Showing posts from 2010

Questions You SHOULD Be Asking Your Lender

More and more, consumers are learning that there is much more to getting a mortgage than just the interest rate and points. A good mortgage planner is more in the advice business than the lowest price business. With tightening guidelines, often the question first is “Will the loan be approved?” But moreover, the borrowers’ concerns need to involve some of the answers to these non-price questions:

1. What type of lender should I use?
There are three basic types of lenders. Mortgage BROKERS promote a broad product menu, competitive pricing, and entrepreneurial approach; however, BROKERS cannot lock, commit, or approve your loan because they are not actual lenders. Banks and Credit Unions rely on financial strength, direct lending capabilities, and stability; however, the have limited product menus and often a “cover my ass” mentality. Mortgage BANKERS blend the best of both- direct lending ability, financial strength and stability, wide product offerings, competitive pricing and the entre…

2011: The Year a House Again Becomes a Home

For almost a decade now, every time we talked about real estate we immediately discussed money. We didn’t talk about the value of a home but instead about the price of the house. We didn’t worry about a roof over our heads but instead the ceiling on our interest rate. We didn’t care as much about where we raised our family as we cared about how much we increased our family’s net worth.

That will change in 2011. We believe very strongly that real estate will return to what it has been for the 200+ year history of this country: a place for us and our families to live comfortably. It will also prove to be a great long term investment as it always has been.

Our parents and our grandparents didn’t buy their homes as a short term financial investment. They bought it so they had a place of their own to come home to at the end of the day; a place to raise their family; a place they could feel safe.

Sure they dreamed of a ‘mortgage-burning’ party. They realized it was a form of forced savings. Th…

Real Estate 2010: The Year of Intervention

This past year has been very challenging for real estate. The market was defined by outside intervention. This intervention tugged at historic trends. Government involvment caused market fundamentals to be distorted beyond recognition. Unpredictability was the only thing we could predict.


The administration’s announced goal of the modification program was to save 3-4 million families from losing their homes. The actual number of homeowners assisted will come in at less than one million. Most consider the program a failure.

However, we believe that there was a secondary unannounced goal of the modification program: to slow the flow of foreclosed homes to the market. Putting homes through the modification process prevented banks from moving forward with the repossession process as quickly as they normally would.

Limiting supply was one of the ways the administration used to help stabilize home prices. However, the administration has recently slowed the modification process (s…

Dr. Doom, Mr. Bear and Real Estate

Trying to negotiate the current housing market is difficult. There are so many external variables impacting real estate it seems almost impossible to project where sales and prices are headed. But, there were two people who saw the challenges we are currently experiencing back in 2005-2006. They looked at the market and predicted we were in for the collapse that occurred. Who are these men? How do they see real estate today? What are they doing to take advantage of the current market?

Dr. Doom
Nouriel Roubini is a teacher at New York University. He warned that borrowers defaulting on their mortgage loans would unleash a housing bust and deep recession.

According to the Wall Street Journal Roubini is:

…the New York economist whose warnings of a housing collapse earned him the nickname “Dr. Doom” … Ever since much of his dire forecasting came true, Mr. Roubini has become one of the world’s most recognizable economists. He has been in demand as a speaker and consultant, often shuttling arou…

Prices Compared to Historic Trend Lines

Last week, I did a blog post on house prices as compared to income levels. I showed that, using historic ratios, house values were lower than previous norms. Many people asked us if we believe that home prices were about to increase. As I said in the post:

Some experts are predicting that today’s values will drop and not be seen again until the middle of 2012 at the earliest. We concur with these estimates…

It is understood that prices are determined by supply and demand. Inventories are still very high and a lack of consumer confidence is limiting demand. Prices will continue to soften through the first half of 2011 (most experts are calling for a 5-8% decline) before appreciating again.

