When you sell or purchase a home, its appraised value is based largely on recent sales of similar properties nearby. Looking at recent sales can help you better understand the value of your own home or one you may someday hope to purchase.
Here’s an online resource that will allow you to check sales prices in your area. Listed transactions are up to one year old and fall within a maximum three-mile radius of the address you search. You can follow the link next to each property to see more details.
If you find this resource useful, I invite you to share it with others. When you have questions about home values or home financing, please reach out. I’ll be glad to help.
Getting in touch with a lender is the best way find out what you qualify for. Your Maine loan officer will take your debt to income ratio, run your credit and give you what is known as a “prequalification letter”. Once you have been pre-qualified by your loan officer, you can begin to put in offers. The best lenders to use are located here in Maine. If you are unsure what lender to contact, a real estate agent can help you.
2. The Home Shopping Prerequisite.
What city or area do you want to live in? What kind of home and amenities do you want? 2 story, tile flooring, fireplace, a pool, patio, fenced, rv access, ranch style, traditional, horse property? Before spending precious time looking at plenty of houses that do not match your needs, talk with your agent about all the amenities you may need in a house. They can help you go through your options and get a strategy to find a home you will love.
3. Look for homes for sale.
Look for homes that are available in the area, including Fannie Mae, HUD homes, Foreclosures, short sales, and more. Instead of choosing one as the way to go, try looking into all of your options and that will open your range of houses up. Some of the best home deals are HUD homes. Not all agents can show you these homes, so you are better off working with an agent who can.
4. Make the seller an offer.
This is one of the most exciting steps of the real state process, however, always make sure you are serious about buying the house you make an offer on because you are signing a legal contract. After signing the offer to purchase, you will write a check for the earnest money deposit of the property, along with your prequalification letter.
5. Your offer gets accepted and escrow starts.
Your agent will set up appointment with the inspectors, other agents, and escrow to get everything done to make that house yours. Your total down payment will be submitted before the end of escrow, minus the deposit you already gave to your real estate agent in the form of a personal check or money order. Your down payment depends on what type of financing you get. There is FHA financing, which is 3.5% down, or conventional which is at least 5% down. Maine is also a great state for the USDA RD loan. This is only available in rural areas of Maine (Most of Maine qualifies) and it provides 100% financing.
As the year draws to a close, it’s time to squeeze in some tax deductions and credits that might save you money. If you are looking to reduce your tax liability, here are some 2011 year end tax planning tips or options you may want to consider READ MORE
This morning, FHFA announced their enhancements to the HARP refinancing program. Operational details of the plan are to be released on November 15. Only loans that were purchased or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac on or before May 31, 2009 and have a current LTV over 80% are eligible. In addition, the loan must be current, no late payments in the last six months and no more than one late in the last 12 months. There are no restrictions on who may refinance these loans.
Program guidelines include:
– No limit on LTV, if new loan is a fixed rate loan (current LTV must be above 80%)
– Loans previously refinanced under HARP not allowed
– Certain agency fees will be waived if new loan is a shorter term loan
– Appraisals not required where Agency AVM is available
– Certain originator Reps and Warrants will be waived
The housing market still faces many challenges. High unemployment, foreclosures
and other distress sales are keeping negative pressure on prices. This of course
is good news if you are looking to buy as low rates and lower prices have
brought affordability to record levels.
– Since 1963, it has cost an average of approximately 43% of ‘per
capita’ or individual income to finance the cost of a median priced home (20%
down payment and prevailing 30 year fixed rate mortgage). Right now, it’s only
about half of that cost at approximately 22%.
Are you holding off
on a purchase for fear that prices might fall further? – Chances are
that some sellers might be thinking the same thing. If you’re smart about it,
you can use that as an advantage to strike the best possible deal on a home
today for once a seller believes that prices have bottomed or are going back up,
your advantage will be gone.
Don’t confuse Price with Payments
– Gambling on the expectation of a lower price tomorrow at the risk of
higher rates can cost much more in the long run than locking in a sure thing
today. Ex. $200,000 30 Yr. fixed loan @ 4.625% = $1028/mo. today vs. $180,000 @
6.5% = $1137 per month later. In other words, paying less can still cost you
Own, Rent, or Borrow – One way or another, a home
is something we all need every day. The numbers here tell the story and it’s no
secret that values have fallen, yet over time, that’s not the case. As you can
see by the chart, values over the last 10 years in most states show very healthy
appreciation. And over the long haul (map), all states have positive
We don’t get a history lesson in the news because
the news is about the moment and the more dramatic the better. That’s
what sells advertising and that’s how they get paid. For the rest of us, taking
a rational, longer term view of things makes more sense. This is particularly
true when it comes to a home, for this is something we are likely to own for
many years rather than just moments.