See below…..if you or anyone you know is interested in buying a home, selling a home, or need a professional property manager please think of me. Rich Kemper www.fishhawkhomesforsale.com

WASHINGTON – Oct. 29, 2012 – Economists from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) sounded an optimistic note at a press conference last week during the organization’s Conference & Expo in Chicago. They predict that unemployment will go down, home purchase loan originations will go up, and mortgage rates will remain low in 2013.

Everything points to a continued housing recovery – but they also cautioned that major economic challenges loom, and they could bring about a reversal, particularly in interest rates.

“The most immediate threat is the fiscal cliff,” said Jay Brinkmann, the MBA’s chief economist and senior vice president of research and education, referring to the deep cuts in taxes and government program spending that will take place at the end of this year if some sort of financial compromise isn’t reached by legislators on both sides of the aisle. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that U.S. gross domestic product will fall four percentage points in 2013 if an agreement isn’t forthcoming, which would make it a recessionary year.

Mike Fratantoni, vice president of single-family research and policy development for the MBA, predicted there would be some sort of resolution. “It may not be clean, and it may not be timely,” he added. Any major delays would likely lead to a spike in interest rates and, consequently, declines in home sales.

Over the long haul, interest rates will likely remain below historical lows because of the flight of global capital to the U.S. caused by the continuing European debt crisis and the Fed’s rollout of another round of quantitative easing (often referred to as QE3). This Fed initiative – which will probably last at least a year and possibly as long as two – will involve the central bank purchasing tens of billions of dollars in mortgage-backed securities each month.

“(The Fed’s quantitative easing) wasn’t surprising,” Fratantoni said. “The aggressiveness, the open-ended nature of it, and extreme focus on the mortgage market was a surprise.”

However, if the Fed determines that they’re crowding liquidity out of the market with QE3, they may shift to purchasing longer-term securities such as Treasuries, Brinkmann added.

Source: Brian Summerfield, REALTOR® Magazine



WASHINGTON – Oct. 25, 2012 – Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have issued new rules effective Nov. 1 that will allow short sales for underwater borrowers who have never missed a mortgage payment. Previously, Fannie and Freddie allowed only homeowners who had missed payments to qualify for a short sale.

However, eligible short-sale owners will need to show a hardship to qualify for a short sale under the new rules. Hardships may include unemployment or the death of a spouse.

The new rules won’t help credit scores, however. The non-delinquent short sellers will likely take just as big a hit to their credit score as delinquent homeowners who have missed loan payments and gone into foreclosure, according to Kenneth Harney, writing in Inman News.

“Under current national credit reporting practices, those non-delinquent borrowers are likely to be treated the same for credit scoring purposes as severely delinquent owners who go to foreclosure after months of nonpayment, or who simply toss back the house keys and walk away in strategic defaults,” says Harney.

Credit agencies have no special coding that indicates a short sale occurred without an accompanying delinquency. Therefore, homeowners could see their credit scores drop 150 points or more after a short sale.

However, officials at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, say they are “in discussions with the credit industry” to explore ways to fix the credit score problem for people who haven’t missed a payment before undergoing a short sale.

Source: “Damage to Credit Scores Could Trip Up New Fannie, Freddie Short Sale Program,” Inman News (Oct. 23, 2012)

© Copyright 2012 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Is New Home Construction on The Rise?

I know that where I live in Lithia Floria new construction is up and so are prices…read below for more. www.fishhawkhomesforsale.com


U.S. new home starts rose 15% in Sept.


WASHINGTON (AP) – Oct. 17, 2012 – U.S. builders started construction on single-family homes and apartments in September at the fastest rate since July 2008, a further indication that the housing recovery is strengthening.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that builders broke ground on homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 in September. That’s an increase of 15 percent from the August level.

Applications for building permits, a good sign of future construction, jumped nearly 12 percent to an annual rate of 894,000, also the highest since July 2008.

The strength in September came from both single-family construction, which rose 11 percent, and apartments, which increased 25.1 percent.

Construction activity is now 82.5 percent higher than the recession low hit in April 2009. Activity is still well below the roughly 1.5 million rate that is consistent with healthier markets.

Still, the surge in construction suggests builders believe the housing rebound is durable.

Builder confidence reached at a six-year high this month, according to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders. The group’s index of builder sentiment rose to a reading of 41. While that’s still below the level of 50 that signals a healthy market, it has steadily climbed over the past year from a reading of 17.

Sales of new and previously owned homes have been slowly improving this year, and home prices are starting to show consistent gains.

Record-low mortgage rates have encouraged more people to buy. And the Federal Reserve’s aggressive policies could push long-term interest rates even lower, making home buying affordable for the foreseeable future.

Housing is expected to keep improving next year. But many economists say economic growth will stay muted until companies step up hiring and consumers start spending more.

Though new homes represent less than 20 percent of the housing sales market, they have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue, according to data from the home builders group.
AP Logo Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press, Martin Crutsinger, AP economics writer.


Short sale relief at risk?