However, the current market has been dramatically impacted by a foreclosure crisis never before experienced. What will happen when this cloud of distressed properties starts to dissipate? Where will prices be as compared to previous markets? Have we already surrendered the ‘bubble’ increases we experien…

Home For Sale in Colorado Springs

Nice Ranch Style Home for Sale in Colorado Springs is Perfect for the First Time Home Buyer or if you are Relocating to Colorado Springs! Featuring 3 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, 2 Car Detached Garage and 2,576 Square Feet. Tour this Home Today! Located on a Private, Treed 1.05 Acre Lot this Home Boasts a Large Living Room that is Open to the Formal Dining Room. The Ample Sized Kitchen has plenty of cabinets for storage. Main Level Master Bedroom, Finished Basement with 3rd Bedroom, Recreation Area and Storage. Enjoy Peaceful Evenings from the Comfort of your Spacious Deck. Great Location with Easy Access to Fort Carson, I-25, Shopping, Parks and More! If you are interested in this Home for Sale in Colorado Springs, contact Mike MacGuire Today, your Colorado Springs Real Estate Expert!

5 Reasons You Should Sell Today (Updated)

Selling your house in today’s market can be extremely difficult. It is for that reason that every seller should take advantage of each and every chance that appears. There is a fantastic opportunity available right now. Meet with Mike MacGuire, your Colorado Springs Real Estate agent and mortgage professional today and see whether it is the right time for you and your family to make a move.

Here are five reasons you should consider selling in the first 90 days of 2011.

1. Interest rates have spiked up.

Rates have jumped over 1/2 point in the last several weeks. The short term result of increasing rates is a surge of buyers jumping off the fence to purchase in fear that rates may continue climbing upward. This is a short window of opportunity. If rates fall again, buyers will jump back on the fence. If rates continue to rise, it limits the number of buyers who can qualify at each price point. Now is the best time to sell your house.

2. If you are moving up, you can save thousands.

If your …

How Will the Foreclosure Mess Impact Prices?

Three months ago, it was revealed that many banks were guilty of improperly processing the paperwork on their foreclosures. Most banks at the time declared a foreclosure moratorium while they reviewed their paperwork and corrected any errors. Today, we want to give you an update on the situation and explain how the housing market will be affected.

The banks have admitted to some procedural errors. The severity and intent of these errors is still being investigated and the proper sanctions are being debated (one state attorney general is threatening jail time). However, there seems to be no evidence that families were incorrectly forced from their homes.

So what does mean to the housing market?
When this discounted inventory enters the market, it will put downward pressure on house values. Foreclosures entering the market put downward pressure on the non-distressed properties trying to sell. A foreclosure is competition to other homes as they sell for a 41% discount.

When will this invent…

Negative Equity: Not Good But Improving

Back in October, we posted that falling home prices would drive more homeowners into a negative equity situation where their home was worth less than the amount of their mortgage (also known as the house being ‘under water’ or ‘upside down’). If a homeowner falls further into negative equity, it increases the chances that they will walk away from their mortgage obligation. This is known in the industry as a strategic default. This could dramatically increase the number of foreclosures coming to market and cause house values to fall further.

The Wall Street Journal reported on the impact of negative equity on strategic default:

Most defaults are typically driven by a combination of income shock and negative equity, or what’s known as the “double-trigger” hypothesis. While borrowers who lose their jobs but have equity in their homes can sell and avoid default, those without any equity are left with fewer options.

The most recent Fannie Mae National Housing Survey looked at how people viewe…

Demand for Housing Will Increase in 2011

The last Pending Home Sales Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed a substantial 10.4% month-over-month increase. According to NAR the index measures:

Housing contract activity. It is based on signed real estate contracts for existing single-family homes, condos and co-ops. A signed contract is not counted as a sale until the transaction closes. Modeling for the PHSI looks at the monthly relationship between existing-home sale contracts and transaction closings over the last four years.

This increase confirms a growing feeling that demand for housing has begun to increase.

