• To Log in or Sign Up for My Property Finder Click Here

Ed Leavy

Sales Associate

My Blog

New Owner Occupant Buyers Have First Look At REO Properties

4/3/2015

The Voice for Real Estate 19: REO Sales, Open Enrollment

Featured segments:

  • Owner-occupants get first crack at Fannie, Freddie REOs
  • Special enrollment can help you avoid 2015 health insurance penalty
  • February existing-home sales are up

Why Waiting To Buy Might Not Make Sense

3/31/2015

Why Waiting To Buy Might Not Make Sense

Whether you are a first time or a move-up buyer, there are two factors that will impact the amount of house you can afford in your price range: home prices & mortgage rates.

Let’s look at what the experts are predicting over the next twelve months for these two areas:

PRICES

Over 100 economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists were recently polled as a part of the Home Price Expectation Survey. They were asked to project where home prices are headed. The average value appreciation projected over the next twelve-month period is approximately 4.4%.

MORTGAGE INTEREST RATES

In the latest Economic & Housing Market Outlook from Freddie Mac, they predict that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will be 4.7% by this time next year. As of last week, the Freddie Mac rate was 3.69%.

What does this mean to you?

If you are a first-time buyer currently looking at a home priced at $250,000, this is what it could cost you on a monthly basis if you wait until next year to buy:

Cost Of Waiting Spring 250K | Keeping Current Matters

A 5-Point Action Plan for Your New Place

12/24/2014
A 5-Point Action Plan for Your New Place

A 5-Point Action Plan for Your New Place

After waiting weeks for the keys to your new home, you probably want to treat yourself to something nice.

Here are some quick home improvements you'll likely be happy with:

1. Practical problems first.
Prioritize easy repairs and upgrades that affect your day-to-day living, such as leaky faucets, dirty or worn fixtures, poor paint choices, holes that need patching or flooring that needs updating.

2. Head-to-toe detail.
Detailing isn't just for your vehicle. Your new home deserves deep cleaning, too. Take advantage of it being completely empty, and hire someone to clean every inch. 

3. Consider the view.
The right window treatments improve a home’s ambiance, comfort and privacy. They can even save you money in the long run. Drapes, curtains, blinds and shutters block unwanted light, let in the right amount of sunshine and keep your home warm or cool when drawn or shut.

4. Bright ideas.
Proper lighting also affects your comfort. After you arrange furniture, pay close attention for a few weeks and note which areas are too dark and which get too much light. From there, you can decide whether new overhead lightning, lamps or bulbs will do the trick.

5. The right appliances.
Major appliances – refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers and stoves – impact your daily life, your home's appearance and your utility bills. Purchasing the right appliances now can set you up for savings and efficiency for years to come.

Just starting the home buying process? Contact me, I can help you find the right place.

New Buyers: 4 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success

12/24/2014

New Buyers: 4 Ways to Set Yourself Up for Success

As one of the largest financial decisions in a person's life, buying a home requires discretion, sensibility and budgeting. The following tips will keep you on the right path as you look to purchase your first place.

1. Keep score
The better your credit score is, the better your mortgage terms will be. A good credit score can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. Start reviewing your credit a few months before you apply for a home loan. If you have a score in the 600s or lower, start paying down credit balances to 30 percent or less of your balance. Also make bill and debt payments on time – no later than 30 days after the due date. If you have a score in the 700s or 800s, be sure to maintain and protect your good credit. The slightest credit misstep can cause a strong credit score to plunge more sharply than a weak score.

2. Consider all costs
The cost of a home is just the start, and smart buyers tighten their belts before buying to meet the monthly and yearly financial demands of homeownership. When you buy a home, you're responsible for paying principal and interest, taxes and insurance. Additionally, you'll need to cover expenses such as utilities and possibly homeowner association dues. You'll also need cash on hand for the upkeep and repair costs that come with any home. The average homeowner spends 1 percent to 4 percent of a home's value on property maintenance each year, according to U.S. News & World Report. Expect to pay for repairs or maintenance even within the first year of owning your home.

