The hustle and bustle of the holiday season - parties, dinners, cookie exchanges, gift exchanges (my favorite), holiday luncheons...it is a very busy time of year for everyone. It is especially busy for my clients Bob and Lonnie, who live in Ghent. They have sold their home (three times) and are trying to pack up, move to another state, and also find time to celebrate the holidays with their children and grandchildren.
The sale of their beautiful home has been a rollercoaster ride - as in The Beast! They accepted the first offer to purchase a few months ago, after some very tough negotiations. The buyers were pre-approved for their loan. Everything was going along great according to the buyer's lender. We were getting close to closing date - and the sellers had agreed to let the buyers have possession of the home at closing. So the week before closing they arranged for moving vans and they carted two truckloads of their personal belongings to Georgia. I was in constant contact with the buyer's lender and their agent during the entire process - keeping track of the progress of the loan processing to make sure everything was proceeding as it should. Low and behold, three days before closing, the lender tells us that the buyers need to satisfy one more condition in order to obtain their loan. So we extended the closing a couple of days. Then, it was as if the lender had vanished into thin air. Try as I might, I could not get in touch with her. Neither could the buyers or their agent. Neither could her supervisor. We were ready to send out a search and rescue team. Then, three days after the second scheduled closing date, the lender resurfaces. And guess what? The buyers did NOT qualify for their loan. So much for a "pre-approval".
Back on the market. Fortunately this is a great property - a beautiful log home situated on 30 private wooded acres. Of course the sellers were very disappointed, but they were gracious and kind to the buyers and also to me. Instead of getting angry, they rolled with the sucker punch and said, "Next".
A couple of weeks later we received another offer, which the sellers accepted. This time they gave the buyers possession 15 days after closing. On Thanksgiving day (two weeks before closing) I received an email from their agent. He regretted to inform me that they had to cancel the contract to purchase because the buyers who were buying his client's home were unable to obtain their loan, therefore, his client would not be able to sell his home to them, and he would not be able to purchase Bob and Lonnie's property. And at the end of the email, he told me to have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
Needless to say, I did not want to make that phone call to Bob and Lonnie. And I didn't. At least not on Thanksgiving day. I called them the next day to let them know that it had happened again. Lonnie said, "Well, we'll get it back on the market and you know what they say - third time's a charm"!
A week later, I received a call while I was driving that was transferred from my office. The lady was calling to make an appointment to see Bob and Lonnie's property. I wasn't able to get her phone number because I was driving, but she was going to email me some questions about the property and I was going to get her contact information that way. We made the appointment for the next week. In the next few days, I did not receive an email from the potential buyer. So, I really wasn't counting on her and her husband showing up for the appointment. I drove to Ghent, fully expecting to just take Bob and Lonnie out to lunch.
To my surprise, the buyers actually showed up. And they were so nice. Bob was able to answer every one of their questions about the house and property. And they LOVED it! They wanted to make an offer right then and there. Fortunately, I was a girl scout and I am always prepared, so I had a purchase contract with me. We wrote the offer right at the dining room table. And guess what? It was a CASH offer - to close in 10 DAYS! The buyers left and I discussed the offer with Bob and Lonnie. They made a counter offer on the price. We negotiated back and forth until 10:30 that night and finally came to an agreement.
Now, we all know that in order for an offer to be valid in the state of Kentucky, it has to be signed. And even though I had arranged to meet the buyers at my office to get the contract signed at 12:00 the nex day, I was well aware that they may have buyer's remorse and decide not to show up. I was afraid they may vanish into thin air like the lender did in our first deal. I got to the office early and kept checking my phone to see if the front desk had called me to let me know my clients were there. 12:00 - no phone call. 12:03 - no call. Well, that figures... 12:07 Maria calls me and tells me that my clients are here!!!!! No remorse - they loved it even more and they were so excited! We got everything signed, contacted the title company to prepare the closing documents and scheduled the closing for 8 days later.
If you ask me, this truly is the MOST wonderful time of the year! I think Bob and Lonnie would agree!
Howe Earns Kentucky Housing Corporation Certified Real Estate Agent Designation
Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC), the states housing finance agency, recently announced Monica Howe is a KHC-Certified Real Estate Agent.Howe, a Broker/Associate with RE/MAX Affiliates, Inc. received this designation by demonstrating a commitment to presenting affordable home loan options to Kentuckians.
Monica is an excellent agent who is constantly working to help inform buyers of the different types of loan programs available, said RE/MAX Affiliates, Inc. Broker/Owner Kent Dailey.
With so many great loan programs available, if a person is qualified to purchase a home, we can usually find one that will suit them perfectly, said Howe.And great loan programs combined with historically low interest rates make it the best time ever to buy a new home.
