Interest Rates are Dropping, Home Buyers are Leaping

Remarkable things have occurred in the real estate market in 2012. Due to an influx of foreclosures hitting all over the country, massive layoffs leaving millions out of works, and the general decline in American wages, interest rates started getting chopped to percentages never before seen. At the end of May, 2012, there were fifteen year loans being offered for less than 3%. Many renters jumped on the opportunity to purchase homes at those unbeatably-low rates.

Long term, or thirty-year, interest rates dropped under 4% in December of 2011, but no one expected that they would continue to drop through 2011. At the end of May, 2012, rates for these long term loans were at 3.75, which was a decrease over rates just the week prior.

This fast dropping of interest rates has stimulated some improvement in the real estate market. While foreign investors have been busy scooping up the lowest priced foreclosure homes, the drop in interest rates has opened the door for more average Americans to make their dreams of homeownership come true.

Since lower interest rates means lower monthly payments, more renters in particular are now able to afford their own home. This is especially true when they shop for foreclosure home and very cheap homes offered on websites like RealtyStore.com. The combination of lower sale prices due to massive foreclosures sitting in the hands of overwhelmed banks and record lows in the interest rate department has created an irresistible opportunity for those who have been dreaming of owning their own homes.

While this looks like great news for homeowners waiting for prices to build back up so they can get a fair deal on the sale of their homes, there are some things still holding some would-be homebuyers back. Some have bad credit after losing jobs in the years past, so they are going with rent-to-own opportunities rather than bank loans. Others realize that they still have to pay the fees, or points, that must be used to get those incredibly low interest rates. The cost of those points is not decreasing like the lowered interest rates.

Even with those obstacles, this is clearly a great time for anyone able to get a loan to become a homebuyer. With so many cheap homes on the market, many are purchasing second homes, vacation homes, or rental homes. With so many bank foreclosures pulling the market down, this is a great time for future homeowners to get great deals on beautiful homes.

Are Foreclosures Good For The Housing Market?

The underlying belief in the country, whether one considers a social worker, a professional or the common man, is that foreclosures and short sales are not good for homeowners or the real estate market in general. In fact, it is this premise on which many states have put in place stringent anti foreclosures laws. However, now that some time has passed and the results of these measures are coming to the fore, experts are stating that these anti foreclosures laws are turning out to be counterproductive for the real estate market in general.

According to a recent study conducted by the United States Federal Reserve, states that require judicial reviews for bank foreclosures are more likely to suffer from a slow turnaround of the real estate market than others.

The prime example of the aforementioned fact is that the Nevada real estate market is one of the few markets in the country that is not showing any improvements or even signs of improvement. This is surprising for many because the state, after the 2008 real estate crash, actually put in place borrower protection laws that are considered to be one of the most stringent in the country.

One of the main reasons for this phenomenon, as per many experts of the industry, is that with fewer bank  foreclosures in the market the inventory suffers, resulting in a false price bubble. Similarly, as homeowners with poor credit get to stay in homes that they know they will be leaving in the future, the result is that they fail to maintain it, which reduces its prices further.

Obama Smooths the Way for More Foreclosures

Shocking isn’t it? According to some news outlets the hope and change president has precipitated change that no one wants and taken the hope of many American homeowners! Are these allegations true? If you look at the current rate of foreclosures across the country and the settlement between the states and big banks (orchestrated by the Obama administration), it definitely looks plausible.

This brings up the real question of the day, what are homeowners and potential homeowners to do? Foreclosures are up in New Jersey by 118%, Florida is at 83% and Pennsylvania suffered a 97% increase. These are just a few states seeing record number foreclosures; overall, 17 states have seen dramatic increases.

With this kind of depressing news, floating around buyers may be tempted to take cover and wait out the storm. Which is exactly the wrong thing! In truth, the time has never been better to seek out real estate deals. Foreclosure listings are filling up but that does not mean a buyer cannot find a great deal. Prices are down and credit is hard to come by, but rent to own, HUD homes and short sales provide huge opportunities for the person brave enough to seek them out.

If that sounds like taking advantage, it is not, homeowners facing bank foreclosures are many times desperate to get out from under mortgage payments and are highly motivated to make a deal! Take the time today to examine the foreclosure listings across the country and perhaps find your dream home.

