Tag Archives: ed gory

Federal Tax Credit For Home Buyers Gets Extended – Well, Happy Early Christmas!

fed housing tax creditAn early Christmas present for many home buyers came in the form of the extension of the federal tax credit for home buyers, and was signed into law by President Obama Friday, Nov. 6.  The tax credit, which was set to expire Nov. 30, has been extended through April 30, 2010 with a 60-day extension if a binding contract is in place prior to deadline.  It also was expanded to include existing homeowners who have lived in their primary residences for five consecutive years out of the last eight years.

For all kinds of FAQs (aka, “Everything You Wanted to Know About the Tax Credit….But Were Afraid to Ask), see the official website here.

First-time home buyers still may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $8,000, while existing homeowners may receive a credit of up to $6,500.  The bill also increases the qualifying income limits from $75,000 for single tax filers and $150,000 for joint filers, to $125,000 and $225,000, respectively. The purchase price of the home is capped at $800,000 in both instances.

Under additional provisions in the bill, taxpayers can claim the credit on purchases completed in 2010 on their 2009 income tax returns. The bill maintains the provision that home buyers do not have to repay the credit provided the home remains their primary residence for 36 months after purchase, and waives this requirement for active duty military personnel who move due to a military order.

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Recent Sales in Mt. Carmel ‘Hood

It’s been awhile, so here’s a quick snapshot of some recent sales that have been going on in the Mt. Carmel area. Firstly though, looking at some overall statistics, I’d say the one word to describe it is “HEALTHY”.

Here’s the bottom line, for the last 3 months of sales:

Average Percent of List Price: 99%

Average $ per sq. ft.: $537

Average Days on Market (DOM): 33

 

188 Inner Circle: List price (LP): $579K, Sale price (SP): $612K;  9 DOM

313 Topaz St.: LP: $739K, SP: $730K;  12 DOM

1740 Whipple Ave: LP: $650K, SP: $675K;  14 DOM

531 King St.: LP: $899K, SP: $890K;  6 DOM

23 Myrtle St.: LP: $1.035M, SP: $1.035M;  17 DOM

516 Quartz St.: LP: $608K, SP: $585K;  28 DOM

15 Iris St.: LP: $1,149,900, SP: $1,032,300;  91 DOM

45 Hudson St.: LP: $1.795M, SP: $1,599,950;  90 DOM

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Don’t Forget to Vote Today!

voting

Redwood Citizens, don’t forget to vote today, November 3rd! The following info on today’s election also be found on theCounty of San Mateo’s web site:

The Consolidated Municipal, School and Special District Election will be held on Tues., Nov. 3. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

According to Chief Elections Officer Warren Slocum,”All voters should double-check the location of their polling place before they head out to vote in these important local elections,” All jurisdictions in the county are participating except Daly City and Pacifica as they do not have candidates or measures on the ballot.

Voters can lookup the location of their polling place online at www.shapethefuture.org or by calling the Elections Office at (650) 312-5222. Voters can also view (or print) their Sample Ballot. And for those that vote by mail, the website provides peace of mind through the Track & Confirm feature that gives the voter confirmation that his/her voted mail ballot was received by the Elections Office.

On Election night, Chief Election Officer Warren Slocum will host a celebration for anyone interested in gathering to watch the election night returns as they are reported. Join community leaders, citizens and elected officials and share in an old-fashioned evening of election returns. All are welcome.

The Election Night gathering will be held at the Rotunda at 555 County Center in Redwood City starting at 7:30 p.m.

Election night returns will be issued at 8:05 p.m. and on the half-hour for the rest of the evening until the count is completed. The results will be issued in person and on the Elections website according to the following schedule:
Vote by Mail Ballot Results         8:05 p.m.
All-Mail Ballot Precinct Results    8:30 p.m.
Early Voting Center Results        9:00 p.m.
Live Precinct Results                  9:30 p.m.
Live Precinct Results                10:00 p.m.
Live Precinct Results                10:30 p.m.
Live Precinct Results                11:00 p.m.
Live Precinct Results                11:30 p.m.

