Friday, July 24, 2009

Things you Never Want to Hear a Homeowner Say to You

1. “This House Pretty Much Survived the Explosion.”

Yes, houses do blow up. Some by gas. Some by fires. Others by meth
labs. It’s that last one that should raise a red flag.

2. “The Neighbor Was Released from Prison Yesterday”

Your response to this question should be, “Oh, so…what did he do?”
Even if it runs along the gamut of white-collar crime [you know,
embezzlement or extortion or tax evasion], nobody wants to live next
door to a criminal. Be careful.

3. “Cars Only Drive Fast Down This Road in the Evening”

The operative word, of course, is ONLY. The rest of the time the road
is mild. Perhaps there’s the rare Monte Carlo that zips down the road
and doesn’t make the turn and ends up in your yard…but no worries.
That ONLY happens once a year.

4. “Those Homeowners Back There Just Sold to a Guy Who’s Going to
Build Some Apartments”

Hear that sound? It’s the sound of property values dropping. Fast.
Run. For. Your. Life.

5. “The Basement Gets Damp When It Rains”

Translated: “Water levels reach about to my knees when it rains…but
it’s all gone within a day or two.”

6. ”I Think Somebody Died in the Bathroom”

Drug overdose? Murder? Natural death? Help me here. HOW they died is
just as important as THAT they died. Though the creepy factor still

7. “My Husband Got Busted Growing Pot in That Room”

The follow up statement from the homeowner might resemble a fumbling
recovery, something like, “My eyes. My eyes. I have really bad
cataracts. The marijuana helped me…not that I smoke it any more.”

8. “Michael Jackson Was Born Here”

Or, insert any famous, historical person. If that’s the case, you’re
likely to get a lot of unwelcomed visitors pausing in front of the
house to take pictures or snooping in the backyard or peeping through
a window. At least that’s what a potential buyer is probably thinking.

9. “You’ll Be Close to the Airport”

Wonderful, if you’re a commercial pilot. Everyone else, welcome to
Camp Insomnia.

10. “Sure, The House Is Settling a Little”

Will it settle more? Maybe. Maybe not. Are you certain about
everything in life? Have a little fun. Live large. Take life by the
horns. Seize the day. Live over abandoned mine shafts. Besides, it’s a
great topic for cocktail conversations.

-From Disarmed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tips for First Time Homebuyers

Tips for First-time Buyers

womanIf you're a first-time home buyer, you've probably discovered that you have a lot to learn - and unfortunately, it's all too easy to get burned. But don't be discouraged. By doing some research, you can avoid common first-time buyer mistakes.

Try to Refrain from Large Purchases

If possible, don't make any big purchases or take out loans that you can't pay off in full within six months. When you're calculating how much you can afford to spend on a home, your total monthly debt should not exceed 36% of your gross monthly income. If you owe any more than that, you could find it hard to get a loan. If you must have that new car, wait until closing is completed before you buy so that your purchase doesn't affect your mortgage eligibility.

Investigate "Hidden" Costs

Closing costs are normally 3-5% of the property's value. In addition, owning a home has associated costs - insurance, property taxes, and maintenance all add up. Plan to spend 1% of your property's value on annual repairs. Remember that moving into your first home probably means spending extra money on furnishings, too. Take all of these things into account when you're calculating how much you can afford to borrow, and how much you'll need to cover up-front costs.

Study the Market

When you've decided on the area you want to move to, do some research and get a Current Market Analysis (CMA). A CMA will calculate the market value for the type of home you're interested in on the basis of recent sale prices of similar properties and will help you determine if properties you're interested in are priced competitively.

In addition you need to decide if it's the right time for you to buy. If you have only a small amount of cash for a down-payment, if interest rates are high, or if property prices are predicted to drop in the near future, consider holding off for six months or a year, until the market is more favorable.

Shop Around for a Loan

In a hot market, sellers often only consider bids from buyers who have mortgage pre-approval. Don't use this as a reason to rush into getting a mortgage. Take the time to find a good deal, and carefully consider your options when it comes to interest rates and other terms. Take into account how long you intend to live in the property. If you plan to move out after a few years, an adjustable rate mortgage may work better for you.

Your lender is required to give you a Good Faith Estimate within three days of your loan application. This documents your closing costs and expenses related to inspections, taxes, title insurance and other essentials. Get a copy of the Good Faith Estimate before making a commitment so that you're aware of these costs up front.

Hire Independent Inspectors

When you find a property you like, the next step is hiring inspectors. This is usually optional, but it's still an important part of the process. Before you make this purchase, you need know all about the property - whether it's structurally sound, if the plumbing and wiring are in good condition, and if it has sustained any major pest damage. Your agent may provide you with a list of contacts or may offer to help handle it. However, it may be more prudent to hire independent inspectors. Using an agent's "buddies" sounds attractive because it's one less thing for you to do, but on the other hand the agent wants this deal to close so they can collect their commission, and they may not have your best interests in mind.

Don't Let Your Emotions Take Over

Buying a house can be stressful. Try to keep a cool head and be realistic. If small repairs are needed on a property that you really like, don't be discouraged if the seller refuses to take care of them. Instead, negotiate a lower sales price. Similarly, set a limit on what type of repairs you're willing to tackle yourself and then stick with that limit. If you don't want to cope with major structural repairs then avoid properties that need them, no matter how much you like it or how flexible the seller is willing to be on price.

