The Ins and Outs of Obama’s New Mortgage Refi Plan

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President Obama announced Monday a plan to ease eligibility rules for home owners who want to refinance to take advantage of ultra-low mortgage rates and lower their mortgage payments. The administration hopes that by broadening its requirements for the Home Affordable Program that about 1 million home owners will now be able to qualify.  Here are more details about the newly announced changes to the program: What is HARP? It’s a program started in 2009 that allows home owners to refinance their [Read More]

Market Update – Week Ending July 30, 2011

Despite some anxiety on Wall Street, home buyers on Main Street were eager to make their purchases. While the number of signed purchase agreements outpaced last year's levels, seller activity couldn't keep pace. That has drawn down the available housing inventory for sale. There's more to the story now that July's monthly numbers are out. In the Charlotte region, for the week ending July 30: • New Listings decreased 21.2% to 846 • Pending Sales increased 20.5% to 541 • Inventory decreased 20.4% to [Read More]

Prepare Your Home for a Virtual Tour

With more buyers shopping for homes on the Web, photos and virtual tours are a must. There are many things you can do make your home shine on camera. 1. Understand the camera’s perspective. The camera’s eye is very different from the human eye. It magnifies clutter and poor furniture arrangement. To make a home shine in a virtual tour or video presentation, cater to the lens. 2. Make the home “Q-tip clean.” Because the camera magnifies grime, each room must be spotless. Don’t forget floor coverings and walls; a [Read More]

12 Tips for Hiring a Remodeling Contractor

1. Get at least three written estimates. 2. Check references. If possible, view earlier jobs the contractor completed. 3. Check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau for complaints. 4. Be sure the contract states exactly what is to be done and how change orders will be handled. 5. Make as small of a down payment as possible so you won’t lose a lot if the contractor fails to complete the job. 6. Be sure that the contractor has the necessary permits, licenses, and insurance. 7. Check that [Read More]

Short Sale Tips for Sellers

If you're thinking of selling your home, and you expect that the total amount you owe on your mortgage will be greater than the selling price of your home, you may be facing a short sale. A short sale is one where the net proceeds from the sale won't cover your total mortgage obligation and closing costs, and you don't have other sources of money to cover the deficiency. A short sale is different from a foreclosure, which is when your lender takes title of your home through a lengthy legal process and then sells [Read More]

How to Buy a Home in 2011

The Tip The Tip: 2011 is shaping up to be a great year to buy a home. Stay focused on your goal, save money, and you can find yourself in a new home this year. If buying a home is part of your vision for 2011, then let's take a few minutes to break that vision down into a few goals. Achieving these goals will get you in a new home you can enjoy without causing the money problems a lot of new homeowners face. Goal #1 – Get Out Of Debt It's a buyer's market right now. But, you should never buy a home just because [Read More]

5 Tips For Buying a Foreclosure

While most buyers out there these days ONLY want to look at foreclosures, here is a list of tips that will help you navigate the market and understand practical rules that you can follow to save money. Here are some tips to consider: 1. Work with an agent who has access to foreclosure information. Many home buyers assume that all agents have access to foreclosure listings. It's important to ask. 2. Bank-owned properties generally close faster than short sales. While short sales can be bargains, they also can [Read More]

Should You Buy or Sell in 2011?

Make the right decision to buy or sell a home   The Tip The coming year could mark the turnaround of the troubled real estate market. But homebuyers and sellers will each have their own challenges to face. No matter which side of the real estate market you're on, it's been an interesting couple of years to say the least. Housing values dropped nationwide, foreclosures skyrocketed, and homebuyers became scarce. In 2011, the forecast is for a calmer season, which isn't welcome news if you're hoping for a [Read More]

3 Questions You Must Answer Before Buying a Home

If you are thinking about purchasing a home right now, you are surely getting a lot of advice. And most of that advice is probably negative. Why buy now with prices still falling? Don’t you realize real estate is no longer a good investment? Don’t you know that people who bought five years ago lost their shirt? We understand the concern your friends and family have. However, let’s look at whether or not now is actually the perfect time to buy a home. There are three questions you should ask before purchasing in [Read More]

My First Sale: HGTV Looking for First Time Homesellers in Charlotte, NC

SELLING YOUR FIRST PLACE? Then HGTV is looking for you!   MY FIRST SALE, the popular primetime HGTV show, is looking for first-time home sellers with a unique story (and their real estate agents!) in the Charlotte, NC area. We are looking for fun, high-energy people with an amazing story who are just starting the process of selling their first place!  If you have a crazy, interesting, out-of-the-box story to tell, we want to hear it!!! Our cameras will be there to capture all the trials and tribulations, stress [Read More]