Backyard Real Estate!

Capital BuildingIt is no mystery as to the status of Austin’s growth rate. It is growing. And rapidly. Austin has such a high number of people moving in that there is a lot of question as to whether or not the city will be able to keep up with it. Most speculate that it won’t. The roads are already congested with traffic, and only getting worse, a lot of the homes are old and worn out, and there isn’t very much space within the city to add additional homes. All of this contributes to the idea that Austin is growing way too quickly. Which is VERY good news for those of us in real estate. There are so many opportunities to be had, it’s a very good time to get involved, whether you want to invest, manage, or develop properties.

Investors have no shortage of interest in the local market of Austin. There are several new neighborhoods going up in the surrounding suburban areas, as well as in the local downtown districts. The majority of properties in Austin proper need some kind of upkeep or maintenance to make them what they really could (and should) be. The one I personally think is booming the loudest right now is definitely the East Austin districts near Airport Blvd. There are several neighborhoods that up until recently have been rather neglected and allowed to run down into the ground, but investors are seeing more of an opportunity for profit each day.


For the individual with a little capital and an eye for opportunity, there is a lot of money to be made in the process of flipping houses, that is buying the house from the current owner, who maybe can’t or doesn’t want to invest in renovating it, putting in the money to fix it up, and selling it again for more money than was put in for the repairs. For a little bit put in, you can quickly get back everything and more. But even better than that, some individuals choose to buy and invest, and then live in their dream house. Austin is certainly full of some great homes, and with people putting money into a lot of them, the value of every single home is going up.

The other thing that is driving up the value of homes in all areas is the overwhelming demand. As businesses grow, and more and more people move here for the business, the healthy atmosphere, or the thriving music scene, more and more people are in need of homes. What this does to the market is creates a shortage in which more individuals are looking to buy the same houses. With more interested parties and construction only going so fast, homes that are already built in great locations are very popular, so their prices are going up. Hoorah for economics! But in all seriousness, Austin is thriving when it comes to real estate. Or most anything, for that matter.

The Ins and Outs of Foreclosure

Canal HomeWhen I first heard that the foreclosure process could be completed in as few as forty one days, I was astounded. I couldn’t believe it but, after doing some research, I found that technically, someone could foreclose a property within 41 days of a default on a payment. The way that Texas has laid out the requirements for a foreclosure from default to sale is pretty quick, with only a couple of steps. Obviously, an interest in real estate necessitates at least a basic knowledge of the foreclosure process, but it is such a simple and quick ordeal that, in truth, most everyone should probably know just how swift of a process it is.

The first step in any foreclosure is obviously a default on a mortgage payment. At that point, the borrower can no longer afford to, or simply isn’t paying for the mortgage. From the stand point of the real estate opportunist, this is a chance for some people to go in and work with the actual borrow to take over a home by either offering financial help or some other service that lets them stay in the home, such as a change in ownership and then a rental agreement. This is definitely not the norm when one thinks about taking advantage of foreclosures, but it is an option.

The second step is the filing of a legal notice. At this point, the owner goes to the county office and official puts in that their mortgagee is falling behind in payments and that they would like to sell the house to someone else. There is a mandatory 20 period following that in which the mortgagee may attempt to resolve the issue in whatever way they can. There are two parties that should take particular note at this point. The first is the mortgagee. Chances are, they’re living there. If at all possible, they should work with someone to save their mortgage and figure out their payment situation. The other is the potential buyer. At this point, you may start discussing buying the home, as it is on its way to market sooner rather than later.

The third step is the actual sale. Twenty days prior to the actual sale of the home at the monthly auctions, the owner will now post that the house is going to auction. This is when the home is officially foreclosed and all efforts are now being put into finding a new owner. The current resident can all but be ready to go, and the real estate sharks start circling. After the 20 day period (not always exactly 20 days, but at least) the auction happens on the first Tuesday of the month, and the house gets sold new again. Bidding must reach at least two thirds the original price, and the court handles the financial details of it all.

The fourth and final step is the actual takeover of the home. The buyer now owns the home, but sometimes the previous tenants aren’t gone yet, which is where an eviction can come in to play. The sheriff will assist in clearing out the home, and there you have it. The home is now officially and fully owned by someone else. All in just over a month (assuming you timed it right).

