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Friday

Fed cuts rate by 1/2% ...but what about mortgages? Also Great FHA news!

So you have heard about "the Fed" "cutting rates..." but what does that mean for you as a home buyer? Here's a couple quick thoughts from Brad Arendt of CTX Mortgage on the impact of recent decisions.

*The Fed surprised everyone with a 1/2 percent rate cut - stock market rally!

*Mortgage rates actually move up following the news. Contrary to the TV news reports, mortgage rates actually rise when the Fed lowers their rate. Why? Mortgage rates hate inflation, and a Fed cut can lead to inflation.

*FHA has increased their loan limits in the Triangle....now up to $224,200 for a single family dwelling. Great news! This will help many buyers with credit challenges find a home AND a loan!

Tuesday

To Buy or to Rent? That is the question...

...and here are some answers...

It's almost always better to own your home rather than to rent. Right? After all, you build equity and get to write off your mortgage interest. And if you play your cards right, when you sell you'll be eligible for one of the best tax breaks available.

But that doesn't mean that everyone should be a homeowner. Ask someone in Florida whose house has been on the market for a year and is losing value every month...

If your move is short-term or if interest rates are high and property values deteriorating, it may be worthwhile to deal with a landlord for a while.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages if you are considering buying vs. renting.

HOME OWNERSHIP
Advantages
- Property Builds Equity
- Free to change d├ęcor/ landscaping
- Not dependant on landlord for maintenance
- Tax Benefits for interest paid on your loan

Disadvantages
- Responsible for Maintenance
- Property Taxes
- Possibility of Equity Loss
- Less “mobility” than renting

RENTING
Advantages
- Typically little or no responsibility for maintenance
- Easier to move; more “mobility”

Disadvantages
- No Tax Benefits
- No Equity Build up
- No control over rent increases

My best advice is to talk with professionals about your situation. While I believe it is smart to talk with a Realtor, it is also approproate to talk with an accountant, a lawyer, and/or financial planner about your individual goals.

And the Winner is...Cameron Pond!

I recently had the privilege of selling a home in Cameron Pond, a new home neighborhood located in Cary, NC.

After looking at almost 50 homes around the Triangle, and facing a 21-day deadline to close on a home in order to avoid living in a hotel, my clients decided on a new home built by Homescape, a great local builder.

Given their tight schedule, my clients were “no nonsense” buyers; they did not want or have time for codling or sugar coating. That is exactly the treatment they received from their Cameron Pond sales team. Lynda Foster and Rick Newnham were nothing but honest, efficient, professional, and direct throughout the entire homebuying process.

Obviously every homebuyer is different. This particular buyer didn’t need the big sales pitch or the scenic tour of the community. They really didn’t need additional information on the builder’s reputation. The sales team sensed that, and just stuck to the hard facts! In my opinion they understand the real definition of customer service: know what your customers want and deliver it.

We were able to agree to the terms, get under contract, close, and move in, all within 14 calendar days!

I owe many thanks to Rick and Lynda at Cameron Pond, as well as Matt, the Homescape construction manager. Because of them, my clients had a great buying experience and now live in a beautiful new home in a wonderful community.

Thursday

Green Building

Green Building has become a hot topic lately- a buzz word. But the pratice of using more eco-friendly design and sustainable materials is here to stay! Home buyers and builders alike are paying more attention to the impact that our actions will have on future generations. New Homes and Ideas magazine is featuring an 8 part series about the practices of green building.

Check it out!

http://newhomesandideas.com/raleigh/featured/articles/BuildingGreen.html

Wednesday

Smooth Transactions

I received the following note from one of my clients and felt the need to share it. It is important for people to understand that we recommend certain vendors to assist our clients- not because we gain anything financially- but because we have great working relationships and trust they will provide the same level of service our clients have come to expect. As the title of this post would indicate, our goal is to have a smooth transaction- one where you almost feel uneasy because things are going so well. All of our partners understand this, and use their best efforts to make it happen each and every time.

"I just got done telling someone how pleasant my first homebuying experience was. It was so nice to know that I had someone like you working on my side. Especially as a first time buyer-you don't even know where to begin. Everyone you recommended (lender, attorney, and inspector) were absolutely wonderful! The process was so smooth and exciting and I am grateful for everything you did to help me. I could not have asked for a better experience..it was so easy! On top of it all, you guys make sure to remember your clients by sending brithday and holiday cards. I even got a birthday present in the mail from the lender. How sweet!!

I wish this pleasant of a home buying process for all of my family and friends and am confident that anyone I send your way will be as lucky as I was!

Thanks so much for everything!!"

Maggie Douglas
Raleigh, NC

You get what you pay for...

In recent years, there have been numerous real estate companies who have been promoting themselves as "Limited Service" companies or "Discount Brokers." They follow a business model that allows them to be very successful in certain markets. As you read the following note from one of our clients, you will see how important it is to understand EXACTLY what you are paying for when you hire a Realtor.


"You live and learn, and you get what you pay for...
These words of wisdom were ignited the day we signed a no-release contract with Realtor B, the Discount Broker. Against our better judgment, we took the advice of my loving but cheap family members and friends when selling our home. It was an obvious choice to them, because "selling a house is simple". We had a good home in a nice neighborhood near schools and shopping. It would sell itself in days, 2 weeks max. No need for a full service realtor, so we cut that corner. The first red flag was when she didn't want to see the 2nd floor, "I don't DO stairs, I'm sure it's fine". She overpriced the house, stuck a sign in the yard (blocked by a neighbor's bush) and listed us in the MLS computer. That was it, and we started packing. But the house didn't sell in days, and after a couple of months with no action, we grew restless. Realtor B wasn't to be bothered. She discouraged an open house, and no advertising. Our concerns were brushed off, and then communication with us stopped, so we were left to sell on our own.

We printed flyers, put out signs, and in desperation started holding our own open houses (not safe and not recommended). The seasons passed and finally our contract was finished. We got an email saying as much, and the yard sign would be removed. Todd and I were left devastated and with 2 mortgages. So we turned to an expert who recommended John Wood and Zach Schabot of the Wood Team at RE/MAX Partners. Not to be burned again, we asked around and suddenly we knew we were on the right track. The Wood team got glowing remarks from everyone, "5-star service".

It was like coming out of a tunnel into the light, we were immediately taken under their wing. The Wood Team had multiple, pre-qualified buyers ready and the showings began, even on Christmas Day! We were contacted daily with feedback, they sent out over a thousand postcards about our house to other agents in the area, and even gave us some advice on how to present the house even better. Well, before we could even have an open house, the offers came in, and our house got sold!

Thank you Wood Team, for so much. For measuring our actual square footage (Realtor B could've cost us buyers with the incorrect numbers she had!). You kept the showings steady and feedback constructive, and even drove to us to sign papers and approve the offers the moment they came in (who else will come to you after 9pm?!). And thanks especially for your fast, courteous, professional, and positive support. Selling a house is stressful in itself, having a bad realtor makes it a nightmare. But the Wood Team surely turned around the meanings of those phrases You Live and Learn, and especially You Get What You Pay For.

The Wood Team: five stars indeed!"

Tammy and Todd Lack
Holly Springs NC