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Archive for the ‘Housing Economics’ Category
Doing your homework will help you have a more successful experience.
Use this checklist to help you select a home builder or home remodeler to work on or build your home.
- Contact your local home builders’ association for the names of member builders and remodelers: Home Builders Association of Northern Kentucky (click). You can also ask family, friends or coworkers for recommendations.
- Make sure the builder or home remodeler has a permanent business location and a good reputation with local banks and suppliers.
- Find out how long they have been in the building business. It usually takes three to five years to establish a financially sound business. You want to make sure they will be around after the construction is complete to service any warranties.
- Check out the company’s rating and if there have been any complaints filed with your local Better Business Bureau (click). Make sure the builder/remodeler has sufficient workers compensation and general liability insurance. If not, you may be liable for any construction-related accidents on your premises.
- Ask the builder/remodeler to provide you with names of previous customers. If they won’t, beware. If they do, ask the customers if they would hire the builder/remodeler again.
- Ask if you can see the builder/remodelers work, both completed and in progress. Check for quality of workmanship and materials.
- Do you feel you can easily communicate with the builder/remodeler? Remember you will be in close contact with them throughout the construction process and afterward as you live in your new home.
- Make sure the builder/remodeler provides you with a complete and clearly written contract. The contract will benefit both of you. If you are having a new home built, get and review a copy of the home warranty and homeowner manual as well.
- Be cautious of unusually low-priced bids. If the builder/remodeler is unable to pay for the materials and labor as the project proceeds, this may indicate a potential problem. Keep in mind that less expensive does not necessarily mean better!
- Verify that your remodeler is an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Renovator if you are planning work in a pre-1978 home that will disturb more than six square feet of painted surfaces inside the home or 20 square feet on the exterior of the home. Learn more about the EPA’s lead paint rule.
Did you know there are more than 27 million veterans eligible for VA financing? These potential homebuyers enjoy significant loan advantages not available to non?veteran homebuyers. If you’re working with prospective homebuyers right now, check with them to see if they are veterans. If they are, make sure they are aware of the VA financing advantages available to them.
What are the advantages of VA financing?
? Loan may be up to 100 percent of the property value. Generally, loans may not exceed $417,000. Subject to change each year.
? You don’t have to be a first?time homebuyer.
? No PMI required.
? The VA limits the closing costs the buyer pays.
? Closing costs may be paid by the seller.
? Right to prepay the loan without penalty.
? VA offers personal loan servicing and financial counseling to help veterans during financial difficulties.
Who is eligible?
? Veterans and active duty personnel.
? Certain reservists and National Guard members.
? Surviving spouses of persons who die on active duty or of service?connected disabilities.
? Certain spouses of active duty personnel who are (a) missing in action, (b) captured in line of duty by a hostile force, or (c) forcibly detained by a foreign government or power.
What are the buyer requirements to obtain a VA loan?
? The applicant must be an eligible veteran who has available entitlement.
? The loan must be for an eligible property.
? The veteran must occupy the property as a home within a reasonable period of time after closing the loan.
? The veteran must be a satisfactory credit risk. The income of the veteran and spouse, if any, must be stable and sufficient to meet the mortgage payments, cover the costs of owning a home and other obligations and expenses.
What can you use a VA loan for?
? Purchase a home, condominium in a VA?approved project or cooperative.
? Purchase and improve a home.
? Refinance an existing home loan (up to 90 percent of the value) or refinance an existing VA loan for a lower interest rate.
? Buy a manufactured home and/or lot.
? Build a home.
? Improve a home by installing energy?related features such as solar or heating/cooling systems, water heaters, insulation or other energy efficient improvements.
How is the loan application process different?
Aside from securing a Certificate of Eligibility and the appraiser is assigned by the VA, the application process is the same as other mortgage loans. Your buyer gets the loan from a private lender and the VA stands behind the loan.
Four easy steps to obtain a VA loan
1. The veteran must apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). To get a Certificate of Eligibility, visit online at www.ebenefits.va.gov or call the VA Help Desk at 1?800?983?0937.
2. Choose a home to buy and sign a purchase agreement.
3. Apply to a mortgage lender for the loan.
4. Order an appraisal from the VA. (Usually done by the lender.) While the appraisal is being done, the lender can gather credit and income information. If the lender is authorized by the VA to process loans on the automatic basis, the loan can be approved and closed upon receipt of the appraised value determination without waiting for a VA review of the credit application.
Want to learn more about VA loans?
For additional information or to obtain forms please visit: http://www.homeloans.va.gov/. Or call: 1?800?827?1000.
Seventy-five percent of Americans say that â€œowning a home is the best long-term investment they can make and is worth the risk of ups and downs in the housing market,â€ according to a new survey of 2,000 bipartisan voters by the National Association of Home Builders.
Despite their situation â€” whether underwater on their home or even renters â€” the survey found Americans to be optimistic about home ownership. Eighty-one percent of those who own their homes outright, 76 percent with mortgages, 67 percent of renters, and 65 percent who have underwater mortgages cited home ownership as the â€œbest long-term investment.â€
When survey respondents were asked whether theyâ€™d recommend buying a home to a friend or family member just starting out, 80 percent of Americans said â€œyes.â€ Even home owners currently underwaterâ€” those who owe more on their mortgage than their home is currently worth â€” overwhelmingly (78 percent) said they would recommend home ownership to family or friends starting out.
More buyers are coming up through the pipeline too. The survey found that 73 percent of those surveyed who do not own a home said their goal is eventually to buy one.
The NAHB survey also found:
? 58 percent of Americans oppose eliminating the mortgage-interest deduction and 63 percent oppose lowering it. Whatâ€™s more, 57 percent of those surveyed say they are less likely to support a candidate for Congress who wanted to eliminate the mortgage-interest deduction.
