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How Buying a Home Is Likely to Change

by leslie edwards

In the future, it will be harder to buy a home. Read this February 10, 2011 article from US News and World Report, By Rick Newman and see if this might be the right time for you to take advantage of low interest rates, low down payments and low home prices.

How Buying a Home Is Likely to Change

By Rick Newman
Thursday, February 10, 2011

Last year's sweeping financial-reform law revamped much of the banking system. But there's one industry it didn't touch: housing finance, for good reason. Unlike the convalescing banking sector, the housing market is still a wreck, with any false move likely to destabilize things even further and cause fresh damage.

 

But the system can't continue the way it is either, so policymakers in Washington are gingerly starting to propose ways to fix the way we finance the purchase of homes and assure that there's never another housing bust like the one that began in 2006 -- and still isn't over.

The biggest and thorniest question is what role the government should play in the housing market. The government has had a hand in housing since the 1930s, when it began to subsidize home purchases for some buyers. But today the government dominates housing finance, with our system effectively nationalized. The government backs nearly every new mortgage, bearing much of the risk that lenders would ordinarily take on. That has kept mortgage money flowing during a severe credit crunch, preventing a much bigger disaster in housing, and a deeper recession. But it has also cost taxpayers billions of dollars, created a perverse system ripe for political abuse, and crowded out private financing that might be deployed more efficiently.

So with the economic recovery gaining strength, it's finally time to address the problem-to-be-named later. The Obama administration has come up with a set of options for winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the insolvent housing agencies that back many middle-class mortgages but suffered catastrophic losses in 2008 and were taken over by the government. Some Republicans would like to see Washington end its role in housing altogether, while many economists favor some kind of hybrid system that transfers much but not the government’s entire role to the private sector. A few small changes could happen this year, with the biggest reforms probably not likely until at least 2013, after the next presidential election. Even then, changes will probably be phased in slowly, to minimize disruption -- and panic.

Still, we may be on the verge of a transformation in the way Americans pay for the biggest purchase they'll ever make, which determines how millions of families prioritize their household finances. Since many families spend years saving for a down payment, long-term planning is prudent. Here are some of the possible changes both buyers and sellers should anticipate:

Rising mortgage rates. During the housing boom that ended in 2006, mortgage rates were artificially low because lenders failed to price in enough of a cushion to account for the kind of steep price declines that have occurred. Even the most responsible lenders figured the worst-case scenario might be a 10 percent decline in prices, and they priced their loans accordingly. So far, home values have declined by about 30 percent from the 2006 peak, and they could still fall another 5 to 10 percent. That's one reason losses at Fannie, Freddie, and other mortgage lenders were so severe. While the average rate on 30-year mortgages just rose to 5.05 percent, the highest level in 10 months, rates are still extremely low. That's largely because the government is effectively subsidizing them through taxpayer bailouts, Federal Reserve policies, and guarantees against losses on most new mortgages.

If the government continues to back mortgages at current levels, rates might stay low -- but taxpayers will be on the hook for the cost of the next meltdown. A more likely outcome is a hybrid system in which private lenders bear more of the risk, while the government insures them against catastrophic losses and charges a fee to cover the cost -- similar to the way the FDIC insures banks. A recent study by Moody's Analytics calculates that such a system would raise mortgage rates by about 30 basis points, or 0.3 percentage points. If the whole system were privatized, Moody's estimates that could push rates up by about 120 basis points, or 1.2 percentage points, compared with a government-run system. On a $200,000 mortgage, a 30-basis-point bump would add about $39 to the monthly payment; a 120-point bump would add about $159. The spread would likely be greater for borrowers with weaker credit. And remember, those hikes would come in addition to other factors likely to drive long-term rates up over the next few years.

Higher down payments. Last year's Dodd-Frank financial-reform law did contain a few provisions that affect mortgages, including one that's likely to lead to formal down-payment requirements for many traditional loans. The government hasn't yet spelled out the details, but it probably will sometime this year. It seems likely that the required down payment on the majority of mortgages could be 20 percent, and perhaps as high as 30 percent. It will still be possible to get a loan with less money down, but because of new ways that lenders will have to handle such loans, interest rates will probably end up higher than they would have under the old rules.

Of course, many borrowers can't even get a loan these days unless they come up with a meaty down payment, so formal rules may not make that much of a difference, in reality. The biggest impact might be felt by hopeful buyers without a lot of cash who have been waiting for standards to ease, so they can get into a home with just 5 or 10 percent down. It might be a long time before standards ease that much, or banks make loans affordable for buyers financing most of the value of a house.

Less backing for expensive homes. The government changed the rules during the financial crisis to allow federal backing for mortgages as high as $729,750 in some high-cost areas, which means loans up to that amount count as "qualifying" loans suitable for the lowest rates. That ceiling is set to drop back to $625,500 on September 30. Expect it to happen, since Republicans who now control the House of Representatives want to reduce the government's role in housing finance, not perpetuate it. Bigger loans will still be available -- but with higher rates. And the ceiling on qualifying loans could shrink further, since that might be one way to shrink Fannie and Freddie.