Market Report: 2013

ID-10083915On the matter of a national real estate market, there are a lot of ways of measuring it; from the broad “healthy/non-healthy” aspect, down to very specific statistics. In most any way you look at it, during the year of 2013, the real estate market was doing well. The market on the whole went up 6.92% in average list price, representing an overall appreciation of assets. This is a great sign for all involved in real estate, though there is a lot of talk as to whether or not the market is in fact heading into another “bubble”. Yes, the market went up, as most people would expect it to, but will that be the downfall of the market in the future?

I don’t think it will. Several analysts agree that the indications of a possible “bubble” are present, but nothing is conclusive. So far the growth has been good and “healthy”, steady at nearly 7%, but it would take something closer to 15-16% to outrun the inflation rate and cause the market to crash. I believe the market is in for some very good times to come. Business Insider and Forbes, among other sources, give several reasons why real estate is definitely prepped for the upswing.

The first indicator is the continued rise in home prices, as aforementioned. The continual increase in value of properties in areas that were severely hit during the “bubble burst” of 2008 (such as California) is very promising. On top of that, there is an anticipated influx of demand for homes. Among the expected hopeful home-owners are the young people who are finally back into jobs and are looking to move back out of their parent’s homes, more first-time buyers (or ex-renters), and several investors who are realizing the boom in need for rental places.

Furthering this point, there are a lot of financial indicators, as well as social indicators that the market is set to flourish. Financing for building or purchasing homes is getting easier. Banks are carrying easier credit standards, mortgage rates are at a record low, and foreclosures are becoming fewer as banks are starting to default back to other forms of resolution on delinquent accounts, including selling off home loans and accepting short sales.

In conclusion, the real estate market did well in 2013 and there are no obvious reasons that progress shouldn’t continue into 2014. Things are looking good for the current or hopeful home owner.

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Ever Wonder What You As A Buyer Have To Pay In Closing Costs?

monkey questionAs most are aware, a closing is when all the documents required to purchase a property and the agreements between seller and buyer are brought together, signed and finalized. You will also receive a HUD-1 statement listing all the various costs involved as well as any mortgage agreements if you are using conventional financing.

So how much do you owe in closing costs and what can you expect to pay? Well as a buyer you expect to pay around two to 5 percent of the purchase price in closing costs. Some of those costs are listed for you below:

Title Search: As a buyer you want to insure there are no hidden issues with obtaining a clear title. The title company will do this for you and insure the title which that fee is sometime included in this cost

A Loan Application Fee: If you are using conventional financing a mortgage company has to determine your credit worthiness so they charge this fee to run your credit report

Initial Interest: You will pay all following months through the mortgage but the first months is not covered so you will pay that here at closing

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): Lets’ face it, a mortgage is a huge debt that spans most of your life so mortgage companies use this to protect themselves in the event you default on the loan unless you can come up with about 20 percent down

Loan Origination Fee: This little guy is typically one percent of the loan and is charged by mortgage companies to start the loan

Appraisal Fee: Basically this is an assessment of the properties true price. I don’t use value because value is subjective to the person doing the evaluating and what is valuable to one person may not be to another

Survey: You’ll need this to determine where your property starts and ends as well as to identify improvements and buildings on the property

Property Taxes: Most mortgage companies create an escrow account and ensure all property taxes are paid. After all, they wouldn’t want a nasty tax lien on the property if they ever had to foreclose on you

Homeowners Insurance: Just like care insurance you must have this in order for a mortgage company to finance the home and you may also be required to pick up some flood insurance depending on where the property is located

Discount Points: Want to get a lower interest rate? Paying points is a way of doing just that and they typically range between one and three percent of the loan

Government Fees: Uncle Sam needs his money and this is how he gets it. Taxes and Fees are charged on the sale of the property, the transfer of, and the recording of the deed. This amount will vary based on your area

So there you have it in a nut shell some of the most common costs associated with purchasing real estate the conventional way. We here at Harmonious Homes have a few other ways of purchasing real estate and if you are in the market to buy a home just contact us to find out some of the options that may be available to you.

Harmonious Homes Participates In The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walk

Banner_LL_SocietyOn saturday the 9th of November Harmonious Homes participated in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The NSupporters_LL_Societyight Walk. It was a nice event with a great turnout considering the weather looked a little ominous early on. The walk was brisk but everyone was encouraged to walk at their own pace and the route was short enough to complete without much difficulty. It was for a great cause and we encourage everyone to find a cause that you support and try to support that cause whether it be through monetary donations or just showing up and showing your support!

