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Listing Language - 01/31/10 02:31 PM
Words matter. Wars have started over them; people are propelled to act because of them. And it appears that the marketing-time of houses might be determined by them, too. At least in part... As listings grow old, and frustrated sellers are jostling for an edge, perhaps it is time to review the language we use to describe our "products". I regularly read other agents' descriptions of homes closely for that flair with words that would make me want to see the house. If what I read pleases me, it will also please the potential buyer. I want to learn to write like that (173 comments)
Don't Wait - Act NOW or Pay beaucoup $$$ Later - 01/29/10 06:23 PM
Those Who Wait Will Pay Thousands More This Spring Waiting a few extra days or weeks to purchase a home this spring could cost buyers thousands of extra dollars as the office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) implements several changes for loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA).Coming just weeks before the April 30 deadline for the Home Buyer Tax Credit and just days after the March 31 expiration of the Federal Reserve Board's mortgage backed securities purchase program (which has kept home loan rates artificially low for over a year), these FHA changes make it even more important (2 comments)
New HUD Policies allow Quicker Foreclosure Re-sales - 01/29/10 06:16 PM
New HUD Policy Created to Allow Quicker Foreclosure Re-sales! Effective February 1, 2010 the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will relax FHA rules that prohibit insuring mortgages on homes that are owned by the seller for less than 90 days - a move that could help expedite the rehabilitation and resale of foreclosure properties.In a housing market where tighter lending requirements have made FHA financing the only option for some buyers, this 90-day policy has (1) kept some homebuyers from being able to purchase affordable homes and (2) prevented the quick resale of foreclosed properties, which affects the ability (0 comments)
Absorption Rate Key to Successful Pricing - 01/26/10 01:33 PM
Telling the sellers the price they want to hear might get you the listing, but it won't sell the house. Have you been to a listing appointment where you felt intimidated by the sellers pressuring you on the price they want to get for their property? The absolute best antidote and basis for an honest discussion about price is statistics - the number of homes on the market in their price range and how long it will take "statistically" for the market to absorbed those houses. The right price depends in large part on the current absorption rate in your market. Here (4 comments)
In this ancient little village outside a major city in Europe, we came across....
... private homes and a school building sporting SOLAR PANELS! Nice! If you are interested in learning about how one city in Southern Germany - as an example - is committed to sutainability, here is an interesting link: http://www.fwtm.freiburg.de/servlet/PB/menu/1182949_l2/index.html Let's see what we can learn from others and make it work for us! I firmly believe that homes that are more energy efficient will become ever more desirable for buyers. Does anyone have an experience or story to share of homes they sold or (1 comments)
We all need to do our part conserving our precious natural resources. At Prudential Jack White Vista Real Estate we have introduced a rigorous program of REUSE, REDUCE and RECYCLE. Our family is trying to do the same at home. Going green in Alaska goes a long way: living expenses in this State are very high because everything has to be shipped in. We are doing well, except - our compost pile remains frozen for most of the year! (4 comments)
Time is Running Out- Don't YOU Miss Out - 01/23/10 02:39 PM
Mortgage Interest rates are near historic lows... Home-price affordability is near hstoric highs.... And Congress has extended the first-time homebuyer tax credit, AND created a bew tax credit for existing homeowners. It is a historic time for anyone considering homeownership. The Federal Home Buyer Tax Credit has been extended until April 30th, 2010. This program offers a credit of up to $8,000 for first-time home buyers and up to $6,500 to homeowners who have lived in their current home for at least five years and are seeking to relocate. It is truly one of the best times in history to buy a (0 comments)
Tough FHA Down Payment Rules - 01/22/10 01:35 PM
The Federal Housing Administration will raise the minimum down payment requirement for the least credit-worthy borrowers with credit-rating scores below 580 to at least 10 per cent. Borrowers with a credit score baove 580 willbe able to continue to put down only 3.5%. FHA will also increase its upfront mortgage insurance premium from 1.75 percent to 2.25 percent. The agency is expected to seek congressional approval to raise annual mortgage insurance premiums, paid by borrowers over the life of the loan, above the current 0.55 percent maximum. The amount it will seek has yet to be announced. Ever more reasons to (0 comments)
Employment in Alaska - 01/22/10 01:26 PM
