Tuesday, November 29, 2011

PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT DOLLAR!

HOME BUYERS & SELLERS: BEWARE OF WIDE INACCURACY
OF INTERNET HOME VALUE ‘ESTIMATES’

Home Buyers & Sellers are more savvy than ever, yet both are relying more and more on faulty information provided by various Internet resources (such as Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Homes.com, etc.) to help determine a home’s value. It is important to beware of the extensive inaccuracy of these home value “estimates” in order to protect your investment dollar.

“Approximately 90% of home buyers begin their search on the Internet, and many blindly rely on these ‘estimates’, despite the fact that valuations on these sites – by their own admission – can be wildly inaccurate,” said Elaine Mallon, Broker Associate with Coldwell Banker.

These online home valuations can be 20%-50% higher or lower than a property’s eventual sale price, as the sites themselves admit. “That means a Buyer who relies on this rough information might be passing up a truly good value or a Seller who relies on this data might be undervaluing their home by tens of thousands of dollars, if not more.”

“A Trulia estimate is just that – an estimate,” says a disclaimer on the site’s home value tool. Zillow goes a step further, publishing how imprecise its estimates can be. Every major site urges house hunters to consult appraisers or real estate agents to refine their results.

Beware: These online sites don’t evaluate each property individually to determine “true market value.” They clump nearby homes together, using tax assessor’s office data and recent sales. “Their values are based on broad computer algorithms, not refined human expertise. They don’t take in to account each homes unique characteristics, upgrades, condition, extras or other intangibles that affect value,” continued Mallon.

Zillow has accepted revisions on 25 million homes – perhaps the strongest testament to how seriously consumers take its estimates and how off its numbers were.

“People need to realize this whether they are buying, selling or refinancing because it can greatly affect their decisions and their bottom-line. With the right professional counsel, no one should be leaving money on the table in this housing market,” concluded Mallon.


Elaine Mallon, who operates as a Dual Agent for Coldwell Banker's Palos Verdes / South Bay AND the state-of-the-art Manhattan Beach branch offices, is a Certified Negotiator, a Certified Corporate Relocation Specialist, a Certified Palos Verdes Area Specialist, an award-winning Marketing & Public Relations veteran, and a regular contributor to local and national online publications on matters that affect Buyers & Sellers today. She is eager to help with all your HOME BUYING & SELLING NEEDS! www.CaliforniaMoves.com/Elaine.Mallon.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

GREAT NEWS FOR HOME BUYERS!

CONGRESS REINSTATES & EXTENDS (EXPIRED)

CONFORMING LOAN LIMIT FOR FHA LOANS THROUGH 2013


On Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011,Congress voted to increase the maximum size of mortgage loans that are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), back up to $729,750 through Dec. 31, 2013. The extension applies to high-cost areas including all of Los Angeles and Orange County.

The FHA's loan limits dropped at the end of September of this year for mortgages insured by the FHA, as well as the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The higher conforming loan limit was temporarily raised during the early stages of the nation’s economic crisis to help steady a struggling housing market, but then dropped back to $625,500 on Oct. 1.

For now, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac insured mortgages – which back funding for roughly half of all home loans nationwide -- will remain at $625,000.

“This is encouraging news for Home Buyers,” said Elaine Mallon, Broker Associate with Coldwell Banker. “FHA loans require a lower down payment, and conforming loans have lower interest rates than jumbo loans. Restoring the $727,750 limit allows the home buyers’ investment dollar to go further by raising the size of a more affordable home loan. Additionally, almost every transaction that could have closed as a Fannie or Freddie loan can now close as an FHA loan.”

“Home Sellers can also be encouraged that efforts are continuing to mend a struggling housing market, to stabilize housing values and that the market is opening up to millions of credit-worthy home borrowers,” said Mallon.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) adds, “Higher FHA loan limits are critical to supporting current housing prices and our overall economic recovery, and it doesn’t cost the federal government a dime. This is the single most important provision in the minibus bill to prevent a collapse of housing prices in high-cost areas like Los Angeles.”

Home prices and mortgage interest rates won’t stay this low forever. If you are ready to MAKE YOUR MOVE NOW, call Elaine directly at (310) 544-8453 or on the web at www.CaliforniaMoves.com/Elaine.Mallon. She is eager to help with all your HOME BUYING & SELLING needs!

Elaine Mallon, who operates as a Dual Agent for Coldwell Banker's Palos Verdes / South Bay AND the state-of-the-art Manhattan Beach branch offices, is a Certified Negotiator, a Certified Relocation Specialist, a Certified Palos Verdes Peninsula Area Specialist, an award-winning marketing and public relations veteran, and a regular contributor to local and national on-line publications on matters that affect Buyers & Sellers today.