? Respondents were split on about requiring a 20 percent down payment to purchase a home: 49 percent were in favor and 49 percent opposed it. However, mortgage holders and renters aged 18 to 54 were more opposed to it: 58 percent of younger mortgage holders and 59 percent of younger renters opposed adding a 20 percent down payment requirement.
Source: â€œThe Cook Report: The Home Front,â€ National Journal (June 2, 2011)
United States economic recovery, rebuilding efforts in Japan, a worldwide weakness in the dollar and unrest in the Middle East are creating the “perfect storm” for material pricing. Read more at this post on CNNMoney.com:
Published on Housing Zone (http://www.housingzone.com)
Byline: Jonathan Sweet, Editor in Chief
Publication Date: Wed, 2011-04-13 10:27
Despite the housing bubble and subsequent crash, more than 80 percent of remodelers still think buying a home is the best long-term investment a person can make. That’s according to a recent Pew Research Center study , which found that 37 percent strongly agreed with that idea and 44 percent somewhat agreed with it. About half of homeowners in the survey said they believe their home has dropped in value since the recession began, while 31 percent said it worth about the same. Seventeen percent said they though their home had increased in value over the last few years. Of the renters in the survey, 81 percent said they intend to buy a house at some point. Only 17 percent they plan on continuing to rent.
Prospective home buyers have the choice of two types of houses on the market: resale or new. Home buyers planning to buy a brand-new house or condominium often cite energy-efficiency, open layout, a warranty, and being able to select appliances, flooring, paint colors and other design elements as factors driving their choice. But builders say that buyers can be drawn to a new house for reasons that arenâ€™t so obvious. Below are a few more benefits of a brand-new home that you may not see in the sales brochure.
Building a Community Together
A brand-new community is one of the built-in benefits of many new homes. When families move in to a subdivision at the same time, often lasting bonds of friendship and neighborliness are formed right away. Nobody is the â€œnew kid on the block,â€ and many home builders host community block parties in new developments to help owners meet and connect. Popular amenities like pools, walking trails and courts for tennis and basketball offer additional opportunities for interaction among neighbors of all ages. Often new communities are comprised of home owners in the same stage of life, such as young families or active retirees, so neighbors can get to know each other through carpools, PTA meetings, tennis matches or golf games.
Throwing a party in an older home can be a challenge because smaller, distinct rooms make it difficult to entertain guests in one large space. Builders are responding to todayâ€™s home buyer preferences with layouts featuring more open spaces and rooms that flow into each other more easily, like the popular great room. While you are in the kitchen preparing dinner, you can still interact with guests enjoying conversation in the family room without feeling closed off. The feeling of spaciousness in todayâ€™s new-home layouts often is enhanced the higher ceilings and additional windows that bringing in more light than you would find in an older home.
A Clean Slate
For some buyers, parking the car in a sparkling-clean garage or being the first to cook a dinner in a brand-new kitchen is part of the appeal of new construction. In addition, you wonâ€™t have to spend time stripping dated wallpaper or repainting to suit your own sense of style. You can create your own home dÃ©cor from the get-go! The advantages of being the first owner of a home extend to the outdoors. Instead of inheriting inconveniently or precariously placed trees, or having to tear up overgrown shrubs, you can design and plant the lawn and garden you want.
Outlets, Outlets Everywhere!
Homes built in the 1960â€™s and earlier were wired much differently than houses today. Builders had no way of anticipating the invention of high-definition televisions, DVRs and computers that we enjoy today â€” and the very different electrical requirements they would introduce. New homes can accommodate advanced technologies like structured wiring, security systems and sophisticated lighting plans, and can be tailored to meet the individual home ownerâ€™s needs. Anyone who has ever lived in an older home can also attest to the fact that there are never enough outlets, inside or out! New-home builders plan for the increased number and type of electronics and appliances used by todayâ€™s families, so you can safely operate a wine cooler, Christmas lights or your computer.
Mike Castleman, founder and CEO of Metrostudy, which tracks real-time data of the countryâ€™s inventory of new homes, says a housing shortage is looming that will soon will create a huge surge in demand for new homes. As such, now is the time to buy, he says.
In the 41 cities Metrostudy covers, 78,000 houses are either vacant and for sale, or under construction â€” that is less than a quarter of the new homes that fell in that category during the housing boom in 2006 and way below the level of a decade ago.
“If we had anything like normal levels of buying, those houses would sell in 2Â½ months,” says Castleman. “We’d see an incredible shortage. And that’s where we’re heading.”
The historic drop in new construction mixed with the decline in housing prices is laying the foundation for a dramatic recovery in residential real estate, Castleman told CNN. Castleman expects home owners soon will start returning, which will drive up prices in many markets later this year.
While demand remains low for new construction, he expects that to change. He foresees the recovery following a similar path as previous ones: A severe housing shortage will drive a big increase in demand.
â€œWe’ll get a big surge in demand and the drywall companies will take a long time to ramp up, and it will take years to get new lots approved,â€ he predicts. â€œBuyers will show up looking for a house in a subdivision, and all the houses will be sold. The builders will tell them it will take six months to deliver a house.” But theyâ€™ll want the house so bad that theyâ€™ll â€œbid the prices up.”
Source: â€œReal Estate: Itâ€™s Time to Buy Again,â€ CNN (March 28, 2011)
On February 9th, 2011, Mike Kegley on behalf of the 160,000 members of the National Association of Homes Builders, testified in front of the Small Business Committee of the U S House of Representatives. The witness list, his oral and written presentation as to the costs of the new 1099 reporting requirements included as part of the Health Care Bill follows:
CLICK TO READ OFFICIAL WITNESS LIST
CLICK TO READ ORAL TESTIMONY
CLICK TO READ WRITTEN TESTIMONY