Alaska Employment Alaska offers a number of employment opportunities. For detailed information and assistance in finding employment in the state of Alaska you can contact the following agencies. When it comes to finding a home, or need information on what the housing market in Anchorage looks like, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 907-529-6602. I am glad to help! Alaska Executive Search821 N St Anchorage, Alaska 99501907-276-5707 Adams and Associates3601 C StAnchoarage, Alaska 99507907-269-5511 Alaska Employment Service3301 Eagle St. Suite 101Anchorage, Alaska 99503907-269-4800 Elite Employment Services3301 Eagle St. Suite 101Anchorage, Alaska 99503907-269-4800 Kelly Services3301 C StreetAnchorage, (2 comments)
FHA Announces Changes, Raises MIP, Reduces SellerConcessions, etc.Thursday, January 21, 2010 11:24 AM - 01/21/10 02:45 PM
This provides a GREAT reason to call all of your clients that may want to purchase a home sometime in the next year using a FHA loan. FHA is looking at increasing the upfront mortgage insurance premium from 1.75% of the loan amount to 2.25%, they are looking at increasing the monthly mortgage insurance and decreasing the maximum seller concession from 6% of the purchase price to 3%. This is expected to take effect sometime this spring. Just 1 more reason why buying now is financially savvy apposed to waiting. The cost of waiting is real, between this and the 1st (0 comments)
New HUD Policy Created to Allow Quicker Foreclosure Re-sales! - 01/21/10 01:41 PM
Effective February 1, 2010 the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will relax FHA rules that prohibit insuring mortgages on homes that are owned by the seller for less than 90 days - a move that could help expedite the rehabilitation and resale of foreclosure properties. In a housing market where tighter lending requirements have made FHA financing the only option for some buyers, this 90-day policy has (1) kept some homebuyers from being able to purchase affordable homes and (2) prevented the quick resale of foreclosed properties, which affects the ability of communities to stabilize and rebuild. Research has (0 comments)
Secret Jesus Bible Codes on U.S. Military Weapons - 01/21/10 12:49 PM
This might not relate to real estate directly, but we are more than real estate professionals; we are also human beings that have to make moral choices and take stands one ways or another about what is being done in our name - morals in business as well as in life - I am disgusted by the the following: You may have to cut and paste the above web address to view this important video. http://news.yahoo.com/video/us-15749625/17700769 Tue Jan 19, 2:31AM PT - ABC News 6:14 | 294030 views Brian Ross looks at the biblical verses written on firearms. ... so it is (3 comments)
These are interesting year-end statistics for the Anchorage, Alaska, housing market. Although prices for single family homes have pulled back slightly, a mere -1.5%, we have not seen the steep decline in values like other parts of the country have. Contrary to how the newspaper interpreted the Days on the Market graph provided by the MLS, it appears that the marketing times in 09 for single family homes actually went down from the previous year;s. Condo values in 09 went up by 3.3% over the year before, and average market time of 88 days was shorter than in 08. Overall, (0 comments)
Today's Interest Rates - 01/20/10 03:45 PM
Need a committed, experienced Real Estate Advocate? Call Marianne Grant today at 907-529-6602
Going Green in Real Estate II - 01/20/10 03:11 PM
Five Tips for a Green Home Eco-friendly. Carbon footprint. Global warming. Energy-efficient. These catch phrases have become part of our lexicon as we've become more aware of our impact on the environment and our role in protecting it. As a homeowner, there are some simple, inexpensive steps you can take to make your home energy-efficient. Get started on the road to being "green" with these five tips: 1. Change Your Light Bulbs By replacing just five incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, you can save $100 per year on electric bills while using up to 75 percent less energy (0 comments)
Going Green in Real Estate I - 01/20/10 03:00 PM
Going Green in Real EstateConsumers' interest in the "green movement" has never been so high. Home builders, retailers, financial services providers, and product manufacturers are all seeking to satisfy consumers' demand for eco-friendly products and services. From energy-efficient light bulbs to solar-paneled roofs, from recycling plastic and paper to driving more fuel-efficient cars, consumers have gravitated to the idea that they can help the earth by making smarter purchases and lifestyle decisions. What does all this mean to us Real Estate Professionals? Whether we specialize in selling green homes, we are likely to meet clients who are interested in living a more environmentally conscious lifestyle. To (0 comments)
46 Days Until 2010 Iditarod XXXVIII - 01/18/10 07:22 PM
Are you following the biggest dog race in the world, the Alaskan Iditarod from, Anchorage to Nome? Well, we are already getting pretty excited about the upcoming event. Did you know that the Iditarod is run each year to commemorate the emergency delivery in 1925 of diphtheria antitoxin to Nome, Alaska? Nome in 1925 had changed from a booming, boisterous turn-of-the-century gold-rush camp into a small, quite town of about 1,500 people. It was fifteen years since the end of the gold-rush, but Nome remained an important settlement on the Seward Peninsula.
