Monthly Archives: August, 2008

Ludlow VT Real Estate Short Sale Tips

In the current Ludlow VT real estate market, there has been a lot of buzz around “short sales.”  What is a short sale, exactly?  A short sale is when a lender agrees to accept a mortgage payoff amount less than what is owed in order to facilitate a sale of a property by a financially distressed owner – in essence, the lender forgives the outstanding balance of the loan.

 

There are pro’s and con’s to short sales on both sides of the deal.  For the seller, credit history is seriously damaged, but not as badly as it would be by foreclosure.  Sellers also walk away with no profit, which makes it difficult to purchase another home.  For the buyer, the property comes at a reduced price, but it also generally comes with its fair share of problems, and there is a considerable amount of “red tape” to get through to complete the purchase.

 

The short sale buying process can be a confusing one, especially for a first-time short sale buyer.  Check out this helpful article from BankRate.com and see 10 Steps for Short Sale Buying below:

 

  1. Identify potential short sales
  2. View the property
  3. Do your research
  4. Find all liens and mortgages
  5. Figure out the financing
  6. Contact the lender
  7. Complete the lender’s short sale application
  8. Assemble the proposal
  9. Negotiate
  10. Close the deal

To learn more about investing in Ludlow VT real estate, please visit ISellVermontRealEstate.com.  For more personalized service, please call me today at 800-659-1819 #103. 

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Okemo Mountain Real Estate: Is Renting Your Vacation Home For You?

One of the biggest decision Ludlow and Okemo Mountain second-home buyers must decide is whether or not to rent their property when they are not using it. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one-half of all second-home owners leave their home unoccupied for more than 330 days a year. The question becomes, will your vacation home be a financial burden or a financial cow with the rental income is can generate, thus paying for itself

Renting does have its pros and cons. Some owners don’t like the idea of ‘strangers’ in their home. Others don’t want the hassle of being a landlord, especially a long distance landlord. And then there is the decision to give up the prime vacation season for rental income. The flip side is renting your vacation home provides a stream of easy money.

EscapeHomes.com offers advice and tips when considering a Ludlow and Okemo Mountain vacation home purchase and deciding whether renting out that home is right for you:

Before You Buy
If you already know you will rent your vacation home, consider these questions as you look at properties:

Is there a rental market in the area?
What is the average rent that your neighbors receive?
If you are looking in a development, are there any by-laws which restrict your rental capabilities?
Is this a seasonal area or year-round location?

The answers to these questions will help you select a more lucrative property for your vacation home.

Rental Seasons
How do you decide when to rent your property and when to use it yourself? Since you are buying primarily for your own fun and enjoyment, you shouldn’t sacrifice this. If the home is in a one-season area, for example, summers at the Maine coast, then giving up that time of year for rental income defeats the purpose of having the home. In this case, you might look for a long-term (9-month) renter for the off-season, among the local population, while you use it in the summer. On the other hand, if you buy a winter ski condo or chalet, it is still highly rentable in the summer time for the mountaineering types. If you buy a property for weekend use, perhaps there are local people who need a Monday-Friday escape option. In short, if you balance your own needs with the market demands, you get both fun and money.

Practical Considerations
For successful renting, first find out the going rental market rate. Second, determine if you want to market it yourself, or use a rental agent. Self-marketing takes time, but often generates more qualified renters as you are not competing with all the other properties of an agent. Third, be sure to arrange for a property manager. This is different from a rental agency. The manager will take 10 to 20 percent of the rent, and free you up from cleaning, being on call for maintenance (especially important if you live far away), and dealing with the daily needs of the renters.

Make it Personal
By far, the most important factor in success is your personal investment in the process. This means your personal contact with your renters. From a simple welcome note and local maps to a thank-you note and on-going contact, your relationship creates a repeat flow of guests who not only love your second home as much as you do but also pay for the privilege of using it. What could be better?

If you are considering buying a Ludlow or Okemo Mountain vacation home, give us a call, 800-659-1819 #103. We are glad to provide you with the information you need to make a good buying and renting decision.

Think you want to rent out your Ludlow or Okemo vacation home, but don’t want to handle the day-to-day details yourself, we can recommend a reputable Property Manager.

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How Does Housing Recovery Act Help Okemo Mountain Home Buyers

President Bush signed into law recently The Housing and Economic Recovery Act. This is the most sweeping change to housing reform since the New Deal of 1934. It is designed to assist more Americans invest in home ownership and shore up the faltering housing and mortgage markets. Like any legislation, it comes with the good and the bad. I encourage you to write your Congressmen to see if we can get legislation to revoke some of the bad.  For example, effective October 1, 2008, FHA will increase the minimum required down payment from 3% to 3.5% for Ludlow and Okemo Mountain home buyers. The legislation also calls for the elimination of seller down-payment assistance programs such as AmeriDream and Nehemiah by October 1, 2008.