Fewer fixed-rate mortgages. If the housing-finance system were to end up largely privatized, it would probably mean far fewer 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages -- which are the ones most popular with consumers. Banks don't like such mortgages because consumers can refinance if rates go lower, but banks can't hike rates if they go higher. "The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage exists because of the government backstop," says Mike Konczal, a fellow with the left-leaning Roosevelt Institute. "Getting rid of it would shift more of the risk onto households."

In countries where the government plays a lesser role in financing homes, such as Canada and many European nations, the majority of mortgages are adjustable, with rates that reset every few years. That requires more cushion in the family budget for rising costs -- and more responsible homeowners. But it might be worth it, since many of those nations avoided the kind of bust that has left millions of Americans with mortgages that exceed the value of their home. The odds of Congress killing the 30-year mortgage outright are probably low, but the rules under a hybrid system could restrict access to a smaller subset of top-tier borrowers. People who once might have qualified for the best mortgages might have to settle for less. Good credit will remain more important than ever.

Fewer homeowners. Loose lending and aggressive government policies pushed the homeownership rate to a peak of about 69 percent in 2005, a level that was probably unsustainable. It's now back to about 66 percent, and with foreclosures still mounting, the homeownership rate could very well dip below the historical average of 64 percent or so -- and stay below long-term norms. One bit of good news for home buyers is that a combination of steep price drops and low interest rates have suddenly made homes very affordable. But credit is obviously tight, and new rules could keep it that way.

There's one other possible change that could discourage homeownership: The reduction or elimination of the mortgage-interest tax deduction, which costs the government about $80 billion per year. That tax break has been in place for decades, as a way to promote homeownership. But with Washington running record annual deficits and facing mounting pressure to start paying down its debt, giveaways like the mortgage deduction might have to go. At least two deficit-reduction panels have recommended a lower homeowner subsidy, which would hit middle- and high-income homeowners the most. If it ever happens, the result could be smaller, less expensive homes for many -- plus more renters.

Less volatility. If policymakers do their job well, they'll ultimately produce a system less susceptible to hot money, speculators, bubbles, and shocks. For buyers, that means a return to the days when you bought a home to live in for a decade or two, not to occupy for a few years and then turn a profit on. "If I were a couple looking at a home, I'd be extra skeptical about investing," says Konczal. "I'd be prepared to sit in the home for 10, 20, even 25 years." It sounds restrictive, but many Americans might decide that a home for life is better than no home at all. And that they could live with a little stability.

Call me and let's discuss your situation and see how I can help.  I closed 67 properties in 2009 and 62 in 2010 and I would love to close one for you to.

 

leslie edwards

Environmentally Aware, Socially Conscious, Politically Active Real Estate Agent

770.460.9448

CDPE Certified Distressed Property Expert

CRS   Certified Residential Specialist

Epro  Certified Internet Professional

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Selling South Metro Atlanta including:

Clayton, Fayette, Henry, Coweta, Merewether, South Fulton & Spalding Counties

All the towns and cities south of the Atlanta International Airport, including:

Brooks, College Park, Fairburn, Fayetteville, Jonesboro, Locust Grove, McDonough

Newnan, Sharpsburg, Stockbridge, Palmetto, Peachtree City, Tyrone and more

Moving Families Since 1978

Let My Experience Work For You

fax:  770.460.0739

www.SouthMetroAtlantaMLS.com

www.leslieedwards.com/blog

leslie@leslieedwards.com

RE/MAX Around Atlanta

 

Save your credit, relieve the uncertainty, and most of all, help your family.

Call me for Short Sale and Pre-Foreclosure Solutions and let's get started on the path to recovery.

http://www.leslieedwards.com/Blog/What-is-a-Short-Sale-and-Why-You-Might-Want-One

  

 

Negative Energy

by Leslie Edwards

The weekend after Christmas I was walking to my car in the Target parking lot at Hwy 74 and Peachtree Parkway.  I watched as two cars directly behind eachother started to back up out of their parking spaces at the same time.  There was honking, but neither would move so the other could back out and leave. There was more honking and some waving and still, neither woold move.  I could not stop watching. I had to see which one would give up first.  Others stood around and like me, did not try to pretend they were not looking. Both drivers had to know they were attracting a crowd.  Still no one gave in.  It seemed like the standoff lastest for days, but it was probably minutes.  

It got me thinking about what kind of hostillity do you have to work up to get so invested in who gets to back out first?  Was something else going on in one or both of their lives that caused their reaction?  Perhaps. Or, is one or both of them basically an asshole?  The occasionally stressed out from life people I can understand and forgive.  The assholes are the people who start out being assholes instead of waiting to se if the situaton warranted such a strong reaction. The negative energy has to permeate thier lives and it's hard to imagine that it would be anyones' choice to feel that way.  Maybe someone needs better meds.  If you need it, take it.