Interim reports will be issued until all the precinct votes have been counted.

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Halloween Train Rides in Redwood City? Way Cool…

Courtesy of the Emerald Hills Railway:

Halloween Night Train Rides!
Saturday, Oct. 31st, 5-8:30 pm
FREE
Invite the young and the old, the dead or alive and climb aboard our locomotive to encircle an atmosphere of colorful lights, a black light loading zone, and festive scenes.

Friends, family and neighbors welcome!  All ages can ride!

This event is weather permitting and operates at the discretion of the engineer.

NOTE: On Halloween night, our street will be barricaded at both ends of the block, including Colton Court, to allow foot traffic and strollers only.  Please park legally in the neighborhood.

NEED VOLUNTEERS for set up and running the event:
*We need 4-5 volunteers for set up beginning at 12 noon Saturday.  Set up includes displaying props/décor, arranging the VIP section and setting up the driveway.
*In addition we need 4-5 more volunteers to assist running the event, in 2 shifts: 5-7pm and 6:30-8:30pm (2-3 people per shift).  Duties include chaperoning passengers and assisting/lifting children on and off the train.  Suggest event volunteers to dress festive but not scary.
*Community service certificates available-ask Jay in advance.
All volunteers need to speak english (sorry I’m not bi-lingual) and have a big heart.

Your Hosts and Location:
Jay & George Whitehill
426 Hillcrest Way
Emerald Hills, Ca 94062
jay@amsxs.com
650-369-0733
Directions from Jefferson Ave X California Way
Head north on California Way, RT @ 2nd STOP sign: Sunset Way
First LT@ Eastview Way
First RT @ Hillcrest Way
1/2 block on RT side -you won’t miss the house!

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Tales of Buffoonery, aka What the Heck is Bank of America Smoking?

Ok, I only republish these three stories below because the last two transactions I’ve had where B of A was the buyer’s lender have me totally convinced that BofA’s left hand does not even KNOW there is a right hand. Ok, ok, I know that mortgage regulations did need to be more restrictive compared to the free-wheeling days of 2003-2006 — but boy, the pendulum has just swung so far to the other end of the spectrum, it can just make a buyer pull their hair out while continually uttering “WTF?”

Read on:

BofA requires armless man to provide fingerprints to access his cash:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/02/bank-of-america-asks-arml_n_275882.html

BofA forces homeowner to buy flood insurance (when she lives on the crest of a big hill)

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/7_on_your_side&id=6996278

Tales of Short Sale insanity in dealing with BofA

http://agentgenius.com/g-rants-insanity-more/realtors/bank-of-america-retard-division-for-short-sales/

(quick note: I’m just republishing this one, I’m not condoning his metaphor….but do note this, the thesaurus usage of “retard”:  “the process is retarded by bureaucratic red tape delay, slow down, slow up, hold back, hold up, set back, postpone, put back, detain, decelerate; hinder, hamper, obstruct, inhibit, impede, check, restrain, restrict, trammel.”)

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Recently Sold Homes in Mt. Carmel – 95% (average) of List Price

In the last 90 days, a little less than a dozen homes in Mt. Carmel have closed escrow. Looking at how the sale prices compared to original price, the average is that homes are getting 95% of their original asking price.  Of course, remember, this is an average.  The “range” of all those homes is between 83% and 101% of asking price.   Here they are, in no particular order:

  • 475 Sapphire: original list: $599K, sold for $605K, 10 days on market
  • 566 Avenue del Ora: original list: $599K, sold for $590K, 8 days on market.
  • 250 Myrtle St.: original list: $924,900, sold for $882K, 37 days on market
  • 277 Topaz: original list: $650K, sold for $610K, 7 days on market
  • 37 Fulton: original list: $975K, sold for $950K, 18 days on market
  • 587 Ruby: original list: $749,950, sold for $730K, 32 days on market
  • 338 Lowell: original list: $850K, sold for $830K, 188 days on market
  • 15 Eagle Hill Terrace: original list: $949K, sold for $890K, 70 days on market
  • 181 Myrtle St: original list $869K, sold for $835K, 57 days on market
  • 366 Iris St: original list: $1,110,000, sold for $975K, 99 days on market
  • 40 Inner Circle: original list: $1,199,000, sold for $995K, 189 days on market

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The New HVCC Law – Does It Help, or Just Plain Suck?

aretheyinsanelgSo there’s this new law affecting the real estate and mortgage industry, called the HVCC – short for “Home Valuation Code of Conduct”, which went into effect last month, and is the byproduct of a legal settlement between NY attorney general Andrew Cuomo and Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac.