Jack Philson, an analyst at RealtyStore.com, has posted an article discussing both Romney and Obama and their statements on the bank foreclosures crisis.

The Debt Relief Act with Short Sale and Foreclosures

We will likely see an onslaught of short sales within the next six months due to the tax break expiring soon. The Act that first showed in 2007 may disappear by the end of this year. This will cause a rush on selling homes through short sale to avoid possible foreclosures. A short sale is a sale where the price received is a lot less, by as much as 50% of the amount owed to the mortgage company. Many find they are in trouble with their mortgage payments when their cash flow slows down or they lose part of all of their income.

People choose the short sale if the bank agrees to get out from under the hefty mortgage payments they can no longer make. Short sales save homeowners from foreclosures, which are hard on all parties involved. Right now, the 2007 Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act allows short sales to occur without the burden of paying taxes on the amount they were “forgiven.” Once the Act is gone, sellers will owe taxes on the difference treating it as a gift in which they had to pay taxes. The Act might extend for another year or two.

Short sales are a good way to get a home for less. RealtyStore.com is one of the best resources online for finding such deals.

Smoke-Free Housing Tools from HUD

The Housing and Urban Development Department of the United States of America along with the United States department of Health and Human Services and health advocates has unveiled a series of tools for making HUD homes smoke free. The tool kits which were developed by Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control of HUD in conjunction with other agencies are designed to make home owners and home managers more aware with regard to smoke free housing policies for HUD homes.

While these initiatives from HUD are bound to improve the quality of HUD homes, they will also end up making cheap homes more attractive to potential buyers as they would be buying homes that will automatically give them healthier lifestyles. These tool kits are easy enough to be used by all types of people involved with homes such as multifamily housing managers, individual residents and even public housing agencies. In fact, there are specific tool kits for different types of people such as tool kits for owners and for residents.

Some basic aspects of these tool kits include an information based guide focusing on no smoking policies, resident survey templates, home smoke free pledge kits and a series of other highly relevant educational material that can be used to make HUD homes a better place to live in.

High Bank Foreclosures in Rhode Island: Despite Millions in Aid Available

Unemployment, horrible housing market and economic hardship is no longer breaking news, even in hard hit areas such as Rhode Island. What may shock you however is the fact that there are millions of dollars in financial aid for homeowners at risk for foreclosures that is not being spent! Rhode Island foreclosures are the highest in New England and one of the highest in the United States as well.

Rhode Island has access to $79 million dollars in aid for struggling homeowners, of which only $25 million has been allocated. The state and several other “hardest hit” areas have received federal aid but Rhode Island seems to be slower than most at dispensing the funds.

With high bank foreclosures in Rhode Island coupled with a nearly 11% unemployment rate, you may be wondering why more people are not receiving this much needed aid. There are several factors at play apparently, including the reticence of some to accept government help. Apparently, the main hold up is a slow roll out of the program and very little information in the general public.

There is also the reluctance of national lenders to work within the guidelines of the program in Rhode Island, citing issues with operational details throughout the 19 different jurisdictions.

Rhode Island has struggled to put the hardest hit funds to good use, as have several other recipient states. Each state had to build programs from scratch that would utilize the money appropriately. Thankfully, the tide appears to be turning and more homeowners will be able to save their homes in the coming years. Requests for assistance are up approximately 40% and the funds will be available through 2017.

The Queen of Versailles: Naivetee, arrogance, or both?

A house that is ready to be foreclosed upon, a family whose idea of economy is taking a super stretch limo to McDonalds and hanging on to the solid gold purse while not paying the staff enough money and working them longer hours, you have to wonder how in the world this billionaire became a billionaire and why his children and wife seem to have the business sense of a retriever.

90 thousand square feet will soon be up for grabs when the threatened bank foreclosures take hold of the Siegel family home, or a short sale is arranged to avoid one. Back in 2012, with the house still under construction and billed as one of the largest homes in the United States, the Siegels had not grasped the fact that their reign was soon coming to an end. In a world where bank foreclosures and short sales are part and parcel of everyday life to many Americans, the Siegels were living in their own little dream world.