Kentucky Housing Corporation offers home loans, with a 30-year fixed interest rate, including conventional, Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Affairs, and Rural Housing Services loans.Several programs are available to help home buyers meet closing costs and down payments.There are eligibility requirements for each loan type, such as income, purchase price and credit score.Free homeownership education and financial counseling are also available.
A home buyer tax credit, which is only offered through KHC, is also available.It is a mortgage credit certificate, which reduces the amount of federal income tax you pay, giving you more available income to qualify for a mortgage loan.The tax credit is available for the life of the loan, as long as you live in the home.
How to Apply?
Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis through Kentucky Housing Corporation-approved lenders.The lender will be able to determine if you qualify, they will submit your loan application and notify you as to whether your application has been accepted.A full list of KHC-approved lenders is available on KHCs website, www.kyhousing.org, under the Lenders/Realtors tab.
Even if a buyer has had financial difficulties with collections, bankruptcy or foreclosure, if its been two years or more and their credit score is at least 640, they may qualify for a mortgage loan through KHC.KHC also offers down payment assistance to home buyers obtaining certain types of loans.There are so many great programs available for all types of buyers right now, said Howe.An experienced Realtor can help you find a great lender who will help you sort out your options and determine which loan type will suit your needs.
Should I Refinance My Mortgage?
Some people believe they shouldn't refinance more often than once every two years. There are two main determining factors; 1) if you'll lower your payments, and 2) if you plan to stay in the home long enough to recapture the cost of refinancing. If the answers to both of these questions are yes, you should consider refinancing.
Interest rates have actually come down significantly in the past 12 months and even more in the past 24 months. According to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey®, rates on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage are down to 3.6% in August, 2012 compared to 4.27% one year earlier.
Refinancing in the example below would save the homeowner $67.04 per month and they would recapture the cost of refinancing in 3 years and 9 months based on approximately $3,000 of closing costs.
Click Here to make your own projection on a Refinance Analysis calculator.
Things may be slow in the real estate market, but Monica Howe, Broker/Associate with REMAX Affiliates, Florence, KY decided to take advantage of the seasonal slow-down and earn the CRS designation offered by the Council of Residential Specialists.
Education and experience are what being a CRS is all about, and I feel that the education Ive received through earning the CRS designation will help me provide better service to my clients.Im also better equipped to face the challenges of todays market, Howe said.
REMAX was recently rated highest in overall satisfaction for home sellers and home buyers among national full service real estate firms by JD Power and Associates.Great customer service is my number one priority and Im constantly seeking ways to enhance my skills and knowledge to be a better agent for my clients, Howe stated.
Im always looking for ways to expand my real estate business and differentiate myself from other agents.Im the only agent based in the Grant County area who currently holds this designation, said Howe.
Kent Dailey, Owner/Broker of REMAX Affiliates, Florence, KY states, Monica is known throughout the real estate community as a proven professional with practical experience and industry knowledge.We are proud of her accomplishments.The knowledge she has gained by earning the CRS designation is another tool that Monica will be able to use to increase the outstanding service she provides her clients.
Customer service is very important to me. I want every client I work with to have a great real estate experience with me.I believe that education enhances experience.Ive been in the business 11 years and I feel that the designations I have earned give me a strong competitive edge, Howe stated.The market is constantly changing and I intend to continue to stay on the cutting edge in order to provide my clients with the best customer service I can, said Howe.
Monica Howe is an award-winning Broker/Associate with REMAX Affiliates, Florence.She currently holds the CRS and National Association of Realtors Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource certification.She lists and sells all types of real estate in Grant County and Northern Ky.Monica resides in Dry Ridge with her husband Steve.
THANK YOU TO ALL VETERANS
Thank you for your sacrifice and all you have done to help make this country GREAT! I'm so proud to be an American and I appreciate each and every one of our servicemen and women. God bless our veterans and their families, and Godspeed to our actives. Hurry Home!
Why Isn't My Property Selling?!?
WHY ISN'T MY PROPERTY SELLING?!?
With almost 200 houses for sale in Grant County (according to the Northern Ky. multiple listing service), buyers can find just about anything they want! I have a great inventory of houses available - actually, I can show you ANY house listed by ANY company in the bluegrass state! And by the way, you can get SO much more house for the money if you buy an existing home rather than build one.
This is the one of the best times in history to purchase a house.Buyers are taking advantage of the great financing programs and interest rates.Sellers are starting to accept the fact that property values have declined and if they want to sell their homes, they have to adjust the prices accordingly.They dont like it and I dont blame them, but they are becoming more realistic by pricing their property as to what it is worth in todays market.
