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Thursday, January 31 2013

After the holidays, buyers tend to start getting more aggressive with their house hunting. Search activity usually peaks around March or April in most states, according to a new study of home searches from 2007 to 2012 conducted by Trulia.

In September, searches slow down. By December buyer searches ebb to their lowest point of the year.

“Home-search activity swings with the seasons in every state,” says Jed Kolko, chief economist of Trulia. “Buyers and sellers can use these ups and downs to their advantage. Sellers looking for the most buyers should list when real estate search traffic peaks. Buyers, however, should think about searching off-season, when there is less competition from other searchers.”

The study revealed seasonal patterns of search activity state to state. Here are the months when online real estate searches peak in every U.S. state:

  • January: Hawaii
  • February: Florida
  • March: Arizona, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington
  • April: Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin
  • May: Real estate activity does not peak in any state
  • June: Mississippi
  • July: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Wyoming
  • August: Montana and Oregon
  • September-December: Real estate activity does not peak in any state

Source: “Trulia Reveals Best Home-Searching Season,” HousingWire (Jan. 29, 2013)

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 09:47 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 30 2012
This is usually the time of year when Evansville residents have gotten through tax season, heaved a sign of relief, and gone back to working on more important matters – like earning enough to make reducing taxes a goal worth pursuing. 
 
This year, the latter part of April may be a little different. Because this is an election year, tax matters are already being widely debated, and changes that could affect everyone are more possible than usual. I am bringing these topics up for discussion with the firm caveat that your own planning (includingEvansville home buying decisions) should always be made after consultation with the financial experts you trust. Currently, federal and Indiana rules carry tax benefits that can greatly reduce a homeowner’s tax liability. They are very unlikely to be eliminated, but you may want to keep your ear tuned whenever you hear these topics under discussion, because seemingly minor changes can have major impacts.
 
Mortgage Interest and Points
Many renters found that they were able to use the standard deduction tables to simplify their federal filings. Homeowners, on the other hand, were usually better off using itemized deductions because of the welcome mortgage interest deduction. Qualifying points paid to obtain a mortgage can also generally be deducted in the year they are paid.
 
IRA Penalties
Everyone with a standard Individual Retirement Account has heard about the penalties for withdrawing funds before retirement age. But currently there is an exception in some home buying situations. Generally, some IRA funds can be applied to home buying (or building) a first home without those tax penalties. The catch is that you can only withdraw up to $10,000 over your entire lifetime (not annually). Those with Roth IRAs may find additional tax advantages, too.
 
Real Estate Taxes
Qualifying local and Indiana property taxes can amount to sizeable deductions. If, in the home buying process, you reimbursed a seller for prepaid property taxes, that amount can qualify, too.
 
As in all financial planning, you should consult your accountant or other tax professional before making any important decisions. And whenever buying or selling a Evansville property makes sense for your family, I’m standing by to answer all of your real estate questions.
You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, April 07 2011

More investors are finding a sweet spot in flipping foreclosures, but it’s not the same type of house flipping seen during the real estate boom.

During the housing boom, investors would take advantage of skyrocketing real estate prices and loose lending regulations by buying a property, remodeling, and then selling it for profit.

Today’s flippers are buying at ultra-low prices mostly in cash deals and are doing mostly only minor repairs, such as repainting, replacing appliances, and sprucing up the landscaping. Their profits aren’t as large when they sell, but they may sell more properties in a year, says Penny Boling, the broker-in-charge of Century 21 Boling and Associates in Myrtle Beach.

The 'Street Sweepers'
Keith Gamble has made foreclosure flipping a full-time job. He purchases properties at a monthly foreclosure sale and usually has about four properties at any given time.

“Some people’s bad fortune is other people’s opportunity,” Gamble says. “I know that sounds callous — I know people doing what I’m doing at the courthouse each month are there to take advantage of that opportunity, but I also feel we provide a backstop to the market.”