2010 Iditarod Musher Listing Each participating Musher's Entry#, (0 comments)
View out of the living room window onto the park, the creek is just beyond the tree as is a bridge and a path that'll lead you eventually to the Chocalate Factory!!! Location: Hampton Green in mid-town on Campbell Creek Greenbelt Address:4973 Barrington Loop, Anchorage, Alaska 99503 Direction: From Tudor Rd S on Old Seward Hwy, L (north) on E50th (just before the Honda Dealership) It is not often that you can step out of your home and (0 comments)
List of Charities - Haiti II - 01/17/10 12:02 PM
This is my second posting regarding Ways We Can Help Haiti. The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) announces its top-rated list of charities involved in Haitian earthquake relief efforts. AIP, a leading charity watchdog that issues letter grade (A+ to F) ratings of nonprofit groups, identifies the following charities, which are providing aid to the victims that receive an "A" or "B" grade based on the portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency. Contact the organizations below for information of specific relief operations now underway.Note: Links will open in a new window Action Against Hunger (A) (0 comments)
Haiti:How We Can Help - 01/14/10 05:32 PM
The news coming out of Haiti is almost too terrible to imagine. Three million people have been affected by Tuesday's earthquake, and the Red Cross estimates as many as 50,000 may be dead. Survivors are digging through the rubble with their hands in a desperate attempt to rescue those who are trapped. With water and medical supplies in short supply, and the Haitian government paralyzed, international aid efforts in the next few days will be critical to prevent more human suffering. These three charities, and many others, are providing care. If you can contribute to help fund their emergency efforts, please (4 comments)
Supply and Demand of Homes in Anchorage - 01/14/10 02:18 PM
Here now, the most compelling ones to understand what is happening in the Anchorage market: Supply and Demand, broken down into price segments. How long will it take, on average, to sell a home in a given price range. If a seller needs to sell faster, well, we might want to take a hard look at Days on the Market versus Sales Price, which is an other graph (not posted here) that I can show my seller.
