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George Fitzpatrick's Blog

By George Fitzpatrick | Agent in New York
  • 5 Reasons Why Now Is A Good Time To Invest In The Housing Market

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Suffolk County, Home Buying in Suffolk County, Moving in Suffolk County  |  October 12, 2010 7:20 AM  |  290 views  |  No comments

    Foreclosures spiked in August 2010, with banks seizing 95,364 homes, according to RealtyTrac, a housing research firm. They were up 25% from August 2009 and at their highest level since the company started tracking this data in 2005.This is frightening news for homeowners, home sellers, and home builders who may feel like they are barely hanging on, because it signifies continuing weakness in the housing market. But all of the news isn’t bad, since this may signify that the worst is over. Here are some reasons why now is a good time to invest in the housing market.

    The trend may reverse. Actual foreclosures lag defaults and foreclosure notices, and both of these latter categories are going down. Default notices peaked in April 2009 at 142,062 and were at 96,469 last month, 30% below their year-ago level.

    The government programs have disappointed. Lots of foreclosures are coming now, because it took some time for folks trying to modify their mortgages under the government’s Making Home Affordable program to wash out. Some homeowners didn’t qualify, others did qualify but then fell behind on their modified mortgages. The Obama Administration mortgage relief program is now estimated to be able to help only one-sixth of the three million homeowners it had intended to aid.

    Homeowners who are current may have options. Last week, the Obama Administration launched its latest effort, which would help homeowners who are underwater (they owe more than the house is worth) with their mortgages but are making timely payments by reducing the amount owed. That’s good for folks who want to refinance but haven’t been able to, but there are ramifications. One, it will lower their credit score. And any secondary debt, such as a home equity line of credit, will greatly complicate any modifications, or make them impossible.

    It’s all regional, remember? Some housing markets are doing just fine. The biggest trouble spots in August probably sound familiar: Nevada, Florida, Arizona, and California. If you think you want to retire to one of those previously popular locales, it’s a good time to go shopping for your next home; you’ll get an excellent price. But beware the monthly fees: In communities with lots of foreclosures, people are walking away from their condo associations, too. The folks left are being forced to pony up higher amounts every month to make up for missing neighbors.

  • Moving Up In A Down Market

    Posted Under: Home Buying in New York, Home Selling in New York, Financing in New York  |  October 8, 2010 6:26 PM  |  213 views  |  No comments

    During the Great Depression of the 1930s, while most Americans struggled, there were some who also amassed vast fortunes. A wealth of opportunity also exists is today's real estate "recession," a time which offers buyers and investors an unprecedented chance to "move up".

    Those who believe that real estate is a tide that moves all boats equally are just plain wrong The fact is, we may very well be in the single greatest move-up real estate market in decades. Today's market represents a rare opportunity for some to move up to their dream home at virtually unprecedented prices. If you have longed to move to another community, purchase a vacation home or create income through rental property, now might be your best chance to do so.
    The following facts rarely appear in media coverage about the real estate market and are, therefore, unknown to most consumers:

    * Prices of higher-priced homes have (generally) declined more, as measured in dollars and/or percentage of price, than have prices of lower-priced homes.

    * Vacation property prices have also changed based upon their own local economics.

    * If the price of your home has moved down less than the price of your ideal home, this may be the time to make your move.

    Consumers should answer the following questions before considering a move-up home purchase:

    1. What price could my home bring if put on the market today?

    2. What is the price of my ideal home in today's market?

    3. What will the difference in monthly costs be should I decide to move up?

    4. What will my net costs be after tax?

    5. What is the potential for immediate lifestyle enhancement and for long-term financial gain if I move up?

    The answers to these questions are vital to making a more fully informed decision about the opportunities present in today's market. A professional real estate agent, your attorney, financial planner and/or accountant can help guide you through this decision-making process.

  • Moving Up In A Down Market

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Suffolk County, Home Selling in Suffolk County, Financing in Suffolk County  |  October 8, 2010 6:22 PM  |  250 views  |  2 comments

    During the Great Depression of the 1930s, while most Americans struggled, there were some who also amassed vast fortunes. A wealth of opportunity also exists is today's real estate "recession," a time which offers buyers and investors an unprecedented chance to "move up".

    Those who believe that real estate is a tide that moves all boats equally are just plain wrong The fact is, we may very well be in the single greatest move-up real estate market in decades. Today's market represents a rare opportunity for some to move up to their dream home at virtually unprecedented prices. If you have longed to move to another community, purchase a vacation home or create income through rental property, now might be your best chance to do so.
    The following facts rarely appear in media coverage about the real estate market and are, therefore, unknown to most consumers:

    * Prices of higher-priced homes have (generally) declined more, as measured in dollars and/or percentage of price, than have prices of lower-priced homes.

    * Vacation property prices have also changed based upon their own local economics.

    * If the price of your home has moved down less than the price of your ideal home, this may be the time to make your move.

    Consumers should answer the following questions before considering a move-up home purchase:

    1. What price could my home bring if put on the market today?

    2. What is the price of my ideal home in today's market?

    3. What will the difference in monthly costs be should I decide to move up?

    4. What will my net costs be after tax?

    5. What is the potential for immediate lifestyle enhancement and for long-term financial gain if I move up?

    The answers to these questions are vital to making a more fully informed decision about the opportunities present in today's market. A professional real estate agent, your attorney, financial planner and/or accountant can help guide you through this decision-making process.

  • Four Steps to Take Before Buying a Home

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Suffolk County, Home Selling in Suffolk County, Financing in Suffolk County  |  October 7, 2010 8:33 AM  |  265 views  |  No comments

    Did you know that one in seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards? It's true. However, the average is four, according to a report from Experian.

    If you are considering buying a home, there are four crucial elements you must have in place before taking the first steps toward homeownership. Whether you are a first-time home buyer or moving up to a new home, plan for your move by preparing for the following:

    1. Create a budget. Home buyers need to have enough money to cover monthly mortgage payments comfortably. "Properly budgeting your monthly finances is a must before taking any of the first steps towards finding and moving into a new home," Lawrence Finn, Jr., CEO Owner/Broker of Coach Realtor. Though seemingly an obvious preparation, many foreclosures occur because buyers don't carefully examine their income and expenses ahead of time and fail to plan for monthly mortgage payments. "Talk to mortgage professional within our firm's mortgage partner Residential Mortgage Division or a Coach Realtors sales associate to see if you can afford a monthly mortgage. The more financial planning you do in advance, the less likely you'll be in for any surprises," says Mr. Finn.

    2. Plan for taxes and insurance. On the topic of affordability, be sure your income will cover any property taxes and homeowner's insurance payments. Buyers need to make sure their monthly income covers these extra expenses. While planning your finances, include these two items in your budget. Make sure to have other spending money and extra cash available as well. You never know when something will break down or need replacing.

    3. Factor in maintenance. Buyers must also have the ability to properly maintain the home. "Maintaining the home is important. If the home isn't in good condition, you will lose value on what is most likely your largest investment and set the stage for a potential loss when it comes time to sell," says Finn. Don't ignore problems that need attention.

    4. Review your credit standing. Lastly, a home buyer must have good credit – especially in today's lending environment. If you have late payments, a bankruptcy or unpaid debts, it will be difficulty to lock in a mortgage. If you do land a mortgage deal, the interest rate will be higher if your credit score isn't up to par. A good line of credit will ensure the best rates possible. Pay off those debts before trying for a mortgage.

    With the right funds, maintenance resources and a good line of credit, you will be well on your way to jump starting the home buying process.

 
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