The flippers are often taking the neighborhood’s blight and helping to fix up the homes that had been badly trashed from the previous owner. Boling says the investors’ abilities to also pay cash will help the market get through the abundant foreclosures that are plaguing sales.

“They’re kind of like the street sweepers,” Boling says of the property flippers. “They’re part of the cleanup committee of this marketplace.”

Source: “Foreclosures Offer New Twist on Old Game: Flipping Houses," RISMedia (April 4, 2011)

http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2011040402?OpenDocument

Posted by: Rolandso Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, March 29 2011

Home buyers and -sellers alike often bristle with anticipatory irritation at the mere thought of all the paperwork they expect they’ll have to come up with to do their transaction, above and beyond the basic loan application, contract, disclosures and closing docs. And these worries start way in advance; it’s as though, before they even start visiting open houses, buyers begin to visualize - and dread - spending hours upon hours in the dank catacombs of the Vatican (à la Da Vinci Code) combing through ancient files, seeking some rare and precious artifact documenting their childhood dental history or genealogy.

In some respects, this vision of the experience of obtaining a home loan might not be far off - there are oodles of hoops through which to jump and, occasionally, the loan underwriter requests something sort of bizarre. But more commonly, there’s a pretty finite universe of documents you’ll really need to scrounge up to get your home bought - or sold. Here they are:

  1. ID (e.g., driver’s license, state-issued ID, passport).  Who must produce it?  Buyers and sellers.  Why?  Uh, hello!?!  Lender wants to know that you are who you say you are, buyers, and the title insurance company wants to make sure, sellers, that you actually have the right to sell the home.  Funny enough, this commonly goes unrequested until you get to the closing table, when the notary requests to see it before signing, but some mortgage brokers and even some real estate brokers and agents may ask to see it earlier on.
  2. Paycheck Stubs.  Who must produce it?  Any buyer financing their purchase with a mortgage.  Sellers, usually only in the case of a short sale.  Why? Buyers’ purchase price ranges are determined, in part, by their income. And short sellers have to prove an economic hardship.
  3. Two months’ bank account statements. Who must produce it?  Buyers getting financing; sellers selling short. Why? Buyers’ lenders now require proof of regular income and proof that the down payment money is your own.  Short sellers?  It’s all about the hardship.
  4. Two years’ W-2 forms or tax returns. Who must produce it?  Mortgage-seeking buyers and short selling sellers. Why? Banks want to see a stable, long-term income. They also limit you to claiming as income the amount on which you pay taxes (attn: all business owners!). And in short sales, again, they want documentation of every single facet of your finances.
  5. Updated everything. Who must produce it? Buyer/mortgage applicants. Why? Because things change, and because the time period between the first loan application and closing can be many months - even years! - on today’s market. During the time between contract and closing it’s not at all unusual for underwriters to demand buyers produce updated mortgage statements, checks stubs, and such - and its quite common for them to call your office the day before closing to request a last minute verification of employment!
  6. Quitclaim deed. Who must produce it?  Married buyers purchasing homes they plan to own as separate property.  Married sellers selling homes that they own separately, or joint owners selling their interests separately.  Why? With the Quitclaim Deed, the other spouse or owner signs any and all interests they even might have had in the property over the the selling owner, making it possible for the title insurer to guarantee clear, undisputed title is being transferred in the sale.
  7. Divorce decree.  Who must produce it? Buyers and sellers who need to document their solo status or the property-splitting terms of their divorce. Why? Again, to ensure that the seller has the right to sell.  Recently single buyers might need to prove that they shouldn’t be held to account for their ex’s separate debts or credit report dings.
  8. Gift letters.  Who must produce it? Buyers using gift money toward their down payment.  Why? The bank wants to be sure the gift came from a relative, and is their own money to give.  They also want the relative to confirm in writing that it’s a gift, not a loan - a loan would need to be factored into your debt load.
  9. Compliance certificates. Who must produce it? Usually sellers, but sometimes buyers, by contract. Why? Some local governments require various condition requirements be met before the property is transferred, like some cities which require a sewer line be video scoped and repaired, cities which require a checklist of items be met before a certificate of occupancy be issued (usually relevant to brand new and really old homes, the latter of which are often subject to lead paint concerns) and energy conservation ordinances which require low-flow toilets and shower heads to be installed. Ask your real estate pro for advice about which, if any, such ordinances apply in your area.
  10. Mortgage statements. Who must produce it?  Any seller with a mortgage. Why? the escrow holder or title company will need to use them to order payoff demands from any mortgage holder who has to get paid before the property’s title can be transferred.
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 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
Friday, October 15 2010

