Starting off . . .
Happy New Year! May 2009 bring you health, wealth, happiness, and all you desire!
2008 took us for quite a ride and most of us are glad to be putting it behind us. Now it looks as though we're going to be taking a different direction as a nation, and regardless of your political affiliation, I know you join me in wishing President-Elect Barack Obama and his whole team the strength and wisdom to make the wisest of decisions and provide the best of leadership for the American people. As George Washington would have said, may Divine Providence smile upon them all-and us as well!
Things in real estate are chugging along here at the shore. We're certainly not getting the volume of sales we're used to, but we're not overrun with listings, either, and our inventory is declining every month. Here at the beach we don't have the high proportion of foreclosures or short sales that are prevalent in primary markets, so many sellers are waiting it out till prices start to climb again and they'll put their property on the market when that happens. Others who already have properties on the market are holding out for their price and don't care how long that takes; they're able to wait.
Other aspects of the economy aren't helping either, are they? Even though prices are low for real estate, and interest rates are about as low as they've ever been, lots of folks don't feel comfortable enough to buy their dream place. They just don't know which direction to take so they do nothing. It's a shame, because those who really can afford to buy are missing out on a great time to do so. But everyone has to do what's right for them!
So let's say you're going to look into taking advantage of the low prices and interest rates and several properties appeal to you. First thing is always to talk to a Lender. You may have experience with buying in the past, but so much has changed in the last few months in banking and there's a whole new set of criteria that you
need to be aware of. Buying a second home today is not anywhere near as easy as it was two or three years ago!
Gone are the days of five percent down. Your minimum now is ten percent down and there are no more 80/10 loans that enabled buyers to escape the Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). If you put down less that 20% you will be paying PMI.
Low interest rates are out there, but you'll need a darn good credit score-at least 740--to get one. A score of 620 will get you a mortgage, but your interest rate is going to be higher.
Income and assets will have to be documented and your lender will also need to see proof of taxes and insurance amounts for your primary home and any other real estate you own.
And last but not least, if you are purchasing a condominium, the building must meet current Fannie Mae standards. There's a whole laundry list of criteria but fortunately, local lenders who know the buildings can get you a quick answer on whether or not some buildings would work for you and which to avoid. The big kicker with new construction is that the building must already be 51% sold. If you're the first or second buyer in a 50 unit building you won't get your mortgage but if you're the 27th you'll be fine.
Last But Not Least . . .
Over the years, Americans have had an off-again, on-again romance with slot machines. Here in Maryland they became illegal back in 1984 except for a handful of nonprofit or charitable organizations that could use them for fundraising purposes on the eastern shore. They were permitted in every county on the shore except Worcester.
Now voters have decided to bring them back and it looks as though Ocean Downs Racetrack just off Route 50 will soon be home to up to 4750 machines. Lots of work to be done and decisions to be made so I'll be sure to keep you informed as things progress.
...See You On The Beach!