3. Be flexible in your search
Homebuyers who distinguish between wants and needs make the most sensible decisions. A list of must-haves should include items that affect your quality of life, such as a home's location, its price, number of bedrooms and square footage. You should be prepared to concede nonessential items, such as views and extra rooms, if you find a house meets your must-haves and is within your budget. Being flexible also involves adjusting your criteria as the home search progresses. For example, your budget may require looking at a town house rather than a detached home, or buying a fixer-upper in order to live in a better neighborhood.

4. Keep your cool
Don’t get overly excited in your search, especially in markets where homes are selling quickly. A bit of self-restraint prevents you from overspending or choosing a home that doesn't fully fit your needs. Be prepared to walk away if a home inspection reveals more defects in a home than you're able to deal with. Also, keep calm if you find yourself in a bidding war. Your agent can help you make the most competitive offer, and if it doesn't get accepted then your agent can help you find the next great option. Finding the right home that fits your lifestyle and budget can take weeks or months. By starting early and being patient, you'll avoid the sense of urgency that often drives homebuyers to make hasty decisions.

Don't go it alone. Call me today, I can guide you every step of the way.

Existing-Home Sales Report

12/3/2014

http://youtu.be/A7Pg654PZPI

Tapering Begins!

12/23/2013

Tapering Begins!

The Fed announced they would be pulling back some of their stimulus package which has helped the housing market by keeping long term mortgage rates at historic lows for the last few years. This should come as no surprise as I have been warning of this likelihood over the last several months.

 

KCM even went against the belief of the vast majority of economists who thought the Fed would wait until next year. Bill McBride of Calculated Risk:

“Although the consensus is the Fed will wait until 2014 to start to taper asset purchases, December is still possible.”

We also gave our members the following grouping of slides to help them explain the ramifications of the Fed’s decision during meetings with buyers and sellers.

Tapering

What it Means to the Consumer

In an article in MarketWatch today, Lawrence Yun, the Chief Economist at NAR, explained that sellers looking to move-up (to a better school district or larger home) “need to realize that it could be more challenging a year from now.” Yun stated the average 30-year mortgage rate currently hovers at 4.3%, but that could rise to 5% or 5.5% next year.

What it Does NOT Mean to the Housing Market

Some reports will now claim that housing prices will have to drop as interest rates begin to rise. There is no historical evidence of this. Below is a chart showing the last four instances of mortgage rates rising dramatically and what happened to home values at the time.

12-23 Rates and Prices

Bottom Line

If you are either a first time buyer or a move-up buyer, you should make the move earlier in 2014 instead of later as mortgage rates will probably increase as the year goes on.

Monday is world cancer day

10/11/2013

Dear God, I pray for a cure for cancer. Amen

Saint Marys officials torn on airport

10/9/2013

Source: The Brunswick News, Georgia

-- Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about Camden County and other local topics. Contact him at gjackson@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 464-7655.

Oct. 09--ST. MARYS -- Three acts of vandalism at the St. Marys Airport this year probably would not have happened if the facility was surrounded by a security fence. At least, that's what officials who oversee airport operations say.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has expressed a willingness to pay 95 percent of the $500,000 it would cost to build a fence to secure the airport. But city officials have one major opponent: the U.S. Navy.

Navy officials say the airport, less than two miles from Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, is a security and safety threat. They reiterated their position to city officials before a city council meeting Monday.

"The Navy is very much opposed to anything to improve the airport," Mayor Bill Deloughy reported.

In an email to city officials, base commander Capt. Harvey Guffey Jr. said the Navy has security concerns about the general aviation airport and wants it moved.

"The Navy's position on those issues has not changed, nor has our position regarding improvements or further developments to the airport," Guffey wrote.

The Navy's opposition to improvements places the city and the St. Marys Airport Authority in a dilemma because of the potential for liability from vandalism at the airport if they do nothing. In each instance this year, vandals smashed runway lights, leaving thick shards of glass on the runway. Airport authority members say they would face a potentially costly lawsuit if an accident occurred during takeoff or landing as a result of vandalism.

"If that airport is not adequately secured and a serious accident happens, the authority can be sued," said Frank Drane, an airport authority member and a lawyer.