Both NAR and Fannie Mae expect an increase in sales over the upcoming five quarters. Here are their projections:

Bottom Line
Sales will increase over the next several quarters. The increase will initiate a housing recovery. However, price increases will not take place until current inventory levels diminish. That could take 12-18 months.

For More Information on the Colorado Springs Housing Market, Co…

Insider Secrets to An Optimal Credit Score

As you prepare to apply for credit (like a home mortgage) understand that it is significantly better to have your best possible credit profile BEFORE applying. Working to improve your score during the mortgage process can be done, but there are two problems. One, time to clear up items can become an obstacle when compared the time you are anticipating a closing. And two, lower scores upfront can give an underwriter an additional reason to be uncomfortable with a file. “Sooner, rather than later” should be the mantra of credit score improvements. Here are some tested ways to do it:

Credit Cards – Revolving Debt proportions

Look on the credit report for revolving debt (not installment loans, or “open” accounts)
As a general rule of thumb, the balance should be no more than 30% of the credit limit. So, if it’s more than that, have you should make every attempt to pay it down.

If there are many revolving accounts with high balances, you will most probably need to pay down most or all of them…

Forbes: Housing Had a Superb Decade

Has real estate been a good investment over the last decade? Many people would be quick to answer ‘no’ to that question. However, they would be wrong. Real estate prices in this past decade have appreciated nicely despite the challenges over the last four years. reported on this issue two days ago:

With all the teeth-gnashing over the real estate bubble, the bust and the mortgage mess, you can be forgiven for failing to notice this little tidbit: Housing had a superb decade.

According to Radar Logic, the value of a square foot of housing in the U.S. is up 58% from its January 2000 level. That represents an average annual gain of 4.3% in the value of one square foot of housing. According to the Case Shiller Pricing Index, home values are still up 34.9% over 2000 prices.

How did real estate compare to the stock market? Forbes answered this question:

The growth in average U.S. housing values looks pretty impressive compared with that of other assets, especially stocks. The S&P …

House Price Declines Hitting Most States

This winter will see a softening of prices in most parts of the country. If you are considering selling your home in the near future, you should set an appointment with a real estate professional that has experience in the Colorado Springs Real Estate Market. That being said, we want to explain the magnitude of the challenge.

The FHFA just released their third quarter House Price Index. In the titled they claimed: U.S. House Prices Fall 1.6 Percent in the Third Quarter; Declines in Most Parts of the Country

What is the FHFA HPI?
Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) explains their pricing index this way:

The HPI is a broad measure of the movement of single-family house prices. It serves as a timely, accurate indicator of house price trends at various geographic levels. It also provides housing economists with an analytical tool that is useful for estimating changes in the rates of mortgage defaults, prepayments and housing affordability in specific geographic areas. The HPI is a measure d…

This is Good News for Housing, Not Bad News

We found it interesting to see how some media outlets reported on the latest Fannie Mae National Housing Survey. It is true that the number of people who believe that now is a good time to buy a home dipped 2% since the June report. However, the report also showed that 68% of people still believe it is a good time to buy. That is more than two out of every three people surveyed.

Yet, the headlines seemed to concentrate exclusively on the negative:

Survey: Americans Growing More Cautious on Housing – Wall Street Journal 11/24

Housing Drop: More Bad News for the Economy – Time 11/24

Is the fact that 68% of the people think now is the time to buy bad news? Shouldn’t it be great news? We elect the president of this country with barely 50% of the voters agreeing. A senate ‘supermajority’ only demands 60% to bring out a vote of cloture or to end a filibuster. Over two thirds believing now is the time to buy is fabulous news.

There were two other very revealing findings in the report:

1. People tr…

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20,000 Houses Will Sell This Weekend....Will Yours?

There is no doubt that demand for housing has slowed. The National Association of Realtor’s 3rd Quarter Existing Homes Sales Report showed that sales were down in all fifty states and the District of Columbia (3rd quarter vs. the 2nd quarter). The decline was in double digits in all but two states (Nevada and California). Those are the facts.