Whereas values of homes in other parts of the country have declined dramatically, Anchorage homes, on average, have suffered only a devaluation (0 comments)
To view the rest of the picture, you might have to move your bottom bar to the right. This is the first posting of the statistics for the Anchorage Real Estate Market in 2009. While the rest of the country has had a hard time of it lately, Alaskans have been shielded from the worst of the decline in the housing market and the erosion of values. In fact, when you follow the red graph you will realize that we are experiencing a real shortage of homes for sale going into the new year, with solid sales. I use these statistics when (0 comments)
How recent RESPA changes impact the Good Faith Estimate - 01/13/10 06:24 PM
Recent guidelines from Washington have forced a change to the way that loan originators will disclose closing costs for all homebuyers. The purpose of the new Good Faith Estimate is to level the playing field for borrowers comparing loans, and to be able to make apples to apples comparisons for loan scenarios. In essence, HUD is working to bring all lenders up to the same standard of excellence in reporting closing costs, estimating realistic fees that a buyer should expect to pay at closing with no last minute surprises.What are the important facts you should be aware of? Below are some important (0 comments)
Thoughts to Ponder and Live By - 01/13/10 12:51 PM
In today's Sales Meeting, one of our colleagues read the following quotes from Jim Rohn: Lessons on Life. One of these thoughts might strike a cord with you: Learn to be Happy: Happiness is an activity with purpose; it is Love in practice, it is both obvious and mysterious. Discipline Yourself: Discipline is the most critical ingredient for success; it is the master key that unlocks the door to wealth and happiness, the glue that binds inspiration and achievement, the bridge between thought and accomplishment. We must all suffer one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. (2 comments)
How to Avoid Buyer's Remorse Part II - 01/13/10 12:31 PM
We were talking about How to Avoid Buyer's Remorse When Your Concerns are Valid There are times that purchases should be halted. The conditions of your contract should allow you to back out with no penalties if: • You cannot get financing. • The house does not appraise at a price at or above the contract sales price. • The home inspections uncover more repair issues than you are willing to take on or the seller is willing to fix. • The property boundary lines are not as represented by the seller. • A title search uncovers undisclosed easements that give (0 comments)
How to Avoid Buyer's Remorse - 01/13/10 12:23 PM
How to Avoid Home Buyer's Remorse Remorse Is a Common Feeling During Home Buying You loved your future home when you signed the contract to purchase it, but now you're not sure if you made the right decision. What if you acted too quickly and a better house comes on the market next week? What if you paid too much for the house? What if something happens to your finances and you can't make your house payments? Being gripped by fear and doubt regarding the home you've committed to buy is normal, it's called homebuyer's remorse. The best defense against a (0 comments)
$500 closing cost credit for all purchase transactions
Alaska USA Moprtgage is currently offering $250 closing cost credit for all refinance transactions The "Buy Down" promotion offers its members the opportunity to have Alaska USA pay for the cost to buy the rate down by covering up to 0.500 points of discount on applicable locks to their servicing-released investors ( Wells Fargo or Bank of America ). Loans can be purchases or refinances and can be 15- or 30-day locks. For instance: If you purchased a home for $300,000 on an 30 year fixed (0 comments)
Best return on your remodeling-dollars Part II - 01/10/10 05:44 PM
I have come to realize that my fascination with the deeper issues of remodeling comes from needing to upgrade my own home. It was built in the early 80's with all the features of what was "hot" then. I find the project daunting, to say the least, and keep thinking and writing about it as a way to wrap my brain around it. OK, on to Part II of getting the best return on your remodeling dollar: The bathUtilitarian is out. Think spa -- multiple shower heads or even steam attachments in the shower. Dual sinks are a given in master baths, and I love luxuries (2 comments)
Best return on your remodeling-dollars - 01/10/10 05:18 PM
So you are ready to do some upgrading, but the choices seem overwhelming. Where do you start? You'll get the most out of your dollar by keeping an eye on what shows up in high-end homes. If you want to get the maximum value from your remodel when you sell your home, you need to pay attention to trends. But not just today's fads: what's more important is what will be hot when it's time to put your house on the market. Home improvements start to date the moment they're completed. How fast their value slides may depend on your ability (0 comments)