So, always try nice first, and sometimes second, before moving on to assertive, aggressive hostile and violent.  My goal every day is to have a happy, stress free life, which is possible no matter what the circumstances.  It too, is a choice everyday.  I expect the best.  I get what I expect. leslie

leslie edwards                                                                                                                                                   sells real estate    770.460.9448                                                                                                                RE/MAX Around Atlanta                                                                                                     leslie@leslieedwards.com                                                                                                                   Selling South Metro Atlanta for 30 years Call me if you hear of anyone who wants to buy or sell real estate.  Your referrals are appreciated.

 

 

 

NOT INTERESTED

by Leslie Edwards

Several times a year, people I know contact me to "share a new business" that will add to my income.  I have watched other real estate agents get caught in the trap of trying to sell other products and services to add an additional stream of income.  I know agents who have sold Amway, Herbal Products, pots and pans, security systems, prepaid legal, accelerated mortgage payoff programs, makeup and more. Most of them are multi-level, meaning each participant has to recruit more participants to make money.

I decided years ago that I sell one product and one product only:  Real Estate  I believe it would be a disservice to my clients if I spent time trying to sell other products and recuiting others for my downline.  It would dilute my effectiveness as a real estate professional and I am not willing to do that.

The agents who get involved don't get rich from them and lose real estate production while working their "additional income streams".

Recently, two different friend/acquaintances wanted to meet with me to discuss their great new business ideas.  Interestingly, when I said no and told them why, they seemed to get offended which could be because of the pressure to recruit people.

I have never had any other since becoming a full time real estate agent 30 years ago.  I have successfully supported myself on my real estate income because that is the job I am focused on every day.

If you would like to talk real estate, call me at 770.460.9448 or email leslie@leslieedwards.com

See all the listings in MLS at www.leslieedwards.com

leslie edwards

RE/MAX Around Atlanta

What's A Billion?

by Leslie Edwards

     A friend sent me this by email.  I don't know who wrote it or where it started but, I thought it contained some interesting facts that will make you think.  Please take the time to read this and let me know if you have a good answer to the problem.  leslie

   The next time you hear a politician use the

word "billion" in a casual manner, think about

whether you want the "politicians" spending

YOUR tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend,

but one advertising agency did a good job of

putting that figure into some perspective in

one of its releases.


A. A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

B. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

C. A billion hours ago our ancestors were 
living in the Stone Age.

D. A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.

E. 
A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.

While this thought is still fresh in our brain, let's take a look at New Orleans It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division . . 



Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D), is presently asking the Congress for 
$250 BILLION to rebuild New Orleans.  Interesting number, what does it mean?

A. Well, if you are one of 484,674 residents of

     New Orleans (every man, woman, child), you

    each get $516,528.

B. Or, if you have one of the 188,251 homes in

      New Orleans , your home gets $1,329,787.

C. Or, if you are a family of four, your family

    gets $2,066,012.

Washington, D.C .. HELLO!!! ... Are all your calculators broken??


Tax his land,
Tax his wage,
Tax his bed in which he lays.
Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes is the rule.
Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirts,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he tries to think.

Tax his booze,
Tax his beers,
If he cries,
Tax his tears.

Tax his bills,
Tax his gas,
Tax his notes,
Tax his cash.

Tax him good and let him know
That after taxes, he has no dough.

If he hollers,
Tax him more,
Tax hi m until he's good and sore.

Tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he lays.
Put these words upon his tomb,
"Taxes drove me to my doom!"

And when he's gone,
We won't relax,
We'll still be after the inheritance TAX!!

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Cor porate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax
License Tax

Food License Tax
Fuel Perm it Tax
Gasoline Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax),
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax) ,
Liquor Tax,
Luxury Tax,
Marriage License Tax,
Medicare Tax,
Property Tax,
Real Estate Tax,
Service charge taxes,
Social Security Tax,
Road Usage Tax (Truckers),
Sales Taxes,
Recreational Vehicle Tax,
School Tax,
State Income Tax,
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA),
Telephone Federal Excise Tax ,
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fe e Tax,
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax,
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax,
Telephone Recurring and Non-rec urring C harges Tax,
Telephone State and Local Tax,
Telephone Usage Charge Tax,
Utility Tax,
Vehicle License Registration Tax,
Vehicle Sales Tax,
Watercraft Registration Tax,
Well Permit Tax,
Workers Compensation Tax.

STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY? 
Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago,
 
and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. 
   
We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids. 

What happened?  Can you spell 'politicians!' 


And I still have to "press

1" for English. 

I hope this goes around THE 

USA at least 100 times

 
What the heck happened?????

 

 


Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

If you hear of anyone who wants to buy or sell in any of these areas, please mention me and then call me so I can contact them. I appreciate your referrals!