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Hhhmmmmmmm............ I wonder............

by Desi Sowers

Just read this very interesting article in the Roanoke Times on-line.

Please let me know if anyone has thoughts on what/who this might be!! 

A professional home inspection can not only provide a great education about the home’s systems, but also be a crucial tool in negotiating the most equitable price on the home, according to HouseMaster, one of the first and largest home inspection franchisors in North America.

“Our experience and research shows that approximately 40% of resale homes have at least one defect that can cost a home buyer a minimum of $500 to repair,” said Kathleen Kuhn, President of HouseMaster.“A home inspection by a professional and qualified home inspector is an excellent tool to encourage home sellers to make repairs or make further price adjustments as a result of conditions noted in the inspection report.”

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), in 2009, a record 47% of homes sold were purchased by first-time buyers. Tax credit incentives from the federal government of up to $8,000 and historically low mortgage rates continue to attract first-time buyers to the market. A professional home inspection not only educates buyers on the condition of the home but can minimize costly surprises down the road. HouseMaster provides the following tips to ensure that first-time buyers make an educated decision when purchasing a home and get the best price possible.

1. Inspect the Inspector. Only hire a home inspector with an excellent reputation and credentials. Ask how long the company has been in business, ask about specific formal training and ongoing education the inspector has and verify the inspector carries professional liability insurance also known as “Errors & Omissions” (E&O). If the company doesn’t carry this insurance, it could indicate a poor track record or lack of experience.

2. Ask for a sample of a report. The credentials of the inspection company and the quality of the final inspection report will be important. A poorly prepared report without pictures or clear, concise details addressing all the various systems and accessible elements of the home is less likely to be taken seriously by a home seller.

3. Inspect ancillary systems. It’s hard for first-time home buyers to know what they need, so be sure to ask what additional services the company offers. If the home you are considering has a septic system for example, a professional home inspection company may offer septic system inspections or can coordinate that service for you. Generally, the company will offer you a multiple services discount as well as the added convenience of only having to attend one inspection appointment. Other common services offered by home inspectors are termite inspections, mold screening, water testing and radon testing.

4. Go along on the inspection. Ask the inspection company if they encourage buyers to tag along on the inspection. If the inspector discourages you from going along and asking questions, find another inspector. A home inspection is not simply a laundry list of what is wrong with the home. In addition to documenting issues and needed repairs that may exist, a professional home inspector will also show the new buyer how to operate the various systems in the home and provide tips on improving energy efficiency and maintaining the home in general. And being present during the inspection will make the final written report that much more meaningful.

RISMEDIA, April 21, 2010

Real Estate Outlook: Faster Recovery?

by Desi Sowers

It's been a long time since we've seen the Wall Street Journal run a front-page article suggesting that the national economy appears to be rebounding faster than most analysts forecast. But that happened last week.

And over the past couple of years, we haven't seen retail sales -- a key barometer of consumer confidence -- jump by almost two percent in a single month. But we saw that last week as well.

And then there's real estate: The latest Federal Reserve "beige book" on economic conditions nationwide, issued last week, said something we haven't heard in a long, long time. Housing activity is up in 11 of the 12 bank districts.

All of this, of course, sounds like promising news for home sales in the coming months. In fact, Freddie Mac's economists see total sales this year at least 10 percent higher than last year, even with the possibility of higher mortgage interest rates.

But there are complications in the mix: The Fed's "beige book" report essentially said, yes, housing is on an upward path at the moment, but what happens to sales after the home purchase tax credits expire mid-year?

Will expansion elsewhere in the economy be able to sustain sales and prices?

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, has similar concerns. In his latest commentary, Yun says steadily rising employment will be essential to keeping housing positive once the credits disappear.

The employment report for March was encouraging: 162,000 net new jobs, Yun noted, even in hard hit sectors like manufacturing. Yun's forecast model projects one million additional new jobs this year, plus another two million next year.

But even that sort of rebound in employment won't be enough to replace the 8.2 million jobs lost in the recession years. So the unemployment challenge is likely to be with us for a few years -- at best.

Meanwhile, though foreclosures remain troublingly high, the rate of delinquencies on existing mortgages may have actually peaked and could be headed downward. Equifax and Moody's Economy.com report that the percentage of home loans thirty days late dropped in the first quarter - the first decline in four years.

And in major housing markets that took hard hits during the bust, signs of recovery continue to multiply. For example, in the six counties of Southern California, home sales were up 33 percent in March over February, and were up five percent over 2009 levels, according to MDA Data Quick.

Even median prices were on the rise -- by 14 percent over year-earlier levels.

Written by  Kenneth R. Harney
April 19, 2010

Pending Home Sales Show Healthy Gain, Hint at Spring Surge

by posted by Desi Sowers

RISMEDIA, April 7, 2010—Pending home sales rose in February 2010, potentially signaling a second surge of home sales in response to the home buyer tax credit, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in February, rose 8.2% to 97.6 from a downwardly revised 90.2 in January, and remains 17.3% above February 2009 when it was 83.2. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which usually occur with a lag time of one or two months.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the improvement is another hopeful sign. “The rise in buyer contact activity may signal the early stages of a second surge of home sales this spring. The healthy gain hints home prices are continuing to flatten,” he said. “We need a second surge to meaningfully draw down inventory and definitively stabilize home values.”

The PHSI in the Northeast rose 9.0% to 77.7 in February and is 18.9% higher than February 2009. In the Midwest the index jumped 21.8% to 97.9 and is 18.7% above a year ago. Pending home sales in the South increased 9.2% to an index of 107.0, and the index is 17.5% higher than February 2009. In the West the index fell 4.8% to 98.0 but is 14.6% above a year ago.

“Anecdotally, we’re hearing about a rise of activity in recent weeks with ongoing reports of multiple offers in more markets, so the March data could demonstrate additional improvement from buyers responding to the tax credit,” Yun said.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

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