We were in downtown Anchorage on New Year's eve in frosty temperatures to watch ice scuptors and skaters in the town square. A live band played Hawaiian (!!!!) music and skimmily dressed ladies, adored with flower garlands, delighted the crowd with their singing and the swaying of hips and arms. Plenty of good cheer all around. Alaskans' favorite place to get away to? Hawaii, of course! Alska Airlines often offers special air fares to the all the islands. Aloha! (2 comments)
Seasonal Check List for HomeOwners for 2010 - 01/07/10 02:18 PM
Most New Year's Resolutions are meant for OURSELVES to implement, with success, we hope. :) As a Certified Residential Specialist, I want to pass on these New Year Resolutions for Homeowners: Resolve to keep your home healthier this year with this seasonal checklist. Spring
Clean your gutters. Backed-up gutters can wreak havoc on siding and cause flooding. Scoop out leaves and debris with a trowel or hire professionals to do it. Check your roof. Wintry weather may have damaged the surface, and the first big rainstorm, left unchecked, could cause significant problems. Replace shingles as needed. If your (0 comments)
Removing popcorn ceilings Part II - 01/07/10 12:21 PM
No asbestos? Fresh paint can help ... If there is no asbestos present, there are other ways to deal with popcorn ceilings that fall short of removal. One option is to freshen them up with a new coat of paint. Think twice about using a roller because acoustic ceilings are very porous and will absorb a great deal of paint. Also, using a regular roller makes it nearly impossible to achieve even coverage. The most efficient way to put new paint on a textured ceiling is to spray-paint it with flat latex. Spraying is a difficult job, and unless you already (2 comments)
Asbestos in your ceiling? - 01/07/10 12:13 PM
Want to modernize your home? Look up. If you have the dreaded acoustic ceiling called "popcorn" or "cottage cheese," you can start there. They give them house a dated appearance and affect a house's value. Buyers just hate them. More than an eyesoreIf you want to remove an acoustic ceiling, you'll first need to determine whether it contains asbestos. Asbestos was used as a binder in many construction materials before it was banned in 1978 for posing health risks such as cancer and respiratory disease. You're not required by law to test for asbestos, but the Environmental Protection Agency strongly recommends it. If (1 comments)
Anchora Home Prices continue to slide - 01/07/10 12:01 PM
The Anchorage Daily News reports today that home prices in Anchorage decreased slightly in 2009, for the second year in a row. The good news is that the decline of 2.2% is diminutive compared with the U.S. average price decline of 10 per cent. It appears that housing prices in Anchorage will stay flat, perhaps dip a little from 2009 levels, and will probably not increase. We'll be seeing a market in 2010 pretty much the same as it was in 2009. While this is no cheery news for home sellers, homes remain more affordable for buyers. Throw in the mix (0 comments)
How to Conserve Energy - 01/06/10 05:23 PM
This is a topic close to my heart. It is high time we all did our share to help conserve, re-use, and recycle. Low-Cost Ways to Conserve Energy It doesn't cost a thing to turn down the thermostat or put on a sweater, and it costs very little to make small changes that save a lot. For long-term savings, you'll have to spend more. Start with the no-cost ideas at the top of the list and work your way down to save more energy and lower your bills for the long term. You'll live more comfortably, save money, and help the environment all (0 comments)
Legislators want PFD guarantee in AK Constitution - 01/06/10 04:30 PM
The Anchorage Daily News reports today that Democratic legislators Hollis French and Harry Crawford want to guarantee Permanent Fund dividend checks in the state constitution. They're of the opinion that if the dividend isn't protected the Legislature will eventually use the money to pay for state spending. The two legistlators will introduce a resolution to be considered in the Alaska legislative session which starts this month. Such a constitutional amendment to enshrine the dividend needs a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate and then a statewide public vote to pass. Earlier attemps to that effect had failed, but French, who (0 comments)
Saving Energy at Home - 01/05/10 06:33 PM
Where to start:Steps to take that cost nothing, or very little, to save energy (and money): - Lower your water heater temperature to 120°F, lower your thermostat in the winter, wash your clothes in cold(er) water, turn off un-needed lights and electronics, and air dry your clothes in the summer.- Install a programmable thermostat, seal large air leaks in your home, insulate your water heater, add insulation in your attic, seal and insulate your HVAC ducts, and install efficient showerheads. unplug appliances you're not using. Additional steps: - Conduct a home-energy audit. - Have your heating system serviced, and open curtains on south-facing windows during the day and close (0 comments)
Remodeling Risk - a Contrarian's View Part II - 01/05/10 03:46 PM
