Posts Tagged ‘questions’

Flip Your Home Through 2014

December 12th, 2012 at 4:03 pm by Rick Schutte

house flipping your house through 2014If you are considering investing in real estate in the new year or in selling your home that was recently purchased, you’ll be excited to know that the Federal Housing Administration has agreed to a temporary extension on the waiver on home flipping.

At one point in time, home owners were required to hold title for more than 90 days before selling their property. Now, however, you can buy your home, fix it up, and resell it without time restrictions, per the original policy put into place in 2010 by the Obama administration.  Since 2010 the extension has been granted on a yearly basis, but this announcement extends it for two years.

The renewal of this policy, announced at the end of November, will remain in force until December 31, 2014 to allow security to buyers and lenders who wish to engage in these practices. The waiver is subject to certain restrictions, and may result in an increase in available home inventory.

According to Carol J. Galante, Acting FHA Commissioner, the extension was granted to increase resales of foreclosed properties in struggling neighborhoods. He said,  “FHA remains a critical source of mortgage financing and stability and we must make every effort to promote recovery in every responsible way we can.”

Learn About How the Extension Affects Your Home and Neighborhood

To read the actual waiver and restrictions placed on anti-flipping regulations, such as the need to show renovations and an inspection to support a sales price increase of greater than 20%, click here.  If you are interested in learning more about investing and how this change can impact your home, give me a call.

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Buying A Home? These Apps Can Help!

June 18th, 2012 at 4:12 pm by Rick Schutte

Each day technology becomes even more impressive as new tools, products and apps are rolled out that truly have a place in your daily life. It can be exciting and exhausting to try to find the ones that will benefit you. As a homebuyer, it can be overwhelming to narrow down all the choices.  With that in mind, I’ve made my real estate website tech and mobile friendly in the hope that you will find the results you need in your search, however, when it comes to buying a home, these apps may of benefit to you as well.

Many of these apps are even offered free of charge, although they may request your location information in order to produce the results you desire. If you want more specific information or ideas on specialized apps for your tech devices, please give me a call so we can brainstorm on how I can help meet your real estate needs.  In the meantime, though, check these out!

Not sure where you want to live?

  • Nabewise Get to know neighborhoods in-depth, complete with pictures, reviews and ratings ond rankings on the things you care most about.
  • GreatSchools Get to know local school options and read reviews by staff and parents of children attending the schools. Schools are also scored based on scores and ratings.
  • Yelp Find the best restaurants, shopping, and entertainment in the area you are researching directly from the people who live there. A true “insider’s view.”

Trying to keep track of everything?

  • Evernote Keep track of your buying process, including the information on homes you have seen, complete with your personal notes!

Want to compare?

  • House Hunter This tool allows you to set priorities on your wants and needs and match them to homes you are considering with the feature list and also has a mortgage calculator built in.
  • Trulia – Easy to use and even includes a help button! Depending on your mobile device, you can check and compare listings and even search by feature using your voice.

Looking for actual numbers?

  • Zillow Zestimates and make me move allow you to get an idea of what homes cost on any street and even permit you to make offers to home owners who do not have their property for sale.
  • Realtor.com Get stats on new homes, sold homes, and homes for sale easily and quickly, including price changes in any neighborhood.
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Top VA Loan Questions From Military Buyers

May 25th, 2012 at 11:08 am by Rick Schutte

Every week, we field a number of questions from our VA buyers regarding VA loan questions.  VA is an outstanding loan program and we would like to make this information available to all of our readers.  Here are some of the top questions we respond to.

Q:  How do I deal with bad credit?

A: Bad credit is a common challenge. In order to qualify for VA financing, military home buyers must have at least a 620 credit score. This minimum can be a stretch for those with a past bankruptcy or foreclosure. We work closely with credit-challenged military buyers. Rather than dismissing applicants with low credit scores we partner with the potential borrowers to help point them in the right direction to repair their credit rating and position themselves to qualify for the loan.

Q: What if my spouse has bad credit?

A: All VA loan borrowers and co-borrowers will be under close scrutiny by a lender. Credit scores for both applicants have to measure up to the 620 minimum. It may be advisable for a potential buyer to obtain a loan without a co-borrower, provided the solo borrower can afford the mortgage payments and meet all criteria.

Q: What can I buy with a VA loan?

A: VA loans can only be used to finance primary residences (up to a 4-plex if the veteran lives in one unit). Vacant land and commercial properties are ineligible. It is possible to finance new construction with a VA loan, but only through certain lenders.

Q:  What are current VA loan rates?

A:  It’s not uncommon for VA loan interest rates to be lower than conventional loan rates. But as with any loan, the interest rate on a VA loan will shift with the market. Borrowers can get a sense of VA rates during the pre approval process.

There are many local lenders and qualified real estate professionals here on Whidbey Island that can help with the VA process.  If you or someone you know has questions that aren’t answered here, there are many available resources available locally. We are proud to serve our military and our veterans.

