Monday, March 31, 2008

NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four Time & Look at Memphis, Tennessee, Homes & real estate

It's NCAA men's basketball final four time of year. We have UCLA v. Memphis State and also Kansas v. North Carolina. What powerhouses of college sports! It's great. What real estate spin get we get from these scheduled confrontations? Let's look at the Memphis, Tennessee, real estate market information provided by Yahoo:
Memphis, TN Real Estate Market Snapshot
updated Monday, March 31, 2008
Listing Type Number Median Price Price Change from Feb

Homes for Sale (MLS) 4,669 $125,000 +0.1%
New Homes 57 $264,900 0.0%
Real Estate Classifieds 1,063 $124,900 0.0%
Foreclosures 3,576 $71,500 0.0%
That appears to be real values for buyers at Memphis. We hope everyone hires a Realtor there and gets the homes sold. A question would be how many of the 4,669 homes will actually sell. We wish the folks of Memphis well, especially for their exciting basketball team.
Posted by Harrison K. Long, Explore Group, Coldwell Banker Previews, March 31, 2008
[Source: Yahoo Real Estate]

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In Short Sales, Lenders and Loan Servicing Agents Should Make It Easier for Buyers

In Short Sale situations, lenders and loan-servicing institutions should make it easier for buyers and Realtors. Lenders should help the market and provide sellers and agents with location of online department and person responsible for processing the short sale applications. Lenders should use a single industrywide short sale application and list of supporting documents that all lenders and servicers would agree to accept. The Uniform Loan Application is an industry standard. Lenders should agree to use a Uniform Short Sale Application. Lenders and servicers should update the listing agent and seller information on the status of the short sale application throughout the process. Lenders should deliver a clear answer, in writing, yes or no, within a reasonable time, to buyers, perhaps 30 days from receipt of the complete application.
Posted by Harrison K. Long, Explore Group.
[source: David Silver-Westrick]

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

What Will Happen to the U.S. Capital Gains Tax Rates after our November 2008 election?

The U.S. Income Tax Act of 2003 reduced the maximum rate on the net capital gains rate of an individual (net long-term capital gains less net short-term capital losses) from 20 percent to 15 percent. Net capital gains previously taxed at 10 percent were reduced to 5 percent. In order to qualify for long-term capital gains treatment, property must be held for more than 12 months. In 2008, the capital gains tax rate for gains taxed in the lowest tax bracket (5 percent) will be reduced to zero. Unless the U.S. Congress extends them, under Section 102 of the 2007 Act, the capital gains rate reductions will expire December 31, 2010. Then rates will revert to 20 percent and 10 percent.
Question: Will our next President try to raise the capital gains taxes?
Posted by Harrison K. Long, Explore Real Estate, March 29, 2008[Source: California Association of Realtors]

Bob Knight's Hiring by ESPN Sends The Wrong Message to Our Young People

Bob Knight's hiring by ESPN sports network sets a bad example for the kids and young athletes in this country. As basketball coach at Texas A&M and Indiana, he bullied his players, other coaches, referees, and sometimes fans, so many times over the years. I never heard him apologize to anyone for his misbehavior. He won lots of games and got famous being the tough guy. He apparently has a good PR man, got out of many jams, and now seems to be recognized by everyone. ESPN is showing our young people that it's good to be a tough guy and bully and that you too could follow along and get famous. The ESPN decision won't set a good example for young people, will in the long run be bad for television sports coverage, and will hurt the value proposition of the communication business in general.
Posted by Harrison K. Long, March 30, 2008, Explore Group

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Friday, March 28, 2008

What Should You Consider When Thinking About Foreclosure Buyer Opportunities?

What Should You Know and Consider About Foreclosure Buyer Opportunities:
Buyers must be pre-approved for a loan by a lender.
Source of Down Payment Must be confirmed.
The bank could require that you finance your purchase with them.
Expect competition for your offer.
Some buyers bid on multiple properties.
Banks won’t accept offers that are contingent on selling your home.
The best deals generally are those properties with the longest time on the market.
Bank-owned homes typically sell at less than their listing price.
Get your own buyer inspection of the property.
Consider the cost of repairs or damaged or missing appliances when bidding.
The bank will make a counter-offer to your first offer.
Some banks will not accept an offer unless it is submitted by a REALTOR®.
The bank will require the use of its own forms for the offer and purchase contract.
Banks generally are looking to sell and close escrow quickly, within two weeks to 45 days.
Posted by Harrison K. Long, Explore Group, March 28, 2008

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EXPLORE PROPERTIES BLOG: Seacrest at Crystal Cove, Newport Coast

EXPLORE PROPERTIES BLOG: Seacrest at Crystal Cove, Newport Coast

Are Twenty Percent Down Payments Required by Lenders These Days?

Are twenty percent or ten percent down payments required by lenders these days? FHA loans were originally intended to help first-time home buyers, so the down payment requirements are flexible. The buyer can put as little as 3% down. In this situation it is OK if you get that money from a relative. These days lenders on other loans are generally requiring at least 10% down and want to confirm that this would be your own money. Some lenders are requiring extra money upfront. FHA loans may be the only way for people who have small down payments.Posted by Harrison K. Long, Explore Properties Group, March 27, 2008

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Friday, March 7, 2008

Home Ownership Economics

Owning your home is a good thing. Paeans to homeownership are a commonplace for American politicians, and, since the nineteen-thirties, public policy has been designed to make home buying cheaper and easier. Homeownership, the argument goes, has tremendous social benefits, stabilizing neighborhoods and making people more willing to invest in their communities. And it has economic benefits, too, serving as a forced-savings program that allows people to leverage their incomes and build wealth. Homeownership “provides financial security for families,” Mel Martinez, the former H.U.D. Secretary, has said, and it “generates economic strength that fuels the entire nation.”
[source: New Yorker Magazine, James Surowiecki, March 10, 2008.
Posted by Harrison K. Long, Explore Properties Group, March 7, 2008


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Issues Affecting 2008 Outlook for OC and California Housing Market

Issues that will affect the OC and California housing market during the remainder of 2008: (a) Buyers’ access to higher limits on non-conforming loans, (b) general strength of the economy in the US and California, (c) how aggressive the banks are to unload their inventory of foreclosed homes, and (d) aggressive or passive policies of lenders in agreeing on terms of the thousand of proposed short sales.
Posted by Harrison K. Long, Explore Properties Group, March 5, 2008.
[Source: Orange County Register, Marketplace, March 5, 2008]


Monday, March 3, 2008

Safe Harbor for 1031 Exchanges of Vacation Homes

Rev. Proc. 2008-16: Safe Harbor for Exchanges of Vacation Homes and Conversions to or from Personal Residences.
This Internal Revenue Service revenue procedure provides a safe harbor. The IRS will not challenge whether a dwelling unit qualifies as property held for productive use in a trade or business or for investment under Section 1031. See Moore v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo, 2007-134, the vacation home case. See Treasurey Inspector General for Tax Administration report "Like King Exchanges Require Oversight to Ensure Taxpayer Compliance" Sept 17, 2007. More IRS guidance on vacation home exchanges.
However, this is just a safe harbor. An exchange may still fall outside the paramaters and meet statutory requirements, but you should expect heightened scrutiny. This safe harbor is effect for exchagnes ocurring on or after March 10. 2008.
Be careful with this and consult with a CPA or income tax professional or qualified attorney.
Posted by Harrison K. Long, Explore Properties Group, March 3, 2008
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