Now Harder to Qualify For A FHA Loan

Buying a home is never an easy decision but now, things may have become more difficult. The FHA has changed guidelines that govern how you qualify for a loan which willangry_shout add collection accounts and judgments to your debt to income ratio which took effect on OCT 15, 2013.

If you have more than $2000 in collection accounts a lender is now required to take those debts into consideration because you are considered to be more at risk of not making your mortgage payment if you have to pay those debts. This will make it increasingly more difficult for individuals to secure loans for the purchase of property that have had a hiccup or two in the past. It happens to us all and it has happened to me as well. Although you make every effort to pay your bills on time life sometimes throws you lemons and you just have to make lemonade. Luckily, I have many programs to help home buyers secure the home of their dreams without needing to qualify for a conventional loan.

It is important to note that judgments need to be paid off in order to qualify for an FHA loan but collection accounts do not. There are exceptions to this if a payment schedule has been arranged.

If you are going to try and secure an FHA mortgage the key is to get your debts under control. It’s not easy to do and takes time but it can be done. I am speaking from experience here. I had quite a bit of debt myself with many accounts that were charged-off but after a few years of paying and working with creditors I was able to clean up all that bad history. You don’t have to wait years to buy a house though. Start reaching out to those creditors and see if there is any way they can work with you to take care of those debts if you are looking to secure a home loan. If you want more information on how you can qualify for a home without conventional financing feel free to contact us and we can discuss those options with you. Everyone deserves a second chance, let us help you get yours!

FHA Allowing Loans After Foreclosure

Reblogged from

Borrowers who suffered a foreclosure or bankruptcy during the recent recession may still be able to qualify for an FHA mortgage under new guidelines established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The new rules allow borrowers whose credit was damaged due to a temporary loss of employment or income to still qualify for an FHA mortgage if they’ve recovered from that situation and maintained a clean credit history for at least 12 months.

That means that borrowers who recently experienced a bankruptcy, foreclosure, short sale, loan delinquencies, debt collections or other events that had a negative impact on their credit may still be able to qualify for an FHA loan in as little as one year after that event.

Still regarded as good credit risks

“As a result of the recent recession many borrowers who experienced unemployment or other severe reductions in income, were unable to make their monthly mortgage payments, and ultimately lost their homes,” wrote Asst. Housing Secretary Carol Galante in a letter to lenders outlining the new guidelines. “FHA recognizes the hardships faced by these borrowers, and realizes that their credit histories may not fully reflect their true ability or propensity to repay a mortgage.”

To qualify, borrowers must be able to show that their credit impairments were the result of a loss of employment and/or income that was beyond their control, and which reduced their income by at least 20 percent for a period of at least six months. They must have resolved any outstanding debt issues that were not cleared away by foreclosure or bankruptcy, and not have any credit blemishes over the past 12 months.

In addition, borrowers must undergo credit counseling in order to be approved, which may be done in person, by telephone, over the Internet or by any other method the FHA approves.

Read the rest at

Is Your Housing Market Hot Or Not?

Reblogged from

matchstickBuzz about superhot markets, where homes are under contract within days of being listed, may ring true if you live in San Francisco.

Not so much if you’re in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

As your real estate agent will rightly preach, market conditions vary by location and it’s important for buyers and sellers to know what kind of environment they’re working in.

Queen Anne style homes in San Francisco.

You’ll get your first clue by looking at the area’s job market, because low unemployment means more people are likely able to afford a monthly mortgage payment, said real-estate consultant Louis Cammarosano. Then, talk with a local real estate agent about housing prices and how long homes are sitting on the market before they’re sold.

Prices were up in May, year over year, in each of the 20 markets examined in the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

Plus, almost 90% of U.S. markets are expected to experience price appreciation over the next year, according to Veros Real Estate Solutions, a risk management and valuation services firm. Its forecast covers 969 counties, 324 metropolitan areas and 13,502 ZIP Codes, and estimates how much prices will rise between June 2013 and June 2014.

Still, housing markets improve at their own, unique paces.

Your playbook as a buyer or a seller is determined by whether the local market you’re dealing in is frothy, stalled or somewhere in between. What follows are some guidelines for each type of market.

Read More….

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