Real Estate Information Archive


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Fewer Sellers Under Water in the Fall of 2013, by Steve Westmark

by Steve Westmark

What Buyers are Looking for in 2013! By Steve Westmark

by Steve Westmark

STEVE:  Hi, this is Steve Westmark, Counselor Realty.  Thanks so much for watching my video blog this week.  In our marketplace, things happen to change over time, and many times the buyers as they come to the marketplace look at things differently than what they looked at five to ten years ago.  So I’m going to hit four or five things that may be of interest for you as a seller that you want to bring to the attention of myself as you go to market or a realtor in another area of the country that maybe would be selling your house. 

The first thing that’s a real big trend with buyers is storage.  They’re really looking for good storage space where they can put their things that also go along with it if you’ve done some organizational systems like California closets or putting different types of storage bins in your garage.  People are looking at ways to make their when they move into a property to have less clutter, putting more things away and having a house be more open and simple and easier to work with.

The next thing is buyers are looking very significantly in the areas of proximity.  Every property has something that might have a proximity that you might want to bring up.  For instance, if you have a neighborhood park that’s a block or two from your property, that’s a very, very important thing.  Or if you have a shopping center that is fairly close that you could walk or a trail system or a boat launching area.  Whatever there might be in proximity to their property, you want to hit the highlights of the ease and enjoyment of what that property is.

There’s a great thing on the Internet called Walk Score where you can type in the address of the property and it gives a walk score and many times we put that type of thing on our listings to show how strong a walk score a property has.  And people like the efficiency and the effectiveness that they have of being able to get to many things easily.  The next thing is senior-friendly features.  Now we have Baby Boomers.  I happen to be a Baby Boomer, and many times I’m finding as the Baby Boomers are beginning to age—not that I’m aging or anything.  I guess I am, but they’re looking for one-level living.  They’re looking for the interesting things that senior living might bring for their enjoyment as they’re aging and going through an aging process.

The next thing is areas of energy efficiency.  It’s become very, very important.  Just like in automobiles people look at how can we get greater mileage efficiency, people are looking in their properties to see how can I have lower utility cost whether it be gas or electric.  And what kind of appliances or what kind of furnaces or air conditioners or things that are out there that have lowered the cost of running that property.  And the last item I’m going to bring up is the area of where people talk about the green revolution where people are making their properties more green.  It may be even as simple as how they have organization of their garbage collection so that they can sort through the garbage or green things of dealing with their electricity bulbs.  All the different things that people are looking at for runoff of water on their property and do they have tanks that they can reuse the water with.

Finding those little things that maybe you have done to make your property more green and something that will fit today’s buyers that have great interests, which many times are the same interests that you have.  Well, thanks so much for watching my video this week, and make it a great day.  Thanks!

Changes in Real Estate Financing, August 2013 by Steve Westmark

by Steve Westmark


STEVE:  Hi, this is Steve Westmark, Counselor Realty.  Thanks so much for watching my video blog this week.  I thought I’d give you some new updated information that I received from a loan officer that I work with, Jill Meets of Bell Mortgage.  I had called her to find out for people that are struggling with financial challenges has the marketplace changed in the lending area.  And there have been some very significant changes.  There’s three different types of financing.  One is FHA financing, which is a 3.5% down type of mortgage through the government.  Next is VA financing for the Veteran’s Administration if you’re a veteran.  And then the last one is conventional financing.  And what I wanted to point out is the changes that have gone on in the marketplace.

 On this chart, it shows that if you had a short sale, that’s where you had to sell a house that you were upside down in.  You bought it for 200,000; the price dropped to 150.  You didn’t feel you were going to be able to get out of it, so you decided to sell in a short sale.  The bank will many times allow sellers to be able to do that.  And I had a client who came to me and wanted to know the difference between what I went into foreclosure versus short sale.  Well, the interesting thing is that if you have a short sale under FHA, it’s only about one year and you can get an FHA mortgage after everything is cleared.

Under VA, it’s two years, and under conventional, it’s four years.  But if you had a foreclosure on this chart it shows that instead of one year on FHA it takes three years.  It’s the same thing for VA at two years, but under conventional, it goes out as long as seven years.  If you do what’s called a deed in lieu of foreclosure where you just call up the bank and say you had decided to I’m just going to sign my deed over to the bank and you just take over the problem, it’s basically the same as a foreclosure on FHA and it’s the same for VA.  But on conventional, it drops back to four years.

And the last thing that some people have gone through, which is tough, is bankruptcy.  And under bankruptcy, FHA will consider giving you a mortgage two years after the date of your discharge.  VA is very much the same way as two years and on conventional, four years.  Now the reason I wanted to share this with you is many times you run into friends or relatives who have gone through some of these difficulties and they may feel that they’re shut out of the market.  There are ways to get people into housing quicker than what they think they can, and I just thought that I would share these good news information for you in the marketplace.  Well, hopefully this has been helpful for you today.  Make it a great day.  Thank you!

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The Steve Westmark Team
RE/MAX Advantage Plus
14451 Highway 7 Suite 100
Minnetonka MN 55345
Fax: 952-241-1600