WASHINGTON – Oct. 12, 2012 – Short sales are growing in popularity, but that may soon change. The “Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation” is expiring at the end of the year, which could make more homeowners think twice about doing a short sale, CNBC reporter Diana Olick reports. Debt forgiveness with short sales is taxable. If a bank forgives, for example, $20,000 in mortgage debt by approving a short sale, that $20,000 is generally considered taxable income to the short-sell homeowner. In 2007, however, Congress passed a law that temporarily relieved that tax burden on mortgage debt that is forgiven as part of a short sale. Many real estate professionals “believe if the legislation is not extended, households who are already struggling to pay their mortgages will be further burdened with tens of thousands of dollars in additional taxes that they probably can’t afford to pay because the IRS would count the cancelled debt as income,” says Jamie Gregory, a lobbyist for the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). However, the tax benefit could get extended. The Senate Finance Committee passed a package that included several tax extensions recently, including a one-year mortgage relief extension. The House of Representative is still weighing how to handle the tax extensions, however. Since the forgiveness currently applies to home sales in 2012 – and Americans pay their 2012 taxes during the first few months of 2013 – the income tax hit would not be felt until U.S. residents fill out their taxes in 2014. Congress could, in theory, pass a law in 2013 that continues the tax forgiveness. If the president signs the law, the problem – depending on the details within a signed bill – could go away. NAR has closely tracked the issue. The national association plans to issue a Call for Action and ask Realtors to call their personal lawmakers if it becomes necessary. NAR calls it “an urgent priority during the expected ‘lame duck’ session of Congress following the election in November.” In the first quarter of 2012, more than a quarter of a million short sales were completed, according to RealtyTrac. Some analysts speculate that short sales will increase this fall as borrowers and banks rush to complete them before the expiration of the mortgage debt relief act. Source: “Housing Alert: Short Sales May be in Big Trouble,” CNBC (Sept. 28, 2012) © Copyright 2012 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Are you a reluctant seller?

Are you a reluctant seller?

Reluctant sellers hold up the market?


WASHINGTON – Oct. 12, 2012 – As home prices make gains in a number of markets, many homeowners continue to wait, saying they want prices to go up even further before listing their homes for sale. That seller delay has led to tightly constrained inventory levels in many markets, resulting in shortages of available for-sale listings.

Negative equity has caused many would-be sellers to wait out the market. About 10.8 million homeowners were underwater at the end of June, CoreLogic reports. Negative equity often delays homeowners from selling because they need to earn enough from their current home sale to make a downpayment on another home.

“Many (would-be sellers) are waiting for prices to increase more before they can sell, and some sellers are keeping their current homes as a rental investment and buying without selling,” Tom Avent, broker-owner at Tom Avent Real Estate in Fresno, Calif., told Inman News.

Eight out of 10 potential sellers said they believe they can get a higher price for their home if they wait one to two years, according to a survey of 816 homeowners conducted by Redfin. In the survey, only 13 percent said that now is a good time to sell.

“The sellers want to sell high and buy (their next) home for prices that were available six months ago,” Andrea Harrington, an agent at EWM Realty International in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., told Inman News. “When they realize the entire market trends up, they rethink their plans to sell since it may not be as economical.”

Facing inventory shortages, some real estate professionals are even reaching out to homeowners who are sitting on the fence about putting their home on the market.

“Many sellers are still not aware of how strong our market is,” said Charles Roberts, co-owner of Your Castle Real Estate and a director on the Denver Board of Realtors®. “They still think it’s a bad market to sell. Our job is to inform them about the market and explain to them that with a rising market, it has become a strong seller’s market and to walk through their options.”

In many areas, it’s a full-blown seller’s market now, and that surprises many homeowners, adds Jason Lopez, a broker at Atlantic & Pacific Real Estate in the San Diego area.

“Now it doesn’t mean prices are skyrocketing like past cycles, but with the chance of multiple offers, it makes the process more appealing,” Lopez said.

Source: “Fence-Sitters in No Hurry to Sell,” Inman News (Oct. 2, 2012)

© Copyright 2012 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Home Inspections

If you ever have any questions about home inspections feel free to give me a call as I owned a Tampa home inspection franchise for 7 years before I became a realtor. Rich Kemper – Keller Williams Realty www.fishhawkhomesforsale.com

• The buyer, who hires and pays the inspector, should make sure the inspector is licensed. He or she should also read the seller’s disclosures and note any questions they have for the inspector.

• If possible, buyers should follow the inspector everywhere, including the roof and into the basement or crawlspace. However, buyers should understand that an inspector’s job is to note problems. He may not have all the answers, such as information about the cost of potential improvements.

• While the home listing agent advocates for the seller, the buyer’s Realtor should also take part in the inspection to help advise the buyer how to proceed if the inspector uncovers serious flaws.

• After the inspection, the buyer and his Realtor should examine the detailed inspection report and discuss the next step.

• Experts generally recommend that buyers not bring along a relative or friend who is a contractor. Since they’re not licensed property inspectors, contractors could raise unnecessary red flags that hamper the transaction.

Full inspection versus four-point inspection

For some older properties, mortgage lenders or insurers require a four-point inspection, which sounds as if it’s top of the line compared to, say, a one-point inspection that doesn’t actually exist. However, “four point” refers to the number of housing elements checked, not the quality of the inspection.

Since the cost of the four-point inspection is generally lower than a full inspection, some buyers cut corners to save money. However, they should understand what a four-point inspection does not cover.

In general, the elements covered in a four-point inspection are the ones that could cost a lot to repair should something go wrong shortly after a home purchase. They include: roofing, electrical work, heating-air conditioning systems and plumbing.

Other elements that can need repair in the early years of homeownership – such as appliances, hot water heaters, etc. – are not included in a four-point inspection.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

Related Topics: Buyer services



Starling Club


We are excited to announce that this new amenity plans to be completed by year’s end. The Starling Club will feature two pools – one geared towards adults and one that offers a splash area the kids will love. In addition, there will be a cardio room, a game room with pool tables, ping pong, foosball, and air hockey. Along the perimeter of the Club, there will be a playground, plenty of open space for events or tossing a football, and a dog park exclusively for FishHawk Ranch residents.