Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Check this gold number out! How fun! Again, a a little black detail help anchor the dress and with matching platform black heels give a nod to the 60's with mod dresses like this. This would be the perfect New Years Eve party dress! I saw something similar to this for sale at Lucy's on Hudson Street between Newark and 1st streets. If you have a velvet belt, it would work perfect - I would even do a dark plum color with matching pumps for some punch!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
November home sales leap
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- After surging 10% in October, sales of existing homes jumped again in November, growing 7.4% compared with October to an annualized rate of 6.54 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors.
"This clearly is a rush of first-time buyers not wanting to miss out on the tax credit," said NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun.
Read fully story here
During my real estate conference in Atlantic City, I attended a seminar with Mr Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtor's chief economist, who shared some very interesting and optimistic information with us.
I will share with you my notes from this discussion with him.
He said that in a normal housing market, supply is usually at 6 months - that has been the historic average. He said that currently, we are trending down from 7 months and are very close to a normal housing market. Of course every market is different, but this is a positive sign when looking at the housing market as a whole.
He also said in a very convincing tone "the worst is over, momentum is steadily building." - Things that make you go hmmmm right? He said many times that we already hit bottom. Buyers that are waiting to see if prices will continue to go down, should buy now before news gets out and other buyer's figure it out or it will be too late soon.
He also made an interesting point and said that "home values have over-corrected." What does this mean? Well, that with prices dropping quickly and steadily over the last year or so, they have actually dipped too low according to historic trend lines. Which he also pointed out that our recession was right on schedule and we are repeating history. Because of this over-correction, he and his team made a strong case to the Obama administration regarding the extension of the home buyer tax credit and how this could help keep values from dropping further at levels that would be difficult to recover from. It seems that the home buyer tax credit is doing it's job, with a large percentage of sales across the board are from buyer's that are looking to cash in on the credit.
He also quoted that the NAR, Case Schiller, and FHFA (housing measure) all show that month to month, we are seeing price stabilization. He even felt confident enough to say that 'buyers buying today's market, are not losing money'.
We'll be seeing changes in FHA guidelines with tighter restrictions because of the large number of delinquencies in loans. They are considering raising the credit score requirement as well as lowering the loan limits as a way of preventing foreclosures in the future.
Lawrence Yun, told us that he predicts a 4% home price growth in 2010.
He predicts home mortgage interest rates to rise to 5.5% . He added that our budget deficits need to be reduced in order to keep rates low, and with Americans seeing these numbers rising not lowering any time soon.. where do you think rates will go..
When he speaks, people listen. Unfortunately he spoke so fast and went through a gazillion graphs that I was jotting down everything I could but missed some of his other points.. Like how he was explaining that if housing starts (new construction) stay low we could see a housing shortage in 2011 or 2012 - which will leave a big demand for homes.. I was interested in his interpretation of this because it could mean some lucrative opportunities should be had now by builders..
So here is some interesting information coming from a credible source, not just me and other real estate agents saying now might be the best time for you to buy. I hope this provides some new light for you - as clearly, it isn't all doom and gloom and we have crawled out of our buyers market it seems..
Monday, December 21, 2009
I went to Stacks this past Saturday morning after a long night of holiday partying. My boyfriend and I were looking forward to trying out the new nearby breakfast spot, since we love going out for breakfast, and had heard good things about Stacks. Our ultimate favorite place is the Brownstone Diner in Jersey City (also known for their pancakes), but we were excited to try someplace a bit closer to home in Hoboken.
We met up with another couple around 11am, and got on the line to get in. I had heard that the line would be really long- however, though we had to wait outside for a few minutes, once we got inside we were seated fairly quickly.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Some first time buyers can be overwhelmed with the buying process and even some repeat buyers too. I'm going to tell you a little about inspections and hopefully this will give you some ease..
So you've found a home, you've made an offer that's been accepted, and you even made it out of attorney review! Congratulations! You've been through a lot and you're half way there. Those first few steps can be emotionally draining so give yourself a pat on the back - you did it.
OK, next. The home inspection. Hopefully your realtor will refer you some local inspectors that they have personally used and are happy to put their name to them. If so, I would highly recommend you work with them, if not, then hopefully you've done your homework and have some referrals of your own. This is a large investment and it can be the difference of a good experience or a bad one. So always consider referrals.
One tip I always give my buyers is to come prepared to the inspection. Bring some measuring tape, a camera, and any friends and family that you'd like to see your future home. Since you won't be able to come back to the property until the actual day you close it's a great idea to take measurements for furniture, take some pictures for memory and picking paint colors, and bring your loved ones whose support is important to you.
On the day of the inspection, your realtor will be there as well. Expect to be there for about an hour - an hour an a half. Your inspector will walk you through what they will be checking, you'll also sign off that you've agreed to hire and pay your inspector if you haven't already. Then he will start to check the house in his own routine way. Remember, your inspector has most likely seen hundreds of homes and has his way of checking everything in an efficient manner. So it's best not to interrupt your home inspector until the end. Write down any questions you have, or anything you want to point out. Then when the inspection is done you can ask them and have them answered.
Your inspector will be checking all of the major appliances and running full cycles to make sure they work properly. They'll run water, check the electricity, any exposed pipes, lights, heating systems and central HVAC if there is one, windows, look for water moisture, any evidence of any leaks in the ceilings or around windows, if there is access they will look at the basement and roof as well.
