Monday, April 26, 2010

Getting Ready to buy in 2010

So, the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit draws to a close.  Hopefully, you found what you were looking for!  If not, and I know there are a few of you that didn't, you may be asking yourself, "What do I do now"?  Well, for starters, don't beat yourself up over not finding the home that's right for you.  You need to be in love with the house you are buying - so don't run out and spend $150,000 just so the government will give $8,000!  Properties will still be for sale on May 1 - many of them not on the market now, and others that have been sitting may be forced to finally lower their price to something the market is willing to pay.

If you've been looking for a while, now may be a good time to review what you are looking for.  Now that you have been in houses and have a better feel for what you do and don't like - use this knowledge to narrow your list.  You've driven through neighborhoods that perhaps you can now eliminate, home styles that just don't offer what you need, etc.  It's OK to sit down with your REALTOR again and discuss your needs and wants - they do have a tendency to change.  Now take this new list, and renewed energy and check out what's out there.

If you are just starting to look for a new home, there is plenty of inventory out there for you - at some of the lowest prices we have seen in quite some time.  Interest rates are climbing but are still quite outstanding but these will not stay down for much longer.  Everything we see points to an inflation of the rates - My best advice, is to talk to your loan officer and stay in contact with them.  Know what the rates are doing on a weekly basis and adjust your schedule accordingly.  Perhaps take a day off and schedule several properties in one search - REALTORS work Saturdays and Sundays and these are outstanding days to view lots of properties.

Make a list of you NEEDS and WANTS.  (NOTE:  These are two different things and should be on two separate lists)  Meet with your REALTOR first, and have a discussion about these lists.  Your REALTOR knows your market and can enlighten you what features you want are most common and which ones will cost you more.  Most of all, stay focused and plan the process out all the way to close and beyond.  With this you can better prepare yourself to manage any issues that arise - and there will be some.  

On my next session of Getting Ready to Buy, we'll talk about Open Houses, Do's and Don'ts! In the meantime, if you have questions about buying or selling a home in the Cincinnati area, give me a shout at

Chris Wood
Mobile: (513) 382-2474
iFax:  (513) 322-7931

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hey! Hold that Last Post!

If you read my last post about the possibility of Congress extending the tax credit you will understand the latest rush to get that offer in on properties out there.  Buyers are out in full force - at least, the ones who haven't found what they are looking for yet. 

As a quick amendment to my previous post, Congress has moved ahead with extending the First Time Home Buyer Tax credit for Members of the Military they deem as, "Qualified Service Members".  What does that mean you ask?  Well, Congress defines Qualified Service Members as a member of the uniformed services of the U.S military, a member of the Foreign Service of the U.S., or an employee of the intelligence community.

Here is a link to the Federal Housing Tax Credit Website with additional information.

For the rest of us, get a move on - the clock is ticking!

Chris Wood
Office: 513-791-2255
Star One Realtors

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tax Credit Extended...?

Don't Count on it.  While it is clear that the first time home buyer tax credit in it's current form has proven to be a decent stimulus package for the housing industry, it is unlikley that it will be extended.  Primarily as it is seen to have done it's job, to extend it longer would be to invite it's misuse on a large scale.  It is time for the housing market to step out on it's own two feet again.

While that will likely result in a downturn for the immediate future, I believe strongly that by 2011 we will begin to return to some normalcy in our local market - perhaps even sooner.

Below I have attached a letter, from our National Association of Realtors President, Vicki Cox Golder regarding the issue of a Tax Credit Extension.  It's a quick read, and she makes her point clear and early on - It's not going to happen.  So if you are a First Time Home Buyer Looking for a house now...Get a move on! 

Chris Wood
(513) 382-2474

From: Vicki Cox Golder, 2010 NAR President

Date: March 24, 2010
Re: NAR Update: Tax Credit

Dear fellow association leader:

As you know the deadline for the Homebuyer Tax Credit is fast approaching.  Buyers must have a contract in place by April 30, 2010 with a closing date no later than June 30, 2010 to claim the credit.

We expect that REALTORS will be asking you what the NAR is doing to extend the tax credit. NAR has had extensive discussions with our congressional allies and concluded that an additional extension of the tax credit is unlikely. While lawmakers recognize that the tax credit helped stabilize the market, it appears that much of the benefit has been realized.

NAR is now focused on working with our REALTOR Party champions to improve the availability of financing, which continues to be an issue. Specifically, we are working with Congress to strengthen FHA and to help develop a new business model for the secondary mortgage market giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. You can follow our efforts on both fronts at


Vicki Cox Golder, CRB
2010 NAR President

Monday, April 5, 2010

Deadline Looms...

As the end of April approaches, buyers start coming out of the woodwork like termites! Ahh, how we love to procrastinate! But there is hope - if you have not found the home of your dream and you would like to get that First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit, there is still time - but you had better hurry.

  To be eligible, you must have a property for sale in Cincinnati under contract by April 30, 2010 - then close it prior to June 30, 2010. This means you should be making your short list of properties and putting them in order. I have highlighted some process steps for you below:

  1. Create a "Short List" of your favorite properties, Share this list with your agent. Much early prep can be done which can save you time later.
  2. Tour the properties and highlight each individual property with a "Pros & Cons" list.
  3. Eliminate properties that you no longer have interest in. The goal here is to get it down to 2, maybe 3 a the most.
  4. Decide on your favorite and submit your offer. Make it a decent market offer - you do not have the luxury of drawing this out. and remember, there are other buyers out there looking at the same house - you don't want to risk losing your first choice in Multiple Offers.
  5. Schedule your Whole House Inspection, immediately - do not wait. If you should find some hidden issues that are unaccaptable you want to move on to the next property, for both you and the sellers. (We'll talk more in another post about what is acceptable and what is not in an inspection).
  6. Stay focused, and task oriented. And stay in contact with your lender and your agent. This is no time to drag your feet on getting any documents filled out.
  7. Make a beeline for the closing table.

There are a significant number of moving parts to a home purchase, plan accordingly and stay focused on the prize - You, in your Own Home! You can do this...but you had better hurry!

Chris Wood