services in the Newsday article.

3. If you’ve had the gift for a long time, you likely won’t need to document it. If the gift has been in your bank account for three months or longer, it’s considered “seasoned” and doesn’t require a gift letter, lenders say.

Source: “Rules for ‘Gifts’ to Home Buyers,” Newsday (December 2011)

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, March 16 2011

Buyers have a long list of what they want when home shopping, but one of their biggest desires: A good deal.

"And no matter where a seller prices their property, they're looking to negotiate," says Patricia Szot, president of the MetroTex Association of REALTORS®.

But that’s not all they want. Bankrate.com recently asked real estate professionals to chime in on the top desires of their buyers when home shopping. Here are four things that made the list of top home buyer preferences:

1. Homes that are in good condition. "There's not a lot of flexibility in that," says Ron Phipps, president of the National Association of REALTORS®. Many buyers now take the attitude: "I'd rather spend the money getting into the house" and not have to spend more money later, Phipps says. One of the major reasons is that "buyers have limited amounts of cash," he adds. "Even if they want to do a fixer-upper, they don't have the money to do it."

2. A bargain with incentives. Buyers are looking for a good deal, even when considering bank-owned properties, says Joan Pratt, real estate broker with RE/MAX Professionals in Castle Pines, Colo. "They want the short sales and the foreclosures and they want them to look like they're owner-occupied," she says. "They don't want to paint. They don't want to put carpet in. They don't want to clean."

And they aren’t only asking for a low price but they also want incentives to buy too. As such, sellers are offering everything from gift cards for new furniture to paint to financial assistance at closing.

3. Outdoor living areas. Homes with screen porches, outdoor kitchens, two-way fireplaces are becoming increasingly competitive in the marketplace as more buyers say they want more outdoor living space.

4. Open kitchens. "The wall between the kitchen and the family room is evaporating," Phipps says. "The kitchen is becoming part of the gathering space.” (See Buyers Want Cozy, Connected Kitchens)

Source: “9 Items Homebuyers Desire in 2011,” Bankrate.com (March 2011)

http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2011031501?OpenDocument

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, February 23 2011

Home warranties can be attractive to home owners or buyers who are looking at purchasing a property. These service contracts can cover all of a home’s major systems, such as the furnace or air conditioner, and will cover needed repairs if the appliance breaks or damaged.

Some sellers are offering a home warranty to try to lure buyers.

But not all home warranties are the same. Experts say you should carefully weigh costs, policy allowances, and customer feedback before making a decision so that you ensure you’re getting the best deal. Home warranties cost about $250 to $500 a year.

Here are some more tips from experts in shopping for a home warranty:

Find customer reviews. Web sites, such as homewarrantyreviews.com, provide reviews of home warranty companies. You also might check how each company is rated with your local Better Business Bureau.
Check for extra fees. Will you have to pay a fee for service calls?
Check the coverage allowance. Are there any exclusions to coverage? Will the allowance cover the entire cost of a broken appliance or just some of it? For example, if you have older appliances and mechanicals, will the policy cover the full cost of replacing it or just the depreciated value? If the policy only covers the depreciated value when a 20-year-old furnace dies, for example, the reimbursement may not be enough to buy a new one. Also, verify what appliances are all included in the coverage. Some companies will allow you to add coverage for swimming pools, while others won’t.

"The biggest thing is awareness of what the exclusions are," Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com, told the Chicago Tribune. "The mere presence of a warranty, by nature, tends to have exclusions. Being aware of that can aid in the decision-making process."

Source: “When Home Warranties Are Worth It,” Chicago Tribune (Feb. 8, 2011)

http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2011021105?OpenDocument

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, February 08 2011
First-time home buyers once set out to buy a “starter home,” which refers to an entry-level property that is affordable and often needs some updating. But new buyers are forgoing the “room for improvement” home, and are getting more choosy in their home shopping.

Eighty-seven percent of first-time home buyers said they want to purchase a home that is move-in ready, according to a survey from Coldwell Banker Real Estate, which surveyed 300 first-time home buyers in the last year. First-time home buyers made up half of the market in 2010, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

"There's a real 'aha' moment for sellers revealed by this survey that the condition and quality of their home matters a great deal to first-time home buyers," says Diann Patton, a consumer real estate specialist with Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. "On top of that, our agents have reported that on average, first-time home buyers now look at more than 11 homes before making decisions, which is higher than in the past. They can be choosy about what appeals to them and are recognizing the benefits of the low prices and wide selection of homes in many areas."

Location is a key deciding factor when looking for a home: 78 percent of new buyers said the home had to be in an area convenient to shops and services, according to the survey. What’s more, three-quarters of buyers said it was important to be near their workplace, and nearly two-thirds said it was important to be close to "highly rated" schools.

Many first-time home buyers said the current real estate market offered them more opportunity than they had expected. For example, half of new buyers said they found a home in a more desirable neighborhood than they expected; 61 percent were able to get the home at a better price; and 40 percent got more space than expected.

