Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Where is your market heading?

Home price trends and home inventory are important statistics for every buyer and seller.  All too often this data is hard to find or available only to agents.  We recently found a site that presents it in a simple, direct manner.

At Owner.com we believe data is critical for buyers and FSBO sellers working without a Realtor.  All to often it can take up all day sorting through Zillow or other popular real estate sites to find the information you need:  Where is your market moving, are prices up or down, and what is happening to inventory.

Luckily we found a great website that offers a direct simple way to track your market.
Check out Housing Tracker (housingtracker.net).   Clear data, clearly presented - that works for us!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How to Buy from an FSBO Seller

Some buyers feel nervous talking to and negotiating with a "By Owner" seller.  But remember FSBO sellers are ordinary people like the rest of us, they want to sell their home and are happy to talk to you.  As a buyer you can make the process easier by taking care of these five details before you call a seller.

1.  Get pre-qualified.   It is more important than ever in this market to talk to your bank or mortgage broker and make sure you will qualify for a the value of the home you want.   Put yourself in the seller's shoes - they don't know you or your financial situation.  By putting them at easy with a solid pre-qualification you will improve your standing as a buyer and make negotiations less stressful for both parties. Check what local mortgage rates are currently for your area.

2.  Decide if you are interested.  It sounds simple but often buyers don't know anything about a house before they start talking with a seller.  This can increase uncertainty which makes it hard for both sides.   Take the time to look at the homes full listing online and look at comparable listings to determine if you think the price is fair or in the ball park.

3.  Know your market. Is the seller offering a bargain?  Have they over priced?  These are all questions you can get a handle on before talking to them by reviewing comparable in the neighborhood.  One way to find out is to check comparable home prices have sold for recently.

4.  When you contact the seller, relax.  Even though it is a big purchase it is important to be yourself when talking to the seller.  They are probably as anxious as you and by knowing what your want and being calm you can put them at ease.  Remember when you first talk to them to cover the basics, you name, phone number so they can find you again then set up a time to see the house.  Ask if you can come back a second time, you'll get to know the house better and the sellers also.

5.  Make an offer. Do it directly yourself, or hire an agent to do it for you. When you negotiate the price and terms, remember, always keep it civil. Once you've come to a basic agreement, determine how the paperwork is going to be handled. Perhaps you'll want your attorney or agent to do it. Or maybe the sellers have already made arrangements with someone they know. Open escrow together, and go through the closing procedure.

It's not that hard. And, you could save a bundle if you've done your homework!"

For more on buying or selling a home including great tips from Robert Irwin, the leading real estate writer in America, visit the Owners article library.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mortgage Rates Steady in 2010?

Mortgage rates will stay between 5% and 6% in 2010.  Wishful thinking?  Not according to the head of Freddie Mac Charles Haldeman.

The US housing market has appeared to reach the bottom, and interest rates on 30 year mortgages will stay between 5% and 6% in 2010, were the predictions by the Mr Halderman, the  leader of Freddie Mac - the nation's second largest guarantor of residential mortgages.  

Now we know no one is able to predict the future, especially in real estate.  But we have noticed in the last year officials at the major housing institutions have been particularly cautious in making statements that can come back to haunt them, with congress and the press ready to call them on any undue optimism. So when we saw his speech to the Detroit Economic Club his assessment of the current housing market we felt a wave of encouragement, the kind we haven't felt in a while.

 "The numbers will always bounce around some, but from home sales to house prices, it appears that nationally we may at last be approaching a bottom." 

"The big downside risk to all this is a large wave of homes now in foreclosure potentially hitting the market at prices that are destructive."

Both of Haldeman's statements are cautious but reflect the data and trends of the last few months.  

Keep an eye on your local mortgage rates with Owners.com's Mortgage finder