Although in Hoboken, most times you'll be purchasing a condominium, it is still beneficial to look at the basement and roof. There can be water problems, mold in some rare cases, or poor electricity and hot water/furnace systems. As for the roof, obviously you want a good report. If the roof shows signs of wear and damage, then you can inquire with the condominium association to see if there are any plans on repairing this and whether or not there is enough money in the reserves to do so.
After the inspection is completed you, your attorney and your realtor will receive copies of the report. Any issues that came up will be itemized and included. At this point you will discuss with your realtor and attorney as to how to move forward. In most instances, you can ask that the seller repair what's wrong or provide you with a credit due at closing to address anything. Most inspections go well with only minor issues that sometimes don't even make it to the report. So take a deep breath! You have to finish applying for your mortgage.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Hello Hoboken Blog Readers! This article is from the monthly real estate E-Newsletter that I send to my clients. Read on and learn what's in store for you.
Expanded Tax Credit is Good News for First Time and Repeat Home Buyers Alike!
Home sellers and potential buyers nationwide welcomed the recent news that Congress had decided to extend and greatly expand the Home Buyer's tax credit in an attempt to further stimulate the economy. Not only does the new legislation extend the existing first time buyer's credit until mid-next year, but it also creates a tax credit for qualified repeat buyers. The change in legislation will relieve home buyers scrambling to meet the original deadline and may encourage a wider range of buyers to consider purchasing a residence.
What Has Changed with the New Law?
Deadline: Whereas the original tax credit was set to expire on December 1st, buyers now have additional time to find their dream home! Buyers must have a contract to purchase a residence in place before May 1 2010, and the deal must close before July 1, 2010 in order to take advantage of the tax credits. At this stage, no additional extensions are anticipated.
Sale Price Limit: A ceiling has now been set for the sales price of homes eligible for the tax credit. For purchases made after Nov. 6, the tax credit is only available for any homes costing less than $800,000.
$6,500 Credit for Repeat Buyers: Homeowners considering a new home purchase may now be eligible for their own tax credit. Taxpayers who have lived in the same residence for five consecutive years out of the past eight can now qualify for a tax credit of as much as 10% of the purchase price of a new principal residence (up to a maximum $6,500). The new residence need not be a single-family home, and there is no requirement that the new residence must cost more than the previous residence. Note: the credit for repeat buyers does not apply to homes purchased prior to November 6th of this year.
More Accommodating Income Requirements: The tax credit was designed to phase out based on income levels, meaning the amount of the tax credit decreases as the filer's income approaches the maximum limit. Under the previous format, income restrictions called for the tax credit to begin phasing out for individuals making $75,000 annually, (modified adjusted gross income*), with no credit available to individuals making $95,000 or more. For married couples filing jointly, this "phasing out" range was $150,000 - $170,000 under the previous law. The income limits set within the new law are far more liberal. For single filers, the credits now begin phasing out at $125,000 up to $145,000 of modified adjusted gross income. For married couples filing jointly, the range begins at $225,000 and ends at $245,000.
The existing phase-out ranges of $75,000 to $95,000 or $150,000 to $170,000 for joint filers still apply to purchases on or before Nov. 6, 2009.
(*For most people, modified adjusted gross income will be the same as adjusted gross income.)
Anti-Abuse Measures: The new law contains anti-abuse measures designed to address and prevent fraudulent applications for the home-buyer tax credit. Persons who are under the age of 18 or who are claimed as dependants by other taxpayers will not be qualified for the tax credit program. Taxpayers taking the credit will also have to furnish proof of purchase. After filling out IRS Form 5405 to determine their tax credit amount, buyers must attach a copy of their HUD-1 settlement form (i.e. closing statement) as proof of the completed home purchase.
Additional Limitations on Buyer-Seller Relationship: Under the previous law, buyers were not eligible for the tax credit when purchasing a home from a lineal ancestor or descendent. The new law applying to purchases made after Nov. 6 also prohibits buyers from taking the credit if the home is purchased from a spouse or the spouse's lineal relatives.
What Aspects of the Original Credit Remain?
Up to $8,000 Credit for New Buyers: First-time home buyers remain eligible for a credit of as much as 10% of the purchase price of a new principal residence, up to a maximum $8,000. "First-time" is still defined as buyers who haven't owned a principal residence for a three year period prior to the home purchase (including both partners of a married couple).
Three Year "Principle Residence" Window: Neither the New Home Buyer Credit nor the Repeat Home Buyer Credit needs to be repaid provided that the buyer(s) reside in the home for a period of three years following the purchase. If within 36 months of the date of purchase the property is no longer used as the taxpayer's principal residence, the taxpayer is required to repay the credit. Repayment of the full amount of the credit must be included with the income tax return for the year in which the home ceased to be the taxpayer's principal residence. The full amount of the credit is reflected as additional tax on that year's tax return.
Tax Credit <> Not Deduction: The credits offer a refundable dollar-for-dollar reduction in what the taxpayer owes. For example, a taxpayer who owes $10,000 and qualifies for the full $8,000 tax credit would only owe the IRS $2,000. This offers a greater savings than a tax deduction.
The term "refundable" means that either of the home buyer credits can be claimed even if the taxpayer has little to no federal income tax liability to offset. If the qualifying credit exceeds the taxpayer's liability, the government would refund the excess portion of the tax credit. For example, if you qualify for an $8,000 credit but only owe $5,000 in tax, you could receive a $3,000 check from the Internal Revenue Service.
Tax Return Filing Options: 2009 home buyers may claim the credit on either their 2008 or 2009 returns, while 2010 buyers can claim the credit on either their 2009 or 2010 returns.