Archive for April, 2011

Everything is Green

Have you noticed all of sudden how “Green” is in? Green everything, save the planet, save energy, save money, save your health, green your pet—just everything. Al Gore’s movie has really started something. Well, contrary to what “Kermit the Frog” said—apparently, it IS easier than you think, to be green.

Hippies and flower children of earlier times are today’s aging baby boomers but it must make them proud to finally see the “greening” awareness rise so much in peoples’ consciousness. While it maybe easier today to make small changes to your lifestyle and help the environment, there are some with a concern that there is so much publicity now that people will tune out the message, just like white noise, and eventually become desensitized to the real issues.

Green encompasses everything from turning lights off to recycling and reducing your carbon footprint. When a business claims to have green credentials, how do you know they are actually true and/or worthwhile? Retailers are spending millions promoting their green credentials; but is it a genuine effort to become green, or a marketing ploy to attract savvy consumers like you? Can profit driven companies actually be beneficial to the planet? Or at the very least, less harmful. Truly, it is very difficult to get it completely right and there are no easy answers to these complex questions.

With all the talk about green energy, green flooring (Bamboo) and even green detergent it’s easy for a lay person to get confused and miss the point. For example most detergents aren’t too bad for the environment and are definitely much better than they used to be. However, everyone has a “new clean green label.” Turning your washing machine thermostat down to 30 degrees Celsius will have a much bigger impact than changing your detergent. Bamboo flooring is definitely more sustainable than hardwood but the energy used to transport it from the place of origin to North America, cancels any “green” effect. It is complicated for sure. Continue reading this post

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Posted by: Christine Rae on April 21st, 2011 under Green Real Estate

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HomeGain Releases 1st Quarter 2011 New York Home Values Survey Results

Forty-eight percent of New York real estate agents and brokers expect home prices to decline in the next six months

Last month, HomeGain, one of the first companies to provide free instant home valuations online, released the results of our first quarter 2011 nationwide home values survey of over 750 HomeGain current and former members and 1600 home owners. The survey asked their opinions on home prices and what they thought of President Obama’s performance as President. On this real estate blog we published the 1st quarter 2011 national results as well as the complete 1st quarter 2011 regional results, including commentary from real estate agents and brokers.

Earlier this month we released the  California 1st quarter 2011 home values survey data and the Florida 1st quarter 2011 home values survey data the Texas 1st quarter 2011 home values survey data. In the coming days we will be releasing home values survey data from Illinois,  New Jersey, Arizona, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and other states.

Today we are publishing the New York home prices survey data.Set forth below is the first quarter 2011 real estate professional and home owner  New York home prices survey data along with the fourth  quarter 2010 real estate professional survey data and the first quarter 2011 national home prices survey data: (click on each question to see complete results):

  1. Have home prices increased, decreased or stayed the same in the last year?
  2. On average, what do homeowners believe that their home is worth?
  3. How do buyers feel that homes for sale are priced?
  4. What is the average difference in price between what sellers believe their home to be worth and the amount at which the home gets listed?
  5. What is the average difference in price between what a home is listed at and what a home sells for?
  6. In the next six months, will the values of homes in your market increase, decrease or stay the same?
  7. What percentage of homes for sale are foreclosures in your area?
  8. What is the average home price in your area?
  9. What percentage of your clients are first-time buyers?
  10. How do you think Barack Obama is performing in his role as President?

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Posted by: Louis Cammarosano on April 20th, 2011 under Home Prices, Home Values, Home Values Surveys, HomeGain, HomeGain Market Data, Regional

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HomeGain Releases 1st Quarter 2011 New Jersey Home Values Survey Results

Fifty percent of New Jersey Real Estate Professionals expect home values to drop in the coming six months

Last month, HomeGain, one of the first companies to provide free instant home valuations online, released the results of our first quarter 2011 nationwide home values survey of over 750 HomeGain current and former members and 1600 home owners. The survey asked their opinions on home prices and what they thought of President Obama’s performance as President. On this real estate blog we published the 1st quarter 2011 national results as well as the complete 1st quarter 2011 regional results, including commentary from real estate agents and brokers.

Earlier this month we released the  California 1st quarter 2011 home values survey data and the Florida 1st quarter 2011 home values survey data, the 1st quarter 2011 Texas home prices survey data and the 1st quarter 2011 New York home prices survey data. In the coming days we will be releasing home values survey data from Illinois,  Arizona, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and other states.

Today we are publishing the New Jersey home prices survey data.