Nearly eight out of 10 respondents believe buying a home is a good financial decision, despite ongoing challenges with the economy and housing market. That’s according to the 2010 National Housing Pulse Survey, an annual report released today by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS.®

The survey, which measures how affordable housing issues affect consumers, also found job security concerns to be the highest in eight years of sampling, with 70 percent of Americans saying that job layoffs and unemployment are a big problem in their area; eight in 10 cite these issues as a barrier to homeownership.

“The real issue facing the nation’s economy right now is that many Americans can’t find meaningful work to support their families,” said NAR President Vicki Cox Golder, owner of Vicki L. Cox & Associates in Tucson, Ariz.
“While a job recovery is what’s needed right now to get the economy and housing market back on the right track, owning a home continues to be part of the American Dream and one of the best long-term investments in your future.”

Despite economic uncertainty, 68 percent of those surveyed still believe now is a good time to buy a home; while that number is down from last year (75 percent), it’s up from 2008 (66 percent) and 2007 (59 percent). Lower home prices and record-low mortgage interest rates may be attracting buyers to the housing market – more than one-fourth of renters said they are thinking more about buying a home than they were a year ago. Sixty-three percent of renter respondents said that owning a home is a priority in their future, and nearly 40 percent said it was one of their highest priorities.

Lower home prices have improved affordability. In fact, the percentage of renters who are worried that the cost of housing is getting so unaffordable that they will never be able to buy a home has decreased steadily since 2007, from 63 to 57 percent.

Despite improved affordability, 79 percent of respondents still consider having enough money for down payment and closing costs to be among of the biggest obstacles to buying a home. Another obstacle is a lack of confidence in their ability to be approved for a loan, reported by 73 percent of respondents.

The good news is that Americans are seeing more stability in the real estate market. Nearly seven out of 10 believe that home values have stabilized in their area; the same number expects home sales to remain about the same through the end of the year.

While more than half (51 percent) say foreclosures are a problem in their area, the rate of foreclosures is also seen as stabilizing; 51 percent say the rate is about the same as last year. Thirty-six percent of respondents cite the recession, loss of jobs and the poor economy as the main reason for the ongoing foreclosure problem. This has also led to a slight increase in the number of people who believe the federal government should take a more active role overseeing loans and mortgages (44 percent, up from 43 percent last year).

While nearly seven out of 10 say it’s harder to sell a home in their area today than it was a year ago, it’s less of a concern from last year when the number was 10 percentage points higher. This is most likely the result of lower home inventories.

The 2010 National Housing Pulse Survey is conducted by American Strategies and Myers Research & Strategic Services for NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program. The telephone survey was among 1,209 adults living in the 25 most populous metropolitan statistical areas. The study has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program,
www.realtor.org/housingopportunity, was created in 2002 to encourage local Realtor® associations to create initiatives that help increase housing opportunities available to consumers and make affordable housing more readily available in their communities.

Source: NAR

http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2010101401?OpenDocument

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, August 10 2010
If you're planning to buy a house, rent a different apartment or relocate your family anytime soon, chances are you didn't think that moving could make you the victim of identity theft.

But during a move, homeowners and renters alike are particularly susceptible to identity theft -- a crime which is especially prevalent during the summer, since half of all moves in the United States take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

So in addition to packing and coordinating with the moving trucks, you also need to safeguard yourself from fraudsters.