But let us not allow the facts to get in the way of the truth. The truth is that over 4 million homes will have sold in this country by the end of the year.

That averages out to be over 10,000 houses a day! Every day – 365 days a year!

Houses are selling. The question is will your house be one of the 10,000 that sell today. That is entirely up to you. You and your family can move on with your plans and dreams immediately. You just have to be willing to price the house at what today’s purchaser is willing to pay. Will you be able to sell it for what it would have sold for in the past? Probably not. Will you be able to sell it for the price you had d…

Why You Must Not Wait to Sell Your Home

The best real estate professionals are trying to convince anyone thinking of selling in the near future to correct the price on their home and sell now before the home loses even further value. Some cynical homeowners think the agent is just trying to create fear in order to make a quick sale. Some sellers are waiting until after the holidays. Some sellers are waiting until the ‘spring selling season’. Today, we want to say that your agent is giving you great advice - Sell Now!

We want to prove this is the best thing for you and your family. The most complete data available is usually generated by the local and national real estate associations. We realize that this data is sometimes considered suspect by the consumer (especially the cynics). For that reason, we will make our point without using any industry data generated by these associations. Instead, we will use the government agency Fannie Mae’s November Economics and Mortgage Market Analysis Report.

Fannie Mae forecasted median ho…

Are Foreclosures Spreading to Your Neighborhood?

First, there were the foreclosures caused by sub-prime loans. Then, there were the foreclosures credited to the exotic Alt-A loans. Many of these loans were written in the states that had the highest increase in real estate values – California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. Because the majority of these loans were taken in these states, the largest numbers of foreclosures have been confined there.

At least up to now. Foreclosures are no longer tied just to the type of loan taken. Today, the economy has devastated the financial stability of many families in every state in the U.S. causing foreclosures to spread to every corner of the country.

NPR reported on this issue recently:

Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody’s Analytics, agreed that the foreclosure crisis was moving into a new phase.

House flippers, subprime borrowers and those who lost their jobs early in the recession have largely worked through the system, Zandi said.

“Now what you’re seeing is more strategic defaulting — more r…

5 Reasons You Should Use a Real Estate Professional

Should you spend the money on a real estate commission or save that money by selling your home by yourself? That is a question many home sellers ask themselves. Today, we want to discuss why it is crucial to have a true professional guiding you through the minefield of challenges that exist in the current real estate market.

The housing market today is more challenging than it has ever been and seems to be becoming more difficult each day. What impact will foreclosures have on prices? Which loan products that were available just last month are no longer available? How do you convince perspective purchasers to pull the trigger on an offer when everyone is telling them that they should see another 100 houses before they make a decision? These are tough questions for a trained, experienced professional. The lay person would find it almost impossible to keep abreast of this rapidly evolving industry.

Here are five important reasons to use a real estate professional:

1. Pricing Is Difficult

If HE Says It Is Time To Buy a Home, BUY A HOME!

“If you don’t own a home, buy one. If you own one home, buy another one. And if you own two homes, buy a third and lend your relatives the money to buy one.”
– John Paulson 9/27/2010

WOW! That’s a powerful statement.

There is no question that John Paulson is a bull when it comes to residential real estate right now. Should we care what Mr. Paulson thinks? Should we listen to him? The answer to both questions is a resounding ‘YES’. Here are several reasons why.

Who is John Paulson?
Paulson is the person who made a fortune betting that the subprime mortgage mess would cause the the real estate market to collapse. He understands how the housing market works and knows when to buy and when to sell. What do others think of Paulson?

According to Forbes John Paulson is:

A multibillionaire hedge fund operator and the investment genius who made a killing going short subprime mortgages a few years ago.