Real estate agents are becoming more choosey as to which listings they will take and which ones they wont.We still have some agents in the business who will tell sellers that they think they can get an outrageous price for their property in an effort to obtain the listing.Then when the listing doesnt get any showings, they will reduce the price several times until it finally gets to a realistic price point for buyers to consider.The problem with this is the property will sit on the market for a long time with no activity.The sellers become upset and the listings become stale.
Sellers should ask their Realtor for a comparative market analysis (CMA).This is a FREE report that will show a seller approximately how much their property will sell for according to properties that have already sold that are similar to theirs.This information is so important to a seller because when a buyer makes an offer to purchase, and they are financing the purchase, the lender will do an appraisal of the property and assess the value to see if it is worth the amount that the buyer is asking to borrow.The lender will use the same information that the Realtor uses as far as comparable sales plus more.
Buying a home is an emotional thing.A seller can ask a million dollars for their property and a buyer can agree that they think thats a fair price because the home is PERFECT for them.They make the offer to purchase the property for a million dollars and of course, the seller accepts but the buyer still has to obtain a loan to buy the property.Heres where the problem is.Even though the buyer and seller think the property is worth a million dollars, the lender (who is all business, and no emotion) will appraise the property and decide its only worth $100,000 and thats all they will lend the buyer.
Uh oh, now what?Well, the buyer can finance $100,000 and come up with the other $900,000 on their own.The seller can reduce the price of the property to $100,000.Or the buyer and seller can come up with some creative financing.Unrealistic pricing is a problem.
In todays real estate market, a seller should request a CMA.If they need more information on pricing, I suggest they get a certified appraisal from a licensed appraiser. We have a couple of great appraisers in the Grant County area.That way, the seller can decide whether now is the right time to sell, or if they should wait a few years until the market stabilizes and then try to sell.
Properties are selling. Let me rephrase that...
PROPERTIES THAT ARE PRICED RIGHT ARE SELLING.
RE/MAX 100 Club Award - Monica Howe
RE/MAX Affiliates is proud to announce that Monica Howe has won the prestigious RE/MAX 100% Club Award for 2010.This award is based on volume of transactions sold during 2010, said Kent Dailey, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Affiliates, Florence, Ky.Earning this award is particularly impressive given the market we are currently in.Since joining RE/MAX Affiliates in 2008, Monica has consistently been a top performer, earning the Executive Club award in 2008 and 2009.Dailey says that Monicas success is due to her commitment to being a full-time REALTOR, creativity and her core values of living by the Golden Rule.
Im honored to receive this award.Ive worked hard and its nice to be recognized by the RE/MAX organization for my professional accomplishments, said Howe.Awards are great and they are motivational, but the best thing I get from my job as a full-time REALTOR is the personal reward I receive from satisfied clients.Howe says she truly enjoys helping people and making lasting relationships with my buyers and sellers and people I meet along the way.
Honesty and integrity are the cornerstones to Howes success.I have received numerous letters from Monicas clients and other Realtors, giving testimony to her outstanding customer service, said Dailey.Its a tough market out there nowadays, but Im straightforward and honest with my clients.Oftentimes that means telling them things they dont want to hear especially my seller clients.Uncomfortable as it may be, I give my sellers all the market information I can to help them make informed decisions regarding their property. Sometimes that means I wont get the listing because the time is just not right for an owner to sell and thats okay.When the time is right, theyll call me.Now the buyers they love me! said Howe.With the great loan programs and the amount of inventory available right now, they cant lose!Howe says, I also feel that having good working relationships with other REALTORS is very important.We are all part of a team and we must work together and do everything we can to ensure that our buyers and sellers have the most positive real estate experience possible.
Howe believes that education and creativity in marketing are especially important.I keep current on the housing trends and I make sure to take classes that pertain to whats going on in the market right now.I have a competitive edge because I take advantage of the educational opportunities that are offered at RE/MAX Affiliates by my brokers and the No. Ky. Assoc. of Realtors.My husband, Steve, got me an iPad for Christmas and Im still learning how to work the thing, but I am using it in my listing presentations.There is so much new technology out there and sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed by it.But the bottom line is what matters most to buyers and sellers is working with a professional real estate agent who cares about them and has the experience to get the job done, said Howe.
Living by the Golden Rule is also important to Howe.I treat my clients the way I would like to be treated.I try to look at a real estate transaction from the clients point of view whether its a seller whos been through it before or a first-time home buyer.I want every one of my clients to have a great real estate experience with me.Sometimes we hit bumps in the road, but Im always right there beside them, along for the ride. Howe stated.