Here’s how it was “supposed” to help: to assure appraisers that they would not be unduly influenced by lenders in the appraisal process.

Here’s where it proverbially, “sucks”: costs rose, and accuracy in appraisals took a nosedive. Moreover, appraisers that are unfamiliar with local markets, inexperienced or both, are using distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales of existing houses – as their comparables

Kenneth Harney from the Washington Post (in my opinion, probably the best columnist covering real estate issues, bar none), wrote a great article recently(full contents here, but I’ll quote some of the highlights below).

How it can affect everyone:

It could directly affect the value of your house – probably negatively – by tens of thousands of dollars

The issue concerns low valuations and the new rules guiding appraisers in both price-depressed and rebounding markets. Consider these snapshots of what’s going on:

  • In San Diego, Steve Doyle, division president for Brookfield Homes, is trying to close out the final 20 houses of a 120-unit single-family subdivision. Prices range from $340,000 to $350,000. But recently there’s been a major hitch: Appraisers assigned by banks are coming in with valuations $60,000 or more below Doyle’s selling prices. The appraisers, who Doyle says are unfamiliar with local markets, inexperienced or both, are using distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales of existing houses – as their comparables. Some of the distressed properties are in poor condition, and all of them offer fewer amenities, according to Doyle.
  • In Wilmington, N.C., a loan applicant with a house in excellent condition, and an unblemished payment record, sought to refinance into a 4 3/4 percent mortgage. She had purchased the property four years ago for $160,000 and made about $20,000 worth of improvements in the interim. Her loan application, according to Paul Skeens, president of Colonial Mortgage Group of Waldorf, Md., was “a slam dunk. Nothing to it.” The house was worth $180,000 to $200,000, according to one estimate.

But when an appraiser with little local knowledge was sent in by a bank to value the house, he chose two short-sale properties that had both closed in the mid-$140,000 range, and one inheritance sale around $155,000. The last property was “in horrible condition,” said Skeens. “I’d call it dog meat.” The deal-paralyzing appraised value that came in for the cream-puff refi: $149,000.

Complaints about lowballed appraisals – from builders, realty agents, consumers and mortgage companies – have erupted since May 1, when government-sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac put their new appraisal rules into effect nationwide. Critics charge that the new system is fostering the use of appraisers willing to work for low fees – sometimes 50 percent below previous standards – and who are willing to conduct home appraisals far outside their typical areas of activity.

Under the HVCC, appraisers are now routinely assigned by appraisal management companies rather than being selected by mortgage companies or loan officers. The management companies pocket as much as 40 to 50 percent of the appraisal fee.

Frustration with the new system boiled over and made its way to Capitol Hill late last month. The National Association of Home Builders called for an immediate change in the rules governing the use of foreclosures, short sales and other distress transactions as comparables for appraisals on non-distressed, typical homes, whether new or resale.

Two congressmen – Travis Childers, D-Miss., and Gary Miller, R-Diamond Bar (Los Angeles County) – have introduced legislation calling for an 18-month moratorium on the appraisal code. In identical letters to James Lockhart, the top regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Cuomo, the National Association of Realtors also requested a moratorium and complained that the code is raising costs to borrowers, distorting property values and killing sales.

Asked for comment, Lockhart said through a spokesperson that his agency is monitoring the situation, and considers “the views of market participants important.”

Bottom line: Be aware of the issue. It affects your equity, even if you’re not buying or selling. And watch to see whether Congress fixes the problem.

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