The city has to decide whether it is more important to maintain a good relationship with the Navy or to have perimeter fencing at the airport.

City officials plan to relocate the airport but are uncertain of where and when it will happen. They are waiting to see if Camden County is selected from among three finalists as the site of a commercial spaceport.

Another problem is, if the city would receive a grant to help pay for fencing and move the airport before its estimated 20-year-life, it would be responsible for a pro rata refund.

"If we move the airport, the FAA will have to be repaid," Deloughy said. "I do think we need to address it at some point in time."

A city council special meeting to discuss the issue is at 6:30 p.m. today at the Ward Hernandez Building, 400 Osborne St., St. Marys. Officials from Kings Bay have been invited.

-- Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about Camden County and other local topics. Contact him at gjackson@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 464-7655.

Copyright 2013 - The Brunswick News, Ga.

Oct. 1, 2013 - What Does the Government Shutdown Mean for REALTORS®?

10/2/2013

Oct. 1, 2013 - What Does the Government Shutdown Mean for REALTORS®?

Congress has failed to approve a Continuing Resolution (CR) providing funding for most government operations. Therefore, spending authority for most of the government expired at midnight on Sept. 30, 2013. Until legislation providing for funding is signed into law, many offices and programs of the federal government are now shut down. This means many, but not all, government programs, including some that impact federal housing and mortgage programs, have been suspended or slowed due to the lapse in government funding. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires each agency to have contingency plans in place. The information below is based on NAR staff review of agency agency contingency plans for the current shutdown and past experience with previous shutdowns and near-shutdowns. Download PDF summary.

Latest Status Information

(as of Oct. 1, 2013 3PM ET)

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 
The IRS is closed and has suspended the processing of all forms, including tax return transcripts (Form 4506T). These transcripts are required for many kinds of loans, including FHA and VA, so delays can be expected if the shutdown is protracted.

Social Security Administration (SSA)
The Social Security Administration is closed and has suspended most customer service functions. According to the SSA Contingency Plan, verifying Social Security numbers through the Consent Based SSN Verification Service will also be suspended during the shutdown, a further complication for mortgage processing.

Additional Status Information

(as of Oct. 1, 2013 7AM ET)

Federal Housing Administration
HUD’s Contingency Plan states that FHA will endorse new loans in the Single Family Mortgage Loan Program, but it will not make new commitments in the Multi-family Program during the shutdown. FHA will maintain operational activities including paying claims and collecting premiums. Management & Marketing (M&M) Contractors managing the REO portfolio can continue to operate. You can expect some delays with FHA processing.

VA Loan Guaranty Program
Lenders will continue to process and guaranty mortgages through the Loan Guaranty program in the event of a government shutdown. Expect some delays during the shutdown. 

Flood Insurance
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confirmed that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will not be impacted by a government shutdown, since NFIP is funded by premiums and not tax dollars. Changes to the flood insurance program scheduled to take effect on Oct. 1 will be implemented as scheduled.

Rural Housing Programs
For the U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, essential personnel working during a shutdown do not include field office staff who typically issue conditional commitments, loan note guarantees, and modification approvals. Thus, lenders will not receive approvals during the shutdown. If the lender has already received a conditional commitment from the Rural Development office, then the lender may proceed to close those loans during the shutdown. A conditional commitment, which is good for 90 days, is given to a lender once a USDA Underwriter approves the loan. If a commitment was already issued, the funds were already set aside and the lender may close the loan at its leisure. If Rural Development has not issued a conditional commitment, the lender must wait until funding legislation is enacted before closing a loan.

It is important to note that the traditional definition of “rural” for qualifying communities for assistance will be continued in effect during the shutdown.  We expect that language to continue the current definition will be included in whatever funding measure is eventually enacted.

Government Sponsored Enterprises
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will continue operating normally, as will their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, since they are not reliant on appropriated funds.

Treasury
The Making Home Affordable program, including HAMP and HAFA, will not be affected as the program is funded through the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act which is mandatory spending not discretionary.

 

Stay Informed

The latest information will continue to be posted torealtor.org/governmentshutdown.

Page:  of 000  |