Set forth below is the first quarter 2011 real estate professional and home owner New Jersey home prices survey data along with the fourth  quarter 2010 real estate professional survey data and the first quarter 2011 national home prices survey data: (click on each question to see complete results):

  1. Have home prices increased, decreased or stayed the same in the last year?
  2. On average, what do homeowners believe that their home is worth?
  3. How do buyers feel that homes for sale are priced?
  4. What is the average difference in price between what sellers believe their home to be worth and the amount at which the home gets listed?
  5. What is the average difference in price between what a home is listed at and what a home sells for?
  6. In the next six months, will the values of homes in your market increase, decrease or stay the same?
  7. What percentage of homes for sale are foreclosures in your area?
  8. What is the average home price in your area?
  9. What percentage of your clients are first-time buyers?
  10. How do you think Barack Obama is performing in his role as President?

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Posted by: Louis Cammarosano on April 19th, 2011 under Home Prices, Home Values, Home Values Surveys, HomeGain, Market Trends, Polls, Regional

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NAR: How About a Common Sense Approach to Credit?

Want to give an immediate boost to housing sales? Ron Phipps has a suggestion: Mortgage lenders should look beyond borrowers’ credit scores.

Phipps knows of what he is talking. He’s the president of the National Association of REALTORS and the broker/owner of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. He says that home sales would quickly rise if mortgage lenders used just a bit more flexibility in deciding which borrowers qualified for mortgage financing.

Phipps told me during a recent phone interview that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now looking for borrowers to have FICO credit scores of just under 760. That’s a big change from the days when credit scores in the high 600s were considered strong.

It’s true that borrowers can get conventional mortgage financing with credit scores lower than 760. They may, though, have to pay higher interest rates. And these higher rates might knock some buyers out of the market.

“That 760 score is just so much higher than what the average American homebuyer today has,” Phipps said.

Tightening credit standards have played an important part in the housing slowdown, Phipps said. According to data from the National Association of REALTORS, about 15 percent of creditworthy borrowers haven’t been able to get mortgage financing because of the stricter credit-score requirements of Fannie and Freddie.

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Posted by: Dan Rafter on April 19th, 2011 under Financing, Mortgage and Home Loans

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Real Estate Radio With Louis Cammarosano 3/21/11

On Monday March 21, 2011 , Louis Cammarosano, General Manager of HomeGain, was a guest on the Real Estate Radio show on The Big Talker 1580 AM, hosted by Ryan Sloper.

Listen to highlights of the show!

Part 1 (24:14)

Ryan and Louis discuss the situations in Japan and Libya and their impact on interest rates; Japan’s decision not to sell U.S. treasuries;the potential for Japanese insurance companies to sell U.S. treasuries to cover earthquake and tsunami claims in Japan;speculate on the Fed’s influence’s on Japan’s decision not to sell U.S. treasuries;the Fed’s statement that its “target rate” of inflation is still lower even though the cost of living is the highest since the 70′s;the real inflation rate and deception caused by low interest rates and low official inflation rates;low interest rates on equity prices;the impact of cash purchases on the real estate market;the advantage of purchasing a low interest rate mortgage on a home where the rent to buy ratio favors home purchase;the advantage that cash purchasers have on getting first dibs on attractively priced homes;why banks should not over lend at these mortgage rates;why home ownership is not at the top of many consumers lists;why real estate is a selective not universal opportunity;the difference in availability of mortgage credit vs consumer credit;the weekly unemployment claims; the debt ceiling and the Fed’s decision to sell mortgage backed securities;the Fed’s inability to control the free market indefinitely.

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Posted by: Louis Cammarosano on April 15th, 2011 under HomeGain, Louis Cammarosano on Real Estate Radio

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Mortgage Alternatives

There is no better time to purchase real estate than in today’s economy as prices have evened out, and the inventory proves that it is indeed a buyer’s market. There are many options in which to purchase a real estate investment, whether it is cash or through the traditional methods of conventional mortgage financing, but there are some instances in which homebuyers cannot obtain either. Because of the challenges due to the economy there may have been instances where individuals have suffered a bankruptcy, foreclosure, slightly blemished credit, or perhaps one has a sporadic income in which lenders raise questions about. Whatever the case, there are indeed other alternatives to obtaining a mortgage to purchase real estate for those who are ready and willing to do so.

1. One can choose to borrow from a whole life insurance policy. Whole life insurance policies are insurance policies in which the cash value accumulates over a period of time and it is possible to borrow against the cash value of the policy. One of the best features in borrowing against a whole life policy is that there is no loan qualifying process to go through. It is important to keep in mind though that by borrowing against a whole life policy it does diminish the face value of the policy. If this is an option, it is important to ask the insurance carrier of the whole life policy several questions such as: is there an interest rate on this loan, is the amount I withdraw taxable, could my policy lapse because of this withdrawal, can I pay back the loan to bring back up the original face value that the policy once had? Be smart and realistic. Ask if the negatives outweigh the positives when thinking of borrowing against a whole life policy.

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Posted by: Tim Ryan on April 15th, 2011 under Financing, Mortgage and Home Loans, HomeGain

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