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North Whidbey Island Real Estate update

February 8th, 2012 at 4:48 pm by Rick Schutte

January 2012 is over and we are headed into an exciting year of opportunity.  In researching the statistics for North Whidbey Island real estate sales for January, we have found that the market seems to be starting a rebound. The number of active listings (homes for sale) is decreasing and the number of pending sales is increasing which is a very good indicator for a stabilizing market. Also the number of days that homes are on the market for sale is decreasing. Another great statistic is our sales prices. After a number of years of decline, we seem to be bouncing along the bottom. Prices have stabilized with a little increase in some markets. New construction and condominiums are still at a slow pace but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

For purchasers this is still a good time to be considering buying a home. With the interest rates at an all time low and the market still soft, now seems to be the best time to be a buyer.  As we approach the summer selling season, I believe that with the decreased amount of homes for sale, the prices will start to inch up. Hopefully interest rates will stay down for some time.

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Tips to Reduce Your Heating Bill

January 30th, 2012 at 5:17 pm by Rick Schutte

Like you, we are always trying to discover ways to save money. This interview with Rick Bunzel of Pacific Crest Inspections gives us five great tips on ways to reduce our heating bills.

  • Lower your hot water heater to 120 degrees
  • Use a programmable thermostat to drop night time temps to 55 degrees
  • Change your furnace filter regularly and make sure the furnace is tuned.
  • Have your duct work checked and vents balanced
  • Add insulation to the attic

By following these tips and watching your energy consumption, you should be able to save some money and help the planet. We hope that you have enjoyed these energy saving tips. Please feel free to contact Rick Bunzel at Pacific Crest Inspections,  1-866-618-7764, or contact any of us at Coldwell Banker Koetje Real Estate in beautiful Oak Harbor, Wa. for any other real estate related questions or comments. We are here to serve you.

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Whidbey Island Home Selling Tips

July 20th, 2011 at 11:43 am by Rick Schutte

This article will provide Whidbey Island Home Selling Tips and 5 Reasons to Hire a Pro to Sell Your Home. We are in a very different type of real estate market, a buyer’s market, and it is just to treacherous to go it alone. With these Home Selling Tips for Whidbey Island sellers, hopefully your experience with selling your home will be better and the outcome will be what you desire.

1. Employ an expert: A typical property owner does not have anywhere near the home-selling experience of a real estate agent. Agents can recommend relatively simple improvements—painting, making repairs, decluttering—that can help a home sell faster and for a better price. Your Realtor is the neighborhood expert. They can walk through a property and see right away what needs to be done to get the home sold. Independent sellers might not be aware of these tricks of the trade.

2. Use better tools: Homeowners using agents can get their property listed on Realtor.com, the most widely searched real estate website. Whidbey Island Home Sellers can get their homes listed on all of the local real estate company websites, including Coldwell Banker Koetje Real Estate website, which is one of the most comprehensive local real estate websites. Independent sellers do not have access to these services.  Another of our Whidbey Island Home Selling Tips is to ensure that your home listing is available for mobile viewing, ie. smartphones, Ipads, etc.

3. Sidestep lawsuits: Agents can also help protect sellers from potential litigation. There are all kinds of liability issues that a seller could potentially face when…dealing one on one with a buyer.  A homeowner could, for example  tell a potential buyer that hardwood floors extend to all corners of the house underneath the wall-to-wall carpeting. But if even one room has cement flooring, the homeowner could be sued. Agents, who have experience dealing with these liability issues, can help homeowners dodge such scenarios. Another Whidbey Island home selling tip to avoid lawsuits: provide a full home disclosure to the purchaser. This is required by law.

4. Duck the riffraff: Independent sellers might not have any idea whom they are letting into their homes during open houses. These potential buyers might not have the credit to make the purchase—and would therefore be wasting the homeowner’s time—or could even “try to rob them later on. Homeowners working with agents will have qualified buyers visiting their properties. The agent has developed a relationship with their client and knows their qualifications.

5. Avoid hardball tactics: It’s a buyer’s market out there. And with all the information available online, today’s well-informed buyers are tough negotiators, too. Real estate agents have been through the home-selling process before and are trained in negotiating tactics—giving them a potential edge in negotiating  a deal in the seller’s best interest.  Our last Whidbey Island home selling tip is to have a strong negotiator on your side. Using a professional is in your best interest.

Hopefully these Whidbey Island home selling tips have been a help to you. Please feel free to contact us at 360-675-5915 or email us at cbk@whidbeyrealestate.com at any time. We are here to be of service to you.

Content provided by: Luke Mullins: USNews.com

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How Are Homes Priced to Market

July 7th, 2011 at 10:21 am by Rick Schutte

One of the responsibilities we have is to help our homesellers establish a realistic market price for their home when they are preparing it for sale. Historically,  the sale price of recently sold comparable homes has been used as the basis for calculating a value for the current home for sale. Together with adjustments for the differences in homes and their amenities has produced a very reliable market value.

That was historically.  In today’s market enviornment, things have changed. Values have decreased from past sales and there are many other influencing factors involved in the calculations to achieve a realistic, marketable price for a home today. The amount of foreclosures and short sales has dramatically affected values.  The deflated price of  those sales affects the value of homes around them. Buyers then use those sales as the benchmark for value, offering to purchase at those deflated prices.