David is generally portrayed in the media as a study in hubris, telling the world that he was nearly “singlehandedly” responsible for putting George W. Bush in the White House. Nowadays his wife Jackie, in an attempt to save money, takes a stretch limousine to McDonalds to purchase a meal.

When asked questions about the remainder of the world and how they are having to tighten their belts to make ends meet, the Siegels respond “Let them eat cake.”

If you believe the portrayal of this family in the upcoming “Queen of Versailles” documentary, this is a family that loses multiple pets because they’ve lost track of them and/or forgotten to feed them, while dog feces is often deposited unceremoniously about the floor on costly rugs. It is a study in contradictions.

Today, rather than cake, the Siegels order dollar menu items from a stretch limo and hang on to the trappings of wealth, while trying to sell their home for more than 75 million–a home which is not yet completed.

The world looks in awe at the the lifestyles of people like the Siegels, while those who are a bit more practical can find in this story much cause to be amused and saddened.

You can see a gallery of over 100 photos of the Versailles project here.

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Investors and home buyers eager to buy bank foreclosures

The demand for bank foreclosures is basically tripling among all home buyers in the U.S., according to recently released information. Realtor.com recently released a poll that confirmed this information. The bottom line of this new information is highly interesting, as it essentially verifies that the once-dominant shame of purchasing bank foreclosures as residences has strongly dissipated.

Based upon information from Realtor.com, we realize for a fact that the interest among homebuyers for foreclosures actually skyrocketed a whopping 159 percent since just October of 2009. If you look at it in the right context, it is almost surprising just how many of today’s homebuyers are really serious about purchasing bank foreclosures. Greater than 66 percent of the homebuyers of today have asserted, according to the Realtor.com poll, that they would be more than happy to purchase a foreclosure. This is extremely significant when you compare the attitudes of homebuyers of today to the attitudes of the homebuyers from just two-and-a-half years ago, back when only a little bit more than a quarter of all the homebuyers said they would be open to purchasing foreclosures!

It turns out that there are quite a few varied reasons for this surprising and growing interest in the purchase of bank foreclosures (which should obviously help grow the foreclosure listings, too). First, there is just a lessening of the supply. Second, there is the expectation that the prices of homes are going to increase in the near future. Finally, there is also the change in the attitude toward bank foreclosures. This change in attitude is especially prevalent among the owner/occupant set.

It is also interesting to note a recent blog post that has appeared on the authoritative RealtyStore.com website. In this post, it is explained that a possible increase in foreclosures is actually a good thing for the real estate market, as these increased foreclosures are actually required medicine to help the market recover in the long term!

People who are searching for bank foreclosures - and there are more and more who are searching for them - should consult RealtyStore. As it stands, it is the premier website that helps folks search for and find the foreclosure of their dreams, as well as any bargain homes that will also pop up on the site. The advantage with searching for homes on the RealtyStore.com website is that one can easily find all sorts of bank foreclosures all across the nation.

Buy your college kid a condo

Over four years, college students (or their parents) can expect to end up paying in excess of $10,000 for room and board alone. A much better option is to purchase a small property near campus.

It’s often possible to find affordable housing near campus that can be purchased and used instead of campus housing. Here are some of the advantages to purchasing rather than paying for campus living or renting an apartment:

Potential return on investment

With the real estate market beginning to rebound, purchasing a home or condo in the area can prove to be a great investment. You’ll often find mortgages cheaper than average room and board, which will help you save money. Home ownership also offers great tax advantages that can help you save money too. And since properties near campus are easy to rent out, you can easily turn this into an income property once your kid graduates.

More stability for the student

Think about the lessened anxiety for the student. No longer having to run around looking for places to rent, no longer being tied to the institution for housing needs. There’s also the added bonus in the maturity, accountability and investment savvy that your kid will acquire, especially if you make him/her a partner in the upkeep and finances related to the property.

Where to find cheap homes near campus

Your local paper, school directories, craigslist, the classifieds, realtor.com are all good sources of info on cheap homes near campus. But we recommend you subscribe to RealtyStore.com using their special offer for students and military personnel – for just $5 per month, you’ll be able to search for bargain homes (foreclosures, pre-foreclosures, lease-options, fsbo’s, tax sales, and more) across the whole state of your choice.