According to the Wall Street Journal Paulson is:

A hedge fund tycoon who made his name, and a fortune,…

Beautiful Home for Sale in Colorado Springs

Beautifully Treed 1/3 Acre Lot Backing to Open Space & Parks. Featuring 4 Bedrooms, 4 Bathrooms, 2 Car Garage and 3,294 Square Feet. Tour this Home Today! This Home For Sale in Colorado Springs, is Perfect for the First Time Home Buyer, if you are simply moving up, or Relocating to Colorado Springs. This Updated 4 Level Home Boasts a Large Formal Living Room that is Open to the Formal Dining Room. The Updated Kitchen Features Granite, Ample Cabinet Space, Large Eating Nook and Walk Out. The Lower Level Family Room has a Cozy Fireplace, Wet Bar and Walk Out. The Huge Master Retreat has a Walk In Closet, Attached Bath, Attached Office Area and Private Deck. Enjoy Privacy from the Comfort of your Expansive Deck, Backing to Open Space! You can even watch the kids walk to school! This Home For Sale in Colorado Springs is one you don't want to miss! For More Information on this Home For Sale in Colorado Springs, contact Mike MacGuire, your Colorado Springs Real Estate Expert.

10% Jump in September Existing Home Sales

Existing-home sales rose again in September, affirming that a sales recovery has begun, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops, rose 10 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.53 million in September from a downwardly revised 4.12 million in August, but remain 19.1 percent below the 5.60 million-unit pace in September 2009 when first-time buyers were ramping up in advance of the initial deadline for the tax credit last November.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the housing market is in the early stages of recovery. “A housing recovery is taking place but will be choppy at times depending on the duration and impact of a foreclosure moratorium. But the overall direction should be a gradual rising trend in home sales with buyers responding to historically low mortgage interest rates and very favorable affordability conditions,” he said.


Home for Sale in Colorado Springs

Beautiful Home for Sale in Colorado Springs with 4 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms, 3 Car Garage and 3,465 Square Feet. Tour this Home Today! This Home for Sale in Colorado Springs is Perfect for the First Time Home Buyer, if you are simply moving up or Relocation to Colorado Springs. Featuring an Inviting Formal Living Room with Vaulted Ceilings, Formal Dining Room with Walk Out to the Expansive Deck. The Perfectly Appointed Kitchen has ample cabinet and counter space, large island, eating nook and walk out to the deck. Huge Master Retreat with a Sitting Area, Walk In Closet and a Luxurious 5 Piece Bathroom. The Lower Level Family Room Boasts a cozy Fireplace, Wet Bar and Walk Out to the Large Patio. The Huge Composite Deck is Perfect for Entertaining with tons of sitting area's and Breathtaking Mountain Views. This Home for Sale in Colorado Springs is one you don't want to miss! Contact Mike MacGuire Today, your Colorado Springs Real Estate Expert.

Beautiful Home for Sale in Colorado Springs

Beautiful 2 Story Home for Sale in Colorado Springs! Tour this Home Today. Featuring 3 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms, 2 Car Garage and 3,199 Square Feet. This Home for Sale in Colorado Springs is Perfect for the First Time Home Buyer or if you are Relocating to Colorado Springs. Located in Desirable School District 11 this home features New Carpet, New Roof, Central A/C, Vaulted Formal Dining and Formal Living Rooms. The Perfectly Appointed Kitchen is perfect for entertaining with ample cabinet and counter space. The Inviting Family Room has a Cozy Wood Burning Fireplace for those Cool Colorado Evenings. The Master Retreat boasts a sitting area, walk in closet and a 5 Piece Luxurious Bathroom. The 2 Additional Bedrooms on the Main Level are sizeable with large closets. The unfinished basement is perfect for the expanding family. The fully landscaped and fenced yard is great for summer gatherings. This home is located in a great location with easy access to shopping, schools, dining, parks an…

Top 10 Smart Things to Do When Buying a Home

1. Get to Know Financing Extremely Well—Financing a home can be a very difficult and confusing process. Go to an experienced, successful Lender! Let them educate you on the advantages and disadvantages of each type of mortgage. Ask questions so you fully understand what loan would best meet your financial objectives.