Just as importantly, don't let anyone talk you into something you can't afford. Once you've made the decision on how much you want to borrow, don't change your mind, or you may end up in financial difficulty later on.

-- From

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What Stops People From Buying Homes?

Daily Real Estate News | July 10, 2009
Downpayment, Closing Costs Biggest Obstacles

Most Americans still consider having enough money for downpayment and closing costs to be the biggest obstacles to buying a home, according to the 2009 National Housing Pulse Survey, an annual survey released Thursday 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 seven years of sampling. Two-thirds of Americans think job layoffs and unemployment are a big problem; eight in 10 cite these issues as a barrier to homeownership.

“Homeownership is an investment in your future; however, saving for a downpayment and closing costs is still too great of an obstacle for 82 percent of house hunters looking to take advantage of the current market,” says NAR President Charles McMillan. “Monetizing the $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit for downpayment or closing costs on FHA-insured mortgages is a positive first step. Our hope is that the tax credit will be extended and expanded to all home buyers and will help bring stability to the housing market and enable more Americans to achieve the dream of homeownership."

Survey: Consumers Still Believe in Homeownership

Despite the challenges with the economy and housing market, 83 percent of Americans still believe buying a home is a good financial decision.

Three-fourths of those surveyed also believe now is a good time to buy a home, a number that has increased steadily the past two years. In fact, one-third of renters are thinking more about buying home than they were a year ago.

While Americans are seeing more stability in the real estate market, uncertainty persists. The number of those who feel buying and selling activity has stabilized or stayed nearly the same has grown significantly, from 18 percent last year to 26 percent this year. However the majority (58 percent) report that activity in their market has slowed.

Regarding home sales, nearly eight in 10 say it’s harder to sell a home in their area today than it was a year ago, despite the fact that nearly three-fourths of respondents say home prices are less expensive. Large home inventories could be to blame; 44 percent cite concerns about the high number of homes and condos for sale in their area.

While nearly three-fourths of Americans are concerned about the local drop in home values, respondents expect to see more stability in the near future. Nearly seven in 10 expect local home prices to remain about the same in the next three months; only 18 percent expect prices to further decrease. The drop in prices has improved affordability, and consequently, concerns about the lack of affordable housing are the lowest they’ve been in seven years of polling – 34 percent say it’s one of their biggest worries, down from 41 percent two years ago.

Foreclosures Among Top Concerns

Foreclosures remain a real concern among survey respondents. Slightly more than half (51 percent) say foreclosures are a big to moderate problem in their area. However, the rate of foreclosures is generally seen as stabilizing; 41 percent say the rate of foreclosures in their area is about the same as last year.

Ninety-two percent of respondents said neither they nor members of their immediate family have experienced a foreclosure in the past year, yet it is still a personal concern for many. One in five respondents said they are very or fairly worried that they will have difficulty making their mortgage payments over the next year. Thirty-two percent say it’s a big or moderate worry that they, or a member of their family, may have their home repossessed or foreclosed because they are unable to pay rising monthly mortgage payments.

In 2008, more than half of respondents (54 percent) were open to the federal government taking a more active role in overseeing mortgage and lending practices – the number dropped this year to 47 percent. This could be because 42 percent of Americans believe the country is back on the right track, more than double the number last year (16 percent).

Obtaining Financing Another Obstacle

Regarding financing, seven in 10 Americans cite a lack of confidence in their ability to be approved for a home loan as an obstacle to homeownership. The same number also say that banks are making it too hard to qualify for a loan (71 percent) and that fewer mortgage options offered by banks have made it harder for them to buy a home (71 percent). The perception of qualifying for a loan as a huge obstacle is especially high among minorities.

“Home buyers need protection from risky lending products but also need access to mortgages at a reasonable cost. While there has been some easing of credit in the mortgage market, the availability of credit continues to be an issue for many qualified home buyers,” says McMillan.

The 2009 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 1,250 adults living in the 25 most populous metropolitan statistical areas.

Source: NAR

Got Questions? See our website for tons of information about financing, downpayment assistance, government grant programs, and the pitfalls and benefits of buying a home.

News From NAR

Check out this web page belonging to the National Association of Realtors -

These commercials are a reflection of the current Houston Market, with buyers being in positions of power. Interest rates are low and first time homebuyers, or those who haven't bought a house in the last three years are eligible for 8000 cash back from the government!

See these videos for more!

Friday, July 10, 2009

More about HUD Homes

When the government bailed out the huge loan companies and banks one of the things they were doing was buying "bad" loans that these banks had given out. What this means for homebuyers is that government owned properties have more than TRIPLED since the bailout. AND - unlike a few years ago when government HUD homes could only be found in areas of low income. Now however HUD homes are all over - including very nice residential suburbs like KATY and CYPRESS and SPRING! These are good areas with great schools.

HUD homes are great homes that are discounted up to 70% off market price. AND if you get FHA financing you can own one of these homes with only a $100 down payment!

However, you have to have a HUD approved Agent in order to make a bid on these houses. If you are interested in learning more, check out our websites:
-OR- <--- fill out the contact form and we promise to get in touch with you within 24 hours.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Recognized by the BBB!

Texas American Lending - a partner of Tiger Real Estate was recognized by the BBB for maintaining high standards without ANY complaints!

See our exemplary Real Estate website for more information on this and other awards and to see the exceptional service provided by our team.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Join us on Some of Our Other Sites

Join me, Joe Edwards -or- Tiger Real Estate on the following Websites: