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Rates for 30 Year Loans Drop


Monday, September 21, 2009 at 10:21pm

Homeowners with 30-year loans (and looking to refinance) have been seeing some good news this past month concerning loan rates. For the past three weeks in a row now, rates for 30-year home loans have dropped to 5.04 percent. A small, but substantial, change from last week's rate of 5.07 percent. The decreasing rate is a slight victory for homeowners looking to refinance their home in the hopes of saving some money. Freddie Mac reported that the mortgage rates may even hit the record-low numbers from this past spring when it dropped to 4.78 percent.

The Federal Reserve may have something to do with the shrinking home loan rates. They have been currently pumping in $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) to help the housing market recover from the worst recession it has seen since the 1930's. The amount looks as if will be completely spent by winter, although there has been speculation that the central bank may add more funding at a later time.

Although the government is trying to help out as much as possible, it is still difficult to quality for a loan. Lenders, who are now more cautious than ever, have become very stiff with their standards regarding qualification. The best example of someone who is going to qualify for a home loan today? A person with a stable credit history and a 20 percent downpayment. This hasn't changed much over the years, but the flexibility to "work around" these circumstances has now disappeared.

However, the opportunity that the current 30-year rate decrease has opened for certain homebuyers is much-needed break. It remains to be seen if, in the following weeks, the rate continues to drop to under 4 percent.

With this rates so low visit our Foreclosure Page and find the best deals in homes right now, or visit our Communities page and learn about the best areas around Central Florida.

Choosing a Sustainable Neighborhood in Central Florida


Friday, September 18, 2009 at 3:39pm

Sustainability is trendy. From clothes to cars to homes, it seems that everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. However, in order to ensure the longevity of the planet, people are beginning to realize that sustainable living is not just a passing fad, but a way of life.
Here are some tips that prospective home buyers can follow when looking for a new home:

DRIVE LESS - As we know, the carbon monoxide released into the air by motor vehicles hurt the environment. Reducing car usage can significantly help the ecosystem, not to mention your pocketbook. Owning and operating a car in the United States costs around to $8,500 a year. In addition, people that live in strictly residential neighborhoods, on the urban fringe, use 1/3 less greenhouse gases than those living in the city.

CONSERVE HEAT - Not all of us are able to freely choose the type of home to move in to. If you are ever in such a position, it is important to note that a two-story detached home loses 20% more heat than a semi-detached home, and 50% more heat than the middle home in a row of townhouses... even if they are all the same size! Any place with shared walls is going to be able to conserve more heat and energy than one with separate or detached walls.

GO ON FOOT - The American Health Association recommends that people get at between 20 and 30 minutes of exercise a day. Choosing a neighborhood or community that is within walking distance of grocery stores, shops, schools and other services can serve as a benefit for your health, and the environment. The good news? Many Central Florida areas (like Uptown Altamonte in Altamonte Springs, Florida) are building entertainment areas around residential ones. However, it goes without saying that not all neighborhoods have access to conveniently located shopping areas. But choosing to stay in a close-knit community that you are still able to stroll within and meet your neighbors makes a statement as well. What's more, mass transit is always more available in more compact areas than ones that are spread out.

Right now, sustainable living is not appealing to the mass, but if you are looking for a small primary or secondary home, close proximity to shopping locales, ways to spend less time commuting in a car, and a friendly neighborhood atmosphere, you are already on your way to thinking "green" and living sustainably.

To learn about the best neighborhood and communities please visit our Communities page and learn about what Central Florida has to offer or visit our Foreclosure page and get the best deals on a Central Florida property.

Will Google Wave Change How Homebuyers Shop?


Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 11:15am

Savvy homebuyers always hit the Internet first before they make calls to real estate agents. With all the information available on the Web, doing neighborhood research, price comparisons and photo tours have become the norm for 84 percent of people who are house hunting. So, how can Google's new application, Google Wave, change all of this?

According to Google, Google Wave "is a new model for communication and collaboration on the Web." Not debuting until later this year, each "wave" allows people to communicate and work together using text, photos, videos, maps and much more. These waves can then be shared and updated live. The application can be used to the benefit of a variety of industries, but the housing market seems to be one of the most fitting.

Today, individuals no longer need to pick up the phone to find out what a particular neighborhood looks like, what the average home price is in that area, or what schools are in the district. Questions once fielded by knowledgeable real estate agents can now be found easily on the Internet. However, to find the answers to these questions, one must visit several different sites. With Google Wave, all of this can be done on one page, with easily accessible links, pertinent photos, and up-to-date blog posts and messages about any community. Not only will it change how real estate companies do business online, but it will engage prospective homebuyers in a completely new and different way.

Although Google Wave has yet to launch, and we have yet to see if its impact on the housing market will materialize, it will be very exciting to see how the application evolves. As more people crave richer information, the info-packed "waves" will be a welcome addition to the Google family. After all, they donít call it the "Information Age" for nothing.
To see a preview of Google Wave, visit www.wave.google.com.

Also for the latest foreclosures and bank-owned properties around Central Florida updated every hour visit our Foreclosure Page and be among the first people to get a hold of latest properties on the market today.

Moving Out To Show Your Home?


Monday, September 14, 2009 at 11:11am

These days, it is quite common for families or individuals to move out of their homes in order to make the "show and sell" process easier for prospective buyers and their real estate agents. However, it can be somewhat detrimental, at least for the successful sale of your property, to leave the premises entirely.

An empty house seems unattractive for potential homebuyers, and keeping some or all of your furniture in tact can help them to envision their future life in your home. While it is not always possible to keep belongings in the house, a simple couch or accessories, such as pictures and lighting can help buyers gain a better perspective. If this is still unattainable, the solution would be to hire a house sitter.

House sitters are beneficial for many reasons. First, it is possible that they may bring their own furniture, which accommodates the "lived in" feeling of the home. This is highly desirable, and appeals to homebuyers. Second, with home security being a major concern, having a house sitter mitigates any anxiety or worry about leaving your house vacant. People will be able to see someone coming and going from the property on a daily basis. Third, any chores like taking out the garbage and cleaning the yard, or duties such as bringing in any mail or checking on the water pressure will be taken care of. The last things you want to think about are magazines piling up on the doorway or small structural problems that can get out of hand if unnoticed. It is also helpful to note that homeowners can count on the safety of continuing insurance, as these companies prefer a permanent live-in caretaker rather than someone just coming in sporadically to check-in on the property.

If you are interested in hiring a house sitter, or exploring the costs of employing one,www.mindmyhouse.com and www.caretaker.org are great resources for fielding questions and learning about the benefits of a caretaker. You can always ask your real estate agent to make recommendations for you, as they will always have your best interest as top priority.

Men Take More Time Deciding on a Home


Thursday, September 10, 2009 at 10:17pm

Perhaps the stereotype that men tend not to "think things over" is just that... a stereotype. According to a survey by Coldwell Banker Real Estate, men took longer than women in deciding if a particular home was right for them.

The survey states that 70 percent of women had their mind made up the same day as viewing the house. However, only 62 percent of men had their mind made up the same day. Additionally, it was reported that 32 percent of men needed two or more visits before making a final decision, in contrast with just 23 percent of women.

A third-party research firm, International Communications Research (ICR) was used to gather the information. They used pinpointed questions to probe men's and women's minds in order to find out what was important to them in finding a suitable home. Some of the questions included: "Who wears the pants in the relationship?" and "If you found the home of your dreams but had concerns about its security, would you still be interested?"

Diann Patton, a Coldwell Banker consumer spokesperson stated that the results were surprising. She stated, "Not only did we uncover some of the inherent differences between men and women, but we also pinpointed a number of ways that the two genders are actually the same. For example, both men and women are increasingly concerned with having a space to work in their homes - something we would not have seen 40 years ago. We also found that feeling insecure about a home's safety is a deal-breaker for most people, regardless of gender."

The survey shows how important it is for couples to communicate before venturing into the housing market. It also highlights how unbelievably supportive real estate agents are in fostering cooperation between couples. Agents can act as a great buffer between feuding personalities, and can help to mitigate or diffuse the situation altogether.

You can visit our communities page and learn about the best communities around Central Florida.

Mortgage Rates Are Going Up!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009 at 4:23pm

According to Freddie Mac, mortgage rates went up this week again over 5 percent. The change was on the 30-year mortgage; this summer marks the first time rates have risen this high after the record low of 4.78 percent earlier this year.

Last week, the rate was 5.22 percent and this week it went to 5.29 percent, a stark contrast to the fixed-rate mortgage rate from last year: 6.52 percent.

Despite the housing market beginning to show signs of a recovery, the raised rates could potentially hinder its stabilization. The increase translates to homebuyers being qualified for less financing, therefore deterring them from making any home purchases in the near future.

As far as 15-year mortgages go, the average rate was 4.68 percent, which is up slightly from 4.63 percent last week.

According to Freddie Mac, rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.75 percent, up from 4.73 percent last week. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages dropped to 4.72 percent from 4.78 percent.

It remains to be seen whether the increase in mortgage rates impacts the housing market negatively. However, Freddie Mac advises that rates fluctuate quite frequently, and that the current state of the market has caused homebuyers to pay extra attention to the changes. Rates will continue to fluctuate, up and down, until the housing market stabilizes. Until then, snatching up a piece of property may be a good decision with the affordable home prices and reasonable interest rates.

Check out our Foreclosure Page or read about the different neighbourhoods on our Communities Page and read all about the best communities and neighbourhoods around the Central Florida area.

Homebuyers Gain More Knowledge Via Internet


Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 4:55pm

Savvy homebuyers are hitting the Internet first before they make calls to real estate agents. With all the information available on the Web, doing neighborhood research, price comparisons and photo tours have become the norm for 84 percent of people who are house hunting.

Questions once fielded by knowledgeable real estate agents can now be found easily on the Internet. Concerned with which school district your dream house falls into? Want to know how far the lake is from your home? Trying to figure out what houses in a particular neighborhood are priced at? The Internet has all the answers!

According to a California Association of Realtors study, homebuyers spend 16 weeks surfing the Internet doing research before they contact a real estate agent. But it is important to note that agents are still a very real and necessary part of the homebuying equation. Their expertise on the industry and ability to sift through all the paperwork are skills that aren't easily acquired through an Internet search. People still need agents to show homes and other listings that do not make the rounds on the World Wide Web.

Although the Internet makes homebuyers a little less dependent on real estate agents, it seems to be helping them. A 2009 Home Buyer Survey conducted by the California Association of Realtors showed that buyers who used the Internet, on average, visited 13 homes with an agent. Buyers who didn't use the Internet needed an average of 25 visits before deciding.

You can start your own real estate search right here by clicking our Communities Page to read about all the different neighborhoods in Central Florida or visit our Foreclosure page and get the best deals In properties around Central Florida.

Is the Housing Market Beginning a Recovery?


Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 9:10am

Since the housing market bust, a staggering $4 trillion in home equity was destroyed, and many millions of homeowners lost their houses because of foreclosure.

The good news is that industry experts are predicting that the worst is over.
With the exception of foreclosed homes, the housing market has shown signs of stability. Home sales across the country were up almost 10 percent in June since January. In addition, new home sales have increased by 17 percent during this same time frame.

The sweet spot is home prices themselves. In May it was reported that home prices made the first positive increase since June 2006.

"The freefall is over," says Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
The only predicament is that, Baker, like other economists and industry experts, expect the housing market to be "bouncing around the bottom" during Q3 and Q4 of this year.

Although all the good news is very promising, experts warn homeowners and investors to be careful and not to prejudge any situation without doing homework first. It will still take a long while for the housing market to get back to a constant, steady state. Until then, unemployment continues to rise and foreclosures continue to happen every day.

Please visit our Foreclosure page and find all the Bank-owned and short sale properties around Central Florida or visit our Communities page and learn about the best areas to live in the Central Florida market.

Clean Homes Sell Fastest: Tips for a Quicker Sell


Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 8:19am

It may be unnecessary to point out, but homes that are cleaner, or appear cleaner always sell the fastest. Below are some inside tips on what you can do before buyers step foot in your home.

PEOPLE JUDGE A HOME BY ITS COVER - If your lawn is not manicured or the landscaping is lacking in color, it is best to try and spruce this area up. The outside of your home is the first thing people and prospective buyers see. If the "cover" is not appealing it may ruin their appetite for what's inside. Also, make sure that any stains on the driveway, cobwebs at the entrance, or paint chips and dents on the door are fixed. Try to place a potted plant by the front door to create a more inviting outside atmosphere.

SUNNY SELLS - Even though some people prefer dark, cave-like homes, buyers are more drawn to sunny and lighted places. If you have curtains... open them! If not, create artificial light with higher wattage bulbs and lighter window dresses. Even creating more space by moving furniture can make a place feel lighter and airy. Move couches, tables and clutter to create a more inviting living area.

TONE IT DOWN - If you have bright bold colors painted on your walls, invest in painting them a in a lighter and more neutral tone. Light colors appeal to most buyers, and don't make as much of a statement. But be careful when repainting; white is usually too stark and boring and may make your home feel uninviting or drab. Stick to colors like beige, light yellows or greens and creams.

DRESS IT UP - Bathrooms are the places where most sellers make mistakes. Easy ways to make them seem more inviting are investing in a new shower curtain and bathmats or using a scented oil or burning candle. Hide any clutter, plungers, or cleaning products and make sure all toiletries are organized. If you have room to hide your items, store them to create a clean and neat atmosphere.

FOCAL POINT - The kitchen is usually the focal point of the house. Make yours look nicer by putting place settings at the dinner table, or a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter. An inside tip is to bake cookies in the oven before buyers come to look at your home. The smell of freshly baked goodies wafting about the house is a surefire way to put a smile on any prospective buyers face.

Please visit our communities page to read and learn about the best communities around Central Florida or if you are looking for a foreclosure property check out our foreclosure page and find your dream home. If at anytime you have questions please call us at 407-392-4663.

Luxury Homes Hit Hardest: Real Estate Sales Down


Saturday, July 25, 2009 at 10:36am

The Obama administration put together a plan to try and salvage the deteriorating housing market. From its inception, lenders have been revising mortgage loans to make them more affordable for their customer. However, there are some people that cannot take advantage of the mortgage adjustments: homeowners with costly loans. These people are not eligible for loan revisions under the new Obama plan. This means that they do not qualify for the lower interest rates. The luxury home demographic is struggling, but not only because they do not qualify for low interest refinancing. Pricey homes take longer to find a solid buyer as banks are now being more cautious and requiring larger down payments and reserve monies.

The consequence of the weak market in conjunction with Obama's plan? Luxury home sales have almost completely halted. Although upscale houses make up a small percentage of total home sales, they play a significant role in the recovery of the market as a whole. People who want to upgrade their current homes are essentially deterred from buying pricier homes because of the strict financing requirements, and as a result, the price has be brought down in order to sell and move inventory in a timely fashion. This, in turn, causes mid-price homes to lower their prices, and the domino-effect can move all the way to homes in the lower price tiers.

Lawrence Yun, a chief economist with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) stated, "We need to have a market recovery in all segments." He added, "If the high-end market weakens, those in the middle have to reduce prices."

Unless there is some type of turnaround in the luxury home market segment, the housing recovery will continue to dwindle. Yun commented, "All of Middle America is undoubtedly impacted."

Are you looking for a luxury home visit our Central Florida Luxury Lisitngs page and find your next dream home or visit our communites page and learn about all the luxury communites around Central Florida.

Top Tips for First-time Homebuyers


Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 2:37pm

GET PRE-APPROVED - It is important to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you make any offers. The housing market is competitive, regardless of the economy, and if you have outstanding conditions such as unsecured financing, it can be a deal breaker. Sometimes sellers will accept a lower offer from a buyer that has solidified financing than from one who has a higher offer but no pre-approved mortgage. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but being able to mitigate any risks and show a seller your level of commitment is essential in the home buying process.

DON'T FALL IN LOVE! - In the business world they say it is fatal to fall in love with your business, otherwise you lose sight of the vital signs leading to business success and failure. You end up throwing good money away. The same holds true for homebuyers. If you get too emotionally attached to a house, it can lead to bad decision-making and you may end up paying too much... something you may regret later. Keep your feelings out of it and focus on key points that have been established at the beginning of the home buying process.

BE PREPARED FOR UNEXPECTED EXPENSES - Some people are unaware of just how much closing costs can be. It is a good idea to set aside anywhere between two and six percent of your loan for these expenses. Although many homebuyers will end up paying the closing costs without having enough left over for furniture or food, you will want to figure the fee into your saving scheme before you start shopping. Ask your lender to give you a Good Faith Estimate or GFE. You can also ask your real estate agent to help you factor other expenses that you incur as a result of the closing and in other unforeseen areas.

MOVING COORDINATION - As if moving once isn't enough, the prospect of staying with friends and relatives in the interim can be extremely frustrating. It is sometimes difficult to coordinate the move-out date of your old home with the move-in date of your new one. However, if there is a period of time that a late move-out or an early move-in would be beneficial, sometimes just simply asking for more time on either side will solve the problem. Otherwise, make sure that you know your dates so that during negotiation and closing these times and dates are made clear.

GET AN INSPECTION - The number one complaint from first-time homebuyers is finding that something in their new house isn't working properly. If only they had included a home inspection as a condition of their offer. It is essential to get a home inspection as part of the home buying process. If you can figure out where there are faulty areas this gives you either more leverage during negotiation or action on behalf of the seller to fix the problem. If the seller refuses to repair any damages and you still wish to purchase the house, make sure you can absorb the cost of the repair(s).

Please visit our communities page and learn about the best areas around Central Florida, or check our Foreclosure page and get yourself a property at up to 70% off the assess value. If at any time you need our assistance please don't hesitate to call us at 407-392-HOME.

Best way to Buy a Foreclosure Property


Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 9:06am

As a result of the current economy, there are a multitude of distressed properties readily available on the market. If you have deep pockets, your chances of netting a handsome profit are quite high. However, searching for the right home is frustrating and sorting through the exhaustive list of foreclosures in newspapers, on Web sites or otherwise can be grueling.
Sometimes, you can find a dedicated real estate agent that is willing to aid you in your search, but because of the sheer investigative nature of finding the perfect foreclosure home deal, many agents do not bother with them.
Below are some pointers that you should consider before beginning your pursuit of the perfect foreclosure deal:

STICK TO ONE AREA - It will make the entire process easier if you stick to one area. Try to focus on a place where there is not a saturation of distressed homes, but a good mix of new and well-kept, older homes. This is a great signal for future growth and will make for a better deal once the housing market downturn turns the other cheek

DO YOUR RESEARCH - There is a wealth of information out there to help you learn about certain neighborhoods and even certain properties. Many Web sites can offer some surface information, but require expensive subscriptions to take advantage of their updated listings. This is not a bad way to go. Of course, you can always try to contact lenders that have listings on their site of the properties that they have had to take back. Either way, any gathering of information that adds to your overall knowledge is a good thing.

GET THE INSIDE INFO - Finding out what type of seller you are dealing with can be extremely helpful. Discovering the reason they want to sell can put the ball in your court as far as an offer. For example, if their monthly costs are too high, perhaps settling on a fast deal will appease them. Figuring out what motivates the seller will lead to a smoother closing and better communication.

RELY ON A GOOD BROKER - There are many real estate brokers out there who can aid you will listings and knowledge on distressed properties. Although finding a good "foreclosure-experienced" broker may not be easy, targeting these individuals will alleviate any issues that buyers have regarding foreclosure knowledge. Many times these deals have certain intricacies that only an experienced broker can handle, and in the long run, hiring someone who knows what details to isolate and pin down is beneficial for the overall deal.

We proud ourselves in providing the best service to the consumer that is looking to get the best deal on a foreclosure property, please visit our Foreclosure Page or Visit our hot properties page and find the best deals around Central Florida