2. Find an Agent Who is Aggressive— It is important to have a ‘Buyer’s Agent’ who works for you. You want someone who is experienced. You want a straight shooter who will tell you that a home is a bad deal when it is. They are your advocate through this process.

3. Don’t Sign a Contract Immediately—You must have a good feeling about your Realtor. If you feel pressured to sign a Buyer’s Agency Agreement upon your first meeting, this is not the person for you. You should have the opportunity to work with that Realtor one or two days prior to signing an agreement. This needs to be a mutually beneficial relationship in which you are confident you are working with someone who i…

Shopping for a Home for Sale in Winter

If you've been thinking about buying a home for sale in Colorado Springs, winter is the time to start getting serious. Here are a few reasons to brave the cold and go on a house hunt:
The winter season has fewer homes for sale in Colorado Springs on the market, and sellers tend to need to move from their property. You can use that to your advantage to get a favorable deal.
Winter has fewer buyers in the market at Homes for Sale in Colorado Springs. Looking for a home in the winter can be inconvenient, and people are less likely to move. Families also tend to be on a September to June cycle because they are unwilling to move their children to a new town in the middle of the school year. Fewer buyers means less competition.

Lenders also usually have fewer loans to process and less paperwork to deal with (though this can change quickly if rates fluctuate). With lenders less hassled, you can expect a smoother process to get approved for a mortgage. But, there are exceptions to this rule,…

Gorgeous Home For Sale in Colorado Springs

This Beautiful Ranch Style Home for Sale in Colorado Springs features 4 Bedrooms + Study, 3 Bathrooms, 2 Car Garage, RV Parking and nearly 2,700 Square Feet. Tour This Home Today! This Home is Perfect for the First Time Home Buyer, if you are Relocating to Colorado Springs or if you are a Military Family Relocating to Colorado Springs. The feeling of being home envelops you immediately as you enter the home. The open living room with a gas fireplace is a room where style meets functionality. The well appointed kitchen provides plenty of surface space for food preparation and is open to the living and dining room. Escape the frantic pace of daily life and unwind in the main level master suite with walk in closets and a attached 5 Piece Bathroom. There are 2 Additional Bedrooms and Large Laundry Area on the Main Level. The finished walk out basement incorporates full entertainment into one gorgeous space with a large family room, bedroom, full bathroom, study, laundry room and storage. …

Fall Home Check List

Fall is the perfect time to take care of the little things that can make a big
difference for you and your home. Most of the tasks listed below are well
with-in the average person's ability. But even if you choose to have a
professional handle them, it's worth the expense.

Touch up paint on trim, railings and decks.
Check caulk around windows and doors.
Inspect external doors and garage doors. Do they close tightly? Install weather-stripping, door thresholds if needed.

Wash exterior windows.

Drain and store garden hoses. Install insulating covers on exterior spigots. In hard-freeze areas, have sprinkler systems blown free of water.

Check gutters and downspouts. Clear of debris if necessary. In cold-weather areas, consider installing heating cable to prevent ice dams.

Have chimneys and flues inspected and cleaned.

Check and empty the central vacuum's collection area.

Clean electronic air cleaner elements monthly for most efficient operation. Wash them in an empty dishwasher (consult …

Step 10: What's Next After Purchasing a Home for Sale in Colorado Springs

You've done it. You've looked at properties, made an offer, obtained financing and gone to closing. The home is yours. Is there any more to the home buying process?
Whether you're a first-time buyer or a repeat buyer, there are several more steps you'll want to take.

Those papers you received at settlement are extremely valuable, so hold on to them! In the short-term they can help establish tax deductions for the year in which the property was purchased. In the future, such papers will be important for tax purposes when the property is sold, and in some cases, for calculating estate taxes.

Also at closing, determine the status of the utilities required by the home, items such as water, sewage, gas, electric and oil service. You want utility bills to be paid in full by owners as of closing and you also want services transferred to your name for billing. Usually such transfers can be done without turning off utilities.

Your Colorado Springs Real Estate Expert, Mike MacGuire