Saturday, January 28, 2012

Experts Suggest Housing Crisis to End in 2012

Capital Economics expects the housing crisis to end this year, according to a report released Tuesday. One of the reasons: loosening credit standards.

Other factors, such as: 1. The Federal Reserve committed to keeping mortgage rates to historic lows throughout this year, and beyond. 2. Home sales up again last month, and up again for the sixth straight consecutive year. 3. Consumer confidence up as a result of job growth, stabilizing US ecomony and bargain home prices. 4. The traditional "7-year housing cycle" ends this year.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), concurs with other expert assessments, saying “The pattern of home sales in recent months demonstrates a market in recovery.”

Additionally, other market indicators point not just to a stabilization of mortgage lending standards, but also an increase in credit availability.

Capital Economics notes the average credit score required to attain a mortgage loan is now down to 700. The lower score will open mortgage loans up to more consumers.

Banks are also loosening loan-to-value ratios (LTV), which Capital Economics denotes “the clearest sign yet of an improvement in mortgage credit conditions.”

In contrast to a low of 74 percent LTV reached in mid-2010, banks are now lending at 82 percent LTV. This loosing of restrictions on how much debt one carries to qualify for a mortgage loan, also opens approvals up to more home buyers.

The tide is turning. All markets have periods of growth and decline -- key indicators all suggest a housing recovery now underway.



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

TopAgentMatch.com Launches as No-Cost, Highly Personalized Referral Service That Matches Home Buyers & Sellers with the Right Real Estate Professional

LOS ANGELES, CA -- TopAgentMatch.com (http://www.topagentmatch.com/) officially launched today as a personalized, no-cost referral service that matches Home Buyers & Sellers looking to move, invest or relocate with the perfect local real estate agent -- whether it's around the corner or halfway around the world. The announcement was made today by Elaine Mallon, Founder & Broker of TopAgentMatch.com.

Think 1-800-Dentists meets Match.com for real estate representation.

TopAgentMatch.com is a unique service that fills the gap that exists in the agent search process. “We are distinct by not being tied to any one brokerage nor to a limited number of agents within a paid directory. Instead, we cull through active, licensed members of the National Association of REALTORS® – America’s largest trade association, over 1.1 million members strong – who are in good standing, with a record of exceptional customer service, whose designations and/or specialties match a client’s needs, who are local experts in the areas they serve, and who pledge to abide by the Association’s strict Code of Ethics.”

There are hundreds of websites that “blindly” list agents, but with no personal screening and little assurance of how experienced they really are. These are not true "referrals", but agents who have paid a fee to be included in those directories, regardless of customer service record or qualifications.

“That’s no way to select the right agent. Moreover, top-producing real estate professionals
seldom pay to be in those directories. The best agents earn clients through their professionalism, reputation and performance,” stated Ms. Mallon.

TopAgentMatch.com’s personal approach recognizes that different people have different needs. “The perfect match is not just about professional qualifications, but compatible communication styles and personal chemistry between the client and agent,” Ms. Mallon continued. “Both personalities should align to make the experience a good one. ‘Agent Referral Directories’ just don’t provide that level of service or personal insight.”

Ms. Mallon is a licensed Broker with the California Department of Real Estate (DRE #01325954), a Certified Corporate Relocation Specialist, Certified Negotiator, Certified Investor Agent Specialist, and member of the National Association of REALTORS®.

She is the former Owner/Broker of Monarch Properties, a Real Estate Buyer’s Brokerage, Mortgage Finance & Investment firm, an award-winning public relations and marketing veteran, and previously served as Vice President, Media & Corporate Relations for 20th Century Fox Television.

TopAgentMatch.com can be found online at www.TopAgentMatch.com or by calling toll free: 1-800-208-3401, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/topagentmatch.com/251089331631503

Saturday, January 7, 2012

PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT DOLLAR --- BEWARE OF ONLINE HOME VALUE INACCURACIES

HOME BUYERS & SELLERS: BEWARE OF WIDE INACCURACY OF INTERNET HOME
VALUE ‘ESTIMATES’ -- PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT DOLLAR!


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.

PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT DOLLAR --- BEWARE OF ONLINE HOME VALUE INACCURACIES in Real Estate Wiki.