We are clear on the risk of overspending on remodeling projects. We understand that we will likely not get dollar for dollar back we spent on those projects. So what SHOULD we spend precious dollars on? Consider the potential payoff of the improvement before you begin. If, like most homeowners, you'll be in your house for seven years or less, you might be wise to shelve your BIG plans until you buy your ultimate dream home. A better bet for a remodeling project would be any improvement or addition that brings your home up to the average for your neighborhood. If (1 comments)
Remodeling Risk - a Contrarian's View - 01/05/10 03:05 PM
With spring approaching - yes, I know, we still have snow on the gound for a few more months here in Alaska - it is not too early to think about which remodeling projects should be tackled this year. Or should they? Remodeling magazines posts its annual "Cost vs. Value Report" -- a survey that attempts to show the payoff in various regions of 10 common renovation projects. While some projects are certainly worth getting into - and I'll talk about which ones a bit later, I think it is wise to step back and .... Ponder these thoughts: Paybacks aren't guaranteedCertain (1 comments)
Bus Stop built energy-efficient & high-tech - 01/04/10 04:06 PM
Wow. One of the top stories in today's Anchorage Daily News is the newest project for downtown, the new Transit Transfer Facility on 6th Avenue and C Street. It will shelter people waiting for the bus from snow and ice. The walkway in front of the stop will be heated through the winter. At a cost of about 30 times that of an average transit shelter - around $875K give or take a few - it has been in the works for almost three years. It will accomodate around 700 passengers a day. In 2007, The Anchorage Assembly appropriated the federal earmark (0 comments)
Reverse or Reverse Annuity Mortgage - A mortgage for which the borrower pledges home equity in return for regular (monthly) payments, rather than a lump sum distribution of loan proceeds. Repayment is usually not required until the home is sold or the borrower's estate is settled, provided the borrower continues to live in the home and keeps current all taxes and insurance. This might work for seniors on limited fixed income who want or need to supplement income. What down-sides do you see and can share with me? (0 comments)
Do-It-Yourself Staging Tips for Sellers (2) - 01/04/10 12:57 AM
Use these do-it-yourself tips to spruce up your home, price it right for your local market, and see buyers compete for your house - yes, even in this market. After the Don't, on now to the Do's.
Do's Invite a friend or real estate agent over. A second or third pair of eyes will help you accent the best and edit the worst in your home. Be prepared for some constructive critique. You want to hear it from trusted friends and professinals before you put your home on market, not as feedback from prospective buyers. Go room-by-room with a worksheet so you can (4 comments)
Home Staging for Do-it-Yourself Sellers - 01/04/10 12:36 AM
Staging a Home has become a MUST in today's challenging market. Staging a home can change its atmosphere and make it appeal to homebuyers, bring a higher price and accelerate marke time. By adding small decorative touches, rearranging or deleting furniture, a home can look like a professiona stager was hired. Here are some don'ts for sellers that want to try to stage their home. The Do's will follow next time. Don'ts Nothing distracts buyers more than silk flowers that are past their time, inappropriate for the season. Throw them out, now. Don't forget to upgrade Fido's bowl. I've experienced many unhealthy (2 comments)
We share our backyard with Moose, Arctic hare, Bears, Lynx, and Foxes. In fact, red squirrels get up close and personal in our attic! This picture shows me leaving the house on my way to work. (5 comments)
Seller Tips 2 - 01/03/10 04:30 PM
Selling your house in a hurry is no longer a simple matter of putting a "For Sale" sign in the yard. I have good news, though: homes that are well prepared for the market and priced right are still selling well. However, sellers who are serious about wanting an offer in a short period of time, need to position their homes in the market competitively. Here are some strategies to help get your house SOLD: Price it Right. Buyers search by price range. Make sure your property is properly positioned so that it reflects the best value within a certain (1 comments)
2010 Alaska Economic Outlook - 01/03/10 02:51 AM
Here's a link to an article from Anchorage's KTUU recent news hour, reporting on the 2010 outlook for the Alaska Economy. http://www.ktuu.com/Global/story.asp?S=11740735
Alaskans are also anticipating the announcement of the 2010 Permanent Fund Dividend check, which every Alaskan will receive who has lived in the State a full calendar year.
Tips for Sellers - 01/02/10 11:54 PM
It used to be that all sellers had to do is put their house up for sale and - voila - it sold, often bid up by multiple offers. Times have changed. Fewer buyers can qualify for a loan these days, and many homes on the market compete for solid buyers. Today, a home has to stand out from the competition, and I have found that most sellers are open to tips on how to get their homes ready for sale. Here is a handy list to help and guide sellers on where to spend precious dollars for maximum return: Test all door and (10 comments)
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