Now is a Good Time to Sell

 

In DC and surrounding suburbs, the competition to buy remains relatively high due to the low inventory of homes on the market. This shortage of quality homes is creating problems for would be home buyers who are pushing home prices up due to this lack of inventory.

These higher home prices are finally generating equity for many homeowners after years of a dismal market.  With competition high and an increase in prices, many homeowners are finally able to sell their homes without bringing money to the settlement table.

With low supply, steady demand and low interest rate, now is a great time to consider selling.

If you are thinking of selling or just want to know market conditions in your area, please email or give us a call.

 

DIY: Glamour Pumpkins for Inside, Maybe the Porch

I’ve fallen in love with the concept of no carve pumpkins. Gone are the days of spreading newspapers on a table (well, maybe not), wielding a sharp knife and digging through pumpkin pulp resulting in a okay pumpkin with asymmetrical  eyes.

I loved Martha Stewart’s’ no carve pumpkin segment on NBC  Today Show last week, but this DIY project post from Erika has impressed me the most. Simple, yet ridiculously chic and glamorous.

I know many of you still like the traditional route of carving a pumpkin, but this technique works for me.

Photo from Smallshopstudio

Short Sale an Alternative to Foreclosure

 

If you’re thinking of selling your home, and you expect that the total amount you owe on your mortgage will be greater than the selling price of your home, you may be facing a short sale. A short sale is one where the net proceeds from the sale won’t cover your total mortgage obligation and closing costs, and you don’t have other sources of money to cover the deficiency. A short sale is different from a foreclosure, which is when your lender takes title of your home through a lengthy legal process and then sells it.

1. Consider loan modification first. If you are thinking of selling your home because of financial difficulties and you anticipate a short sale, first contact your lender to see if it has any programs to help you stay in your home. Your lender may agree to a modification such as: Refinancing your loan at a lower interest rate; providing a different payment plan to help you get caught up; or providing a forbearance period if your situation is temporary. When a loan modification still isn’t enough to relieve your financial problems, a short sale could be your best option if:

  •  Your property is worth less than the total mortgage you owe on it.
  • You have a financial hardship, such as a job loss or major medical bills.
  • You have contacted your lender and it is willing to entertain a short sale.

2. Hire a qualified professional. Here at The Rich Team, we are qualified real estate professionals who can assist you in navigating the short sale process.  Working with us you will feel confident knowing we have extensive knowledge of the short-sale process and who won’t try to take advantage of your situation or pressure you to do something that isn’t in your best interest. Our team of real estate professionals can:

  •  Provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) or broker price opinion (BPO).
  • Help you set an appropriate listing price for your home, market the home, and get it sold.
  • Ease the process of working with your lender or lenders.
  • Negotiate the contract with the buyers.
  • Help you put together the short-sale package to send to your lender (or lenders, if you have more than one mortgage) for approval. You can’t sell your home without your lender and any other lien holders agreeing to the sale and releasing the lien so that the buyers can get clear title.

3. Begin gathering documentation before any offers come in. Your lender will give you a list of documents it requires to consider a short sale. The short-sale “package” that accompanies any offer typically must include:

  •  A hardship letter detailing your financial situation and why you need the short sale
  • A copy of the purchase contract and listing agreement
  • Proof of your income and assets
  • Copies of your federal income tax returns for the past two years

4. Prepare buyers for a lengthy waiting period. Even if you’re well organized and have all the documents in place, be prepared for a long process. Waiting for your lender’s review of the short-sale package can take several weeks to months. Some experts say:

  •  If you have only one mortgage, the review can take about two months.
  • With a first and second mortgage with the same lender, the review can take about three months.
  • With two or more mortgages with different lenders, it can take four months or longer.

When the bank does respond, it can approve the short sale, make a counteroffer, or deny the short sale. The last two actions can lengthen the process or put you back at square one. (Your real estate attorney and real estate professional, with your authorization, can work your lender’s loss mitigation department on your behalf to prepare the proper documentation and speed the process along.)

5. Don’t expect a short sale to solve your financial problems. Even if your lender does approve the short sale, it may not be the end of all your financial woes. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  •  You may be asked by your lender to sign a promissory note agreeing to pay back the amount of your loan not paid off by the short sale. If your financial hardship is permanent and you can’t pay back the balance, talk with your real estate attorney about your options.
  • Any amount of your mortgage that is forgiven by your lender is typically considered income, and you may have to pay taxes on that amount. Under a temporary measure passed in 2007, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation Act, homeowners can exclude debt forgiveness on their federal tax returns from income for loans discharged in calendar years 2007 through 2012. Be sure to consult your real estate attorney and your accountant to see whether you qualify.
  • Having a portion of your debt forgiven may have an adverse effect on your credit score. However, a short sale will impact your credit score less than foreclosure and bankruptcy.

If  you have fallen behind on your mortgage payments, and don’t know what to do?  a short sale may be the solution you have been searching for.

Contact me at info@richandthecity or 301-613-7257 for a FREE consultation to find out if a short sale is right for you.

 

Today’s Eye Candy and Kudos to Nate Berkus for Re-Use!

I just love Architectural Digest’s annual Before and After issue, I call it the reno issue. Every November, the publication showcases top designers projects, documented from overhaul to fabulous.

This year, my favorite was Nate Berkus renovation of his New York City duplex. In this transformation, Berkus teamed with designer Carlos Huber and completed the entire project in less than four months. I know many of you investors wish you could turn around your projects in such a timely manner.

                                                                                                                              BEFORE

I adore Nate’s polished style such as his use of marble mantels, vintage hardware, herringbone parquet floors and great color palette, each room has a touch of glamour. But what I liked most from this project was his re-use of the kitchen cabinets. He’s given these cabinets a second life and a much more appealing look with the high-gloss black paint.

Anyone who knows me or who has worked with me in purchasing a home,  know that I’m a big advocate of the re-use or re-purposing of building materials. Not only for just economic reasons, so it stays out of the landfills.

Okay, I’m off my soapbox! Take a look at the incredibly beautiful results for yourself. The magazine is on newsstands now, but you can read all about the process here on the  AD Website

Photos courtesy of Architectural Digest

It’s Raining Men….I Mean Money!

It’s a great time to buy! Yeah, yeah, yeah…… you hear it all the time lately. Even housing price indicators and low interest rates for the last few months reflect that sentiment.

But really, it is a great time to buy! Fortunately, there are many housing assistance programs available through federal, state and local agencies for many credit and income-eligible home buyers.

The District of Columbia offers the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP) where qualified applicants can receive up to $44,000 in financial assistance (a low interest 5 year deferred loan) to purchase a single family house, condo or co-op.

Prince George’s county offers up to $60,000 in low interest deferred loans for purchases in targeted areas. This program, The Neighborhood Stabilization Program is a 0% interest loan for purchasers and if this is your primary residence and you stay in the home at least 10 years, no repayment of this money is necessary.

College Park offers a similar program called the “Work & Live College Park”. This program offer up to $35,000 in down payment and closing costs assistance if the buyer works and purchases a foreclosed home in portions of the 20740 zip code.

Montgomery County offers several programs which includes the Montgomery County Closing Assistance Program which offers up to $7,500 or 5% of the sales price, whichever is less.

For our veterans and their families, Maryland has allocated $50 million dollars for a home purchase. This program called The Veterans and Military Family Mortgage Program offers closing costs assistance up to $10,000 in addition to loans with  interest rates at 2.875% for purchases in targeted areas. This program is available for active duty and honorably discharged veterans.

Keep in mind, the pool of money available through these programs to home buyers is limited, so please contact me today for additional information about these programs and for a list of additional housing assistance programs.

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