Since the housing crash began in 2007, about 7.2 million homes have been sold by short sale or have been foreclosed on, forcing these home owners to become renters. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is helping these new renters be able to purchase their own home again with their new Back to Work Program.

The new FHA Back to Work Program gives homeowners the opportunity to qualify for a low interest loan with as little as 3.5% down payment. There are some conditions to meet, but people that have found themselves in this position can now buy a home in only one year after their loss.

First of all, the buyers must show that at least 20% of their household income had been lost for at least six months, creating the reason for the short sale or foreclosure.

Secondly, the buyer must show that they have worked to re-build their credit over the last year.

The nickname for this new situation is Boomerang Buyers, those that bounce back and can once again buy a home, and Uncle Sam has developed this program to help people that lost their homes and have worked to re-build their credit. Call Ryan Realty today to see if you can qualify for this new program, and start the process to owning your own home again!

What’s really happening in the local real estate market?

The real estate market has changed markedly in recent months, with April showing home prices increasing 12.1% over April 2012, and then having a similar increase again in July. These are the largest gains in pricing since February 2006. Prices are on a nice upward trend, and the inventory is less than it was even just a few months ago. The upward trend is especially nice to hear for homeowners that have had negative equity for the past several years.

With the lower inventory in today’s fast paced market, buyers have to move fast when they find something they like, because there are now fewer homes on the market and the competition is fierce. I’ve had many people in recent months want to ‘think’ about whether to make an offer, but before they made their decision, the house they wanted was already under contract. I can honestly tell a client when they should jump and not wait, but it is till their choice, and in this market that could be a bad mistake. I’m not one to pressure my clients into making a decision, but these days, when I recommend ‘don’t wait’ unfortunately I’ve been right every time!

However, this is a great time to be buying a home, as prices are sure to continue increasing as the demand for housing remains and strengthens.

The interest rates are usually in the 4% range, and a little birdie told me that they should be staying in this range for a while. Of course, I wish I had a crystal ball to confirm that, but I still think this is a very good guess! This is another good reason to buy now, before the rates get any higher.

If you have thought about re-financing and have not done so, now would also be a good time to look into doing so.

And what about selling? That can be a complicated answer, depending on your current value, mortgage, etc. If you are considering selling your home, please feel free to give me a call. Once we chat, and I do a market analysis for your home, I will be able to give you the best options for your situation.

I will continue to keep current market information available, and hope this has been helpful!

Things that may turn off Buyers when you are selling your home

As a Real Estate Broker for nearly 24 years, I’ve seen a lot of reasons that a seller has problems selling their home. Here are a few things that are fairly easy to fix.

The first thing a buyer sees when they are looking at a home is the front door and entrance area. I’ve literally had buyers notice the dirt, damaged front door, spider webs, etc. and comment about the fact the these sellers obviously do not care for their home – just from their first impression at the front door. Once the buyer has that viewpoint, there isn’t much that can change their mind. Most buyers are not interested in taking on a ‘fixer-upper’ project and that is exactly what they think when they see indicators like this, right at the front door. Most buyers want a move-in ready home, and I encourage sellers to make their home as close to that as possible.

So if you have your home on the market, make sure the approach to your home, including the front door, is clean, neat, and inviting. Giving your front door a new coat of paint or varnish may do a lot more than you think to give a buyer a good first impression. Keep the area in front of your door swept and maybe put a nice plant by the front door.

Probably the worst thing I have noticed that turns off buyers is a house that smells like smoke or animals. If you smoke in your house, a really good cleaning of curtains, furniture, carpets, etc. will help get rid of that pesky, lingering smell. Also use an ozonator — that really helps clean up the air.

As one animal lover to another, I’m not going to tell you to get rid of your pets just because you are selling your house. But do make sure there are not odors from your pets that could turn off a buyer from considering your house. Keep the kitty litter clean, and as far away from living spaces as possible. Cleaning rugs and furniture will also help rid your home of pet smells. Also, when someone comes to look at your home, it’s a good idea to keep the animals away from the people looking at your home. The less distraction from looking at the home, the better.

The best way to check to see if your home has any odors is to go outside for a little while, then walk in and immediately check to see what your home smells like. There are some really good odor eliminators on the market these days that don’t add a perfume smell, which is another thing that could act as a negative.

Clutter is the third thing I will mention, as this definitely makes a home look smaller. To present your home as well as it can show, you should put away as much as you can. You may even have to remove a piece of furniture or two, just so that rooms don’t look small. The more you have in a room, the less space it will appear to have. Cleaning up clutter doesn’t cost anything either, but may be one of the best tools for selling your home. Keep it neat, orderly and un-cluttered and then the buyers that look at your home can see the space better.

I hope these tips have been useful and wish you the best in selling your home! If you would like a free market analysis to determine the current value of your home, feel free to give me a call. I’m here to help you market and sell your home!