Monica Howe is a multi-million dollar producer with RE/MAX Affiliates, Florence, Ky. She is a licensed Broker/Associate, buyers agent, and also holds the NAR Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource designation.Howe lists and sells farms, residential, commercial, investment properties and short sales in Grant County and Northern Kentucky. Howe resides in Dry Ridge with her husband Steve and has two sons, Boston and Lincoln.
Real Estate 411 - Now is a Great Time to Buy!
Prom my favorite time of year!Its the only reason I went to high school.Just kidding.Both Grant County and Williamstown High Schools held their proms this past Saturday night and although the weather gave us a scare early, it turned out to be absolutely gorgeous by the time we were scheduled to take pictures.My friends Sharon and Brooke Rider own the Hogan House, which is an historic landmark in Dry Ridge and the crown jewel at Hogans Mill subdivision.They were so generous and allowed us to photograph the prom goers on the front porch, the balcony and anywhere else the kids would stand still.Groups from both schools were there to be photographed and the girls all looked beautiful with a gorgeous variety of gowns long, short, satin, sequined, fluffy and sleek.With the beautiful Hogan House as the backdrop, the photos were stunning!
Youre probably thinking, how does that relate to real estate?Well, I was checking the Northern Ky. multiple listing service to see what kind of homes are available right now.And just like the variety of prom dresses that the girls had to choose from, buyers also have a huge amount of inventory to choose from.
There are approximately 160 single family homes available in Grant Co. through the M.L.S. currently.Prices range from 20,000 to 895,000.Now, the 20,000, 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom house in Jonesville may need some tender loving care, but Im pretty sure the 895,000, 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom house with an indoor pool in Williamstown is in move-in condition.
The inventory of houses available right now reminds me of the 127 Yard Sale theres something for everyone!Buyers have so much to choose from nowadays thats its difficult for some of them to make a decision.I recently showed some buyers 23 houses.All of these houses fit their search criteria and price range.We finally narrowed it down to three of their favorite ones and they made their decision based on the one they loved the best.
Investors are also having great success increasing their inventory of rental homes and investment properties.There are great loan programs available today that help private buyers as well as investors.The HUD 203K is a rehab loan program which allows owner occupants to improve, repair and fix up their dream homes.The Fannie Mae HomePath Mortgage allows a borrower (investors included) to purchase a Fannie Mae-owned property (usually a foreclosure) with a low down payment, flexible mortgage terms, no lender-requested appraisal and no mortgage insurance.HomePath also allows seller contributions to buyer closing costs.
While sellers are taking a hard hit on market value of their homes right now, (I dont call it fair market value anymore because its not really fair to most sellers) they can take some solace in knowing that if they are purchasing another home, they will be getting a discounted price on the new home.
The homes are out there all you have to do call me. We'll prepare by getting you pre-approved for a loan and then we'll start looking!
Real Estate 411 - My Crystal Ball...
REAL ESTATE 411
What does the future hold for real estate?
Let me look into my crystal ball...
I see buyers having exceptional success buying homes that are appropriately priced and getting the best interest rates weve seen in years.Unfortunately for sellers, appropriatelypriced may mean an asking price that is considerably less than it was when you bought it, if you bought it within the last 5 years or so.
My hometown has been hit hard with foreclosures, and my crystal ball shows that trend continuing in 2011.According to the Grant County master commissioner hes the guy who sells the foreclosures at the courthouse steps, (yes, he really does stand on the steps of the old courthouse and sell the properties to the highest bidder) from July 2010 to December 2010 there were approximately 60 home foreclosures in Grant County, and the trend is increasing with 24 foreclosures during January and the first half of February 2011.
When homes go into the foreclosure process, they are appraised according to condition of the property and fair market value based on current market conditions.These properties are usually purchased back by the lenders and then listed with realtors.
In todays market, if they do a little homework, buyers can find a lender owned property and essentially purchase a new home at a wholesale price.Last week my son bought a condo in Lexington.It was built and sold in 2006 for $237,000.Lost to foreclosure in 2009 and purchased for $87,000 in 2010.Great for buyers, bad for sellers.
Just recently, I sold a beautiful 7-year-old home in Crittenden that originally sold for around $144,000 in 2004 for just under list price of $98,000.Great for buyers, bad for sellers.
There are options out there for distressed homeowners who may be facing foreclosure. Find an EXPERIENCED agent who has earned the designation of Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource (SFR) or Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE).You can find these experts through the National Association of Realtors website (www.realtor.org).Make sure you ask how many distressed sale transactions the agent has handled.Actual working knowledge of how to handle these types of situations is critical.
I wish figuring out the current real estate market was as easy as looking into a crystal ball.Things are tough, and I dont need a crystal ball to see that its going to stay that way for a while.Maybe I need a magic wand!..