Source: “Coldwell Banker Real Estate Survey: First-time Buyers Demand New Kind of ‘Starter Home,’” Marketwire (Feb. 8, 2011) http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2011020801?OpenDocument
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 12:54 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, December 28 2010

Michele Lerner, author of Homebuying: Tough Times, First Time, Any Time, offers reasons why real estate is likely to improve in 2011. Here are five reasons she thinks consumers should consider a home purchase next year:

▪ Mortgage rates will stay low. Even with rates climbing — maybe to as high as 6 percent by 2012 — they are still well below where they have been historically.
▪ Tax cuts could help. Extending the tax cuts could encourage a more rapid recovery for the economy.
▪ Americans want to be home owners. A recent Fannie Mae survey showed that Americans still believe a home is a safe and desirable investment.
▪ Builders are about to begin building. Home builders have been sitting on the sidelines. This year, they think pent-up demand will create an appetite for new homes.
▪ Homes are shrinking. Homes are getting smaller, which has made them more affordable.

Source: Investopedia, Michele Lerner (12/24/2010)


http://www.realtor.org/rmodaily.nsf/pages/News2010122701?OpenDocument

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 09:43 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, November 10 2010
 1. Decide what you can afford. Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between two and three times your gross income.

2. Develop your home wish list. Then, prioritize the features on your list.

3. Select where you want to live. Compile a list of three or four neighborhoods you’d like to live in, taking into account items such as schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety.

4. Start saving. Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs. Closing costs — including taxes, attorney’s fee, and transfer fees — average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.

5. Get your credit in order. Obtain a copy of your credit report to make sure it is accurate and to correct any errors immediately. A credit report provides a history of your credit, bad debts, and any late payments.

6. Determine your mortgage qualifications. How large of mortgage do you qualify for? Also, explore different loan options — such as 30-year or 15-year fixed mortgages or ARMs — and decide what’s best for you.

7. Get preapproved. Organize all the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan. You might need W-2 forms, copies of at least one pay stub, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements.
8. Weigh other sources of help with a down payment. Do you qualify for any special mortgage or down payment assistance programs? Check with your state and local government on down payment assistance programs for first-time buyers. Or, if you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your fist home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.
9. Calculate the costs of homeownership. This should include property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities, and association fees, if applicable.

10. Contact a REALTOR®. Call me at 812-499-9234 for all of your Real Estate needs. You can also rech me by email: Rolando@TheTrentiniTeam.com
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 12:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, April 12 2010

Home sales in Middle Tennessee are up for the sixth straight month compared to a year ago. And the number of homes for sale jumped dramatically in March, which officials say shows growing confidence in the economy.

A new report from the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors says home prices have held steady, and the number of pending sales is up.

And GNAR president Lucy Smith says more houses are on the market. She says many people have been wanting to move, but were holding off, out of worry for the economy –

“–The possibility of job loss and layoffs, and now things seem to have stabilized more, and people have more confidence in what their job situation is. And we know there were a lot of people wanting to do something but were hesitant to do it because of the unknown.”

Smith notes spring is typically an up time for home sales, and tax credits have also helped the market. But she says the first-time home buyer’s tax credit expires this month, and probably won’t be renewed.

Source: http://wpln.org/?p=16440

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, August 27 2009

New U.S. home data out Tuesday suggests the U.S. may be easing out of its 3-year housing slump.

The U.S. home prices index is made up of home prices in the 20 largest U.S. cities, and while Evansville isn't one of them, an Evansville mortgage banker says home sales here are following suit.

The for sale signs still litter neighborhoods, but the housing market is busy making its comeback.

"We have definitely seen a big increase in the number of purchase transactions we're doing over the last few months," says Shannon Curry-Bartnick, President of Mortgage Masters.

Curry-Bartnick says part of this "rise from the slump" comes as people's fears subside and they take advantage of the many incentives out there. The most talked about one being the 1st Time Home Buyer Credit.

"It's a really great opportunity to get a tax credit back, get yourself into a new home, and right now, there are historically low interest rates," Curry-Bartnick explains.

To be eligible, you either have to be a first time home buyer or have not owned a home in the last three years.

The credit is worth ten percent of the home's value, up to $8,000.

Home buyers have to close the deal by November 30th to get their credit.

If you're anxious to take advantage of the first time home buyer credit, but have a less than stellar credit history, Curry-Bartnick says you're not completely out of luck.

"There is more leniency there for things that may have happened in your past but that you may have remedied or overcome. You would potentially still be eligible," she explains. 

In addition to the first time home buyers credit, Curry-Bartnick lists off dozens of other deals and loans that can save a buyer money.

"There's the FHA loan, Rural Housing loans, VA loans, and conventional loans," she explains.

Not to mention bank-owned and foreclosed upon homes coupled with low rates. Buyers can walk away with a steal.

"We look at each person individually and find out what's well suited for their situation," Curry-Bartnick says.

To find out what you qualify for, Curry-Bartnick recommends sitting down with a mortgage banker. She says consultations are typically free.

But as NEWS 25 also learned, the Evansville housing market is not problem free, and there are hurdles that are keeping many deals from closing.

NEWS 25 will investigate those hurdles in a follow up story Wednesday.

Source: http://www.news25.us/Global/story.asp?S=10990592

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 10:00 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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