 

 

As of July 14, 2008, upfront MIP premiums became risk-based on credit scores and the annual premium increased across the board. Instead of the original plan of making FHA loans more affordable for potential Okemo Mountain home buyers; the new legislation is doing the exact opposite and makes it more expensive.

Details of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act:

Here are some key provisions of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act that most affect Okemo Mountain home buyers:

  • GSE Reform – including a strong independent regulator, and permanent conforming loan limits up to the greater of $417,000 or 115% local area median home price, capped at $625,500. The effective date for reforms is immediate upon enactment, but the loan limits will not go into effect until the expiration of the Economic Stimulus limits (December 31, 2008).
    View 2009 FHA and GSE loan limit estimates (PDF)
  • FHA Reform – including permanent FHA loan limits at the greater of $271,050 or 115% of local area median home price, capped at $625,500; streamlined processing for FHA condos; reforms to the HECM program, and reforms to the FHA manufactured housing program. The down payment requirement on FHA loans will go up to 3.5% (from 3%). The effective date for reforms is immediate upon enactment, but the loan limits will not go into effect until the expiration of the Economic Stimulus limits (December 31, 2008).
    View 2009 FHA and GSE loan limit estimates (PDF)
    FHA Reform Chart (PDF)
  • FHA foreclosure rescue – development of a refinance program for homebuyers with problematic subprime loans. Lenders would write down qualified mortgages to 85% of the current appraised value and qualified borrowers would get a new FHA 30-year fixed mortgage at 90% of appraised value. Borrowers would have to share 50% of all future appreciation with FHA. The loan limit for this program is $550,440 nationwide. Program is effective on October 1, 2008.
    FHA Foreclosure Rescue Chart
  • VA loan limits – temporarily increases the VA home loan guarantee loan limits to the same level as the Economic Stimulus limits through December 31, 2008.
  • Risk-based pricing – puts a moratorium on FHA using risk-based pricing for one year. This provision is effective from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009.
  • GSE Stabilization – includes language proposed by the Treasury Department to authorize Treasury to make loans to and buy stock from the GSEs to make sure that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae could not fail.
  • Mortgage Revenue Bond Authority – authorizes $10 billion in mortgage revenue bonds for refinancing subprime mortgages.
  • National Affordable Housing Trust Fund – Develops a Trust Fund funded by a percentage of profits from the GSEs. In its first years, the Trust Fund would cover costs of any defaulted loans in FHA foreclosure program. In out years, the Trust Fund would be used for the development of affordable housing.
  • LIHTC – Modernizes the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program to make it more efficient.
  • Loan Originator Requirements – Strengthens the existing state-run nationwide mortgage originator licensing and registration system (and requires a parallel HUD system for states that fail to participate). Federal bank regulators will establish a parallel registration system for FDIC-insured banks. The purpose is to prevent fraud and require minimum licensing and education requirements. The bill exempts those who only perform real estate brokerage activities and are licensed or registered by a state, unless they are compensated by a lender, mortgage broker, or other loan originator.

It remains to be seen the overall effect the Recovery Act will have on both the individual home buyer and the housing industry as a whole.

From the Experts: 

“We’re going through a major financial crisis…let’s be clear: Fannie and Freddie can’t be allowed to fail. With the collapse of subprime lending, they’re now more central than ever to the housing market, and the economy as a whole.”
– Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics at Princeton and New York Times columnist, 7/14/2008

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Okemo Mountain Real Estate: Second-home Sellers Pay For Tax Credits

Okemo Mountain Second-home Sellers Pay For Tax Credits

You have probably heard, last week President signed into law the Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act. This is the most comprehensive housing bill to be enacted in over a decade. The bill is designed to help more buyers of Okemo Mountain real estate realize their dreams, as well as, boast the struggling housing and mortgage markets.

One of the biggest benefits, and probably one of the most talked about provisions in this legislation, is the $7,500 tax credit to first time home buyers. Tax breaks are all well and good, but they have to be paid for somehow. While first time home buyers are getting a break, second home sellers will be paying for the $15.1 million dollars in tax cuts.

Up until the new legislation went into effect last week, homeowners could exclude up to $250,000 taxable profit on the sale of their home if they’re single taxpayers and $500,000 if married filing joint returns. The catch being, they had to live the in house as their primary residence for two of the five years before it is sold.

Many second home owners took advantage of this by moving into a property that was once a rental or vacation home, live there for two years prior to selling and benefiting from the tax-free profit.

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