"Regardless of what people say, you can't prevent ID theft. But you can be a lot more aware and take some strong precautions," says Steve Schwartz, executive vice president of consumer services for Intersections Inc., an identity protection company.

Schwartz provided a rundown of simple steps that you can take to minimize your risk of identity theft and maximize your safety and security before, during and after a move:


Top 10 Safety Steps for Homeowners and Renters on the Move


1. Write everything down

Before you move, make a list of all the personal mail you routinely receive. Tell your banks, financial institutions, creditors and others of the move and redirect all correspondence, statements and sensitive mailings to your new address.

Be sure to notify:
a. Retirement accounts/banking institutions/credit card companies
b. Utility companies (electric, gas, water, cable, etc.)
c. Insurance companies (medical, property, renters, fire and auto)
d. Local government agencies, federal agencies & the IRS
e. Healthcare providers
f. Schools
g. Publications to which you subscribe (magazines, newspapers, etc.)
h. Clubs you have memberships in

Alternatively, consider switching to online statements. According to the 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report from Javelin Strategy & Research, consumers with electronic statements needed less time to detect fraud and paid lower consumer costs ($116 vs. $274) than those monitoring paper statements.


2. Submit a change of address form to the U.S. Post Office

Once your form has been filed, double-check the confirmation from the Postal Service to make sure that they list your new address correctly. Your mail should start being delivered to your new residence within seven to 10 business days after you submit a change-of-address filing.


3. Shred all sensitive documents that you won't take with you

Don't leave behind any paperwork, including credit card offers, that con artists can use if they go through your trash. Instead shred them yourself. A good shredder will cost just $50 or so.


4. Thoroughly research your moving company

Mover fraud is on the rise nationwide. To thwart this crime, properly investigate local moving companies by getting recommendations from trustworthy friends, family members, and real estate agents. Also, check a mover's rating with the Better Business Bureau. Finally, only pick a mover that is registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and that has a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDDOT) number. The most reputable ones will supply you this information on request.


5. Remain present during the entire move

This may not always be possible, but just being there with the movers could help deter potential identity theft. Plus, you'll get to oversee any remaining packing or moving activities to make sure things are being handled properly.


6. Transport important physical documents properly
Transfer all sensitive documents – like wills, insurance policies, stock certificates or bonds – to a safe and secure place, such as a locked box, and keep these items with you personally during the move; don't hand them off to your moving company. You can also transfer sensitive documents to an online secure vault.


7. Lock down your computer

Don't make the mistake of leaving your computers (desktops and laptops included) readily accessible to your movers. Instead, secure those items before the movers even arrive. Take all computers, hard drives and other external storage devices with you during the move.

During his last move, "I packed my computers myself and they went in my car," says Schwartz, adding, "That's not a box you want to go with the mover."


8. Monitor bank and credit card statements

After your move, watch for unexplained charges or suspicious activity on your debit and credit cards. But also be aware that credit-related fraud "accounts for only about one-third of identity theft," Schwartz says. Non-credit related problems actually make up the bulk of problems, with thieves stealing your personal information in order to open new cell phones or bank accounts, establish utility services, or even get payday loans and fake driver's licenses in your name.


9. Verify all mail, post-move

Use your previously-created checklist to make sure that everyone you notified about your move has, in fact, started sending your mail to your new address. If something is missing, follow up immediately to make sure mail isn't still being routed to your old address.


10. Create a secure zone

After your move, even though there may be loads of boxes and furniture everywhere, carve out a secure zone – preferably one that's off-limits to movers and others. This is where you'll store computer items, check your data files or do personal financial record-keeping, like balancing your checkbook or reviewing credit card statements.


Regardless of whether you're relocating across town or clear across the country, a move can be hectic and stressful. But by taking some or all of the steps above, you'll help ensure that one important thing – your identity – doesn't get overlooked during your busy transition.
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  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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