In today’s market, we must take a look at a home’s competition before setting a price to sell. If like homes are competing for the buyers attention, we must make sure the price is in line with, or lower than the competing homes that are for sale. Purchasers are shopping for value in the current  real estate market.

For information or help in preparing your home for sale, and in preparing the asking price, contact us at any time. We are here to help you with all of your housing needs.

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Home Seller Tips

May 23rd, 2011 at 8:01 am by Rick Schutte

Recently I was reading an article regarding home seller tips  in Money Magazine.  I was so impressed by what the article had to say, I thought that I should share some of the highlights with our Whidbey News Times readers.

The essence of the article was that if you are a home seller in this market, you probably feel you can’t catch a break.  To help overcome that, you need a bit of razzle-dazzle to nab a buyer today.  The following attention-grabbing home seller tips will get prospects to your front door.

  • Slash Your Price, Bigtime

Many sellers give in to the temptation to list the property above fair market value to see what happens. Big mistake. About a quarter of sellers in the past year initially listed too high and were forced to knock the price lower, according to Trulia.com.  Think you can always drop the price if your home doesn’t sell.  Bigger mistake.  The first 30 days on the market are the most important. That’s when your home will receive the most attention and get the most showings. So get aggressive right out of the gate.

  • Hire a Stager

Veteran real estate brokers interviewed by Money Magazine say that proper staging can speed the sale and often increase the price too. The key is to get it done right.  Staging, increasingly popular with homeowners trying to sell mid-range houses, can extend from simply rearranging existing furniture to repainting, replacing fixtures, and bringing in new furnishings. The goal: to highlight the house’s best features while making it as easy as possible for buyers to imagine themselves living there.

  • Find the Right Hook

These days it’s going to take far more than a For Sale sign in the front yard and a spot on the multiple-listing service to get potential buyers in the door. That means getting the word out in a creative fashion-and finding a Realtor who is willing to do the same. “The more eyeballs that get on the listing, the better,” says Katie Curnutte of the real estate information website Zillow.com. To do that, you need a multi pronged marketing plan of attack.

To read the whole article in Money Magazine please click here.

To discuss these homes seller tips, plus many other ideas for getting your home sold, please feel free to contact us at anytime at Coldwell Banker Koetje Real Estate.

 

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Time to Review Your Annual Credit Report

November 10th, 2010 at 5:08 pm by Rick Schutte

Rick Schutte, Broker/Owner of Coldwell Banker Koetje Real Estate in Oak Harbor, Wa. interviews Lyn Bankowski, senior loan originator, from AlaskaUSA Mortgage about the need of checking your annual credit report.

In this interview, Lyn mentions the free reports can be found at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/. This central site allows you to request a free credit file disclosure once every 12 months from each of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies.  AnnualCreditReport.com is the official site to help consumers obtain their free credit report.  You can also go to http://ftc.gov/freecreditreport for more information. 
The Fair Credit Reporting Act guarantees you access to your credit report for free from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies every 12 months.

 
For more information on credit reports and real estate, please contact us at any time.  
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For months there has been an ever-growing fear that our economy is headed towards deflation, which is when prices on goods and services are falling lower. Deflation is the exact opposite of inflation, which of course occurs when prices climb higher. Remember, inflation is the arch-enemy of Bonds, so fears of inflation negatively impact Bond prices and home loan rates. But fears of deflation are good for Bonds and home loan rates. That’s because the fixed payment that a Bond provides to an investor goes further in a deflationary environment. So, the recent fears of deflation have helped Bond prices move higher and home loan rates move lower.

But last week, future deflation/inflation expectations changed… and investors in the Bond market started betting that the Fed will be successful in “creating inflation” via their Quantitative Easing plans, and will thus avoid continuing down a deflationary road. This was evidenced by the results of last week’s 5-Year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS) auction, which saw investors buying TIPS at a premium since they were confident they’d be able to benefit from the increased inflation that should result from the QE2.

Of course, investors aren’t the only ones impacted by this. The media has already been chattering that the Fed has to be careful not to let inflation get out of control in the coming months and years. In fact, just last week, there was a headline explaining how another round of Quantitative Easing brings the risk of “unleashing the 1970s inflation genie.” Consumers who are looking to purchase or refinance a house should also take note of that possibility – since even talk of inflation can impact home loan rates negatively. After all, a rise in inflation would be bad for Mortgage Bonds and, as a result, for home loan rates.

The good news is that home loan rates are still near historic lows for the time being. If you or someone you know would like to see how you can benefit from the current situation, call or email us today.

Information courtesy of Alaska USA Mortgage

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About Rick Schutte

Rick is the owner/designated broker of Coldwell Banker Koetje Real Estate and Koetje Property Management. He has been involved with the real estate industry on Whidbey Island for over 32 years. He is a past president of the NWMLS as well as a current board member of the North Puget Sound Association of Realtors. He has been designated by the National Association of Realtors as a Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager as well as a Graduate of the Real Estate Institute. Rick can be reached at 360-675-5811 or cbk@WhidbeyRealEstate.com You can also check out his website at http://www.cbkoetje.com

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